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 VikkiR@birlinn.co.uk.



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; Radiotimes.com 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.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Compass Points 178


Well, you’d expect Biteback to be completely on top of all the latest political shenanigans, and sure enough they have already snapped up what Iain Dale is calling “the definitive biography” of Theresa May. Theresa May: The Path to Power is by journalist Rosa Prince; author of Comrade Corbyn of course. The book promises to tell the story of "one of the most extraordinary people ever to enter No. 10. Twenty days after Britain’s dramatic vote to leave the European Union, a new Prime Minister has captured Downing Street", the synopsis of the book reads. "Few are more surprised than May herself. At the start of this extraordinary summer, the formidable May had been on the cusp of becoming the longest-serving Home Secretary in history. Then the unexpected happened." It continues: "David Cameron’s sudden resignation unleashed a leadership contest like no other – and saw the showier rivals for this crown fall one by one with dizzying speed. Britain’s second-ever female premier is a self-styled unflashy politician, a vicar’s daughter whose commitment to public service was instilled during her Oxfordshire childhood. With one of the strongest marriages in politics, the Vogue-reading, cookbook-devouring, kitten heel-wearing May has overcome personal sadness to forge a reputation as one of the most respected and diligent politicians of her era."
Rosa Prince said: "It is an honour to be writing the life of Britain's second female Prime Minister – particularly when she is as fascinating and impressive a character as Theresa May. The events leading up to her coronation were among the most dramatic in modern British politics and will make for a compelling story." Theresa May: The Path to Power will be published in January 2017 and will naturally be supported by a major publicity campaign – there have already been pieces in The Times Diary and Total Politics. Incidentally, Comrade Corbyn: A Very Unlikely Coup (pb, £9.99, 978 1785901188) also by Rosa Prince is out in paperback in September. The Mirror called it "a real political thriller with a revolutionary ending. This is British politics' most incredible political journey. Ever."

Over on Twitter, absolutely everyone is making the same joke about Theresa and her cabinet. Here’s the first version – but the whole of social media are saying it – possibly time to move on from this particular LOL now I think!

Clarkson@Jeremy Clarkson: Oh for fuck’s sake. May and Hammond. Really? We will end up thick and lost.

And if we’re talking political jokes, we just know you want to see these 23 great pictures of our most senior diplomat!

If you want to find out whether you are more or less diplomatic than the bumptious blond one – then do take this fun quiz on BuzzFeed now!

Interesting news that in the US, the massive craze for Pokémon Go is causing a big increase in footfall into bookshops and libraries; and not just footfall – those crazy Pokémon hunters are actually buying books too! According to Whitney Hu, the manager of the Strand Bookstore in New York, the game is luring in brand new customers: “people who aren’t avid readers or buy their books online. For people visiting the city, you might not have a bookstore listed on your go-to list but if it’s a Pokéstop nearby your hotel, you might go explore it.” Libraries are getting in on the act too, with the likes of Omaha library tweeting “Obsessed with Pokémon Go? All 12 of our library branches are Poke stops – come train with us!” Read the full story here. Could the same thing happen over here? Yep, I think it already has – with Blackwell’s tweeting this week: “I do believe that one of those delightful Pokémon thingumajigs has been snaffled in the Norrington Room #PokemonGo “ and Samuel French Ltd reminding us that actually, who cares about “#PokemonGO? Pfff, independent bookshops have offered chances to run into odd, unexpected creatures that avoid human contact for CENTURIES.” Very true!
As the world gets ready for Rio, cast your mind back to July 2005, when the world held a collective intake of breath as IOC president Jacques Rogge declared: 'The games of the 30th Olympiad in 2012 are awarded to the city of … London.' Despite the images of jubilant crowds in the streets of Britain's capital, there were some, like Lance Forman, for whom those words spelled only dread and uncertainty. His 100-year-old family business, H. Forman & Son, the country's finest purveyor of smoked salmon, was facing eviction to make way for the Olympic Stadium, and teetered on the brink of collapse. Lance Forman's fight to save the firm brought him into open conflict with many powerful figures, including Ken Livingstone, and Sebastian Coe. Forman's Games: The Dark Underside of the London Olympics lifts the lid on the fierce battle that pitched Forman's, against the combined might of the UK authorities and the IOC in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics. It is a full, unexpurgated account of skulduggery and bullying mounted against 350 local businesses, employing over 12,000 people, who stood in the way not just of the world's most famous sporting event, but of an opportunity to develop the land on which they had successfully run businesses over decades. The Sunday Times called it "an exquisitely score-settling book" and the Financial Times found it “undeniably fascinating” while Nick Ferrari wrote: “Lance Forman's tale of the shady deals, covert negotiations and backroom operators of London 2012 makes the world of Machiavelli appear humdrum and straightforward – a truly gripping read." Foreman’s Games (hb, £20, 978 1785901157) was published this week by Biteback. There’s been lots of press coverage already, with more to come as well as an interview with the author on Radio 4 which you can listen to here.
And here’s a short film about Lance Forman and his extraordinary battle on CNN .

