Well, if watching the extraordinary kerfuffle surrounding Le Grand Depart of the Tour de France hasn’t inspired you to get up off the sofa and onto a bike, then I really don’t know what will. The numbers of Brits taking up cycling – whether as a method of commuting, or for leisure or fitness purposes – has never been greater, but many of us are still a bit daunted by the whole thing, and don’t quite know where to start. Well, now How to be a Cyclist is here to help. This is a humorous, one-of-a-kind gift book by journalist John Deering featuring stunning, inspirational photography by Phil Ashley. It’s an essential manual and source of wisdom for those who would be kings of the road. Many pitfalls await the unwary middle-aged-man-in-Lycra, but fear not, for How to be a Cyclist will steer you through choppy waters. No more passing out halfway up a hill. No more ridicule in the work place. No more hurty knee. And no more sock crimes. Pearls of wisdom are scattered throughout this book like rose petals before a princess on her wedding day. For instance, who could deny that life is too short to drink bad coffee? That a noisy bike is marginally more annoying than a whiney toddler? Or that style should ever be sacrificed for speed? No bicycle repair was ever made easier by turning your bike upside down. White shorts are for other people. A helmet perched on the back of your head is perfect if you ride your bike backwards – These and a host of other handy pointers jostle for attention within this A–Z guide to being a cyclist. Written by experts who know everything there is to know about cycling, yet never forget that there is nothing funnier than a rabbit playing a trumpet; How to be a Cyclist is mandatory reading for all bike riders. John Deering’s first book was a study of his time with the chaotic but charismatic Linda McCartney Cycling Team and went on to be voted 5th best cycling book of all time. He has supplied many features to publications such as Procycling, The Official Tour de France Guide and Ride Cycling Review,and contributed regularly to Eurosport’s cycling coverage. He is also the author of Bradley Wiggins: Tour de Force. How to be a Cyclist (978 1909715158, £12.99, hb) by John Deering and Phil Ashley is published by Arena Sport in September. I can certainly think of umpteen middle aged friends who have recently become boringly evangelical about the joys of cycling and I feel this book may just be the perfect Christmas present for all of them.
On the same subject, I found this geeky YouTube film explaining the joys of cycling to be both true, and hilarious!
And while we’re on a bit of a health kick, why not go one step further, and after your energising bike ride, whizz yourself up an energising juice drink? No idea where to start? Well then, The Juice Solution: More than 90 feel-good recipes to energise, fuel, detoxify and protect is exactly what you need. The Juice Solution shows how to unleash the powerful health benefits in raw fruits, vegetables, and nuts by turning them into delicious juice concoctions. Consuming fruit and vegetables in juice form preserves nutrients that would be otherwise lost in the cooking process and provides a quick and easy way to enjoy your daily dose of fruits and vegetables. Organised by different nutritional needs, this book offers a juice for any time of day. Energising juices wake up your system without the use of stimulants. Fuelling juices, made from fibrous ingredients and healthy fats, help keep you satisfied. Detoxifying juices flush toxins from your body by releasing the natural antibacterial qualities found in many fruits and vegetables. Protective juices unleash the immune-boosting properties in certain types of fresh produce. This full colour hardback also contains guides to choosing an electric juicer model that’s right for you, suggestions on how to select produce to target specific health needs, and tips and tricks for making the most of your machine. Whether you’re a first time juicer, an avid juicer, or just looking for fresh and exciting ways to use your home juicer, this book offers something for everyone whose looking to feel healthier. This book is an attractively produced, 112 page hardback, with over 60 inspiring colour photographs. The Juice Solution by Erin Qoin and Briana Stockton (hb, £12.99 978 0992705855) is published in September by Emex.
If it’s September titles we’re talking about, then it must be time for some annuals to appear on the Compass list, and The Oldie Annual 2015 is likely to be one of our most successful. This is the best of The Oldie’s writers, columnists, cartoonists and artists from the archive in one book, and it’s a bargain at £9.99 for 112 pages – 16 more than last year! Founded in 1992, The Oldie is Richard Ingrams’s irreverent magazine for the independent-minded, and has been called “the most original magazine in the country” (The Independent.) Writers include Raymond Briggs, Jane Gardam, Virginia Ironside, Susan Hill, Chris Mullin and Merlin Holland, and as Joan Bakewell said in the Daily Telegraph: “The mix of high humour and good writing is the recipe for a successful magazine and The Oldie has got it right. It’s like sitting around a warm fire with friends”. The Best of The Oldie (pub. 2012) was a huge sell-out success, and the SIX previously published Oldie Annuals are a tried and tested Christmas present for parents and grandparents.
