Friday 22 April 2016

Compass Points 166

It’s Shakespeare Day tomorrow of course – and there’s lots great reading in the press this week about the many ways we love the bard. Here’s a fun piece on Shakespeare’s most fantastical plays – and what they’ve inspired – and here's an excellent article from The Stylist about the top Shakespearian heroines. I really love this Shakespeare tube line – where the London Underground has been recreated in celebration of this 400th anniversary – you can see that in the Independent here .
And finally you may enjoy this entertaining Shakespeare Guide to Love: where every romance is also a bromance, you go to bed never knowing who you’ll wake up with, and the strongest marriage is the Macbeths’  which is in the Guardian this week.

And I still think this sketch from David Tenant and Catherine Tate is one of the funniest takes on Shakespeare ever!

As the NHS apparently decides that the fatties among us will have to wait longer for healthcare because it is our own fault that we’re ill; it is clear that advice on how to stay slender has never been needed more.  Slim by Design has just been published by Hay House – and is attracting much publicity with its radical new philosophy for weight loss. In this paradigm-shattering book, leading food psychologist Brian Wansink reckons that the trick isn't changing what we eat, but the environment we eat in. Through his extensive, cutting-edge research, Brian found that we are increasingly starting to arrange our homes to make unhealthy, comforting foods easier to reach and consume. Meanwhile, the same thing has been happening all around us. Restaurants have made it more tempting to order richer meals. Supermarkets have made it more economical to buy packaged and processed foods. Workplaces have made it habitual to eat on the go or at our desks. School lunchrooms have made it acceptable to pile large portions onto a tray. This has all helped to make us 'fat by design'.

This eye-opening book shows how you can adapt and redesign your most common spaces in innovative and inexpensive ways to start losing weight naturally. It offers simple and practical solutions for eating healthily in the long term without any dieting or restrictions. Slim by Design has just been extracted in the Daily Mail (circ. 1.6 million), and on the Mail website (circ. 6.3 million). This is huge publicity as you can see from the figures, and the book will also be in the May issue of Women’s Health and the June issue of Red. You can read the Daily Mail extract here. “My studies show that if you want to lose weight or stay slim, willpower simply won’t cut it, what really makes a difference is tricking yourself into eating more healthily. By making a few subtle adjustments around your home, when shopping or at restaurants, healthier eating can become an easy and effortless default mode, even when your brain is on autopilot.” Slim by Design (pb, 978 1781807415, £12.99) is available now and you can order it and find out more here.

Watch Brian Wansink talking about this ever pertinent subject on YouTube here

The Unmumsy Mum is absolutely soaring up the bestseller lists – and there is no doubt that self-help books and blogs for mothers by mothers are “having a mummy moment”. Mum Hacks: Time Saving Tips to Calm the Chaos of Family Life by Tanith Carey is published next week, and is written by an award-winning journalist and columnist for the Telegraph and Daily Mail, so it’s certain to get plenty of publicity – there’s been a lots of interest already from women’s mags and daytime TV shows; Fiona Philips said it was “exactly what every time-starved modern mum needs” –  this quote is on the front cover. From how to get out the house on time in the morning to how to tame your housework, this book is invaluable for any stressed mum. Tanith Carey offers sensible advice on how to get a handle on life and have time to actually enjoy your kids and partner without feeling overwhelmed by it all. This book isn’t about being a supermum but about finding ways to simplify everyday habits to create a healthy life balance for the whole family and lead to a happier life. Mum Hacks has an eye-catching cover, put it on a table next to The Unmumsy Mum, How to Have a Baby and Not Lose Your Shit et al and it will sell! Mum Hacks: Time Saving Tips to Calm the Chaos of Family Life by Tanith Carey (pb, 978 1910336229, £9.99) is published in May by Crimson Press and you can find out more and order it here.
Here’s Tanith Carey talking on This Morning last year about whether pushy parenting is a good idea!