Frank O'Hara (June 27, 1926 – July 25, 1966) was an American writer, poet and art critic. Employed as a curator at the Museum of Modern Art; O’Hara became prominent in New York City's art world and is regarded as a leading figure in the New York School; an informal group of artists, writers and musicians who drew inspiration from jazz, surrealism, and contemporary avant-garde art movements. He was one of the most delightful and radical poets; celebrated for his apparently unpremeditated poems in which he brilliantly captured the pace and rhythms, quandaries and exhilarations, of mid-twentieth-century life.
The 50th anniversary of his death is next week, so this is a good opportunity to promote Frank O’Hara Selected Poems (pb, £9.95, 978 1857547719) and Why I Am Not A Painter and Other Poems (pb, £8.95, 978 1857546880) both available from Carcanet. Reviewing this selection in the Guardian, Charles Bainbridge wrote: “Frank O'Hara is a wonderful poet –  funny, moving, chatty, engaging, enthusiastic, risk-taking, elegiac, supremely urban –  and anything that encourages people to read him is a good thing. His poems have a disarming intimacy, a kind spontaneous enthusiasm and his work proves, with tremendous elan and energy, that you don't have to adopt a solemn tone in order to write poetry of seriousness and purpose.”
Here’s a one-minute clip of Frank O’Hara in 1966, reading  one of his most well-known poems; Having a Coke With You shortly before his accidental death.

I think the world divides into those who LOVE pictures of animals in clothes – and those who really, really don’t! If you and your customers are in the former camp, then two titles coming in September from Amber Books will be right up your street! Cats in Hats (£6.99, hb, 978 1782744306) is a fun book of more than 40 felines and their headwear, featuring a colour photomontage of a cat in a hat per spread.  Each entry has both a jokey caption followed by some informative text on the breed, history, intelligence or characteristic of the cat featured. From Balinese cats in bowler hats to American wirehairs in aviator caps, Cats in Hats is a joyful compendium of some exquisite combinations of felines and headwear. Moody cats in fedoras, fighting cats in Viking helmets, gourmand cats in chef’s hats, gangster cats in trilbies, Siamese cats in sombreros, Burmese cats in bonnets, Manx cats in conical hats: this is an ideal gift for anyone who feels that there just aren’t enough books about cats in hats available.
And Pugs on Rugs (hb, £6.99, 978 1782744313) – yes, you’ve guessed it, bullish pugs, pitiful pugs, porky pugs: this gift hardback is full of more than 40 images of the snuggest pugs on rugs that you’ve ever seen. The dogs might be walking, sitting, sleeping; the rug could be Persian, Aztec, oriental; but rest assured, the image will be cute and funny or funny and cute or probably both. Both titles have 96 pages, with over 40 colour spreads, and measure 153 x 153 mm. You can order them both now.
And if cat and dogs wearing clothes are your thing – then you’ll no doubt enjoy this very clever little film, and maybe this and this too!


