Friday 24 March 2017

Compass Points 207

Darkness over Germany: A Warning from History by E. Amy Buller was originally published in 1943 and delivers a stark warning from history of how a man with little political experience rose up as a voice of the people, a voice for the disenfranchised who were suffering the injustices of social inequality and unemployment. In this powerful book, a pioneering young woman, Amy Buller, recounts the hopes and fears of Germans engulfed in the rise of fascism during the 1930s. During the years leading up to the outbreak of war, Buller defied her critics and social norms by leading delegations of British intelligentsia to Germany to learn about and confront the appeal of the Nazis. A new edition of this title is published in May by Arcadia which is going to attract a great deal of publicity. Lord Ramsbotham said recently “Many people are comparing the current turmoil in the world with what went on in the 1930s.  In the interest of the future, I hope that influential people will mark and inwardly digest the warning signs that Amy Buller so clearly identified in Darkness over Germany” and Salley Vickers called it “A book for our times. We can learn much needed lessons from Amy Buller's wisdom.” The book is being launched at St. Paul’s Cathedral on May 16th with a panel discussion cathedral floor including Rowan Williams and Baroness Helena Kennedy. The panel will be chaired by Ed Newell, the Principal of Cumberland Lodge and author of the book's afterword, and Kurt Barling, author of the book’s foreword, will also speak. Windsor Festival have confirmed an event in September with Ed Newell and Kurt Barling, and Chalke Valley History Festival and Hay Festival have also expressed strong interest. Liverpool University have confirmed a large event for the 17th May as has the Culture Bite festival in October. Tate Liverpool are also looking to organise an event alongside their exhibition on the 1930s. At Cumberland Lodge itself there is a dedicated Darkness over Germany Conference on 5-6 June and a scheduled Darkness Over Germany panel event with Theodore Zeldin on 14 July. Ed and Kurt will also be appearing on Talk Radio in May to discuss this timely reminder of how a message of hate once fuelled a nation to unite; and there will be additional radio appearances on Radio 4 and others to follow. The Mail on Sunday, The Economist, The Times, The Sunday Times and Guardian are all interested in this title – it’s going to be much talked about. Darkness Over Germany: A Warning from History (pb, £15.00, 978 1911350194) is available as a reading copy for any bookseller interested in hosting an event with Ed Newell and Kurt Barling. Please email Nuala at if you’d like one.
Staying with WWII for a moment, there is lots of great publicity for The Single Soldier (pb, £8.99, 978 1911331209) – the emotive debut novel from actor George Costigan – best known for his work in Rita, Sue and Bob Too and Happy Valley. Set in rural France, following the devastation of the war; history, secrets and painful truths collide in what renowned playwright Willy Russell has called “a magnificent, big beast of a book.” You can hear George talking about the book on BBC Radio York (2hrs 17mins into the link) here;  on BBC Radio Scotland here; on BBC West Midland (39 mins into this link) here; on BBC Tees (2hrs 5mins into this link) here; on BBC Radio Leeds (1hr 10mins into this link)  here; on The Business Desk here, and at the Middlesbrough Lit event here. There will also be interviews on BBC Stoke and BBC Berkshire and there have been features in Yorkshire Life magazine and the Halifax CourierThe Single Soldier is published on Thursday by Urbane.
Here's  an interesting article from the TLS that you may enjoy – about how prisoners are escaping from prison  – via the pages of a really good book.
Readers who love the classic, well-crafted detective fiction of Conrad, Buchan, Dickens, Conan Doyle and Dorothy L. Sayers, will absolutely adore An Unlikely Agent (pb, £8.99, 978 1846973802) which is the debut novel of Jane Menczer and is published by Polygon in May. This evocative and intriguing debut historical mystery is set in the foggy backstreets of Edwardian London and begins in 1905 with our hero Margaret Trant who lives with her ailing, irascible mother in a dreary boarding house in St John’s Wood. When a stranger on the tram hands her a newspaper open at the recruitment page, Margaret spots an advertisement that promises to ‘open new horizons beyond your wildest dreams’ and after a gruelling interview, she finds herself in a new position as a secretary in a dingy backstreet shop. But all is not as it seems; she is in fact working for a highly secret branch of the intelligence service, Bureau 8, whose mission is to track down and neutralise a ruthless band of anarchists known as The Scorpions. Margaret’s guilty love of detective fiction scarcely prepares her for the reality of true criminality, and her journey of self-discovery forms the heart of this remarkable novel, as she discovers in herself resourcefulness, courage, independence and the first stirrings of love. Jane Menczer is an excellent performer and has already done readings in performed in Foyles Charing Cross and Waterstone’s Piccadilly. If you’d like a reading copy of this atmospheric page-turning thriller, then please email Nuala at
And talking of Polygon/Birlinn, how excited were we to see Birlinn and Compass director Hugh Andrew featured in the latest edition of Country Life in a feature on small publishers! We love this fetching picture of him taken by the magazine with his dog Millie – and thousands of books!

