Friday, 17 February 2017

Compass Points 202


Let’s give a big three cheers to the Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green, London and its co-owner and tweeter Simon Key who has come up with a very amusing way to get involved in the online spat between Piers Morgan and JK Rowling. Simon is tweeting Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone line by line to Piers after he claimed he would “never read” JK’s work The bookshop owner has now been going for days – at the time of writing he was up to tweet number 744 “The lighted dial of Dudley's watch, which was dangling over the edge of the sofa on his fat wrist told Harry he’d be eleven in ten minutes time.”  You can read the whole story in the Metro here and on Sky News here – nice one Simon – we love it!

Well done to Thomas Hocknell author of The Life Assistance Agency (pb, £8.99, 978 1911129035) which has hit the number one slot in the in the WH Smith Fresh Talent Promotion which is running across all W H Smith Travel's key locations until 30th March and is published by Urbane.

Last week I mentioned the very excellent range of acting titles from Oberon – eleven essential books for aspiring thesps, all grouped together as The Actors Toolkit. The link to the Oberon website where you can find the range wasn’t quite right – so here is the correct one: www.theactorstoolkit.co.uk . I particularly like The Improv Book: Improvisation for Theatre, Comedy, Education and Life (pb, £12.99, 978 1783191802) by Alison Goldie. A smart, witty and accessible guide to the rewarding and joyful practice of improvisation; this book contains loads of great games and includes lots of ways to tell stories and create characters as well as tips on using improv to make theatre and comedy, from monologues to full-scale productions. It would be a great asset for both organizations and individual readers who want to discover how improv stimulates creativity and confidence in all areas of life. Comedian Phill Jupitus said of it: “In a world where imagination seems to be fighting a losing battle against technology, Alison Goldie has come up with a brilliant and easy to follow guide to putting people back in touch with this essential part of their creative minds... This book should be on the bloody national curriculum!”
Have a look here  to find out more on Alison Goldie’s own YouTube channel. And if quick-fire witty improv floats your boat, then you’ll enjoy this  – some of the funniest answers to Scenes We’d Like to See from Mock the Week!

Congratulations to Pigeon, by the north Walian author and creative writing lecturer, Alys Conran published by Parthian; which is one of twelve titles which has just been longlisted for the for £30k Dylan Thomas Prize. The prize, in partnership with Swansea University, is awarded for "the best published" literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, invoking the memory of Swansea-born writer, Dylan Thomas. Launched in 2006, the award credits itself as the largest literary prize in the world for young writers. This year’s longlist comprises six novels, four short story collections, and two volumes of poetry you can find out more here.  The shortlist of six books will be revealed at the end of March and then the winner will be announced on 10th May in the run up to International Dylan Thomas Day on 14th May. Pigeon (pb, £8.99, 978 1910901236) is the tragic, occasionally hilarious and ultimately intense story of a childhood friendship and how it's torn apart, a story of guilt, silence and the loss of innocence, and a story about the kind of love which may survive it all. It has a gorgeous cover, and has had great reviews: “Might have been authored by Faulkner... just as imaginatively capacious... pitch-perfect” New Welsh Review; “An exquisite novel by a great new writer” MJ Hyland; “Heartbreakingly beautiful… I didn’t want it to end.”

This is an interesting 15 minutes of listening; Daniel Hahn, a judge for this year's Man Booker International Prize, talking on Radio Four about what really makes a good book.

And Other Stories are getting some great subscriber reviews for César Aira’s new title, The Proof, which is published in April. “César Aira has "extreme eccentricity.... an aesthetic restlessness and a playful spirit" say @andothertweets and I couldn't agree more” writes Jeff Lyn, while Ian MacMillan tweets: “Very much enjoying this vivid rollercoaster of a book from @andothertweets superbly translated by Nick Caistor” and Kraken Reads posts “When this stunning book arrived from @andothertweets I couldn't resist diving right in. A surreal and dramatic read!” A playful take on youth culture, young love and ultra-violence on the streets of Buenos Aires from the cult contemporary writer who defies classification: The Proof begins with Marcia who is sixteen, overweight and unhappy. One day, as she's walking down a Buenos Aires street, she hears a shout: 'Wannafuck?' Startled, she turns round and is confronted by two punk girls Lenin and Mao. Soon, she's beguiled by them and the possibilities they open up. But the two have little time for a philosophical discussion of love: they need proof, and with their own savage logic the duo, calling themselves the Commando of Love, hold up a supermarket as the novel climaxes in an unforgettable splatter-fest finale.
Up for a bit of #FridayFun and looking to find a #bookboyfriend? Take this quiz on BuzzFeed to find out which literary character you should date! I must say it was a little depressing to find out that in my case that would be Winnie the Pooh; but there you go, that’s quizzes for you.

