March 2009 Newsletter

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March's News from Bookbag Towers

Before we begin, if there's anything you'd like to tell us, or anything you think we've left out, please drop us a line and let us know.

Hello! The telltale signs of spring are in the air. Bookbag has seen some sunshine! At last! We didn't do too much basking though; we were too busy getting ourselves set up on Twitter, the latest thing in interweb and mobile communication. If you'd like to keep up with us in a more chatty way and on a more regular basis, why not follow us?

We have some great features for you this month, including an interview with Peter Akinti about his book Forest Gate, which Bookbag found deeply affecting. If you like to read on your commute, check out our Top Ten Tube Reads. This year's Richard and Judy shortlist is out, and we've given you the low down. In case you ever wondered, you can now find out which of Bookbag's reviews are most read by its community of surfers. The list is here.

In February, our most read new review was The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas. Who knows what it will be this month? Here's our round-up of the most likely candidates...

What we've been reading...

In fiction, Trish recommends Devotion by Nell Leyshon, the tale of a deceptively mundane family break-up, told by the four family members in turns. Small yet perfectly formed, she gave this high impact read five stars. Madeline loved Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie, an epic novel owing its title to the bombing of Nagasaki in 1945. As the years progress from this seismic point the story moves from East to West following the fortunes of two families whose lives are framed by world events and the madness of war. Jill thinks you should read The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam by Lauren Liebenberg, a beautiful but unsettling book set in pre-Zimbabwe Rhodesia. It ticks all Bookbag's boxes with its love of language, vivid voice of childhood, and underlying menace.

In non-fiction, we'd like to recommend a pair of books dealing with war. The first is War Child: A Boy Soldier's Story by Emmanuel Jal, an internationally successful rap artist who spent his childhood as a solider in his native Sudan. We should all read this book, and weep. Then, we should act. The second is The Strategy Of Antelopes: Rwanda After the Genocide by Jean Hatzfeld. Returning to Rwanda several years after his first books about the genocide were published, Hatzfeld looks at how the country is trying to repair itself. It's heartbreaking, personal, and an incredibly valuable testimony.

In children's books, and for the little ones, Keith fell in love with A Kick In The Head, an introduction to poetry for children. What could have been worthy but dull is actually fun, vibrant, fascinating, eye-opening, and just the sort of book that every parent will love reading with their children. Kids will soak it up like a sponge, fostering a real understanding and appreciation of poetry. For the junior fan of historical fiction of any age, Jill recommends Bloodline Rising by Katy Moran. 7th century life is vividly described and the supernatural elements are kept subtle. In spite of his tremendously manly nature (so he says), Jason loved Just One Wish by Janette Rallison in which Annika tries to make her sick brother's dream come true. A great read - and it made him cry manly tears.

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

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