Children’s schoolbooks left open in a classroom, trees entangled in a rusting Ferris wheel, hulks of ships high and dry, miles from any water – seeing images like these we’re bound to wonder: what happened here? Ranging from the urban aquarium of a flooded shopping mall to majestic shipwrecks, from aircraft graveyards to forgotten railway stations, from leper colonies to radiation zones, Abandoned Places is a beautiful pictorial examination of worlds that we’ve left behind, containing more than 150 outstanding colour photographs.
Arranged thematically from industrial to military sites, from ghost towns to recreational sites, the book explains through extended captions the story of how each place came to be abandoned, whether it be natural or chemical disaster, war, economic collapse, or changing attitudes and tastes. Abandoned Places gives us a fascinating a glimpse into the past and a chance to explore sixty-five hauntingly beautiful lost worlds from all around the globe.
Abandoned Places by Kieron Connolly (hb, 9781782743941, £19.99) is published by Amber Books in August and finished copies of this hardback have just arrived in the office – it really is a gorgeous and evocative book and you can find out more about it here.
From Syrian asylum seekers to super-rich foreign investors, immigration is without doubt one of the most controversial issues facing Britain today. Newspaper editors plaster it across front pages while politicians kick the subject from one election or referendum to the next. But few know the truth behind the headlines; indeed, the almost daily changes to our complex immigration laws pile up so quickly that even the officials in charge struggle to keep up. In a new clear and concise guide, Becoming British; Thom Brooks, one of the UK’s leading experts on British citizenship, deftly navigates the perennially thorny path, exploding myths and exposing absurdities along the way. Ranging from how to test for ‘Britishness’ to how to tackle EU ‘free movement’, this paperback explores how UK immigration really works, and sparks a long-overdue debate about how it should work. There have been lots of pieces on this title in local media and the author was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’ s The World Tonight a couple of days ago. Why not test yourself on how British you really are on this entertaining test complied by Thom here! Becoming British: UK Citizenship Examined by Thom Brooks (pb, £14.99, 978 1849549769) is published by Biteback and you can order this title with its superbly bright and eye catching cover here!
Tara Stiles is a world-famous yoga teacher and her new title Strala Yoga (pb, 9781401948122, £12.99) promises to teach you how to Be Strong, Focused & Ridiculously Happy from the Inside Out. I think many of us would like some of that, and sure enough she has a massive online following of over half a million across her many social media platforms. In Strala Yoga, Tara explains the origin and philosophy of this feelings-based style of yoga, which is spreading like wildfire around the world – from New York City to Barcelona to Singapore. Focusing on the power of combining movement with intuition, Tara walks readers through the importance of moving with ease and creating space in their lives. Strala isn't about strict poses (hurrah!) it's about your body and your abilities. By moving how it feels good to move, readers will not only get a great workout but also release stress, free up space in their minds, and open themselves up to creativity. Tara lays out simple, step-by-step information on everything from how to use the breath in movement, to how to create ease, to how to set up a home practice. With more than ten routines – each illustrated with clear, instructional photos – this will be appealing to beginners and seasoned yogis alike, and aims to help readers dissolve stress, get better sleep, gain energy, or even wind down after a tough day. All sounds good to me; Strala Yoga is published in August by Hay House and you can find out more here.
Time to watch this again I feel – just to remind us what those yoga poses are really designed for!
Carcanet poet Gillian Clarke was awarded the Hay Festival Medal for Poetry at the landmark literary festival. Appearing in an event to discuss Shakespeare’s Lyr and her upcoming collection Zoology (£8.99, pb 978 1784102166) Clarke was presented with her Medal by Hay Festival Director Peter Florence in front of a packed Hay crowd. Created by Christopher Hamilton, a silversmith local to the festival site in Hay-on-Wye, the medals have been awarded annually since Britain’s Olympic year (2012), drawing inspiration from the original Olympic medal given for poetry. Director of Hay Festival, Peter Florence, said: “Gillian Clarke has redefined poetry, not just in Wales, but around the world. The growth of her work and the spread of her voice has mirrored our own festival’s development and this Welsh field filled with lovers of written and spoken word seems like the perfect setting to celebrate her work. We are honoured to do so.” Congrats Gillian Clarke and Carcanet!
