Friday, 21 September 2018

Compass Points 275

A wonderful launch at the V&A this week for Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places by Philip Wilkinson (£20, hb, 978 1848025097). Guided by public nominations and a panel of expert judges, including Professor Robert Winston, Mary Beard, George Clarke, David Olusoga, Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson and Bettany Hughes; Historic England have compiled a list of 100 places where remarkable things have happened and shaped our collective identity. The book is divided into ten categories ranging from Music & Literature, through Science & Discovery to Power, Protest & Progress. The result is a gloriously illustrated and unique history of England chosen and told by the people who live here. From the observatory in Greenwich where the modern measurement of time began, to a hut in Bletchley Park where modern computing evolved, to England's oldest inn carved into the sandstone in Nottingham, the choices are surprising, intriguing and enlightening. This is a fantastic book – you can find out lots more on the Historic England website and even better,  there’s a podcast series where you can listen to hosts Suzannah Lipscomb and Emma Barnett travelling across England visiting all the places; that’s here. This would be a brilliant Christmas present – I know that applies to loads of books published this month – but this one really would – and it’s a very good price too!

Big congratulations to Comma who have been twice shortlisted in the Manchester Culture Awards 2018 in the Inspiring Innovation and the Outstanding Contribution categories. Nominations were received for people, groups and organisations who made culture buzz in Manchester during April 2017 to April 2018 and the competition was fierce, with over 300 entries. Comma will now go through to the final judging panel, who will decide if they are a finalist in either category and all finalists will be invited to the awards ceremony on November 14th.

I love this display of Propaganda Blitz: How the Corporate Media Distort Reality by David Edwards and David Cromwell (978 0745338118, £14.99, pb) with its very own table at the front of the shop in Foyles Charing Cross – thanks guys! Just published by Pluto, this devastating title shows that the corporate media does not just 'spin' the news - it fundamentally distorts everything it touches, hiding the real issues from public view, and often completely reversing the truth. This book uncovers a storm of top-down campaigns behind war reporting and exposes propagandists at the top levels of the BBC, as well as their reporting on the Scottish independence referendum, the dismantling of the NHS and looming climate chaos. Propaganda Blitz explains the real meaning of 'objective' journalism, exposes the fake news about 'fake news' and changes the way you view the world, revealing that far from being our ally, the liberal media is actually our enemy.

How evocative and romantic is the letter that doesn’t arrive? What a Hazard a Letter Is: The Strange Destiny of the Unsent Letter (£14.99, hb, 978 0993291173) explores all those that never quite reached their intended destination, from both literature and history. From the ones that were posted on board the Titanic and intercepted by that iceberg, to the love letter in One Day that Dexter forgets to post to Emma, Caroline Atkins discovers the reasons why they weren’t sent, and how the consequences were sometimes farcical, sometimes agonisingly poignant, and sometimes actually changing the course of history. Here, are authors from Ian McEwan to Iris Murdoch, Abraham Lincoln to Ernest Hemingway, and Virginia Woolf to Van Gogh: magnificent tirades written in the red mist of rage, delicious to read but all a little more eloquent for being unsent. There was a brilliant review for this one in the Mail on Sunday's You Magazine’s Five Cosy Autumn Reads article last weekend, which you can see here, calling it “an irresistibly readable collection of letters … and a perfect Christmas present, too.” There will also be a review shortly in Country Life. It’s published by Safe Haven.

I have very much been enjoying listening to the shortlisted stories for the BBC National Short Story Award which have been read on BBC Radio 4 and are available on the BBC Radio iPlayer here. And of course, you can find them all in Comma’s The BBC National Short Story Award Anthology (978 1910974414, £7.99, pb). The winner will be announced during a live ceremony broadcast on Radio 4, on the 2nd October. The award is one of the most prestigious awards for a single short story, with the winning author receiving £15,000, and four further shortlisted authors £600 each. This year sees an all-female shortlist and the stories in this year’s anthology pivot around the theme of loss, and the different ways that individuals, and communities, respond to it. From the son caring for his estranged father, to the widow going out for her first meal alone, the characters in these stories are trying to find ways to repair themselves, looking ahead to a time when their grief will eventually soften and sooth. Above all, these stories explore the importance of human connection, and the salutary effect of companionship and friendship.

