Friday, 15 September 2017

Compass Points 230

No doubt you heard of the sad death of Sir Peter Hall on Monday; the BBC obituary of this giant of theatre is here. His relationship with Oberon Books goes back many years so this is doubly sad for them, notwithstanding his status as a cultural titan. You can read the tribute that James Hogan publisher at Oberon wrote for this “treasured author who helped to transform the fortunes of the small independent press 15 years ago” in the Bookseller here.
There are four Oberon titles available – all of which are well worth ordering! The Autobiography of Peter Hall: Making an Exhibition of Myself (£25.00, pb, 9781840021158) is, as the Independent said “Compulsive stuff ... his insights, off stage as well as on, are still much needed.” Peter Hall's Diaries: The Story of a Dramatic Battle (pb, £16.99, 978 1840021028) chronicles the eight frenzied years between 1972 and 1980 when Hall conducted the historic move of the National Theatre from the Old Vic to the South Bank, and then triumphantly consolidated its position as the leading showcase for theatre in Britain. With remarkable candour Hall describes his relationship with Lord Olivier; and numerous actors, directors and playwrights including Ralph Richardson, Alec Guinness, John Gielgud, Jonathan Miller, Harold Pinter, John Osborne and Samuel Beckett. In his startlingly frank, incisive style, he creates sometimes affectionate, sometimes acid portraits of both his friends and his enemies. On its publication Michael Billington writing in the New York Times called it “an intimate, candid, crisis-filled account that raises controversy, dust and tempers in theatrical circles.” 
Shakespeare’s Advice to the Players (pb, £14.99, 978 1783190096) is an invaluable reference book for students, actors and directors working on Shakespeare productions and a treasure trove for avid Shakespeare readers and theatregoers. In it Sir Peter works through speeches from Shakespeare’s plays, revealing and elucidating as he proves the key to understanding and speaking them. Sir David Suchet commented that “reading this book I am reminded not only of Shakespeare's genius but also of Peter's. He manages to convey, lucidly and helpfully how to speak the language that can seem so very daunting.” And finally Exposed by the Mask: Form and Language in Drama (pb, £9.99, 978 1840021820) reveals in four parts, a lifetime’s discoveries about classical theatre, Shakespeare, opera and modern drama. The Sunday Telegraph called it "the wisest and most stimulating short book about theatre since Peter Brook’s ‘The Empty Space”.

I daresay many of you are pretty irritated by the news that British bookshops contribute ELEVEN times more corporation tax to the UK than Amazon does. You can read the full report in the Bookseller here. Looking on the bright side, this does show what a good state the British book trade is in, contributing £1.9bn to UK finances. Tim Godfray, CEO of the BA said that the report is “irrefutable proof” of the “significant economic value of bookshops to the UK’s economy.”

Published at the end of this month is the Radio Times Film Guide 2018 (pb, £27.50, 9780992936440) A cinephile's dream, and running this year to a whopping 1216 pages, this guide contains nearly 25,000 authoritative, opinionated and readable reviews, complete with credits, star rating, BBFC rating and availability on DVD or Blu-ray. Well-thought-out extras include a chronological list of the winners of major awards at the BAFTAs, Berlin, Cannes, the Golden Globes and the Oscars; 200 pages of actor and director filmographies; and a list of four and five-star films organized by genre. Readers are agreed – this is the best value for your money guide available, giving you “everything you could want. Excellent, authoritative but user-friendly reviews. Not your online, everyone's-an-expert-now rubbish. Get the opinions of those who actually know what they're talking about.” The Radio Times is a brand that readers really trust: “Great film book. It's a must for my dad every year. Only one he'll have bought. He says all the rest are a waste of money” is a typical comment – and this hefty blockbuster is clearly an excellent Christmas present option!
This year’s edition has lovely Leo on the from cover – so let’s have a look at here at five minutes of Di Caprio’s best acting performances or here if you prefer the grisly Oscar winning stuff!!


