Friday, 17 November 2017

Compass Points 239

Well done to Parthian, who had a cracking night at the Welsh Literature Book Awards in Cardiff last week, winning four out of the five awards!! Pigeon (£8.99, pb, 978 1910901236) by Alys Conran won the Welsh Book of the Year and the Wales Arts Review People’s Choice Award and the Rhys Davies Trust Fiction Award – a veritable hat trick! Pigeon is a journey through the uneasy half-forgotten memories of childhood; a wonderful story about wishful thinking and the power of language. And many congrats to Peter Lord who won the Creative Non-Fiction award for The Tradition: A New History of Welsh Art (hb, £50, 978 1910409626) which surveys the evolution of the visual culture of Wales from the Renaissance to the end of the twentieth century in a new, single-volume history – full of the most sumptuous pictures of over 400 landscapes and portrait paintings, prints and sculptures. On behalf of the judging panel, Jonathan Edwards said: “This year’s winning books are a real celebration of just how exciting, vibrant and diverse literature in Wales currently is. These writers are great talents who have succeeded in proving that Wales is a world-class contributor to literature.” Parthian are having a great year with loads of prize winners – I would really recommend having a quick browse through their excellent website to find out a bit more about this vibrant, surprising and original publisher, which reflects both a diverse and contemporary Wales and the wider world.
As the Huff Post dramatically puts it “Bookworms, ready yourselves for next level awesomeness: the most beautiful library has opened in China which can house up to 1.2 million books.” Have a look here to see some pictures – the 33,700 m² space uses cascading bookshelves to create stairs, seating and the layered ceiling - all of which are filled to the brim with books. I must say it is pretty awesome!

Shockingly, the use of foodbanks in Britain is increasing. This hugely topical issue is succinctly addressed in a shocking and provocative new title from Policy Press: Hunger Pains: Life Inside Foodbank Britain by Kayleigh Garthwaite (pb, £14.99, 978 1447329114). The book provides a highly accessible analysis of food bank use in the UK – why people are there, how it affects their health and how they feel about it. Drawing on hundreds of hours of compelling interviews, Hunger Pains emphasises the harsh reality of food bank use for the growing number of people forced to turn to them for help, told in their own words. It offers a serious challenge to contemporary thinking about the factors driving increasing food bank use, and dispels the damaging myths that food bank users are seeking emergency food as a result of flawed lifestyle choices. This title has just been awarded the prestigious Peter Townsend Prize at the 2017 BMA Awards and Dr Garthwaite hopes “the recognition the prize brings allows the messages of the book to reach a wider audience, and hopefully help to begin a new conversation about foodbank use going forward.” 
Taking a different angle entirely on the subject of food; there was a big feature in the Telegraph for The Course of History: 10 Meals That Changed the World by Struan Stevenson with recipes by Tony Singh (hb, £16.99, 978 1780274911) which you can read here. Many decisions which have had enormous historical consequences have been made over the dinner table, and have been accompanied (and perhaps influenced) by copious amounts of food and wine. In this book Struan Stevenson brings to life ten such moments, exploring the personalities, the issues and of course the food which helped shape the course of history. Accompanying Struan's analysis are the actual recipes, researched and recreated by acclaimed chef Tony Singh. 10 Meals That Changed the World has just been published by Birlinn and is ideal Christmas present fodder – it even has a picture of a turkey on the front!
Food through the ages – I think that’s the ideal opportunity to watch another Epic Rap Battle of HistoryGordon Ramsay vs Julia Child here!

Worryingly, amidst all the stories of sexual harassment in Hollywood and Westminster, a survey by the Bookseller finds that over half of women have experienced something similar in our own industry. A recent poll found that 54% of female respondents in the book trade reported sexual “harassment, assault or predatory behaviour”. You can read the full story in the Guardian here.

Yippee – I am pleased to say that Choc Lit have three titles on the shortlist for the Romantic Novelists Association 2017 Awards which will be announced and presented by Prue Leith on 13th March in the Gladstone Library, London. You can find the shortlists in full on their website but the Choc Lit titles are Little Girl Lost (978 1781893227, pb, £7.99) by Janet Gover which is up for The Epic Romantic Novel category. The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight (£7.99, pb, 978 1781893203) by Christina Courtenay is the the Paranormal or Speculative Romance Novel category and Girl Having a Ball (Kindle only) by Rhoda Baxter is shortlisted for the Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year. Good luck to all three authors!
Talking of choc – what’s your favourite bar of the sweet stuff? Have a look here to see the Top Ten Chocolate Bars – and find out if you agree with the number one choice?