Great news! Andy Grant’s book, You’ll Never Walk (£15.99, hb, 978 1909245709) has been long listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award! The prize is now in its 30th year, and is dedicated to rewarding excellence in sports writing, with the winner receiving £30,000. When Andy Grant's eyes blinked open from a 10-day coma in February 2009, he was alone in a hospital bed in Birmingham. He had a broken sternum, a broken leg, a broken elbow and shrapnel lodged in both forearms. He had a severed femoral artery, nerve damage to his hands and feet as well as deep gaping wounds in both of his cheeks. He had been blown up during a routine foot patrol in Afghanistan. Within days of coming to his senses, a doctor told Andy that because of the blast he would no longer be able to have children. You'll Never Walk is his story, and it’s published by De Coubertin. The shortlist will be announced on 27th October and you can find out more about this year’s award here.  

Government ministers announced a massive increase to the badger cull last week. An estimated 41,000 badgers will be shot in the English countryside in the next few weeks, but according to the Wildlife Trust, it costs £496.52 to kill a badger compared to £82 to vaccinate one against bovine TB. Badgered to Death: The People and Politics of the Badger Cull by Dominic Dyer and Chris Packham (£8.99, pb, 978 0993040757) and published by Canbury Press is the only book on Britain's biggest wildlife controversy. It argues that the cull is scientifically foolish and a giant waste of money.

A major art exhibition has just opened at the Courtauld Gallery in London; Impressionists: From Manet to C├ęzanne. It’s been much reviewed and runs until January, so it’s worth reminding you about the many Lorenz titles which reference these artists. You can see the top three here. Manet: His Life and Work in 500 Images by Nigel Rodgers (978 0754828945, £16.99, hb), Degas His Life and Works in 500 Images by Jon Kear (978 0754823889, £16.99, hb) and Cezanne His Life and Work in 500 Images by Susie Hodge (978 0754823131, £16.99, hb) are all comprehensive and well-written accounts of these artists, and feature a wealth of wonderful illustrations of their greatest work.

Advice That Sticks: How to Give Financial Advice that People will Follow by Moira Summers guides those who give financial advice for a living in learning how to close the gap between good intentions and actions. It is written by an expert in the field of financial psychology and delivers humility, humour and wisdom, and has recently had some excellent publicity. There was an interview with the author on Moneywise Interactive Investor, which is the UK’s number one investment programme; it was included in Michael Kitces (who is the most influential financial blogger in the USA with a reach of over 250,000 followers) Top Picks for Financial Advisors 2018 – you can see that here and there was also an interview on Ember TV here.  Advice That Sticks is published by Practical Inspiration

We’re thrilled that Phoebe Power’s Shrines of Upper Austria (£9.99, pb, 978 1784105341) has won the 2018 Forward Prize for Best First Collection! This is the first full debut from this promising young poet (2009 Foyle Young Poet of the Year, winner of a 2012 Eric Gregory Award and a 2014 Northern Writers’ Award) and is a celebration of creativity in unlikely places. A young woman searching for love and understanding in 21st century Britain finds herself in rural Austria, where she observes and records a landscape of mountains, folk culture and uneasy histories. It’s published by Carcanet and there are more details about the prize here.

Staying Power (pb, £16.99, 978 0745338309) is a panoramic history of black Britons. Stretching back to the Roman conquest, encompassing the court of Henry VIII, and following a host of characters from Mary Seacole to the abolitionist Olaudah Equiano, Peter Fryer paints a picture of two thousand years of Black presence in Britain. First published in the 80s, amidst race riots and police brutality, Fryer's history performed a deeply political act; revealing how Africans, Asians and their descendants had long been erased from British history. By rewriting black Britons into the British story, showing where they influenced political traditions, social institutions and cultural life, was – and is – a deeply effective counter to a racist and nationalist agenda. Pluto have just published a new edition of this seminal title, which includes the classic introduction by Paul Gilroy, author of There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack, in addition to a brand-new foreword by Guardian journalist Gary Younge, which examines the book's continued significance today as we face Brexit and a revival of right-wing nationalism.

