Friday 9 October 2015

Compass Points 143

Every few years, both Hollywood and the publishing industry decide to revisit JM Barrie’s perennial favourite – Peter Pan. And 2015 is one of those years, with a new film Pan, set to open next week in the UK – all ready for October half term. The film stars Hugh Jackman and looks pretty good – it’s certainly had plenty of media coverage – you can watch a trailer here. ITV are also getting in on the act, with a two hour film which will be screened at Christmas. Entitled Peter and Wendy it starts Breaking Bad star Laura Fraser and also Stanley Tucci – with Paloma Faith as Tinkerbell! You can read more about that here!  So I’m sure all of you booksellers will be getting ready for your Neverland displays and windows! Don’t forget to include Birlinn’s charming graphic novel: JM Barrie’s Peter Pan: The Graphic Novel by Stephen “Stref” White and Fin Cramb (pb, 978 1780272900, full colour, £12.99). As one reviewer described it, this is “a delightful book taking Barrie's original text and giving it a faithful and truly beautiful graphical adaptation. Stephen White goes back to the very heart of Barrie’s original tale to create a story that is dark, magical, charming and authentic.” The complexity of Barrie’s original is drawn out in vibrant illustrations and engaging text to create a new vision of the tale for those familiar with it and to enchant a new generation of readers. The stunning illustrations draw on original, authentic features from the locations that inspired Barrie to write his tale including Moat Brae House in Dumfries and the garden where he played as a boy. You can watch a 30 second film of Stref creating one of the illustrations here. Birlinn have created a brilliant pack of colourings and other Pan activities based on Stref’s lively illustrations – ideal for half term children’s bookshop activities! If you’d like one to download then please email Vikki Reilly:

A major serialisation of My Way: Berlusconi in His Own Words begins in the Daily Mail, starting on 17 October. Its author Alan Friedman will be all over the UK publicising it, including BBC Breakfast and Newsnight and there will be lots more to come! This billionaire media mogul turned Prime Minister, has dominated Italian life for the past twenty years and these candid and revealing interviews are sure to get the media all wound up! From the bunga-bunga parties to his most secret moments with world leaders, the book is rich in anecdotes and revelations involving Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Vladimir Putin, Mikhail Gorbachev, Tony Blair, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and many others. My Way: Berlusconi in His Own Words (hb, 978 1849549868, £18.99) is published by Biteback and you can find out more and order it here.

I LOVE it when authors or publishers make a short video to promote their books – and here’s an excellent trailer for Billy and the Devil by Dean Lilleyman (978 1910692332, pb, £8.99) which was published this summer by Urbane. Billy and the Devil is a shocking and intimate portrayal of isolation, sexual misadventure, and addiction which is getting terrific feedback on social media: "This is wild stuff, very dark and very brilliant." "Put it this way, a great novel doesn't end after you have read the last page. It reaches out after publication and plants its own mythology in the world." “Brilliantly evoked in all its sordid detail, black humour, demented courage, and alienation."

How was National Poetry Day for you? I hope you found it suitably lyrical and inspiring! You can read some of our favourite tweets from the day at the end of this newsletter! Carcanet chose the day to make an exciting announcement: Anvil Press Poetry and Carcanet Press have agreed to merge operations. The result: the most diverse world poetry list in the United Kingdom and one of the great poetry lists in the Anglophone world, to be published from Manchester in a Northern world-poetry powerhouse. Greenwich-based Anvil Press Poetry, founded in 1968, is Britain’s longest-standing independent poetry publisher. Manchester’s Carcanet began a year later. Both have, for over four decades, been directed by their founders. Peter Jay has been the editorial and production director of Anvil, and Michael Schmidt editorial director of Carcanet
Their lists are complementary: they have shared authors, both are internationalist, committed to translation, honouring the classics with modern translations, and both have made notable discoveries among emerging poets. Between them they have six Nobel laureates, more than a dozen Pulitzer Prize-winners, and in 2014 Carcanet poets won the Forward Prize and the TS Eliot Award. In 2000 Carcanet was named the Sunday Times Small Publisher of the Year
Peter Jay is retiring from front line publishing to continue the writing and translation projects which have long been on his back burner. He said, “It is wonderful for our poets that Anvil is moving to the best possible home with Carcanet, a publisher for which I have always had enormous respect and admiration.” Michael Schmidt commented, Carcanet Press in a sense grew out of Anvil. Peter inspired and catalysed our programme and it is a great pleasure to bring the two together into a single operation. They have always been family.”

