Friday 14 August 2015

Compass Points 135

Fantastic news that a Compass  title is one of the 13 on the Booker Prize longlist, so many congratulations to Periscope Books and Laila Lalami for The Moor's Account (pb, 978 1859644270, £9.99). This absorbing tale (inspired by Spanish records from 1536) of Estebanico (who becomes Mustafa); a vibrant merchant from Azemmur forced into slavery then reborn as the first black explorer of the Americas, discovering various tribes both hostile and compassionate, but remaining resourceful and hopeful that he might one day find his way back to his family is an inspiring read. It illuminates the ways in which stories can transmigrate into history, and how storytelling can offer a chance for redemption, reinvention and survival. You can find the full longlist of 13 titles at the Booker Prize website here. The shortlist will be announced on Tuesday 15 September and the eventual winner on 13 October and you can order The Moor's Account here

And congratulations also to author Kirstin Innes and publisher Freight Books for having Fishnet on the Not the Booker Prize shortlist! This is an award that the Guardian have been running for seven years and is a hunt by readers of the Guardian books blog to find the year's best book, which may – or may not – tally with the assessment of the Booker prize judges! Fishnet (pb, 978 1910449066, £8.99) was published in April, and has been hailed by reviewers as “dark and provocative” bittersweet, sensual and rich. It is a novel which takes a clear-eyed, meticulously researched, controversial look at the sex industry and the lives of sex workers, questioning our perception of contemporary femininity. The Huffington Post called it “Extraordinarily refreshing...a very erotic read...set to be a massive hit and deserves every ounce of that success.”  This year’s shortlist of six is Kirstin Innes for Fishnet (Freight Books), Kat Gordon for The Artificial Anatomy of Parks (Legend Press), Oliver Langmead for Dark Star (Unsung Stories), Paul McVeigh for The Good Son (Salt), Tasha Kavanagh for Things We Have in Common (Canongate) and Melanie Finn for Shame (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), The prize is a Guardian mug, the glory – and lots of publicity of course! Go to the Guardian Book Blog Not the Booker page if you’d like to join in!

There’s nothing better for a bit of holiday reading than a cracking thriller – and The Oligarch (pb, 9781908096715, £8.99)  by Joseph Clyde which has just been published by Gibson Square certainly fits that bill. It was reviewed this week in the Independent, who wrote “If the worlds of London's "new" Russians, MI5, international summit meetings and Vladimir Putin have ever impinged on yours, however peripherally, this is the thriller for you. And if they haven't, well, you can sit back in wonderment and enjoy this romp around a parallel universe that exists – I assure you, it does – not a million miles from our own. The author, Joseph Clyde, is actually the former diplomat, former MP and polyglot, George Walden, and serves up a treat of acute observation and dead-pan humour that testifies to a highly-informed eye. From the Chelsea flat, to the cars, to the restored trophy castle, from the hedonism to the paranoia – some warranted, much not – the atmospherics largely ring true.”  Jonathan Meades called The Oligarch “unputdownable”, and there will be more reviews over the next fortnight in the Daily Telegraph, Spectator, Times and TLS. This is a totally gripping MI5 crime thriller; set in the South of France and the UK which really uses George Walden's intimate knowledge of Whitehall, France, and Russian politics – it canters through a world of billionaires, opulence, spies, the Russian secret service, druggy dissolute Etonians and Russian princesses and I can thoroughly recommend it! 
Joseph Clyde’s previous paperback A State of Fear: Britain After a Dirty Bomb (pb, £8.99, 978 1906142957) also attracted much praise, with the Daily Mail calling it “Compelling… deserves to be a best-seller” and the Times Literary Supplement saying it “Echoes the best of Len Deighton or John Le Carr√©”. If you haven’t yet discovered Joseph Clyde you really should – you can order The Oligarch here and State of Fear here.

