Compass is now bringing you a selection of the very best children’s books, and one such title is a really gorgeous edition of The Night Before Christmas or A Visit from St. Nicholas. Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in 1822 and it is true to say that its composition redefined our image of Christmas and Santa Claus.
For example, prior to its creation, St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, had never been associated with a sleigh or reindeers! There are many editions of this famous poem of course, but this new hardback published by Arcturus in October is special on three counts.
Firstly, this edition contains all the original text and is a reproduction of an 1888 edition; reproducing the beautiful colour illustrations by William Roger Snow (1834-1907) in a stunning facsimile edition that's filled with period charm. Secondly, it is a highly appealing, large handsome hardback in its own right with lovely endpapers, ornamental borders, many charming decorative touches, a red fabric binding, and an interesting introduction.
And finally – the price! It’s just £6.99 which is a truly astonishing bargain! I genuinely cannot see why any family would not want to purchase this – it is one of those Christmas books that can become a tradition to read every year – and something that looks so lovely at this price makes it a complete no-brainer for any parent or grandparent to purchase! You can see some of the pictures here – get yourself some copies now – you will definitely sell them all, and I have a feeling this could be a very big seller for Arcturus this year! The Night Before Christmas: A Reproduction of an Antique Christmas Classic (978 1784282998, 24 pages, £6.99, 304 x 248mm, hb) is available to order now.
The shortlist for the BBC National Short Story Award 2016 has now been announced – and it looks like a pretty good year, including tales by Booker Prize-winner Hilary Mantel, poet and author Lavinia Greenlaw, and short story writer K J Orr. All the characters assembled in this year’s shortlist are all looking for a new start, a chance to escape or change the way they are perceived. Young garment workers in a Bangladesh factory seek a better life; a girl on a deep, dark moor is drawn into a different kind of darkness after a stranger gives her a bunch of flowers; a retired plastic surgeon, who once served the great and not-so-good of Buenos Aires, finds a new peace when he disguises his identity; an academic seeks sanctuary in a different rhythm of life and for those who wile away the nights in A&E, unlikely memories and a good sense of the absurd keep the worst at bay. A spokesperson for the award said: "Intimate and yet universal, the 2016 shortlist is a diverse, multi-generational selection that shows how direct and powerful the short story form is in its ability to reflect every facet of human experience. Human connection and the quest for experience are key themes for this year’s stories." The winner of the award will be announced on Radio 4 from 7.15pm on Tuesday 4 October 2016, with £15,000 going to the winner and £3,000 to the runner-up. The BBC National Short Story Award (pb, 9781910974278, £7.99), edited by Jenni Murray and published by Comma Press is available now – previous years’ editions have sold out very fast, so do order it!
Well, Mary’s staying (along with Mel and Sue) Paul’s going – but which GBBO baker has sold the most books? Find out in this piece in The Bookseller here !
The fallout from Brexit rumbles on; and for those still interested, Biteback are bringing your customers everything they could possibly need to know – and possibly quite a lot they don’t! Well, You Did Ask: Why the UK Voted to Leave the EU (pb, £10.00, 978 178590168) by Michael Ashcroft and Kevin Culwick was published earlier this month and draws on more than two years of intensive research by Lord Ashcroft, explaining how voters came to make the most momentous political decision of our time – how they saw the choice before them, what they made of the campaign, its personalities, claims and counterclaims – and why they ultimately chose to take the UK out of the EU. It also offers a colourful and revealing look at what our continental neighbours think about Britain and the British!
Two Brexit titles published in October are The Bad Boys of Brexit: Tales of Mischief, Mayhem & Guerrilla Warfare in the EU Referendum Campaign (hb, £18.99, 978 1785901829) which is an unexpurgated and highly entertaining diary of the referendum campaign by Arron Banks. In the year preceding Brexit, Arron Banks tore up the political rule book, sinking £8 million of his personal fortune into a madcap campaign targeting ordinary voters up and down the country. His anti-establishment crusade upset everyone from Posh Spice to NASA and left MPs open-mouthed. When his rabble-rousing antics landed him in hot water, he simply redoubled his efforts to wind up the targets. Lurching from comedy to crisis (often several times a day), he found himself in the glare of the media spotlight fending off daily bollockings from Nigel Farage and po-faced MPs. Sound good!
There’s also The Brexit Club: The Inside Story of the Leave Campaign’s Shock Victory by Owen Bennett (£12.99, pb, 978 1785900983) which brings you the inside story of the battle for Brexit. With unprecedented access to the key figures in the Leave groups, The Brexit Club reveals the truth behind the campaign that divided friends, families and the country.