In 2015, in response to a challenge issued to the publishing industry by Kamila Shamsie, And Other Stories declared that in 2018 it would only publish female authors – and now we’re nearly there! If you’d like a catalogue of the 2018 And Other Stories publishing programme, you can request one over on Twitter @andothertweets. Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti, has recently expressed her support for the idea and And Other Stories is the only publishing house to have taken up the challenge to make 2018 a Year of Publishing Women (YPW2018, for short).In the wake of research suggesting that women are far less likely to be awarded major literary prizes YPW2018 has given the publisher the impetus to address biases that sideline women writers – biases which are particularly acute in fiction in translation where only about 30% of fiction published is written by women. Constraints can be creative though, and And Other Stories believe their 2018 list is all the richer for the many wonderful new authors you’ll find on it! In this first half of the year, there are classic authors Ann Quin and Norah Lange, with whom it is about time the world got better acquainted, there are novels by lauded contemporary writers Cristina Rivera Garza, Christine Schutt and Fleur Jaeggy, as well as the first novel by a brilliant young Catalan writer, Alicia Kopf. Order a catalogue from them and have browse for yourselves!
OK all of you grammar geeks out there in your bookshops – what would you say is the most important bit of punctuation – and the one that the internet is killing off fastest? Have a read here  of this amusing article on Buzzfeed, about the demise of the full stop – or period as Americans call it!

Many of us are used to “sharing” music – even though it is illegal – i.e. passing on downloaded tracks to friends and family so they don’t have to cough up for the new Tay Tay album themselves. And the same thing is happening with eBooks, albeit on a smaller scale. However, the bestselling US fantasy novelist Maggie Stiefvater is leading a chorus of writers warning readers that if they download pirated e-books, then authors will not be able to continue writing because they will be unable to make a living. This is a growing trend, and a particular worry for publishers at a time when eBook sales are slightly in decline. eBook piracy is “a very significant issue and of great concern” to publishers, said Stephen Lotinga of the Publishers Association, which works to take down and block pirated eBooks links and sites. You can read more on that story in the Guardian here. 
Talking of eBooks, it is very interesting to look at how being a bestseller on a Kindle can sometimes also lead to increased sales of the physical book. Fifty Shades of Grey being probably the most famous example of this. With that thought in mind, I will tell you that The Visitors by Catherine Burns (hb, £14.99, 978 1787199859) is a massive Kindle bestseller at the moment and is currently number one the suspense/horror category. This dark, unsettling, yet compulsively readable novel came out in hardback this Autumn from Legend, and it’s published in paperback in June 2018 when I have a feeling it’s going to be BIG! Marion lives with her domineering older brother, John in a decaying Georgian townhouse on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to shut out the shocking secret that John keeps in the cellar. Until, suddenly, John has a heart attack and Marion is forced to go down to the cellar herself and face the gruesome truth that her brother has kept hidden. As questions are asked and secrets unravel, maybe John isn't the only one with a dark side? Legend said this title is perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Ruth Ware and as I say, the eBook stats speak for themselves as to its addictive readability!
We all know how well Catcher in the Rye sells – 65 million copies in total and around 250,000 a year. We also know how famously reclusive its author JD Salinger was before he died eight years ago at the age of 91. A new film Rebel in the Rye, starring Nicholas Hoult shedding new light on this very private man which received good reviews, came out this autumn – you can see a trailer here. The film also stars Zoey Deutch, who currently features in the video for the new Ed Sheeran single, Perfect. However, unfortunately the third big name in this biopic (and it was all looking so promising) is Kevin Spacey, so let’s skip straight onto telling you about the biography which provided much of the information used in the film. J.D. Salinger: A Life Raised High by Kenneth Slawenski (£20, hb, 978 1904590231) is a definitive profile of one of the most famous authors of our time and provides a detailed, highly readable account of Salinger’s life – it’s published by Pomona. Slawenski is a world-renowned expert on Salinger and based in the US, he was able to do first-hand research, conducting many interviews and gaining access to library-held records and files. The Sunday Times called it “an intriguing study of a famous recluse” and the Observer said that “Slawenski demystifies his subject and presents a wonderful portrait of a writer fastened unerringly to the truth.” The film will have undoubtedly raised interest in Salinger – so do order this biog for your gift book tables. 
A lovely review here in the TES this week for Teaching Creative Thinking: Developing Learners Who Generate Ideas and Can Think Critically by Bill Lucas and Ellen Spencer (£16.99, pb, 978 1785832369) published by Crown House – I really can’t recommend this title highly enough! They say “Lucas and Spencer have provided well-evidenced solutions for an important element of modern education. It is an immensely practical guide and is suitable for all teachers – except those for whom creativity is pedagogical indulgence and superfluous debauchery.” And it’s currently a staff pic in Foyles!

William Letford will be on Radio 3’s The Verb this evening at 10pm, talking about his second Carcanet collection Dirt. You can listen to that once it’s available on the iPlayer here. These poems embrace a good life stitched together with bad circumstances, bungled chances, missed callings. Whether loitering on the street corner, “poackets ful eh ma fingers”, or stumbling from a bar “like a monkey in the jungle of traffic, stinking, wild and free”, the characters in Letford's poems deliver one thing in spades: heart. “On Friday I visit my seventy-seven-year-old granny. She’s smoking a joint. It's not a surprise.” Letford's words are lightly worn yet carefully measured; they move between English and Scots, lyrical and concrete, accumulating what the poet has described as an array of textures. Nicholas Lezard writing in the Guardian said “The pleasure I have gained from new Scottish genius William Letford's poems will, I am confident, stay with me forever.”
A terrific review for the new biography of Muriel Spark; Appointment in Arezzo (£12.99, hb, 978 1846973758) by Alan Taylor in the Guardian yesterday – which you can read in full here “fascinating” “valuable” “astute” “revealing” and “beguiling” are just some of the glowing adjectives applied to this title which has just been published by Polygon.