A great early review for Gaia Holmes' newest poetry collection, Where the Road Runs Out (£9.99, pb, 978 1910974452) on Word Mothers, who said "There’s a meditative quality to Holmes’s work which provides the perfect antidote to the frenzy of modern life;" you can read the full piece  here. Three poems from the collection are also featured on And Other which will give you a good taster of Gaia's fantastic work if you’re not already familiar with it. Gaia's launch event at Book Corner Halifax was a huge success and the collection is their bestseller of the week, and there are more events with Gaia coming up at will be reading at more events in Halifax, Hebden Bridge and Hull. It’s published by Comma.

Rather than being evil doom-laden machines that take our jobs and take over our world, robots may actually create jobs, according to new study released this week. A report for the World Economic Foundation said that although robots would displace jobs doing an estimated 75 million of them in the next decade — they could lead to new ways of working that would add an extra 133 million jobs in the same period. The research chimes with Hallo Robot (£14.99, pb, 978 1912454051) published next month by Canbury Press, which paints a optimistic view of the impact robots will have on our lives. Instead of posing a threat to the human race, Bennie Mols and Nieske Vergunst argue that robots could significantly improve our lives. They can do dull and dangerous tasks, help us walk again after accidents, rescue people from collapsed buildings, and take a starring role in the fight against hunger and pollution. With sixty colour photos, this is realistic and vivid view of our robot future.

So, let’s finish with the Top Ten Good Movie Robots – and also the Top Ten Evil Movie Robots!

Hasta la vista, baby!

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

Friday, 14 September 2018

Compass Points 274

Thanks very much Waterstones online for all your support for the newly published Butch Wilkins and the Sundance Kid: A Teenage Obsession with TV Sport (£9.99, pb, 978 1788850926); it’s currently the lead title in the Sport Paperback Highlights. It chronicles Nige Tassell’s decade-long obsession with televised sport during his teenage years in the 1980s and is a memoir intertwined with nostalgia, ruminations on the changing face of sport, portraits of its heroes and villains, and reflections on teenagehood and impending adulthood. Sweet, wise and witty, Butch Wilkins and the Sundance Kid combines humour, insight and poignancy to vividly depict the way sport can transcend the television screen to impact on wider life, hopes and ambitions. There’s been plenty of coverage already for this entertaining title, including features on TalkRadio and TalkSport, a great online author article in GQ and a long interview broadcast on BBC Radio Bristol. This title will appeal to fans of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch, Giles Smith’s Midnight In The Garden of Evel Knievel and Martin Kelner’s Sit Down And Cheer. It’s just been published by Arena Sport.

In the GQ piece Nige picks his favourite sporting memories from the 80’s - that golden era of free-to-air TV. Have a read here and see which ones you remember!

Tonight from 7.15pm the shortlist for the BBC National Short Story Award 2018 will be announced on BBC Radio4 's Front Row. We're excited, tune in! The BBC National Short Story Award Anthology (978 1910974414, £7.99, pb) is now in its thirteenth year and is published by Comma shortly. All the shortlisted stories will be in the anthology, and the winner will be announced Tuesday 2nd October live on Radio 4. The book is edited by editor and publisher of the Times Literary Supplement Stig Abell who is chairing the judging panel for the 2018 award.

You should be seeing a fair amount of Alastair Campbell next week, as he promotes Volume 7: From Crash to Defeat (£25.00, hb, 978 1785900853) of his much-acclaimed series of diaries, published by Biteback on Thursday. Look out for his appearances on BBC Politics Live, ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Sky News, as well as interviews on LBC, Talk Radio and TalkSport. Looking further ahead, Alastair will appear on the next Chatham House podcast, hit podcast How to Fail with Elizabeth Day, How to Change the World with Channel 4 News’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy, and BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show. In this volume Alastair Campbell finds himself being torn in several directions caught in the no man's land between being a key figure in Downing Street and the relative anonymity of the world outside politics. Having succeeded Tony Blair as Prime Minister, Gordon Brown wants Campbell at his side. Campbell resists, flooding his reservoir of guilt as a general election looms and Brown's indecision and fluctuating moods suggest the Labour administration is seriously threatened by the Tory posh boy, David Cameron. The intensity of the months leading up to 6 May 2010 is as dramatic as any screenplay, with Campbell chronicling Brown's struggle to win over a disillusioned nation and then his dignified departure from the main stage.