Jason Vale, aka the ‘Juice Master’, is the best-selling author of eleven books on health, addiction and juicing. His books have now sold over 3 million copies and have been translated into many languages. His most well-known book; 7lbs In 7 days: The Juice Master Diet; went to number one of all books on Amazon. The Daily Mail said “There’s a huge amount of persuasive power in what Jason says, helped considerably by the fact his delivery is an entertaining mix of the comic styles of Lee Evans, Norman Wisdom and Eddie Izzard.” In October comes Jason’s first ever wholefood recipe book, Super Fast Food: Healthy Meals Made Easy which I think will be hugely popular. It’s packed with over 100 truly inspirational recipes, from incredibly healthy superfood breakfasts to brownies to die for! You’ll find healthy versions of all the classics from pizza to pasta to risotto and even a healthy veggie burger and fries and as you would expect, the book is also bursting with super salads, super soups and amazing fish recipes. This is also the perfect book for anyone who has just finished one of Jason’s Juice Challenges and is looking for some inspiration. Jason believes that the whole business of healthy eating has been overcomplicated so you won’t find any strange ingredients only found in specialised food shops for any of his recipes – anyone can make these simple, delicious, nutrient packed superfood meals. Jason’s fifteen years of experience in writing health books comes into its own in this refreshingly uncomplicated look at healthy meals – and with this author’s massive fan base, this new hardback looks set to be a big seller. Super Fast Food: Healthy Meals Made Easy (hb, £25.00, 978 0954766474) is published by Crown House Publishing.
Here's Jason talking about his new book on YouTube.


Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. And this week we bring you our favourite political tweets from the couple of days...

Orb@rhysbart: The Queen has devoured 12 Prime Ministers during her reign and will devour the 13th today. This will trigger the awakening.
Richard K Herring@Herring 1967: Can't believe they are rebooting the government and replacing all the lead characters with women. Damaging my memories of Cameron franchise.
RickyGervais@RickyGervais: Phew! Just when Britain was starting to become a laughing stock around the world, Boris Johnson is appointed foreign secretary.
HalCruttenden@Halcruttenden: David Cameron said yesterday that he leaves Britain a ‘stronger country’. It’s these little jokes that I’m going to miss the most.
Christopher Hope ‏@christopherhope: Ex-Culture secretary John Whittingdale on his plans for the rest of the day. "We are going to get drunk," he tells me. #CabinetReshuffle
Mehdi Hassan@MehdiHasan: ‘Last time he did a deal with the Germans, he came back with 3 nearly new water cannons.’ May mocking her foreign sec Boris just days ago.
Rebekah Kendrick ‏@RebekahRRK: Heard #Crabb resigned because he was only offered a sideways move.
Oliver Schraylor@oliverschraylor: Can't believe Andrea Leadsom only got Defra considering she used to be President of the USA, a deep sea diver and a Duke
Technically Ron@TechnicallyRon: Looking forward to Boris Johnson's first visit to bongo bongo land.
Trumpton‏@Trumpton: Any idea what time @Number10gov is announcing @achrisevans replacement on @BBC_TopGear?
Aodh@AodhBC: Since a diplomat is a man sent abroad to lie for his country, Boris Johnson will make a fine Foreign Secretary.
Gullivers Bookshop‏@gulliversbks: It's been a week of funny comments. 'I want a novel where nothing really happens' & 'do they do adult colouring books for children'?
That’s all for now folks! More next week!
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.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Compass Points 177


You will be hearing a lot more about children’s books from us in the coming months, as Compass are now pleased to represent a selection of some of the very best independent publishing in this area. We are having our first ever children’s book conference next week – so I will be able to tell you about some of our top children’s titles for the autumn very shortly!

In the meantime, I mentioned the marvellous Jessica Kingsley Publishing last week, and one of their new titles M is For Autism (pb, £8.99, 978 1849056847) is number two this week in the Guardian’s Children’s Book Chart for the Top Ten Speedy Reads. You can see the full list here. The Guardian Books page of its award winning website has millions of readers – many of whom are going there specifically to look for purchasing recommendations – so this is great publicity for this title which it described as “gorgeous, thoughtful writing, with truly striking illustrations and layout.” M is for Autism is written by the students of Limpsfield Grange, (a school for girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder) together with Vicky Martin and draws on real life experiences to create a heartfelt and humorous novel that captures the highs and lows of being different in a world of normal. M's world is tipsy-turvy, sweet and sour, and the beast of her anxiety is always lurking outside her classrooms ready to pounce. M just wants to be like other teenagers her age who always know what to say and what to do. So why does it feel like she lives on a different plane of existence?
The layout of this paperback is amazing – with wonderfully original and colourful drawings and fonts – it has had fantastic reviews on Amazon, with readers really responding to the imaginative way it tackles its subject.  “This book does a brilliant job of describing how it might feel to be an autistic teenage girl. As a dad with an autistic 10-year-old daughter, I found some parts made me feel quite emotional.” “Spot on! It absolutely describes how it is to be autistic and totally captures the despair, love and frustrations of the mother too”, “A trailblazer, why aren't there more books or characters like M?” “Compelling, beautiful and utterly engaging.” I would really urge you to stock this tile – there is a massive demand for books on autism/Asperger’s that bridge the gap between “special needs” text books and more mainstream teen reads like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.

