Friday, 16 August 2019

Compass Points 317


Do you pull out your phone at every idle moment? Do hours slip away as you mindlessly scroll? Allen Carr's Easyway offers a brilliant method of tackling this reliance, applying tried and tested addiction strategies to the digital world. Smart Phone Dumb Phone: Free Yourself from Digital Addiction (978 1788280860, pb, £9.99) unravels the brainwashing process behind this addictive behaviour and is a unique method that does not require willpower and removes the addiction to constantly look at your mobile easily, painlessly and permanently. There is a nationwide publicity campaign for this one, kicking off with some terrific publicity in the Daily Express who said "The Allen Carr method has helped millions quit smoking. Now its experts are determined to tackle the UK's obsession with digital devices" and the Mirror who wrote "You'll be aware of how your devices affect you and most of all, you will enjoy the feeling of regaining control." It’s just been published by Arcturus.

Here is the article in the Metro we mentioned last week by Mike Wendling author of Pluto’s Alt-Right: From 4chan to the White House (£12.99, pb, 978 0745337456). Both this article and the book are a vital guide to understanding the serious threats posed by this white nationalist, anti-feminist, far-right movement.

“If we would learn what the human race really is at bottom,” wrote Mark Twain in 1885, “we need only observe it at election time.” Sex, Lies and Politics (£9.99, pb, 978 1785905063) which is new in September from Biteback, shows that the more we learn about voters, the more we realise how right he was. Written by leading political experts, it draws on surveys, studies and polls to reveal what makes voters tick. It covers the things that really matter, like how attractive the candidates are, what letters their surnames begin with, when they lie to pollsters, why men in particular make things up and how Remainers think they have a better sex life. At once funny, revealing and shocking, this is a witty examination of what really stimulates the voting public. Cowley and Ford are the authors of Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box (978 1849547550), which has sold over 4,500 copies to date. Channel 4 News said “This is the perfect navigation kit for the inevitable general election coming towards us. Buy it, read it and assume the brace position,” while Sky commented that “This book answers everything you want to know about UK politics but were afraid to ask.” Daniel Finkelstein in the Times said “I am really excited about this book. Politics is like anything: you can’t know something, really know it, unless you have used proper scientific methods to find it out. Read it, or remain a ‘Don’t know’ – those are your alternatives.”

Recent scandals at Save the Children and Oxfam have raised questions about the scale, power and role of international non-governmental organisations (INGOs). Drawing on his experience working with large and small, international and local INGOs in over 40 countries, and also on his own academic research, Terry Gibson addresses these questions head on. Making Aid Agencies Work (pb, £24.99, 978 1787695122) has just been published by Emerald, and there was a big piece on it in the August issue of the Big Issue entitled The Aid Industry Isn’t Working and This is Why which you can read here. Development Entrepreneur Dr Simon Batchelor said "Never afraid to ask the difficult questions and to come up with challenging answers, Gibson digs under the surface of recent problems in the aid industry and provides disruptive and innovative solutions."

Here's a very interesting article about James Daunt in the New York Times entitled Can Britain’s Top Bookseller Save Barnes & Noble? Loads of fascinating titbits of intriguing info, lots of good press for some of our favourite Waterstone’s shops including the fabulous Waterstones in Horsham, and it even mentions a Biteback book, Bloody Southerners: Clough and Taylor's Brighton & Hove Odyssey by Spencer Vignes (pb, £12.99, 978 1785904363). Enjoy!

The celebrations for Carcanet’s 50th birthday begin this autumn, and run through until summer 2020. If any bookseller wants to talk about hosting a poetry event in their shop, then please get in touch with Jazmine@carcanet.co.uk or Becky@carcanet.co.uk. It would be useful to know which authors you ideally would like to invite; whether there are any poets local to you who might like to get involved; which Carcanet books sell best for you and also whether you have a shop budget for authors’ travel expenses! The first Carcanet Jubilee event is Poetry Ireland in Dublin on Friday 25 Oct. This promises to be a wonderful day of presentations, discussions and readings exploring the relationships between publisher and poet over the years and Irish poetry beyond Ireland. You can find out more on the Carcanet website here.

The mental health of the nation’s children could not be a more relevant topic with a new study this week uncovering how heavy social media use disrupts girls’ mental health in particular, that research is here. There has also been plenty of coverage of the fact that the mental health services available to young people are something of a postcode lottery as this article on the BBC website confirms. A good opportunity therefore to suggest you stock these four excellent titles from Critical, which have been praised by the academic community as “very valuable,”accessible” and “absolutely excellent.”. Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Children 4-11 Years (978 1912508082), Positive Mental Health: A Whole School Approach (978 1912096084), Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Learners 11-18 Years (978 1912508129) and perhaps most relevantly Social Media and Mental Health in Schools (978 1912508167) are all by Jonathan Glazzard and Colin Mitchell and are paperbacks, £15.99. Jonathan is an experienced teacher educator and the professor attached to the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools. Colin is passionate about empowering students and academics to harness technology to enhance teaching and learning and a firm believer that technology is not always the answer and sometimes the best approach can be a simple one.