In celebration of National Poetry Day I love this website which brings together some of the best quotations about poetry – including one of my favourites “Poetry is life distilled”.

Good luck to all booksellers everywhere with their terrific Books Are My Bag promotion running NOW! Lots more info and picson the Twitter page at and also on social media under #BAMB and @booksaremybag.

Gyles Brandreth has been relentlessly promoting his new book Breaking the Code all over the UK.  Breaking the Code (pb, 978 1849549158, £14.99) has just been published by Robson Press, and Gyles has been on all the BBC radio stations as well as being Guest of the Day on the Daily Politics Show. You can hear an entertaining interview with him here on Radio Two’s Steve Wright in the Afternoon.

It was SuperThursday this week of course – when all the publishers bring out their best hopes for the Christmas bestsellers. One title which may not be on your radar – but which is an ideal stocking stuffer for the indie relation in your family who definitely DOESN’T want to read yet another big fat celeb bio; is Noel Gallagher's High Flying Words edited by Melissa Bond. Noel Gallagher has been called the finest song writer of his generation, but the outspoken star is probably almost as well known for his quick wit and excoriating humour as for his musical ability. The rocker will readily offer illuminating thoughts on everything including other musicians, football, politics, life and Liam; and this hilarious volume brings together the funniest of his wit, wisdom and gratuitous insults. For example: “People say we’re the Rolling Stones and Blur are the Beatles. But we’re the Stones and the Beatles. They’re the f*cking Monkees.” Or “Until you’ve actually thrown a television set out of a window you don’t even know the sense of joy that brings.” Noel Gallagher's High Flying Words (pb, 978 1849549592, £6.99).is published by Biteback at the end of this month, and you can find out more and order it here.

Team SCA were the only all female team intrepid enough to take on the world’s most competitive and challenging ocean experience: the Volvo Ocean Race 2014/15 – a 40,000-mile race around the world in state-of-the-art yachts. Ocean racing has traditionally been the preserve of men, but over a gruelling nine months Team SCA proved that women can compete on an equal footing. The race requires huge physical and mental strength, there were over 250 applications to join Team SCA and only 15 were chosen to compete: the women come from six nations; USA, UK, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden and the Netherlands. Journey of Change: Women Pushing Boundaries is the official book of Team SCA’s journey and gives a unique insight into life on board and the challenges the team face as they take on their global marathon. A round-the-world yacht pushes the physical and mental boundaries of human endurance and is truly transformative experience. The dramatic and engaging stories of the crew from the onboard reporters, combined with the exceptional photography of Rick Tomlinson, make this a great gift book. You can see lots of the pics from the race on the Team SCA website here. Journey of Change: Women Pushing Boundaries is published by Max Strom Publishing (hb, 978 9171263469, £30.00) next week, and you can find out more and order it here

And you can watch some video footage of the Ocean Yacht Race here

 Let’s face it, most of us are not elite athletes, and we won’t be pushing the boundaries of what our bodies are capable of any time soon. However, nevertheless, we all very much enjoy poncing around the place in our sportswear, looking as if we might spring into action at any moment! I think you’ll enjoy this hilarious skit on the whole “women wearing active wear in order to look active” phenomenon!