This week I’m pleased to say we can bring you a publicity round-up in an author’s own words! Here’s Carcanet poet Karen McCarthy Woolf’s description of what she’s been up to lately!
Dearest Friends and Poetry Family,
It’s been a while and the year has whizzed by in a blur in which ... I reimagined Odysseus as a London cab driver in Night Shift for BBC Radio 4 as part of My Name is Nobody … Recorded my extended poem Conversation, With Water with soundtrack for The Verb on BBC Radio 3 … & switched hemispheres to swap the English summer for winter in Mozambique! July wasn’t all beaches and blue skies though as the BIG news was the publication of my second collection Seasonal Disturbances … one of the book’s poems on gentrification was published in the Financial Times where perhaps it might get a chance to preach to the unconverted ;-), Jeremy Noel-Tod reviewed it for the Sunday Times, saying “McCarthy Woolf conjures her home city of London with vivid strokes of phrase…these are big-idea poems made up of bite-size insights and ironies … establishing the political anger and ecological anxieties that converge forcefully in the book’s shorter, more personal pieces.”
Granta also published three poems, including The CEO who's a slightly more dystopian version of dear old DT… or is that less dystopian? Anyway...it was also a Poetry Book Society Summer Recommendation: “to read Seasonal Disturbances is to be in the presence of a highly unusual, deeply inventive imagination, to which nothing is what it seems, nothing remains the same for long and nothing is ever allowed to get old.” I like that last bit, hope it rubs off!
CATCH ME … on Tuesday 5 September, when I’ll read from the book and talk to Samira Ahmed about it on BBC Radio 4’s flagship arts programme Front Row. 7.15 pm. At Ty Newydd, in Wales, where I’m teaching a one-week residential 11-16 September with Pascale Petit on Transforming Trauma, whether political, ecological or personal … Malika Booker is our guest poet … and there are still a couple of places going. You can book here. In Bloomsbury ... This year I spent the early shift on my birthday running a one-day Starting to Write Poetry course at Faber Academy. Which was actually great fun and reminded me why I love teaching! The next one is on Saturday 23 September. Then it’s the Poetry Book Fair at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square on 30 September, The Bristol Poetry Festival on Tuesday 17 October, the Manchester Poetry Festival on 22 October where I’m reading from Seasonal Disturbances and presenting some amazing new voices from the Complete Works showcase anthology Ten: Poets of the New Generation which I edited for Bloodaxe Books, and one of my favourites, Poetry in Aldeburgh on 3-5 November. & finally, I’ll be giving a keynote presentation on ‘sacred hybridity’ at the Complete Works Conference on Diversity in Poetry at Goldsmiths on 9 November.
Oh, and somewhere in between all that I’ll be finishing off the doctorate … on that note I’d better dash! Hope to see you at one thing or the other soon.
Love & Poetry, Karen XX

A permanently frozen London is the setting for The White City: a harrowing yet lyrical tale of survival in a dystopian near-future by Costa-shortlisted author Roma Tearne. Publishers Weekly in the US has just given it a very positive review saying “Tearne's sensitive tale of love amid the ruins of a Western civilization attempts, mostly successfully and always passionately, to tie the plight of Muslim immigrants to the suffering of all victims of modern totalitarian regimes … this small novel has a large message about human brutality.” You can read the whole piece here.  The White City (£12.99, hb, 978 1910709429) is published in the UK on 10 October by Aardvark and Roma’s previous book The Last Pier (pb, £8.99, 978 1910709306) attracted much praise (“skilled and sensitive” Independent on Sunday; “a wonderful ability to create atmosphere” The Times; “charts the patterns of love and loss with beautiful prose” Sunday Times). It also sold very well, so there will be many fans waiting for this compelling new novel.

From the Brothers Grimm to Roald Dahl, witches have been a source of inspiration to many authors, and a new novel from Impress also reflects its author Helen Steadman’s own fascination. Widdershins (pb, £8.99, 978 1911293040) tells the story of the women who were persecuted and the men who condemned them and is inspired by true events in the northeast of England. Readers have found it “immersive and compelling” and “well written and informative. I remember being fascinated as a child by the witch hunts and ducking of witches but I'd never really given much thought to the actual process involved or the sheer horror and unfairness of it all! The author has obviously researched her subject thoroughly and adapted a very real historical situation in to a fantastic work of fiction that had me hooked from the start.” You can find out more about Widdershins which was published in July on Helen’s own website at www.helensteadman.com and there are some promotional events coming up around the UK. Helen will be at The Bakewell Bookshop in Bakewell on 30 September, then at the Gateshead Central Library 17 October followed by the Consett Library in Consett, County Durham on 31 October. There’s also an event at the Newcastle Book Festival on 28 November.
Top Ten witches anyone? Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?! ARGHHHHH !

