Friday, 28 February 2014

Compass Points 76



Well, it's awards season, and we have some very exciting news – we are super-pleased to announce that last night at the 2014 Independent Publisher AwardsCompass won the award for Services to Independent Publishers! Hurrah! Well done us! There were 13 awards in all, which were: Independent Publisher of the Year - Usborne Publishing; Trade Publisher of the Year - Summersdale; Children’s Publisher of the Year - Usborne Publishing; Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year- Edward Elgar Publishing; Education Publisher of the Year - Crown House Publishing; Worldwide Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year - Absolute Press; The Nick Robinson Newcomer Award - Critical Publishing; International Achievement Award - Nosy Crow; Digital Publishing Award - Faber & Faber; Digital Marketing Award - Nosy Crow; IPG Diversity Award - Accent Press; Young Independent Publisher of the Year - David Henderson (Top That! Publishing); Services to Independent Publishers Award - Compass Independent Publishing Services


The awards were announced at a gala diner during the IPG conference, and the IPG Chief Executive Bridget Shine said:

“Huge congratulations all the winners of the 2014 IPG Independent Publishing Awards. The standard of entries was incredibly high this year, and our judges had to deliberate long and hard to allocate the Awards … they are wonderful celebration of the fantastic success and inspiring diversity of independent publishing in the UK”. The judges said that Compass “wins this Award on the back of a host of glowing endorsements from client publishers, many of whom have been grateful for its help in building sales through bookshops for a long time. “The Compass team are first rate. They are professional, experienced and effective… and we recommend them wholeheartedly,” read one citation from an IPG member. Another added: “Their professional and broad knowledge of the UK market is second to none.”



The awards are presented in conjunction with the Bookseller, and the London Book Fair, and you can find out more on the Independent Publishers Guild Website here.

There has been some brilliant publicity for I Know Nothing by Andrew Sachs. Have a look at the following clips and reviews: he made guest appearances on ITV’s This Morning and on BBC Breakfast . There has also been a feature in The Timesthere is, however, a lot more to the memoir than Manuel…as well as telling a jolly showbiz tale, he can also strike a more serious and insightful tone when the subject matter requires it”; and articles in the Mail on Sunday and The Guardian. As a result no doubt, the book has gone surging up the Amazon bestseller lists rising from number 27,308 to 189 in All Books; and going up to Number 3 in Television Titles! Do not let this online retailer get all the sales – put it on display and it will sell – Andrew Sachs has a very loyal fan base! I Know Nothing has just been published by Robson Press (hb, £18.99, 978 1849546362) and you can find out more and order it here.

Who fancies reading an incredible First World War escape story unlike any other with a film adaptation in discussion – produced with help from Neil Gaiman? Well I certainly do, and anyone else that would like a reading copy can email NGriffiths@hesperuspress.com. The Road to En-Dor by E.H. Jones is published by Hesperus today, and is a rather special book which first came out in 1919. This brand new edition features exclusive historical content including never-before-seen letters, postcards with coded messages, photographs and maps. This autobiography reads like a novel, and begins with Lieutenant E.H. Jones and Lieutenant C.W. Hill, who have been captured during the First World War and are prisoners of war at the Yozgad prison camp in Turkey. With no end to the war in sight and to save themselves from boredom, the prisoners hit upon the idea of making use of a makeshift Ouija board to keep themselves entertained. But Jones, it turns out, has a natural skill for manipulating his fellow inmates, and Hill ably fulfils the role of magician’s assistant and partner in crime. As their deception succeeds beyond their wildest imagination, other possibilities begin to emerge. What if this new-found hobby could be put to better use? Together Jones and Hill conjure up an almost unbelievable plot to dupe their captors into setting them free, featuring séances, ghost-guided treasure hunts and faked suicides. A runaway success when first published; this true life-story is a remarkable tale of courage, ingenuity and resilience in the face of adversity. Neil Gaiman is a huge fan of the book and has written a foreword. He is also working with Hilary Bevan Jones (E.H. Jones’ granddaughter) on a film based on the book; it’s still in the planning stages with a release date several years away, but it’s a very exciting project! The Road to En-Dor combines war-time drama with intrigue and illusion and alongside the paperback Hesperus are producing a free, exclusive eBook entitled En-dor Unveiled: The Story Behind The Road to En-Dor, which is available to download from the flashy new Hesperus website which you can go to here. This gives lots of history and back story to how E.H. Jones ended up in the prison camp and includes info on how he sent messages back in code to his family, exclusive photos which the prisoners took with hidden cameras … along with much more. The special website is:
www.hesperuspress.com/the-road-to-en-dor  and you can order The Road to En-Dor (978 1843914631, pb, £8.99) from Compass now!

Talking of the First World War; when British forces withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of 2014; (assuming we don’t enter into any new skirmishes) 2015 will be the first year of peace for the UK for at least 100 years. An interesting piece in the Guardian entitled 100 years of conflict charts every war Britain has been involved with since 1914.

