July 2009 Newsletter
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July'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.
Ok, so we lied. Andy Murray didn't win Wimbledon. He will one day, though, and he did well, didn't he? Bookbag's prediction of doom this month? England will win the Ashes. Titter ye not, there's hope yet. One half of the Bookbag management isn't too fussed about sporting results for the next few weeks though: Jill is off to Tuscany and she just can't wait. One third of a suitcase is dedicated to books, so expect some relaxed-sounding and very generous reviews when she gets back, sated with sun, four cheese pizza and every flavour of ice cream the gelateria has to offer. Let's get down to business before she bursts with anticipation.
We have some great features for you again this month. Author Kate Furnivall has written a really interesting piece on choosing the right title for a book. The Booktrust Teenage Prize 2009 long list has been announced and there are some fabulous books on there. Which would you choose? Bookbag honestly can't decide. Plus, teenagers can apply to be judges at Booktrust.org.uk if they get in touch before 27 July. We've also posted our Top Ten Books About America in honour of the 4th of July and our friends across the pond.
In June, our most read review was If I Stay by Gayle Forman for the third month running. How long can it keep it up?! If you haven't investigated it yet, then you should.
What we've been reading...
In fiction, To Heaven by Water by Justin Cartwright is a rare, insightful and unputdownable story about human nature, forgiveness and love, and an absolute must-read. Crime fans will be impressed by The Neighbour by Lisa Gardner. A pretty, young, blonde primary school teacher disappears from the South Boston area, apparently without a trace and leaving behind her little girl - who happens to be the only witness - and her husband and prime suspect. Fans of historical fiction need look no further than Outlaw by Angus Donald, a gory, exciting, and an insightful interpretation of the Robin Hood mythology.
In non-fiction, we're wholeheartedly recommending People of the Day 4 in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Honest profiles and striking caricatures of the rich and famous make this a perfect book for yourself or for a gift. What are you waiting for - buy several NOW! All at Sea by Tim Fitzhigham, a very pleasant guide to a unique undertaking: rowing a bath across the English Channel. It has great depth and a strong voice too.
In children's books, we loved Wheels of War by Sally Prue, a beautiful book exploring the nature of war both for those who fight and those who don't, what makes a hero, and how we forge a place for ourselves in an often hostile world. Time Quake by Linda Buckley-Archer brings this super timeslip trilogy to an end. Wonderful historical detail and real involvement with the characters make this a classic series and not to be missed. A mysterious stranger comes knocking in Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick. Densely written and chilling in every sense of the word, it's a rare little gem for teens and adults alike. Marcus Sedgwick was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan is a stunning retelling of the Snow White and Rose Red fairy tale. It's ambitious and difficult with multi-layered prose that will work its way into your very soul and repay your effort a hundred times over.
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 www.thebookbag.co.uk.
All at Bookbag Towers
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