And finally; Summer Madness How Brexit Split the Tories, Destroyed Labour and Divided the Country by Harry Mount (pb, £12.99, 978 1785901799) which describes in entertaining detail how in less than three weeks Brexit became a mass murderer! Hello?! Shortly after Boris Johnson was knifed in the back by Michael Gove, a close friend of Boris’s apparently said to Harry Mount, “Brexit is like some horrible curse. It kills everything it touches.” The Bullingdon boys, Cameron and Osborne had been 'whacked’, Mafia style, the Cabinet was drained of blue blood and the Notting Hill set – who had holidayed, worked and lived together for thirty years since their Oxford days – were torn asunder by the Brexit serial killer. Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, who had fought the Brexit campaign together, broken bread and plotted with their wives, were ripped apart by Gove’s sudden desertion. Jeremy Corbyn, who remained in post before and after the referendum, joined the ranks of the living dead. Shortly after the Brexit result, Labour MPs voted against him in a no-confidence vote. And Nigel Farage, arguably the only real victor of the referendum, resigned his UKIP leadership within days of the result being announced. According to Harry Mount, this sad and sorry spectacle appears to resemble nothing less than a scene from The Godfather and in a day-by-day account, he gives us his insider’s version of those three chilling weeks of mass blood-letting. Summer Madness is also published at the end of October.
The Ryder cup is about to begins in Minnesota the end of this month, so don’t forget to display Behind the Ryder Cup: The Players’ Stories by Peter Burns with Ed Hodge (hb, 978 1909715318, £20.00) which was published by Arena Sport in July. From the origin matches that preceded the first official trans-Atlantic encounter between Britain and America at Worcester Country Club in 1927, all the way through to the fortieth instalment at Gleneagles in 2014, this is the complete history of the Ryder Cup – told by the men who have been there and done it. With exhaustive research and exclusive new material garnered from interviews with players and captains from across the decades, Behind the Ryder Cup unveils the compelling truth of what it means to play in golf’s biggest match-play event. This title joins the best-selling series of behind-the-scenes histories from Arena Sport and is packed full of exclusive and previously untold stories. Arena’s Behind the Jersey series has sold over 30,000 copies and Behind the Ryder Cup looks set to do equally well.
And let’s hope this year’s Ryder Cup brings us something as amusing as this highly entertaining golfing moment from earlier this year!
Talking of America, Interstate: Hitch Hiking Through the State of a Nation is a fascinating journey across that vast and complex country. Recruited to work on a documentary project, Julian Sayarer went to New York convinced he had hit big time at last. Finding the project cancelled, he wandered the city streets and, with nowhere else to go, decided to set out hitchhiking for San Francisco. Revisiting this timeless American journey, he finds an unseen nation in rough shape. Along the road are homeless people and anarchists who have dropped out of society altogether, and blue-collar Americans who seem to have lost all meaning in forgotten towns and food deserts. Helped along by roadside communities and encounters that somehow keep a sense of optimism alive, Interstate grapples with the fault lines in US society. It tells a tale of Steinbeck and Kerouac, set against the indifference of the vast US landscape and the frustrated energy of American culture and politics at the start of a new century. Julian Sayarer has cycled six times across Europe, and in 2009 broke the 18,000-mile world record for a circumnavigation by bicycle. A politics graduate, his writing has appeared in the London Review of Books, New Statesman, Aeon Magazine, and many others. Interstate: Hitch Hiking Through the State of a Nation (£8.99, pb, 978 1910050934) has been described as “On The Road for the Occupy generation” and it’s published in October by Arcadia.
It's fashion week time around the globe – and I love this – 16 Books That Perfectly Match New York Fashion Week Looks!
The latest edition of The Good Food Guide 2017 (978 0953798346, pb £17.99) has just been published and this stunning clothbound trade paperback with foil and ribbon looks extremely handsome this year; running to 624 pages including 30 pages of maps. This is the UK’s bestselling restaurant guide, and with over 1,200 reviews, it’s the UK’s most comprehensive guide too! There will be a significant PR campaign for it through Waitrose Weekend and Waitrose Food which have a combined circulation of 2.4 million readers a month. The Good Food Guide 2017 contains £50 worth of restaurant vouchers as well as its in-depth, impartial, entertaining reviews. It predicts the major culinary trends for 2017 plus of course those hotly anticipated listings: the Top 50 Restaurants and Top 50 Pubs. There are also many other foodie features and chef interviews.