Now, not the jolliest subject for a grey February afternoon perhaps, but an important one nonetheless. Assisted Dying: Who Makes The Final Choice?  is a new work highlighting one of the most controversial debates of modern times. This hardback is published in conjunction with the charity, Dignity In Dying; is edited by Lesley Close and Jo Cartwright and has a foreword by Sir Terry Pratchett.  It contains a series of thought-provoking and heart-rending case studies and has just been published by Peter Owen Publishers (hb, £14.99, 9780720610147). Assisted dying is perhaps one of the most divisive issues of the modern age, generating endless headlines and moral debates so there will be plenty of publicity for this book – one of its contributors was on BBC This Morning on Wednesday to discuss it – and there will be more to come. There is going to be a panel discussion at the Hay-On-Wye Festival which will be heavily promoted, and no doubt will attract media attention; and Terry Pratchett; Jo Brand, Patrick Stewart and other well known names will be involved in the promotion of this title. This important new book provides a forum for expert commentators in a variety of fields, including religion and medicine, to explore whether the most humane response to the torment and helplessness of certain severely incapacitated individuals is to assist them in their wish to die. Assisted Dying; Who Makes the Final Choice? is edited by two proponents of greater choice at the end of life, and all the contributors support the need to change the law.



No doubt all of you Twitter users were entertained by that pic of David Cameron and Angela Merkel having a chat on the sofa in the kitchen at 10 Downing Street this week. Have look at it here if you didn’t see it – complete with various additional jokey tweets! However, what I’m interested in is what’s on Dave’s bookshelves – I think we can spy The Ginger Pig Meat Book, The Flavour ThesaurusThe River Cottage Every Day (by fellow Old Etonian Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall), The Abs Diet (!), Art And Artists, Provence Interiors, Jeremy Paxman: On Royalty, Paris Interiors, The Family Cookbook, the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, a large selection of children's books, and Mrs Beeton's Household Management. Come on Dave – that looks like a pretty dreary and outdated selection to me – why not get yourself down to your local bookshop and stock up on something a bit more interesting – like the book below for example!

The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall was banned on its publication in 1928, but has just been published by a new B format paperback edition by Hesperus Press (£9.99 978 1843914891) This story of social isolation, rejection and contradiction is a classic of lesbian literature and a powerful novel of love between women. The TLS called it “the archetypal lesbian novel”; while the Times said it was “the bible of lesbianism”. Meanwhile, the Daily Express somewhat less appreciatively thundered “I would rather give a healthy boy or a healthy girl a phial of prussic acid than this novel”.  With all of the recent publicity surrounding the issues of gay rights in Russia – and other countries – this is the perfect time to bring out a new edition of this book. The Well of Loneliness is a semi- autobiographical treatment of the personal and familial struggles of the author, set against the epoch-defining events of the Edwardian era and the First World War. Born into an aristocratic family at the end of the Victorian age, Stephen Gordon is so named by parents who had longed for a boy. So begins a life of contradiction and isolation. Attracted to girls and women from an early age, Stephen’s masculine appearance is accentuated by her preference for men’s clothing and unfeminine mannerisms. When her first, burgeoning affair is cut short by social scandal, she moves to London and becomes a writer. War soon breaks out, and she volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western Front. It is here that she is to fall hopelessly in love. Radclyffe Hall (1880–1943) was an English poet and author who is best remembered for this title, but she also wrote eight novels and seven poetry collections. The Well of Loneliness is going to be reviewed in the Daily Mail today – let’s hope they are a little more appreciative than the Express were back in 1928!

Alec Le Sueur, author of Bottoms Up in Belgium: Seeking the High Points of the Lowlands (pb, £8.99 978 1849532471) has been interviewed on Up All Night on BBC Radio 5 Live this week. Alec Le Sueur has had a long relationship with this unassuming and much maligned little country, and in this book decided to put worldwide opinion to the test: is Belgium really as boring as people say it is? Immersing himself in Belgian culture – and sampling the local beer and ‘cat poo’ coffee along the way – he discovers a country of contradictions; of Michelin stars and processed food, where Trappist monks make the best beer in the world and grown men partake in vertical archery and watch roosters sing (not necessarily at the same time). This colourful and eccentric jaunt (just published by Summersdale) is proof that Belgium isn’t just a load of waffle. Alec Le Sueur’s writing is very popular – his previous title, The Hotel on the Roof of the World: Five Years in Tibet (978 1 84024 199 3) has sold over 20,000 copies to date.

There has been some great publicity for England's Motoring Heritage from the Air, published by English Heritage (hb, £35, 978 1848020870) by John Minnis which we mentioned a cou0ple of weeks ago. The Express is going to run a piece this weekend and the specialist car mags and nostalgia mags like Best of British absolutely love it! There has been lots of coverage in the Midlands regional papers (presumably because of the historic links with motor industry). The coverage so far includes a big spread in the Telegraph; a 4 page feature in Best of British magazine; and reviews in Metro, Classic Motoring Classic Cars ; Classic Car Weekly; Classic and Sports Car; Country Life; Discover Britain; Digital Photographer; the Birmingham Mail, the Coventry Observer and more!  You can see the spread in the Telegraph here – with some of the great photos included.