Irenie, a young girl coming of age in upstate New York, has a secret at the core of her life. Her mother – the striking, charismatic Yasmeen – disappeared five years earlier. Her father, James, a distant, eccentric academic so bewitched by his late wife, has never spoken of this gaping absence from their lives. Yasmeen is presumed dead, though Irenie has doubts. In a hidden loft space Irenie discovers a box containing old love letters exchanged between her mother and a man named Ahmed, who remained in Yasmeen’s native Pakistan as she immigrated to the US. Yasmeen’s past and ultimate fate are revealed gradually, in part through Irenie’s visit to her relatives in Islamabad. As this heartbreaking and unusual and debut novel reaches its dénouement, Irenie and James learn to become the protagonists of their own lives as they uncover the secrets ruling them both. The story unfolds from dark to light with admirable consistency, resulting in an emotional journey that is as satisfying as it is gripping. Dear Yasmeen by Sophia Khan (pb, 978 1902932491, £9.99) is published by Periscope Books in July and you can find out more here.
You can watch an interview on YouTube with Sophie Khan talking about her book here.

The Observer will be publishing a review of Alison Brackenbury’s new poetry collection Skies on the 1st May. For forty years Alison has been a popular poet throughout the UK. Her poems have been featured on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and this new book contains reflections on childhood, nature, family memories and WWI.  Alison Brackenbury recently won a Cholmondeley Award and you can find out more about Skies (pb, 978 1784101800, £9.99) which is published by Carcanet here.

The sun is shining – finally – the weather is warming up, so our thoughts are turning to summer holidays – and the Sunday Times Travel Section will be publishing a big extract from Glamping Getaways this weekend. This is a fully revised second edition of this title from the Cool Camping series which has been updated to showcase 80 stunning glamping sites across the UK. As one reviewer said of the first edition, this is “a beautifully presented book, like the others from this publisher, it presents a feast of photographs to feed the fantasy. There are just so many beautiful images, they sell the whole idea of glamping; the reviews of campsites are quirky, funny and informative - this is my kind of campsite guide, giving you the flavour of what you might find as well as all the facts that you might need.” Glamping is the big holiday success story of the last few years, proving that you don't have to sacrifice style and comfort to enjoy a refreshing blast of life outdoors and this is the original luxury camping guidebook, fully updated for 2016.  Glamping Getaways: Stylish Stays Around the UK (pb, 978 1906999654, £16.95 is out this month from Punk Publishing. Find out more and order it here.

