Friday 9 January 2015

Compass Points 110

We start the year reminded in the grimmest possible way of the power of the pen, and how important our freedom to write, draw and publish what ever we choose really is. Here’s an excellent summary on BuzzFeed of how our British satirists and comic writers have responded so far to the terrible atrocities in France.

In other news now, here’s a round up of the new Compass titles that are getting some good publicity at present.

Policy Press is starting the year with the publication of potentially their best-selling title ever! Back to the Future of Socialism by Labour MP for Neath, Peter Hain (hb, 978 1447321668, £20.00) is a highly personal, accessibly written polemic, redefining Labour’s future. There has just been a big article by Peter Hain on his book in the Guardian, which you can read here, and Peter will also be on the Andrew Marr show and Question Time – which is certain to increase awareness and demand for this title.

Mind of Winter by Laura Kasischke has just been published by Hesperus Nova (pb, 978 1843915485 £8.99) and has been featured in Elle Magazine. This is a dark and chilling thriller with a fab cover, which combines domestic drama with elements of psychological suspense and horror and is perfect for fans of Gone Girl and Before I Go to Sleep.

The Art of Being Ill: Or How to Be a Better Patient by Jill Sinclair (pb, £9.99, 978 1908754837) which was published last autumn by Freight;  will be featured in the Telegraph Weekend section this Saturday (10th January) with an extract included; and also on Sat 17th January. BBC Radio London is also doing a piece on this title on the 13th. The Art of Being Ill is a hilarious how-to guide which will teach readers about the subtle art of being an invalid. It covers age-old remedies for common maladies, all but forgotten treatments, and the vital preparations that should be made to make being bed-ridden as comfortable and productive as possible. If you’ve ever felt that you're doing a poor job of feeling poorly, failing in your ailing and missing out on TLC then this is the title for you! 

The English Railway Station by Steven Parrisien ( hb, £19.99 978 1848022362 ) which was published by English Heritage in November is also getting some good coverage. This is an accessible, engaging and comprehensively illustrated general history of the architectural development and social history of the British railway station, from the dawn of the Railway Age to the ravages of the 1960s and the station's rebirth at the end of the 20th century. It traces how the station evolved into a recognisable building type, examines the great cathedrals and the evocative country stations of the Victorian era, and looks at how the railway station has, over the last fifty years, regained its place at the heart of our communities. Reviewers have called it “original and informative” and it is selling well.

And if you’re just in the mood for a bit of nostalgic reminiscing about English railway stations, then this charming ditty from Flanders and Swan should be right up your street – or rather line!

Another non-fiction title that is title selling extremely well is The Official Formula 1 Season Review 2014, published by Illustrated London News (hb, 978 0957532069 £35.00). This official Formula One Management review gives fans a unique, access-all-areas pass behind the scenes of one of the most thrilling Formula One seasons of recent years, throwing new light on all the headlines and key incidents. It includes a foreword by Bernie Ecclestone and features full race reports from all 19 races. It is illustrated with amazing photography from LAT and with exclusive insight from the drivers them selves, this book also contains all the official statistics from an action-packed year.

I enjoy watching fast cars zooming around as much as anyone – but frankly; I think it’s all so much more thrilling in the movies! Here are the top ten most exciting movie car chase scenes.

As well as those book we’ve already mentioned, a lot of you can probably tell us about quite a few other titles that have sold very well for you in recent months as; hurrah – some good news; the Bookseller tells us today that  independent bookshops have had their best Christmas in years! A greater percentage of independent booksellers reported that they enjoyed Christmas sales increases in 2014, compared to the previous two years, according to this survey.  In a separate survey of 80 bookshops by the BA; 55% reported sales were up – compared with 43% last year –  and of those shops, 18% reported sales were up “a lot”. Meanwhile, 69% said they saw an increase in footfall, up from 45% who said they had seen a decline last year. 

Moving on now to new titles; you are no doubt aware that this year is the 800th anniversary of King John’s sealing of Magna Carta. As the first charter to grant individual liberties under the rule of law, protecting the people against tyranny, Magna Carta is the most influential and far-reaching legal text the world has ever known. It is the founding document of individual freedom throughout the world, and Magna Carta: the Foundation of Freedom by Nicholas Vincent is published by Third Millennium Publishing in February. This is the definitive account of Magna Carta’s genesis and subsequent impact. It is published with the official support of the UK Magna Carta Trust and Professor Nicholas Vincent is joined by a range of experts on Magna Carta from across the world to reflect on its enduring significance. This is the definitive book, officially endorsed, scholarly but lavishly and engagingly produced. It has 192 pages in full colour with over 250 integrated colour illustrations. The author is the acknowledged world expert on Magna Carta: this is set to be the most authoritative treatment of the subject for years to come and provides a comprehensive overview of the subject, assuming no special expertise on the part of the reader. It contains much new research and fresh insights into the subject and you can order it and find out more here. The hardback (978 1 908990280, £44.95) of Magna Carta: The Foundation of Freedom is available in February, and the paperback (pb, 978 1 908990488 £24.95) in April.