OK – but rather than seeing footage taken by a camera in an aeroplane – what about if we were to look at a film taken by a camera falling out of an aeroplane?!? Have a look here at this fun footage from a camera that does exactly that – and ends up somewhere rather surprising!



And while we’re on the subject of the skies, who saw the Northern lights last night? Not me sadly – we’re a bit too far South here in London unfortunately – but it looks as if plenty of people around the UK got a good look at this stunning display of the Aurora Borealis. Have a look at some brilliant photos here - amazing!



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.


Friday, 21 February 2014

Compass Points 75

2014 will see many anniversaries – one of which is the start of the 1984/85 miners strike. Until Our Blood is Dry by Kit Habianic is a novel of passion and love, betrayal and decisions during this extraordinary time when people were forced to fight for their future. It is set in Wales, and unlike other dramatisations of this conflict, Kit’s book covers the strike from both the male and female sides of the community. An earlier draft of the novel was shortlisted for the 2008 Transworld Daily Mail First Novel Competition, and its author Kit Habianic is a journalist whose work has appeared in the Guardian, the Daily Mirror, the Times, Marie Claire, and Time Out, so there should be plenty of publicity.  The novel begins when the union is squaring up to the Coal Board, the government and the country. Gwyn Pritchard, overman at Blackthorn colliery, believes that the way to save his pit is to keep his men working and production high. His men disagree and when an old collier dies on Gwyn’s shift, the men’s simmering resentment spills over into open defiance. But Gwyn faces a challenge at home too. His daughter Helen is in love with a fiery young collier, Scrapper Jones. In March 1984, when miners across the country walk out to join what will become a year-long strike, Scrapper throws himself into the struggle and Helen joins the women, preparing food for the soup kitchen and standing with the men on the picket line. Scrapper, Helen and Gwyn must decide which side they are on as the dispute drives the Pritchard family apart and the Jones family to ruin. Until Our Blood is Dry (pb, £8.99 978 1909844537) is published by Parthian in April and you can find out more and order it here.

Talking of fictionalised accounts of the miners’ strike – who can forget that amazing battle scene from the film of Billy Elliot - which you can watch here.



And here’s another anniversary for you – 2014 is the sixtieth anniversary of Roger Bannister running the four-minute mile. It all happened on a blustery late spring day in 1954 when a young Oxford medical student flung himself over the line in a mile race. There was an agonising pause, and then the timekeeper announced the record: three minutes, fifty-nine point four seconds. But no one heard anything after that first word – ‘three’. One of the iconic barriers of sport had been broken, and Roger Bannister became the first man to run a mile in under four minutes.

Let’s watch those iconic 4 minutes of history shall we – this 1954 film footage has Roger Bannister's own commentary overlaid on top – which gives a fascinating insight into his amazing achievement.



Sixty years on and the fan letters still arrive on Roger Bannister’s doormat, letters testifying to the enduring appeal of the four-minute mile and the inspiring effect it had on a generation. Tracks: The  Autobiography of Roger Bannister is a frank, truthful memoir, where one of the iconic figures of sport tells for the first time the full story of the dedication and talent that led to his unprecedented achievement and of his professional life as a distinguished doctor and neurologist once his (strictly amateur) athletic career drew to a close. With characteristically trenchant views on drugs in sport, the nature of modern athletics and record breaking, the extraordinary explosion in running as a leisure activity and the Olympic legacy, this is a rare and brilliant autobiography. 

“I felt at that moment that it was my chance to do one thing supremely well. I drove on, impelled by a combination of fear and pride. The air filled me with the spirit of the track where I had run my first race. The noise in my ears was that of the faithful Oxford crowd. Their hope and encouragement gave me greater strength: I had now turned the last bend and there was only 50 yards more.”

Sir Roger Bannister CBE will be publicising Twin Tracks in a major press campaign. This much-anticipated autobiography of a great and inspirational athlete is published by Robson Press in April (£20.00, hardback with 8 pages of photographs, 978 1849546867).

Now, as we all know, what’s hot right now is well written, thought provoking, European fiction, and here’s a title which is based on a true story, has had sales of 75,000 in France and was the 2010 Winner of The Académie Française Novel Award. Nagasaki by Éric Faye (pb, £7.99, 978 1908313652) tells the tale of meteorologist Shimura Kobo who lives quietly on his own In a house on a suburban street in Nagasaki. Or so he believes. Food begins to go missing. Perturbed by this threat to his orderly life, Shimura sets up a webcam to monitor his home.  But though eager to identify his intruder, is Shimura really prepared for what the camera will reveal? This prize-winning novel (based on a true story) is a heart-rending tale of alienation in the modern world. I love the cover – very striking. L’Express called it “one of those brief and understated novels that stay with the reader for a very long time.” Remember, this is the publisher that bought you The Elegance of the Hedgehog – and we all remember how well that did! Nagasaki is published in April by Gallic Books and you can find out more and order it here.