Next Tuesday (20th August) there will be an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Afternoon Edition with Nial Giacomelli talking about his mesmerising debut novella The Therapist (£7.99, pb, 978 1912054909) which is currently Book of the Month for August for Foyles Royal Festival Hall.  This bittersweet and hauntingly surreal tale has just been published by Fairlight Moderns. Everyone who have read this one is absolutely raving about it, for example: “Read the synopsis of this book and then dismiss any assumptions you may have about it. It’s a dystopian-horror-sci-fi-fantasy novella all wrapped up in a stunning 118-page bundle. I don’t say this easily – this is, without doubt, one of my favourite books so far this year. It took me about two hours to read, devour, demolish and it was flipping amazing.”

Part memoir, part social history and a call to action, Constitution Street (£12.99, 978 1912489206) by Jemma Neville is getting plenty of publicity. Her event at Edinburgh International Book Festival next week has sold out, with its director Nick Barley, saying “I love this book. It's a gorgeously written, authentic and genuinely hopeful text which manages to be local and universal.” There was a full spread in the Scotsman last weekend, talking all about the book and the street. You can read the piece here. David Robinson also reviewed Constitution Street in Books from Scotland saying “Constitution Street is informative, empathetic, and almost certainly the best on the market. It will probably remain so for a long time" You can read the full review here. It’s published by 404Ink.

Comma’s The Sea Cloak by Nayrouz Qarmout (£9.99, pb 978 1905583782) has gathered some of its first coverage in the wake of EIBF events. There’s a review here, a piece in the Scotsman here, and a feature here. Whether following the daily struggles of orphaned children fighting to survive in the rubble of recent bombardments, or mapping the complex, cultural tensions between different generations of refugees in wider Gazan society, these stories offer rare insights into one of the most talked about, but least understood cities in the Middle East. Taken together, the collection affords us a local perspective on a global story.

Don’t forget to listen out for The Woman in the White Kimono (£8.99, pb, 978 1789550696) by Ana Johns which will be featured on the Radio 2 Book Club this coming Monday 19th August. Ana will be interviewed on the Jo Whiley Show at 7pm; this show is terrific publicity for any title as there is always a lengthy discussion of the book, and then listeners call in to say how much they love it! The Woman in the White Kimono is a heartfelt portrait of one woman torn between her culture and her heart, and another woman on a quest for truth. It’s published by Legend and is inspired by the true story of Ana John’s father, who as an American US Navy soldier in the 1950s fell in love with a Japanese girl. Their relationship was ultimately stopped by cultural pressures and Ana has done extensive research into the thousands of love stories that were thwarted and babies abandoned.

When Valerie Pirie interviewed for her first secretarial job after college, she did not expect to end up working for Stirling Moss. Regarded as the greatest driver who was never crowned world champion, he would become not only her new boss, but a lifelong friend. Now she opens up about the man behind the steering wheel in a playful and moving memoir recounting anecdotes from the track, the office and nights out with one of the best-known names in motor racing. Whether at Goodwood, Le Mans or the Nürburgring, Pirie was there beside Moss to witness the wins and losses and of course, his career-ending crash in 1962. Never just colleagues, the pair were true companions, and this book brings to light the story of their enduring friendship from the classic post-war era of motor racing through to today. Ciao Stirling (978 1785904639, £20, hb) is out on 3 September and there will be an extract from this title in Motorsport magazine, an interview with Val in People’s Friend and a review in Classic and Sports Car.


If you’d like to see a bit of the great Stirling Moss in action, then have a look at this highly nostalgic four minutes of old footage.


And in this week’s Hot Topics, here's Quentin Tarantino talking about his favourite music, here's Nessa from Gavin and Stacey telling fans to stay quiet while they film the 2019 Christmas special, and following the UEFA Super Cup, here are some other disastrous penalty kicks – or brilliant saves, depending on your point of view!

Compass Points is now on holiday. More in a fortnight!

This weekly blog is written for the UK book trade. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the Compass office on 020 8326 5696. Every Friday an e-newsletter containing highlights from the blog is sent out to over 700 booksellers and if you’d like to receive this then please contact nuala@compassips.london

Friday, 9 August 2019

Compass Points 316


The first three books have been announced in the Guardian’s annual Not the Booker Prize shortlist. They are The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas and Please Read This Leaflet Carefully both of which are published by Dead Ink Books and also Skin (£8.99, pb, 978 1789550405) by Liam Brown which, hurrah, is published by the fabulous Legend! The next stage is to lengthen their shortlist to six books by announcing the final three choices: one from last year’s judges and one from each of the two nominated book champions for this year who are Storyhouse Library in Chester and Golden Hare Books in Edinburgh; those choices will be announced next week. You can see all the details on the award here.  Reviewers have already heaped praise on Skin calling it a “lyrical dystopian fever dream” and saying “If Brave New World and 1984 were combined and whisked into this century, they couldn't be more impressive than Liam Brown's superb story.” A strange virus is sweeping the globe and humans have become allergic to one another. Simply standing next to somebody could be a death sentence. A kiss could be fatal.  People are confined to their rooms, communicating via their computers and phones. In some ways, very little has changed…