Let’s finish with a little round up of some of our latest books looking mighty fine up and down the country as you can see here! Thanks Waterstone’s Liverpool for a super promotion here of Post-Truth: How Bullshit Conquered the World (pb, 978 1785902147, £9.99) by James Ball from Biteback – a terrific book in a terrific shop!
Tis the season for putting books under a tree – and we’d absolutely love to while away some time reading beneath the enormous book tree in Blackwell’s new bookshop in the Westgate Centre, Oxford – nice one Charlie Young and all the team there, fitting a whole tree into a busy bookshop takes some doing!! We also very much admire this fabulous Angel Tree that’s just gone up in Happy Glastonbury!
As we mentioned before, thanks very much to Foyles on Charing Cross Road for choosing Teaching Creative Thinking as this week’s staff pick!
And this isn’t a bookshop as such, but we’re absolutely loving a gorgeous display of the sumptuous new hardback from Lorenz; The Mushroom Cookbook: A Guide to Edible Wild and Cultivated Mushrooms and Delicious Seasonal Recipes to Cook with Them (978 0754832867, £15, hb,) by Michael Hyams with its gorgeous full-page photographs by Jon Ashford; at Harwoods of London – which is a family run company supplying fresh fruit and vegetables in New Covent Garden Market in London! Books as one of your five a day – we love it! And a big “Hello and Welcome” to the brand-new Rother Books, who have just opened on the High Street in the historic town of Battle, East Sussex! Happy trading!
Last week we brought you the new John Lewis ad – this week here is massively popular vlogger Zoella, telling you what she thinks of it and Xmas ads in general. I’ve never watched Zoella before, and nice and lovely as she undoubtedly is, I Just. Don’t. Get. It. How is this interesting exactly? I guess I’m not her target market mind you! But if this is what young people are doing instead of reading, gawd help us. And talking of things I don’t get – am I the only person totally baffled by the M&S Christmas Paddington ad?! The best bit is when he says “F*** you little bear” at the end.

On the subject of Christmas, don’t forget about our brilliant offer – an extra 5% discount on any of our Christmas Stars, which you can get by contacting your local Area Sales Manager or Nuala at and quoting XMAS17. Look at last week’s post below this to see all of the titles included!
Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are our favourite tweets from the week! 
Compass Academic‏@CompassAcademic We’re celebrating working with some great uni presses during #UPWeek. Hurray for you guys @BrisUniPress @UniWalesPress @UCLpress!
Muriel Spark 100‏@MurielSpark100 Come celebrate the launch of @PolygonBooks Spark Centenary publications & Alan Taylor’s 'Appointment in Arezzo: A Friendship with Muriel Spark' at @Waterstones_Edi on Mon 20 Nov, 6.30pm. Interesting talk guaranteed & Prosecco incl. 
The Refugee Tales‏@RefugeeTales Our Christmas ad for @RefugeeTales isn't out. We're using our funds on support for those who have suffered detention. Walk with us. New walk launches on 20 Jan. Keep the date free!
Suffolk Libraries@SuffolkLibrary The Huntingfield Paintress by @Pammieholmes is a good story with sympathetic characters, set in nineteenth-century Suffolk 
Helen Lewis LitPR‏ @LiterallyPR Lovely @TheoCooks does it again with a mouth-wateringly impressive range of sophisticated but ridiculously quick & easy #soup recipes @Anness_Books A perfect gift for #foodies at just a tenner!
Literature Wales‏@LitWales Pigeon by @alysconran is the People's Choice Award winner for #WBOTY17 Congratulations Alys!
Rother Books‏@RotherBooks Bags have been delivered - very exciting! Ready for first day's trading tomorrow!
ebb & flo bookshop‏@ebbandflobooks #authors who put an Amazon link on your profile, please remember indie bookshops too. We need the advertising a bit more tbh @BAbooksellers
Lillie Langtry‏@Lillie_Langtry Yay! Excited about @andothertweets Year of Publishing Women in 2018!
Impress Books‏@ImpressBooks1 Home Is Nearby is a contemporary fiction novel that tells the vital story of migrant experience, of lost roots, and of the importance of art and expression during oppression #literaryfiction #contemporaryfiction
Lighthouse Bookshop‏@Lighthousebks Behold our MIGHTY WALL OF RADICAL BOOKS #makethebigotstremble! #RadicalBookFair starts in 12 hours- time for a cheeky brew #edinburgh
That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This blog is sent as an e-newsletter every Friday to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Christmas Stars!