Talking of teen readers, you know we love a bit of e-books vs real books debate and here's  a heartening article in the Guardian. Entitled Why Teenagers are so Resistant to e-Readers, it discusses why, when in many areas of their life teenagers are moving online, surveys seem to show that they still prefer print books over e-readers. Maybe innovation just can’t beat tradition?

There was a terrific full page spread this week for Moonology by Yasmin Boland in the Daily Mail which you can see here. I mentioned this title a few weeks ago and it’s now the number one bestseller in the Astrology section on Amazon, so please do order it. It promises to show you how to understand the moon's magical eight phases so that you can improve every aspect of your life. You will know better what to expect in the days ahead, and how to time all the important events in your life, from sending a crucial email to getting married! This is a book for all those wishing to consciously create their own lives, to deepen their connection with nature and the divine, and to take their spiritual practice to a new level. Moonology: Working with the Magic of Lunar Cycles (pb, £10.99, 978 1781807422) has just been published by Hay House.

While we’re on the subject of new age psychobabble – sorry divine empowerment – we absolutely love this fabulous new show frontage for Happy Glastonbury. As this shop says, it certainly “captures the joyful essence and vibration” of this thriving indie!


I think we can all agree that everyone needs a bit more poetry in their lives – so how inspiring to see Carcanet poet Gillian Clarke performing her tribute to the Welsh footie team ahead of their match against Portugal. Including more poetry on BBC Newsnight can only  be a Thoroughly Good Thing – you can watch that here. Gillian Clarke: Selected Poems (pb, £9.95, 978 1857543353) is available now from Carcanet.

On the subject of Welsh football, Together Stronger: The Rise of Welsh Football’s Golden Generation (£13.99, pb, 978 1902719481) by Chris Wathan is doing very well indeed. This superb book with 32 pages of colour photos was described by the Telegraph as “A must-read” and describes how “a country that has always produced great players, finally produced a team with the quality and the unity to reach a first major tournament since 1958.” It has a foreword by Wales Captain Ashley Williams who writes: “There are no writers who have been as close to Welsh football as Chris over the last ten years. It is a story that's worth telling, worth reading and definitely worth enjoying! It's been a story to remember – and one worth waiting for.” Wales have done their country – and the UK – proud in the Euros, and this is definitely a title to put front of store – there are plenty of “make a quick buck” footie titles around – but this is not one of them. Henry Winter in the Times said it was “a well-informed insight into Wales' rollercoaster ride to the Euros. Chris Wathan writes with authority and sensitivity. The devastating chapter on Gary Speed's death is deeply moving.” With exclusive behind-the-scenes insights from many of Wales’ key players including Chris Gunter, Neil Taylor, Joe Ledley and captain Ashley Williams – as well as the revealing and candid thoughts of Wales managers John Toshack and Chris Coleman; award-winning journalist Chris Wathan has written the inside story of how a golden generation emerged to tell the greatest tale Welsh football has ever told. It is published by St David’s Press and you can order it now.

You can find out about all the publicity that Together Stronger has received on the St David’s Press Facebook page which is here. Also featured there is another St David’s Welsh footie title Zombie Nation Awakes: Welsh Football's Odyssey to Euro 2016 (£13.99, pb, 978 1902719467) which is the diary of reporter supporter Bryn Law. Packed with passion, tinged with sadness, and written with great humour, this diary of the campaign perfectly describes the emotions of following the Welsh national football team; when years of despair vanished in a wave of glorious euphoria to the sounds of Zombie Nation. Game by game, Bryn’s diary reflects the growing but guarded optimism of the players, the supporters and the Welsh nation, as he reported on the campaign for Sky Sports. His passion for Welsh football shines through on every page of Zombie Nation Awakes and fans of Welsh football will love it.

