Friday 28 September 2012

Compass Points 16

Compass Points 16
Your weekly round up of publishing news, publicity information and trivia!

Who’s enjoying the latest series of Doctor Who? Exciting isn’t it – although can someone please explain to me what those people with the weird mouths had to do with the little black cubes – and oh dear, it looks as if  the thoroughly irritating River Song is back this week. However, what we Stephen Moffat fans are really salivating over is the return of Sherlock – although I think we’ll have to wait until 2013 to find out how Benedict Cumberbatch escaped from that roof. In the meantime, how about seeing things from a different point of view – from the point of view in fact, of Sherlock’s housekeeper. Mrs Hudson’s Diaries: A View From The Landing at 221b by Barry and Bob Cryer is a comic rethinking of the Holmes legend by a British comedy great and will make the perfect Christmas humour title for all of those Sherlock fans out there – and there are a heck of a lot!! The diaries reveal a portrait of life below stairs at 221b Baker Street that is by turns silly, slapstick and sentimental. What results is an affectionate and hilarious sketch of a remarkably enterprising Victorian female whose humorous musings cover everything from the Boer War and boxing, to where to buy the best accompaniment for mutton. In the Conan Doyle books, Holmes and Mrs Hudson’s relationship lasted for nearly seventeen years meaning that, for many fans, she has the greatest claim to be the woman in his life. Barry Cryer is one of Britain’s best-loved comedy writers and performers, and a great media favourite – he’ll be doing lots of publicity to promote this title in the run up to Christmas.  Mrs Hudson’s Diaries is published in October - find out more here.
However, in the ongoing debate as to whether Doctor Who or Sherlock is the better man – let’s hand the argument over to the super egotists themselves…

Three of the autumn’s biggest political books from Biteback are getting enormous amounts of press coverage this week, so make sure they are right at the front of the store as there are plenty more sales to be had, as interest in them builds!  The Edwina Currie biography was reviewed in the Mail on Sunday, the Telegraph, the Times, the Express, Private Eye, the Independent, the Guardian – everywhere basically; while the Andrew Adonis title Education, Education, Education had big pieces in The Financial Times and on Mumsnet. Stumbling Over Truth which is the inside story of the ‘sexed-up’ dossier, Hutton and the BBC; had a major piece in this Sunday’s Observer, which you can read here.  The book is by former Today editor Kevin Marsh who tells for the first time the inside story of Andrew Gilligan’s infamous 0607 broadcast on the Today programme. He explains how he was certain the story was true, but also how Gilligan’s ‘flawed reporting’ fatally damaged the BBC’s case. And he tells of his growing disillusion with the British media’s ability and appetite for holding power to account – or even telling the truth.

In 2009, sailor Steffan Meyric Hughes became the first to sail and row around London in a small boat. Along the way, he discovered both the loneliness one man in a tiny boat can feel against the vastness of the metropolis and the unexpected companionship that springs up between those who live on and around the river. Circle Line is the story of a unique journey on the forgotten waterways of one of the world’s greatest capitals, whose watery secrets and colourful past are unveiled with wry humour and wonderful detail. This engaging title is absolutely not just a “London book” – it will appeal to anyone who enjoys reading about a life on the water, from Three Men in a Boat to The Lonely Sea and the Sky. Quirky adventure titles are very much in vogue at the moment, and this would make a good gift book for all the “difficult to buy for” fathers, uncles etc. It has also got a really beautiful cover illustration by Rob Smith, has had some brilliant review coverage since its publication in July, and I would urge you to put it on display! The author has a very engaging blog which you can read here.

The problems with the Euro – and with Greece in particular are much in the news at present. Greekonomics: The Euro Crisis and Why Politicians Don’t Get It by economist Vicky Pryce has just been published, and reflects on the current crisis– its causes and how Europe has responded, and what needs to happen if the Euro is to survive in its current form. Vicky is all over the media at the moment; she was on BBC World News last night, she was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Daily Politics today, is writing a piece for Saturday’s Independent and will be reviewing the papers on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC 1 on Sunday 7th October. In the book she pays particular attention to Greece, the country of her birth, the country first in the firing line in the Euro crisis and the country even now seen as Europe’s ‘problem child’. But as Pryce explains, the roots of the Euro’s crisis are much broader than a set of profligate governments in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy or Spain. The flaws in the current system were obvious to economists from the outset. Politicians ignored or downplayed these in creating the Euro and indeed made the problem worse by watering down the controls that were in place. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to know how the crisis came about and how it is likely to end.

This autumn, Hesperus Press (publisher of massive bestseller The Hundred Year Old Man who Jumped Out of the Window) is very proud to be celebrating its 10th anniversary. To honour the occasion, back in June they launched a competition asking members of the public to nominate one out-of-print book they would like to see back in print. The winning title is The Great Meadow by Elizabeth Madox Roberts which will be published in October. This is a terrific read – a romantic saga of young love on the Kentucky trail in colonial America. It’s a long neglected classic, first published in 1930 which was shortlisted for The Pulitzer Prize. It has a beautiful cover, and this breathtaking story of love and death, of settlers struggling to carve a new life on the unforgiving frontier at the mercy of shortages, harsh winters and the perpetual danger of Indian attack, is sure to find many new fans.  The New York Times described it as “Lucid and arresting, rhythmical and fresh.”

Who actually finds Fred Bassett funny? Well, whether or not you’re a fan, it’s hard to believe that Britain’s best-loved canine hero will be celebrating the big 50 in July 2013. The Daily Mail’s comic strip is read every day by millions of people, and the yearbook annually sells over 10,000 copies. The Fred Bassett Yearbook 2013 comes out in October, and if you need to remind yourself of exactly what the humour consists of – then take a look at this classic episode from the TV series in 1976.

This newsletter is sent weekly to over 550 booksellers. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website.


  1. Dr who is meh atm :( the first 3 episodes were okay, not the best. The weird vacuum face men were completely random, not sure what they had to do with the cubes... I love River Song! She is amazing. The Angels are awesome too. Never seen Sherlock

  2. Have to disagree, I hate River!
    Love the vid however, which wonderful person put you onto that little gem Compass Rose? :P