Friday, 2 December 2016

Compass Points 195


Sad news today that one of Britain’s finest character actors Andrew Sachs, who played Spanish waiter Manuel in Fawlty Towers, has died at 86. His autobiography I Know Nothing (£9.99, pb, 978 1849549004) is available in B-format paperback from Biteback. As the Times said “There is a lot more to the memoir than Manuel… as well as telling a jolly showbiz tale, he can also strike a more serious and insightful tone when the subject matter requires it.” The memoir begins in 1938, when few weeks before Kristallnacht Andrew Sachs looked on as Nazi officers arrested his father while the family was eating in a restaurant. The son of a Jewish father and a lapsed Catholic mother, a few days later he watched as the Nazis burned and looted Jewish shops on the streets of Berlin. I Know Nothing is full of stories of Sachs’ extraordinary life, as well as plenty of entertaining anecdotes about working with a galaxy of stars including Rex Harrison, Norman Wisdom, Noel Coward, Alec Guinness, Richard Burton and Peter Sellers. And of course, it tells of how he eventually came to team up with John Cleese (who has written the foreword for the book) on the show that would make him famous as the hapless waiter from Barcelona. It is a touching and inspiring read.
Which are your favourite Manuel moments? Well, I think two very strong contenders must be this  and this!

Vahni Capildeo’s Measures of Expatriation (pb, £9.99, 978 1784101688) published by Carcanet has been selected as one of the Telegraph’s Best Books for Christmas – you can read the whole piece here and also as one of the Guardian’s  Best Books 2016  where Marina Warner said Measures of Expatriation by the Trinidadian-British poet Vahni Capildeo gives a long, searching look at dislocation and plurality and polyvocality and diasporas: it’s a very singular and powerful collection.”

Talking of Carcanet; their brand new January to August 2017 Catalogue is now online – have a browse here  to see what tempting poetry goodies are in store for next year! Carcanet’s 2017 is a year rich in geographies with collections from Jamaica, the United States, France, China, Australia, Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland and England; and the imprint moves forward much enhanced by the addition of Anvil Press Poetry with its wonderful mix of new English-language poetry and translation, modern and classical.

Congratulations to Michael Bradley, who is a finalist in the People’s Book Prize for his book Teenage Kicks: My Life as an Undertone (pb, £15.99 978 1785581809) which is published by Omnibus Press. This bitter-sweet and heart-warming tale of unlikely success, petty feuding and playful mischief during five years of growing up in the music industry has been highly praised as “fascinating, brilliantly written and told with such a delightful humour that I found myself laughing out loud. It’s a must read, not just for Undertones fans, but for anyone interested in music. Without out a doubt this is the best music book to hit the shelves… Ever.” The People’s Book Prize is a national competition aimed at finding, supporting and promoting new and undiscovered works. Its founding patron was Dame Beryl Bainbridge and the current patrons are Frederick Forsyth and The Publishers Association. It aspires to champion new authors, showcase undiscovered works and empower the public to vote with confidence for the nation's next bestsellers and writers of tomorrow. It also wants to engage the community and raise the profile of publishers, libraries and new writers, forming an alliance with retailers to sell and distribute winners' books and you can see the whole shortlist and find out more about the prize here. The winners will be announced at the eighth Awards Ceremony in late May 2017.
Ooh let’s have a listen of Teenage Kicks John Peel's favourite record!) right now to celebrate!

Pumpkin Flowers: A Soldier’s Story by Matti Friedman (pb, £12.99, 978 1785900433) published by Biteback has been chosen as one of the New York Times’ 100 Most Notable Books of 2016. You can see the whole list here.  Pumpkin Flowers is a lyrical yet devastating insight into the day-to-day realities of war, and a powerful coming-of-age narrative. Part memoir, part reportage and part haunting elegy for lost youth, it follows a band of young soldiers – the author among them – conscripted out of high school into holding a remote outpost in Lebanon. Raw and beautifully rendered, this essential chronicle casts an unflinching look at the nature of modern warfare, in which there is never a clear victor and innocence is not all that is lost.

The current focus on Cuba means there may well be renewed interest in Slow Train to Guantanamo: A Rail Odyssey through Cuba in the Last Days of the Castros (978 1908129505, £11.99, pb). Award-winning journalist Peter Millar jumps aboard a railway system that was once the pride of Latin America – and is now a crippled casualty case – to undertake a railway odyssey the length of Cuba in the dying days of the Castro regime. Starting in the ramshackle but romantic capital of Havana, once dominated by the US mafia, he travels with ordinary Cubans, sharing anecdotes, life stories and political opinions; to the Guantanamo naval base and detention camp. Peter Millar has been a correspondent for Reuters, the Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph and was named Foreign Correspondent of the Year for his reporting on the dying stages of the Cold War. He has a new book out next spring – and Slow Train to Guantanamo is available from Arcadia now. “Loved this book. Travelled to Cuba whilst reading it and everything he says comes true. He packs in so much information without you even realising how much he is telling you. Definitely worth reading whether you plan to go or not.”
Who’s enjoying The Crown on Netflix – isn’t it fab?! There’s no doubt that it provokes an enormous surge of affection and respect for our queen. Some of you may have spotted that her first cousin Margaret Rhodes died this week aged 91; her intimate and revealing autobiography The Final Curtsey has already been a number one bestseller and is well worth putting on display with all the current interest in the monarchy. This is an enthralling account of a singular life, and a unique insight into the intimate moments of the British Royal family. The Queen Mother regarded Margaret Rhodes as her "third daughter", and she was extremely close to her cousins the Queen and Princess Margaret throughout their lives. The book is full of charming anecdotes, fascinating characters, and personal photographs and is an unparalleled insight into the private life of the British monarchy. The Final Curtsey: A Royal Memoir by the Queen’s Cousin (978-1780270852, £8.99, pb) is available from Birlinn now.
Here's  a short interview Margaret Rhodes did in 2013 with CNN, talking about her very special relationship with the royal family.

