Friday 22 July 2016

Compass Points 179

We’re very pleased to see that The Un-Discovered Islands by Malachy Tallack (hb, £14.99, 978 1846973505) has just been featured in the Guardian's Top 10 of best new travel books for 2016 which you can read in full here. The Un-Discovered Islands: An Archipelago of Myths and Mysteries, Phantoms and Fakes is published by Polygon in October, and is a fascinating exploration of some of the world's strangest places, accompanied by  glorious full-colour illustrations by Katie Scott, who has previously worked with the New York Times, Kew Gardens and the BBC and is the illustrator of the stunning Animalium and the forthcoming Botanicum. Gathered in the book are two dozen islands once believed to be real but no longer on the map. These are the products of imagination, deception and simple human error. They are phantoms and fakes: an archipelago of ex-isles and forgotten lands.
From the well-known story of Atlantis to more obscure tales from around the globe; from ancient history right up to the present day. This is an atlas of legend and wonder; of places discovered and then un-discovered. The Un-Discovered Islands has a gorgeous cover and these beautiful posters for it are available for window displays –  if you’d like some then please email

We love a bookshop romance – and this week the news pages were full of lovely pics of the marriage of Victoria and ex-Waterstone’s bookseller Jonathan O’Brien, who met up via the Waterstone’s Oxford Street twitter feed!  Have a read here of how @WstonesOxfordSt led to love!

The Bookseller this week previewed books for the Autumn that focus on religion and spiritualty – and they feel that there is a definitely dearth of good books on these subject this year. However, I’m pleased to say that they highlighted one coming up from Jessica Kingsley Publishing as a title to look out for – it’s published in September. If You Sit Very Still (pb, £12.99, 9781785921407) by Marian Partington is a new paperback edition of a book which the Express originally said “should feature on everybody's bookshelf alongside such life guides as Shakespeare and the Bible.” When the news broke that her missing sister Lucy had been murdered, Marian Partington had one of two choices to make. She could let the grief and rage she felt overwhelm her, or she could try to turn her trauma into something good. Lucy Partington's remains were discovered in Fred and Rosemary West's basement at 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester in 1994, 21 years after her disappearance and in this powerful and lyrical book, Marian, reclaims Lucy from the status of victim and finds an authentic and compassionate response to her traumatic loss. Her inspiring narrative of healing draws on Buddhist and Quaker practices and culminates in restorative justice work in prisons. Rowan Williams called it: “an extraordinary story of inner movement and growth. It is a book about the massive difficulty of anything like reconciliation in the wake of outrage. There is nothing easily consoling here, but rather a sense of stillness, acceptance and hope - both given and worked for.” It has a new foreword by Marina Cantacuzino who calls it “An outstanding and beautifully crafted redemptive memoir.” And you can order it now.

There is lots of publicity coming up for Malcolm Rifkind’s Power and Pragmatism: The Memoirs of Malcolm Rifkind which has just been published by Biteback. There have been reviews in the Mail on Sunday, the Sunday Times, The Big Issue, the Jewish Chronicle, and the New Statesman with more broadsheet reviews to come! Malcolm will be out and about promoting the book this summer and Autumn – there was a launch at Biteback HQ in London this week, and then he’ll be at literary festivals in Lewes, Edinburgh, Henley Cheltenham and Wigtown.

As a survey declares that 63 per cent of men think they don't read enough, here's a list in the Telegraph of the Top Ten recent titles – fiction and non-fiction – that they reckon will get men back to books!

The craze for adult colouring books shows absolutely no sign of stopping any time soon – and one title that is selling extremely well at present is the David Bowie Colouring Book! Even if this is not the sort of thing your shop might normally stock – you may want to have a look and grab some of those sales for yourself! Featuring 30 spreads, David Bowie: Starman: A Colouring Book (pb, £9.99, 978 0859655507 offers a uniquely creative way to remember this daring, chameleonic icon who changed popular music forever.
Every spread captures one of his Bowie’s personas: Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Goblin King, Thin White Duke etc as an illustration to colour in; there’s a veritable kaleidoscope of his ever-changing styles. But this title is much more than just an ordinary colouring book, which is probably one reason why it’s doing so well.  On every page are also loads of quotes, facts and memories of Bowie from those who knew him best, making it essential reading for fans of every generation. The great thing is that once you’ve coloured in the pics you’ve created your very own personal Bowie memory book. David Bowie: Starman: A Colouring Book is published by Plexus. The pictures are by Coco Balderrama and the text is by Laura Coulman