Treats, a brilliant debut collection of unforgettable, interlinked short stories of 21st century womanhood by Lara Williams has just been published and is getting enthusiastic reviews on social media. These are strong, introspective, feminist stories; blackly comic and full of emotion. Lara Williams is an outstanding, wholly authentic new voice and readers are loving her! BookMunch said “Williams brings a level of awkward humour … which brings to mind writers like Miranda July, or Lena Dunham” and David@bluebookballoon wrote “Two stories left in Treats and putting off finishing as I want to keep reading. Please tell me you have more by this author coming!” Emma Jane Unsworth said “What a wonderful collection. Very smart and VERY funny. A stunning mix of measured wisdom and raw emotion. There’s also a real sense that these stories - beautiful in their own right - belong together. I loved the connections between them, and the way ideas were subtly and steadily developed from beginning to end.” Treats (pb, £8.99 978 1910449707) tackles many of the dilemmas of contemporary female adulthood, including abortion, depression, extra-marital affairs, infatuation, new baby anxiety, bereavement, hair loss, sexual ethics, cats and taxidermy! It’s published by Freight and you can find out more here.
It was the Queen’s 90th birthday this week of course, and if you are not a royal fan then you may be interested in the views of Biteback author Joan Smith who wrote a piece in the Guardian yesterday entitled The Queen and a Reign of Abject Failure which you can read here. Joan’s book Down with the Royals (hb, £10.00 978 1849548298) , which is part of the Provocations series, declares that the monarchy – undemocratic, unaccountable and shockingly expensive – has no place in modern Britain. If, however, you are looking for something a little more celebratory for your bookshop; then you’ll be pleased to know there are plenty of other more royalist options also available from Biteback!
Backstairs Billy: The Life of William Tallon, the Queen Mother's Most Devoted Servant (pb, £8.99 978 1785900006) by Tom Quinn is available in paperback, the Daily Mail said that it “provides a fascinating downstairs angle on the Royals’ upstairs life, with lots of unexpected details: for example, that the Queen Mum’s comic turns included impersonations of Blackadder and (brace yourself) Ali G.” 
Pets By Royal Appointment (hb £14.99, 978 1849546034) by Brian Hoey contains masses of intimate anecdotes and fascinating detail, as this royal expert describes the mini-palaces provided for the Queen’s pampered corgis and Princess Anne’s badly behaved bull terriers.
Not in Front of the Corgis: Secrets of Life Behind the Royal Curtains (pb, £8.99 9781849544115) also by Brian Hoey gives us the inside story of the Royal Family through the eyes of those who know them best, a sneak peek behind the ermine-trimmed curtains to reveal what they really get up to in their spare time. Are they just like us? Or are they a world apart? Here are the answers to everything we’ve ever wondered about the Royals: which programmes does the Queen watch on TV? What music did the Queen Mother listen to? Who can drive and who can’t? What is it like to attend a dinner party thrown by Charles and Camilla? Who are the most popular (and most unpopular!) Royals to work for and why?
And finally, Her Majesty Sixty Regal Years (pb, £9.99, 978 1849542937) again by (yes you’ve guessed it) Brian Hoey, is a lively, authoritative and revealing portrait of the Queen’s life and work through the eyes of those who’ve known her and worked with her over the last 50 years. The Mail on Sunday called it “the most intimate book ever written about the royals” and it’s available in paperback now.

If you love the Queen and also fashion, then you’ll probably enjoy browsing through this from Elle Magazine – ninety of the queen’s best fashion moments – some great pics!
Let’s end with some music – five top queen inspired songs! No – not the Sex Pistols, but I think this dance floor filler from Abba would be a great place to start! How about this 1974 hit  from – who else but Queen, and RIP Whitney – always loved this one. If you’re feeling the 80’s vibe then this is going to be right up your street. But in at number one – this is a bit of a wild card – but hey it does feature her majesty’s relations!

You can follow us on Twitter at @CompassIPS. We’ve always been very big fans of the tweets from Elizabeth Windsor@Queen_UK so here’s a selection of her best tweets so far this year...

April 20: We are family. One's got all one's heirs with me. #StillReigning
April 19: India says it wants return of priceless diamond the Koh-i-noor #forgetIt
Apr 11: Seriously considering having David Cameron moved offshore.
Mar 26: Great Britain. Remember that the clocks go forward an hour tonight. This is so Gin O'Clock is an hour closer for the summer. #You’reWelcome
Mar 23: Text message from Adele: "Hello".
Mar 18: Iain Duncan Smith has resigned. Amazing. Had absolutely no idea he was still a minister in the first place. #IDS
Mar 8: #InternationalWomensDay #LikeABoss
Mar 3: If there's one thing every country is petrified by, it's a "warning" from the French. LOFAO
Feb 21: Didn't hear Europe moaning about Britain when we had to pop over and settle a couple of wars. #JustSaying
Feb 18: Text from Nick Clegg: "I know it's none of my business anymore but I REAAAALY hope we don't leave the Eurovision Song Contest" #StillAMoron
Feb 15: Text from Camilla: "Freezing one's tits off". #Awkward.
Jan 22: Just got a £130m cheque from @google. #Winning
Jan 3: OK Britain. Back to work. This isn't France.
That’s all for now folks! More next week!
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