Hello booksellers, this week we are bringing you a special Compass Points, which features some of the highlights from 2017 - ideal for your seasonal book tables and windows! You’ll need to see how gorgeous they look, so go where you can see all the jackets. And just to make you extra merry, we’re giving you an early Christmas present! You can receive an extra 5% discount on any of these titles, by contacting your local Area Sales Manager and quoting XMAS17. If you don’t see a Compass Manager, then please contact Nuala at Compass Towers on 020 8326 5696 or to place an order.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Two BIG Bestsellers!
The sales of these two titles have been stratospheric this year – thanks very much to all the shops that have supported them! And there’s still plenty of time to get some extra Christmas sales! Queen in 3D (978 0957424685, hb, £50.00) from the London Stereoscopic Company is a unique collection of original, highly personal snapshots of the legendary rock group; the first book ever to be published about the by a member of the band and certainly the first book of its kind in the world. The Bothy Bible (978 1910636107, pb, £16.99) from Wild Things has been a Waterstone’s Book of the Month, and there has been huge praise for this lovely book which reveals the country’s unique and often hidden network of bothy cabins and mountain huts in jaw-droppingly beautiful landscapes. I am LOVING the juxtaposition of Freddy Mercury with Scottish bothies, which somehow seems to sum up everything that is diverse and wonderful about our fabulous independent publishers!
Film and Music
The Radio Times Film Guide 2018 (978 0992936440, pb, £27.50) is an essential present for any real film buff. And two must-have music titles are Young Soul Rebels (978 1846973932, pb, £9.99) Stuart Cosgrove’s personal history of Northern Soul, and Captain Fantastic: Elton John’s Stellar Trip through the 70’s (978 1846973741, hb, £16.99) by Tim Doyle both of which are published by Birlinn.

Will ye take a wee dram…?
Booze and Christmas. They go together like the new John Lewis ad and a box of tissues, Father Christmas and Coca Cola – well you get the general idea. Here are four of the best drinks-related gift books. Whiskies Galore (978 1780274423, hb, £16.99) is a personal journey of discovery and adventure around Scotland’s best island distilleries by expert Ian Buxton and the Pocket Guide to Whisky by Blair Bowman (978 1780274324, pb, £7.99), also from Birlinn does exactly what it says on the tin (or should that be bottle) in a way that is both informative and entertaining. Sticking with a whisky theme is The Great Drams of Scotland: A Conversational Meander Through the Rich History of Scotch Whisky and the Brands That Have Brought it to Life (978 1910453346, hb, £20.00) which shows that the art of storytelling is alive and well in the hands of Greg Dillon as he brings his take on well-chosen whisky tales from the past and present, separating the facts from the fiction. His love of whisky drips through every chapter, and is authentic, incisive and entertaining. That’s from Red Door. And Twentieth Century Pub: From Beer House to Booze Bunker (978 0957278721, pb, £16.99) published by Homewood Press is a culmination of more than a decade looking and thinking about pubs of all kinds. With a huge current interest in craft beer and pubs, this is timely reflection on the various different guises of the English pub from early working pubs, the architecturally modern pubs of the 1950s and 60s, to mock-Tudor roadside inns, corner locals and 1980s theme pubs! Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey, award-winning beer writers and bloggers, have their own inimitable and informative writing style which they bring to this highly entertaining paperback.

Five top titles to take you away from Britain 2017, and into a different place and time – with five expert writers as your guide. The Germans and Europe by Peter Millar (978 1910050897, hb, £20.00) from Arcadia. Ten Meals that Changed the World by Struan Stevenson (978 1780274911, hb, £16.99) from Birlinn. My Journey to Egypt by Jean-Francois Champollion from Gibson Square (978 1783341078, pb, £12.99). The History of England’s Cathedrals (9781907605925, pb, £20.00) by Nicholas Orme from Impress and A Most Deliberate Swindle by Mick Hamer (978 1910453421, pb, £10.99).

Current Affairs
What a year of turmoil it’s been! And what better way to try and make sense of it all than with these timely titles. In an age of fake news and post-truth politics these highly readable book fight back with research, accuracy and analysis. Protest Stories of Resistance (978 1905583737, hb, £14.99) assembles twenty authors to re-imagine key moments of British protest, from the Peasants Revolt of 1381 to the anti-Iraq War demo of 2003 from Comma Press. In Darkness Over Germany (978 1911350194, pb, £15.00) first published in 1943, and now from Arcadia; Amy Buller recounts the hopes and fears of Germans engulfed in the rise of fascism during the 1930s. The Sun Tyrant (978 1785902215, pb, £12.99) from Biteback uncovers the oddities and tragedies at the heart of the world's most secretive regime – North Korea; and Memphis 67: The Tragedy of Southern Soul (978 1846973734; hb, £16.99) is the second title in Stuart Cosgrove’s brilliant Soul Trilogy and follows the fortunes of both the music and the civil rights movement fifty years ago.
The ideal titles to curl up with over the festive season as I’m sure I’m not the only person to find that reading about someone else’s life is an excellent way to escape from your own relations! Our top four recommendations are: Appointment in Arezzo (978 1846973758, hb, 12.99) in which Alan Taylor writes about his lifelong friendship with Muriel Spark which is just out from Polygon. Shouting in the Street by Donald Trelford (978 1785902529, hb, £25.00): The Adventures and Misadventures of a Fleet Street Survivor – that one’s from Biteback. Into the Mountain: The Life of Nan Shepherd (978 1903385562, hb, £20.00), is Charlotte Peacock’s enlightening biography of this elusive and important writer, published by Galileo. The Man who was George Smiley (978 1785902970, pb, £9.99) by Michael Jago published by Biteback is the first full-length biography tracing the life of the remarkable investigator, interrogator and agent runner who was the inspiration for John le Carré's perfect spy.
Fabulous Fiction
Five top titles from five unique voices: Cesar Aira, Alexander McCall Smith, Antoine Laurain, Ece Temelkuran and Glyn Maxwell – what’s not to love?! The Lime Tree (978 1911508120, £8.99) from And Other Stories; The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse (978 1846974090, hb, £14.99) from Polygon; The Portrait (978 1910477434, pb, £8.99) from Gallic, Women Who Blow on Knots (978 1910901694, pb, £10.99) from Parthian and The Autumn Term (978 1786821409, pb, £8.99) published by Oberon all have their own very different stories to tell in compellingly original style.