Some brilliant publicity for First Bridge Too Far by Mark Saliger (978 1612006895, £22.50, hb) with big features in both the Mail  and the Sun. This is great PR for this title, publicizing it as an “amazing story told in a new book commemorating the 75th anniversary of a forgotten World War Two offensive” and both tabloids make it sound like a thoroughly riveting read with loads of great pictures and quotes from the book – have a look! This well-researched narrative solely dedicated to one of the bloodiest and hardest fought campaigns of World War Two has just been published by Casemate and is a story that now on the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Primosole Bridge, really deserves to be read in order to honour Britain’s unsung heroes.

I am loving this super display and tweet from Waterstone’s Braehead for The Relentless Tide (£8.99, pb, 978 1846974120) which is the new DCI Daley thriller from Denzil Meyrick, just published by Polygon. You’ll remember that an article by Denzil featured on the BBC Scotland website recently, and they are so pleased with the response to that (now at 930k hits!) that they are using some more material from their interview and running another feature next week! Denzil is also appearing on BBC Radio Scotland's Off the Ball show, hosted by Stuart Cosgrove, this Saturday, which is one of the UK’s most popular radio shows. The Relentless Tide begins when a team of archaeologists find the remains of three women on a remote Kintyre hillside, a site rumoured to have been the base of a Viking warlord. Their delight soon turns to horror when they realise the women tragically met their end little more than two decades ago and it soon becomes clear that these are the three missing victims of the `Midweek Murderer', a serial killer who was at work in Glasgow in the early 1990s. DCI Jim Daley now has the chance to put things right and to confront a nightmare from his past and solve a crime he failed to as a young detective. Momentum is definitely building for this author – all the reader reviews say this is his best yet – and the publicity should increase his sales still further.

Fungi are vital to life on Earth but little studied. 2,000 new species of fungi were discovered in 2017 alone – which scientists say shows how little is known about the organisms – you can read that fascinating story here  in the Guardian. A good opportunity to remind you about the fabulous Mushroom Cookbook (978 0754832867, £15, hb) which won The Best Mushroom Cookbook Award in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards last year. This lovely guide to edible, wild and cultivated mushrooms contains a whole host of tempting and original recipes to use them through the seasons. It’s fully illustrated throughout and a beautiful and informative portrait gallery of the different mushrooms offers culinary suggestions and ideas for making the most of each one. 

Bruce Grobbelaar is the most decorated goalkeeper in Liverpool FCs 125-year history. And yet, question marks have followed him around; question marks about his goalkeeping suitability after arriving on Merseyside; question marks about his integrity after match fixing allegations were laid against him. In Life in a Jungle (£20, hb, 978-1909245570) which is out from De Coubertin next week, Grobbelaar gives us his side of the story. He takes you to Africa, where nothing is at it seems; he takes you back to an era when Liverpool ruled Europe; he takes you to the benches of the Anfield dressing room, where only the strongest personalities survived. And for the first time, he takes you inside the court room, detailing the draining fight to clear his name. The Mail on Sunday have an interview and serialisation of the book this weekend, and then CNN, Press Association, LFCTV, BBC World Service and BBC Sport all have interviews next week. There will also be a piece in the Guardian, an article in the November issue of FourFourTwo magazine – and lots more to come!
And if you’re not familiar with the Liverpool legend – then have a watch here – five minutes of his best saves!

Claims that schools in the north of England are worse than those in the south are based on myth and bad data, according to a large-scale research project that calls into question the education policies of successive governments. The study also challenges the idea that selective grammar schools or academies are more likely to improve pupil progress overall than community comprehensives – you can read more in the Guardian here. This controversial article was published this week and was written by Stephen Gorard, who strongly believes in the transformative power of education and is on a mission to find evidence of what actually works. However, he is frustrated by policymakers not wanting to listen. “Politicians hear what they want to hear – they adopt or accept evidence that suits their prior beliefs and values,” he says. Gorard’s findings are presented in his new book Education Policy: Evidence of Equity and Effectiveness (pb, £24.99, 978 1447342151) which has just been published by Policy Press. Supported by twenty years of extensive, international research, this approachable text brings invaluable insights into the underlying problems within education policy, and proposes practical solutions for a brighter future.