Which colour would you say is the most popular for book covers at present? Some of us are old enough to remember the 80’s when every second paperback was white and gold, and there’ s always been an adage that green hued books don’t sell; but apparently the latest thing is…yellow. Who knew, but apparently it’s officially “a thing” and you can read why here!
I’m pleased to tell you that No Borders: Playing Rugby for Ireland by BBC reporter Tom English has just won the Cross Sports Rugby Book of the Year. Winners across all ten categories were announced at a ceremony at Lord’s on 1 June and now each of the winning titles is put to an online public vote to determine the overall Cross Sports Book of the Year in association with The Times. The public vote is open until midnight on June 16 with the winner announced shortly after and you can find a complete list of all the category winders on the Cross Sports Book Award website here. Arena Sport are publishing the paperback (pb, 978 1909715462, £14.99) of this title in September which will feature the award badge on the cover. From Jack Kyle’s immortals to Brian O’Driscoll’s golden generation, this is the story of Irish rugby told in the players’ words. Tom English embarks on a pilgrimage through the four provinces to reveal the fascinating and illuminating story of playing Test rugby in the green of Ireland – all the glory of victory, all the pain of defeat, and all the camaraderie behind the scenes. But more than a nostalgic look back through the years, this is a searing portrait of the effects of politics and religion on Irish sport, a story of great schisms and volatile divisions, but also a story of the profound unity, passionate friendships and bonds of a brotherhood. With exclusive material garnered from interviews with players and coaches from across the decades, No Borders unveils the compelling truth of what it means to play for Ireland. This is the ultimate history of Irish rugby – told, definitively, by the men who have been there and done it. It’s packed full of exclusive, previously untold stories and over 5,000 hardback copies have been sold since the hardback publication in October 2015, so the paperback (pb, 978 1909715462, £14.99) is definitely something to look forward to! You can find out more and order it here.
Who watched Top Gear? What did you think? And were you one of the many who took to Twitter to express your feelings? Well, if you did – let’s hope you voiced your opinions to @aChrisEvans and not @ChrisEvans as the Captain America star has been inundated with views that he’s probably not all that interested in… come on people – one of these chaps is cute with muscles and one really isn’t – read that story here!
There’s been lots of great publicity for Takeover: Explaining the Extraordinary Rise of the SNP by Rob Johns and James Mitchell (pb, 978 1785900327, £14.99) with lots of blog pieces and reviews as well as articles in the Sunday Post and the Times and author interviews on BBC Radio Scotland, Good Morning Scotland , BBC2, Scotland 2016 and STV. This is an important and accessible history of the party that apparently came from nowhere to change Scottish, and British, politics forever. For a decade now, the Scottish National Party has dominated the political narrative in Scotland and now the party has become one of the big stories in politics throughout the UK. In this book, two established SNP-watchers explain how the party achieved power. Examining the backgrounds and motivations of the party's leaders, activists and voters; Johns and Mitchell draw a detailed portrait of the SNP today, debunking several myths along the way, explaining the party’s appeal and examining the personalities and politics involved. You can find out more about Takeover, which has just been published by Biteback here.
Talking of things political, I urge you to watch this absolutely hilarious video made by the Green Party (who would have thought they had such a good sense of humour) lampooning ALL the main political players in the style of The Secret Life of Four Year Olds - watch it here!