Short Story Collections
This genre is very definitely on the up in 2017 – and a collection of brilliant stories makes an ideal gift as well as the perfect title to dip and out of during the holiday season. Here are three of the best collections: Worlds from the Words End (978 1911508106, pb, £8.99) cements Joanna Walsh's reputation as one of the sharpest writers of this century. Wearing her learning lightly, her stories make us see the world afresh while showing us she has read the world. It’s published by And Other Stories. Banthology (978 1910974360, pb, £9.99) is an urgent and timely collection bringing together seven specially commissioned stories from the so-called banned nations: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Written in response to Trump’s ban, it showcases new works by previously un-platformed writers, exploring the emotional and personal impact of all restrictions on movement. Refuge Tales 2 (978 1910974308, pb, £9.99) which is also published by Comma is the second volume of stories which set out to communicate the experiences of those who, having sought asylum in the UK, find themselves indefinitely detained. Here, poets and novelists create a space in which stories that are routinely discredited, disrupted and disbelieved can instead be safely heard and welcomed.

Curling up with some really good travel writing is one of the great joys for the armchair adventurer. Here are three very different titles – which all share an enthusiasm for discovering somewhere new. All at Sea: Another Side of Paradise (978 1911350231, pb, £9.99) is the new book from Arcadia from Julian Sayarer who won the Stamfords Travel Book of the Year for Interstate.  This book begins on the small island of Surin, near the naval border of Thailand and Myanmar, where an indigenous people known as Moken 'sea gypsies' struggle to maintain the same timeless existence as their ancestors. As real estate developers, oil exploration and industrial tourism reshape the waters they call home, Sayarer receives a mysterious offer from an idealistic Luxembourger determined to tell a tale of the Moken on film, and in search of a writer to detail the efforts of his motley crew… In Search of Nice Americans (978 1785902635, pb, £12.99) goes off-grid, on the road and state to state in Trump's America in the company of Geoff Steward, who with his blend of waspish wit and mischievous charm, takes you on an affectionate travel romp! Journeying coast-to-coast across the US with Steward might just remind you that, despite the post-Trump hysteria, there are many normal and decent Americans out there. That one’s from Biteback. And finally, The Wild Guide to Scotland (978 1910636121, pb, £16.99) guides you to over 800 wild swims, ancient forests, lost ruins and hidden beaches, including inns, wild camping, local crafts, artisan whisky distilleries and wild places to stay – all with the most stunning photography. This is the ultimate adventure to be had from the comfort of the sofa!

And relax. Poetry must surely be the best way to reduce the Christmas chaos. Here are three of our favourites to give as gifts, all with a natural theme. Fugitive Colours (978 1846973864, hb, £12.99) by Liz Lochhead is a stunning new assortment which marks the end of Liz’s term as Scotland's Poet Laureate. This collection is beautiful, sensitive and brilliant, and it’s published by Birlinn. Zoology (978 1784102166, £9.99) is Gillian Clarke's ninth Carcanet collection, following her T. S. Eliot Prize-shortlisted Ice. The collection opens with a glimpse of hare, whose “heartbeat halts at the edge of the lawn”, holding us “in the planet of its stare” and the title delves into a whole well of memories drawing us into the Welsh landscape of the poet's childhood and the richness of nature. Edward Thomas: A Miscellany (978 1903385609, pb, £9.99) by Anna Stenning is published by Galileo in one of their lovely Rucksack editions which are attractively designed and intended to stand up to the rigours of being taken with the reader into the great outdoors. This is a lovely anthology of Edward Thomas's writings in both prose and verse, judiciously arranged by themes such as 'Footpaths & Roads', 'The Historic Landscape', 'Seasons & Weather', in a way which guides the reader skilfully through the range of his evocative and beautiful writing.

