March 2014 Newsletter
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March's News from Bookbag Towers
Greetings, fellow book lovers. What have you been reading?
Children up and down the country have been reading thanks to World Book Day, which took place earlier this month. We love World Book Day here at Bookbag Towers. Some fantastic titles by some fantastic authors were included this year. There's Robert Muchamore, Lauren St John, David Melling. There's even a Horrible History in there. All these books cost just £1, thanks to the annual celebration of reading. What a wonderful thing.
In other news, the stage productions of Jill's favourites Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies are transferring to the West End (yay!) but Hilary Mantel says that the third book in this magnificent trilogy is taking a long time to write, so we'll have to wait a while yet (boo!) - Jill is on tenterhooks.
Now the country's weather has finally improved, we might all be able to settle down, relax, and read a good book. Here are some suggestions.
For our look back this month, we've chosen the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote. We think you should take a look at an unabridged audiobook read by Michael C Hall of TV's Dexter and Six Feet Under fame for Audible. He does a wonderful job with one of the most memorable heroines of all time and one of the most beautifully written novellas of all time. We hope Hall does some more work for Audible. We'd listen to anything he read.
Books of the Month
And on to to the new... . In fiction, Robin loved Kinder Than Solitude by Yiyun Li, a beautifully written, dark and ultimately quite sad story of how an event in their childhood affects four young Chinese people. It is heartbreaking at times but the quality of the prose is sublime.Each one of these young people is very much alone in the world even when they have company. Combined with the strength of Yiyun Li's prose, this philosophical insight is often beautiful and moving. Every now and then a phrase or sentence seems to jump out and beg to be remembered.
Rebecca thinks you should read The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt.Through a collection of fragmentary sources, this novel builds a posthumous picture of Harriet Burden, a larger-than-life feminist and modern artist who released her work under male pseudonyms. It's an engrossing puzzle as well as a bold commentary on gender identity and the fractured self. Stylistically risky and fiercely intelligent, this isn't one to miss.
In non-fiction, John recommends something for all book lovers - Books that Changed the World: The 50 Most Influential Books in Human History by Andrew Taylor. These are titles that have changed enough of the world to count as important, and each gets a six-page essay. Loving him some irony, John is calling it 50 Shades of Essential Literature – not necessarily books to rush to read, but ones we should all be aware of, along with what changes they made to our civilisation.
For younger readers, Louise brings you The Four Seasons of Lucy Mckenzie by Kirsty Murray. A young girl discovers windows to the past that lead to adventure, friendship, loss and redemption in this absorbing and beautifully written novel, set in the Australian countryside. It is primarily a story about family, relationships, missed opportunities and redemption. It is about bridging the generation gap and realising that age doesn’t have to be a barrier to friendship. Louise was enraptured by the storyline and greedily devoured the whole book in one sitting. She cannot praise it highly enough.
Linda loved Urban Outlaws by Peter Jay Black. Five young people live in an abandoned bunker beneath the London Underground. Using their combined skills they carry out the kind of actions Robin Hood would be proud of: stealing from the rich to give to the poor. But now they've tangled with a very dangerous man indeed, and this time they may not escape alive. In this, the first of a five book series, the heart-stopping action starts on page one and doesn't let up until final sentence – and not even then. Linda loved it.
When Fletcher Moss, author of The Poison Boy popped in to see us he had us spellbound when he told us that his obsession with age began when he was in his twenties.We agree, Fletcher, it's never too late. No matter what "it" is.
Robert thinks that the Laura Marlin mysteries series is one of the best for tweens and younger teens. He was delighted when author Lauren St John popped in to see us. Lauren is one of the World Book Day authors this year - and she thinks it's an honour. We're just glad she took part.
Being from the other side of the Pennines, Sue's not renowned for her love of Manchester, but she was impressed by the way the city came across in The Baby and the Brandy the first book in a planned new series by Robert Parker. She had quite a few questions when the author Robert Parker called into Bookbag Towers.
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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