Fans of Lynda La Plante and Martina Cole will love Tara Moore – a bestselling author who has previously had titles published by Poolbeg and Orion and who is now published by Urbane. Fade to Dead is the first in a series of seven fast-paced, gritty, crime novels, featuring ballsy, newly promoted DI, Jessica Wideacre. It has an eye-catching cover (go to the blog) and there’ s a great promo trailer for it on YouTube here. When a serial killer, The Director, starts snatching young women off the street to ‘act’ in his movies, Jessica is tasked with apprehending him. It’s her first major case and the opportunity to prove that she’s not just the token woman promoted to satisfy the PC brigade. The Director’s victims are all of a type, barely legal, blonde and beautiful. As the body count rises, Jessica is fast losing confidence. With no clues to go on and a boss who’s just willing her to screw up, she’s also losing sleep and possibly her husband too. Who can blame her if she starts to find a little too much comfort at the bottom of a bottle? But, Jessica Wideacre is no push over; she doesn’t do bullshit or suffer fools gladly. She will earn respect. And she will get her man. Meanwhile, The Director has another victim in his sights and this one, a famous movie star, is real special… Fade to Dead by Tara Moore (pb, £8.99, 978 1910692776) has just been published by Urbane and you can order it here.
And if you want an example of how much the role of women in novels has changed over the centuries – have a look here at this highly entertaining list of all the things that women in literature have died from – drawing room anguish and clergyman’s dropsy being among the amusing culprits!
Interesting news in the Bookseller that the Labour politician Peter Hain’s memoir Ad and Wal: Values, Duty, Sacrifice in Apartheid South Africa which was published by Biteback in 2014, has just been optioned for a feature film. Iain Dale, Biteback MD, said: “We were extremely proud to have published Peter Hain’s inspiring account of his extraordinary parents, Ad and Wal, and we are thrilled that their story will be brought to a wider audience.” Peter Hain said: “My parents were an ordinary couple who found themselves doing extraordinary things because of their values and sense of duty. At the beginning they reacted to the immorality of apartheid then found themselves targets of a police state, eventually forced to sacrifice everything for their principles. I'm proud their story will appear on screen.”
And finally; it's the third of June and therefore #OdeToBillieJoeDay. What’s not to love about that?
Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week...
The Last Word Review @Thelastword1962 @EvaJordanWriter 183 Times a Year sounds terrific. Love the cover. Brilliant.
And Other Stories @andothertweets Great review of Wolfgang Bauer's Crossing the Sea from Hsiao-Hung Pai on @openDemocracy
Lovereading @lovereadinguk Book of the Month - My Italian Bulldozer by Lovereading favourite @McCallSmith @BirlinnBooks
James Kinsley @mrjameskinsley Just starting Juan Pablo Villalobos' #IllSellYouADog from @andothertweets. A couple of chapters and the quality's evident. V funny.
Birlinn@BirlinnBooks The FULL story of betrayal in British India - Walter Reid's KEEPING THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN will keep all you #IndianSummers fans hooked!
St. David's Press @StDavidsPress @CompassIPS - Looks like you'll do ok with our #TogetherStronger Out now & doing better than England's footy book ;-)
Nicholas Herrmann @NickPSH Fascinating & inspiring @mrbsemporium event last night with @yuri_herrera & @andothertweets. Can't wait to read this
Peter Hain @PeterHain Delighted my book Ad&Wal @BitebackPub being made into film
Heidi Murphy @HeidiNiMhurchu This beauty: The Sun King from @gallicbooks looks perfect for fans of #Versailles Going on my wish list immediately!
Mel Wells @IAmMelWells 4 days to go until The Goddess Revolution is released, might just be a LITTLE BIT EXCITED!
Urbane Publications @urbanepub Summer in Tintagel, Fade to Dead and The Rwandan Hostage will be in WHSmith Travel stores during August - yay!
Gallic Books @gallicbooks Muriel Barbery and how Japan influenced The Life of Elves www.waterstones.com/blog/the-life-of-elves @Waterstones blog
OurStories @ourstoriesbooks Been reading a lot recently, but this book has by far been the best. Check out Yuri Herrera #Mexico @andothertweets
Chaucer Doth Tweet @LeVostreGC Yf ther ys evir a typo on thys twytter plese blame scribal error.
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 click here or talk to your Compass Sales representative.