Twenty years ago today saw the release of the Spice Girls smash hit Wannabe – how is that even possible! We’re very much enjoying this new version, taking girl power one stage further. #WhatIReallyReallyWant

It doesn’t look as if British politics will be out of the news headlines any time for the foreseeable future – and many voters are starting to wonder whether there is any genuine alternative to what currently appears to be on offer. Of course, as always Biteback are bang on trend, and at the end of August they publishing The Alternative: Towards a New Progressive Politics which is a collection of essays that makes the case for a new, plural, radical politics. The Alternative is a multi-authored work in which Britain’s three progressive parties – Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Greens, come together to formulate a new kind of politics to defeat the Tories at the next election. It includes essays from Sian Berry, Mhairi Black, Frances O’Grady, Tim Farron, Peter Hain, Carys Afoko, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Zoe Williams and Neal Lawson and is edited by Lisa Nandy MP, Caroline Lucas MP and Chris Bowers. The book includes a manifesto of progressive policies and values and although the outlook for those holding progressive political opinions in the next general election is not auspicious, there is evidence to suggest that there could be a majority for the progressives in 2020 if only the mechanics were in place for it to happen. Interesting stuff; there is an opinion piece by John Harris in the Guardian here talking about the type of progressive alliance that The Alternative anticipates, and here's another in the New Statesman.  One of the book’s editors, Caroline Lucas is publically making a lot of noise about such a plan, and Lisa Nandy may well be declaring herself open to running in a Labour leadership contest. Another of The Alternative’s writers Zoe Williams is writing articles and appearing a lot on TV at the moment as is the SNP’s Mhairi Black. This book and its concepts are bound to gain momentum in the coming weeks, so I’d suggest you order The Alternative (hb, £12.99, 978 1785900495) now!
Talking of politics (and who isn’t) let’s just remind ourselves of the brilliant Cassetteboy’s view in April on the woman who is now set to become our next PM

Like so many finger-on-the-pulse blogs before it, The Totes Ridictionary became a bestselling book. The perfect gift, it featured a comprehensive glossary of slang that helped you sort the “jel” from the “awks”, correctly identify what was “perf” and what was “tradge”, and told you how to react if someone said you were “gorge” or “cray-cray”. Now, hurrah; this Autumn comes Totes Ridictionary 2: The Super, Revised On Fleek Edition (hb, £8.99, 978 0859655491). If you are seeking smexy new words with which to woo your bae, amuse your squad and generally #BreakTheInternet  then this is for you! 
Inspired by a slew of tasty new abbreviations currently washing tsunami-like across emails, texts, Twitter, Facebook and social media of every description, Totes Ridictionary 2 follows the same format that made Balthazar Cohen’s original so popular, this little hardback is packed with even more hilar illustrations, internet-addicted pets and smart-phone-savvy pop art as well as the imagined Twitter conversations of history. It also features Cohen’s classic glossary of terms, but beefed up with added etymological goodness (much like Stephen Fry before he gave up carbs) and all the hottest new lingo online, to help you sort your FOMO from your YOLO. Totes Ridictionary 2 takes a second, totally ridiculous look at what happens when language and technology collide in an ever-changing world whilst helping you keep your Twitter game stronger than ever and it’s published in September by Plexus.

Let’s finish with some music.  When Freddie Mercury died in 1991, the music world lost one of its most flamboyant characters, as well as a supremely talented writer and vocalist. Best known as the lead singer with Queen, his amazing four-octave voice was a distinctive element in the band's unique sound which resulted in more than a dozen million-selling albums over three decades. As the band's main songwriter he was responsible for some of their greatest hits including Killer Queen, We Are The Champions and Bohemian Rhapsody.
Published to coincide with what would have been Freddie’s 70th birthday in November 2016, Freddie Mercury: An Illustrated Life by Mark Blake (hb, £20.00, 978 1783059706) is published by Omnibus Press in September. A definitive retrospective on the life and work of Freddie Mercury, both as the lead singer with Queen and in his much-acclaimed solo capacity this is a fully illustrated 224-page hardback, including archive memorabilia and over 200 colour and black and white photos – many previously unpublished. Freddie and Queen have a LOT of fans, and there will definitely be a big market for this superb gift book. Go to the official website www.freddiemercury.com if you want find out more about the 70th birthday celebrations for this musical icon.
And here is Freddie at his flamboyant best!