Where do you stand on the Elgin Marbles? Well, if you think of them as the “Elgin” Marbles at all, then that’s maybe not a good start. The biggest question in the world of art and culture concerns the return of property taken without consent. Throughout history, conquerors or colonial masters have taken artefacts from subjugated peoples, who now want them returned. A new book by the celebrated lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC, Who Owns History? (£20, hb, 978 1785905216) offers a system for the return of cultural property based on human rights law principles. It’s out from Biteback in November, and we’ve just had a great endorsement from Stephen Fry who called it “A book that proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the Parthenon Marbles belong back in Athens. Elgin’s heist prevents the modern world appreciating this ancient wonder – created by the same people who gave us democracy, philosophy and (best of all) comedy. Other cultural crimes must also be redressed, and in this important book Geoffrey Robertson shows why, and how.” This title is going to attract a huge amount of debate and I think many people will be very interesting in reading Robertson’s arguments.

It's the summer hols, it’s time for some light romance, and The Purrfect Pet Sitter (£7.99, pb, 978 1912550111) by Carol Thomas is ideal! As readers have pointed out, this engaging and witty tale is the purrfect read whether you’re cooped up in a caravan or lounging on a lilo! There’s been a lot of publicity for its author Carol Thomas who was interviewed on BBC Radio Sussex this week, featured on Female First and there’s more to come. If you’d like a reading copy of this story of friendship, love and dogs which was published this week by Choc Lit, then please email your name and bookshop address to info@choc-lit.co.uk with Purrrrrrfect in the subject line!

And staying on the canine theme, Pets by Royal Appointment: The Royal Family and Their Animals (pb, £9.99, 978 1785905100), which is new from Biteback has just had a feature in The Lady. With intimate anecdotes and fascinating detail, royal author Brian Hoey describes the mini palaces provided for the Queen's pampered corgis, Princess Anne's badly-behaved bull terriers and the wild animals including crocodiles, hippos and an elephant presented to princes and princesses. Exploring a seemingly eternal regal passion for all things canine and equine, Hoey also turns his attentions to the modern royal family's love of animals, celebrating the latest arrivals to both William's and Harry's new households. From the corgi dynasty to the Jack Russells rescued from Battersea Dogs Home, Pets By Royal Appointment presents a very British family besotted with all creatures great and small.

What a brilliant line up for the Cork International Short Story Festival 2019 on 25 September including events with two Comma authors. Nayrouz Qarmout’s The Sea Cloak (pb, £9.99, 978 1905583782) is a collection of fourteen stories by this author, journalist, and women’s rights campaigner. Drawing from her own experiences growing up in a Syrian refugee camp, as well as her current life in Gaza, these stories stitch together a patchwork of different perspectives into what it means to be a woman in Palestine today. The stories in Sara Maitland’s collection Moss Witch (pb, £9.99, 978-1905583423) enact a daring kind of alchemy, fusing together raw elements of scientific theory with ancient myth, folkloric archetype and contemporary storytelling. Each of them sprang from a conversation with a scientist and grew directly out of cutting-edge research; the Guardian said of it “she has built bridges that may tempt new minds across to science. How ingenious.” You can find out more about the Cork Festival here.

More great publicity for Safe Haven’s A Field of Tents and Waving Colours: Neville Cardus Writing on Cricket (hb, £14.99, 978 1916045309) with a massive review in Wisden Cricket Monthly. This title has sold out in its first a fortnight of publication and is now reprinting, thanks very much to all of your booksellers who have supported it so far, and if you haven’t ordered it yet, what are you waiting for?! This title ties in perfectly with the major new biography of Cardus, The Great Romantic just published by Hodder and this handsome small hardback should sell and sell.

Lots of publicity and events for Animals Eat Each Other by Elle Nash (£9.99, 978 1912489169) which was published this spring by 404Ink. Picked by the I Paper as one of the best debuts for 2019 and described by Oprah.com as a “edgy, erotic fiction”; Animals Eat Each Other tells the story of a young woman with no name who embarks on a fraught three-way relationship with Matt, a tattoo artist, and his girlfriend Frances, a new mum. As she grows closer to Matt, she begins to recognise the dark undertow of obsession and jealousy that her presence has created. With stripped-down prose and unflinching clarity, Nash examines madness in the wreckage of love, and the loss of self that accompanies it. It just got a great review in DIVA magazine who said that it "explores sexuality, obsession, and hard lessons with an honesty and clarity that does these topics justice." Elle will be in the UK (for the first time since she was born here!) from 19th - 25th August and there are events for her lined up across London and Edinburgh and central Scotland. You can see the details of all those events here.