There’s a fun feature in GQ magazine this month featuring Manly Manners For The Impeccable Gent (£12.99, hb, 978 0859655453) by Guy Egmont – a Sixties style classic which has just been stylishly re-published by Plexus. An indispensable guide to gentlemen's etiquette in the 1960s, Manly Manners is filled with little-known secrets to help you get ahead in business, in society and in love. Whatever your dilemma - whether you're wishing to dissuade your wife from wearing those abominable white slacks or wondering how to excuse yourself from work for the day - you're sure to find the solution here. It provides guidance on everything from cigars to exiting the London Clinic discreetly and is a trove of advice for aspiring gents-about-town. Manly Manners remains as relevant today as ever, proving that good manners never go out of style. Have a look at the GQ piece here - it includes a link to a brilliant photo gallery of the most stylish 1960’s men to give you some inspiration!
And who were the top ten decade-defining movie stars of the 1960’s? Steve McQueen? Michael Caine? Have a watch here  and see if you agree.

Late one night, Thomas Ruder receives a strange package: a small blue box. Another such item is delivered to his friend Liselotte Hauptmann. These 'gifts' will change their lives forever. In the far-off border town of Grenze, a play is to be performed and Reynard the impresario expects a very special audience. Thomas and Liselotte, together with their friend Johann, are drawn into Reynard's seductive web, as Daumen, the gift maker, must decide who his master really is. This is the strange and extraordinary world of Gift Maker by Mark Mayes (pb, £8.99, 978 1911331773) which is attracting 5-star reviews and a lot of positive buzz on the GoodReads website, with one reviewer saying “The Gift Maker is a magical fantasy novel like no other, and I loved it. To try and define the genre that this book fits into is incredibly difficult. It is a fantasy novel, but it is also a magical fairy tale alongside a story of good and evil and of creation. It's an exceptionally clever novel, that uses poetic language, in a world so unlike our own. And just look at the cover. It is so beautiful.” You can read more reviews here  – and btw the reviewers are right – it does have a gorgeous cover! It’s published at the end of this month by Urbane.
Great review in the Mail for Leaving is My Colour by Amy Burns: “Very funny, fizzing with one-liners and sparkling with a febrile wit.” Set in the southern US, this is a funny, smart, sassy and deeply moving account of a young woman’s disintegration and redemption. After her family becomes unexpectedly wealthy, Rachel, a witty, intelligent young woman, succumbs to drink, drugs and OCD, falling in and out of rehab and dysfunctional relationships. Leaving is My Colour follows her often hilarious, always bittersweet, attempts to make it back from the brink and reconnect with those she loves. “There’s nothing romantic about this darkly witty road trip through the bumpy highway of a young woman’s mind. Instead, it’s about the anti-romance of reconciling life and love, finding your place in an imperfect family, and the way our flaws are exposed and exploited by the people closest to us… if you want a book that is as honest, fractured and occasionally as hilarious as life itself; Leaving is My Colour will look good on you” wrote The List. Leaving is My Colour (pb, £9.99, 978 1911332237) has just been published by Freight.
The last word this week comes from Groucho Marx – brought to us as seen above, from the No Alibis Bookstore in Belfast.
Compass is on Twitter and you can follow us @CompassIPS. I think this week’s tweet selection has really got to come from the Twitter feeds of the Big Green Bookshop and Piers Morgan…
Big Green Bookshop‏@Biggreenbooks @piersmorgan Suddenly, Hagrid let out a howl like a wounded dog. "Shhh!" hissed Professor McGonagall, "you'll wake the Muggles! 246/32567
Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan Jesus Christ, people LIKE this crap????
Big Green Bookshop‏ @Biggreenbooks.@piersmorgan Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of blankets. 237/32567
Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan Seriously mate, spare me any more of this homo-erotic garbage.
K8‏ @effeingK8 @piersmorgan you do realise you've given @Biggreenbooks lots of publicity-thought u were supposed 2 b smart? Nope not that either…my bad!
Piers Morgan @piersmorgan I hope he does well from this rather clever PR stunt. I love local bookshops & they need all the help they can get.
Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan Trump's not the new Hitler & nor is he trying to ban all Muslims. So stop lying, snowflakes.
Harry Murphy ‏@smurfo980 Splendid from @piersmorgan Shows just how blinded Anti-Trump buffoons are by their own childlike agendas.
Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan JK Rowling has a magic for losing at politics. More she screams abuse, less we listen.
Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan So @jk_rowling loudly backed Ed Miliband, Remain & Hillary. Takes some wizardry to be so wrong so often.
Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan Meryl Streep abusing President Trump again? She, JK Rowling & all the other smug 'we know best!' luvvie shriekers will get him re-elected.
Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan Apparently, I was 'destroyed', 'ruined' & 'silenced' over the weekend. Fake News!
The Gaf 1of65mm‏@thegaf @piersmorgan why are you such a joyless prick?
Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan Actually, I'm a very joyful prick.
Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan I'm only 'globally despised' by silly shrieking snowflakes like you. Everyone else loves me.
Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan Bruno Mars is so much better than anyone else, it's ridiculous. #GRAMMYs.
Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan Didn't really 'feel' that Beyoncé performance. Seemed heavier on the narcissism than the music. #GRAMMYs
Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan Twitter lemmings now exploding with fury that I expressed an opinion about Beyoncé’s performance they all secretly agree with... #GRAMMYs
Ian Clarke ‏@IanClar14474451 @piersmorgan Keep it up Piers. As usual you are only saying what most of us think but don't have the balls to especially in public.
Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan Hi @E_L_James any chance you could start tweeting me one of your books? I need some relief from this Harry Potter crap
Alan dooney ‏@alandooney  Well this is gold. Morgan asks @E_L_James for a break from Harry Potter. She responds with an apt quote. From Harry Potter.
That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This blog is taken from a newsletter which is sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Compass Points 201


