March 2012 Newsletter

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March's News from Bookbag Towers

Hello! How are things? Read anything good lately?

Since we last wrote, Bookbag has had its 6th birthday. We can hardly believe we've been around that long, but when we look at the site we can see it's true. We've posted almost seven thousand reviews. Seven thousand! We've chased after more than a hundred authors, waving our interviewing notepads. The authors even turned around and talked to us! Gosh. So we'd like to say a big thank you to the authors, the publishers and especially our reviewers for helping us turn a little acorn of an idea into a big oak tree of a website. And of course we're saving the biggest thank you of all to you, our readers. If you hadn't come, we couldn't have done any of it. Thank you!

Ooh. We've come over all sentimental-like. Let's um... move swiftly on. To the books.

Golden Hour

We've chosen a challenging book for our blast from the past section this month: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. A young soldier is horrifically injured during World War 1 and wakes up to a living nightmare. Johnny Got His Gun is possibly the most stomach-churning book about war ever written. It really is not for the fainthearted. Yet in truth, it is a book that everyone should read before they even think about supporting a war, any war. It hurts to read it, but if you have the courage then you will be richly rewarded.

Books of the Month

And on to to the new... . In fiction, Ani has chosen The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. Harold Fry didn't realise he was going on a 672 mile walk. His plan was just to post a letter at the end of the road whilst Maureen hoovered upstairs... but perhaps, just perhaps, whilst he keeps walking Queenie will live. This is the most gentle, delightful, amazingly heart-warming novel. In fact it made Ani do something no book has ever done before – half way in she actually found herself crying with happiness. This, Joyce's first novel, reveals her to be the Alan Bennett of her generation. Don't miss it.

Robin is recommending The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen, an unsettling and highly original, narrated by a ten year old girl growing up in a house of fundamental religious views, this debut novel is full of charm and humour as well as dark concepts. If you enjoyed Emma Donoghue's Room last year, you'll love this.

In non-fiction, we're returning to that favourite topic, the Tudors. John is recommending The Tudors: History of a Dynasty by David Loades. It's a largely thematic, as opposed to biographical, account of the Tudor dynasty, with the main emphasis being of specific aspects of their government, diplomatic relations with other powers, religious policies and the hierarchy of contemporary society and makes for a fascinating read.

For younger readers, Linda was bowled over by Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda. Ash and his sister find themselves thrust into the middle of an epic battle as the monsters and heroes, gods and demons of the Indian sub-continent struggle for supremacy over the earth. This is a thrilling, action-packed adventure where the danger is real and immediate and the consequences of failure utterly disastrous.It is well-written, colourful and original, and could well do for the Hindu gods what Percy Jackson did for the Greeks and Romans.

Features

We were impressed by Matthew Green's Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend and fascinated to hear about his own friend, called Johnson Johnson, the inspiration behind his book. Read all about Johnson Johnson here.

We've been grilling authors with our own questions, too, you know.

We loved The Repossession by Sam Hawksmoor, a stunning sci-fi novel for teens, with an exceptionally likeable central pairing and a fast-moving and exciting plot. It's totally crazy in the very best way. We couldn't resist asking a few questions when Sam popped into see us. Fracture is an excellent, thought-provoking, teen chiller and a very impressive debut for Megan Miranda. We had to talk to her! Arcadia Awakens is a super blend of action thriller and paranormal romance set in Sicily. We recommend it for for interesting characters and wonderful scene-setting and, of course, jumped at the chance to chat to Kai about it.

Jill enjoyed The Weeping Empress, finding it enjoyably direct with a satisfying plot. It was a real pleasure when Sadie popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us. We thought that Poison Heart was a really compelling psychological thriller with strong characters and an incredibly tense atmosphere making this one you shouldn't miss. We couldn't miss talking to author S B Hayes either!

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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