November 2015 Newsletter

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November's News from Bookbag Towers

Happy November, Bookbaggers! We hate to be the eleventy billionth people to mention it to you, but Christmas is around the corner. Sorry, but it is! If you're looking for some bookish gift recommendations, scroll down to our features section where we have done our best to help you out.

And poetry lovers - have you heard the exciting news? Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things has been bought by Oxford's Bodleian Library.They're going to digitise it so this early and long-lost work will be available to the public for the first time ever. Hurray! This is exciting, right?

What else? Best-selling American children's author RL Stine says that he doesn't like zombies! What the what? Sacrilege, says Jill, Bookbag's resident zombie-lover. But here is a story we can approve of: publisher Short Edition has made more than 600 short stories available to commuters via vending machines throughout the French city of Grenobles. How cool is that?!

Aspiring authors should also look at the Bookseller's inaugural Author Day. It takes place on 30 November. You can also find out more on the hashtag #authorday.

And that's about it! Happy reading to all!

Golden Hour

Our blast from the past this month isn't a single book but an entire series. The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis is the most wonderful fantasy series ever written for children. It has sold over one hundred million copies and been translated into more than forty languages. In Narnia, good battles evil, animals talk and people can become more and better than they ever dreamed possible. Don't miss it and don't let them miss it either. And don't forget to check the back of your wardrobe.

Books of the Month

And on to to the new... . In fiction, and for fans of crime, Sue loved Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin. The twentieth Rebus novel sees Rankin at his best. It's bang on the moment, twisty and totally engrossing. The title is from a song by The Associates which looks at how we treat each other within families, at the harm we do each other and how it can pass down through the generations. It's perfect for this highly recommended novel.

For those of you who enjoy historical fare, Ani suggests The Winter Isles by Antonia Senior , a wonderful historical fiction introduction to Somerled, a 12th century Scottish warlord and hero. It's action packed and yet is told with an underlying sensitivity, authenticity. With a definite Celtic atmosphere seeping through the pages, this is literary magic.

In non-fiction, John recommends a trivia book, 1,234 QI Facts to Leave You Speechless by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin. It's official – Belorussian sausage contains no toilet paper. It's official – this book is an unmistakeable winner. And, as you'd expect from QI, it's the most quotable book of the year! There's something irresistible about trivia, isn't there?

John also has a recommendation for younger readers. In Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio and Wilhelm Staehle, we meet Warren the Thirteenth. He's the latest in a long line of, well, Warrens, who have been running the Warren Hotel. Unfortunately for him, his father, Warren the Twelfth, passed away too early, and control of the building has passed not to him but to his exceedingly lazy uncle Rupert. Inventive and an absolute pleasure on the eye, it's a must-read.

For teens, Jill fell in love with The Light That Gets Lost by Natasha Carthew. At just seven years of age, Trey witnesses the murder of his parents and the grievous injuring of his older brother. He escapes the attack by hiding in a wardrobe. After that, he is taken into care. Assuredly not your standard dystopian fare, this story finds despair and anguish but also love and loyalty in blood and guts and mud. It might not sound poetic, but it is


We have been talking to authors again this month. Ani enjoyed Celeste Three is Missing by Chris Calder and thought it was a good, slow burning escapist thriller. Find out more about Chris's obsession with aviation in his chat with Ani when he called into Bookbag Towers. Sue was impressed by John Searancke's story of his father's war, Prunes for Breakfast and she had quite a few questions for John when he popped in to see us. John wants his readers to be inquisitive, which we think is a fine ambition for author and reader alike.

Since Christmas is coming, and since we always think of you, and since we believe books to be the best Christmas presents possible, we've been compiling some lists of gift recommendations. There are suggestions for young children, teenagers, fans of fantasy, fans of crime fiction and lots more. To see all the lists, go to our Features page. Do buy someone a book for Christmas!


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

What were we reading last year?

All at Bookbag Towers

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