Over a million people in the UK work in call centres, and the phrase has become synonymous with low-paid high stress work and dictatorial supervisors. However, rarely does the public have access to the true picture of what goes on in these institutions. Working the Phones (pb, £17.99, 978 0745399065) is a masterful account of life in a British call-centre by Jamie Woodcock who worked undercover to gather insights into the everyday experiences of the workers: it’s just been published by Pluto. He shows how this work has become emblematic of the shift towards a post-industrial service economy, and all the issues that this produces, such as the destruction of a unionised work force, isolation and alienation, loss of agency and, ominously, the proliferation of surveillance and control which affects mental and physical wellbeing of the workers. By applying a sophisticated, radical analysis to a thoroughly international 21st century phenomenon; Working the Phones presents a window onto the methods of resistance that are developing on our office floors, and considers whether there is any hope left for the modern worker today. Peter Fleming, author of The Mythology of Work said “This brilliant insider account of life in a British call-centre reveals the dirty realities of digital capitalism ... a book that is sure to become a classic.” You can hear Jamie talking about the book on YouTube here and read an extract from it here.
And talking of phone calls, I still think this complaint to Asda about a pizza with no topping must surely be the funniest phone call ever!
And finally, a charming festive title that you may not be aware was published today by Hesperus Press. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (pb, £8.99, pb) by L. Frank Baum (author of the Wizard of Oz of course) tells the true story of Santa Claus, from being found as a baby in the woods to making the first toy the world has ever seen (a carving of his cat Blinkie), to the invention of the dolly, the Christmas stocking, the Christmas tree, his battles with the evil Awgwas and being granted the mantle of immortality so he can keep bringing joy to children forever.
Beautifully written, and with glorious new illustrations by John Shelley, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus brings the magic of the Oz books to the life of Father Christmas and introduces the reader to unforgettable characters like the Master Woodsman, Necile the Wood-Nymph and little Mayrie, who just wants a toy of her own. This is truly a book for children of all ages.

That’s a version of Father Christmas you may not be familiar with – but who played him best on screen? Have a look here  to see the top ten movie Santas!

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week...
Michael Bradley @MickeyUndertone Thank you to everyone who voted for the book. It's through to the final next year. Conga through Derry now. @PeoplesBkPrize @OmnibusPress
Mark Thompson @marktwrites  The Mayor and Mayoress of Stockton-on-Tees - 'Civilised Saturday' and signing of DUST. Fabulous day! @RedDoorBooks
Eddie Marsan @eddiemarsan RIP Andrew Sachs. You came here as a refugee with nothing but your talent and your spirit, and you enriched our lives. Thank you so much.
Miranda Hart @mermhart  Andrew Sachs made me cry with laughter in my favourite sitcom. That legacy won't die but today a little cry that he and his era have gone.
Piers Morgan @piersmorgan  Very sad to hear about Andrew Sachs - a true comedy legend & great actor. Thinking of you @johnrsachs & all the family. RIP.
Freight Books @FreightBooks Join us to launch Whisky Island - get a complimentary nip of whisky and sort out someone's Christmas gift in one go!  
Sara @bookwitchsara  No matter how goth you think you are, you aren't Charlotte "I repaired my mourning shoes with the hair of my dead siblings" Bronte
Claire Eastham @ClaireyLove #GivingTuesday - Take 5 mins today to ask someone how they are. You can even do it over a brew with no slap on! mentalhealth #anxiety
Red Lion Books @RedLionBooks 'You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.' - C S Lewis, born on this day in 1898.
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, 25 November 2016

Comass Points 194


The crippling anxiety that many young people suffer from – as well as the mental health the nation in general, is something of a hot topic at present – and We’re All Mad Here: The No Nonsense Guide to Living with Social Anxiety by Claire Eastham (pb, £12.99, 978 1785920820) published this month by Jessica Kingsley has clearly struck a chord with many readers, as it is currently a number one bestseller on Amazon! So please do stock it – it’s a title which deserves as wide a readership as possible – and as the many heartfelt reviews confirm, it is a “fantastic book. Honest and accessible … very helpful and practical whilst keeping a good sense of humour throughout. Brilliant.” It’s been receiving some superb publicity this week: the author was interviewed on Tuesday by Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on This Morning, with an audience phone-in;  you can see  a short version of that interview here and a longer version here.  She was also on a Radio 1 panel discussing her book at the end of last week. Claire has an award-winning blog with thousands of followers www.weallmadhere.com. Social anxiety is an increasingly common condition, but personal accounts are rare, and this very readable mix of honest personal insights, practical advice and humour comes with glowing recommendations from all the mental health charities. The JKP website crashed under the weight of orders they received following Clare’s appearance on This Morning – such is the enormous demand for this title!