Reviewers, readers and bookseller are all absolutely loving Yuri Herrera’s The Transmigration of Bodies (9781908276728, pb, £8.88) which has just been published by And Other Stories. The Guardian called it “bracingly unbookish . . . The after-effect is more like that of a video game or Marvel comic, with both the brightness and unabashed flatness those entail. Darkly satisfying . . . Swift, slick images and one-liners glitter at regular intervals.” You can read that review here. The Spectator said: “Herrera’s brilliantly surreal turns of phrase mirror the strangeness of the world: he knows that brutal everyday truths are best revealed through dreams. Blood-soaked, driven deep and expertly written.” which you can read here. (And incidentally, there’s a great review for Pascal Garnier’s Too Close to the Edge from Gallic in that Spectator piece too!)There is an extract from this novel in the current issue of Granta – read that  here. Booksellers are loving it too – Gary Perry at Foyle’s recently tweeted “Herrera and @andothertweets have done it again. A hit from the first line!” More rave reviews are excepted shortly from the Times, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, New Statesman and more

LOVE this glorious weather! And here are ten songs from the NME that make the perfect heatwave playlist. Listen to these roasting tracks while you soak up the sun!  

The Radio Times Guide to Films is the UK’s biggest and bestselling film guide, and the new 2017 edition is published in September. Last year’s edition sold 10,000 copies – so this is something to look forward to! I love the new cover featuring ET –  one of my all-time favourites – and with the new Spielberg film The BFG opening this weekend, it’s an apt choice. This edition has a whopping total of 1,712 pages –  it’s the most comprehensive edition ever! It features in-depth reviews for more than 24,000 films and has more than 500 new entries. As always, there is a Radio Times star rating/review of each movie from the Radio Times team of experts as well as cast, character, writer and director credits; family viewing advice and DVD and Blu-ray availability for all titles. There’s an Awards section which covers the Oscar and Bafta nominees and winners in all the key categories as well as all the major winners for the Golden Globe awards, and Cannes and Berlin film festivals. It also includes previews of upcoming new movies running all the way through to 2019. Radio Times always do lots of press and PR for this title; gets 8 million hits a month, and the magazine has a readership of 2 million. The Radio Times Guide to Films 2017 (pb, £27.50, 978 0992936433) is published in September.

And since ET is on the front cover, let’s watch one of the most famous moments from that fantastic film!

You are already familiar with two poetry books for gardeners by Liz Cowley: Outside in my Dressing Gown, and Gardening in Slippers, both of which are bestsellers. Rather surprisingly perhaps, Liz’s next book is a gripping thriller in the best traditions of Barbara Vine, Patricia Highsmith and Val McDermid. Serial Damage is a classic killer thriller with a page-turning plot which opens with a series of apparently unconnected murders taking place in equally disconnected locations all over the world. We discover that they are in fact, the result of one man’s obsessive mind, arising from a series of slights and disappointments since childhood for which he seeks methodical and terrible revenge. Because of the geographical spread of his mysterious, ‘motiveless’ murders, they might normally be impossible to solve, but one police psychologist may hold the dramatic key to his capture…. Urbane are great at publicising their authors, so we can expect lots of articles and interviews with Liz about moving from genteel poet to blood-thirsty thriller writer! Serial Damage by Liz Cowley and Donough O’Brien (pb, £8.99, 978 1911129455) is published by Urbane in September.