Delizioso! A new deluxe, 624-page hardback edition of Valentina Harris’s classic title The Italian Regional Cook Book (£25.00, hb, 978 0754832409) has just been published by Lorenz, and it looks absolutely mouth-watering!  Famous for its bold flavours, seasonal ingredients and vibrant colours, Italian has repeatedly been voted the world's favourite cuisine and of course there is so much more to this nation's food than the ubiquitous pasta and pizzas. Italian-cooking expert Valentina Harris examines each area in turn, with a carefully curated selection of recipes, and detailed instructions and photographs to help you achieve an authentic, and completely delicious, end result. This comprehensive book is a must-have reference for anyone who is passionate about cooking authentic Italian food and is an extensive culinary tour of all the famous “foodie” regions including: Lombardy; Piedmont; Liguria; Emilia-Romagna; Veneto; Tuscany; Umbria; Sardinia; Campania; Sicily; Puglia; Basilicata; and Calabria. This newly designed single compendium volume is the first time Valentina's prestigious Italian regional series has been published together, with new additional recipes, updated dishes and totally gorgeous photographs.

“Playful and perplexing, delighting in wordplay and sly little puns” said a review last week for Worlds from the Word's End by Joanna Walsh in the Daily Mail! You can read an extract from this unconventional short story collection on Lit Hub here.  Here you can see a fantastic autumnal window display for this title at the lovely Books Upstairs in Dublin – the stunning jacket on this book looks so wonderful when there are lot of them!! It’s just been published by And Other Stories.

A reminder that the latest episode of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Scottish Literature Podcast is available to download! This month, Kristian and Vikki are reimagining Robert Louis Stevenson, paying attention to Emma Tennant’s Two Women of London, and interviewing Kevin MacNeil. You can find all that here.  

And while we’re on the subject of Scotland, I am thrilled to announce the return of Richard Hannay – John Buchan’s perennial adventurer, and hero of course of the bestselling Thirty-Nine Steps. The Polygon editions of the Richard Hannay novels have sold over 15,000 copies and October sees the publication of The Thirty-One Kings (£12.99, hb, 9781846973918), a brand-new Richard Hannay story by Robert J Harris. Towards the end of John Buchan’s last novel, a character reflects that with the outbreak of a second world war, the veterans may be called for action once more – and The Thirty-One Kings tells the tale of this new escapade. As German troops pour across France in June 1940, an individual code named 'Roland' has disappeared and is assumed to be in the hands of Nazi agents. Only Hannay knows the secret of the Thirty-One Kings, a secret upon which the whole future of Europe depends, and on his hazardous journey across the battlefields of France, Hannay is joined by old friends and new allies as he confronts a ruthless foe who will stop at nothing to destroy him. The lights are going out across Paris and time is running out for the world as both sides battle for the secret. Great stuff – bringing “elderly” heroes out of retirement and back onto the bestseller lists (e.g. Sherlock and James Bond) is a big trend at the moment and I think this well-written and exciting page-turner should do very well.
Who doesn’t love a bit of heroic derring-do escapism, so here's  Richard Hannay in his 1935 version played by Robert Donat – directed by Hitchcock of course; and here he is in his 1978 incarnation played by Robert Powell – back in the days when Big Ben was actually working!

Despite becoming a big issue in public debate, social mobility is one of the most misunderstood processes of our time. In fact, in a thought-provoking piece here you can discover “Why upward social mobility means some people move downwards”. The New Social Mobility: How the Politicians Got It Wrong (pb, £23.99, 978 1447310655) is an accessible and engaging title in which Geoff Payne, one of Britain’s leading mobility analysts, presents up-to-date research evidence to demonstrate how our politicians have not grasped the ways in which mobility works. This important book will challenge the well-established opinions of politicians, pressure groups, the press, and the public; and is also sufficiently comprehensive to be suitable for teaching and of interest to a broad academic audience. It is published by Policy Press.

Jane Austen on our tenners – hurrah – what’s not to love! However, when this news was announced few were aware that a £10 Austen banknote had already existed – issued by her favourite brother. Handsome, clever and enterprising, Henry Austen founded a bank business and charmed his way into the top rank of aristocratic society before going spectacularly bust in the financial crash of 1816. He left an enduring legacy however, for it was Henry who supported Jane’s dream of becoming a published author. Literary critic and cultural historian E. J. Clery presents a radically new vision of the much-loved novelist, revealing how her works were shaped by an acute awareness of the economic scandals, crises and speculations that marked the Regency era. Jane Austen: The Banker’s Sister (£20, 978 1785901768, hb) provides a fascinating reappraisal of the political connections and economic interests of the Austen family, and is also an engaging exploration of the bond between brother and sister. The Times Literary Supplement said it was “calmly commanding … and makes some enlightening juxtapositions of material from the Austen family so as to suggest fresh things about the author herself. A perfect read for those who cannot understand why Austen should be on the £10." See it below looking mighty fine in a superb Jane Austen display in Heffers Cambridge. Jane Austen The Banker’s Sister is published by Biteback.