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.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Compass Points 176


Hurrah for independent bookshop Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, who has written an open letter in the Bookseller to publishers of translated fiction, pledging support for their work in the wake of Brexit. His letter was addressed to many of our wonderful publishers including & Other Stories, Comma Press, Gallic Books, and Hesperus Press, and said: “In the dismal afterglow of Brexit we’re feeling the need to switch straight back into a positive gear on the shop floor, to reiterate our immense thanks to you for publishing the incredible translated works that offer a window into so many different worlds and to demonstrate our solidarity with you in these complex times.” Owner Nic Bottomley continued: “Musing on the myriad implications of the narrow ‘leave’ vote’, I found myself focusing on the fact that our friends whose businesses centre on publishing translated works… are probably facing trickier challenges than us right now.” He said that his business is “determined” to continue supporting translated books “be it via display, hand-sell or other more overt messaging”. He also asked publishers to tell him about any specific titles the shop should be getting behind.  “Even if in the future it becomes more of an expensive pain in the ass to translate and publish European works, we remain excited each time you do it,” he said. We totally agree Nic, and thanks for your support! You can read the whole letter here.  
Meanwhile Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has said “the arts can bring us together” as a nation following the “uncertainty and division” caused by the EU Referendum. Speaking to the London Evening Standard (and you can read the entire article here ) Vaizey said that the arts were the “lifeblood” of creative industries and urged the UK to “seize on our strengths and look for opportunities. In times of uncertainty and division it’s the arts that bring us together,” he said. “London 2012 united the nation and the world looked on in awe of our creativity, courage and character. Now is the time to come together once more.” He added that the arts were “what the rest of the world listens to, and what they know best about us. They are naturally outward-looking, collaborative and internationalist. What they say matters,” he said. “They represent, after all, our most successful industries, and what they produce is the envy of the world.” Hear hear Ed, we couldn’t agree more!

I think many people are feeling a bit uncertain about what the future will bring, so perhaps we all need to have a little read of The Universe Has Your Back by bestselling author Gabrielle Bernstein (£10.99, pb 978 1781804254). This title promises that it will show us How to Feel Safe and Trust Your Life No Matter What – just what we all need right now. Gabrielle Bernstein assures us that we can all “move away from fear and regain a sense of power in a world that all too often make us feel utterly powerless.” Yep, I think that certainly would be useful for many of us and apparently if we use what’s in this book, we’ll begin to “find strength when we’re down, synchronicity and support when we’re lost, safety in the face of uncertainty, and joy when we’re are otherwise in pain”. Can I suggest that Hay House send a box or two over to Westminster?  Gabrielle Bernstein has been named “a new thought leader” by Oprah Winfrey and she appears regularly onTV. If you like her style, there’s lots more at www.gabbyb.tv. The Universe Has Your Back will feature in the October issue of Red magazine and the book is published in September.

We all have our favourite books – and hopefully a fair few of them are the ones sold by Compass! But what are our much-loved gems to give to friends? Have a look here at this fun article in the Telegraph about the books we love to share!

We have it confirmed that Joan Ruddock will be appearing as a guest on Woman’s Hour to talk about her Biteback autobiography with host Jenni Murray on Wednesday 27th July. This is excellent publicity for Going Nowhere (hb, £25, 978 1849549974) which is a frank and good-humoured account of a life punctuated by political activism as well as personal tragedy. The story of Joan Ruddock, born in the Welsh valleys, who came to lead one of Britain's biggest protest movements and went on to address the United Nations, before becoming an MP and minister, is a remarkable one. After her election to the Commons in 1987, Joan held three consecutive shadow posts and, by 1997, was thought to be on the fast-track to high office. Despite having what was perceived by all to be a promising political future ahead, she was overlooked in Tony Blair's early appointments and, as such, branded ‘going nowhere’ by the press. This remark, though insulting, proved to be baseless, and Joan was soon appointed the first ever full-time Minister for Women. It was a portfolio that saw her, alongside Harriet Harman, push through a radical agenda, getting sacked for her pains a year later. Undaunted, she ran a number of high-profile campaigns from the back benches, including opposing GMOs, championing Afghan women's rights and modernising the Commons. Going Nowhere: A Memoir by Joan Ruddock is published on 14 June.