Commando Dad:  How to be an Elite Dad or Carer has been one of the big bestsellers of the last couple of years; selling over 35,000 copies it was the parenting book of choice for Prince William and has received widespread coverage in the press and on television. Now comes Pocket Commando Dad - an abridged, pocket-sized version of the indispensable training manual for new dads. Written by ex-Commando and father of three, Neil Sinclair, this no-nonsense guide will teach you how to prepare base camp for your baby trooper’s arrival, survive the first 24 hours, establish feeding/sleeping routines and much, much more besides! Let training commence! This paperback is £6.99 and has full colour illustrations throughout – (978 1 84953 555 7) and is published in April by Summersdale. The Guardian said it was “‘quick to read, easy to understand and simple to digest… spot on” and you can order it here.

Could spring be finally upon us? Do we feel the first urges of wanting to get outdoors, and off an adventure that doesn’t involve wellies or waterproofs? Well, if you are even considering trying out the ultimate cycle journey from channel to med (St. Malo to Nice) then France En Velo by Hannah Reynolds and John Walsh is the title for you. In this beautifully illustrated guide to travelling across France by bike, you will discover hidden lanes, stunning gorges, amazing places to eat and stay, plus the best of French cycling culture. This iconic journey of more than 1000 miles takes you through no fewer than 21 of France’s regional départements and into some of the country’s most striking and dramatic landscapes helping you to discover the true heart of rural France. Ride one section, follow a mini itinerary, or complete the entire challenge! Beautifully illustrated maps, detailed directions and GPX downloads guide you along the route providing all the essential information you need. The book will be featured in Cycling Weekly, Cycling Active and Cycling Fitness and extracts will run in the Times and on Channel 4’s The Cycle Show. France En Velo (pb, £16.99 978 0957157347) is published by Wild Things Publishing in April and you can order it here.

If you’d like a little taste of what such a trip would involves, then have a little look at some of the fabulous photos  on the cycling website Skedaddle here - John Walsh designed the first St Malo to Nice epic for this cycling touring company back in 2010 and it is now one of their most popular holidays.

Those who have read this next novel in the Compass Office have given it a big thumbs up, and if you have customers partial to the works of Ruth Rendell; then Death in Pont-Aven by Jean-Luc Bannalec is one to suggest for them.  Death in Pont-Aven is a captivating whodunit thriller set in a small village in Brittany, and introduces readers to the enigmatic Commissaire Dupin, an idiosyncratic penguin lover and Parisian-born caffeine junkie whose unique methods of detection raise more than a few eyebrows. It is a book so atmospheric readers will immediately want to wander through the village’s narrow alleyways, breathe in the Atlantic air and savour the Breton seaside specialty dishes. Death in Pont-Aven is a spellbinding, subtle and smart crime novel, peppered with cryptic humour and surprising twists. It was a big summer hit in its original German (reaching number 2 in the bestseller lists) and Der Spiegel called it a “cheerful, sun-drenched, stress-free whodunit thriller” which sounds just like what many of us want for our holiday reading.  This is the first title in a new series featuring the quirky Commissaire Dupin, and I think this gentle crime thriller set in Brittany could be a big hit with British readers.  Death in Pont-Aven (pb, £7.99, 978 1843914983) is published by Hesperus Nova in April, and you can order it here.

And finally a round up of the week’s publicity…

The drinks column in the April issue of Saga Magazine will be entirely devoted to bluffing about wine: the magazine's drinks columnist is Jonathan Goodall co-author of The Bluffer's Guide to Wine and sole author of The Bluffer's Guide to Beer.  
Cover images of both books will feature prominently in his article. Saga Magazine is the UK's best selling monthly with over half a million subscribers and it is read by more than 1.3 million people every month. The drinks page is one of the most popular regular features (after money and letters). Nothing beats good editorial and this is brilliant – make sure you have both titles in stock!

Monarchy by Christopher Lee (£20, hb 978-1903071588 published by Benefactum) is mentioned in the Times this week, following an attack on our royal family in the New York Times. Author Christopher Lee is quoted as saying that the “monarchy is the identity of the nation”.

The fighting about what Scotland will or won’t be able to do if they achieve independence rumbles on – with even David Bowie weighing into the debate at this week’s Brits awards!  There was an interesting  article on the subject by author David Torrance in the Guardian which you can read here – don’t forget to keep David’s book The Battle for Britain: Scotland and the Independence Referendum (published by Biteback £14.99, pb, 978-1849545945) on display – this subject is going to be in the news for many months to come!!

