October 2015 Newsletter

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October's News from Bookbag Towers

Hi, hello, and how the devil are you? Good, we hope!

The wait is over and we now know that Marlon James won the Booker Prize 2015. He's the first Jamaican to win and we couldn't be happier for him. Ani loved A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, calling it multi-layered epiphany of a novel and if you haven't read it already, you really, really should. You can also find our reviews of all the short listed books here. They're all fabulous.

And let's not forget Svetlana Alexievich, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature] for the way in which she chronicled the collapse of the Soviet Union, its misadventures in Afghanistan, and the horrors of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

This story made us laugh. Ladybird have issued a kind of - um, er, um, er, revisionist? - series of books aimed at adults as part of their centenary celebrations. Titles include The Hangover and The Mid-life Crisis. Ha. Teehee. WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF PETER AND JANE?!

Golden Hour

Inspired by the BBC's poetry season retrospective of Ted Hughes, our blast from the past this month is a Faber reissue of The Iron Man. As our reviewer John says, any chance to revisit this classic should be taken. It doesn't matter how old you are. It doesn't matter what you make of it or take from it in particular: it's just a book that should be in your life.

Books of the Month

And on to to the new... . In fiction, Ani thoroughly enjoyed Slade House by David Mitchell. Once every nine years Jonah and Norah Greyer entertain a guest; each time a different person… or persons. Each visitor walks through the small black door of Slade House for various reasons of their own. Or at least they think they know why they're there but only Jonah and Norah know the real reason – the only reason. We return to Mitchell's enticingly strange world of The Bone Clocks for some Halloween shivers. Easily read as a stand-alone, short and oh so scarily sweet, this is one for the fans and newbies alike.

In non-fiction, Zoe loved 101 Things to do Instead of Playing on Your Phone by Ilka Heinemann. She tells this joke: One cartoon person says to the other, What's your favourite position in bed? and the other replies Closest to the plug so I can still use my phone while it's charging. It's funny because it's uncomfortably true and if you want to make it less true, you could do worse than read this entertaining little book. It's a phone intervention!

For teens, Alex thinks you should look at Railhead by Philip Reeve. In the distant future, mankind has travelled into space, not by spaceship, but by train. This is the world of the Grand Network, with nearly a thousand K-gates (like Stargates but for trains) spanning the galaxy, linking hundreds of rich and varied worlds. It's a steady-paced and thrilling science fiction adventure, packed full of interesting concepts, great characters and a bit of dry humour every once in a while.

For the littlest of little ones, Sue recommends Dog on a Train: The Special Delivery by Kate Prendergast, a story told in great detail but without using a single word. It's one of those mornings for Boy: late out of bed he grabs at his hat and hurtles out of the house to catch his train - only he drops his hat as he goes through the door and Dog chases after him with the hat in his mouth. The artwork is brilliant and Dog will capture your heart - but only once he has reliquished Sue's!


We have a veritable treasure trove of interviews for you this month!

Rebecca enjoyed The Glass Girl by Sandy Hogarth, an exploration of the psychological effects of sexual trauma and relationship betrayals. She had quite a few questions for the author when she popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us. Sue is a long-standing fan of Frances Brody's Kate Shackleton mysteries. She thought that the latest - A Death in the Dales - was ingenious, well researched and a darned good read. An interesting conversation ensued when Frances popped into Bookbag Towers.

Ani thought that I'll Meet You In Heaven was a story of love, loss and new beginnings which would be a great comfort to those who have suffered loss.She was keen to talk to author Jill Thrussell, who gave some interesting answers. Sue has spent some very indulgent hours recently listening to books narrated by Matt Addis. Most recently she's wallowed in Rape of the Fair Country and The Hosts of Rebecca, both by Alexander Cordell, which she thought were amazing. When Matt popped into Bookbag Towers she wanted to know how it was all done.

Sue's always been just a little bit keen to avoid the limelight, so when Kim Staflund's latest book, Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors landed on her desk she devoured it and had quite a few questions to ask the author when she was nice enough to talk to us for a second time!


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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