We also love this pic of a very dapper Lee Morgan, who had to spend the whole of London Book Fair wearing his prescription sunglasses after misplacing his regular pair!
Hands up if you know what a bothy is? Well if you’re north of the border you certainly will – and The Scottish Bothy Bible (pb, £16.99, 978 1910636107) which has just been published by Wild Things has been selling like hot Forfar bridies! These remote shelters in the wilderness where walkers can spend the night free of charge have long been one of Scotland's best-kept secrets and this first ever guide to the Scottish bothies reveals the evocative, unique and often hidden network of cabins and mountain huts, crofts and farmsteads. This title is packed with stunning photography of some of Scotland’s most beautiful landscapes and is highly engaging travel writing which documents the fascinating history of each bothy and the adventurers who use them. You can see some of the gorgeous photos on the BBC website here and can hear its author Geoff Allan talking on BBC Scotland about the book here.
The Wild Guide to Scotland: a new compendium of adventures, from the best-selling Wild Guide series is out on 1 May. This paperback will guide you to 750 secret places, including wild swims, ancient forests, lost ruins, hidden beaches, secret islands, tiny glens, amazing wildlife, as well as artisanal whisky distilleries, microbreweries, and quirky places to stay. It’s full of mesmerising photography by some of Glasgow’s most young photographers – ideal reading for those seeking the ultimate weekend escape without having to leave the UK! The Wild Guide to Scotland (pb, £16.99, 978 1910636121) is by Kimberley Grant, Richard Gaston and David Cooper who are some of Glasgow’s most trend-setting young photographers and travel bloggers – you can see some of their stunning work here.
There seems to be a bit of an adventurous theme to today’s Compass Points; next up is The Mercury Travel Club which Helen Lederer described as “a joyfully warm and witty read.” After twenty-four years and eleven months of marriage, Angie Shepherd is divorced, dejected and facing a future of cardigans and cats. Best friend Patty is having none of it, and channelling her inner Richard Branson, Angie invests her divorce settlement into The Mercury Travel Club, a travel agency with a twist. But as the club gets going, things don’t quite go according to plan, and in this digital age, a little chaos brings the recognition Angie has been looking for. Witty, entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, this feel-good novel shows that it’s never too late for a second chance. The Mercury Travel Club (pb, £8.99, 978 1910453285) is by Helen Bridgett and is getting rave reviews on the book blogs as a “light-hearted, entertaining, and a genuinely lovely read.” and “uplifting, amusing chick lit for the mature reader.” It has just been published by Red Door.
So, what do we think are the best ever books and movies about travelling? See if you agree with the top twenty travel books as listed in the Telegraph here, and the Top Ten travel movies here!
Continuing with the exploratory spirit of today, comes Freedom Seeker by Beth Kempton (pb, £10.99 978 1781808054) published in April by Hay House. Beth Kempton went from being a life-loving, risk-taking adventurer to a grown-up, settled-down mother, wife and business owner, before realizing the life she had built was suffocating her. She set out on a journey to find personal freedom, and along the way encountered many others who were also feeling trapped - by their circumstances, relationships, finances, beliefs, doubts and fears. Full of profound lessons, powerful exercises and inspiring tales, this honest and courageous book will help you to live more, worry less and find a way to do what you love, every day. Beth is writing articles for the May issues of Yoga Magazine, Wilding Online, Prima and Your Fitness and lifestyle features on the book will also appear in Soul & Spirit, Your Healthy Living, Kindred Spirit and the Daily Echo.
You can watch a short video from Beth Kempton talking about her book here.
Congratulations to Carcanet poet Lorna Goodison who has just been announced as the new Poet Laureate of Jamaica, succeeding fellow Carcanet poet Mervyn Morris. The news was announced in the Jamaica Observer which you can read here.  Lorna Goodison is a poet alive to places, from Jamaica where she began and started a family, to the United States and Canada where she has made her teaching career, but always re-connecting with her Caribbean roots. She has an ear alert to histories and voice; how differently English sounds in the tropics and in colder lands, at seaside in sunlight and on prairies, mountains and in cities. She covers a wide range of subjects and themes and her instinct is to celebrate being alive in a world that is rich but in peril. “And what is the rare quality that has gone out of poetry that these marvellous poems restore?” asks Derek Walcott. “Joy.” Collected Poems by Lorna Goodison (pb, £14.99, 978 1784104665) is published in April by Carcanet and you can see her performing at the 2014 Manchester Literary Festival here.
Vintage Vegan: Recipes from Inside the World's First Vegan Restaurant by Mrs Vera Richter continues to get some great publicity, it is featured in the latest edition of Vegan Food and Living – a popular vegan magazine that reaches over 120,000 consumers each month. You can see this feature which includes recipes from the book below. There was also recently an article on Vera Richter in LA Weekly, which referred several times to the book which you can read here. Vintage Vegan (£12.99, hb, 978 0859655446) was published in December by Plexus.

What if we meat eaters talked about food the way our vegan chums do? Would it sound like this?!

There have been some super displays for our titles round the country this week; below you can see books from Pluto, Gallic, Jessica Kingsley, Biteback, and And Other Stories and in the UK’s leading socialist bookshop Bookmarks; the fabulous Madhatter Bookshop in Burford which celebrated 5 years of trading last Autumn; Foyles; the largest bookshop in Scotland: Waterstone’s Glasgow; Rough Trade in Nottingham; Easons in Ireland; and a lovely spring display at Toppings in Bath! Thanks booksellers!

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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