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. This week here are our favourite tweets from #JaneAusten!
Waterstones @Waterstones Jane Austen is of course trending due to the new £10 note. Here's the first one being spent in @Hatchards On Pride and Prejudice. Natch.
ImaginedThings Books @ImaginedThings Thrilled the #NewTenPoundNote is out today! Fitting with the literary theme they should only be spent on books. Nothing else. Just books.
The Madder Mind @TheMadderMind “I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.”
Trevor Baxendale @trevorbaxendale Just seen Jane Austen trending and for one terrible minute thought she'd died.
David Tully @DavidEdwinTully #bbcbreakfast The Jane Austen tenner, the only woman on a note. But apparently there has been a woman on the notes since 1952. Who knew?
iHeart @HeartAmazona "I must learn to be content with being happier than I deserve.”
Phil Rickman @PhilRickman Let's not forget today that ten quid was exactly what Jane Austen got for her first novel. Peanuts even then.
Faber & Faber @FaberBooks “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
Paul Lewis @paullewismoney "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.”
MindGourmet @MindGourmet “There is no charm equal to tenderness of the heart.”
Evan Robb @ERobbPrincipal “I was quiet but I was not blind.”
Quite Interesting @qikipedia Mark Twain said he wanted to dig up Jane Austen and beat her over the skull with her own shin bone.
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, 8 September 2017

Compass Points 229


2018 marks 100 years since the birth of Muriel Spark, one of our greatest British novelists. Between the late 1950s and the middle 1970s, Spark published pretty well a novel a year, plus dozens of short stories, plays and essays, including of course The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, her legendary tale of the Edinburgh spinster schoolteacher. The success of this character, in its Broadway, film and television versions, assured her financial security for life, and a place in the most hallowed annals of Scottish and English literature. She became a dame in 1993. The anniversary year of her birth will be marked by celebrations of Spark’s work across television, radio, theatre, and print and social media and to mark this centenary, Polygon are publishing lovely deluxe hardback editions of all 22 of her novels, with specially commissioned introductions by some of today’s leading writers and a gorgeous bright new cover design as you can see above, which Waterstone’s have already told us they love – thank you! Authorised by the Spark estate, this series is the only complete collection of her novels and the series is edited by Alan Taylor, who was a personal friend of Muriel Spark for over twenty years, and is himself a critically acclaimed journalist and author. Each edition is the perfect gift for existing fans and an enticement to new readers to discover the genius and wit of Spark’s writing for the first time. 
The first four are coming on 2 November this year and are The Comforters (978 1846974250), Robinson (978 1846974267), Momento Mori (978 1846974274) and The Ballad of Peckham Rye (978 1846974281). They are all £9.99, B-format hardbacks. A Far Cry from Kensington with an intro by William Boyd is then publishing in in early December, to coincide with a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week (over two weeks) which will be running in January. These publications, along with a personal, anecdotal, indiscrete and admiring memoir of Muriel by Alan Taylor, Appointment in Arezzo (hb, £12.99, 978 1846973758) also published in November will mark the start of a year of fantastic celebration and media coverage. So far, the following is confirmed and there will be loads more to come!
  • BBC Radio 4 Drama based on Memento Mori in Jan/Feb 2018 
  • BBC Radio 4 Drama based on The Driver’s Seat – Jan/Feb 2018
  • BBC Radio 4 Original Drama inspired by Spark’s time writing ‘black propaganda’ for radio broadcasts against the Germans during the Second World War 
  • A BBC TV (UK-wide) documentary about her life
  • A Sky TV documentary about her writing, presented by Ian Rankin 
  • A major concert at the Barbican, London on 18 October 2018
I love this quote from the great lady herself: “Be on the alert to recognize your prime at whatever time of your life it may occur.” Hear hear!

And here is Maggie Smith in her 1969 Academy Award winning portrayal of Spark’s most famous creation.

Many will be wondering what life in North Korea is really like under Kim Jong Un. A fascinating new book The Sun Tyrant: A Nightmare Called North Korea (pb, £12.99 978 785902215) gives readers a frightening insight, and is a truly unique account. When Londoner JP Floru tags along with three friends running the marathon in Pyongyang, little could have prepared him for what he witnessed. Shown by two minders what the regime wants them to see during their nine-day trip, the group is astounded when witnessing people bowing to their leaders’ statues; being told not to take photos of the leaders’ feet; and hearing the hushed reverence with which people recite the history invented by the regime to keep itself in power. Often, the group did not understand what they were seeing: from the empty five-lane motorway to the missing fifth floor of their Yanggakdo Hotel on an island in the Pudong River; many answers only came through extensive research of the few sources that exist about this hermit country. Shocking and scary, The Sun Tyrant uncovers the oddities and tragedies at the heart of the world’s most secretive regime, and shows what happens when a population is reduced to near-slavery in the twenty-first century. It came out this summer from Biteback.