The People in the Photo by Hélène Gestern was published this week, (pb, £8.99 978 1908313546) and has received ecstatic reviewers from the literary bloggers and in the press. The Independent on Sunday:  called it “genuinely affecting …  a tightly-controlled, well-paced and, at times, heart-wrenching read” while the Sun said “This book hasn't won almost 20 awards for nothing – it’s an addictive read” and Closer magazine called it “a beautiful debut” This multi-prize-winning debut novel with its beautifully evocative descriptions is published by Gallic Press and you can find out more and order it here. One blogger called it a “literary game of pass the parcel, each layer reveals another and another until finally the gift of full disclosure emerges. At turns fascinating, heartbreaking, passionate and astonishing; this one will touch your reading soul.”

Who saw the story in today’s press of the arrest of Brit Mathew Osborne – who apparently stole a £100,000 pink diamond in Australia by simply walking into a jewellers, asking to see the stone then grabbing it, swallowing it, and nipping off on a mountain bike! Simples! Or maybe not, as he is now in police custody while they “keep a close watch on his movements”.  How much more glamorous were David Niven and Peter Sellers back in 1964?!



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.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Compass Points 74

Propaganda: Truth and Lies in Wartime is a companion volume to Cartoons of World War II and is a full-colour collection of the greatest propaganda images ever. Propaganda is one of the key weapons of war. Appealing to the emotions rather than intellect, it dehumanizes the enemy and creates hatred. Without propaganda, it would be almost impossible to send soldiers to the battlefront with the intention of annihilating the enemy. This book takes us from Napoleonic war paintings to anti-Hitler posters, and also contains plenty of the brutal cutting edge material of today’s propaganda. It features plenty historic material which gives you a unique insight into past times as well as really making you think about how propaganda is used today.  It also shows how each country has its own style of propaganda.  The British seem to like understatement and fortitude in the face of great odds; while the US concentrates on mockery; during the Second World War, the Germans chose to paint Churchill as a drunken buffoon. Edited by Tony Husband, Propaganda: Truth and Lies in Wartime is published by Arcturus in April (full colour paperback £12.99 978 1782122791). As Goebbels said, and I’m afraid it’s true; “If you tell a big enough lie and keep repeating it, people will come to believe it.”

There’s a nice selection of World War II propaganda posters to look at on YouTube here.


 And here are some amazing Russian ones too!


And while we’re on the subject of World War II; War of Shadows by W. Stanley Moss, is a brand new edition of the sequel to Ill Met by Moonlight (a phenomenally successful title which has never been out of print since 1950 and was of course made into the 1957 film starring Dirk Bogarde). Billy Moss was 18 when he was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards, and then fought with his regiment North Africa before being seconded to SOE to operate behind enemy lines in Crete, Macedonia and Siam (Thailand).After the war he became a writer, broadcaster and journalist travelling round the world. He died in 1965. In War of Shadows Billy Moss, (brother-in-arms to Patrick Leigh Fermor) gives his version of the final months of World War II It is published in April (pb, £12.99, 978,1909657380) by Bene Factum  to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the pair’s abduction of German General Kreipe from enemy occupied Crete in 1944. Moss reflects movingly about what it means to fight and deal in death and how the turmoil of operations behind enemy lines in a foreign country are dependent on the goodwill of local inhabitants. There are also many moments of high humour. It is exciting and reflective stuff. There is a current fascination for the adventures and style of Patrick Leigh Fermor and Billy Moss has proved himself the authoritative teller of their tales together. With the 70th anniversary of their Cretan exploits and the beginning of the end of the war, there will be a fervent interest in these old heroes. The popularity of Moss’s other work can only help to make War of Shadows as success. The book contains some original photos, and has a terrific jacket, giving it just the right Boys Own adventure retro feel. All the royalties from the sales of this book will be dedicated to Cretan educational charities.

Here’s an exciting little 4 minute clip from Ill Met By Moonlight just to put you in the mood – all good adventurous stuff involving German officers  and brave  Brits  in Crete!


Of whom do you think that Boyd Tonkin, of the Independent said “His poetry opens windows on a rich and restless imagination”? Well, it is none other than Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and The Poems of Rowan Williams is published by Carcanet (pb, £9.95, 978 1847774521) in April, to coincide with Easter. This is a momentous gathering of poems which includes poems from Rowan Williams’ first two collections, alongside previously uncollected work. The poems explore faith, nature, loss and the ancient Celtic world. Rowan Williams is a frequent broadcaster and media coverage is anticipated in the major broadsheets and theological journals.

Can anyone write poems do you think? And if you’re famous does it automatically mean your poetry is any good? Well evidently not – have a look at this horrendous effort from Twilight star Kirsten Stewart. I don’t think Carcanet are going to be knocking at her door any time soon, do you?

Almost as impressive as the time Rick from The Young Ones read out his poem about Cliff Richard!



