Friday 28 March 2014

Compass Points 80

A major advertising campaign begins today for Spring Tide, the compelling crime thriller from critically-acclaimed Swedish scriptwriters Cilla and Rolf Börjlind. There will be a very eye-catching ad for this title on the online pages of the Mirror, the Independent, the Evening Standard, the Guardian Books Page and the Telegraph Books Page. These pages get thousands and thousands of views every day – and if viewers click on the ad, they will be taken to more info about the title on the Hesperus website – and be able to see the gripping trailer on which you can watch on YouTube here. There will also be a London Underground Tube Advertising for two weeks at high footfall stations such as Bank, London Bridge, Euston, Kings Cross St Pancras and Green Park and loads of publicity and review coverage on the radio and in the press. Please back this book, Hesperus has put a lot of oomph behind it, and everyone who has read it has loved it!If you'd like some signed book plates for your copies then please email  Spring Tide by Cilla and Rolf Borjlind is published by Hesperus Nova (pb, 978 1843915157 £89.99) this month and you can find out more and order Spring Tide here

Who enjoyed The Alan Clarke Diaries? Ooh yes, me, me, me; and I’m sure all of you booksellers certainly enjoyed the benefits of all those sales! Well now imagine a book which is “Not unlike the Alan Clark Diaries but without the modesty or discretion.” The Times or “Think Alan Clarke Diaries on crack,” Sunday People. The book we are talking about is An Unexpected MP: Confessions of a Political Gossip by Jerry Hayes, which is not an autobiography or a political memoir, but a raucous and salacious romp through Westminster and the press during the 1980s and 1990s!  Jerry Hayes was the Conservative MP for Harlow in Essex from 1983 until 1997, a period he spent largely in one Westminster bar or another, at least once dressed as a chicken, observing his fellow political animals. During that time, the man of whom Speaker Boothroyd said, “he would look very pretty as a French maid; I wish I had his curls", and to whose beard Margaret Thatcher took a strong, personal dislike, also kept a fabulously, rip-roaringly indiscreet diary! As Lord Bruce of Donnington is quoted as saying; “All politicians have feet of clay. Most are wankers”. An Unexpected MP is an anecdote fest that will entertain anyone who enjoys a good laugh and even those who have absolutely no interest in politics. It is just published by Biteback, (hb, 978 1849546454 £16.99 with 8 pages of photos) and has been reviewed in the Sunday People and the Times.

In the months leading up to the European Parliament Elections in May, please don’t forget to display Europe: In or Out: Everything You Need to Know by the Times’ David Charter. This book resolutely does what it says on the tin and is the only completely unbiased, decently-priced, layman’s terms guide to what Europe actually means to Britain, and what withdrawal would actually mean to each and every one of us on an everyday basis. No subject has more bearing on the future economic prosperity of Britain, no subject has been the cause of so many arguments across the land, and no subject has been the touch-fire of so many late-night monologues by irate taxi drivers than Europe, and, more specifically, Britain’s place in it. This is an incredibly important topic and here, the reader will find the major issues laid out in short, concise chapters. David Charter covers the key issues, including jobs, travel, investment and financial services, transport, farming, immigration, fishing, education, security and law and order, and offers the unvarnished, unbiased truth of how they affect us daily and what our lives would be like in the event of Britain going it alone. Europe in or Out (978 1849546843 £8.99 B-format paperback) was published by Biteback this week and is a clear, comprehensive and compelling guide to the impact of the EU and the implications (good and bad) of a British exit. This topic is going to feature increasingly in the news as we get closer to May – and you can order Europe: In or Out here

And if you’re completely confused about what the current situation is with Europe – then you could do a lot worse than watch this helpful little 5 minute video on YouTube!