It was as if time had folded in on itself. Had American history entered an alternate universe? In this eerily familiar new world, Hillary Clinton had not won the election after all. Donald Trump had. What did it mean? How had the historic Clinton machine sputtered and failed at the last minute? What had the pollsters and pundits and corporate television executives got so totally wrong? Game of Thorns: The Inside Story of Hillary Clinton's Failed Campaign and Donald Trump's Winning Strategy by Doug Wead (978 1785902260, £12.99, pb) published by Biteback is the first authoritative account of the momentous 2016 US Presidential election campaign. It describes how the scandals of a lifetime finally reached critical mass for both candidates, though with differing results. It shows how, during the last few days of the campaign, some on Clinton’s staff saw the ghostly fog of defeat creeping up on them but were helpless to act, frozen by the self-denial. This is the story of how, despite reportedly spending more money on her campaign than any presidential candidate in history, Hillary Clinton fell at the last hurdle. And it is the story of how, against all odds, Donald Trump won the presidency. There are bound to be plenty of books published on this topic – but this is the first one, and it’s by an author who is a former White House staffer and commentator with unprecedented knowledge of US elections. It’s out on 28 February – there are sure to be mega reviews and mucho publicity for it and I strongly suggest you order it now!


If watching La La Land has put you and your customers in the mood to try the life of an aspiring actor then you will certainly need this excellent range of titles from Oberon – all neatly grouped together as The Actors Toolkit. From How to Do Accents (pb, £128.99, 9781840029574)  to Acting: Cut the Crap, Cue the Truth; Living the Life and Doing the Job (pb, £14.99, 9781849434799) to Shakespeare’s Advice to the Players by Sir Peter Hall (pb, £14.99, 9781783190096); you can find all eleven of these essential titles on their website at website at www.theactorstoolkit.co.uk .Oberon have some of the very best books for actors in training or continuing to develop, and these titles they should be everywhere that has a good drama section. Oberon have advertised The Actors Toolkit in Drama Teaching magazine and are attending drama teaching and uni events to promote the range. As Dustin Hoffman said “You can’t improvise this shit!”
Congratulations to Bibliocloud who pipped Compass to the post in last night’s IPG Book Awards for the Services to Publishers prize. And well done to all the winners – you can see the full list here. IPG chief executive Bridget Shine said: “It is testament to the strength of independent publishing in the UK that this has been the most competitive year in the history of our Awards. Our judges had to work long and hard to select the winners, who represent the very best of the independent sector.”

The Romantic Novel Awards have just announced its 2017 shortlists and hurrah – titles by Choc Lit are very well represented on them. The awards comprise seven categories and The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight by Christina Courtenay has been shortlisted in the Paranormal or Speculative Romance Novel category while Girl Having a Ball by Rhoda Baxter is up for The Romantic Comedy Novel which is for a “consistently humorous or amusing” book. Little Girl Lost by Janet Gover is up for The Epic Romantic Novel category - which “contains serious issues or themes, including gritty, multi-generational stories.”
You can find the full shortlist on the RNA website here. RNA chairman Eileen Ramsay said: “Romantic fiction appears in many guises and continues to dominate the best-seller lists. Our awards celebrate the many shades of romantic fiction, highlighting the wide appeal of the genre and some of the best examples from the last year.” The 2017 RNA Awards will be announced and presented by Prue Leith on 13th March when the winners of the seven categories will be announced and will then go forward to compete for the overall prize of the £5,000 Romantic Novel of the Year Award.
Talking of romance, what do you make of the news that researchers have concluded that Mr Darcy, the romantic hero of Pride and Prejudice would not have been dark and handsome, but would have likely had powdered mid-length white hair, a long oval face and a small mouth, a long nose, a pointy chin and a pale complexion. Whaaat??? Read the whole piece on the Sky News website here!
Oh, go on then, here  you go – you know you want to watch it! Yes, I’m sure that’s much more what Jane Austen had in mind!

A great mention in GQ this week for Paradise City saying “Great crime fiction hinges on a sense of place, and after returning to London after ten years living in the world in which he’s set his sophisticated debut, Thomas proves an adroit guide to a city that has developed at dizzying speed."  Paradise City (£14.99, hb, 978 1910050972) is a fast-paced and darkly atmospheric novel which introduces Joe Thomas as a new and distinct voice in crime fiction and its published this week by Arcadia. Joe has a feature for The Guardian travel section which is due to run this Saturday and The Big Issue and Latino Life have both run features written by Joe, with the former taking a full page. Joe also wrote a 500 word feature for Male Xtra / Female First which you can read here  about seeing Brazil through the eyes of an ex-pat and where he got some of the ideas for this gripping novel. On digital media; Shiny New Books have confirmed a review will run next week, alongside a piece written by Joe and other literary and crime sites that are due to run in the coming weeks include Crime ReviewRaven Crime Reads and Crime Squad.