White Ladder are THE authorities on parenting titles, and these five are top sellers for this year – and beyond. My Pregnancy 2018 (978 1910336373, pb, £14.99) is the only parenting annual that is revised every year, and as Mother and Baby says gives new mums “everything you need to know.” Baby Names 2018 (978 1910336397, pb, £6.99) is also fully revised every year, and gives parents a choice of over 8,000 of the year’s most popular names to choose for their little ones! Baby Wise (978 1910336311, pb, £12.99) by expert Rachel Fitz-Desorgher gives parents a fresh, empowering approach to parenting for their baby’s first year. Siblings by renowned clinical psychologist Linda Blair (978 1910336250, pb, £12.99) has had rave reviews and is the only handbook you need for managing sibling rivalry, coping with arguments and handling family fights. And finally, The Supermum Myth (978 1910336342, pb, £12.99) tells you how you can overcome anxiety, ditch guilt, and embrace imperfection! Who wouldn’t want a bit of that over the holidays?!
Not many of us have got much enthusiasm for exercise over the Christmas break – but plenty of us enjoy curling up in an armchair reading about other people working up a sweat! Arena Sport have plenty to enjoy here, but here are three of the best. Three Weeks Eight Seconds: The Epic Tour de France of 1989 (978 1909715530, £14.99) by Nige Tassel brings one of cycling's most astonishing stories to life, examining that extraordinary race in all its multi-faceted glory, with fresh first-hand testimony from riders, team bosses, commentators, journalists and family members. Money: The Life and Fast Times of Floyd Mayweather (978 1909715578, pb, £9.99) is the remarkable story of one man’s ascent from unbelievably bleak origins to become the highest-paid sportsman on the planet. It is a story of greed, arrogance, abuse, extraordinary boxing ability and unrivalled ambition and Tris Dixon explores it all in a searing, insightful and often brutal exposé of one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen. When Lions Roared: The Lions, the All Blacks and the Legendary Tour of 1971 (978 1909715523, hb, £17.99) by Tom English and Peter Burns delves into the very heart of that famous summer as Lions, All Blacks and provincial players recount their memories to bring to life one of the most celebrated tours in rugby history - one that changed the game forever and continues to resonate powerfully to this day.

Remember – you can get an extra 5% discount on any of these titles, by contacting your local Area Sales Manager or Nuala and quoting XMAS17. 

And finally – it must be Christmas because here's  the John Lewis ad! What do you think? Normal Compass Points will be back next week!

Friday, 3 November 2017

Compass Points 237

We're delighted to announce that Turkish author Ece Temelkuran is the winner of the 2017 Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award for her novel (translated into English by Alex Dawe) Women Who Blow on Knots (£9.99, pb, 978 1910901694) the story of four women on a journey from Tunisia to Lebanon. All fifty titles featured in the Book Festival programme this year were eligible for the Award, which is voted for by readers and visitors so there was some pretty stiff competition. making winning this prize especially gratifying! Ece said “I am thrilled that the story I have written to survive the most difficult time of my life is now inspiring many and receiving such an award. Many thanks to all the readers who chose to join the insane journey of Women Who Blow on Knots.” Full of political rhetoric and strong, atypically Muslim female characters, Temelkuran has woven an empowering tale that challenges the social perceptions of politics, religion and women in the Middle East as well as the universal bonds of sister and motherhood. Book Festival Director Nick Barley said Women Who Blow on Knots is a perfect winner for this year’s First Book Award. It’s a funny, pacy and above all life-affirming road movie of a novel which celebrates strength and sisterhood among a group of Arab women at the height of the Arab Spring uprisings. Ece Temelkuran is not only a great novelist: she’s a fearless journalist whose writing about Turkey and its neighbouring countries deserves to be read widely across the world. I’m proud that book lovers from across the world voted for Ece’s exuberant novel.” Richard Davies from Parthian said it “is a book that takes the reader on a road trip of the mind in the company of four remarkable women racing across the Middle East at the end of the Arab Spring. We are delighted that Ece's words and ideas have had such a resonance with readers. She is a novelist of daring and ambition in difficult times.” Well done Ece and Parthian! You can watch a short film about the book on YouTube here.

How does an author behave when they see their book for the very first time? And what do they do when they find their book in an actual real live bookshop! Have a look here at this highly entertaining film of the fabulous Charlie Craggs discovering copies of To My Trans Sisters (£12.99, pb, 978 1785923432), which has just been published by Jessica Kingsley. The film was made by the Huffington Post and the shop is Foyles in Charing Cross – we love it! And yes, authors turning their books face (rather than spine) out is absolutely “a thing” Charlie – in fact I’m quite surprised your pal didn’t suggest you moved them to a table at the front of the store as many an over-enthusiastic new author has been known to do!! The Huffington Post were filming Charlie as part of their New Activists docu-reality 10-week series which follows the lives of young people who are changing the world, campaigning for the causes that matter to them.