JP Floru has done a really interesting 15-minute Ted Talk on his experience and this book – which you can watch here.

Pressure cookers – who knew, but they are “a thing” and with a whole new generation of multi-featured versions now available, they are definitely back in fashion. The New Complete Pressure Cooker: Get the Best from Your Electric or Stovetop Model by Jennie Shapter (£15.00, hb, 978 0754832881) is the top title on this form of cooking. It contains over 120 tried-and-tested recipes with timings and settings for both types of machines, dishes from soups and stews to puddings and preserves with loads of practical step-by-step techniques and tips. This book will take you through the basics of choosing a pressure cooker (and the bestselling brand Instant Pot is included in it) how they work, which best suits your needs, as well as providing you with lots of exciting recipes to try. It was featured in all the Trinity Mirror local papers this week – with a big pic of the cover. It’s published by Lorenz.

Well, what a good excuse to have a burst of this absolute classic belter from Queen and David Bowie!

The Guardian has just published an article about the myth of radicalisation in a Birmingham school related to a forthcoming title; Countering Extremism in British Schools? The Truth about the Birmingham Trojan Horse Affair by John Holmwood and Therese O'Toole (pb, £12.99, 978 1447344131). You can read the whole piece here.  In 2014, an alleged plot to ‘Islamify’ several state schools in Birmingham led to the vilification of a previously highly successful school. This important title contests that narrative and shows how it was used to justify an intrusive counter extremism agenda. It is published in November by Policy Press and is a short, approachable and jargon-free book about a topic very high on the current political agenda. It directly challenges the narrative put across by the media and will particularly appeal to anyone engaged with schooling and those interested in recent counter-extremism policies.

An interesting article in the Telegraph this weekend by Frances Wilson about the art of writing a diary. Among the many famous diarists she mentions is Alistair Campbell, and the sixth volume of his Diaries which is published by Biteback; saying that “Campbell’s own struggle has always read more like a Jeffrey Archer novel than a diary” which is certainly a very backhanded compliment! Alastair Campbell Diaries: Volume 6: From Blair to Brown 2005 - 2007 (£25.00, hb, 978 1785900846) is out on 19 September and as this volume opens, Blair has just won a historic third term. But any joy is short-lived and by the time it ends two years later, Brown is Prime Minister. Many books have already been written about the Brown/Blair relationship, but none with the intimacy and the unique perspective of Alastair Campbell. Campbell was virtually alone in seeing that process from both sides, as Brown began to lean on him almost as much as Blair had done. Meanwhile we continue to get an insight into Campbell's mental health struggles, his attempts to rebuild a normal family life, and the plethora of new challenges he takes on which introduce dozens of new characters, not least the rugby stars he worked with for the British and Irish Lions, and football legend and charity match teammate, Diego Maradona.

We mentioned the amazing and colourful Illustrated Guide to Dyslexia for its great cover and design last week, and this week it was referenced in the Guardian in a fascinating article talking about the benefits of dyslexia as espoused by Jamie Oliver. “I genuinely think that when someone says to you, ‘Johnny’s got dyslexia’, you should get down on your knees, shake the child’s hand and say: ‘Well done, you lucky, lucky boy’,” the chef said. Positivity about the condition is a growing part of the campaign to improve awareness and coping strategies and the British Dyslexia Association is exploring the theme during the annual Dyslexia Awareness Week next month, with events in schools and the hashtag #positivedyslexia2017. The article goes on to talk about the Illustrated Guide to Dyslexia and its Amazing People (hb, £13.99, 978 1785923302) by Kate Power and Kathy Iwanczak Forsyth which is out on 21 September from Jessica Kingsley. You can read the whole article here. 
And don’t forget that this month JKP also publish Dyslexia is my Superpower (Most of the Time) (£12.99, pb, 978 1785922992) by Margaret Rooke which contains personal tips and tactics from over a hundred children and young adults who reveal the creative benefits of dyslexia, which enable them to thrive in school and beyond. The first-hand accounts are inspiring in the way they normalise dyslexia and reveal the many success stories. There is an additional section for professionals who work in education, and the book contains some stunning illustrations by 8-18 year olds with dyslexia. It was mentioned in the Culture Section of the Telegraph this week.
A massive piece in the Mail this week, talking about a new title which reveals disturbing images from the devastating 2013 Boston Marathon terror attack, offering a new look at that terrible atrocity. Maximum Harm: The Tsarnaev Brothers, the FBI, and the Road to the Marathon Bombing (hb, £29.00, 978 1611688498) is by investigative journalist Michele R. McPhee and unravels the complex story behind the public facts. McPhee untangles the many threads of circumstance, coincidence, collusion, motive, and opportunity that resulted in the deadliest attack on the city of Boston to date and is a compelling and passionate exposé – there will be more on this story to come I’m sure. It is published by the University Press of New England and available from Oxbow. You can read the Daily Mail article here.