Six Leeds United supporters set off for a short break in Bruges. Two brothers Allan and Johnny Collins, the former a successful businessman, the latter just out of prison, are visiting great-grandad’s grave on the Western Front. They’re joined by Johnny’s bandmates, Craig and Terry; the tomboy Petra and the out-of-sorts Yvonne. For all the political events, historic and current, that surround them, they find it difficult to avoid discussion of their beloved football club as it languishes in the second tier of English football. And as their trip progresses they find it is more than just the club that binds them together. Very much in the style of Nick Hornby, Marching On Together by PJ Whiteley will also appeal to fans of Jon Rance, Graham Swift and Jonathan Harvey. Bestselling author Louis de Bernières said “I very much enjoyed Marching on Together and was happily carried along by the wonderfully realised characters” and PJ Whiteley’s first book Close of Play was shortlisted for the People’s Book Award and selected for a WHS Recommends promotion. Marching on Together is published at the end of the month by Urbane.
We do love a footie novel – what are your favourites? Have a look here at this top ten of football fiction in the Guardian to see if you agree with their choices! Football films are famously even more difficult to pull off than football novels – but here's  one fan’s suggestion for the top ten best and here's  another’s. I’m sorry, but exactly WHY is Gregory’s Girl on neither of these lists??

A big thumbs-up to Comma Press, who have announced that in 2018 they have decided to translate only writers from the countries affected by Trumps’ proposed travel ban – Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Sudan. Comma specialises in short-form writing and has a number of writers directly affected by the ban, including all 20 contributors to two prose collections. Hassan Blasim, the Iraqi-born writer is now unable to travel to the US, despite huge success there with his 2014 novel The Iraqi Christ. CEO and publisher Ra Page said “If the only narrative America wants to export right now is the narrative of hate, then we need to look elsewhere. We need to consciously turn our backs on the circus that America is descending into. We need to fight this. And make no mistake it will be a fight.” Have a look here at this piece in the Guardian talking about this and how other publishers and authors including Malorie Blackman and Matt Haig have responded to Trump’s decision.

We're delighted to announce that Adam Crothers' Several Deer (£9.99, pb, 978 1 784102 44 9) has been shortlisted for the Shine/Strong Award. This award is presented annually to the author of the best first collection of poems published in English or Irish by an Irish poet and is made possible by the generous support of Shine which is the national organisation dedicated to upholding the rights and addressing the needs of all those affected by mental ill health. Several Deer is much indebted to Bob Dylan and Lana Del Rey as to Emily Dickinson and George Herbert; and Crothers writes about destruction, consumption, misogyny, gods, sex, failure, and rock ’n’ roll. But he does so with rhythmic subtlety and verbal craftsmanship, and for all their craft, the poems remain empathic and sincere, “Now send in the clowns”, ends the collection’s opening poem – and so they follow: happy and sad, wise and tragic, a touch melodramatic, wilfully misunderstood. Easily side-tracked and keen to be sound tracked, the collection doesn’t take its sadness seriously. It listens to the hits. Several Deer has been described as a “pun-tastic prick-tease” – come on all you edgy booksellers, that quote is crying out to be quoted on a Pick of the Week card! It’s published by Carcanet – and you can read a review in the London Magazine here.
Is the internet changing the power dynamic between the sexes? For example, while eighty per cent of those interviewed in polls say that affairs are wrong, the percentage who admit to having had an affair has doubled every ten years. Ooo er missus. Looking at the latest data, social scientist Catherine Hakim traces new faultlines between men and women in our increasingly sexualized culture in the paperback of The New Rules (£8.99, pb, 978 1908096609). The hardback edition of this first ever study on the effects of the internet on marriage and relationships had a massive amount of global publicity. The paperback which is published by Gibson Square next week has a great cover – and as the Times said is “too juicy to ignore.“ The Telegraph called it “the recipe for happiness?” and the Daily Mail speculated whether “having an affair could save your marriage.” The Times are running an interview with Catherine Hakim on Monday 13 Feb and the Today programme also wants to interview her – this book is certain to be talked about so do make sure you have it!
So to finish, what are your fave the top ten “caught cheating” scenes in books and movies? Gone Girl? Bridget Jones? They’re all here!
Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week...
Compass Academic ‏@CompassAcademic Spotted in the window @Foyles - only @ClaireyLove's We're All Mad Here! You know it's a winner when you make a window display!
Sophington Towers ‏@s0phie When you get a fresh batch of reading materials in from @BirlinnBooks #happybookface
And Other Stories ‏@andothertweets In Oxford? Head to @blackwelloxford to find out why their Senior Bookseller Ray is such a fan of Arno Geiger's The Old King in His Exile!
Booksaremybag ‏@booksaremybag Book sales the week before Christmas were highest in 10 years
Jonathan Coe ‏@jonathancoe So Trump is tagging his daughter on twitter but gets some random stranger by mistake. Funny! Gets the nuclear codes on Friday, did you say?
Polygon Books ‏@PolygonBooks Ahoy-hoy, we spy a certain @malachytallack's new book taking Amazon's number 1 bestseller spot! Brilliant
Red Lion Books ‏@RedLionBooks 'My idea of a writer: someone interested in everything.' - Susan Sontag,
Gutter Bookshop ‏@gutterbookshop Suffering from a Night Nurse hangover this morning - I expect to semi-awake by mid-afternoon... #BobsCold
Pluto Press ‏@PlutoPress 'You've got to be taught to hate and fear'. The appointment of Jeff Sessions suggests Trump intends to do just that:
Cecilia Bennett ‏@CeciliaEBennett A town without a bookshop buys fewer books. To support the book industry, support independents - inspirational talk by Andy Rossiter at the IPG conference.#ipgsc
Matthew at Urbane ‏@urbanepub Waterstones is not in the risk business when making buying decisions says James Daunt - but some publishers are in their commissioning :-)
That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This blog is taken from a newsletter which is sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Compass Points 200


