February 2010 Newsletter

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February's News from Bookbag Towers

Hello, hello, hello! How are you? Less snowy than when we last spoke? Good, so are we. It's fun for a day or so, that white stuff, isn't it? After that though, it just becomes a slog. We at Bookbag are clinging to the hope that the fabled barbeque summer comes a year late, and 2010 will be a scorcher. A little bit of snow and a lot of sunshine, that's what we like.

We've been busy around the site again this month, with more than a hundred reviews posted since our last newsletter. We've also been doing some more prettifying, and hopefully the things we've added will be helpful to you. Our information boxes on each review now carry links to Amazon for each format the book is published in - hardback, paperback, audiobook, and ebooks too, if they ever appear properly in the UK. We've also added a website link, so if a book or author has a website we know about, you'll know about it too. We've also cracked open - well, boiled the kettle for - a lemon tea to celebrate 1,500 followers at Twitter.gif Twitter - so thank you if you are one of those kind people who is interested in the things we say.

Features

You really must read our interview with Ellie Sandall. Her book Birdsong features a superb rhyme woven around lots of different bird calls. It's a picture book that any child will love and is utterly original. Of course, we jumped at the chance to interview her and she turned out to be a lovely lady. She tells us all about her influences as an artist, and the robin who visits her gran!

Most Read Review

How Could She? by Dana Fowley has excited most interest on the site this month. It took the courage of one woman to break the largest paedophile ring in Scotland. This is the story of what happened to her and how she found the courage to do what needed to be done. You couldn't call it pleasant reading, but Dana Fowley is a singularly powerful and clear-sighted woman.

Books of the Month

Our book of the month in fiction is Rhyming Life and Death by Amos Oz, out now in paperback from Vintage. It carries the reader into a world where the line between fiction and reality is never where you'd expect it to be. A contemplation on the nature of both writing and of being a writer, it's a volume all book lovers will return to again and again and again.

In non-fiction, we've chosen an autobiography for you this month: Direct Red by Gabriel Weston. Part memoir and part insight into what it takes to become a surgeon, this book immerses you in the fascinating minutiae of the world of medicine. It's wise, but not preachy, and sympathetic to those who find themselves on one end or other of a scalpel. It's beautifully and compellingly written, and we recommend it highly.

For teens and young adults, we've chosen The Returners by Gemma Malley. A new book by Gemma Malley is always a welcome thing, and this is a wonderful exploration of free will versus determinism set in a near-future Britain facing the rise of the extreme right. It's intelligent, thought-provoking stuff and kudos to Malley in the way she produces it without any loss of tension.

For the little ones, our February favourite is Blue Chameleon by Emily Gravett. Gravett is one the most affecting artists working in picture books at the moment and this offering is simple, sparse and minimalist. It's also laced with wit and humour, and deals sensitively with the scary feeling of loneliness. Gravett has such clarity in her work, and you really shouldn't miss this one.

Reviewers

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!

Competitions

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

(PS – if you don't want to receive further copies of our newsletter please email us and we'll see that you're deleted from the mailing list.)