If you’d like an intelligent, curated snapshot of the week’s most interesting news, then you may like to take a look at Policy Press Weekly, the latest issue is here. Lots to look at from this independent, not-for-profit academic publisher, focusing on social issues.

I am absolutely loving this superb window display for The Therapist, the mesmerising debut novella by Nial Giacomelli (£7.99, pb, 978 1912054909) at Foyles at the Royal Festival Hall in London where it is their Book of the Month for August. In this bittersweet and hauntingly surreal tale, a couple finds the distance between them mirrored in a strange disease sweeping the globe. Little by little, each victim becomes transparent, their heart beating behind a visible rib cage, an intricate network of nerves left hanging in mid-air. Finally, the victims disappear entirely, never to be seen again. This is at once a haunting study of grief, a post-apocalyptic dystopia, and ghost story of sorts. It’s just been published by Fairlight Moderns.

The horrendous shooting in El Paso has everyone looking for answers, and many are looking to Mike Wendling, expert on the Alt Right, to find them. Author of Pluto’s Alt-Right: From 4chan to the White House (£12.99, pb, 978 0745337456), this BBC journalist has been covering the horrible underbelly on forums like 8chan since the beginning, and writing up his finding on the Trending page he edits on the BBC. Mike featured on BBC Radio 4's World at One and Beyond Today this week and has a piece in the Metro coming out next week. Alt-Right: From 4chan to the White House is a vital guide to understanding this white nationalist, anti-feminist, far-right movement. It includes exclusive interviews with members of the movement in order to gain a deeper understanding of the movement's philosophy, history and role in politics today.

I’m looking forward to Bookshop Day on Saturday 5 October, which of course is run by Book Are My Bag, a nationwide campaign run by the BA to celebrate bookshops. It launched in 2013 and today comprises Bookshop Day and the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards. At the centre of the campaign is the iconic BAMB tote bag and since the campaign launched, over a million people have worn a Books Are My Bag to show their love for their local bookshop. Every year over a thousand bookshops around the country take part in Bookshop Day by holding special events, creating bespoke window displays and more. Good luck to everyone planning for this year’s event!

A big three-page feature entitled The 37 Therapies That Healed my Mid-life Crisis in Good Housekeeping for My Life in 37 Therapies (£9.99, pb, 978 1910453773). As one reviewer has said, this is a “disarmingly honest revelation of the author's middle-aged journey through divorce, career and relationship challenges. For sure there’s a lot to learn within the pages and the book is less expensive than therapy.” It’s published by Red Door.

In Comma news, their latest Reading the City title, The Book of Cairo featured in the University of Nevada's End of Summer Reading List, you can see full list here here. And another title from the series, The Book of Tehran, was included in The Book Satchel's #WITmonth list of 14 Books by Women in Translation 2019, that’s here. There have been  some amazing endorsements coming in for The Dressing-Up Box by David Constantine which is out next month, you can see those here. And finally, many congrats to Comma’s  CEO Ra Page who has been once again shortlisted for a hClub Award for his contribution to the publishing industry, those details are here!

And in this week’s Hot Topics – here's Will Smith performing Friend Like Me from the new Aladdin film, here are Love Island Winners Greg and Amber telling us what happens next, and here are eighteen really inspiring quotations from the great Toni Morrison. That’s all folks, more next week!

This weekly blog is written for the UK book trade. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the Compass office on 020 8326 5696. Every Friday an e-newsletter containing highlights from the blog is sent out to over 700 booksellers and if you’d like to receive this then please contact nuala@compassips.london

Friday, 2 August 2019

Compass Points 215


In October 1957 Marlon Brando married a young studio actress called Anna Kashfi. He was thirty-three and at the pinnacle of his fame having recently won an Oscar. The wedding was front-page news around the world. His new bride was twenty-three, claimed to be an Indian princess and was pregnant. The day after the wedding a factory worker living in Wales, William O'Callaghan, revealed that Brando's bride was in fact his daughter, Joan O'Callaghan and had been a butcher's assistant from Cardiff! This book sets out to discover who was telling the truth and who was lying and, perhaps more importantly, why? What a terrific story, Brando’s Bride (£10, pb, 978 1912681273) was the Book of the Week in the Daily Mail last Thursday and you can read that article here. They wrote: "There will not be a better written, more understanding and forensically researched biography published this year" and since then the Parthian phones have been ringing none stop since, with requests from many papers for interviews with its author Sarah Broughton including Fox News who want to fly her to New York. Sarah will be interviewed on Talk Radio Europe on Monday 26th August at 12.25pm and there will be others.