When did our obsession with wellness start making us sick? In Hear Me Raw (£9.99, pb, 978 1786823748) Daniella Isaacs peels back the Instagram filter to reveal the dirty truth behind clean living. This autobiographical account of one woman's journey through the world of contemporary wellness is a provocative new play which has just been performed in London, and is now available in paperback from Oberon. The Stage said it is “extremely astute about how easy it is to conceal disordered eating behind a sheen of living cleanly.” and Younger Theatre called it “an important, emotional and sharply clever exploration of the many disturbing layers of ‘wellness’ and ‘healthy’ living...  moves from sharp and funny to life affirming... Isaacs has achieved something completely original, and entirely brilliant.” You can read a very thought-provoking article in the Telegraph entitled The Woman Who Knows the Dirty Truth about Clean Eating on Daniella Isaacs and her play here.

Halloween done and dusted – and we all know what comes next. Are you already playing your Christmas music in your bookshop? The Entertainer Toy Shop chain is, and boss Gary Grant is unrepentant, believing that Christmas is so utterly crucial that it can't start soon enough. He expects to turn over as much money in the last two months of the year as he does for other ten and says that “we basically spend 10 months preparing for two and without these final eight weeks we wouldn't make any money." Sound familiar? You can read about that on Sky News here and you will see that White Ladder author Linda Blair is quoted, saying that Christmas music “might make us feel that we're trapped” and although “some people will react to that by making impulse purchases, which the retailer likes. Others might just walk out of the shop. It's a risk." She also raises concerns about the shop workers who are likely to be driven nuts by having to listen to the festive racket for weeks on end! Linda is very much the go-to clinical psychologist for the media on a whole range of subjects – which is all excellent publicity for her own book Siblings: Your Handbook for Managing Sibling Rivalry, Coping with Arguments and Handling Family Fights (pb, £12.99, 978 1910336250) which has just been published by White Ladder. The Telegraph called it “long overdue …. the parenting handbook I've been looking for” and it continues to get excellent reader reviews. Linda Blair will be talking siblings on Radio 4’s All in the Mind programme this Thursday (9 November) and is also speaking at the Folkestone Literature Festival in November.

Northern Irish women’s writing is going from strength to strength at the moment, and a new anthology just out from New Island captures much of its current richness and audacity. Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland (hb, £17.99, 978 1848406421) edited by Linda Anderson and Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado is a stunning mosaic of work by some of the best contemporary women writers. This vibrantly feminist collection features both experienced and newer writers playing with different modes, forms, and innovations – from magical realism and surrealism to humour and multi-perspective narratives – and celebrates fiction, poetry, drama, essays, life writing, and photography. You can read a piece about it in the Irish Times here. You can see it here, displayed at the wonderful No Alibis Bookstore in Belfast.
Talking of strong female voices, I very much enjoyed these 25 quotes that indisputably prove that Hermione totally ruled Hogwarts!
Many of us are increasingly becoming aware that in order for children to thrive, it is not enough just to churn them out of school with a collection of A*s and a burning ambition to succeed. What is required, is the ability to think – and think creatively – something which we Brits used to excel at before Gove, Ofsted et al turned our schools into exam factories. A new title from Crown House, Teaching Creative Thinking: Developing Learners Who Generate Ideas and Can Think Critically by Bill Lucas and Ellen Spencer defines and demystifies the essence of creative thinking, and offers research-informed suggestions as to how it can best be developed. Creative thinkers are inquisitive, collaborative, imaginative, persistent and disciplined; and fostering this key capability so that it becomes a habit of mind is vital. Teaching Creative Thinking is both a powerful call to action and a practical handbook. This title is one of many from our academic publishers that, although originally intended for teachers, has much to recommend it for parents. The education of kids at home is a huge growth area – and I would urge booksellers not to underestimate the need for easily available materials to help parents do this. The number of children being home schooled has doubled in six years and nearly 30,000 children were educated at home in the 2016/17 academic year representing a 97% increase since 2011. The increase in private tutoring, Saturday schools etc has added to the massive surge in demand for well-written, accessible, helpful titles. Teaching Creative Thinking (£16.99, pb, 978 1785832369) is one such book! You can read an excellent interview with one of the book’s authors Bill Lucas in Nursery World here. 
In less than five years, Twitter is set to become as popular as TV, with close to 20 million people using it across all age groups. There are still plenty of people who find the whole thing pretty baffling though – and plenty too who are utterly obsessed by it. Twitterology: All the Pointless Trivia You Never Knew about Twitter (978 1783340989, £8.99, pb) by Susanne Lumsden is ideal for either camp – and is out on 30 November from Gibson Square. This amusing book gathers for the first time all the facts and trivia about the little white bird. Did you know that it might have been called 'Friendstalker' or what the Queen's first tweet was? Sit back and enjoy!
How hilarious was the news today that a Twitter employee decided on his final day at the company to turn off Donald Trumps’ account! Inspired! Here  are some of his most ridiculous moments…