Now, here’s something you didn’t know you needed in your life until you saw it – the Sherlock Holmes Tarot: Wisdom from the First Consulting Detective. This is the first complete tarot deck based on the famous sleuth and includes 79 stunningly illustrated cards from a bestselling tarot author and artist. Original characters make up the Major Arcana, and Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories are featured throughout. The Fool is transformed into the bumbling Inspector Lestrade, the Devil becomes Professor Moriarty and the Magician turns into the Great Detective himself! Then turn to the Minor Arcana and allow yourself to be drawn in by the suits of Observation, Evidence, Analysis and Deduction. Victorian London, with its shadowy buildings and fog-bound streets, forms the perfect setting for the card imagery. There’s also an additional wild card that can be used to enhance and qualify a reading. Specially created spreads enable you to investigate your personal dilemmas, just as Sherlock Holmes sought answers to crimes. Prepare to be amazed as you apply Holmesian wisdom – allied with the universal strengths of the tarot – to your daily life. It’s elementary! The Sherlock Holmes Tarot by John Matthews & Will Kinghan (£19.99 9781859063705) is published by Connections in April. The box set contains a paperback book and 70 full colour tarot cards.

And here is one of the many Sherlock tributes out there on the web (personally I did not find Benedict Cumberbatch on Sesame Street particularly amusing – although I guess 4 million views is impressive stuff) – this one is an imagined meeting between one great man and another: Wholock - pretty brilliant I think!



An Everywhere: A Little Book about Reading by Heather Reyes is a delightful, inspiring and utterly compelling defence of the joys (and sometimes uses) of reading. Orange Prize winning author Helen Dunmore called it “a brilliant travel guide to the city of books: the city we hold within us, and the one we share with all its other citizens. I love Heather's passion for reading and the blend of erudition and intimacy that she brings to the discussion of what reading is and what books can do within a life. It is such a truthful book.”  It came about when its author Heather Reyes had to ensure several months of cancer treatment; and decided to turn a necessary evil into an opportunity: the luxury of reading whatever took her fancy. This little book about reading is a quietly passionate and witty defence of the joys and consolations of reading in both the difficult and day-to-day aspects of our lives. It is already a Bookseller Buyers' Guide Spring 2014 Highlight of the Season and there will be an extensive PR and book blog and book group campaign. This short but in-depth book is aimed at the general reader and that requires no prior reading of the books mentioned. An Everywhere (pb, £8.99 9780992636401) is published by Oxygen in April.

Talking of the pleasures of reading, who likes a literary quiz? Oooh yes, me me me. Well click here to find out which Roald Dahl character you are! I have to say I’m not best pleased to find myself cast as Miss Truchbull, although I would have to agree with her that children are indeed maggots.

As Britain is battered by yet more storms it seems hard to believe that any of us are ever going to be able to enjoy leisure time on our wonderful island ever again. But surely as spring arrives, so will the holidaymakers and don’t forget that the Official Tourist Board Guides published by Hudson’s are here to help your customers make the most of the UKCamping, Touring and Holiday Parks 2014: Britain’s Star Rated Holiday Parks (paperback £8.99 978 0851015262), B&Bs and Hotels 2014: England’s Star Rated Guest Accommodation (pb, £8.99 978 0851015248) and Self Catering 2104: England’s Star rated Holiday Homes 2014 (pb, £8.99 978 0851015255.) These are the only official British guides from VisitBritain, which is the authoritative voice on national tourism. They have an easy to use layout, and contain masses of helpful information. They were published in December, and you can order all the Hudson’s titles here.

Have a look at the Hudson's Heritage Website here – at the moment you can track down the best snowdrop walks, as well as places to book for a romantic weekend away – which might just help you out if you've failed to do anything for Valentine’s Day today! There is also a rather good blog, greatbritishheritage.com – written under the pseudonym Mrs Hudson – a fun and accessible friendly branding for this classic series.

Now, it requires even more of a leap of faith to imagine any of us venturing onto the British coastline just at the moment – but let’s hope we have a glorious spring and summer this year to enable us all to do just that. Hidden Beaches: Explore the Secret Coast of Britain by Daniel Start (paperback, £16.99 978 0957157378) is published in April by Wild Things Publishing and now includes even more for walkers and explorers as well as swimmers. This is a revised and expanded edition of Wild Swimming, which redefined the adventure genre when it was published in 2008. This new edition gives full national coverage of the UK’s most beautiful beaches – containing lagoons, sea caves and amazing places to snorkel. It has all new 1:25,000 Ordnance Survey mapping so the reader can easily find where to walk, sea kayak and even swim with dolphins! There are the best beach cafes, local food, pubs and campsites as well as loads of activities for children and families. The combination of stunning photography, engaging travel writing and practical guidance is a winning formula and Hidden Beaches (a much better title I think) is set to continue as the definitive guide to Britain’s hidden beaches and secret coastline.

Well, as we look out at our battered country at the moment, maybe it’s some consolation to realise that it is not the first time the floods have engulfed us. Have a look at these historic pictures of Thames floods in times gone by.

