March 2015 Newsletter

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March's News from Bookbag Towers

Hello dear readers. We hope you're well and that winter is slowly seeping from your bones.

This last month has brought sad news. Sir Terry Pratchett, creator of Discworld and advocate of right to die reform, has died. Lovely Sir Terry, whose stories satirised every aspect of the modern world and the human condition but who, in person, was kind and funny and twinkly, without a nasty bone in his body. We are all a little bit less without him.

If you're technically inclined, you might enjoy this digital tribute to Sir Terry. Reddit users have designed some code that will put a header on websites reading GNU Terry Pratchett. It's called the XClacksOverhead and is a nod to the Discword novel Going Postal. We can't think of a better memorial for the tech-savvy, early adopter who once wrote A man is not dead while his name is still spoken.

Rest in peace, Sir Terry. We hope that you got the death you wanted.

Beloved Mal Peet has also died. We loved his work and it's terrible to think we won't see any more of it. You couldn't find a nicer chap. He will be sorely missed. If you've never read anything by him, try Exposure by Mal Peet or The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet.

We hope you didn't miss World Book Day. There were some fabulous events up and down the country. We love this celebration of reading here at Bookbag. If you haven't spent your £1 book token yet - or if you have, but you haven't tired of reading yet - take a look at this year's offerings. From Michael Morpurgo to Marcus Sedgwick, there's loads on offer.

Golden Hour

2015 marks the 150th anniversary of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Walker have brought out an anniversary edition with wonderful illustrations by Anthony Browne. John, our reviewer, isn't that keen on the novel itself but even he knows he's in a minority.. Most of us can't resist the court case, the polo with the flamingos and the card soldiers with their constant beheading instructions, and the rabbit and the size changes and all the rest of its delightful craziness.

Books of the Month

And on to to the new... . In fiction, Luke thinks you should read A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale. In the early years of the 20th Century, Harry Cane is a man bound by duty and the constraints of society. Exiled to Canada, he finds himself amongst the barren landscapes and harsh winters, and encounters a happiness that is only threatened by the rapidly approaching war, and the machinations of an evil man. In his first real foray into historical fiction, Gale uses the Canadian plains as the backdrop to a stunning new novel. The characters leap off the page and dive well into the mind, making this not only on a par with his contemporary novels, but easily one of his finest.

Ani loved Real Monsters by Liam Brown. Danny is in the military, posted to the desert fighting 'the Monsters' who caused 9/11. Lorna his wife waits at home, but not idly, as she gradually discovers another side of the war fought on a different front. Brown, a debut author, brings us a gob-smackingly intense, compelling experience. Yes, in a great way.

In non-fiction, Sue is giving a hearty recommendation to Everyday Maths for Grown-Ups: Getting to Grips with the Basics by Kjartan Poskitt. It's a fun - yes, Sue did say fun - look at basic maths. Sue has spent her life working with figures and even she learned a lot. Seriously guys - maths can be fun. You can even win a copy if you check out our review. There's a competition at the top of the page - but only until 1st April, so don't delay!

For the little ones, Sue thinks you should look no further than The Little Book of Garden Bird Song by Andrea Pinnington and Caz Buckingham. Take a well-put-together board book (don't worry about it being a board book - no one is going to suggest that they're a bit too old for that), add exquisite pictures of a dozen birds - one on each double-page spread - and then fill in the details. You even get some sound! It's just superb in every way and goes to prove that you're never too old for a board book!

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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