Ken Hom is a household name in Britain, his wildly popular cookbooks and brand-named woks can be found in one out of every eight British kitchens. In September, Robson Press are published his story: Ken Hom: My Sir-fried Life (hb, £20, 978 1849549783). This is a fascinating tale of how food transformed the life of a boy brought up in poverty in Chicago's Chinatown but who went on to become one of the world's greatest authorities on Chinese and Asian food. His story begins with a tough childhood in Chicago. Aged just eight months when his father died, Hom was raised by his mother in an atmosphere of abject poverty. Food was his escape; it was a passion and solitary comfort, and it was a way of earning money, as an 11-year-old schoolboy, Ken worked in the kitchen of his uncle's Chinese restaurant, where he developed an interest in cooking. From obscure beginnings, Hom went on to become one of the most celebrated TV chefs of all time, not only transforming his own life, but also changing the British perception of Asian food. My Stir-fried Life is the epicurean's epic, a gastronomic narrative that lifts the spirits, tantalises the taste buds and feeds the soul of anyone and everyone who loves food, from the keen novice to the accomplished connoisseur. There has been lots of interest from the media in this charming and funny memoir – it has a brilliant cover, and should sell really well. Ken will be promoting the books on 1st October – Saturday Kitchen (1/10/16) and on This Morning on ITV, Midweek on Radio 4 and on the Simon Mayo show on BBC Radio 2. (5/10/16) He’ll also be on 5Live, BBC London and LBC. On the print side, there’s lots of interest for profile interviews from the Telegraph, Sunday News Review, Observer Food Monthly and the Express. Delicious Magazine also want to do a podcast interview, and Ken will also be featured in the Telegraph’s My Kind of Town, the Sunday Times Time & Place, and the Express’s My Favourite Photo. He will be at the Daunts Festival in October. My Stir-fried Life should be absolutely everywhere this Autumn – and you can order it now!

Click here to see a bit of Ken Hom in action!

We like to end with a music title – and this week we have a cracker! Amy: A Life Through the Lens (hb, £20.00, 978 1785582011) is a stunning, photographic memorial of the life of the late Amy Winehouse from renowned celebrity photographers Darren and Elliott Bloom. Some of these photographs appeared in the Oscar-winning documentary Amy; and you can watch the trailer for that here ; what a brilliant film. Amy: A Life Through the Lens draws from the Blooms’ remarkably close working relationship with Amy, which, through a family friendship, predated her fame. Covering the last five years of Amy’s life, the Blooms caption the photographs with stories of affectionate remembrance, revealing an enchanting side to Amy little known to those outside her inner circle. The five-time Grammy award-winner singer-songwriter burst onto the scene with her debut album Frank in 2003 and her legacy continues to pave the way for new artists years after her tragic death at age twenty-seven in 2011. Amy Winehouse: A Life Through the Lens, is a stunning book honouring and showcasing her life both on and off the stage. It contains over 120 superb full colour photos and it is published by Omnibus in November.

And here’s a reminder of just what an amazing artist she was.

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. This week we bring you a selection of amusing book related tweets as featured on Buzzfeed...

Shut up, Mike @shutupmikeginn: Authors: please stop putting songs in books. Just write, "and then a song happened." We'll understand.

Cool Eric @obieeee: *my wife catches me in bed looking at an optical illusions book* HONEY, NO IT'S NOT WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.

Sage Boggs @sageboggs: Props to people who still read entire books. I just got bored halfway through a billboard

Sam Grittner @samgrittner: Thought the internet was running REALLY slow but I was just reading a book.

Sol Fish@solfish: everyone: don't judge a book by its cover. People who make book covers for a living: wait what

Dory @dory: dude remember the scholastic book fair? The best week in school

Chris@bassoonjokes: rottentomatoes for books. War and Peace 27% - rotten! "more like bore and peace!" – Dave

Jazmasta:jazmasta: Before books were invented by JK Rowling in 2001, people used to just read the ingredients on shampoo bottles on the train.

Why @urplepingo: Books are a magical gateway to boring universes that don't have streaming movies

Julius Shapre@juliussharpe: No reason to actually read. If you buy thousands of used books and display them on a shelf, everyone will assume you read them.

Ester@jamejefraser: reads book: *favourite character dies* me: maybe if i read this again he won't die this time

Compass Points is now off on holiday! The next edition will be on August 19th.

This blog is taken from an e-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 please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.

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