Maybe it’s because we need something to take our minds off reality, but whatever the reason, theatre is booming right across the UK at the moment. The Time Traveller's Guide to British Theatre by Aleks Sierz and Lia Ghilardi published by Oberon (£9.99, 978 1783192083, £9.99) would make an excellent Christmas gift for the many luvvie lovers all over the country.  The Guardian called this “an immensely entertaining, informative guide” and other reviewers have described it as “a cheerful romp, an excellent gift for the theatre-mad among your family and friends” and “a fast-moving ride on a theatre-go-round — only much more informative. The gossip is fun, too.” The Stage said “I am bowled over by The Time Traveller’s Guide to British Theatre... never before have I chortled and marvelled my way through anything quite so informative and entertaining.”

Personally, I love a musical. But what are the best songs EVER in any musical? Have a look at these ten  belters and find out if the hills are alive or whether life is a cabaret and all that jazz, one day more, tomorow!

There has been some good publicity for Istanbul Istanbul by Burhan Sönmez (978 1846592058, pb, £8.99) which was published by Telegram this week. This is something of a love song to Istanbul from this internationally award-winning author, inspired by his own experiences of being imprisoned after a military coup. There was an event to launch it at Waterstone’s Piccadilly and interviews with Burhan Sönmez on Monocle 24 radio, on the  BBC World Service, on  BBC Cambridge, on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking Books in Translation programme and on RTE. It was featured in the Reader’s Digest November Round-Up and the Guardian said it was  “destined to become a classic” – you can read that entire piece here.



Never mind Black Friday, it’s all about Blue Monday – that is to say The Blue Monday Diaries: In the Studio With New Order (£14.99, pb, 978 0859655460) by Michael Butterworth; which is a memoir of the time he spent with New Order in 1982 whilst the band was recording Blue Monday and Power, Corruption and Lies. Butterworth kept a handwritten diary documenting this period, when he was both living with the band and going with them to the Britannia Row studios and this diary forms the centre of the book. You can read selected passages from The Blue Monday Diaries on Michael’s entertaining blog here and the book is published next week by Plexus.



An interesting interview with author and MP Liam Byrne in the Guardian recently, talking about his new book Black Flag Down (hb, £12.99 978 1785900952) and discussing his view that Islamophobia is growing as anti-extremism policy fails, and that supremacists will thrive unless government sees that grievance rather than God inspires many to violence. You can read that article here and there have also been pieces by Liam in The Guardian the Times, and the Mirror. You can hear Liam Byrne talking about this on the Radio 4, Today Programme and on the BBC Daily Politics show. Black Flag Down is published by Biteback.



What would you say are the ten most shocking children’s books? Of course, “shocking” can be somewhat subjective – one person’s deepest darkest nightmare is someone else’s “ho hum is that the best you’ve got?” Have a look here to see which ones you’ve read – and if you agree!



A Knight with a Big Blue Balloon by Ranjit Bolt (£8.99, pb, 978 1783341382) published by Gibson Square will be in the Telegraph round-up of top Christmas books tomorrow. Robert McCrum in the Observer called Ranjit “a literary lion... a parable of print and paper in the age of ebooks and social media...” while Simon Callow said he was “a limericist extraordinaire.”



In the post-Brexit world, intergenerational conflict has become a visible phenomenon. There is an overwhelming sense of blame from younger generations: it was 'the wrinklies', who voted Leave; who are overburdening hospitals, shutting the youth out of the housing market and hoarding accumulated wealth. By 2020, one in five Britons will be pensioners, and living a longer retirement than ever before. 'A good thing', politicians add, through gritted teeth. The truth is that for them, 'the old' are a social, economic and political inconvenience. In a new Provocations title from Biteback: The War on the Old (£10.00, pb, 978 1785901713) John Sutherland (age 78, and feeling keenly what he writes about) examines this intergenerational combat as a new kind of war in which institutional neglect and universal indifference to the old has reached aggressive, and routinely lethal, levels. This is a book which sets out to provoke but in the process, tells some deep and inconvenient truths.  John Sutherland has had opinion pieces talking about his book in the Daily Express, Big Issue, and New Statesman – and a massive double page spread in the Daily Mail – entitled How the Young Declared War on the Old .

Talking of controversial oldsters, who said “It takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen”? No, it’s not the US President Elect for a change – it’s that guru of the modern soundbite, Homer Simpson. Have a look here for 40 of the best ever Simpson quotes – I particularly love “You tried your best and you failed dismally. The lesson is, never try.”