Publisher Michael Schmidt has paid tribute in the Bookseller to poet John Ashbery who has died aged 90 last Sunday. Carcanet has published Ashbery since 1977, starting with Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. In the years that followed, he became one of Carcanet's "cornerstones", said Michael. The press has published almost 40 books by Ashbery, including his collaborations, fiction, essays, poems and translations and will publish Ashbery's Collected Poems: 1990-2000 (£20.00, pb,978 1 784105 25 9) in January 2018. You can read the tribute here.  
How do we raise sweet young boys to become aggressive? Why do so few fathers take parental leave? Why do men rape so many people every year? Why do we still judge success on financial prowess? Why are three times as many men killing themselves as women? In short, how does our masculine determination to be dominant not only impact on the women and girls in our lives, but also the men and boys. The answer to all these questions, and more, can be determined by discovering what it really means to Be A Man by journalist and former ‘lad’ Chris Hemmings, published by Biteback. Books about modern manhood are very definitely a growth market at present; titles from Robert Webb and Grayson Perry are already flying off the shelves; and  there was a big piece in the Guardian talking about this newest bloke-book on the block this week which you can read here. Dame Jenni Murray said of it “I love this book. It’s what I've been longing for – a young man who, as a result of his own experience, is courageous enough to say traditional masculinity is bad for everyone. Bravo, Chris Hemmings!” Whether you view this new wave of titles as a bit of a fad or a genuinely encouraging sign that “men are joining our conversation about toxic masculinity” as the Guardian journalist puts it, there’s no doubt that things have moved on quite a bit since Kipling’s 1895 advice. Be A Man (pb, £12.99, 978 1785901676) is out now.

Of course, we are very glad that Chris Hemmings has seen the error of his ways and is now apologising profusely for his former laddish behaviour. However, there is still some fun to be had with the tricky business of what is and isn’t “manly” – as this amusing video (rather rudely) demonstrates!

We raved about Salt Creek (£14.99, hb, 978 1910709412) by award-winning Australian author Lucy Treloar a couple of weeks ago, and sure enough on its publication in the UK it has had some cracking review coverage, being chosen as Book of the Month in the Times Saturday Review who said “Treloar writes with beauty and a winning compassion.” and Historical Pick in the Sunday Times who called it “an impressive debut.”Beautifully written … one to watch” said Good Housekeeping magazine and “emotional…engrossing…rich in character and local colour” said Women and Home and the Daily Mail have given it another rave review today. It’s just out from Aardvark Bureau.

Let’s finish with a rather cute version of that old bluegrass song, called – yep, Salt Creek!

That’s all for now folks! More next week!

This blog is taken from an e-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, 1 September 2017

Compass Points 228

Our thoughts are with everyone at Hay House this week, with the news that Louise Hay, the founder of this inspirational publishing company, has died peacefully in her sleep aged 90. The company wrote that “Louise was an incredible visionary and advocate. Everyone who had the privilege to meet her, either in person or through her words, felt her passion for serving others. Louise entrusted us with the company that she built in order to enrich the lives of others interested in self-healing and empowerment. Her legacy will live on and her spirit will inspire all that we do. Hay House will continue to publish products and online learning courses that align with Louise’s core teachings. We honour her through our memories and will carry out her vision for many years to come. I know that we are divinely guided by her loving hand. Louise Hay’s estate, as well as all future royalties, will be donated to The Hay Foundation, a non-profit organization established by Louise that financially supports diverse organizations supplying food, shelter, counselling, hospice care, and funds to those in need.”