An amusing canine titbits coming up November:  Dog Owners: A Spotters Guide by Robbie Guillory is a satirical guide to the extraordinarily diverse range of breeds of dog owners to be found out walking today from the author of the best-selling In Rude Health (60,000 copies sold) and Cyclists: A Spotter’s Guide. Dog owners remain one of the most diverse species in the world, with a wide variety of weird and wonderful breeds across the traditional range of classifications: toy, pastoral, hunting, terrier, utility and working. From the portly restaurant-owning Red Trouser and his trusty chocolate Labrador, the elegant but aloof UKIP Pointer with mandatory bulldog and cute but snappy Chihuahua-carrying Trusty Fund, to the docile Farming Subsidy and his collie; this book will be an invaluable companion to all those interested in learning more about dog owners and their idiosyncrasies.  This hilarious send-up of dog walking culture has instantly recognisable caricatures and is fabulously illustrated by award-winning artist Judith Hastie. Dog Owners: A Spotters Guide by Robbie Guillory (pb, 978 1910449394, £7.99) is published by Freight, and you can find out more and order it here.

Still love this moment from 101 Dalmatians, which illustrates to perfection the many dogs that look exactly like their owners!

While we’re in a cartoon frame of mind, The Best of The Oldie Cartoons is a tried and tested Christmas favourite which should do very well. Following the huge sell-out success of the previous two Oldie cartoon books, The Oldie editors have made a selection of the very best cartoons of the last 23 years. Along with Private Eye and The Spectator; The Oldie has the best reputation for cartoons in Britain and they’re all here: Larry, Bill Tidy, Tony Husband, Robert Thompson, Nick Downes, Kathryn Lamb and Bernie. Most of them were chosen by Richard Ingrams, the former editor of Private Eye and The Oldie, who insisted that every published cartoon had to make him laugh out loud. The perfect Christmas present for parents and grandparents, The Best of The Oldie Cartoons (pb, 978 1901170245, £7.99) with an intro by Alexander Chancellor is published in November and you can find out more and order it here.

What a very heartening story this week that Waterstone’s is to stop selling the Kindle e-reader in most of its stores – could this be a watershed moment in the battle between real and ebooks? Personally, I wish I had made a bet with every one of the many saddo techno-geeks over the last decade who have boringly assured me that our wonderful industry was doomed to oblivion; as I have a feeling I would be about to rake in the serious spondulicks. Sales of hardbacks and paperbacks are enjoying a widespread resurgence and James Daunt says he has removed Kindles from most of the books chain’s 280 stores because they were “getting virtually no sales” and the space has instead been turned over to paperback and hardback books. Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah. You can read more of that story in the Guardian here.

And if you have 15 minutes to spare on a Friday for a charming little animated film on a book related theme – then you'll probably enjoy this!

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite #NationalPoetryDay tweets from this week...

A tweet, though neat
Will often deplete
The weight of words in it
Due to chrctr limit.
All chocolate is NOT the same
From taste and texture
To from whence it came.
Roses are red,
Violets are red,
Baboon butts are red,
Rashes are red, Everything is red,
I'm colour-blind.
But my words become stained with your love.
You occupy everything, you occupy everything.... Pablo Neruda
My light saber is red,
Obi-Wan's is blue,
If you love Star Wars,
I love you.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
If you don't like Harry Potter puns
Something's Siriusly Ron with you
This, I saw today;
It cut the air
With flash of flight,
Bringing all to light.
Light by Margaret Tait
Did you say it's made of waves?
Yes that’s it.
I wonder what the waves are made of.
Oh waves are made of waves
Waves are what they are
The small girl smiles.
One eyelid flickers.
She whips a pistol from her knickers.
They Tuck You Up by Adrian Mitchell
They tuck you up, your mum and dad
They read you Peter Rabbit too.
They give you all the treats they had
And add some extra, just for you.
A pointless walk along the coast
That’s what floats my boat the most

That’s all for now folks! More next week!

This blog is taken from a newsletter 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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