Compass are very pleased to welcome Red Door Publishing to the team! Red Door are a new and innovative publishing house with an award-winning team who are creating a strong list of brilliant fiction, excellent commercial non-fiction and ground-breaking business books. You can find out more about them at www.reddoorpublishing.com.



One of their autumn titles is the beautifully written Dust, by Mark Thompson (£8.99, pb 978 1910453223). This debut novel would not be out of place alongside the work of Steinbeck and Philipp Meyer’s American Rust. At turns funny, and at others heart-achingly sad, the story follows two 10-yr old boys in small-town New Jersey in the 1960s, against the backdrop of the Vietnam war. As they smoke their Kents out on an abandoned cannery dock and watch the gulls sway on rusting buoys in the sea; they dream of adventure. Through the dry heat of a formative summer, they face religious piety, alcohol, girls, sex, loss, tragedy – all the tiny things that combine to make life what it is for the two friends. But it’s a road trip through the heart of southern America that truly reveals a darker side – the two halves of a divided nation, where wealth, poverty and racial bigotry collide. Lots of enthusiasm online on social media for this novel “Just finished the fantastic Dust by @marktwrites . Very much recommended” and “one of those rare timeless books that people will discover in years to come and wonder why they never read it first time around” are typical endorsements. It has a striking and evocative cover – one to watch I think.



To celebrate the arrival of Red Door Publishing, let’s finish with the top five songs about doors. Well, first up should be the Red Door that the Stones are determined to paint it black and then who wouldn’t want to step through the Monkees’ door into summer? Who doesn’t love knockin' on heaven's door or want to find out what’s behind the green door? But I think the best door themed song ever must be this one! Ha ha ha ha!!


Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week...

Guardian Books ‏@GuardianBooks John Bird slams absence of library funding in autumn statement

andrew smith ‏@andrewaxiom Last week @BigIssue asked me to choose five books on immigration, this was the third: Becoming British @thom_brooks

Polygon Books ‏@PolygonBooks Cheesing for @Detroit67Book - his Young Soul Rebels have raved their way to the longlist for @PenderynPrize!  

Red Lion Books ‏@RedLionBooks 'It is never too late to be what you might have been.' George Eliot, born on this day in 1819.

Birlinn Books ‏@BirlinnBooks That's oor @JimHunter22 up there accepting a very well deserved @Saltire_Society award last night for History Book of the Year:Set Adrift Upon the World:The Sutherland Clearances! Chuffed!

Help For Writers ‏@HelpForWriters Harry and Beatrix Potter face off on eclectic Waterstones book of the year shortlist

Comma Press ‏@commapress The New York Times notable books of 2016 includes David Constantine's The Life-Writer, published by Comma in the U.K.!

GuardianSmallBiz ‏@GdnSmallBiz Bookshops are gearing up for #civilisedsaturday, the brainchild of @booksaremybag

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, 18 November 2016

Compass Points 193


Absolutely tons of really super publicity for Microwave Mug Meals (hb, £9.99, 978 0754832850) out now from Lorenz Books. Have a watch here of him on This Morning with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield yesterday. The good thing about publicity like this (in addition to the massive viewing figures for This Morning!) is that Holly and Phillip both follow through on social media – with great tweets like “Students, if you are watching - this is the stuff of dreams!  @hollywills #MealinaMug” and Wow! We are so impressed by our meals in mugs @TheoCooks @itv.com @thismorning #MealinanMug“ Theo’s Twitter feed has loads more enthusiastic tweets such as “Ok so I just made a brownie...in a mug...in my microwave! IT ACTUALLY WORKS I'm shocked! #foodie #chocolate” .
There has been plenty of print media promo too, you can see the three articles in Reveal, Best Magazine and Theo's local Mercury newspaper by going to his webpage here. And have a look at how to make Microwaved Moussaka in a Mug which is a three minute video from Theo which has been on the massively popular Mirror website – you can see that one here. This book has real potential to be very popular indeed, so do make sure you have it: 90% of households in the UK have a microwave, and this hardback has great recipes, lovely photographs, a very engaging author and is a brilliant price!


Now, you might be rather surprised to hear that the election of President Trump was actually foretold by author Roger Hargreaves in the titles of his Mr Men books! Brydon Coverdale, an Australian journalist, was looking along his shelf of his Mr Men titles when he suddenly noticed a correlation with the list of American presidents and the order of the much-loved paperbacks. So, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, clearly relate to books one and three in the series: Mr Tickle and Mr Happy. Then the all-action Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th president, is like book 26: Mr Strong. The wobbly James Buchanan is Mr Jelly, the cunning Lyndon Johnson is Mr Mischief and so on. Book 43 is Mr Cheerful, a trait shared with George W Bush, while No 44 is Mr Cool aka Barack Obama. And what’s the next book in the series? Well, book 45, as all fans know, is Mr Rude. Yep, that sounds about right for the 45th President of the USA doesn’t it!
Nineveh, the novel by South African author Henrietta Rose-Innes published by Gallic, has received great interest from the media.  The TLS has commissioned a review and it will also feature in the Guardian, and the Stylist. Most excitingly, Nineveh will feature in BBC Radio 4’s Open Book with Mariella Frostrup, and her interview with the author will be on 8 December. Early online coverage for Nineveh includes The Book Bag who called it: “A beautiful and precisely written book. Nineveh not only feels relevant but is an insightful exploration of character and place.” You can read the whole review here. This blog has 29.9K followers on Twitter and 3K likes on Facebook.

As Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them opens this week – have you ever wondered what the Harry Potter series would be like if JK had written it in 2016? Have a look here on BuzzFeed for some thoughts -maybe Lavender Brown would invent a spell to magically contour your face? Perhaps the Knight Bus would be out of business, and the wizarding version of Uber/Lyft would take its place? Would Chocolate Frogs be made of organic, artisanal chocolate? The sweaters Mrs Weasley made for Christmas would probs be considered cool because they look vintage and are oversized! And they'd certainly all be eating lots of avocado toast!
Don’t miss Nick’s Perry’s marvellous spot on the BBC Radio 2 Non-Fiction Book Club, which you can hear here . Host, Jonathan Ross said about Peaks and Troughs (£14.99, hb, 978 1846973659) “There are characters in it heading towards insanity… I think it is beautifully written, very evocative, very engaging, not judgemental… one character in particular is the Mick Jagger of the boar world… many of us have had his fantasty… I’m enjoying it so much, very warm hearted.” A recent review in The National said it was “A perfect Christmas present, but not a book to read after one too many sherbets, because there’s a deep throb of emotion in it, and it’ll have you running like a tap… This is Bill Bryson with muck under the fingernails.” There will be interviews with Nick on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Wiltshire next week, and there is also coverage in the People’s Friend and the Christmas Books feature in the Wiltshire and Gloucester Standard. Peaks and Troughs is published by Polygon.

Norman Bettison has been all over the media, talking about his book Hillsborough Untold (£18.99, hb, 978 1785900891) which was published by Biteback yesterday. You can watch the author interviews on BBC Newsnight and the ITN News and Norman was interviewed on BBC News, Sky News, Channel 4 News, LBC, BBC Radio Merseyside and ITV Yorkshire. There were news pieces in the Yorkshire Post, ITV News, the Telegraph, the Huffington Post, The Guardian, the Liverpool Echo the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Times. Norman Bettison, a Chief Inspector in the South Yorkshire Police at the time of the Hillsborough disaster, witnessed the tragedy as a spectator at the match and since then, he has found himself one of the focal points of outrage over the actions of the police. This personal account describes how the Hillsborough disaster unfolded, provides an insight into what was happening at South Yorkshire Police headquarters in the aftermath, and gives an objective and compassionate account of the bereaved families' long struggle for justice. Norman Bettison is donating his proceeds from the sales of this book to charity.

Congratulations! For the second year running, editor Sinéad Gleeson and New Island have won the Best Irish Published Book of the Year Award, this time with The Glass Shore, an anthology of Short Stories from Women Writers from the North of Ireland (hb, £15.99, 9781848405578). The Glass Shore follows the huge success of The Long Gaze Back, a previous anthology from Sinéad and New Island which was published last year. 
Spanning three centuries, The Glass Shore features both writers that are emerging and established, alongside deceased luminaries and forerunners including stories by Linda Anderson, Margaret Barrington, Mary Beckett, Lucy Caldwell, Ethna Carbery, Jan Carson, Evelyn Conlon, Anne Devlin, Martina Devlin, Polly Devlin, Sheila Llewelyn, Bernie McGill, Rosa Mulholland, Anne-Marie Neary, Mary O Donnell, Helen Waddell, Roisín O Donnell and many more. The Sunday Independent said of last year’s stories: “this collection represents the richness of women's lives, past and present. The joy, the compassion, the anger, the sadness. It’s all there” and this new anthology is just as substantial, vibrant and profound.

Lovely reviews for the gorgeous The Un-Discovered Islands by Malachy Tallack (978 1846973505) published by Polygon. There is an author article in the December issue of Conde Nast Traveller, while the review in the November issue of the National Geographic, said “It's a joy to island-hop through the book. After wowing the world with Sixty Degrees North last year, Tallack's second book is shaped by the same, clear, sharp prose and keen curiosity. Packed full of intelligent musings on everything from religion to astronomy, alchemy to the occult.” The Spectator called it “a splendid and wistful book” and the Big Issue wrote: “It’s a fascinating premise and the execution is stunning. Tallack’s prose is knowledgeable and resonant, deeply thoughtful yet also entertaining, and it dovetails beautifully with Scott’s finely wrought and idiosyncratic drawings. A book as thought-provoking as it is engaging, as smart as it is funny, created with real devotion and writerly skill.” There are reviews still to come in Simple Things magazine, Outdoor Enthusiast magazine, Sirene magazine, Scotland Outdoors, the Island Studies Journal and the Glasgow Review of Books.

