Friday 8 January 2016

Compass Points 153 - Happy New Year!

As you box up the returns of all those celeb biogs, you might well be wondering what WERE the top sellers of Christmas 2015? If your shop is in line with national trends, then you’ve probably done pretty well with anything by David Walliams, Harper Lee, Jeff Kinney, Ella Woodward, David Nicholls and Millie Marotta. However, which were the books that YOU sold – but their recipients then sold on to someone else?! According to a top re-selling website for unwanted books – the top five titles that were given but immediately put in the pile to pass on to some other mug; were Recipes For a Healthier Happier You by Jamie Oliver, My Story by Steven Gerrard, The Girl On The Train, The Ladybird Guide to How it Works: The Husband and Elizabeth is Missing. I really don’t know what that tells us about customers’ true preferences, since all of these are currently deemed by the marketers to be highly popular trends! Perhaps someone had better tell all of our publishers pronto to immediately stop publishing healthy cook books, footie biogs, dark psychological thrillers, spoof ironic parodies or anything to do with Alzheimer’s as the great British public clearly don’t want to read them whatever the bestseller lists tell us!!

Maybe you think you could write something better than anything that came out in 2015? Is your New Year’s resolution to make 2016 the year you write a book? Here’s a fun article from the Huff Post from a somewhat cynical ghostwriter who’s heard it all before….

One trend that I genuinely do think is on the up, is the decision to finally get round to reading that enormous literary novel – kicked off by the sumptuous new BBC adaptation of War and Peace. Another title also on many readers “to-do list” is Marcel Proust’s À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, which many of us have fancied having a bash at, but have been put off by the sheer magnitude of the undertaking. How fortunate then that the greatest French literary masterpiece of all time is now available as a gorgeous hardback graphic novel from those Francophiles at Gallic – this is a genuinely literary adaptation which reveals the fundamental architecture of Proust’s work while displaying a remarkable fidelity to his language as well as the novel's themes of time, art and the elusiveness of memory.
 This is a truly stunning hardback – we have just had finished copies in the office, and it is beautifully illustrated by renowned comics artist Stéphane Heuet with an evocative new translation by renowned translator Arthur Goldhammer. An online review sums it up perfectly: “A brilliant version of Swann's Way with the addition of a gallery of characters and family tree as well as an excellent illustrated glossary. The illustrations are truly authentic; meaning they follow the text to the letter as well as reproducing the atmosphere of fin de siècle France. Read it and you will come to understand all the famous incidents such as the tasting of the madeleine, Marcel's long waits for his mother's goodnight kiss, and Swann's heartfelt cry of despair on realising that he'd given the best years of his life to the wrong woman.” 
I really would urge you to have a look at this title;  it would be enjoyed equally by brainy bookish types as well as newcomers to the challenging literary narrative. What about a “Make 2016 the Year You Finally Read…” window display?! You can order In Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way (hb, 978 1908313904, £19.99) here, and find out more.

If someone were to say “Marcel Proust” to you – you could probably summon up a few words – even if you’d never read him But how many modern authors truly have “brand recognition” Read this thought provoking article in the Bookseller on whether or not authors have a brand – and whether indeed they need one!

Fingers crossed for the two Carcanet poetry collections up for the TS Elliot Prize, which is awarded on Monday. Tim Liardet’s The World Before Snow and Les Murray’s Waiting for the Past are both on the shortlist of ten titles, which was chosen from a record 142 poetry titles submitted this year. The winning poet will be presented with a cheque for £20,000, and the shortlisted poets will each receive £1,500.Good luck to both of them.

If you are a fan of the literary uncanny, not-nice sorts of fairy tale, the work of Neil Gaiman or Shirley Jackson and books that are strange and unsettling; then this next title will be for you. The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert is a beguiling and disarming novel about a mysterious group of children who appear to a disfigured recluse and his country doctor—and the startling revelations their behaviour evokes. Beryl Bainbridge described Lambert as “a seriously good writer” and his memoir With a Zero at its Heart was named one of The Guardian’s Ten Best Books of the Year in 2014. The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert (pb, 978 1910709009, £9.99) is published in February by Aardvark Bureau, and you can find out a bit more in an excellent review of it here and you can order it here.

Two Biteback titles are out at the end of this month both on subjects very much in the news at present. Firstly Europe in or Out: Everything You Need to Know by David Charter (pb, 9781785900419 £8.99).  This is an essential layman’s guide to the forthcoming UK referendum on membership of the European Union – the previous editions of this title have sold very well indeed, and this is a fully updated and revised edition of this definitive and unbiased book .The Economist called it “extremely useful” and this clear, comprehensive and compelling guide to the impact of the EU and the implications of a British exit really does need to be in every bookshop to help us all make a sensible, informed decision. Comrade Corbyn by Rosa Prince (hb, 978 1849549967 £20.00) is about to be serialised in a national newspaper and the Telegraph described it as “Fascinating and forensic – a real insight …essential reading for anyone who follows politics” while the Mirror called it “a real political thriller with a revolutionary ending.”