When Ben and Juliette's young daughter dies in a tragic accident on a school trip, they begin searching for answers. But will they ever know the truth? What was the role of the teacher on the trip - and are the rumours about his past true? As Ben and Juliette search for the truth and the pressure rises, their own secrets and motivations are revealed. An Honest Deceit (pb, £8.99, 978 1911129974) by Guy Mankowski is an extremely gripping contemporary psychological thriller that questions not just the motives of others, but the real reasons for discovering the truth. Guy Mankowski’s first novel, The Intimates was a Must Read Title for New Writing North's 2011 Read Regional campaign. His second, Letters from Yelena, was adapted for the stage and his third, How I Left the National Grid, was a bestseller for Roundfire. An Honest Deceit was recently described by The Huffington Post as “a contemporary, socially aware artwork, a bubble of semi-fictional reality, a fantastic world” and “a novel of outstanding quality.” It is published by Urbane on 20 Oct 2016 and you can see Guy (who lives in Newcastle) talking about one of his previous novels on the North East Arts and Culture Show here and find out a bit more about him on his blog here.
Last week I wrote about the award-winning South African author Henrietta Rose-Innes whose title Nineveh, is out from Aardvark and Gallic in November. Her fourth novel, Green Lion is published in 2017 and Henrietta has just put a short presentation about this novel onto YouTube. Lovely stuff – it is great when authors do this I think – and you can watch this two-minute preview of Green Lion here.
Nick Perry spent his childhood in Dorset, out in the countryside. He was educated at Parkstone Sea Training School before leaving for London where he worked for ATV Television and then travelled around Europe moving from job to job until he came into money, whereupon he bought a hill farm in North Wales. Like you do. His experiences are entertainingly related in Peaks and Troughs, Hill Farming for Absolute Beginners (£14.99, hb, 978 1846973659) which is published in October by Polygon. This is a warm-hearted, humorous and ultimately inspirational tale of a young man’s attempt to run an organic farm in the unforgiving Welsh hills. Despite the hardships, he never loses his belief that there is an alternative way to farm that is sympathetic to the earth and the animals in his care. His neighbours never take him seriously and try to undermine his efforts as he struggles against the elements and nagging self-doubt, but he carries on, no matter how close to the edge he and his family get. This illustrated, funny nostalgic memoir will appeal to readers of Peter Mayle, James Herriot and shepherd James Rebanks and is described by Polygon as “The Good Life meets Withnail and I”.
And just to remind our younger readers what exactly those two things are: here’s ten minutes of Felicity Kendall milking a goat and also the top ten moments from one of my all-time favourite films!
Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week...
The Bookseller @thebookseller Jeremy Robson is to leave Biteback Publishing after five years to focus on his own writing.
Comma Press @commapress Listen live at 3:35pm, catch up on @BBCiPlayer, or even better, read the whole anthology BBC Short Story Award.
Oberon Books @OberonBooks Hear @glynofwelwyn chatting about Drinks With Dead Poets, the follow up to bestseller On Poetry, on TheVerb on BBCRadio3 at 10pm tonight!
The Bookseller @thebookseller Wayne Winstone buys @HuntingRavenBks as he looks to establish a mini-chain in the south-west of England.
Gardners @Gardners Congratulations Wayne @winstonebooks! Wishing you all the best with your new shop! #indiebookshops
Choc Lit @ChocLituk Very excited about @PiaCCourtenay's new book The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight.
Biteback Publishing @Biteback Jeremy Corbyn's ex-wife says she voted for Owen Smith @JuliaRampenMM shares other insights from #ComradeCorbyn.
Ken Hom @ChefKenHom Meet me at @dauntsbooks on thurs 6 Oct, Marylebone High St 1.30 to 2.30 pm for a chat and book signing. KH
Gallic & Aardvark @BelgraviaB You still got time to book tkts to see #AntoineLaurain at @ToppingsBath on 29 Sep talking about his new novel French Rhapsody.
Bookshop Windows @BookshopWindows @BelgraviaB @hartsbooks gorgeous! Something about a bookshop window in the sun is really warming of the soul.
St. David's Press @StDavidsPress Thanks @WaterstonesCardiff for a great display of our rugby books!
Pam Ayres @PamAyres No Sue, no Mel, no Mary, 4's Bake Off will be scary, Could they not heed the nation's moan, And leave the bloody thing alone?
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 please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.