Vinegar is definitely having a moment at present – there was a long feature about its many benefits in Waitrose Weekend recently. Lorenz have two terrific titles on the subject: Vinegar: 250 Practical Uses in the Home by Bridget Jones (£9.99, pb, 978 1780190112) is a comprehensive and practical book covering health, healing, beauty homecare and cooking. Colour photographs throughout illustrate the versatility and benefits of this magical ingredient. Vinegar (hb, £4.99, 978 0754830634) by Helen Sudell is a fab collection of twenty-five recipes featuring all types of vinegar. Recipes feature varieties for making dressings and chutneys as well as sauces, baking and drinks and with its easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions and photos, this great little cookbook is the perfect introduction to this useful and versatile ingredient.

Interesting news this week that Tesco are about to enter the deep discount territory – you can read that story here on the BBC. Kogan Page have an excellent book on this subject coming on 3 October; Retail Disruptors: The Spectacular Rise and Impact of the Hard Discounters by Jan-Benedict Steenkamp and Laurens Sloot (£19.99, pb, 978 0749483470). This is the first book that explores this upheaval, providing expert insight into the business models of the leading hard discounters, and explaining what mainstream retailers and brand manufacturers can do to remain competitive in the face of disruption. Meticulously researched by two of the leading authorities in this field, it describes the retail strategies and business models behind the likes of Aldi, Lidl and Trader Joe's and provides traditional retailers with the essential tips, strategies and techniques they need to survive.

And so to finish, I think you’ll enjoy this  commercial for Aldi – which strangely, never aired on mainstream TV!

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

Friday, 7 September 2018

Compass Points 273

First, a lovely title which would be a brilliant present for anyone remotely interested in architecture, history, churches or beautiful watercolours. It’s published by Boydell Press, and has just had a superb review here from Christopher Howse (who has more influence than many book reviewers) in the Daily Telegraph. The book is English Medieval Church Towers (£19.99, pb, 978 1783273539). Howse writes “With a cry of delight, I fell upon a book that emerged from its stout packaging. People often send me books with the mistaken hope that I will enjoy them, or even without any such thought. This one was different. The idea is simple: 500 medieval church towers from the Northern Province of the Church of England depicted in watercolour with accuracy and feeling. The pleasure in looking at them is quite a bit more than the pretty design they make on white paper.” This is indeed a wonderful book, comprising of the twelve dioceses of Blackburn, Carlisle, Chester, Durham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, Southwell and Nottingham and York, with each church tower beautifully illustrated with its own watercolour painting and accompanied by detailed information relating to its location and date and an architectural description. The collection is by WE David Ryan, a retired architect who had the idea in 1994 when he and his wife, Kathleen, (who took on the navigation) drove round with a copy of Pevsner’s Buildings of England for each county., and it’s a truly handsome book.

Pretty sensational news today that Waterstones has acquired the Foyles bookshops from the Foyle family for an undisclosed fee. The retailer has bought the Charing Cross Road flagship as well as Foyles' three shops in London and shops in Bristol, Birmingham and Chelmsford. James Daunt, Waterstones MD said: “We are honoured to be entrusted with the Foyles business, and greatly look forward to joining forces with the Foyles bookselling team. Together, we will be stronger and better positioned to protect and champion the pleasures of real bookshops in the face of Amazon’s siren call.” You can read more on that in the Guardian here.  

The concern about childhood obesity is not going away any time soon as experts declare in The Independent and many other newspapers that a “more than 40 per cent increase in children with type 2 diabetes” (a condition unprecedented before 2000) is an “unmitigated disaster”. A good time therefore to promote Fit Food for Kids: A Healthy-Weight Diet Plan and Cookbook by Kim Davies (pb, £8.99, 978 0754831297). In the face of a culture that thrusts unhealthy food and a sedentary lifestyle upon us and our children, this brilliant book gives parents some simple solutions to changing the way their family eats and exercises, not just for a few weeks, but for good. It has expert advice about assessing and monitoring weight, ideas about what action you take (including weekly activity and menu planners, fun games and step-by-step exercise routines) and more than a hundred healthy, fuss-free family recipes. As always with titles published by Lorenz it is fully illustrated throughout and excellent value.

