June 2014 Newsletter

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June's News from Bookbag Towers

Hello there! We're writing this in the midst of World Cup fever. We don't mind a bit of football at Bookbag Towers but we really don't get feverish about it. If you're the same, read on. We have plenty of reading recommendations for you and you might need them if all around you has gone Rio mad.

Here's a weird thing. Do you remember how much we loved The Book of Human Skin by Michelle Lovric? Well, in good news for bibliomaniacs and cannibals - their words not ours! - Harvard University has established that an infamous 19th century book really is bound in human skin. The Guardian will tell you all about it here. Creepy, huh?

And we can't let this newsletter go without an RIP to Maya Angelou, who died aged 86 at the end of last month. Novelist, poet and civil rights campaigner, she was someone we should never forget. She will be missed.

Golden Hour

Our golden oldie this month is Jane of Lantern Hill by L M Montgomery. First published in 1937, a little girl gets to know her father in a story that is gentle and funny, nostalgic and sweet. Best known for the classic Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery, the Canadian author, wrote a large number of books that are not so well known. This story is one of them, and is, in fact, one of her best. Virago think so too, and their reissue is out this month. You should check it out.

Books of the Month

And on to to the new...

In fiction, Sam loved Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Shea. Life for a retired mercenary does not come any better than being the manager of a prestigious house of ill repute. Koko loves her life and her job, but once she kills a couple of her patrons everything is turned upside down. Shea has created a future world that appears to be very different from our own, but if you look closely enough it is really a darkly comic reflection of current life. It's action packed and humorous pulp science fiction at its best.

Ani wants you to read Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, a profoundly clever, insightful, touching novel about someone with dementia desperate to be heard as she seeks her missing friend. It's powerful and affecting, and cleverly plotted with a jaw-dropping twist near the end. Not only does it cross the gender divide, it's also a debut novel.

In non-fiction, Sue is recommending My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff, a brilliant memoir about Rakoff's year spent at the literary agency which handled J D Salinger. The writing is wonderful and the book is compulsive reading. You have to read it. Seriously.

And John was mightily impressed by Tudor: The Family Story by Leanda de Lisle, a comprehensive account of the Tudor history, its monarchs and unsuccessful claimants to the throne, unusually taking the death and and funeral in 1437 of Catherine of Valois, mother of the dynasty, as a starting point. It is a remarkable if often chilling story of determined men and women, locked together in the most desperate of power struggles.

For the little ones, Lorraine thinks you should look at Greek Myths: Stories of Sun, Stone and Sea by Sally Pomme Clayton, a collection of ten Greek myths re-told for children. Enter a realm of monsters, Gods and strange lands that will feed the imagination. Every aspect of this book is first class.


There are some fabulous pieces from authors in our Features section this month. Michael Grant has been telling us all about the plans for a Gone TV show. You've no idea how frustrating it is to try to get a book onto screen (big or little)! Candy Harper has been telling us all about the inspiration for her Faith series.

And our very own Jim went to the launch of Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek (A Memoir) by Maya Van Wagenen. We insisted that he tell us all about it.

We also have plenty of interesting interviews for you this month. Ani enjoyed Rough Passage to London: A Sea Captain's Tale, a Novel by Robin Lloyd and was intrigued by the background to the story. There were quite a few questions she wanted to ask when Robin popped into Bookbag Towers. Kicking off her Countdown to 5th June tour Keris Stainton called in to chat to us. You can find out all about it here. Sue loved Being Someone by Adrian Harvey - the story of a relationship and how early the seeds of destruction were sown. She thought it was an intriguing tale, exquisitely written. There was quite a lot to chat about when the author came by.

Jim thought that Fifteen Bones by R J Morgan was a stunning debut dealing with some dark topics, but the great voice and gallows humour drew him in. He and Rebecca had a stimulating conversation. Ani enjoyed W Scott Beaven's coming of age crime story about the temptations and troubles facing young people. She had quite a few questions for the author, and his answers were very interesting. Sue was impressed by Vortex by Matt Carrell and the opportunity to ask the author a question or two was simply too good to miss.


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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