What better way to celebrate our 200th issue than being shortlisted for an award! We’re very excited to tell you that that Compass are one of three to be shortlisted for Services to Independent Publishers in the 2017 IPG’s Independent Publishing Awards; along with Bibliocloud and Martin Palmer. Warmest congratulations as well to Carcanet who are shortlisted in the Alison Morrison Diversity Award category and Jessica Kingsley who are up that award too and also for Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year and the Digital Marketing Award. The IPG received a record number of entries for the 2017 Awards, and have commented that the scope and quality of the shortlists reflects the vibrancy, diversity and ambition of the independent publishing sector at the moment – yaay! The winners of the Awards will be revealed at a Gala Dinner this Thursday 9 February. IPG chief executive Bridget Shine says: “Competition for this year’s IPG Independent Publishing Awards was extraordinary - our judges had an exceptionally tough job to do. These shortlists provide the best possible evidence of the richness of UK independent publishing, and every company and individual on them should feel very proud of their achievements.” You can see all the shortlists here  – fingers crossed for Thursday!
It is said that home is where the heart is, but when war rips a young man from everything he knows and loves, will he be able to find his way back to what truly matters? The Single Soldier (pb, £8.99, 978 1911331209) is a warm and emotive debut from actor George Costigan – best known for his work in Rita, Sue and Bob Too and Happy Valley. Set in rural France, following the devastation, physical and emotional, of WW II; history, secrets and painful truths collide in what renowned playwright Willy Russell has called “a magnificent, big beast of a book.” There is extensive regional and national coverage planned for this title which is published on in March by Urbane; with interviews with George already booked for Radio 5 Live and BBC Breakfast.

The BAFTA- winning C4 series, Chewing Gum has just started its second series – which you can find out about and watch here.  Even if you are already a fan, you may not have known that it started life as a play at the National Theatre. Like the TV show, it was written by and starred the amazingly talented Michaela Coel. Friendship, sex, UK garage, school, music, teachers, the 67 bus, periods, emergency contraceptives, raves, tampons, white boys, God, money: it’s all here. Chewing Gum Dreams (pb, £9.99, 978 1783190140) is a one-woman monologue that recalls those last days of innocence before adulthood and is published by Oberon.  This is well worth stocking; the TV series has a big fan base; and all those readers who love confessional memoirs by the likes of Caitlin Moran and Bryony Gordon will thoroughly enjoy this. “Loved it. This was the original inspiration behind the E4 series Chewing Gum, and the monologue here is in turns funny, moving and thought provoking. The characters really come to life and are vivid, and the whole piece is written in a unique voice. Wonderful!”

To give you a taster of the Chewing Gum style – here’s a five minute clip of the funniest moments from series one.

Quite a bit of publicity around for The Good Skin Solution: Natural Healing for Eczema, Psoriasis, Rosacea and Acne by Shann Nix Jones which has just been published by Hay House. (pb, £10.99, 978 1781808203) It’s been serialised in the Daily Mail and will be featured in February’s Om Yoga magazine, Kindred Spirit, What Doctors Don’t Tell You Magazine, Woman’s Way and Healthy magazine. Eczema is the most common skin disorder in the industrialized world, followed closely by psoriasis, rosacea and acne. However, conventional medicine still offers no permanent solution to these conditions. In this book, natural health author Shann Nix Jones tells the incredible story of how she discovered a chemical-free method to help, via her staggering discovery that eczema is not actually a skin condition; it's an autoimmune disorder. Your skin is simply a map of your gut; in order to heal the skin, you must first heal the gut. This book could be the lifeline that that all of those suffering from an on-going skin condition have been waiting for.
JK Rowling continues to be the author who is the queen of some serious Twitter sass – have a look here to see here latest words of wisdom! Go Jo!

