Friday 13 November 2015

Compass Points 148

Well, I really can’t think of anyone more glamorous to lend support to a book than George Clooney, so well done to Freight, whose excellent cookbook The Social Bite received the endorsement of the most gorgeous man on the planet this week! The Hollywood star visited The Social Bite cafe which helps homeless people during a visit to Edinburgh – and goodness me; it certainly got plenty of publicity, being the lead item on most of the news channels, for most of the day! The actor donated $1000 (about £650) to the cafe which donates all its profits to homeless people. The Social Bite employs formerly homeless people to work in their cafes and operates a "suspended" coffee and food programme where customers can pay for a hot drink or food for a homeless person. Last month, it launched what is thought to be the first "selfless" loyalty card, which lets customers feed the homeless by accruing loyalty points to enable the purchase of a free meal and hot drink for a homeless person. 
The Social Bite Cookbook features delicious, diverse and affordable recipes from the café. Its head chef Michael Thomas and his formerly homeless assistants Joe, John, Sonny, Iain, and Colin, bring you simple healthy ideas including lunches to go, one pot dinners, five ingredients or fewer and lots of  mouth-watering new recipes. The Social Bite Cookbook also features inspirational stories from the men describing how they have transformed their lives. Bob Geldof has also endorsed this book saying “I am sure you will enjoy the recipes shared in this book… Happy cooking.” The Social Bite Cookbook by Margaret Callaghan (pb, 978 1910741009, £9.99) is published by Freight and you can find out more and order it here. 

And what a good excuse to watch this two minutes best of George Clooney mash up!

More good news for Freight; The 2015 Saltire Publisher of the Year shortlist has been revealed, featuring two past winners (Sandstone Press and Saraband);  three Edinburgh-based publishing houses (Black and White Publishing, Floris Books and Luath and (yippee!) Glasgow-based Freight Books, described by the panel as "clever publishers who produce beautiful books". Established in 2013 and supported by Creative Scotland, the Saltire Society Publisher of the Year Award is dedicated to encouraging and supporting the Scottish publishing industry through recognising and promoting the work of Scottish publishers. This year’s winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on the 26th November and will receive £4,000 to assist their business in its further development.

An absolutely outstanding review for Suicide: Dream Baby Dream in this month’s Vive Le Rock magazine (widely available on the high street from WH Smith etc).  “Kris Needs has gone on a huge odyssey of research with this monumental book. The detail uncovered is staggering, not only chronicling Suicide’s untold and often neglected significance in the musical mythology of New York, but also the history of the city herself; from the Paragons and 50s doo-wop, the Velvets and Warhol, disco and Lower East Side 70s, through 80s no wave and beyond. Kris finds the connections and joins the dots with remarkable insight and an authentic authority. He writes about New York like Henry Miller writes about fucking: passionately and with devotion.” Appearing in early 70s New York City as primal prototype street punks, Suicide are now hailed as one of the most important and influential groups of the 20th century, inspiring that decade’s major musical movements but too feared and shunned to be awarded their rightful acclaim at the time. Suicide: Dream Baby Dream by Kris Needs (hb, 978 1783057887, £19.95) is published by Omnibus Press and you can find out more about it here.

Here are Suicide performing Dream Baby Dream – a song later covered by Bruce Springsteen on his solo tour.

Two big reviews coming up for Biteback titles this weekend: Firstly 1956: The Year That Changed Britain by Francis Beckett and Tony Russell (hb, 978 1849549127, £20.00) will be featured in the Observer on Sunday.
Secondly, there will be a big article on Love, Paul Gambaccini: My Year Under the Yewtree (978 1849549110, hb, £20.00) in the Sunday Telegraph. These big features really do get readers interested in buying the books – so do make sure they are on display!

Have you ever become so engrossed in a book that you can’t stop reading – I’m sure we’ve all been there! But what about when you deliberately carry on reading your book as a form of protest?  I very much enjoyed this story of the woman who refused to stop reading Claudia Rankine's searing poetry collection Citizen (about America's history of racial injustice) during a Donald Trump rally. Maybe, as the article says, openly reading a book at an event is a highly underused form of protest. It can't be construed as actively disruptive, like holding up a placard or chanting, but it conveys disdain and lack of interest much more effectively. Let’s all take out our books and start reading them when we don’t approve of something that Cameron or Corbyn is saying – I like it!

The beautiful illustrated edition of JM Barrie’s Peter Pan: The Graphic Novel with its lovely pictures by Stevie White (pb, £12.99 978 1780272900) is the Children’s Book of the Month for Scottish Book Trust and Foyles are running a competition to win a framed print from it which you can find out about here. Peter Pan: The Graphic Novel is published by Birlinn.

We all know that the government are constantly struggling to decide whether they should tax or ban sugary drinks and snacks to stop us all getting so fat. But now those civilised citoyennes of France have come up with a much better scheme – replace the choc with something chic: vending machines that dispense short stories rather than sugary snacks or soft drinks! The slim, orange-and-black machines offer readers the choice of a story drawn from a bank of 600 stories from publisher Short Édition: you press one of the three buttons, and for free, the machine spits out a story on a strip of paper resembling a receipt. They are going to be installed in eight public locations in Grenoble such as the city hall, libraries, and train stations. Love love love – you can read that story here.

The winners of the Travel Media Awards (open to all travel writers, broadcasters and photographers) were announced this week, and hurrah, The Wild Guide to Southern and Eastern England won Travel Guide Book of the Year. You can find out more about the awards at The Wild Guide to South and East England: Hidden Places, Great Adventures and The Good Life by Daniel Start, Lucy Grewcock and Elsa Hammond (pb, £15.99, 978 1910636008) has received rave reviews: “A special book, one that you will want to keep dipping into. It is in tune with the values of a more sustainable approach to life, well written with superb, slightly quirky photos that draw you into local adventures!” It’s published by Wild Things Publishing and you can order it now.