And if you’d like to find out a bit more about Joseph Clyde aka George Walden, then there’s a really good 15 minute interview with him by BBC journalist Nick Higham, which you can watch on the iplayer here.

Barney Thomson — an awkward, diffident, Glasgow barber — lives a life of desperate mediocrity. Shunned at work and at home, unable to break out of a twenty-year rut, each dull day blends seamlessly into the next. However, there is no life so tedious that it cannot be spiced up by inadvertent murder, a deranged psychopath, and a freezer full of neatly packaged meat. Barney Thomson’s uninteresting life is about to go from 0 to 60 in five seconds, as he enters the grotesque and comically absurd world of the serial killer. If you think this sounds like a black comedy Scottish film – probably starring Robert Carlyle and Ray Winstone you’d be dead right – it is! The Legend of Barney Thomson is now showing across the UK, to good reviews. It also stars (much less predictably!) Emma Thompson – who by all accounts is uproariously brilliant. 
The Legend of Barney Thomson is a debut novel by Douglas Lindsay; do make sure you have it in stock – it has a great film tie-in cover – and has also had ace reviews – the Mirror said “This chilling black comedy unfolds at dizzying speed... an impressive debut” and “The plot, Russian literature fans, is a modern spin on Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. The bloody ending, movie buffs, is pure Reservoir Dogs” while New Woman wrote “This is pitch-black comedy spun from the finest writing. Fantastic plot, unforgettable scenes and plenty of twisted belly laughs.” The Legend of Barney Thomson (pb, £8.99, 978 1910449318) by Douglas Lindsay is out now from Freight and you can find out more and order it here.

You can watch a trailer for the film of The Legend of Barney Thomson here!

Super reviews in the Guardian, Mail on Sunday and Telegraph for Going Up (hb, 978 1849548700, £20); the compelling personal story of one of Britain’s most celebrated writers, Frederic Raphael. Going Up is a journey from Chicago to Putney, to Charterhouse, on up to Cambridge, and beyond to Fleet Street, recording early experiences that were absorbed in Raphael’s many opulent novels and screenplays. This memoir is a dazzling piece of virtuoso prose writing that is fabulously indiscreet but also deeply moving, and punctuated throughout by Raphael’s indefatigable wit and incomparable erudition. Going Up has just been published by Robson Press and you can find out more and order it here.

Books on the perils of technology, the gender gap in business and how to revive economies make the longlist of the 2015 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year. The £30,000 prize is given for the book that “provides the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues, including management, finance and economics”. I’m pleased to tell you that among the 15 longlisted titles is Ivan Fallon’s timely investigation of Lloyds and the financial crisis: Black Horse Ride: The Inside Story of Lloyds and the Banking Crisis which is published by Biteback. There was an excellent review in the Times last week for this hardback which called it “A pacy, exceptionally well-informed and grimly riveting account that illuminates in microcosm the greatest economic disaster this county has suffered since the great depression.”   The judges will select a shortlist of up to six books on 22nd September, and the winner will be announced in New York on 17th November. You can find the full longlist here. And you can find out more about it and order Black Horse Ride (£20, hb, 978 1849546423) here.

BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Review programme is going to discuss Waiting for the Past on the programme on 29th August. This is a new collection from internationally renowned Australian poet Les Murray which champions the beauty of the natural world and rejects certain aspects of modern life as destructive elements which threaten the eco-system. Blake Morrison, writing in the Independent on Sunday, called Murray: “one of the finest poets writing in English today” and the London Review of Books said that Murray is one of the very few poets with whose best work you feel that having read it you won’t, can’t, be quite the same again.” Waiting for the Past (pb, £9.99 978 1784101169) is published this month by Carcanet and you can find out more and order it here.