I rather like this list of 100 Most Corbyn Things Jeremy Corbyn Did in His First 100 Days as Leader – from those jolly jesters at Buzzfeed!

Those kindly folk at Goodreads have let BuzzFeed Books know which books its users were most excited about in this coming year. Have a look here at this list of 15 titles getting the most buzz, based on amount of people adding them to their “to-read” shelves, in order of when they’ll be released.

The Munich air disaster occurred on 6 February 1958, when British European Airways Flight 609 crashed on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway at Munich-Riem Airport in Munich, West Germany. On board the plane was the Manchester United football team, nicknamed the "Busby Babes", along with a number of supporters and journalists. It remains one of the most compelling, emotional and discussed events in sporting history, and a new book The Busby Babes by Richard Skinner throws new light on this enduring tale of courage and individual and team spirit. This book is a tale of spirit, courage and the eternal bonds of friendship. It is about a group of men whose passion for football led them to unparalleled success and unprecedented glory. But it also cost many of them their lives. Matt Busby, the patriarchal Manager of Manchester United, revolutionised English football. At Manchester United, he created a team of ‘boy wonders’, a group of players who became the game’s first superstars, heroes to millions of people. 
With an estimated global fan base of approximately 40 million, Manchester United is now the richest and one of the most successful football clubs in the world, and this new book will be an essential purchase for every football fan. It includes never seen before material from those involved, with the author given unique access and full cooperation and contribution of survivors including Harry Gregg, Ken Morgans and Albert Scanlon.  The Busby Babes by Richard Skinner (978 1910692578, £8.99) is published in February by Urbane and you can find out more and order it here.

You can watch a short highly evocative newsreel clip from 1958 on how the US news reported the air disaster here.

Had your fill of brandy butter, mince pies and stilton? About to start juicing or tucking into the protein shakes in an attempt to detox your poor old bod? Well, according to Julie Montagu, all we need to do is Eat Real Food. This bestselling UK author and top nutritionist reckons that getting healthy doesn't have to be complicated or confusing. Eat Real Food takes things back to basics, and guides you to make simple but positive dietary choices that will increase your intake of the five healthy food groups that are most important for keeping your brain and body balanced and happy. Julie introduces readers to the superheroes in each of these different food groups, shares the best ways to prepare them, explains their nutritional benefits, and then provides a variety of imaginative and delicious ways to include these foods in your diet every day. The book and author will feature in the February issue of Psychologies (circ. 63,000) and YOU Magazine on 28th February (circ. 4 million). The author is also in the current issue of Veggie magazine, OM Yoga magazine and Spirit & Destiny. The book will also be extracted on Red Online and feature in the March issue of Woman & Home. Eat Real Food is published by Hay House (pb, £10.99, 978 1781805633) and you can order it here.

Well, if you had a little TOO much fun over the festive season, then the title of this new music biog may well strike a chord. Had Me a Real Good Time is the definitive account of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most engagingly shambolic acts as well as an evocative portrait of the era in which they raised hell and recorded some timeless tracks. We are talking of course of The Faces; who typified the glamorous English rock 'n' roll band that toured relentlessly through America in the 1970s leaving a trail of sell-out concerts, gold albums and wrecked hotel rooms in their wake. They still exert an influence over today's rock 'n' roll bands; as Record Collector magazine said: “Overgrown adolescent ruffians riffing away through a fog of booze, bed-hopping and fisticuffs are well represented here by author Andy Neill, but the author also rightly praises the music that established The Faces as the quintessential touring rock ‘n’ roll band.”  Had Me a Real Good Time: The Faces Before, During and After by Andy Neill (pb, 978 1783059959, £18.99) has eight pages of black and white pics, comes highly recommended by the music press and is published by Omnibus Press this month - order it here!

And to finish today,  here are The Faces, at their boisterous boozy best!

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. This week we’re very much enjoying #LoseAFriendIn3Words…
"Borrowed your car..."
"But they're fictional"
Lose me as a friend in 3 words? Easy: #refugeesnotwelcome
Actually, it's "they're"
Gave Away Cat
Retweet this please?
Sorry, no room.
Your book's long
I support Trump
"Who's Harry Potter?"
"You hate flowers??
"We're going vegan!"
Going through menopause
Be my wife.

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

This 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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