And if things just get too grim and gloomy; maybe we should all do what they did during the great depression in the 1930’s and watch a Shirley Temple film to cheer ourselves up. RIP Shirley who died this week aged 85 – here are some of her best bits!


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.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Compass Points 73

Let’s start today with the news of two major serialisations of books coming up from Biteback. First up is extracts from Dangerous to Know: The Autobiography of Harry Chapman Pincher (£20, hb, 978 1849546515) which will be published in the Daily Mail this Saturday. Harry Chapman Pincher is a legend amongst journalists, one of the most famous newspaper men of his day and his era’s foremost investigator of the vicissitudes of the state. He is the author of many bestselling books including Their Trade is Treachery. Now 99 years old, he is going stronger than ever. His name, a byword for investigative journalism, sounded a note of real terror for those trying to safeguard the secrets of state. His first splash, a leaked top secret account of the development of the atomic bomb, sparked a furious trans-Atlantic row. It was only the start of a career in which the name Chapman Pincher became synonymous with high-level leaks from the most secret parts of government. The question of government secrecy and whether or not journalists are acting in the public interest by revealing those secrets is still hugely relevant today, and there is no one more qualified to comment than Chapman Pincher. Colourful, indiscreet and compelling, this life of a true journalistic colossus also reveals the secret history of the century he bestrode. When he finally retired from journalism, the leaks kept coming, leading to a series of best-selling books on the infiltration of Britain’s intelligence services by Moscow which culminated in the allegation in that the head of MI5 was a Soviet spy.

Hang on a minute, I’m pretty sure the Head of MI5 is in fact Judi Dench – and here she is in one of her best moments quoting Tennyson in this cracking clip from Skyfall. I think Harry Chapman Pincher would agree with every word.



Secondly, another serialisation also begins this weekend in the Mail on Saturday – continuing through to Monday and Tuesday – for I Know Nothing by Andrew Sachs (£18.99, hb, 978 1849546362) which has just been published by Robson Press. Charming, laugh-out-loud funny and utterly compelling, this is the rich life story of one of Britain’s best-loved character actors. Andrew Sachs is of course best known for his role as Manuel in the British sitcom Fawlty Towers, and these days is something of a national treasure. This autobiography begins a few weeks before Kristallnacht in November 1938, when a young Andrew Sachs looks on as Nazi officers arrest his father while the family are eating in a restaurant. The son of a Jewish father, a few days later Sachs watched as the Nazis burned and looted Jewish shops on the streets of Berlin. I Know Nothing recounts anecdotes of a bizarre adolescence, the author’s often hilarious struggle to come to terms with all things English, including the food, the schools and the perils of the language (rude words especially!), his early days in rep, and later working with a galaxy of stars including Rex Harrison, Norman Wisdom, Noel Coward, Alec Guinness, Richard Burton, Peter Sellers and Dame Edith Evans. It tells of how he eventually came to team up with John Cleese on the show that would make him famous as the hapless waiter from Barcelona, and tells the true story of how the classic series was made and the personalities involved in its creation. This three day Daily Mail serialisation is terrific publicity for this book, and I Know Nothing is essential reading for the many many fans of the classic TV series Fawlty Towers – and of Andrew himself.

And of course we must just have a little look at Andrew in action, repeating this famous phrase – to the ever increasing frustration of Basil!



And while we’re on the subject of charming and much loved things coming here from Espagne: The Buenvino Cookbook: Recipes from our Farmhouse in Spain by Jeannie and Sam Chesterton will remind us all why we Brits never stop appreciating the Mediterranean cuisine and way of life.  For over thirty years, Jeannie and Sam Chesterton have lived high in the hills of Spain’s western Andalusia at Finca Buenvino, their welcoming pink farmhouse, which they have run as a guesthouse —achieving international acclaim for their cooking and also their cookery courses. Thomasina Miers (winner of BBC’s MasterChef 2005, writer and television presenter) said “Spending time at Buenvino with Sam and Jeannie is like a suspension of normal life. Time stands still whilst you eat amongst quince trees and sounds of the forest. Jeannie’s delicious, restaurant-standard food abounds and wine flows freely; they live a life of comforting generosity, and a general feeling of joie de vivre pervades the surrounding hills. I can’t wait to buy this book and be transported back to their little corner of paradise.” The Buenvino Cookbook (£20.00, hb, 978-1-909657-29-8) is a beautiful book with mouth-watering colour photographs by Tim Clinch, and it is published by Bene Factum in April.

