Friday 9 December 2016

Compass Points 196

Hope the season is going well for you so far! We love this fabulous Christmas tree in the Bodleian Museum Bookshop in Oxford! This week we’re talking about some of the top titles that are published in early 2017.

First up is Songs from The Violet Café (£8.99, pb,978 1910709177) by Fiona Kidman (the author of The Infinite Air) which is published by Aardvark in January.  This is a powerful story of women's lives spanning decades and continents from one of New Zealand's most popular authors: The Herald said of it “this is an author writing at the height of her powers.” It is an honest portrayal of sexual politics and female friendship, reminiscent of Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend, and the book will appeal to fans of her as well as Maggie O'Farrell and Anne Tyler. The novel begins in 1943 when Violet Trench crosses Lake Rotorua with a small boy, but rows back without him. Sixty years later, a boat is ritually set alight on the same body of water. The intervening years see Violet open a café by the lake the scene of an event in the summer of 1963 with lasting repercussions for Violet and her young employees. Their lives diverge, but Violet's influence on them all and on runaway Jessie Sandle in particular will linger like the scent of the truffles with which she infuses her dishes. Lots of readers and reviewers loved The Infinite Air; I think Songs from the Violet Café (which has a really beautiful cover) could do even better.
Ok, talking of Songs from the Violet Café – what are the top three songs about cafes? Well, mine would be a retro choice first with Ella Fitzgerald's I Want the Waiter with the Water, then definitely Billy Joel's  Scenes from an Italian Restaurant; but the best café song ever must surely be the amazing Suzanne Vega's Tom’s Diner .

Still on a musical theme; those hipsters over at Omnibus Press tweeted this today:

Omnibus Press @OmnibusPress Productivity in the Omnibus Press office has just dropped to virtually nil because of this.
And I quite agree – have a look  to find out what are the connections between all the musicians you like! Great fun – and the perfect Friday time-waster!
There was a fascinating piece  with some great pics in the recently published Omnibus title Amy: A Life Through The Lens by Darren and Elliott Bloom with Matt Trollope (hb, £20.00, 978-1785582011 ) in the Jewish News today which you can read here.  And there is a whole website promoting the book which you can find at – loads of poignant pics and film of Amy Winehouse to look at and a great marketing tool for this title.

As a major fan of the scrummy chickpea dip, I am massively looking forward to The Hummus Cookbook (hb, 9.99, 978 0754832836) which is published by Lorenz Books in January. And hurrah, hummus not only tastes good but is healthy too – it contains smart carbs that are slow to digest, so leaving you feeling fuller for longer, as well as being low in fat and a good source of protein and fibre. Incredibly easy to make at home, the results are so much better than shop-bought. Sara Lewis has researched, tested and tasted traditional hummus recipes from lemon and olive oil to Turkish hot buttered and also created new blends such as red beet, white beans, black beans, peas, kale and lemon. As always from Lorenz and Anness Books; this hardback has a huge amount of gorgeous photos (over 300) at a great price – have a look below to see some of the full colour spreads and you will see that it’s really well laid out with loads of techniques, tips and practical guidance, from soaking and cooking the pulses to blending and garnishing as well as making your own tahini, harissa, za’atar, chermoula and flatbreads, with easy to follow recipes for yeast-free and gluten-free breads too! Yum yum!