Delighted to see the first UK review of Kathy Page's Dear Evelyn (9781911508281, £10, pb) in today's Daily Mail the day after publication calling it “quietly devastating”. Kathy will be in the UK 1-8 October and will appearing at Battersea Library (a key location for Dear Evelyn), the Birmingham Literature Festival and Five Leaves Bookshop Nottingham, with another London event to be announced soon. Reviews are also expected in the Guardian and Times Literary Supplement. This portrait of a turbulent and beautiful seventy-year-long marriage forged during the onset of World War II is a love story, albeit an unconventional one, about two people who shape each other as they, their marriage and their country change. It’s published by And Other Stories.

In the wibbly wobbly world in which we now live, can you believe anything anyone tells you about anything? Can you trust what I’m telling you about Compass titles for example? Can your customers trust you to give them good advice? Hopefully yes, but if you want to find out more, The Post-Truth Business: How to Rebuild Brand Authenticity in a Distrusting World by Sean Pillot de Chenecey (pb, £14.99, 978 0749482817) provides a dynamic and positive way forward. The Post-Truth Business shows how to strengthen consumer engagement by closing the 'brand credibility gap' and it's packed with examples of inspiring people, brands and international campaigns from the fashion, beauty, outdoor, motor, drinks, finance, media, technology, entertainment and health sectors. Brands are built on trust, but in a post-truth world they're faced with a serious challenge: so much of modern life is defined by mistrust. If a brand isn't seen as trustworthy, then when choice is available it will be rejected in favour of one that is. The Post-Truth Business will be featured in the Sunday Times magazine on 30th September – great publicity for this important new title which is out in October from Kogan Page.

Who doesn’t love a book podcast! Of course we have our own fabulous Hitchhiker’s Guide to Scottish Literature from Birlinn, and the latest episode is dedicated to a full-length interview with one of the world’s best-loved authors, Alexander McCall Smith; hard to believe, but 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the international phenomenon that is The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Other podcasts are available of course, and here are Buzzfeed’s pick of the best thirty-one book-related listening opportunities!

As all new parents know, children sadly do not come with a parenting manual attached. Instructions Not Supplied (£12.099, pb, 978 1788600255) is the account of one family’s experience in adopting three children, each of whom turned out to have special needs, and the challenges they faced along the way. The book is a unique insight into the twin challenges of adoption and disability, an invaluable read for prospective adopters and adoptive parents as well as natural parents of children with additional support needs. It was published this summer by Practical Inspiration Publishing and its author Julie Otto has written an article for The Green Parent Magazine, which will be out in the Oct/Nov issue.

There’s a superb exhibition about video games called Design/Play/Disrupt on at the moment at the V&A in London which has attracted a lot of publicity and you can read about in the Guardian here. A good time then to remind you about the fantastic Lorenz title, The Illustrated History of 151 Videogames (978 0754823902, £14.99, hb) by Simon Parkin which charts five decades of video game evolution, including arcade, console, PC, online and handheld games, from Computer Space to Fez. Compulsively illustrated with over 1000 action screenshots, game artworks and photographs, the medium’s history is chronicled through the individual stories of the most iconic video games. The story of each game is accompanied by expert analysis as well as trivia and quotations, and this fully illustrated celebratory history will enthral any video games aficionado.

Comma have been working on a very special and incredibly exciting project with Refugee Tales which launches this coming Tuesday (11th September). They have recorded twenty-eight videos of actors and authors reading from Refugee Tales Volumes 1 (978 1910974230), 2 (978 1910974308) and the forthcoming 3 (978 1912697113) and will be releasing one a day for twenty-eight days, to highlight the plight of people suffering under the UK's policy of indefinite detention, and calling for a twenty-eight-day time limit for immigration detention. The videos include the likes of Christopher Eccleston, Maxine Peake, Zoe Wanamaker, Kamila Shamsie and Olivia Laing and the first video is Jeremy Irons reading the Prologue. Over £9,000 was crowd-funded in over a month to pay for the filming and distribution of these videos and you’ll be able to see them on YouTube here and on the dedicated 28for28 website. These ground-breaking anthologies have featured on Channel 4 News, Woman’s Hour, The Guardian, The Irish Times, The TLS and The Observer as well as at festivals across the UK including Manchester, Belfast, Edinburgh and many more.