And if you’re a bit hazy on the details of the whole Magna Carta thing- then have a quick watch of this two minute BBC clip giving you the low down on the whole 800 year anniversary!

The shortlist for the Political Book Awards 2015 has just been announced – the awards are given out at a dinner on 28th January.  This is the third year the awards have been held, after being founded by Biteback publisher and political commentator Iain Dale. They have been sponsored each year by Paddy Power and Lord Ashcroft. Dale said: "The Paddy Power Political Book Awards have become a permanent fixture in the book awards calendar. The calibre of the shortlisted authors is once again outstanding and the awards celebrate the breadth and diversity in political writing." The winner of the political book of the year prize receives £10,000, and a further £3,000 prize goes to the winner of the debut political book of the year award. Other awards will be given out for biography of the year, polemic of the year, political history book of the year and political fiction book of the year, while others cover practical politics, satire and humour, and international affairs. A new prize created this year will cover publishing on the First World War. You can see the full shortlist for all the awards here on The five Biteback titles shortlisted are: Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith  by Simon Danczuk and Matthew Baker, which is shortlisted for Political Book of the Year. Shortlisted for Political Biography of the Year is Clement Attlee by Michael Jago and shortlisted for Debut Political Book of the Year is How to Be a Minister by John Hutton and Leigh Lewis. On the shortlist for Practical Politics Book of the Year are Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box by Philip Cowley and Robert Ford and also The ‘Too Difficult’ Box by Charles Clarke.

Talking of politics, according to the predictions of a range of  insiders from the publishing industry; the general election will dominate book publishing in 2015, Pan Macmillan MD Anthony Forbes Watson said the general election would be of concern, as “a year in which there is a general election is a year of uncertainty”, while Richard Mollet, of The Publishers Association, said the election would dominate people’s lives, “more after than before” as the new government’s policies start to be implemented. Lots of important folk from publishing, bookselling, agenting and writing, have shared what they think is in store for the industry in the coming twelve months with The Bookseller, and you can read a summary of their thoughts here.

Secrets of Chuckling Goat: How a Herd of Goats Saved my Family andStarted a Business that Became a Natural Health Phenomenon by Shann Nix Jones (£10.99 978 1781804704) is the amazing true story of an American city girl who couldn't even boil an egg, finally finding true love and happiness on a Welsh goat farm – and saving her husband's life by inventing a solution for flesh-eating superbugs along the way! Shann Nix Jones 's Chuckling Goat products have been launched in Fortnum &Mason and Tesco's Nutricentre and the film rights to this story are now being sought by several companies. The book and Shann Nix Jones will feature in You magazine (circ. 4 million) and the Mail Online (circ. 110 million) on 29th January. The book will also feature in the March issue of Spirit & Destiny magazine (circ. 39,000) and the March issue of Psychologies (circ. 73,000). Secrets of Chuckling Goat is published by Hay House in February and you can find out more and order it here

Never mind chuckling goats, what I want to know is quite why screaming goats are so very popular? Here’s a compilation of some of the ultimate screaming goat songs...

Everyone has heard of the literary phenomenon that is Moby Dick, but not many know about the title that inspired it. Beneath the Heart of the Sea: The Sinking of the Whaleship Essex is a first-hand account of shipwreck and survival told by Essex’s first mate Owen Chase, which now been turned into a major Hollywood blockbuster: In the Heart of the Sea directed by Ron Howard which comes out in March. You can watch an exciting trailer for it here. Beneath the Heart of the Sea (pb, £7.99, 978 1843915607 tells of that eventful  morning of November 20,1820, in the Pacific Ocean 2,000 miles from the coast of South America, when an enraged sperm whale rammed the Nantucket whaleship Essex. As the boat began to sink, her crew of twenty, including first mate Owen Chase, grabbed what little they could before piling into frail boats and taking to the open seas. So began their four-month ordeal and struggle for survival. A bleak story, only eight men survived having endured starvation and dehydration, giving in to cannibalism, murder and insanity. Owen Chase recorded the extraordinary account in his autobiography, originally published in 1821, which Hesperus are now reissuing in a stylish new edition, published in February.  Readers will be enthralled to discover the intense, original story behind the new film, and this epic true story makes for extraordinary reading.

Socialism, capitalism, goats or trains - whatever floats your boat or your bookshop this year; I'm sure you will enjoy this entertaining revisit of the Mr Men Characters – we love them here on Compass Points, and here are sixteen new Mr Men characters that sum up modern Britain in 2015!

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

This blog is read by  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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