There will be lots of gorgeous gift titles competing for your attention this autumn; but something that is both lovely and unusual is Haiku, (978 1782743873 14.99, hb) published in September by Amber. Haiku is an ancient form of Japanese poetry which is possibly the best know form of verse worldwide. There are few rules to haiku, but they are strict: A haiku must have 17 phonetic sounds, a sense of cutting images or ideas, and a reference to a season. From those restrictions, poets have written about many things, from the year’s first blossom to aging, from mosquitoes humming to insects singing, from catching one’s shadow to crossing a stream in the summer. Haiku features 90 of these perfect little gems, presented both in Japanese script, and in an English translation. It is beautifully produced in traditional Chinese binding with a timeless design, and is both an ideal introduction to the form, and a celebration of one of the oldest, most beautiful and accessible forms of poetry in the world. It features classic poems from four poets: Matsuo Bashō, Yosa Buson, Kobayashi Issa and Masaoka Shiki which range across more than 200 years of Japanese poetry. Haiku is a 96-page hardback, 264 x 195 mm, and the translation is by Hart Larrabee. You can order Haiku now.

Hay House author Mel Wells has gone mega-viral this week with her outrage over the way Samsung phones (and others) automatically “beautify” our selfies. Her post on Instagram was picked up by Cosmopolitan which you can read here and then by the Sun which is here and the Mail which is here. This all adds up to over 10 million (yes you read that right) readers which is amazing publicity for Mel’s newest book: The Goddess Revolution: Make Peace with Food, Love Your Body and Reclaim Your Life. (pb, £10.99, 978 1781807125)
The book is credited in every article – and all the publicity will undoubtedly lead readers to this title – so do make sure it’s on display. Written with honesty and passion, The Goddess Revolution shows how it is possible to have a healthy, satisfying and guilt-free relationship with our bodies without any dieting or strict regimes. Tackling modern issues - including the unrealistic strive for perfection caused by airbrushing - Mel shows us how we can truly start to show our body the love it deserves, take back our power around food and, in return, feel better than ever. The Goddess Revolution was published earlier this month and you can order it now.

Many congratulations to publishers Jessica Kingsley who have just won the Innovation Excellence Award from the Stationers’ Company for their list of comics on graphic medicine. There were 49 applicants with 20 shortlisted companies, so it is really impressive that Jessica Kingsley Publishers picked up this award.  This accolade is significant largely because it is very difficult for book publishers to demonstrate innovation and the judges were impressed both by how quickly Jessica Kingsley Publishers managed to bring their new graphic medicine list to market, and also by the creative and positive way they used the comic form.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers have of course also recently won the Independent Academic, Professional Publisher of the Year award at the British Book Awards. You can find out more about all the title available from Jessica Kingsley Publishers on their website here   – do have a look there are lots of interesting titles there which you may well not be aware of. And of course you can order any of their titles from Compass!

OMG some authors will go to ANY lengths to shift copies of their books! Have a look here   at Urbane author Simon Wan engaging in a spot of self-promotion at WH Smith for his new title Love and a Dozen Roast Potatoes (pb, £8.99, 978 1910692905)! NB Compass Points does not endorse this sort of behaviour!

Here's a good top ten: The Best Books By and About Brits on the Continent i.e. A Brexit Reading List. As the long and fruitful relationship between Britain and the continent comes to an end in its current form you may enjoy this . It’s probably worth pointing out that many of these were written before the EU even existed, so hopefully there’s no reason to think that the literary bounty generated by the relationship between us and our neighbours should dry up any time soon!

The London Magazine did a great interview recently with Ian McMillan  which you can read here where Ian was asked “how he felt about being referred to as the ‘John Peel’ of poetry.  He replied “That’s an ancient thing that Alec Finlay said about me many years ago – partly because John Peel likes picking up new bands and new music... I feel like we’re in a good time for poetry at the moment, lots of people are writing poems and I just still get excited finding new voices, so that’s the John Peel of poetry, really. Also I wear shapeless cardigans like he used to.” The Guardian called Ian “a force of nature” and Andy Kershaw said he was “inching towards the status of a National Treasure.” Ian’s new poetry collection To Fold the Evening Star (pb, £9.99, 978 1784101886) was published in April by Carcanet.

As Wimbledon begins, find out what the famous tennis fest has in common with one of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies, on the brilliant Oberon Books blog here.