Here we are already in September – month beloved of publishers as when they release their big cats which they hope will leap majestically through the tills up until Christmas! You’ll hear lots more about the top titles from our publishers in the coming weeks, but I enjoyed this round up in the Bookseller of the best of the month’s cover designs – and it’s great to see that Jessica Kingsley’s The Illustrated Guide to Dyslexia and its Amazing People (hb, £13.99, 978 1785923302) with a jacket design created by the book’s authors Kate Power and Kathy Iwanczak Forsyth has made the cut! There’s an Instagram page featuring all of the covers called Perfectbound which you can see here. This beautifully designed book, complete with stunning visuals and gentle humour, shows what dyslexia means, how it feels, what to do about it, and how to learn to embrace it. There are advantages to being dyslexic, including an aptitude for design literacy and innovative thinking; although these can sometimes be obscured by its challenges; but this new title, published on 21 September offers a multitude of learning tools and tips plus a gallery of inspirational dyslexics who have used their particular skills to do something amazing with their lives.

Fab to see that And Other Stories author Yuri Herrera is London Review Bookshop’s Author of the Month. To quote: “Our Author of the Month for September is Yuri Herrera, whose three slim novels, set in unnamed Mexican border towns, ferry a cast of migrants, drifters, kingpins and fixers into the realm of the mythic. With a Chandleresque ear for a sharp turn of phrase and an eye for the resonant image, Herrera is, in the words of Javier Moreno, 'perhaps the master par excellence of creating limbos, spectral spaces in which the characters — real Schrödinger’s cats — reside halfway between the living and the dead'. Any introduction to these books would be incomplete without mention of translator Lisa Dillman, with whom Herrera won the 2016 Best Translated Book Award. As observed in Tony Wood's write-up in the London Review of Books, Dillman richly conveys the 'linguistic hybridity' of the author's prose.” The novels are Kingdom Cons (pb, £8.99, 978 1908276926), The Transmigration of Bodies (pb, £8.99, 978 1908276728) and Signs Preceding The End Of The World (pb, £8.99, 978 1908276421) and they look really great displayed as a set as you can see here!

Those of us in the book industry all have a love of words – which can also (perhaps boringly) include a love of correct grammar, which can then (very sadly) include a love of being extremely pedantic. However, I think we all enjoy a Friday afternoon giggle at other people’s stupidity – so I think you’ll appreciate this trawl through the many misuses of inverted commas, here on Buzzfeed!

More publicity this week for the excellent Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres (pb, £17.99, 978 0745399065) when its author Jamie Woodcock was on BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine Show — you can listen to that interview here, it’s nine minutes in. Over a million people in the UK work in call centres, and in this brilliant insider account, Jamie (who worked undercover in a call centre) discusses the various methods of resistance that are developing on our office floors, and considers whether there is any hope left for the modern worker today. It’s published by Pluto.

There has been lots of publicity recently for the 70th anniversary of the partition of India in 1947, and of course Salman Rushdie’s Booker Prize-winning second novel Midnight’s Children is based on the turbulent times following this. Here's Radio 4’s rather eclectic mix of what they consider to be the ten must-read novels based on world-changing events.

An interesting piece in the Guardian which you can read here entitled Be Your Own Therapist? Fine – if You’re Up to the Job talking about how self-help therapy (such as books) for mental health issues, compares with therapist-delivered therapy. The article was illustrated with a large picture of Being Happy! A Handbook to Greater Confidence and Security by Andrew Matthews (pb, £8.99, 978 9810006648) which is published by Seashell. This title is an international bestseller which has never been out of print since its publication in 1989 – as one reviewer said, there are hundreds of new self-help books published every year, “some mystical, some esoteric, but this simple down-to-earth book beats them all. This is the one I come back to again and again.”

And talking of simple but effective routes back to happiness, The Recovery Letters is still getting plenty of publicity and will be featured this week in Take A Break magazine. The Recovery Letters: Addressed to People Experiencing Depression (pb, £9.99, 978 1785921834) edited by James Withey and Olivia Sagan and published by Jessica Kingsley, is an inspirational anthology, written by people recovering from depression, providing “a message of hope from the dark side” and testament that recovery is possible. The heartfelt letters are interspersed with motivating quotes and additional resources. As journalist Tim Lott said, “this book has the power to save lives.”

Do you agree with Richard Charkin that the book industry of 2017 is “overcomplicated”? Have a read here to see hear his views!

England's sixty or so Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals are among its most iconic buildings and attract thousands of worshippers and visitors every year. Yet though much has been written about their architecture, there is no complete guide to their history and activities. The History of England’s Cathedrals by Nicholas Orme, provides the first rounded account of the whole of their 1700 years from Roman times to the present day. It explains the layout of their buildings, the people who ran them, their worship and music, their links with learning and education, and their outreach to society. It relates their history to the history of England and shows how they adapted to change and weathered disasters to survive as great repositories of our national history. Nicholas Orme is a noted religious historian, and this is his pioneer history of the subject, written in a very accessible manner – which many cathedral guides are not! As Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church, at Oxford University said: “The Cathedrals of England are institutions far older than the realm itself, and are perhaps more cherished than they have ever been, as this richly enjoyable volume makes clear. There can be no-one better qualified than Nicholas Orme to present the full range of their long history.” It is available in both paperback (£20.00, 978 1907605925) and hardback (£30.00, 978 1907605987), published by Impress this month.