It’s the end of the week, so no better time to consider that first glass this evening of that amber liquid with its brass-bright-depths, luminous as an autumn sunset, refreshing like truth itself... Beer: according to Jack Nicholson the best damn drink in the world. The world is discovering beer again with craft beer and micro-brews in every combination of malt and hops; and with new breweries and brewpubs opening every week there has never been a more exciting time to drink it. The splendour and above all the sheer deliciousness of a glass of ale have over the years been celebrated by our finest writers in both prose and poetry, but surprisingly, the best words written on beer have never been collected together in book form – until now! Beer, in So Many Words: The Best Writing on the Greatest Drink is a handsome volume, as rich and surprising as a freshly-pulled pint of best, containing everyone from Ernest Hemingway extolling a cold bottle of Ballantine ale after a spot of hard marlin fishing, to Inspector Morse partaking of a few pints in an Oxford tavern to set his deductive juices going, and Ian Rankin in the Edinburgh bar frequented by Rebus. All the finest beer writers of today are here, from Pete Brown to Roger Protz and Boak & Bailey, as well as doyens of the profession and brewers. It is the perfect present for any beer lover. Beer, in So Many Words: The Best Writing on the Greatest Drink (hb, £14.99, 978 0993291111) by award winning journalist Adrian Tierney-Jones will shortly be featured in the Telegraph and Henry Jeffreys in The Guardian will include it in his Christmas Drinks Book round-up. There are also reviews planned in The Yorkshire Post, in CAMRA 's magazine and in Original Gravity magazine, which has free distribution in London pubs. Pete Brown (Twitter following 16k), one of the contributors and a bestselling author, will be featuring it on his blog, as will several other blogging contributors. Beer, in So Many Words has just been published by Safe Haven Books and is available now.
Talking of the amber nectar, are these the top five funniest beer ads of all time? See what you think!


Well done to the Huntingfield Paintress (£8.99, pb, 978 1910692660) by Pamela Holmes published by Urbane, which was picked by AN Wilson as his Novel of the Year in the Spectator – he called it “a genuinely original, utterly enchanting story” and you can read that piece here. This book has already had much praise from Esther Freud who called it “a slice of Suffolk history brought beautifully to life” and Deborah Moggach: “an atmospheric and enjoyable story of a singular and free-thinking woman”. Congrats also to The Transmigration of Bodies by Yuri Herrera (pb, £8.99, 978 1908276728) from And Other Stories which was picked a Book of the Year by Anna Aslanyan who praised its “inventive language, skilfully rendered by the translator Lisa Dillman, which makes for unique reading.”

And while we’re on the subject of painting – let me tell you about The Angels of Paul Klee by Boris Friedewald (hb, £14.99, 978 1910050996) which is published by Arcadia at the end of this month. Paul Klee painted angels for his entire life and here the author Boris Friedewald describes their creation and their meaning: from the Christ Child he painted at the age of five, through cheerful and witty angels such as the Forgetful Angel up to the famous Angelus Novus and the Doubting Angel Klee drew the year he died. Boris Friedewald's stimulating and easy to read text introduces us to the meaning of angels in Paul Klee's work and also to the artist's biography. This is a wonderful book to give away or read on your own – there has been quite a bit of interest in Klee following a recent retrospective exhibition in Paris and The Angels of Paul Klee contains nearly 50 beautiful colour illustrations – see some below - which obviously have strong seasonal appeal!
If you are in the mood for a bit of a Friday chillout – have a watch here for five minutes to immerse yourself in Klee’s magical world.

Who’s excited about The Grand Tour? Who hasn’t got Amazon Prime and wishes everyone would stop going on about it? Well, why don’t you enjoy some of Top Gear Funniest Moments here to console yourself!

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week...

RedDoor Publishing ‏@RedDoorBooks Great to see that our #CliveJames book, Loose Cannon: The Extraordinary Songs of Clive James and Pete Atkin, is still top of the #opera chart. Wait, what?! Still, a No.1 is a No.1!
Paul M.M. Cooper ‏@PaulMMCooper Go get a copy of IRAQ+100, out today from @commapress! Iraqi sci-fi shorts edited by the brilliant Hassan Blasim
Birlinn Books ‏@BirlinnBooks Fantastic event for 'Oxford: Mapping the City' held for the retired tutor and historian John Stoye. Thank you @magdalenoxford for hosting!
Hugh Fraser ‏@realhughfraser Thanks to all at Waterstones Tenterden for a most enjoyable signing. @WstoneTenterden
St. David's Press ‏@StDavidsPress Delighted to support today's @spiritof58wales bash @FullMoonCardiff with a copy of #ZombieNationAwakes by DJ @BrynLaw for the charity raffle
Woodstock Bookshop ‏@WoodstockBooks If you didn't catch #VahniCapildeo at #WoodstockPoetryFestival you must go to this @Carcanet @PoetrySociety - she's extraordinary & lovely
Birlinn Books ‏@BirlinnBooks Yikes, 2016. If there's one book you need to get you through the rest of this yearit’s 101 Gins to Try Before You Die. #BottomsUp #FridayFeeling
Oberon Books ‏@OberonBooks What a nice surprise to open up the latest copy of @SardinesMag and see a piece about Oberon's 30th Birthday inside!! #Oberon30 #theatre
Red Lion Books ‏@RedLionBooks 'Any fool can write a novel but it takes real genius to sell it.' - said the great J G Ballard, born on this day in 1930.
Very true JG – we at Compass couldn’t agree more! 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, 11 November 2016