An excellent review in the Observer last weekend for Dirt: the hotly anticipated new collection by an energetic young Scottish poet Billy Letford. “Letford belongs in the grand – and humble – tradition of Robert Burns. He has heart, a feeling for ordinary working people and enough Scottish spark to start a fire.” You can read the whole piece here.   William Letford, a roofer from Stirling, enjoyed a sensational debut with Bevel in 2012 and has been dubbed “the future of Scottish poetry”. Dirt was composed during six months’ travel in India and links Scottish and Indian themes It is published by Carcanet. As the Observer said, “Dirt will please even non-poetry readers. It is accessible and made me smile, laugh and cry – Letford wears his heart on his ragged sleeve.”

Have a look here to see a short 90 second clip of Billy reading his poem The Bevvy in Waterstone’s Deansgate.

There could hardly be a better time to be a journalist than now – the news stories are so extraordinary they almost seem to write themselves. However, in the days before mobile phones, the internet and 24-hour news channels, the easiest way for a British foreign correspondent to find out what was going on in the world was to phone the local office of Reuters news agency and ask: “is anything happening?” That's how the award-winning BBC reporter and presenter Robin Lustig started out in journalism, working for Reuters as an agency man. During a distinguished career spanning more than forty years, he watched the world of news change beyond recognition, as he reported on terror attacks, wars and political coups. In his witty and illuminating memoir, Is Anything Happening? My Life as a Newsman (hb, £20.00, 978 1785901034) Lustig looks back on his life, from coming under fire in Pakistan to reporting on the fall of the Berlin Wall; from meeting Nelson Mandela to covering Princess Diana's sudden death. Back in the studio, Lustig lets us in through the BBC's back door for a candid, behind-the-scenes look at some of his triumphs and disasters working for the nation's favourite broadcaster. Astute, incisive and frequently hilarious, Is Anything Happening? is both an irresistible personal memoir and an insightful reflection on world events over the past forty-five years. It’s just been published by Biteback and there have been some excellent reviews, Channel 4 News said “this memoir is an engaging mix of anecdote, reportage, reflection and the odd bit of gossip - as good a late-night companion as his voice on Radio 4's The World Tonight" while Radio 4 said "This is a wonderfully evocative and sympathetic memoir. Robin Lustig tells his stories with a range of brilliant and often witty anecdotes, sharp observation and an unstinting generosity of spirit. He has been everywhere and seen much - but there is no cynicism. The humanity of the man shines through."
We all love Book Clubs right – more people talking about, reading and buying novels can always only be A GOOD THING. But what do you think about the news that Kim Kardashian is starting her own book club?! WTF! Well, it’s on Buzzfeed and Twitter, so it must be true – have a look here for the deets!

The Food and Cooking of Pakistan by Shehzad Husain (hb, £14.00, 978 0754832393) with over 450 colour photographs by Jon Whitaker continues to get some great publicity – there have been big features in The Times Weekend and Waitrose magazine with more to come. This collection of more than 85 recipes is the tenth books by Shehzad who has appeared on many TV cooking shows, advised a leading food retailer on their Indian foods, and has won numerous awards including Asian Woman of Achievement. Beautifully illustrated and evoking both the food and the country; the chapters include snacks and street food, fish, chicken, meat, rice and daals, desserts and drinks. It’s published by Lorenz.

