September 2010 Newsletter

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Septembers's News from Bookbag Towers

Have you bought a Kindle or another e-reader or an iPad? We Bookbaggers haven't - yet. It's not that we're Luddites. We're waiting until things settle down, everyone's stopped arguing and we can see the lie of the land. There's much to tempt us in electronic books and a lighter suitcase when we go on holiday is only the beginning. Imagine the richness possible. Imagine the convenience. And - hopefully - imagine the better prices we're all going to get. Well, we are, aren't we?

But let's face it. We readers might be ready, but is the product? Too many electronic books are badly designed, little more than a scan of the print version. What a waste. The publishers do need to catch up. And what's going to happen with DRM? Will we have to stop passing our books on to friends and family? And as web publishers, what about our review copies? The finished ones? Will we have to stop donating them to school libraries? Has anybody thought this through?

And then, when finally we are all ready, when we're in the bright new dawn of rich and exciting ways to read our books, will the marketing men actually know when to stop? Or will the app bells and whistles render us all back to our childhood, playing lift the flaps, with the words increasingly irrelevant?

Ha! We do sound like Luddites, don't we? We're not, honestly. We're going to wait and see, that's all's we're sayin'. What about you?

Features

It's children's authors a-go-go in our Features section at the moment!

You will probably know Andy Mulligan best for Ribblestrop, his wonderfully absurdist comedy set in a boarding school. Now he's turned his attention to social issues and mystery adventures in Trash, a gorgeous fable that is bound to win awards. You shouldn't miss it. Andy was kind enough to have a chat with us.

Ken Howard's The Young Chieftain is a really unusual story about an American boy who finds himself on a remote Scottish island in the middle of a clan conflict. It's easy to read, but with several layers to peel back. We loved the mix of modernity and tradition and jumped at the chance to ask Ken some questions about writing it.

We really enjoyed Milo's Pet Egg and jumped at the chance to ask Rebecca Elliott some questions. We're delighted we did as she's provided some fascinating responses! We've subsequently read Just Because which we loved all the more, and Cub's First Winter which also really charmed us.

We've also long loved Leigh Hodgkinson's work with its unique design and great sense of humour. When Limelight Larry and Scrummy! were both released in close proximity, we couldn't resist the opportunity to get chatting to her.

Golden Hour

We've chosen a children's book for Golden Hour this month, inspired by our interview with the lovely Andy Mulligan. Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr was on his desert island book shortlist and he reminded us of this eerie, surreal story about two invalid children who meet in a dream world full of menace. The current fad for all things scary in children's literature isn't anything new, you know! This one scared the bejeezus out of Jill many moons ago when she first read it and she still doesn't like the idea of rocks with eyes. If you know any younger readers who like things that go bump in the night, this one is well worth looking up.

Books of the Month

And on to to the new...

In fiction, Sue went for The Death Instinct. It's three years since we were all blown away by The Interpretation of Murder but Jed Rubenfeld is back with the sequel, which takes place ten years later. There are more twists and turns than in the average corkscrew, but it's still a book which will be reread even when you know how things work out. That's when you have the pleasure of seeing how it was done.

In non-fiction, Louise recommends The Passion of the Western Mindby Richard Tarnas. Academic and scholarly, it covers the history of Western thought through the centuries right up to the present day, but is still easy to read. In today's fast changing world, this book is a timely addition.

For the younger ones, Jill was blown away by Trash by Andy Mulligan. It's a wonderful adventure set in an unnamed country and featuring "dumpsite" children who earn their living by sorting through rubbish. Moving and thought-provoking and ever-so-slightly whimsical, it combines mystery story and social comment to wonderful effect. Don't miss it.

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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