Who heard Nicky Weller on the Chris Evans Radio 2 Breakfast Show this week talking about The Jam: All About the Young Idea exhibition at Somerset House in London? This massively popular show has now been extended until the end of September 2015 due to high ticket demand, which gives you some idea of how hugely admired this iconic band are. How very fortunate then that Omnibus Press are publishing Growing Up With The Jam by the official exhibition producers Nicky Weller, Gary Crowley, Russell Reader and Den Davis. This is a beautifully presented coffee table book packed from cover to cover with celebrity memories paying tribute to the band that inspired an entire generation. The host of household names from the world of music, film and media have penned fitting tributes to the band includes stars of the sixties who influenced the band such as Ray Davies and Pete Townshend as well as members of the bands who competed with them for chart success like Adam Ant, Sir Bob Geldof, Mick Jones and Jools Holland. Then there are those The Jam inspired, like Noel Gallagher, Kelly Jones and Sharleen Spiteri, to actors and media personalities including Martin Freeman, Max Beesley and many more. With a foreword from all three members of the band, heart-warming personal recollections, spine tingling accolades and unseen photos, this really is a must read for any music fan. There will be a Jam documentary screening on Sky Arts and selected cinemas later this year along with a new 6 CD live box set – so this band really are having “a moment”! Growing Up With The Jam is published in September (pb, £25, 978 0993312700) and you can find out more and order it here.

And you can also order That’s Entertainment: My Life in The Jam by Rick Buckler and Ian Snowball. This autobiography is the first from a member of The Jam, and tells Rick Buckler’s story from growing up in Woking and meeting fellow members Paul Weller and Bruce Foxton at school, through their formation in 1972 and signing to Polydor records. He provides a year by year account of The Jam’s progress whilst describing what it was like being a part of the music industry during the 70’s and 80’s and some of the characters who he met along the way including the Ramones, John Entwistle, Sid Vicious, Blondie, Boy George and Paul McCartney. He also gives a candid account of how he coped with The Jam’s split in 1982, and his subsequent relationship with Paul and Bruce. That’s Entertainment: My Life in The Jam (pb, £16.99, 978 178305 7948) includes many photos from Rick’s personal archives and was also published by Omnibus earlier this year. It has sold 5,000 copies to date!

And here's my personal favourite Jam track:“What you see is what you get. You've made your bed, you'd better lie in it. You choose your leaders and place your trust. As their lies wash you down and their promises rust, you'll see kidney machines replaced by rockets and guns. And the public wants what the public gets.” Wise words boys, wise words.

How to Love yourself (and Sometimes Other People): Spiritual Advice for Modern Relationships by Meggan Watterson and Lodro Rinzler is a smart, hip guide for spiritual seekers who want to experience more love and stability in all forms of relationships. The authors’ dual perspectives as teachers and scholars of Christian mysticism and Buddhism make for a rich and fascinating dialogue that covers everything from sex, self-worth, falling in (and out of) love, deep friendships, to conscious uncoupling - and how to maintain an open heart through it all. At its core, this book is about learning to love yourself no matter what. I’m really not sure I know what any of that means (if anything), but I daresay many of your customers will, and these two authors have written many other very popular self-help books. How to Love Yourself will feature in the November/December issue of Kindred Spirit and will also be excerpted on Red Online in September (450,000 unique monthly browsers). How to Love yourself (and Sometimes Other People): Spiritual Advice for Modern Relationships (£10.99, pb, 978 1781803028) is published by Hay House (of course) in September and you can find out more and order it here.

And talking of love – what would you say are the 50 most romantic lines in literature? Maybe “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever“ or possibly "You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how”?  Have a look here to see if your favourite is quoted!

Never mind loving yourself, I know what I’m loving and that’s The Great British Bake Off! In celebration of its return, here are our favourite #LiteraryCakes from Twitter!
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Marzipan
Tortehouse Blue.
Farl from the Madding Crowd?
Bridget Scones' Diary
All Quiet on the Western Fondant
Yeast of Eden
The Bun Also Rises
Doughnuts & crosses
The Bundt for Red October
Finnegan's Cake and Lord of the Pies

That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This blog is taken from a newsletter which is sent weekly to 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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