October 2013 Newsletter

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October's News from Bookbag Towers

Hi, hello and how are you?

We wanted to talk a little bit about dyslexia this month. And in particular, about the way dyslexia affects potential readers, especially young readers. If you don't know much about this condition, you can find out more at the British Dyslexia Association and Dyslexia Action. Dyslexic readers often struggle with books: they have problems with fonts, text size, background colours, vocabulary and all sorts of other things. We at Bookbag want parents to be able to find reading that will suit dyslexic children and so we have a dedicated category for dyslexia friendly books. You'll find stories by great writers there: Anthony McGowan, Michael Morpurgo, Darren Shan, Tom Palmer, Meg Rosoff, Eoin Colfer and many more.

We've been consistently impressed by the books we've seen from Barrington Stoke with their combination of the perfect paper, reader-friendly font, good line spacing and stories which are appropriate for the age of the reader, whilst still taking account of the likely reading age. You can read about them in an article MD Mairi Kidd wrote for us.

Nobody should be excluded from enjoying a good book. Don't you agree?

And, of course, we must congratulate Eleanor Catton for winning the Booker prize with the wonderful The Luminaries. Eleanor is the youngest ever author to win and The Luminaries is the longest book ever to win. How about that?!

Golden Hour

This month, we're back on books for children and a new gift edition of The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. There are good reasons why the adventures of Ratty and Mole have made this book a classic for more than a century and this new edition will make a splendid gift. It might take a little while to retire your image of the four friends and substitute the illustrations by David Roberts - but they work well. They're more in tune with what children today will expect - and there are lots of them to enjoy. And who doesn't want to return to the riverbank once in a while?

Books of the Month

And on to to the new... . In fiction, Sue has a recommendation for all crime fans this month. Under A Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes is the first in a new police procedural series about DCI Lou Smith. It's a cracker and promises a great deal with Haynes cementing her reputation as one of the best crime novelists around at the moment. Ani thinks you should read Dixon Grace: 1.9.7 Hamburg by Alexa Camouro. It's a detective-come-spy novel with a difference: we're left to form our own opinions. It's a compelling and promising start to an original trilogy that has us tapping our brain cells while we await book 2.

In non-fiction, and with an eye to early Christmas shopping, Zoe recommends Peas and Queues: The Minefield of Modern Manners by Sandi Toksvig. It's a delightfully entertaining but also useful book on manners. Buy a copy for everyone you know as a quote unquote novely gift you secretly hope they read every page of. Really. It's fantastic. Sandi Toksvig is a treasure.

For teens, Linda loved She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick. Laureth is the daughter of a writer, and she knows how hard it is for them to tell fact from fiction. But this time things have gone too far, and her dad has disappeared. Her mother doesn't seem to care, so it's up to Laureth to find him. Marcus Sedgwick doesn't speak down to his teen readers. He tells it how it is, without footnotes or gloss, and it's up to the reader to decide how much they want to take from his books. We think it will be a great deal.

For the younger ones, Zoe thought 100 People by Masayuki Sebe was great. With 100 people on every page, this is a book packed with lots of bodies, but can you find the ones you're looking for? First published in Japan, there is a clear Oriental feel to the illustrations that make them feel a bit quirky and cartoonish to the British eye, and I loved that about them. The book is big on diversity and features (cartoon) people of different ages, races and body shapes, so it’s also great for a starting point for a conversation on valuing differences.


We have some great feature articles for you this month. We were blown away by Marcus Sedgwick's She Is Not Invisible and we wondered what he wanted to chat to us about when he popped into Bookbag Towers. Well, it was co-inky-dinks. You don't know what they are? You do now!

Simon Packham was surprised when he realised how much of his writing involved school. Now he realises that it was inevitable. Here's why. And that's not all. The fabulous Tom Moorhouse has told us all about fantasy, reality and water voles.

There are, as usual, interviews for you this month, too. It took Robert a long time to write his review of Debutantes: In Love by Cora Harrison because all he really wanted to say was Oh wow, oh wow, I loved this book and you need to go out and get it right now! When Cora came to Bookbag Towers they had lots to chat about.. And Jill thought that Hospice Voices: Lessons for Living at the End of Life by Eric Lindner was touching, illuminating and uplifting. She enjoyed asking Eric all about it.

Sue reads quite a lot of business books but very few have such an engaging mix of satire and sage business advice as Freedom from Bosses Forever. It's mainly about Canadian businesswoman Leonora Soculitherz, but Sue had quite a few questions for author Tony Robinson OBE when he popped in to see us. Sue was also hooked on Woman on Top, a novel about finding yourself, from the first page, and she had more than a few questions for author Deborah Schwartz when she called by.


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.

What were we reading last year?

All at Bookbag Towers

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