It is perhaps indicative of the great fondness we have in Britain for our cathedrals that when Guardian readers were asked to pick Britain’s best building they chose Durham Cathedral – you can see a short film about that here.

You may have seen this sad article in the Guardian this week, about Connor Sparrowhawk, the teenager who suffered a seizure and drowned in a bath at an NHS care unit, with no member of staff on hand to prevent it. What’s more, Connor was not the first person to have died in that bath. His mother, Sara Ryan has called for a total overhaul of medical tribunals, saying she felt “retraumatised” after participating in a two-week hearing into her son’s death. “You’re a grieved mother, you’re stripped of any other identity and you’re fair game for any kicking that comes your way and it must happen all the time,” she said. Her book, Justice for Laughing Boy: Connor Sparrowhawk: A Death by Indifference is out on 19 October from Jessica Kingsley. At turns poignant, funny, heart-breaking and infuriating, Justice for Laughing Boy tells an extremely uncomfortable truth about the experiences of learning disabled people in inpatient settings, and society’s attitude towards them. Can we really claim that we respect the lives of learning disabled people, when such preventable tragedies are still happening today? There is bound to be more publicity to come for this important title.

A big feature this week with loads of full-colour spreads on The Low-Fodmap Diet: An Eating Plan and Cookbook by Penny Doyle (hb, £8.99, 978 0754831518) in Gluten-Free Heaven. There is a growing demand for titles which identify the group of fermentable, poorly-absorbed short-chain carbohydrates, known collectively as FODMAPs and offer guidance which can revolutionise the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). This book clearly explains the theory and offers help and advice on putting it into practice through a diet that eliminates potential problem foods, assesses the results and then re-introduces them. There are plenty of carefully selected recipes, which will make following the diet easy and everyday eating a pleasure and this attractively illustrated book will help IBS sufferers make simple life changes that will make a huge difference. This is a new 2017 edition of this title, published by Lorenz.
Who has the most books in their home? Me? Apparently not, Karl Lagerfeld has 300,000. Marilyn Monroe had 400. Find out about other famous book hoarders here!

If the world today is just getting to much for you, then 67 People I'd Like to Slap by Ian Collins which is published by Biteback may well help relieve some tension! One man's journey through the labyrinthine world of human angst and annoyance, this often brutal but hilarious search into the pit of human idiocy leaves few stones unturned as it mocks that irritating contingent of the human race whose job is to make life just a tad more infuriating than it needs to be. From exotic pet owners to over-35s at music festivals, middle-class protesters, elderly people in small cars and the billion crimes that are committed on social media every day; Collins covers them all, while also musing on such celebrity conundrums as to whether Jeremy Clarkson is part of a completely different gene pool and how a nice guy like Benedict Cumberbatch could annoy anyone. Ian Collins is very well known for his comedy and presenting work on Talk Sport, LBC, Sky, BBC1's This Week and BBC2's Daily Politics. He spent a year documenting everything that could bug the hell out of even the calmest of souls, and judging from the rave reviews online, 67 People I'd Like to Slap (pb, £9.99, 978 1785901355) has struck a chord with many!

Which is better, the book or the film. Surely the book – or is it? Vote here  and see of that in the thousands of votes cast in this entertaining survey; the written word doesn’t always win! (It jolly nearly always does though – hurrah!)

Parenting titles often talk of sibling rivalry as something to be “tackled” and take a very negative line on this most common feature of family life. However, a new book, Siblings by Linda Blair (pb, £12.99, 9781910336250) published by White Ladder in October takes a much more positive, pragmatic and practical approach. Linda is a psychologist with over 25 years’ experience, and this book is based solidly in clinical research, giving parents methods and specific strategies to resolve issues and help form lasting bonds. Linda is also a weekly Telegraph columnist and much in demand as a speaker – she was on BBC Radio 4 this week with Professor Robert Winston talking about how to give your kids the best start in life, which you can listen to here. She will be taking about Siblings at the Cheltenham Literature Festival in October 2017 – this is a super-popular subject and Linda Blair is the expert – so look out for lots more publicity for this title!

Well, we do like to end with some music, so with Linda Blair’s book in mind, let's have a look and a listen to the Top Ten Musical Siblings!

That’s all for now folks! More next week!

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