As the Ashes gets underway, please make sure you have copies of the handsome A Field of Tents and Waving Colours: Neville Cardus Writing on Cricket (hb, £14.99, 978 1916045309) on display – it had a brilliant review in the Daily Mail today. “Before him,” wrote John Arlott, “cricket was reported. With him it was for the first time appreciated, felt, and imaginatively described.” Neville Cardus was the greatest cricket writer of them all and this is a collection of his very best, which includes pieces on Don Bradman, Learie Constantine, Denis Compton and Richie Benaud; the arcadian cricket festival beneath Shakespeare Cliff, seeing the Australians defeated at Eastbourne, and of course at the home of cricket, Lord's. It is an essential possession for every cricket fan, and as well as the piece in today’s Mail, has also been reviewed in the Guardian and Country Life and was included in the Mail's  100 Sizzling Summer Books. It’s just been published by Safe Haven.

We have just three tremendous endorsements from Alexander Armstrong, Kathy Lette and Ben Schott for Patrick Kidd’s collection of his political sketches written for the Times, The Weak Are a Long Time in Politics: Sketches from the Brexit Neverendum (978 1785905339, £9.99, hb). Alexander Armstrong said “For some years, Patrick Kidd’s inventive and irresistible wit has been the only inspiring thing to come out of Westminster.” Kathy Lette wrote “Patrick Kidd’s witty wordplay is sharp enough to shave your legs. It really should be registered at police headquarters as a lethal weapon. I laughed till my lips fell off” and Ben Schott called it “a glorious companion to Parliament’s descent into utter lunacy. This fabulous collection of parliamentary sketches skewers one of the maddest chapters in our island story with humour, humanity, wit and wisdom.” This is much-needed antidote to the gloom of the Brexit years is published on 17 September by Biteback.

You may have seen the preview of this title in the Bookseller a couple of weeks ago, it looks utterly fascinating. Britain’s DNA Journey: Our Remarkable Genetic Story by Alistair Moffat (978 1780276298, £9.99, pb) In an epic narrative, sometimes moving, sometimes astonishing, always revealing, Moffat writes an entirely new history of Britain. Instead of the usual parade of kings, queens, saints, warriors and the notorious, this is a people's history, a narrative made from stories only DNA can tell, which offers insights into who we are and where we come from. Based on exciting new research involving the largest sampling of DNA ever made in Britain, Alistair Moffat shows the true origins of our island's inhabitants.

Palestine +100: Stories From a Century After the Nakba (£9.99,pb, 978 1910974445) which has just been published by Comma was reviewed in the Guardian here, where they interviewed editor Basma and contributors Saleem and Selma. It’s also been recently reviewed by Tor who said of the collection: “To say that this book evokes negative emotions is not a criticism, and nor should it be a reason to avoid it. On the contrary: it’s the very reason why this book should be read widely.” An interview its editor, Basma Ghalayini, was also recently published by the Chicago Review of Books and an extract of International Man Booker longlisted author Mazen Maarouf's story was published by Tank Magazine.  This bold, brilliant and inspiring book poses a question to twelve Palestinian writers: what might your country look like in the year 2048 a century after the tragedies and trauma of what has come to be called the Nakba? Covering a range of approaches from SF noir, to nightmarish dystopia, to high-tech farce these stories use the blank canvas of the future to reimagine the Palestinian experience today.

More good publicity for Yorkshire Coast Path (£14.99, pb, 978 0993291180) by Andrew Vine, with a piece by the popular walking writer Christopher Somerville in the Times entitled A Good Walk, you can read that here. Further ahead, there will be a feature in Yorkshire Life magazine by the author on the book on October. And, in November, there will be four pages in Welcome to Yorkshire's 2020 Tourism Guide, in a print-run of 300,000 to be distributed to tourist establishments across the county and inserted into the Sunday Times.

Love, love, love this Pluto trailer for their new Outspoken series; books written by young people for young people, which address urgent questions about sex, masculinity, feminism and class and inequality. You can find out more at www.plutobooks.com/outspoken





Don’t forget to listen out for Jo Whiley's live interview with Ana Johns on her show on Radio 2 on Monday 19th August at 7-8pm when The Woman in the White Kimono (pb, £8.99, 978 1789550696) is the Radio 2 Book Club Pick. This lush and masterful exploration of the indomitability of the human spirit set against the backdrop of post-World War II Japan has been very well reviewed, and Jo’s show gets a LOT of listeners so this is superb publicity!

Exciting news that Carcanet have launched their new audiobook series of full-length poetry collections read by the poets themselves. They’re starting with Gilgamesh Retold, a versatile and inventive recreation which captures the powerful allure of the world’s oldest poem, by Jenny Lewis. Editorial director, Michael Schmidt, said, “We’re lucky to have poets who are also wonderful readers and who bring so much formal understanding to their work. The readings enhance and extend the print text. We are going to go to audio with books which are wholes and where the poet reader adds value and scale to the work. We are also very lucky to have a long history of working with Colin Still, whose Optic Nerve audio publications of poets reveal how brilliantly he can produce poets and help them bring their work alive on the ear.” You can read Jenny's account of recording the poem over on the Carcanet Blog. “I had no idea it was so difficult', she writes, but “Colin was the perfect coach, gently encouraging me and helping me to find the right tonal qualities for various passages.” Carcanet audiobooks are available on all major platforms, including Audible and you can find out more here and in the Bookseller here.  

