Friday 9 November 2012

Compass Points 22

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

There’s a great review of Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel by Peter L. Winkler in this week’s Guardian which you can read here. From the age of 19, Dennis Hopper believed that he was a genius. However, late in life even he had to admit that there was a "vast body of crap – most of the 150 films I've been in – this river of shit that I've tried to make gold out of". He started out as a promising young supporting actor in Hollywood, where he fell under the spell of James Dean (they shared an interest in grass and peyote). But when Dean suddenly died, Hopper – who once saw Dean's ghost in the back of his car – went off the rails and ruined his career. Cue descent into alcohol, drugs and violence ("The marriage reached a turning point on the afternoon that Hopper broke his wife's nose"), followed by resurrection as the co-writer, director and star of Easy Rider. What a classic film – here’s a little snapshot to remind yourself.

 This book unsparingly documents Hopper’s journey from self-destructive bad boy to iconic survivor of the counterculture. It is the first book to cover the entire life and career of the man who hung out with Elvis Presley, and Jack Nicholson, and is a must-have for Hopper’s fans, film buffs, and readers hooked on celebrity scandals.

This year has seen some absolutely spectacular ceremonies – the opening of the Olympics to name just one. When we watch these huge extravaganzas, I’m sure many of us wonder how on earth the organisers have managed to pull it off! And do things ever go totally tits up? Well, now we can find out! It’s All Going Terribly Wrong is a wonderfully funny account of the many major events that Sir Michael Parker KCVO CBE has organised - including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee; birthday celebrations for the Queen; London’s G7 conference; royal weddings in countries such as Jordan; victory commemorations; charity events and some of the world’s largest military tattoos – Berlin, Edinburgh and the London Tournament. His all too imaginative plans were all too often achieved in the face of stifling bureaucracy and often to the surprise of more senior officers - his designs got more elaborate every year – he once ended a military show on ice! He records his triumphs and disasters and the inside story of some spectacular cock-ups – although to the spectators and the watching world on television all might have seemed fine!

 His plans for the Queen’s 1977 Silver Jubilee bonfires definitely did not go to plan – much to the Queen’s amusement …and as for the fireworks in Hyde Park to celebrate Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding – that’s another story!  But Sir Michael Parker cannot have got it all wrong – he was knighted by the Queen and also awarded the CBE. The book has just been launched in London – and as you might expect for an author with so many connections – the launch party was very well attended!  As a result the book will be featured by royal correspondents, social diarists and reviewers in much of the national press – including:  the Daily Mail, the Standard, the Sunday Telegraph, the Sunday Times, the Scotsman, Tatler, The Field and the Spectator. Any sort of book with authentic royal gossipy stories always sells well – and this handsome hardback would make a great Christmas gift.

Publicity and word of mouth are building this week for The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen. Reviews will appear in many of the nationals soon, and there is a terrific review on Crime Time – the popular crime website edited by Barry Forshaw, which you can read in full here.  This thriller has a taut, suspenseful plot and unexpected twists and turns. It explores schoolyard bullying and the effect it has on young people when adults look the other way. Urban settings and strong portraits of authentic characters are crafted in depth and detail, ensuring the book will linger in the reader’s mind. This Nordic noir crime novel is perfect for fans of Jo Nesbo and The Killing and The Bridge. Carin says The Gingerbread House is a novel about evil – and the consequences of a horrible childhood. It's also concerned with issues of how disrespect from the people around you will ruin your self-confidence, and compromises your hopes for the future. As a child, I was subjected to intimidation and harassment myself, so the plot of the book came easily to me. Many of the scenes in the novel are versions of my own experiences. I wanted to explore how different people react to traumatic experience, and how bad childhood experiences can distort our adult lives. It's a crucial tenet for me that we all should take responsibility for the wellbeing of the people around us.” Powerful stuff – as is the novel itself – you can click here to read the first chapter.

The new titles published in January 2012 are now on the the Compass New Titles Website and one of the most popular is likely to be Finally Free! The Easy Way to Stop Smoking for Women by Allen Carr. January is the key time for people to try and give up smoking, and Allen Carr is recognized as the world’s leading expert on helping smokers to quit. He has sold over £13m books and his technique has enabled millions of smokers to stop easily, painlessly and permanently.  This book is a presentation of his famous Easyway method specifically adapted for women - it has accessible new text and an upbeat, attractive design. As Ellen DeGeneres said:  “I stopped smoking… I read this book by Allen Carr. It’s called The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. Everyone who reads this book stops smoking!” If you like Ellen, watch her here talking very amusingly about stopping using Allen’s method!

Now, if there’s one thing that the British public seem to be truly fascinated by, it’s history and genealogy. Who Do You Think You Are? is watched by over 4 million regular viewers each week and is in its 8th series. The public’s fascination with DNA has also never been greater, with Steve Jones and Richard Dawkins regularly making the bestseller charts with their works. So it’s great to hear that in January comes a fascinating new book; Britain’s DNA: A People’s History by Alistair Moffat with a foreword by Eddie Izzard. This is published to coincide with a major, nationwide BBC1 2-part series featuring Eddie Izzard as he follows his ancestors’ movements as they made their way from Africa, through Europe, to Britain. Based on exciting new research involving the most wide-ranging sampling of DNA ever made in Britain, Alistair Moffat shows how all of us who live on these islands are immigrants. Hidden inside all of us – every human being on Earth – is the story of our ancestry. Printed on our DNA are the origins of our lineages, the time in history and prehistory when they arose, and the epic journeys people have made across the globe. Moffat writes an entirely new history of Britain where instead of the usual parade of the usual suspects– kings, queens, saints, warriors and the notorious – this is a people’s history, a narrative made from stories only DNA can tell which offers insights into who we are and where we come from.

And hey – Eddie Izzard – who doesn’t love a bit of that on a Friday afternoon. Here he is, trying to educate an American audience about British history…

This blog 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.

That’s all for now folks, more next week!


  1. Love Carin Gerhardsen's books - so pleased she is now published in the UK so I can get my friends here to read her!

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  3. R.I.P Dennis. Your the greatest.