And if you’re intrigued, then why not order Rosalind: A Biography of Shakespeare’s Immortal Heroine by Angela Thirlwell (hb, £16.99, 978 1783198559) published by Oberon. This title is for everyone who has ever loved Shakespeare and celebrates his most innovative heroine, the actor-manager of As You Like It. She’s alive. She’s modern. She’s also a fiction. Played by a boy actor in 1599, she’s a girl who gets into men’s clothes to investigate the truth about love. Both male and female, imaginary and real, her intriguing duality gives her a special role. What is a man? What is a woman? We are all Rosalind now.

The Gospel According to Johnny Bender (pb, £8.99, 978 1911129004) by Dean Lilleyman was launched this week at The Chameleon Arts Café in Nottingham – you can see some pics from that here.  The Gospel According to Johnny Bender is set simultaneously in 1979 and 1999, and it’s the twisted story of a village carnival day, a psychological thriller that sees several truths of love, lust and murder unfold in pseudo real-time. Lilleyman’s first novel, Billy and the Devil (pb, £8.99, 978 1910692332) was the unflinching portrayal of an alcoholic, a story that has courted both controversy and praise, the Man Booker Prize nominee Jane Rogers calling it “Brilliantly evoked in all its sordid detail, black humour, demented courage, and alienation.” Both have very eye-catching covers – and Lilleyman has garnered a great deal of enthusiasm online for his writing: “one of the best books I've read in a long time”; “an astonishing debut - so poetic, raw and emotive” – so I think The Gospel According to Johnny Bender will be one to look out for – it’s officially published by Urbane next week.

I’m looking forward to Dragon Games (pb, £8.99, 978 1846973543) by Jan-Philipp Sendker which is published by Polygon at the end of September. This is the second novel in the Rising Dragon series that began with Whispering Shadows which was hailed as “an absorbing mystery … vivid and knowing”. Bookbag said “If you loved The Art of Hearing Heartbeats and/or A Well-Tempered Heart - you will not be disappointed by this one. And if you didn't, this might tempt you to look again at someone who is fast becoming one of my favourite modern authors. Five stars.”
Dragon Games continues the story of Paul Leibovitz, living in Hong Kong, deeply in love with the city, its culture, and most of all, Christine. When a fortune teller predicts the death of someone she loves, however, the pair are once again thrust into the murky criminal world of Hong Kong and forced to fight for their lives. Moving and entertaining, Jan-Philipp Sendker 's books cast a profound and clear light on the inner world of a superpower that many in the West cannot begin to comprehend. Reviewers have described The Rising Dragon series as “intriguing” and “a bit different to the usual thriller” – they have excellent covers and I would thoroughly recommend the three backlist titles and this new paperback.
Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week...
Jane Aitken@JaneAitken27 Stop winding each other up on twitter remainers/leavers. It’s done, we’re out. Wish it weren’t so, but it is. Squabbling now pointless.
James Tonkin‏@jtonks1 Just finished Wolfgang Bauer's beautifully written "Crossing the Sea" - heartbreaking stories of refugees fleeing Syria. A Must Read.
(((Thom Brooks)))@thom_brooks Found my book Becoming British in the Parliament's book shop!
Choc Lit‏@ChocLituk Can't Buy Me Love by @janelovering is guaranteed to have you laughing out loud! Another lovely review from Kim :)
Birlinn Books@BirlinnBooks  "McIntosh can talk theology, science and myth with scholarly aplomb" - A wonderful review of POACHER'S PILGRIMAGE
Urbane Publications@urbanepub England may be crap, but cheer yourself up by reading about a bloody good football team #BusbyBabes
And Other Stories‏@andothertweets 'The main thing is Stay Calm' Excerpt from @yuri_herrera #Transmigration in the Love issue of Granta Magazine
Topping & Company @ToppingsStAs Poetry is needed, lots of poetry; We can offer that
And Other Stories‏@andothertweets Super-chuffed that the super-smart Eimear McBride picked Martin John in her @TheTLS summer recommendations
Morgan Fraser PR‏@MorganFraserPR Health Coach Mel Wells in @CosmopolitanUK calling out Samsung for phone cameras that automatically 'beautify' people

Urbane Publications‏@urbanepub Delighted that Serial Damage by Liz Cowley and Donagh O’Brien will be stocked by WHSmith this autumn....
Steven Chiverton‏@FamblyGuy What is the point of Iain Dale?
Iain Dale‏@IainDale Christ alone knows.
That’s all for now folks! More next week!
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.