Today an edited version of the afterword from Refugee Tales III (£9.99, pb, 978 1912697113) was published in the TLS and you can read that here. You can also read one of the stories from the collection, The Son's Tale by Monica Ali, which was published by Berfrois this week. Northern Soul said recently of the collection "I would urge anyone with a social conscience to get a copy of Refugee Tales III, as quickly as possible." That’s here. In other news from Comma, we’ve just found out that they’ve been shortlisted for an Arab British Centre Award for Culture 2019 which is a prize established in 2008 for the purpose of raising awareness of contemporary Arab culture in the UK. Congrats guys, and fingers crossed for 26th September, when the awards are announced. And finally, Comma now have a new monthly column in The State of the Arts, where they’ll be reporting on goings on in The Northern Fiction Alliance. This month's column can be found here here.

Darcey Nicolle, author of The Secret Art of Lobbying: The Essential Business Guide to Winning in the Political Jungle (978 1785905056, £12.99, pb) which is out on 13 August from Biteback, was interviewed about her book on Sky News this week. If what happens in politics is obscure, the art of lobbying is firmly hidden in the shadows. The Secret Art of Lobbying raises the veil on the world of lobbying for the businesses of today, showing exactly how you can go out and win in the political jungle. Nicolle covers everything from the practicalities of planning campaigns, honing your skills so you are the most persuasive and influential person in the room, all the way to how to lobby your local parliamentarians and governments across Europe. An essential strategy for success in the modern business world, lobbying is all about persuading the right people at the right time. This indispensable book shows you how it's done.

Plenty of publicity for two titles in Amber’s Abandoned Places series. Lawrence Joffe was interviewed on the Robert Elms Show on BBC Radio London to talk about Abandoned Sacred Places (£19.99, hb, 978-1782747697 ) and you can listen to that here. Abandoned Sacred Places has also been featured on the Architectural Digest website here as has Michael Kerrigan’s Abandoned Plaaces (£19.99, hb, 978 1782743941) here.

I’m very much looking forward to the new ITV adaption of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel, Sanditon which airs this autumn, and has been adapted by BAFTA-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies (War and Peace, Les Misérables and Pride and Prejudice). You can watch the trailer for it here. Make sure you’ve ordered up plenty of copies of the bumper Arcturus three-in-one paperback The Watsons, Lady Susan and Sanditon (978 1788884075, £6.99, pb) which includes two other short Austen works. You will not find a better value or a better-looking edition anywhere!



There are few politicians who could genuinely be described as a phenomenon but our new PM is undoubtedly one. With a shake of that foppish blond mop, a glimmer of his madcap smile and the voice of a demented public-school boy, he provides comedy gold every time he opens his erudite mouth. Biteback will publish The Big Book of Boris (£8.99, pb, 978 1785905483) by broadcaster Iain Dale and radio producer Jakob Szweda in September. He once said “My chances of being Prime Minister are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive.” And also “My friends, as I have discovered myself, there are no disasters, only opportunities. And, indeed, opportunities for fresh disasters.” Containing a selection of the very finest Boris-isms from this blundering rapscallion and illustrated by specially commissioned cartoons, The Big Book of Boris is a highly entertaining read.

I think Never, Ever Take Anybody's Advice on Anything (£10, pb, 978 1912489220) which is coming from 404Ink in November could do rather well. A collection of advice on careers and life from successful Scots, it's curated and edited by Edinburgh Uni student Euan Lownie, 21. It includes guidance from a highly eclectic collection of people, from actor Alan Cumming, Lauren Mayberry of pop band Chvrches, Wimbledon champ Andy Murray to Scotland’s Makar Jackie Kay, Nicola Sturgeon and many founders of organisations and businesses.

And in this week’s Hot Topicshere's  Summer Girl, the new one from Haim, here are 27 silly tweets and here are the Jacob Rees-Mogg language rules, and what they say about him! That’s all folks, more next week!

This weekly blog is written for the UK book trade. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the Compass office on 020 8326 5696. Every Friday an e-newsletter containing highlights from the blog is sent out to over 700 booksellers and if you’d like to receive this then please contact nuala@compassips.london

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Compass Points 314


How to get your kids off their screens is right up there as most parents’ number one concern. In The Board Game Family: Reclaim Your Children from the Screen, educationist Ellie Dix offers a roadmap to integrating board gaming into family life and presents inspiring ways to engage even the trickiest of teenagers and manage game nights with flair. The benefits of board gaming are far-reaching: playing games develops interpersonal skills, boosts confidence, memory formation and cognitive ability, and refines problem-solving and decision-making skills. Ellie shares a wealth of top tips and stealthy strategies that parents can draw upon to unleash the potential of those dusty game boxes at the back of the cupboard and this is ideal for all parents of 8 18-year-olds who want to breathe new life into their family time. What a great idea for a book! The Board Game Family (978 1785834332, pb, £12.99) is published by Crown House next week and we have three copies to give away. If you’d like one, then email rwilliams@crownhouse.co.uk with your name and shop address and Board Game in the subject line. 

