February 2012 Newsletter

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February's News from Bookbag Towers

Hello, how are you? We've been finding out all sorts of interesting stuff this month. Not long ago Sue was introduced to the work of Scottish Book Trust and was surprised by how little she knew about it and that its work was not restricted to Scotland. We persuaded Beth Bottery to tell us more about the work the Trust does and how schools (and adults) across the UK and the rest of the world can benefit. You can - and should! - read all about it here.

We've also been reading like mad and have all sorts of recommendations to make!

Golden Hour

We have a really oldie-golden-oldie for you this month! Titan books have reissued The Mystery of Dr Fu Manchu by Sax Rohmer, which was first published way back in 1913. Definitely a product of its time, this thriller from a century ago has outdated attitudes and characters but is still an action-filled read to get your adrenaline pumping. And the cover has a fabulous design, which perfectly reflects Rohmer’s novel. Full marks to the publishers for making it so eye-catching. Don't miss this one, and look forward to further reissues from the series.

Books of the Month

And on to to the new... . In fiction, Ani was blown away by Hinterland by Caroline Brothers. Two boys set out on a journey from Afghanistan to England, with a little money and a lot of hope. Haunting, touching and beautifully written, this is a book you won’t forget. Ani says you should read it, you and anyone who has ever thought that all immigrants have it easy; anyone who has ever mused over sending them all back.

Crime fans will love Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway. Joe Spork is trying to be like his clock maker grandfather and not a crook, like his dad. However, life has other ideas. Nick Harkaway’s mind is such an interesting, diverse place you'll want to savour every syllable. Your only criticism will be that Angelmaker ends long before your appetite for it has!

In non-fiction, John recommends Shapely Ankle Preferr'd by Francesca Beauman. You might think the Lonely Hearts ad a trivial matter, but this book is not a frivolous scurry through something trivial, but a majorly enjoyable history of a factor of society with more to say than you might think...

For teens, Jill fell in love with The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan, a haunting, vivid, earthy story of selkie sea-wives from one of the most exciting young adult authors around. If you like your magic wild and dangerous and abandoned, don't miss it.

Jill is also recommending This Is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees, a dark and unsettling novel featuring three characters interconnected by more than just a love triangle, although it's that too. Tense and frightening, but beautiful at times, this thriller is something we didn't expect from Celia Rees. But we loved it.


We've been busy interviewing plenty of authors this month. Blade is one of Bookbag's favourite series for children ever - and we mean ever. OUP are giving it a reissue with four books in longer instalments rather than the original eight books in very short ones. Whatever the size of the package, this is one series you shouldn't miss. So of course, we jumped at the chance to ask Tim Bowler a few questions.

Here at Bookbag we were very impressed by Helena Close's novel The Clever One and we were delighted when she dropped by for a chat. We also loved Danielle Joseph's double-narrated book Indigo Blues and she told us all about it when she called in. We were very impressed when we read Daylight Saving, a gripping thriller with a superb central pairing and tons of atmosphere. We knew that he was an author to watch so we couldn't miss the opportunity to have a chat with Ed.


We're always on the look out for people to join our panel of reviewers at Bookbag. We need people who understand that the reader wants to know what the reviewer thinks about the book and not just what's written on the back cover. If you think that you're one of these special people that we're looking for, we want to hear from you. You can find details of how to apply here on the site. Don't be shy!


We have competitions for some great books going this month, and every month, so get entering!

And that's about it for this month. If you're passing Bookbag Towers do pop in and see us – we're at www.thebookbag.co.uk.

All at Bookbag Towers

See what we were reading last year.

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