Now, what is Lean? Is it what we hoped to become when we started the 5:2 diet – or signed up for a gym membership? Is it what Manuel does in order to avoid being hit by a spoon wielded by Basil? Nope – wrong and wrong again. Lean is the most widespread management philosophy of our time and is currently present in every industry, yet the concept is still vaguely defined and widely misunderstood. This Is Lean: Resolving the Efficiency Paradox by Niklas Modig and Pär Åhlström was launched in Sweden in October 2011 and is currently the best-selling management book there, with over 37,000 copies sold in one year. By using clear, concise language and insightful examples, the book has brought greater clarification to the essence of Lean and revolutionized top-executives and employees understanding of what Lean actually is. This Is Lean is published in the UK by Rheologica Publishing (£12.99, pb, 9789198039306) and is relevant to any kind of business. It is currently being used by a number of multi-national companies including Ericsson, Scania and Volvo and is also widely used by the Swedish public sector, including the Swedish Police Service and all larger hospitals. The book is also held in high regard by world-renowned academics: Professor Terry Hill Emeritus Fellow of Oxford University said “I found This Is Lean most enjoyable – punchy opening, use of some examples/illustrations throughout, good writing style and, most importantly, a sound exposé of the concepts”  while Professor Nigel Slack Emeritus Professor from the Warwick Business School commentedThis Is Lean is just fantastic. Really readable, interesting, relevant, and wise. I love the stories – they bring it to life.” This book addresses the eternal question of why we all think we are efficient being busy busy busy; when we in fact we are extremely inefficient most of the time – and I think most of us can certainly relate to that! This Is Lean has been a bit of a sleeper hit so far in the UK and there are certainly more sales to be had from it – so don’t miss out – order it for the business and management section of your bookshop today – and find out how “creating more value by working less” can be a realistic and logical way to run a business.

Who remembers that Doctor Who episode entitled Gridlock, set some time in the future when the whole of New York is stuck in a never-ending traffic jam, and everyone lives in their cars for years and years? Well, I was reminded of it recently, while looking at a fantastic new novel entitled Jam by Jake Wallis Simons. Jake is a journalist on the Telegraph and also a presenter for BBC Radio 4. His previous novel The English German Girl was selected as Waterstones’  “Next Big Thing” and has sold 15,000 copies in the UK. Jam is a brilliant, tense new state-of-the-nation novel that opens on one night on the M25 in a seemingly endless traffic jam. As darkness falls, the traffic jam lengthens, and motorists turn off their engines. Then they get out of their cars. And so the story begins. People from all walks of life are thrown together. There are Max and Ursula, a bickering married couple with a friend’s child in the back seat; hungover Shauna, on her way back from a wedding; dope-smoking students Dave, Stevie and Natalie; white-van men Chris and Rhys; Shahid, a charismatic aspiring footballer; Harold, a Scottish academic and M25 historian; Hsiao May, an insect expert; and Waitrose Tony, whose delivery van becomes the target of hungry motorists. As the minutes become hours and impatience turns to anger, the tension grows. Secrets are revealed. Friendships are made. Relationships are broken. And lives are changed. This sounds pretty gripping to me and those in the Compass office who have read it say it is terrific. Jam is a £12.99 paperback, published by Polygon in April (978 1846972805) and you can find out more and order it here.

And just to remind you, here’s the bit at the end of that Doctor Who episode where they all finally get out of the traffic jam and break free!



The German Doctor by Lucía Puenzo, translated by David William Foster is a dark and chilling novel, based on the true story of Josef Mengele who escaped to South America in the 1960s and lived with a family who were unaware of his horrendous past. Josef Mengele was of course the Nazi physician, infamous for his human experimentation at Auschwitz, particularly on children, twins and pregnant women and the book begins in Patagonia in 1960when Mengele has fled from Germany and come to South America to continue his work – seeking to manipulate genes to create the ‘perfect’ human race’. In the small village of Chacharramendi he first meets Lilith, a child who he is instantly fascinated yet repulsed by. For Lilith has a growth defect, and the disproportionate size of her features represent all he is trying to exterminate from humankind. Yet, even more fascinating is the fact that her siblings are perfect examples of the Aryan race; tall, strongly built and fair. The anomaly of Lilith’s existence fascinates him, and when he discovers Lilith’s mother is pregnant with twins, the temptation to involve himself in their lives and even interfere with the pregnancy is too much for him to pass up on. A cold, calculating but eerily charming man, he manipulates his way into the family. And so begins a dark relationship between the doctor and little girl, a kind of love that cannot end well. Sooner or later his terrible past is going to catch up with him. This extraordinary book has been made into an award winning Argentinian film which will release around the world in spring 2014  (it opens in the UK in May) and The German Doctor (B-format paperback, £8.88 978 1843915430) is published by Hesperus Nova in April.  You can watch a trailer for the film here on YouTube



On a much lighter note, talking of practicing a cold and calculating deception – here is a very funny clip of some highly gullible Chelsea fans duped into giving their “knowledgeable” opinions on some totally fictitious footballers!


 Very best wishes to any booksellers out there affected by the terrible weather – I know it is truly appalling in some parts of the UK.  We are lucky enough to be in a part of the country relatively unaffected and have been open-mouthed at the massive waves sweeping in over Chesil beach and the sea wall collapsing under the railway at Dawlish.


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


This blog is read weekly by over 700 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.