We all appreciate a clever title – but sometimes we all know they are chosen more to sell the book than to actually describe what’s inside the covers. I think you will enjoy this list from those jolly japsters over at Buzzfeed – describing what various YA books should have been called. For example: Twightlight aka If You Have Sex You Will Get Pregnant and Die or Gossip Girl aka Privileged High Schoolers Set Unrealistic Expectations for Life in NYC. Hilarious!

Lots of good publicity coming up for Steak (pb, 978 1859649022, £12.99) by Mark Schatzer which is published this month. This food/travel memoir by a Canadian award winning writer details his search for the perfect steak which culminates in Scotland, the beef of which he declares better than that of Japan, Argentina, or America! There was a piece this week in the Independent and there will also be an article  in Stella (the Sunday Telegraph magazine) an interview with Mark on the Guardian Books podcast, a feature in the Times Body and Soul section and an extract in the Observer Food magazine. This impassioned, funny and remarkably enlightening study of steak and its discontents as well as its many delights is published by Periscope and you can order it here.

A fantastic review of The Life-Writer by David Constantine (pb, £9.99, 978-1905583744) in the Guardian this week – it was their Book of the Day – which you can read here. You will recall that Comma Press also published his short story collection In Another Country (pb, £9.99 978 1905583768) which includes the inspiration for the much acclaimed film 45 Years, this summer; and you can order both titles now.

Who remembers The Wonder Stuff? Formed and fronted by Miles Hunt, the band had four top 20 albums and seventeen top 20 singles, including the number one hit Dizzy. In The Wonder Stuff: Diaries ’86 – ’89, Miles Hunt gives a vivid account of how a young British kid, in love with rock'n'roll, worked his way up from the beery, sweat stained clubs of the Midlands to becoming an international touring rock star in his own right. In recounting the joys of success and the frustrations of the music business' predictable pitfalls, the book chronicles the first four years of The Wonder Stuff's activities and is peppered throughout with both personal and professional photography, press cuttings and the unmistakable artwork that represented the band during these early days. Hunt continues to perform internationally as both The Wonder Stuff and as an acoustic duo, alongside his partner Erica Nockalls and during December they are all over the UK – so get yourself down to one of these venues and you can see them! Miles and Erica will be in The Darroch Bar, Gourock on the 1st and The Cluny Newcastle on the 2nd. Then Miles is reading from the book in the Poppy & Pint in Nottingham on the 4th. And The Wonder Stuff are playing on the 16th at Leicester Academy and on the 17th at Birmingham Academy. The Wonder Stuff:  Diaries ’86 to ’89 by Miles Hunt (978 0993064807, pb, £30.00) is published in November by Omnibus Press and you can find out more and order it here.

And here are The Wonder Stuff performing that classic jaunty little ditty from 1991; with Vic Reeves!

Bound Feet Blues: A Life Told in Shoes is the very personal story of bestselling novelist (The Flame Tree, published by Hodder) and acclaimed performer Yang-May Ooi. A groundbreaking and wonderfully unconventional memoir, Bound Feet Blues is a performance in book form, interweaving personal stories, cultural reflections and a multi-faceted exploration of what it means to be a woman. In Chinese tradition, women with tiny bound feet were desirable as wives and lovers, their delicate feet seen as objects of both status and sexual fetish. What can the ancient tradition of foot-binding tell us about the role of women beneath the gaze of men and the relationship between mothers and daughters? Drawing on her own history Yang-May creates a layered tapestry of meaning and exploration, deftly exploring themes of female desirability, identity and empowerment while giving the reader a compelling insight into her own incredible story. Bound Feet Blues by Yang-May Ooi (978 1910692301, £16.99) is published by Urbane this month and you can order it here.

Bound Feet Blues is also a powerful, humorous and moving solo performance by Yang-May Ooi which opens in London at the end of this month after its sold-out showcase last year – this is certain to attract a lot of media attention, which can only be good for sales of the book. Critics called it “engaging, eye-opening, funny and moving" and “beautifully performed and directed." You can find out more about that on the theatre’s website here.

And here is Yang-May Ooi, talking about the power of storytelling and writing as well as the inspiration behind her extraordinary solo story performance and the book.

And finally, what do we make of the news this week from a new book (Finding Winnie) that claims that Winnie the Pooh is actually a girl!!! Here’s how the news broke this week on US TV Chanel ABC. Well, I don’t care what (s)he is – but I do know that (s)he and his chums have come up with many words of wisdom. Here are twelve inspirational quotes to end your week with. "Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." And has any author made a recording that’s older or more evocative than this one? Here’s AA Milne reading Winnie the Pooh – recorded in 1929!

Next week will be a special Gift Edition of Compass Points – your guide to the best of the most lavish, dazzling and gorgeous coffee-table-worthy Christmas presents that will bring the customers flocking into your store and get your tills a jingling and a jangling with festive merriment!

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week...
Can an assassin confront his past to save a nation’s future?  Escape to Perdition @urbanepub
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I've said it before and I'll say it again.
Visit to @gallicbooks @BelgraviaB this morning: "The best of French in English" great window!
Don't miss this #competition! You could win a print from our Peter Pan book!
'It is a wonderful achievement'- Thanks @GuardianBooks for the glowing review of Waiting for the Past by Les Murray.
Review: "The possibilities of literature will never cease to astound, amaze & inspire us." I am Because You Are
A FREE event with comedian Rob Newman? Get to @BlackwellsHH next week!
What's the story behind writing The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt? Author @hissingswan reveals it here:

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

This blog is taken from a newsletter 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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