Top Ten board games anyone?


Carcanet are 50 this year! There’s lots of stuff already on social media; you can find out on  Facebook about it here, Twitter here , and here is their Instagram post. Please use the hashtag #Carcanet50 to join in! There’s a news item on the website, and also a blog. All of these include links to Michael Schmitt’s interview with The Bookseller, which you can read here. The anniversary events will launch in October 2019, and run until summer 2020 and there will be a series of symposia at key locations around the UK & Ireland, parties and events at literary festivals. There will also be a six-month exhibition on Carcanet from the archives due to open March 2020 at the John Rylands Library, Manchester. Happy Birthday Carcanet!

There are lots of articles on generation rent, the housing crisis and homelessness around right now, for example this in the Guardian. So, it’s a good opportunity to tell you about Home Truths: The UK's Chronic Housing Shortage; How it Happened, Why it Matters and the Way to Solve it (978 1785904691, pb, £12.99) by Liam Halligan which is coming from Biteback in November. Combining analysis with reportage, Home Truths draws on extensive interviews with cabinet ministers, civil servants, planning officials, leading property executives and priced-out homebuyers from across the country. Informed by deep economic research and political access at the highest level, the book is a no-holds-barred critique of the UK's chronic housing shortage, concluding with some eye-catching policy proposals.

Mission Moon 3-D (£30, hb, 978 1999667405) rocketed back into the media limelight last week, with the 50th anniversary of the first moon landings. If you didn’t catch the fantastic Brian May programme on Radio 2 exploring the wonders of 1969 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and the first ever book on the space race in 3-D published half a century later; then you can listen to it here. London Stereoscopic have created a cool new video ad that has just launched on social media plus a video of moonwalker Charlie Duke endorsing the book, that’s here. There was a nice review in Sky at Night magazine last week which you can read here and also one in Amateur Photographer here. And there’s absolutely loads of good stuff about this book on its dedicated website www.missionmoon3-d.com


Radio 4's Saturday Review show will discuss David Constantine's forthcoming collection from Comma; The Dressing-Up Box (£14.99, hb, 978 1912697212) this Saturday 27th July. It’s published in September. The stories all orbit around a moment of personal crisis, a pressure point where the weight of the past or the present becomes unbearable. These crises may be brought on by a bereavement, a personal failure or trauma, or a crisis of identity. But in all cases, what's at stake is a life worth living. Whether set in Paris in the early 19th Century, on the Pennine moors, or amid the defiant multiculturalism of Oxford's Cowley Road, these stories also remind us that even in the darkest of times new germs of hope are quietly taking root. AL Kennedy said of it The Dressing-Up Box does the deepest work of fiction, it tells us strange, hard, beautiful truths for our time.”

Five new Fairlight Moderns are coming in August, you can see them pictured here. You can read more about this new collection of short modern novellas from around the world on the Fairlight website here  where there’s also loads of other interesting stuff – including author interviews, and reading notes for books clubs. The five new titles all shortly be going on a Blogger Tour, including: Jen Campbell, Leena Normington, Jean Menzies, @wordchild, @sparklesoflight, @Vivekisms, @contraryreader, www.thehungryreader.wordpress.com, @katie.lately, @bookishsteph1, @relationsheep, @unashamed_bookhoarder, @askthebookbug, @booxoul, www.booxoul.com, @books_n_sunshine, www.tomeswithtea.com, @bookswithjane, www.jaffareadstoo.blogspot.com, @cenninsbookreview, @excusemyreading, www.thebookstersblogblog.wordpress.com, @being_a_bookishgirl, www.thebobsphere.wordpress.com, @francescareads, @asarahcarter, @teacupbookworld, @emilycocozza and @thecosyreader.

Well, it’s happened. Now that BoJo is installed in number 10, perhaps we’re all going to need a copy of A Little Peace of Mind: The Revolutionary Solution for Freedom from Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Stress (978 1788173049, pb, £9.99). Luckily, I have five copies to give away – the first booksellers to email rachaelhegarty@hayhouse.co.uk with Peace in the subject line, and their bookshop name and address will receive a copy! This title was published in May by Hay House and is a simple solution to help readers could stop coping and start living. For more than 20 years, Nicola Bird experienced anxiety and panic attacks, sometimes so severe she couldn't leave the house. She tried everything, including medication, psychiatric counselling and yoga. Then she stumbled upon a completely different way of understanding the human mind that changed her relationship with anxiety forever. As one reviewer commented; “this book is a game-changer. It presents a radically different understanding of anxiety and wellbeing.”

