March 2013 Newsletter

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March's News from Bookbag Towers

Oh, oh, oh. OH! It is March. And it is snowing. What is going on? Snow, fun though it is, does not belong in March. Daffodils belong in March. Where are the daffodils? Meh. Snow aside, how are you?

We had a lovely time searching for stuff on the interweb on the 11th of this month. Google celebrated what would have been the 61st birthday of Hitchhikers with a wonderful Doodle full of clickable Easter eggs. If you missed it - and you miss him - you can still check it out at the Google Doodle gallery.

In more personal news, now that we have more than 8,000 reviews on site - we know, staggering, isn't it?! - we've expanded our categories a little. Hopefully, you will find it easier to locate the types of book you enjoy reading now that there are dystopian, thriller and paranormal sections in the fiction categories, a reference section in non-fiction, and an emerging readers section in the children's area. Do let us know if you think we're missing anything.

The shortlist for the 2013 Carnegie Medal was announced earlier this month. You can see the chosen few here. Which one would you like to see win? The winner will be announced at an afternoon ceremony at the Natural History Museum on Wednesday 19 June.

If you're going to be in the capital next month, we'd like to give you a heads up about Cityread London. This year they’re reading A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks. This state-of-the-nation novel set in London on the eve of the financial crash in 2007 explores themes such as terrorism, reality TV and drug addiction. Taking the themes of the novel as a starting point, they’ve lined up an amazing month of events taking place across London. Join a library book group, discover the history of the Tube, or swing by your local cinema. And if you're not in London, you can take part in their virtual book group without even leaving your sofa. Check it out here.

Golden Hour

It's not an easy choice this month. But we think you should read Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. A young soldier is horrifically injured during World War 1 and wakes up to a living nightmare. Johnny Got His Gun is possibly the most stomach-churning book about war ever written. It really is not for the fainthearted. Yet in truth, it is a book that everyone should read before they even think about supporting a war, any war. It hurts to read it, but if you have the courage then you will be richly rewarded.

Books of the Month

And on to to the new... . In fiction, Iain fell in love with Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell, a wonderful collection of stories that vary widely in subject. It's the equivalent of catching a butterfly in your hand and being able to take a close look at the beauty of the creature. Like that butterfly, this collection is beautifully put together and as admirable a sight when examined closely as when it takes wing and flutters away. Iain's found that you don't just read a Karen Russell story, you discover it and, once discovered, you recognise how precious it is and love it.

In non-fiction, Linda was very taken with On Writing by A L Kennedy, a witty, profound and intensely personal account of the importance of words by one of our best-known and loved contemporary writers. It is a rallying cry for the arts, a bold and fearless statement of the nature of humanity, and a refreshingly intimate portrayal of an acute yet compassionate mind. Don't miss it.

For teens, we have a brace of books chosen by Jill this month. Firstly, there's The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks. This book is dark even for the famously dark Kevin Brooks. The diary of an abducted boy, it is a powerful and shocking read. We loved it but it's not for the faint hearted. Secondly, there's The Disappearances by Gemma Malley, the best middle book in a trilogy that we've read for ages! Everything in this dystopian series turns in a completely unexpected direction. And that's all we're saying!


We were impressed when we read Dreams, the first of the Sarah Midnight Trilogy by Daniela Sacerdoti and we were delighted when she wrote a piece about her love of reading especially for us.

In the run up to the publication of the new Jimmy Coates book (Jimmy Coates: Blackout) in June, Joe Craig popped into Bookbag Towers to tell us what he's thinking when he thinks he's learning about his audiences (but is probably not)'! He's a funny guy!

Lovers of romantic fiction should check out our feature on the Romantic Novel of the Year 2013. When the categary winners were announced on 26 February Sophie Kinsella was awarded a lifetime achievement award for her continued contribution to the world of romantic fiction. The five category winners compete for the overall prize which will be announced at the RNA summer party on 16 May.

Of course, we have been interviewing authors for you, too. Robert enjoyed Geek Girl by Holly Smale and he had plenty of questions for her when she popped into Bookbag Towers. Robert's been a busy boy: he also thought that Smuggler's Kiss was an excellent historical adventure with a feisty, resourceful narrator and a wonderful supporting cast. He was keen to chat to author Marie-Louise Jensen when she popped in to see us. Sue thought that Grown-ups Can't be Friends with Dragons by Antony Wootten was the perfect book for the child who struggles with childhood and can't seem to do anything right. It's not just a good story - there's a subtle message that life will improve. Sue had quite a few questions for Antony when he turned up in these 'ere parts.


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

All at Bookbag Towers

See what we were reading last year.

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