A title that many of your customers will be all too ready for (and me too if I keep scoffing the hummus) the in the New Year is Till the Fat Lady Slims by Debbie Flint (£7.99, pb, 978 178189333 3). I appreciate that there are an absolute deluge of diet titles competing for your bookshelves; but the USP of this one is that previously self-published this semi-autobiographical weight-loss and lifestyle book on Kindle with much success, and this new paperback edition includes many testimonials from her fans – the author is a very successful presenter on QVC. In 1998 Debbie found herself more than two stone overweight, under stress and in need of help. Enter Freedom Eating. This natural weight loss method helped Debbie break free from Food Prison and un-learn all the bad habits from a lifetime of 'starting again on Monday'. Till the Fat Lady Slims contains some painful secrets which many readers will find familiar. The book also includes material covering the dangers of sugar, information on how to use Debbie's method alongside traditional dieting and endorsements from successful slimmers. “Debbie Flint’s honest account of what she went through will hit home to every yo-yo dieter out there. Life-changing and well-worth reading. Till the Fat Lady Slims is in my view absolutely BRILLIANT!” It’s published (rather ironically, I feel) by Choc Lit in January.
Guy Fraser-Sampson is an established writer, having published not only fiction but also books on a diverse range of subjects: his darkly disturbing economic history The Mess We're In was nominated for the Orwell Prize and his Mapp and Lucia novels have all been optioned by BBC TV. Death in Profile which was published this year was a truly original crime story harking back to the Golden Age of detective fiction yet speaking to a contemporary audience, and was much praised. Ruth Dugdall, CWA Debut Dagger Winner called it “classy and sophisticated … if you thought the Golden Age of crime writing was dead, then read this.”  So I’m really looking forward to the second in the Hampstead Murder series:  Miss Christie Regrets (978 1911331803, £7.99, pb) which is published by Urbane in January. It opens with a sudden death at an iconic local venue, which some of the team believe may be a connected with an unsolved murder featuring Cold War betrayals worthy of George Smiley and soon emerges that none other than Agatha Christie herself may be the key witness who is able to provide the missing link. On one level a classic whodunit, this quirky and intelligent read harks back not only to the world of Agatha Christie, but also to the Cold War thrillers of John Le Carré, making it a worthy successor to Death in Profile which was dubbed “a love letter to the detective novel”.
Well, I can’t resist it, who are the top ten fictional detectives? Sherlock, of course – and maybe Dick Tracy, Hercule Poirot or Philip Marlowe? Have a look here to see if your favourite sleuths are there!

Here’s something to cheer up your customers at a time of year when we can all be feeling a bit down: 100 Ways to be Chirpy by George Brazel is an excellent way to beat the January blues. George Brazel is a trained and experienced psychiatrist who spent two years living with Buddhist monks in Tibet before embarking on a life of offering advice and wisdom to patience in his New York practice. This short and sweet little hardback (£6.99, 978-1906251796, hb) is the first in a new series of in-a-nutshell books to inspire and guide published by Little Books. Future titles will include 100 Ways to Get to Sleep, 100 Ways to Relax, 100 Ways to Stay Young and 100 Ways to be Thin. Full of practical tips and a zen-like simplicity, 100 Ways to be Chirpy contains all you need to know to get your life on track and find out how to be a glass half-full rather than half-empty person.
And until that comes out in January, I usually find that this does the trick to cheer me up: all together now: “life’s a piece of…”

Or, as my son has just pointed out to me, this would be an even better choice of song to finish with! Thanks Sam, perhaps you'd like to take over writing the blog!

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. This week in celebration of the somewhat unreal news we’ve had this year, we bring you a selection of news tweets from @TheDailyMash.
Daring non-conformist’s favourite Christmas song. An amazing non-conformist has shocked friends and colleagues by revealing his favourite Christmas song is the Pogues’ Fairytale of New York
Last piece of actual work this year to be completed by 3pm. Office workers across Britain have confirmed that absolutely nothing of consequence will be done next week.
Twenty percent of all children are Mick Jagger's. Mick Jagger is responsible for 20 percent of all human births, say researchers.
Guardian begins annual ruining of Christmas. The Guardian newspaper has launched its annual appeal to make you feel dreadful about Christmas.
Brexiters confident obscure local problems will be in government plan. Thousands are convinced Brexit will solve their weird local grievances like their local town centre being full of manky pigeons, or people skateboarding on pavements.
Lunatic buys shitload of Christmas presents for baby. A man has spent a ridiculous amount of money on Christmas gifts for his six-month-old son.
Vinyl sales overtake sales of food. More vinyl albums are being sold than food, because owning records is more important than eating.
Attractive colleague given inappropriately expensive gift. Awkwardness has descended on an office after a man bought an expensive Christmas gift for a female colleague, it has emerged.
Amazon to just put random items in your house then force you to pay for them. Amazon NoChoice is a new service where non-chosen, non-returnable items arrive overnight, with charges automatically debited from your bank account.
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 talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.

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