The Golden Fleece: Essays by Muriel Spark (978 1847772510 pb £16.99) is published this month by Carcanet. This is the best of Muriel Spark’s previously uncollected witty, thought-provoking prose. It is grouped into four sections: Art and Poetry; Autobiography and Travel; Literature; Religions, Politics and Philosophy. There is much to savour here: vivid depictions of Rome, Venice, Istanbul and Tuscany; encounters with John Masefield and Edith Sitwell and reflections on a variety of writers from Robert Burns to Robert Louis Stevenson. Dame Muriel Spark was born in Edinburgh in 1918 and her many novels include The Girls of Slender Means (1963). She was made a Dame in 1993 and died in 2006, at the age of 88.  Muriel Spark’s companion Penelope Jardine was on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour today at 10 am to talk about her life with Muriel and editing The Golden Fleece.  You will shortly be able to listen to this episode on the Women’s Hour page on the Radio Player which you can find here. Penelope Jardine will also be giving interviews in the Telegraph and the Guardian.

Have you seen the new film The Railway Man starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman? If not, you can watch a trailer for it here. There has been a lot of publicity surrounding it, and it has certainly renewed interest in Far East WW2 and POW experiences. Railroad of Death: Comradeship and survival on the River Kwai Railway is the first, original account by a prisoner of war on the Burma Railway and was first published in 1946. Regarded as the best account of the war crimes committed on the railway, this title will appeal to WWII history enthusiasts but also has a wider human interest and memoir audience. John Coast was a young officer in the Norfolk Regiment who was taken prisoner at the Fall of Singapore in February 1942. His book is moving, dramatic and chilling in the detail it gives of the cruelty inflicted by Japanese and Korean soldiers on the prisoners and Asian workers who died in even greater numbers working on the railway. Yet it is at the same time lyrical in its descriptions of the natural world surrounding the camps and the food and kindness shown by some Thais to the prisoners. This new edition has an introduction which takes Coast’s legacy of dealing with his experiences in the camps forward through to his groundbreaking 1969 BBC programme Return to the River Kwai and Beyond. Railroad of Death (pb, £12.99 978 1905802937) is published by Myrmidon Books in May.

In time for the summer tourist season comes Great Britain: Let’s Get Quizzical! by Gwion Pydderch (978 1849535892 £7.99) a small gift hardback) published in May by Summersdale. This fun little book is full colour throughout, and takes the reader on a brain-teasing trip through the best bits of Great Britain. You can spot a couple of brightly coloured bulldogs in a hidden pair puzzle; brush up on your knowledge of British cities in a word search and find out who bought Stonehenge at an auction for £6,600. Get quizzical with this visually stunning compendium of entertaining activities and surprising facts about Old Blighty.

And if you’d like to challenge yourself on how well you really know the British Isles, then why not take this fun test on British geography from Buzz Feed. No pressure, but if you score less than 10 you will be deported.

Have you heard of Miranda Kerr? Well I must say I’m somewhat surprised, she is one of the world's most successful supermodels and is on the top 10 on Forbes' list of highest-earning models. She is the face of Victoria's Secret and the Clinique fragrance Happy and models in ad campaigns for numerous huge brands, including Prada and Balenciaga. She also used to be married to Orlando Bloom – and is basically famous for being absolutely gorgeous and frequently wearing very little. Ah – now you’re interested. Here is a typical ad; this is the spring trailer for H&M  where the lovely Miranda keeps her friend waiting in a taxi while she prances around in front of her bedroom mirror, taking off her clothes and taking self indulgent selfies of her perfect bod. If only my life could be like that – hang on a minute, perhaps if I read Miranda’s book then maybe it will be. Treasure Yourself: Power Thoughts for My Generation by Miranda Kerr (pb, £9.99 978 1401941895) is published in May. It is described by publishers Hay House as being “a fantastic voice for the self-help movement that will appeal to a new generation, so we can all earn the secrets of inner beauty from one of today's leading supermodels.” Bring it on Miranda I say – and hopefully Orlando Bloom might move on to me next. Have a look at this classic moment where Miranda Kerr meets her fantasy treasure bra and then order Treasure Yourself here

Now, I’m not sure whether any of the pearls of wisdom from the winsome Miranda will really qualify for this next award, but which would you say is the best sentence ever written? Maybe "Don't forget to love, don't forget to listen. In our hearts we have lived a thousand lives." by F. Scott Fitzgerald from The Great Gatsby? Or what about "The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't." from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams? Have look at what The American Scholar website believes are the ten best sentences  – and see if you agree!

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

This blog is read weekly by over 700 booksellers as well as 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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