Friday 15 November 2013

Compass Points 63

Plenty of excellent publicity coming in for Spain: The Inside Story of La Roja’s Historic Treble by Graham Hunter which is published today by Back Page Press. You will remember that this title is packed with remarkable eyewitness accounts and in-depth interviews with the star names and key figures in this extraordinary team, and follows in the critical and commercial success of Graham Hunter’s 2012 title, Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World, which sold 25,000 copies (paperback) in 12 months in the UK and was Football Book of the Year at the 2013 British Sports Book Awards. A whole series of extracts from Spain are running on, which is the biggest football site in the world; and you can read that here. The Sun have a full-page extract ready to run in the next week, and yesterday there was a 2000-word extract running on the Guardian's website. In Scotland, the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday are running two-page extracts on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and have also confirmed an extract, which will go live on their global site on Thursday. All good stuff – and should mean that there are loads of fans out there keen to buy this book – either as a prezzie or for themselves!

And if you love your footie –then you’ll certainly enjoy this highly entertaining "version" of Match of the Day!

We’ve just heard that Vauxhall (9781846591464) by Gabriel Gbdamosi, which was published by Telegram in May 2013, has won the Best International Novel at the 32nd Sharjah International Book Fair. The awards ceremony recognises the contributions of authors, publishers and other cultural figures to the intellectual life of the Arab world. Other winners included Mohammed Muhib Jabr’s 6000 Miles, for Best Arabic Novel, and Ali Abualreesh’s An Exceptional Woman, for Best Emirati Book by an Emirati Creative Writer. Vauxhall is a tender and sometimes dark portrait of a young boy looking for his place in inner city multicultural London amidst the slum clearances of the 1970s. Gbadamosi writes with wit and compassion about the experiences of those that arrived on England’s shores looking for a better life. You can find out more on the Telegram website here.

Oooh, those luvvies in the media have been going billy bonkers for the National Theatre Story by Daniel Rosenthal, published by Oberon Books; there is simply masses of scrumptious publicity for this fabulous title dahlings! This weekend there will be a big lead review, with colour picture in the Sunday Times Culture section, including a picture feature on the National's anniversary, with images of its best productions. Then coming soon are reviews in the Spectator (Croall), the Economist (Lucy Farmer), the Sunday Telegraph (Cavendish), the Observer and The Stage. This definitive, authorized account takes readers from the National Theatre’s 19thcentury origins, through false dawns in the early 1900s, onto its hardfought inauguration in 1963 at the Old Vic and on to its concrete, South Bank home, whose three theatres have since 1976 hosted more than 700 productions. It’s certain to be essential reading for theatre lovers and students and is packed with photographs and more than 100 new interviews with directors, playwrights and actors.

Of course one of the most interesting recent innovations by the National Theatre is the cinema screenings of successful plays – so that those who can’t get to London can share the love. I personally think this is a terrific idea – and you can watch a few of the success stories here.

Don’t forget about the massively successful Bluffer’s Guide series when you are planning your Christmas window displays! Perfect as stocking fillers present for those hard to buy for relations – new titles are being added to the range all the time and the stylish covers mean they look great displayed as a set. You can see the full collection on the website here.

And talking of Christmas window displays, if you’re short of inspiration, then why not have a look here for some ideas! I think the trees made out of books look terrific – although my personal favourite is the one made out of gold cushions!

Look Up Glasgow by Adrian Searle and David Barbour published by Freight is a stunning coffee table book of Glasgow’s world-class architectural detail, hidden in plain sight at the tops of the city’s iconic buildings. There will be some terrific publicity in Scotland coming up – a  massive five page article in the Herald on Saturday on 23rd Nov and then an Evening Times double page article the following week so let’s hope you Scottish booksellers will reap the benefits in sales! This book contains some stunning photography of Glasgow’s hidden architectural heritage - one of the world’s great Victorian cities as you’ve never seen it before and also includes poems inspired by the photographs from six leading Scottish poets. Look Up Glasgow will be a beautiful surprise to residents, visitors and non-residents of Glasgow alike, demonstrating that it is much more than just another post-industrial British city. It is a book that those passionate about the city and of architecture will treasure.

Here’s a little heads-up for a terrific debut novel, containing humour with a bite, published in January from Skyscraper publications. Good for Nothing by Brandon Graham is about a week when Flip Mellis tries to rid himself of excess weight and solve the problems of his life. This is a novel in which peaks of humour and troughs of tragedy intermingle as the hero tries to get his life together, after a suicide attempt – like much else in his life – fails to achieve its goal. Overweight, weak-willed, and quick to criticise others, Flip has a self-fulfilling fatalism which leads him to stumble through each day, hoping against hope that he can get a job, mend his marriage and rebuild his life. Perceptively observed characters from American small-town life populate the book in hilarious cameos and get in the way of Flip’s well-meaning attempts to reform himself. Reading copies are available – just email if you’d like one – and one of our hawk-eared team heard none other than Andrew Marr mention that he was thoroughly enjoying it a couple of weeks ago! He happened to say (during a publication dinner for his own book!) that the book he was really loving at the moment was Good for Nothing and thought it was brilliant and a marvellously sustained comic voice! This could be the beginning of another Compass word of mouth success story!

“There is nothing to be frightened of. It is all magic.” Certainly some of the ideas which previously belonged to the realms of fairytales and folklore – creating a baby outside the womb for example – are now entirely possible, thanks to the wonders of science. That link between contemporary scientific research and ancient myth is explored to great effect in Moss Witch by Sara Maitland; the first collection of fiction from this internationally-acclaimed author in over nine years which was published by Comma Press in September.  Each of the stories in the book began as collaboration with a scientist; and has grown out of a current piece of research. Each story also comes with a specially written afterword, penned by the scientist, and expanding upon the theory within the story – be it quantum mechanics, planetary physics, game theory, or nanotechnology. Each enacts a daring piece of alchemy, fusing together specific pieces of contemporary scientific research with an ancient myth or a folkloric archetype. As the laboratory smoke settles, we meet witches that can outwit botanists, religious soothsayers that read evolutionary biology in feverish dreams, scientists that fall in love with the birds they study….
A fascinating idea for a book – and the We Love This Book website gives it a rave review. You can find out more and order Moss Witch here. And you can see a little clip of Sara Maitland talking about Moss Witch at the Manchester Literary Festival here.

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

This blog is read weekly by over 600 booksellers, publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website or talk to your Compass Sales representative.

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