August 2011 Newsletter
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August's News from Bookbag Towers
Hello fellow bibliophiles!
It hasn't been a very nice month, has it? Global financial meltdown. Again. London burning. Real life has just been too depressing for words. Thank heavens for books and a bit of escapism.
If you have a Kindle, you might like to look at Amazon's new social networking platform for the device. You can find it here. They seem to have launched it without much of a fanfare - or were we simply not paying proper attention? - but you can rate your books, comment on them and find people with similar tastes, if you're one of those sociable reader types.
Better late than never, we've got around to herding up the winner and shortlisters for the Carnegie Medal 2011 into one place. A worthy winner this year, in Patrick Ness, but are our thoughts on White Crow on the money? The Carnegie judges disagreed!
We're going iconic this month and recommending The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin. When Joanna Eberhart and her family move to Stepford, Joanna soon wonders why all the wives are submissive, beautiful and obsessed with housework, and before long finds herself on a mission to uncover the truth behind their perfect smiles. Originally published nearly forty years ago, Levin's tale of men creating perfect wives is still as relevant and shocking today, and is a must read for anyone who has seen the films but perhaps never read the book. Thanks to Constable for the reissue with a fab cover and an introduction by Chuck Palahniuk.
Books of the Month
And on to to the new... . In fiction, Louise was highly impressed by The Submission by Amy Waldman, which centres around what would be deemed a suitable memorial for all those caught up in the 9/11 attack. From thousands of anonymous submissions, it's eventually whittled down to one - and then the problems start. It's a novel which forces us to ask searching questions of ourselves, to think deep and hard, not only about global terrorism but other serious issues also. It's an extremely thought-provoking book and it comes highly recommended by us.
In non-fiction, Peter was impressed by How to Survive the Titanic or the Sinking of J. Bruce Ismay by Frances Wilson, a fascinating and very readable biography of the man widely condemned for his part in the loss of the Titanic. We're only a matter of months away from the centenary of the sinking, so it seems a timely choice, and this book is not just a look at the Titanic but a fascinating account of the Ismay family history, starting with Bruce Ismay's father, a self-made man who ruled his family with a rod of iron and passed on an unfortunate tendency to bully to his son.
For tweens, Linda loved Neversuch House: Mask of the Evergones by Elliott Skell. Neversuch House is self-contained, protected from the ordinary world of drudgery and weariness outside by an immense wall. It has been like this for years, but now, suddenly, the House and its inhabitants are threatened. Most of the adults are too self-obsessed to even notice the danger, and it is up to Omnia and her friends to defend their home against the mysterious and murderous attackers in the panther masks. Reading this book is like stepping into another world, a place of adventure and comedy and eccentricity, and it will remain in your mind long after the book has been returned to the shelf.
In David, Mary Hoffman imagines the story behind one of the world's best known sculptures, Michelangelo's statue of David. Rich in historical detail, she brings renaissance Florence alive in all its politics, intrigue and culture. As part of her very busy blog tour, Mary dropped by Bookbag Towers to tell us all about how she was inspired to write it.
We've also been talking to several authors. We were shocked to read about how Lydia Ola Taiwo's childhood was literally broken as she moved from a happy foster home to live with her abusive and neglectful bioloigical parents. She's now an amazingly balanced person and we were delighted to take the opportunity to find out how she came through her experiences with so litte bitterness and then delve a little deeper by talking to her.
Jackie Martin's Burglar Boy is a positive and uplifting story of a boy with a good heart but in the worst of circumstances. Clear and accessible writing and a message of hope. Jackie was kind enough to talk to Bookbag and tell us all about writing it.
The second volume of Alex Woolf's futuristic Chronoshpere series sees the heroes learn more of where they're spending their time-suspended lives. We were keen to take the opportunity to ask Alex a few questions.
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
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