The Oldie Annual 2015 (hb, 978 1901170221 £9.99) is published in September by Oldie Publications.
Whether or not you personally think of yourself as an oldie, there’s no doubt that old age will catch up with all of us eventually (that is if working in a boiling hot bookshop doesn’t cut you off in your prime). I wonder what Harry Potter will be like once he retires? Have a look here for some amusing suggestions!
One famous oldie is Rowan Williams, and the Telegraph ran a big piece on him this week entitled Does Retirement Suit Rowan? which you can read here. It contained a review of The Poems of Rowan Williams (pb, 978 1 847774 52 1, £9.95) which is published by Carcanet and is getting lots of good coverage – definitely worth keeping it on display. As. AN Wilson, writing in the Daily Telegraph said: “Reading this poet, at such a period in our history, is like feeling the first drops of rain after a long season of drought” and all the reviews for it have been uniformly good.
As David Cameron decides to get rid of the stale pale males and replace them with a collection of catwalk cuties, you may be asking yourself whether there has ever been a worse time in history to be a man. If so, then Stand by Your Manhood: A Survival Guide for the Modern Man is the book you have been waiting for. Hilariously wry, investigative and long-overdue, this hilariously unforgiving, controversial bloke bible is by Daily Mail journalist Peter Lloyd, and is absolutely bound to attract massive media attention when it is published this autumn. Peter Lloyd writes a weekly column for the Daily Mail on men’s issues, and whilst all the material in this book is new; the newspaper promote the book. Men are brilliant. Being a man is brilliant - except for divorce, circumcisions, gold-diggers, penile dysmorphia, paying the bill, becoming a weekend dad, critics who've been hating on us for, well - pretty much forty years -oh, and those pesky early deaths. Covering all the taboo truths magazine editors typically blanch at, this rapid fire, politically incorrect-yet-actually-correct handbook covers everything you need to know about life, but were never told, including: sex, women, fatherhood, marriage and money. Stand by Your Manhood is a unique title seeking to highlight men’s issues in the modern age. There is nothing else like this on the market. Funny, irrelevant and completely politically incorrect, this is a male equivalent to Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman, and I have a feeling it could be very big indeed.
Stand by Your Manhood (978 1849547437 £16.99, hb) is published by Biteback in September and you can find out more and order it here.
And on the subject of laughing at men – please enjoy this little clip of Michael Gove falling from grace...
Who remembers the terrible case of Baby P? In England in 2007 Peter Connelly, a 17 month old little boy - known initially in the media reporting as 'Baby P' - died following terrible neglect and abuse. Fifteen months later, his mother, her boyfriend and the boyfriend's brother were sent to prison. But media attention then turned on those who worked to protect children who quickly became the focus of the reporting and of the blame, especially the social workers and their managers. Five years later they are still harassed by press reporters. The Story of Baby P: Setting the Record Straight by Dr Ray Jones is an important book which draws together all evidence available on this high profile case and will makes a unique and crucial contribution to the topic of press reporting and journalism in general It will make essential reading for everyone who is concerned about child protection and the media's impact on it. The Social Policy Editor of the Guardian wrote: "Ray Jones is a courageous - and all too lonely - voice taking on the tabloids' distortions of child protection services." He is a Professor of Social Work and a frequent media commentator, who has written several books and numerous papers on social work and social policy, and this The Story of Baby P is getting quite a bit of media attention. It is certainly very interesting to examine the media frenzy that happened following this baby’s tragic death and what its repercussions were for the social work profession and child protection agencies in this country. Ray Jones was interviewed this Wednesday on ITV's Good Morning Britain programme and there was also local BBC coverage and a piece in the Guardian and there will be more to come. The Story of Baby P: Setting the Record Straight (pb, £12.99, :9781447316220) has just been published by Policy Press and you can find out more and order it here.
Always good to have one of our books recommended as a top summer read – and The Iraqi Christ by Hassan Blassim (pb, £9.99 978 1905583522 ) published by Comma Press, was chosen in the Guardian’s Best Summer Reading feature – you can read the whole article here.
That’s all for now folks, more next week!
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