Nineteenth-century author Charles Dickens described Paris as “the most extraordinary place in the world”. And the gorgeous images in Amber’s new Visual Explorer Guide: Paris (978 1782748724, £9.99, pb) to the city show that the French capital still is rather splendid. A selection of the stunning 200 pics from Alastair Horne’s terrific new guide were featured on MailOnline Travel last week; you can see them here. Alastair says “From its foundation more than two millennia ago as a small town on the Île de la Cité, to its existence today as one of the world’s most vibrant cities, Paris has retained a charm of its own, fascinating not only Dickens but also a wealth of writers, painters, soldiers and politicians.” Have a look to see the exquisite Pont Alexandre III bridge, the beautiful tree-lined Champs-Élysées avenue, the quirky 13th-century restaurant Vins et Terroirs, and, of course, the majestic Eiffel Tower.

Top ten films set in Paris anyone? 

How to Break into the Elite, the documentary featuring the authors of The Class Ceiling (978 1447336068, £14.99, pb) Sam Friedman and Daniel Laurison will be screened on this Monday 29th July at 9pm on BBC2, you can find out more about that here.  This documentary will be part of a whole season on class, you can watch it once it’s broadcast on the iPlayer here. Mike Savage from the LSE said “Without question this is the outstanding study of social mobility in the UK to have appeared in the past 20 years. Anyone who thinks Britain is a meritocracy needs to ponder the lessons of this wonderful book.”

There’s a terrific PR campaign kicking off for Alicia Eaton’s Stop Bedwetting in Seven Days (978 1788601115, pb, £12.99) There will be a piece in the Daily Telegraph on 16th August: Why is bedwetting on the rise among older kids and how can parents help; a featured article in the Sept issue of Pregnancy and Parenting: 7 big mistakes parents make when dealing with bedwetting; a featured article in Junior magazine: Learn how to stay dry at night in 7 days this summer; an article and competition in Raring2Go; and an article in My Baba: 7 mistakes parents make when dealing with bedwetting; an article in Families magazine: Transitioning your toddler from nappies to no nappies and a review in Country Living magazine. Here's the Netgalley request link for anyone who’d like a better look at this practical, easy to read, clear and effective title. It's published in August by Practical Inspiration

Jorie Graham and Abdellatif Laâbi are both finalists in the Neustadt International Prize for Literature for their Carcanet titles Fast and Beyond the Barbed Wire. Graham is the author of numerous collections of poetry, and Fast was also shortlisted for the Forward Prize. Abdellatif Laâbi is a poet, novelist, playwright, translator and political activist. In the 1960s he was the founding editor of Souffles a widely influential literary review that was banned in 1972, at which point Laâbi was imprisoned for eight and a half years. His most recent accolades include the Prix Goncourt de la Poésie and the Grand Prix de la Francophonie. You can find out more about the prize and the books here.  

De Coubertin have been highly successful in their current kickstarter campaign for a biography entitled Blue Dragon on Roy Vernon who played for Everton, Blackburn Rovers, Stoke and Wales. You can read all about it on Kickstarter.com here. The project got quite a bit of publicity, including BBC Merseyside,  The Lancashire Telegraph, Toffee TV  and The Liverpoool Echo. Vernon played for Rovers for five seasons scoring 52 goals in 144 appearances before captaining Everton to a league title in 1963. The Welsh international also went on to play for Stoke City before playing for Great Harwood at the end of his career. Noted football historians Rob Sawyer and David France have received plenty of support in bringing this eventful life story to publication later this year, and have been researching and writing Roy’s biography drawing on exclusive interviews, archive material and Roy’s own unpublished memoir notes.

Welcome to Constitution Street, Edinburgh. The street, like the world at large, is in a moment of flux. Part memoir, part social history and a call to action, Constitution Street (£12.99, 978 1912489206) is an antidote to an age of personal and political anxiety, where the real-life stories shared with Jemma Neville and framed by her own, reveal the courage, perseverance and capacity for love within us all. It’s published in September by 404Ink and has racked up some great quotes from fellow authors with Helen Sedgwick saying “Jemma Neville’s important debut is both personal and political, insightful but never judgemental and, above all, compassionate. An essential read for anyone who wants to move forward, with hope.” Gavin Francis called it “a love letter to Scotland – its past, present and future – and an exhilarating portrait of the power of community in a time of change. Transformative and inspirational.” It will be Scottish Book of the Month at Blackwell’s South Bridge branch, thanks guys!


And in this week’s Hot Topics; here's the new song from Tay Tay, here's Boris’s leadership bid via Cassetteboy and here's the trailer for the new 2020 Top Gun movie!



This weekly blog is written for the UK book trade. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the Compass office on 020 8326 5696. Every Friday an e-newsletter containing highlights from the blog is sent out to over 700 booksellers and if you’d like to receive this then please contact nuala@compassips.london