Compass Points 192



What sad news we woke up this morning to about Leonard Cohen. There is bound to be a resurgence of interest in all of Cohen’s work, so don’t forget an extraordinarily powerful and thought-provoking little book: God is Alive, Magic is Afoot (£8.99, hb, 978 1903385135) which is available in from Galileo. When Beautiful Losers, Leonard Cohen's legendary second novel was published in 1966 it was described by The New York Times as “gorgeously written...overwhelming”. In the middle of this novel comes a section beginning with the words God is Alive. Magic is Afoot, a powerful anthem in the vein of Cohen's classic Hallelujah. The 400 or so words that follow are arguably some of the finest that Cohen ever wrote. In them he weaves an intricate web connecting God and Magic, which leaves the reader wondering where one ends and the other begins. Readers have described this reflective text as “Leonard at his best. A book to read in those quiet moments of relaxation.” “A unique publication. Beautifully presented and easy to read” and “a gorgeous book to have and to hold. It’s a lovely meditation from the wonderful being that is Leonard Cohen.” God is Alive, Magic is Afoot is an insightful mantra that cannot fail to move the reader and it is available to order today.
You can hear a five-minute recording of  Leonard Cohen reciting this beautiful piece here.

We’re absolutely thrilled to be able to tell you that Take it as a Compliment (978 1849056977, £15.99, hb) by Maria Stoian has just won Best Graphic Novel at last night’s 2016 British Book Design Production Awards. Bringing together the voices of males and females of all ages, the stories in this collective graphic memoir reflect real life experiences of sexual abuse, violence and harassment. Each experience is brought to life by Maria Stoian's exceptional artwork. Her unique and varied styles powerfully reflect the tone and mood of the different stories and in just a few pages express the complex emotions felt by victims of sexual abuse. Covering acts such as sexual violence, public sexual harassment, domestic abuse and child abuse, this is a reminder for survivors that they are not alone and a call for all of us to take action. The stories clearly show that assault of any type is not an honour bestowed on anyone. It is not a compliment. Below are some spreads for this remarkable and important book – it has already won the Gold Medal in the Independent Spirit category of the Independent Publishers Outstanding Book of the Year Awards 2016, and definitely deserves to have a wider readership. It’s published by Jessica Kingsley.

Want to leave the bookshop world behind and get into publishing instead? Here's how!
Deborah Andrew’s brilliant debut novel, Walking the Lights (pb, £9.99, 978 1910449882) published by Freight about a young drama graduate’s attempts to forge a career as an actor while coming to terms with her past, is the runner-up in the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize 2016. Chair of the Judges, Sam Jordison, said, “It feels like an authentic - and suitably daft - evocation of that lost era of Blairite optimism and post-rave partying... vivid and convincing… the delight of this novel is that its protagonists are older, if no wiser, and their party lifestyle is engagingly related… it’s got heart.” Game of Thrones actor Kate Dickie said of the book “Oh my, I love this first novel from Deborah Andrews. A story of quiet devastation, of a life half-lived, of lies told and truths uncovered. I laughed and cried in equal measures, I couldn't stop reading, yet dreaded it ending. Honest, beautiful and visceral, Andrews's prose catches your breath and snags the air around you. I can't recommend it enough” and it has had many other very positive reviews.
Have a look here on BuzzFeed to see a round-up of tweets from authors with their views on the US election result. Which author said “winter is coming” I wonder…
Do tune in to BBC Radio 2 tonight to hear Nick Perry talking about his new title Peaks and Troughs: In at the Deep End, High in the Hills (hb, £14.99, 978-1846973659) with Jonathan Ross. There have been some terrific window displays for this title which is a warm-hearted, humorous and ultimately inspirational tale of a young man's attempt to run an organic farm in the unforgiving Welsh hills.  You can see it here in Waterstone's Piccadilly and also in the Yellow Lighted Bookshop in Tetbury. It’s out now from Polygon!