Echoland by Joe Joyce (£10.99, pb, 978 848406124) is a gripping spy thriller set in Dublin during World War II and has been chosen as the UNESCO City Book 2017 for Dublin. It is set in June 1940 when France is teetering on the brink of collapse, British troops are desperately fleeing Dunkirk, Germany appears to be unstoppable and Hitler’s next target is Britain . . . and Ireland. In neutral Ireland (where WW II is referred to as The Emergency) opinions are divided. Some sympathise with Germany, others favour Britain, most want to stay out of the war altogether. Young lieutenant Paul Duggan is drafted into the army’s intelligence division, and gets assigned to the German desk. He’s given a suspected German spy to investigate, one who doesn’t appear to do much, other than write ambiguous letters to a German intelligence post box in Copenhagen. Before Duggan can probe further, however, his politician uncle charges him with finding his daughter, who’s gone missing, possibly kidnapped. These lines of inquiry take Duggan into the double-dealing worlds of spies and politics, and the truth will challenge everything he has grown up believing. This is an addictive thriller that will keep you glued to the page, right through to its heart-pounding finale. It has a great evocative cover and is published next month by New Island. The Irish Independent called Echoland “an entertaining and atmospheric historical thriller … brilliantly portrays the divided atmosphere at the time, full of edgy uncertainty.”
Huge congratulations to Arcadia whose title Interstate: Hitchhiking Through the State of a Nation (pb, £8.99, 978 1910050934) by Julian Sayarer was named the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year this week. Julian donated half of his £5,000 prize money to the ACLU, a non-profit, nonpartisan, legal and advocacy organization devoted to protecting the basic civil liberties of Americans. So far there have been articles in the Telegraph (which you can read here ) and there’s lots more publicity to come including an interview for the  Saturday Times, a possible appearance on the Peston on Sunday show and an appearance on BBC London's Robert Elms show next week. Interstate follows a hitchhiker from New York to San Francisco, while encountering drifters, dropouts and roadside communities revealing a troubled and divided America – it really could not be more pertinent at the moment and I think it will do extremely well, so do make sure you have it on display. This is a great travel book, published at just the right moment!
Sticking with an American theme, this week sees the publication of Black Wave by Michelle Tea (£10.00, pb, 978 1908276902) from And Other Stories. Desperate to quell her addiction to drugs, disastrous romance, and nineties San Francisco, Michelle heads south for LA. But soon it's officially announced that the world will end in one year, and life in the sprawling metropolis becomes increasingly weird. While living in an abandoned bookstore, dating Matt Dillon, and keeping an eye on the encroaching apocalypse, Michelle begins a new novel, a sprawling and meta-textual exploration to complement her promises of maturity and responsibility. But as she struggles to make queer love and art without succumbing to self-destructive vice, the boundaries between storytelling and everyday living begin to blur, and Michelle wonders how much she'll have to compromise her artistic process if she's going to properly ride out doomsday. There are confirmed reviews for Black Wave coming in the Guardian, the Financial Times and the Irish Times as well as features in the Guardian where it will be included in a Top Ten Books About the Apocalypse and a Q&A with Michelle in Big Issue in the North. Michelle Tea will be doing a tour of UK and France in early March to promote Black Wave – including London, Brighton, Norwich and Paris. Reviewers so far have been ecstatic: “I worship at the altar of this book. A keen portrait of a subculture, an instant classic in life-writing, a go-for-broke exemplar of queer feminist imagination, a contribution to crucial, ongoing conversations about whose lives matter, Black Wave is a rollicking triumph.” Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts
Top Ten Books about the Apocalypse is a great idea for a feature – and so here to finish are the Top Ten Movie Apocalypses (is that the right plural – it almost feels as if it should be apocali?) Enjoy!

That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This newsletter is sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Compass Points 199


There’s no doubt that most of us would dearly love to escape from this somewhat dreary January, so why not take a journey into the Venezuelan rainforest via a stunning new voice in Latin American fiction; Miguel Bonnefoy? You can read an extract of Octavio's Journey (£7.99, pb, 978 1910477311) here which has sold more than 25,000 copies in France. The gorgeously vibrant cover alone is enough to warm you up; Le Figaro called it “magnificent”, it was shortlisted for the Goncourt First Novel Award, and this short but epic fable is both a hymn to Venezuela and the magical story of an extraordinary hero. It’s published by Gallic in March.

The Old King in His Exile by Arno Geiger (pb, 978 1908276889, £8.99) is already getting some excellent review coverage – it was published on Thursday by And Other Stories. The Times Literary Supplement said “The Old King in His Exile balances the poetic, the military and the idea of performance. There is a lathe-like precision to Geiger’s writing, all straight lines and pared exactitudes . . . poignantly rendered.” It was featured in the Sunday Express Magazine yesterday and there will also be a piece in the Financial Times on 21 January and it will be reviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Midweek on 25 January. Translated into nearly 30 languages; The Old King in His Exile will offer solace and insight to anyone coping with a loved one's aging. In it, the author sets out on a journey to get to know his father; never an easy man, and when he developed Alzheimer's, Arno realised he was not going to ask for help. Born in 1926 in the Austrian Alps, into a farming family who had an orchard, kept three cows, and made schnapps in the cellar, his father was conscripted into World War II as a 'schoolboy soldier' - an experience he rarely spoke about, though it marked him. Striking up a new friendship, Arno walks with him in the village and the landscape they both grew up in and listens to his words, which are often full of unexpected poetry. Through his intelligent, moving and often funny account, we begin to see that whatever happens in old age, a human being retains their past and their character.

Pakistan is proud of its culinary heritage and its dishes are becoming increasingly popular. The Food and Cooking of Pakistan (hb, 978 0754832393, £14.99) has just been published by Lorenz – and as you’d expect from this publisher, the production quality is very high, with beautiful full colour spreads on every page, easy to follow photographed instructions as well as sumptuous pics of all the mouth-watering classics included in this collection of 85 recipes by expert Shehzad Husain. Traditionally based on ancient Mughlai recipes, modern Pakistani cooking embraces the ingredients and techniques of nearby countries, creating richer, more elaborate food that is often referred to in the West as being Lahori or Peshawari. Delectable biryanis, nehari, haleem, kebabs, gol gappay … as one reviewer said “Great to see a new book from Shehzad Husain after a long time. As with her previous books the recipes are super easy to follow and the images are top quality. We get a background into what Pakistani cuisine is and … the illustrations are beautiful, I love the fact the paper is glossy so you can get a real feel to the food, the photography is really sharp and a lot of the focus is on the food.” There was an interview with Shehzad Husain in this Saturday’s (14th January) issue of Waitrose Weekend and also an extract feature in the Independent online and there will be more PR to come for this gorgeous book – there is nothing comparable in the market.