The Honourable Ladies: Profiles of Women MPs 1918-1996 by Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith (£30, hb, 978 1785902444) was published by Biteback this week, and there's some good coverage coming up. Jacqui appeared yesterday on Sky News to talk about being a female MP and look at the history of women in politics. The book will be discussed in a standalone segment on this Sunday's Westminster Hour on BBC Radio 4, where Jacqui Smith will be interviewed and the book discussed alongside archive material featuring some of the book's subjects. Each one of these pioneers has fought tenaciously to introduce enduring reform, and in doing so has helped revolutionise Britain's political landscape. Containing profiles of every woman MP from 1918 to 1996, and with female contributors from Mary Beard to Caroline Lucas, Ruth Davidson to Yvette Cooper and Margaret Beckett to Ann Widdecombe; The Honourable Ladies is an indispensable and illuminating testament to the stories and achievements of these remarkable women. There will be more publicity to come with discussions on LBC, Talk Radio, The Times Red Box and Progress Magazine's podcast.

Russia is back in the news big time this week, and plenty of the news articles about the two poisoners have referenced the two Gibson Square titles The Putin Corporation: How to Poison Elections (978 1908096258 £9.99 pb) by Yuri Felshtinsky and Vladimir Pribylovsky and Blowing Up Russia (978 1908096234, pb, £9.99) by Alexander Litvinenko and Yuri Felshtinsky.

Some lovely reviews coming in for A Perfect Mother by Katri Skala (£15, hb, 978 0995647848) which is a bracing, hypnotic story of mid-life crisis about the complexities of love, relationship and legacy, just published by Hikari Press. Christina Patterson writes of it “A truly impressive first novel ... atmospheric, fascinating and very moving. I highly recommend it” and there have also been pieces in the Economist,  The Last Word and Books by and an interview in Female First. The Times will be running an article on Katri Skala early next week. You can also see a ten-minute video of Katri talking about the book on YouTube here.

An excellent review for Crusader (978 1612005447, hb, £25) in Miniature Wargames magazine saying “I reckon this biography should be required reading for serving officers: the style is thoroughly engaging, and the lessons are timeless and of relevance to all aspects of leadership. This is probably the finest biography I've reviewed.” This new biography of Donn Starry who became one of the most influential commanders of the Vietnam War, and after Vietnam was one of the “intellectual giants” who reshaped the US Army and its doctrines. Throughout his career he worked to improve training, leadership and conditions for the men who served under him. It’s hard to imagine anyone who has had a greater impact on modern manoeuvre warfare and author Mike Guardia uses interviews with veterans and family, and extracts from Starry’s personal papers to create a fast-paced and absorbing read. It’s published by Casemate.

Lots of super PR coverage for Bryony’s Hill’s lovely new title Grow Happy, Cook Happy, Be Happy (£20, hb, 978 1910453582) which you can see here. This beautiful book is packed with Bryony's own stunning photographs of flowers, vegetables and the wonderful wildlife found in her garden practical gardening advice, cookery tips and mouth-wateringly easy-to-make recipes that will make you happy inside and out. As Alan Titchmarsh said “There's nothing more satisfying than growing your own produce, and then using it to make a delicious home-cooked meal. But whether you are catering for the family or simply cooking for one, it couldn't be easier to grow, cook and enjoy your very own home-grown, tasty food.” It’s published by Red Door.

A great interview with Denzil Meyrick that he did earlier in the year recently made it to the front page of the BBC News website which you can see here. As a result, demand for titles by this “beat cop who became a crime writer” has soared and his seventh crime book The Relentless Tide (£8.99, pb, 978 1846974120) was published by Polygon last week. In the 1980s, Denzil was pounding the streets of Glasgow as a young constable – experience which was to prove invaluable when he launched his career as a crime writer six years ago. His books feature DCI Daley, a Glasgow detective who is parachuted (metaphorically) into the fictitious rural community of Kinloch to solve a series of gruesome murders. If you haven’t discovered him yet I urge you to try; one of his ebooks is currently the No.1 bestseller on Amazon in Scottish Crime – outselling the likes of Val McDermid, Denise Mina and Peter May!

And finally, it’s Friday, the summer hols seem a long way away as does Christmas and we need something daft; so here are fifteen random but highly mind-blowing facts from Twitter that’ll make you go, “Whoa!”

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