Welcome to Book Bag Bundles which is a new feature on my blog to share with you some interesting news happening in the book world, and what I will be reading in the next month.
August is a time for summer holidays and summer reads and currently the bookshops are full of these as well as wedding themed books. But among these some interesting news stories have come up that have split the reading world opinion.
Man Booker Prize
Traditionally it has only been for UK and Commonwealth authors but this year it has been opened to American authors. The book world has had mixed views. Fears are that American authors will be in the majority of entries and British and Commonwealth authors would be pushed out. I think these fears are normal and the next few years will tell if that will happen. But overall this prize is for the best novel out there and there are some strong authors out there who are not American.
This is reflected in the longlist which was announced at the end of July as it is made up of 4 Americans, 4 British, 1 Australian, 1 Irish and 1 American/Irish author. You can see the longlist at – Man Booker Prize longlist. I must admit I haven’t read any of the books, some are not published yet but I know some are hailed as really good books. David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks is a book I hope gets shortlisted and it will definitely be on my reading list along with a few others.
The shortlist will be announced on 9 September. Have you read any of the books and who do you think will be on the shortlist?
Missing the Chocolate?
Penguin recently gave us a sneak peak of their 50th anniversary cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. They wanted to celebrate this great book that adults and children love, highlight the children theme and light and dark aspects of the story in the cover artwork and also add it to their Penguin Modern Classics.
I don’t plan to put the image on my blog but if you haven’t seen it you will find it through any web search. The cover shows a mother with her daughter sitting on her knee. The daughter is the central person of the artwork, dressed in furs, bow in blonde curly hair, makeup on and wearing a very vacant expression. This artwork has been a hot topic for discussion in the past week!
I love Roald Dahl’s books and have an old set that Quentin Blake illustrated which I still pick up to read sometimes. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of my favourites and I agree with Penguin that this explores a lot of themes and concepts that are both light and dark. The children who go to the factory are all spoilt by the vices of childhood society and their parents in one way or another through TV, food, wealth, and thinking winning and being the best brings happiness. So the relationship between their parents is explored and also the book explores the interesting ways to raise a child. Even Mr Wonka’s childhood is explored. Charlie is an exception as he comes from a poor family, is humble, respects people and really enjoys every minute of his visit to the chocolate factory. He starts with nothing but love and the moral for me is that love and respect equals a loving family life, not material possessions.
So when I saw this new book cover I didn’t understand how it fits with the story at all. Where is Charlie who is the central character or the factory, even some family love illustrated. The little girl with vacant expression looks like a doll and she is made-up beyond her years which poses a thought of sexuality that shouldn’t be there in children. There are no sexual vibes in the book so where has this image idea come from? To be honest it is creepy and if this cover was on the front of a Stephen King novel about killer dolls or something I could accept it. But this is a children’s book and this cover isn’t right.
I am not sure what Penguin are trying to achieve but for me Quentin Blake’s illustrations are loved by child and adults alike so why change it. But in reality Penguin have achieved a lot of publicity for the 50th anniversary of this book.
What do you think of this new cover?
Ps. James and the Giant Peach is my favourite Dahl book but that is another blog topic.
Remembering the First World War
‘The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime’ Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary as Britain was due to enter the First World War.
Many books have been written about the First World War, it’s history, what the trenches were like etc. but apart from history lessons when did we last pick up a book and really read about this tragic event in history and the lives it affected. It features in fiction we have read and I am sure many more books will be written. But many may not be as poignant as A Broken World by Sebastian Faulks with Hope Wolf which features the letters, diaries and memories of the Great War. It is on my list to read more of but from what I have read it is touching and very inspiring as it is real-life people we are reading about.
Alongside this book release, some inspiring events took place on the 4 August 2014 which marked the 100th anniversary of the day Britain entered the First World War. An artistic installation at the Tower of London has 882,246 poppies planted in the tower’s dry moat and lights out was another event that took place where everyone turned their lights off at 10pm and lit a single candle as a symbol of hope. Thought provoking events that bring home how many people came together to take part in this war and how many died. And they should never be forgotten. (for more events, information please see britishlegion.org.uk)
What I’m reading
August will see a change of reading genre for me to fantasy. I am currently reading The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and plan to read Equal Rights by Terry Pratchett also. But don’t worry there will still be some girly reads too as I have Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan on my list. A good summer read to end the amazing summer we have had so far.
Finally my blog is 1 year old this month! So a big thank you to all you who have been reading my posts, liking posts and commenting and following me. It is greatly appreciated.
Have you heard any other interesting book news?