Congratulations to New Island, And Other Stories and Freight who are among the small presses that have been longlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize. The prize was launched earlier this year by author Neil Griffiths and seeks to find the "best novel published by a small press". Discussing the judging criteria, Griffiths said: "We weren’t just looking for great novels but ‘hardcore literary fiction and gorgeous prose'." Treats by Lara Williams published by Freight is on the longlist as is Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland, “a long polyphonic novel" by Mia Gallagher published by New Island and Martin John, a "a darkly comic novel" by Anakana Schofield from And Other Stories. Griffiths said of this novel: “Martin John struggles with an impulse towards public sexual exposure, and we are witness to his life in a novel of formal ingenuity that embraces poetry, plainchant, monologue, memory and dream. Anakana Schofield is a novelist of very rare gifts and this is a singular achievement.” Go to the Bookseller page here  to see the full longlist of sixteen novels.
Talking of Anakana Schofield, who heard her brilliant appearance on Woman's Hour to discuss Martin John recently?  She was absolutely superb reading her novel and talking about why uncomfortable truths have to be spoken – have a listen here  - you can go straight to the right bit by using the Chapters feature on the page.
Interesting to read Carcanet MD and founder Michael Schmidt in The Bookseller talking about the US election result. He worried the result would introduce an “atmosphere of anti-intellectualism that will be very damaging for the cultural sector. It will lead to a society that is hostile to exchanges of ideas and knowledge in favour of exchanges of materials and goods,” he said. “The result, like Brexit, will lead to insularity and will certainly further increase uncertainty in the market.” You can read the whole piece – with lots of other reactions from the UK book trade –  here.  
And if you’re still able to laugh about life – then have a watch of this We haven’t seen any Epic Rap Battles of History recently: this one of Trump vs Clinton was released two weeks ago – very funny and rude!

Antoine Laurain’s latest novel French Rhapsody (pb, £8.99, 978 1910477304) published by Gallic has received great reviews in the national press. The Daily Mail called it “Beautifully written, superbly plotted and with a brilliant twist at the end” while the Sunday Times said “The novel has Laurain's signature charm, but with the added edge of greater engagement with contemporary France.” Sainsbury’s Magazine enthused “This gem blends soft humour and sadness with the extraordinary” and Woman and Home praised it as “witty, nostalgic – I was completely charmed”Heat magazine will include the book and Antoine Laurain in a travel reading feature on 15th November – make sure you have plenty of copies of this engaging novel on display as it is the perfect gift for anyone who loves a clever and charming read, and this author’s popularity continues to grow.

A great piece (below) on Eat Well, Stay Well (£12.99, pb, 978 1859063712) this week in the November issue of Eat Healthy magazine. Nutrition is our first line of defence against disease and a well-chosen diet can alleviate and help prevent just about any health condition. In this book, Dr Sarah Brewer reveals what to eat to beat fifty common ailments, based on the principles of nutritional medicine. From high blood pressure to eczema, and osteoarthritis to depression, find out what you should and shouldn’t be eating to give your health a fighting chance. With tasty recipes to try, plus advice on key superfoods offering all-round health benefits, Eat Well, Stay Well (which is published by Connections) shows you how to eat your way to staying healthy and happy as you age.

Exit from Brexit: Time to Emigrate? Letters from a Father by George Walden (pb, 978 1783341221 £9.99) is, as Michael Burleigh called it:“A brilliant often funny take on pre- and post-Brexit Britain.” Stephen Vizinczey said “I could not put it down” while Simon Heffer praised it as “The best book I have read in a long time.” The book was mentioned in the Guardian this week – and there is a feature on it to come. Exit from Brexit: Time to Emigrate? is a wry and unflinching discussion of a Britain that is changing beyond recognition by the former Tory Minister and EU negotiator. For some time Brits have been leaving the UK in search of sunnier, less crowded lives abroad, with better prospects for themselves and their children. Will uncertainty about Brexit increase their number? In these wry, unflinching, lucid letters from a father to a daughter (Exit from Brexit) and a son (Time to Emigrate? written before and now updated), George Walden gives an unsparing yet persuasive portrait of pre- and post-Brexit Britain. Exit from Brexit is published this week by Gibson Square.
Some super displays of Mapping the City by Daniel MacCannell from Birlinn at Blackwell's in Oxford - all ready for its launch there on 14 November.


And if everything about Brexit and the US is just too stressful – well you could always try… reading. Yes, that’s right, a recent study has confirmed that reading one of the best ways to relieve stress; just six minutes can be enough to reduce tension by two thirds apparently: read about that here.
For this week’s entertainment from the weird and wonderful world of social media; we bring you a sample of the comments thread following the new John Lewis advert:

Crystal Walker A trampoline is not a good present when it's freezing outside.
Ursa Your comments are so witty and dry I love it XD
Signet Gold 'Hey kids look what i got you! a trampoline so you can freeze your tits off and get the flu!!!'
Hullu Richie The UK doesn't get freezing temperatures.
Liam Mac Your wrong it has had minus 20° in recent years. brrrr!!
Emma Baker This is my favourite John Lewis advert so far; animals are my favourite! 
Liam Jones Who wants a trampoline in the winter.... unrealistic, at least the penguin was realistic.
Thezec Actually I've seen videos of foxes jumping on trampolines before.
Winston Broderick I can confirm that what actually happens when foxes and badgers find something new on their territory is that they carefully park a big old shit in the middle of it.
King Without A Crown Why you didn't choose a white family, this is so racist!
Cirby Shottas My 7 year old daughter rabbits was killed by foxes... i hate this add.
Andy Brice I'm no zoologist, but I'd guess it probably wasn't the same foxes.
Paul Godmund Foxes are not cute and cuddly like basil brush, they are wild animals and shouldn't be incouraged to come into gardens!
Speedbird Concorde So politically correct that I want to vomit.
Popalata Gaming I wish I hadn't read the comments.
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.