Big congrats to Urbane author Tom Hocknell who has been selected as one of the "diverse and original" authors with his debut novel The Life Assistance Agency (pb, £8.99, 978 1911129035) in the WH Smith Fresh Talent Promotion which launched on Thursday. It will run until 30th March across W H Smith Travel's key locations at airports in Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester and train stations in Victoria, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Euston. You can see all 12 titles here. The selection, which  "encourages readers to take a risk on a new author”, described  Hocknell's book as "a welcome inclusion to the  list" and a "vivid tale with a wry wit and sharp eye".
“I was so immersed in this utterly bonkers reading experience I greedily devoured it in one sitting. There's a cracking turn of events and it's walloped in some brilliant one liners too. Undoubtedly, considerable attention has been paid to merging the past and the present which are brought alive by the frantic finesse of mystic mayhem, and a constant stream of curiosity that I found impossible to ignore. Unquestionably quirky. Brilliantly barmy. Absolutely recommended.” said the Little Bookness Lane Blog. WH Smith isn’t the only place where this will sell  – order it for your shop too!

Years of watching The Apprentice means we all think we’re marketing experts now, and publishers and agents sometimes do talk of authors in term of “brands”. But what exactly does that mean, and does author branding really help books to sell? Have a look  here  at this interesting piece on author branding from The Book Machine and see if you agree,

Lots of bloggers have been getting very excited about Vintage Secrets: Hollywood Beauty by Laura Slater (978 0859655088, pb, £14.99) which is published by Plexus; and I’m not surprised – the retro styling it espouses is bang on trend at the moment and this stylish guide is filled with glam pics and top tips.
Vintage blogger Dominique de Merteuil says it is “Filled with useful tips on make-up and hairstyling from the beauty regimes of iconic, glamorous movie stars such as Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich… to name just a few!  A perfect book for those who are just starting their exciting adventure with vintage hair and make-up, as well as for vintage aficionados”
This piece is great fun – if you’re at all into the glamorous Hollywood of old then you will enjoy reading  the rest of this blog about trying out some of the tips and looks from the book. The Bookbag also give the book a big thumbs up and you can read that blog  here.

Talking of the styling in the blockbuster Hollywood films –  here  is an entertaining collection of costume and make up errors that have occurred in some of the very biggest!

Congratulations to Freight, whose wonderful and wry short story collection Treats by Lara Williams (pb, £8.99, 978 1910449707) which has been chosen for the inaugural shortlist of eight titles for The Republic of Consciousness prize; designed to reward “brave, bold and brilliant” literature from small presses. You can find out more and see the whole shortlist in the Guardian here.

More publicity this week for the excellent Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity? with a much more measured article in the Guardian that you can read here where the book’s author CJ Atkinson calls the fury over the book from the Mail on Sunday and Tory grandees a “trans-panic” adding: “This mud-slinging has to stop. It causes active harm. When you have a group of transgender young people, one in two will consider suicide, one in three will attempt it.” Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity? (pb, £8.99, 978 1785921056) has just been published by Jessica Kingsley.

This is very beautiful and atmospheric; a short 5 minute film celebrating the poetry of Paul Celan whose poetry is published by Carcanet – you can find out more about him here. Paul Celan (1920–1970) is among the most important German-language poets of the century, and, in George Steiner’s words, “almost certainly the major European poet of the period after 1945.” He was born Paul Antschel into a Jewish family in Bukovina, a German enclave in Romania which was destroyed by the Nazis. His parents were taken to a concentration camp in 1942, and did not return; Celan managed to escape deportation and after settling in Paris in 1948, he gained widespread recognition as a poet with the publication of his first collection of poems in German in 1952.

Lots in the papers this January about The Bad Boys of Brexit by Arron Banks (978 1785901829) from Biteback. Arron Banks enjoyed a life of happy anonymity flogging car insurance in Bristol until he dipped his toes into the shark-infested waters of politics - and decided to plunge right in! Charging into battle for Brexit, he couldn't believe how Westminster types behaved, and resolved to fight for the country's future his own way. Have a look first at this great piece on The Guardian, Politics Blog entitled Thirty Things You Didn’t Know About the Referendum and the book is also featured in  Reuters, the Daily Express, The Guardian the Telegraph , Vanity Fair and The Economist.

And finally – who’s seen La La Land? Here's  a trailer to whet your appetite – and whatever you do, don’t forget to stock up on truckloads of 100 Reasons to Love Ryan Gosling by Joanna Benecke (pb, £12.99, 978 0859655019) from Plexus – which I can guarantee will fly off your shelves as effortlessly as Ryan and Emma Stone fly around in the film! Packed with trivia, jokes, and over 100 full-colour photos that graphically illustrate his physical perfection, 100 Reasons to Love Ryan Gosling provides scientifically irrefutable evidence of exactly why Ryan is so damn loveable. Is it because he takes his mom to film premieres? Plays in a hip indie band? Carries his dog through airports? Breaks up street fights? Furthered the feminist cause without even trying? Has no problem with nudity even when the script doesn't strictly require it? It's all these things and more – just order the damn book!
That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This newsletter is sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.