How many of us believe in the power of spiritualists, clairvoyants and soothsayers? Here is a great piece by author Cassandra Parkin in the Scotsman entitled “why I believe in psychics (even though I don’t)” about how she found the experience of visiting one challenged her avowed scepticism and inspired her new novel. “She got out this deck of Divination cards and asked me to pull one out of the deck, which I did. When I turned it over, it said, Writer. And I got chills down my spine, because I’d just had my first novel accepted for publication.” Cassandra’s new book Winter’s Child is published by Legend, she’s just done a Book Blog tour to publicise it, and there is quite a buzz building for this East Yorkshire author. Her short story collection, New World Fairy Tales, won the 2011 Scott Prize for Short Stories and her debut novel The Summer We All Ran Away was nominated for the Amazon Rising Stars 2014.
The Winter's Child (£8.99, pb, 978 1785079030) is her fourth novel, and is a ghostly winter tale of twisted love, family secrets and hauntings. Her reviews are unanimously five-star from the influential bloggers: “Goodness, it might have taken me rather longer than it should have to discover Cassandra Parkin’s books, but I’m in complete awe at the depth and quality of her writing. There’s a wonderful gothic and sinister edge to this one … compelling … just stunning – without question, one of my favourite reads of this year” is typical.

Published this month, and the big literary title of the year for Impress, is Home Is Nearby by Magdalena McGuire (978 1911293149, pb, £8.99) which is a vivid and intimate exploration of the struggle to find your place in the world no matter where you are. Set in 1980: the beginning of the Polish Crisis, country-girl Ania arrives in the university city of Wroclaw to pursue her career as a sculptor. Here she falls in love with Dominik, an enigmatic writer at the centre of a group of bohemians and avant-garde artists who throw wild parties. When martial law is declared, their lives change overnight: military tanks appear on the street, curfews are introduced and the artists are driven underground. Together, Ania and Dominik fight back, pushing against the boundaries imposed by the authoritarian communist government. But at what cost?

Two Formula One thrillers by Toby Vincent; Driven (£8.99, pb, 978 1910050712) and Crash (£8.99, pb, 978 1910050798); have been selected by (the official store for Formula 1) as their Black Friday gift for high spending customers. This is a very popular website – their YouTube channel alone has nearly a million subscribers, and this is superb publicity for these two exhilarating titles. Driven and Crash would make perfect presents for any of the 29.1million F1 viewers in the UK and Boris Johnson no less said they “howl along like Lewis Hamilton round the streets of Monaco” while Murray Walker enthused “a great plot ... a great read ... I couldn't put it down.” F1 Racing Magazine wrote “Toby Vincent takes inspiration from F1's on-track action and off-track paddock politics in weaving together a page-turning conspiracy thriller. His attention to detail captures the spirit of current F1” and as the Evening Standard agreed, these are “fast-paced reads for any speed demon”. The third in this series featuring Matt Straker is out from Arcadia next summer.
And for the petrolheads among you here are the ten best battles of the 2017 Formula 1 season so far!

I am very much looking forward to the new Cesar Aira title The Lime Tree (pb, £8.99, 978 1911508120) which is coming from And Other Stories in December. A new book from this bewitching author is always a treat; as the Financial Times said: “Compulsively readable ... Aira's writing – with its equal measures of rich complications and airy whimsies – combines brevity with so many possible meanings.” Seeing double rows of elegant lime trees around the main square of his hometown of Colonel Pringles, our narrator (who could well be the author himself) suddenly recalls the Sunday mornings of his childhood, when his father would take him to gather the lime-flower blossoms from which he made tea. Beginning with his father, the narrator quickly leaps from anecdote to anecdote, bringing to life his father's dream of upward mobility, the dashing of their family's hopes when the Peronist party fell from power, the single room they all shared, and his mother's litany of political rants, which were used –  like the lime-flower tea – to keep his father calm. Aira's charming fictional memoir is a colourful mosaic of a small-town neighbourhood, a playful portrait of the artist as a child and an invitation to visit the source of Aira's own extraordinary imagination.
We do like to finish with some music – and this is an extremely tempting way to waste 15mins or so – a complete list (with video) of the most popular songs (in the US) for every year from 1940 to the present day!

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week.
Big Green Bookshop‏ @Biggreenbooks It's Halloween tomorrow. Why not scare Amazon by not buying anything from them all day? 
Justice for LB‏ @JusticeforLB Do you talk to LB? I do, I tell him I miss him, tell him I love him. The book has helped, he came across as human to people, as he was.
Maureen Boyle‏ @BoyleMo This is such a beautiful object -so delighted to be one of its 'female lines'! Thank-you @NewIslandBooks , @drdawnmiranda & Linda Anderson
Comma Press‏ @commapress A very special event on Nov 11th at @dulwichlitfest, with Alexei Sayle, @FRhydderch & @courttianewland on Protest: Stories of Resistance
Alistair Braidwood‏ @ScotsWhayHae I can't wait to get stuck into @Detroit67Book's latest, 'Memphis 68', out now on @PolygonBooks. And, yes, that is Otis on the cover. I love Otis...
Golden Hare Books‏ @GoldenHareBooks We have just had a shipment of books delivered that is so large, I may in fact be trapped in the shop forever. Send biscuits.
That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This newsletter is sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.