May 2009 Newsletter

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If you'd like to sign up for our monthly newsletter, just drop us an email. We won't bother you more than once a month, but we'll tell you about what we've been reading at Bookbag and any news from the site. We promise never to pass your details on to anyone else. In fact... we won't even tell each other.

May'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! Wimbledon has a new roof, did you see? At the rate rain is coming down at Bookbag Towers, it's looking as though it's going to be needed. We're still holding out for a heatwave though. Last month, we told you about our new text alert service and asked for feedback. We've listened to what you had to say, and made some changes. There are now four services: BOOKS2U (adults), TEENBOOK2U (teens), KIDBOOKS2U (8-13s) and SHARING2U (2-7s). Each will send just one text a week costing 25p, so you can mix and match what you'd like to receive. We're hoping to add more services for adults in the future, but let's see how you like version two first. All the details are here.

We have some great features for you this month, including an interview with Sarah Prineas, about Lost, her follow up to The Magic Thief. If you're suffering from the recession, or worried you might, or simply feel the need to be more thrifty in a world of burgeoning populations and dwindling resources, don't miss Sue's Top Ten Books To Help Down-Size And Make Ends Meet. Help and advice really is out there.

In April, our most read new review was If I Stay by Gayle Forman, which we absolutely loved and you shouldn't miss. It's incredibly sad, but absolutely life-affirming. Tim Roth must have been even better on TV than we thought, because Skellig by David Almond is our most read established review for the second month running. Our Top Ten Teen Books That Adults Should Read became our first feature to make the top 250 in terms of pages viewed on the site, so we are very proud of that.

What we've been reading...

In fiction, crime fans will love Woman With Birthmark by Hakan Nesser. Written in 1996 but only just translated, it's a whodunnit with a twist and a very satisfiying conclusion. The chick-lit choice for this month is Return to Sender by Zoe Barnes. Holly Bennett is on a mission to find out more about her biological mother, but that isn't the only worry the Bennett family is going through. It's a warm hearted and enjoyable read about families, trust and love. Those looking for something a little deeper will enjoy The Weight of Water by Penelope Evans, a spooky page-turner about a woman's struggle to come to terms with the changes in her life.

In non-fiction, our favourite autobiography for May is Grumpy Old Rock Star by Rick Wakeman, a collection of usually hilarious, but occasionally quite poignant and thought-provoking recollections from the leading contemporary British classical and progressive rock composer and musician. If it's another world you'd like to escape into, have a look at The World of Vanity Fair by Paul R Spiring. It's a sumptuous album containing nearly 400 caricatures from the Victorian journal Vanity Fair, with wonderful original biographical notes.

In children's books, younger readers will love Who Am I?: The Family Tree Explorer by Anthony Adolph, a great primer for family history research. It puts genealogy in a wider context and offers a wealth of background knowledge, interesting trivia and practical advice including activity suggestions. The older ones shouldn't miss The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness, the riveting second volume in the Chaos Walking series. It's a wonderfully-realised and tremendously subtle dystopian novel about power and control and love and loyalty. The Witching Hour by Elizabeth Laird is a beautifully written story about the witch hunts of the 1700s and the persecution of the Covenanters in Scotland. It's tense and exciting, and marked by Laird's trademark humanity.


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!


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

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.)