Friday 16 June 2017

Compass Points 218

What a fabulous window this is from Golden Hare Books in Edinburgh  featuring a gorgeous hand painted illustration inspired by Sinéad Morrissey’s new volume of poetry On Balance (pb, £9.99, 978 1784103606) published by Carcanet which has just been nominated for the Forward Prize.
Winner of the 2017 Poetry Book Society Choice Award, and set against a backdrop of ecological and economic instability, this new collection (her sixth) examines some of the great feats of human engineering to reveal the states of balance and imbalance that have shaped our history. The poems also address gender inequality and our inharmonious relationship with the natural world and is a tour de force from the writer who the Independent described as “the outstanding poet of her generation.”

Carcanet also have The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx by Tara Bergin, (£9.99, pb, 978-1784103804) which is published on 27 July, Raking Light by Eric Langley and Ian Patterson (£9.99, pb, 978 1784103323) and The Plenty of Nothing by Ian Patterson (published in PN Review) shortlisted for these prestigious awards – a title in every category in fact, which is tremendous! The Forward Prizes for Poetry are the most coveted awards for poetry and have played a key role in bringing contemporary poetry to the attention of the wider public for quarter of a century. 
The three prizes – £10,000 for Best Collection, £5,000 for Best First Collection and £1,000 for Best Single Poem – are unique in honouring both the work of established poets and the debuts of brilliant unknowns. The 26th annual Forward Prizes will be awarded on 21 September 2017 at the Royal Festival Hall by jury chairman Andrew Marr You can see the full shortlist of 15 here and a piece in the Guardian here.

Today is Bloomsday –  the annual celebration of Joyce’s masterpiece Ulysses and a fine day to remind yourself of his genius! You may fancy yourself as a bit of a literary genius yourself – but how well do you know your Joyce? Test your knowledge with our 16 questions for 16 June in this fine Guardian quiz here.

Quite a bit of publicity over the last week for The European Game: The Secrets of European Football Success (£14.99, 978 1909715486) which has just been published in paperback by Arena Sport. Over three months Daniel Fieldsend travelled the continent discovering the methods for success used at some of the biggest clubs in Europe; from Ajax, Juventus, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and many more. At every stop on his journey, Fieldsend delved to the very heart of what made the club tick, speaking to members of staff all the way up the hierarchical ladder, from scouts and academy coaches to first team managers, analysts and board members, pulling back the curtain to reveal their day to day workings. Insightful and compelling, The European Game comprises leadership, tactics, coaching and scouting as well as politics, finance, fandom and culture. It is a broad investigation into Europe's relationship with football and what nations can learn from one another. Daniel has done some radio interviews for it, including Radio City, which you can listen to as a podcast here, and TalkSport Radio. The Economist said it “shows how globalisation, and the professionalisation of all facets of football, have transformed the sport on the continent…and how important regional and national differences between teams still linger” and there will be articles in the Morning Star, Goal magazine and others to come.

Many women want children – long for them in fact; but have to come to terms with the fact that it is not to be. Dear You: A Letter to my Unborn Children (pb, £9.99, 978 1910453407) is a breathtakingly candid and moving memoir, in which Tessa Broad writes to the children that never were. She writes to them as their adult selves with openness and honesty and tells them of the childhood she envisaged for them and the mother she believed she would be. She describes her reluctant transformation from the woebegone, wannabe mummy that she once was, to the woman she is now; childless but sailing through Mother's Day with a smile on her face. From the 'trying for a family' stage to the relentless treadmill of infertility treatment, Tess recounts her story with humour, warmth and pathos, taking the reader on her journey with her, sharing her experiences, the roller-coaster ride of IVF, the sudden departure of the husband whose children she wanted to have and ultimately to her acceptance that the life she wanted was not hers for the taking. Dear You: A Letter to my Unborn Children by Tessa Broad which is published by Red Door is being serialised in the Daily Mail between 15-24th June and there will also be an interview, extract and photos to run in Bella magazine on the week of publication which is 29 June.

The dreadful events in the UK recently have certainly focussed our attention on the gallant boys in blue – so a very timely publication date for How to be a Police Officer by Graham Wettone (pb, £12.99, 978 1785902192) which was launched last night at Daunts. Published by Biteback this is a must-read for anyone curious about the reality of life on the front-line and takes you from those first thoughts about joining through to the training itself and to the real work involved in policing. A thirty-year veteran of the police service in London and across the UK, Graham Wettone now trains prospective police recruits and is the policing expert for Sky News. This book offers fascinating insights into the job taking in the upheavals that have shaped the landscape of British policing and explaining what it really takes to make it in the force.

Well, there are plenty to choose from, and Graham Wettone may not approve – but what are your most hilarious cop moments from the world of film? Here's a top ten to get you thinking…definitely more How NOT to be a Police Officer!

The Portrait (pb, £8.99, 9781910477434) – a new novella by Antoine Laurain – is out in a fortnight from Gallic and will be reviewed in the Saturday Express this weekend and the Observer very shortly. This author has so many fans, and as one blogger put it, this is “a delightful literary soufflé that fans of his other charming books will savour… distinctive for its energetic prose and plot and for his skill in rendering simple what is otherwise complex… pure entertainment.” As always with Laurain, the premise of this book hooks you in straight away. An art collector, Pierre-François Chaumont is stunned to discover an eighteenth-century portrait of an unknown man who looks just like him and much to his delight, his bid for the work is successful. However, his jaded wife and circle of friends are unable to see the resemblance, but Chaumont remains convinced of it, and as he researches into the painting’s history, he is presented with the opportunity to abandon his tedious existence and walk into a brand-new life…

Bring your lover to live with you and your husband. What could go wrong? Possibly a Love Story by Olivia Fane is a viciously funny satire on the middle classes and middle-class values, but with a huge heart, and it’s getting some fab reviews! “Hugely entertaining, I read it in two sittings” said Isabel Wolff and the Telegraph wrote “Her work ... has an almost dreamlike clarity.” It’s ideal for summer reading book tables, and is perfect subtle and clever holiday escapism. Possibly a Love Story (pb, £8.99, 978 1910050965) is published by Arcadia.

Ooh, we do love a love triangle! From Romeo and Juliet, to Gatsby, Daisy and Tom to Twilight, this has been an enduring literary theme – have a look at this list of some of the most famous book love triangles here! And what are the Top Ten film Love Triangles? Thought you’d never ask – they’re right here!

Here’s an interesting question – does the curse of the 'difficult second album' affect poets as well as musicians? The Telegraph ponders this question here , and comes to the conclusion that in fact, some of the most famous poets, such as Sylvia Plath and Philip Larkin, only found their voice in their second books. The reason behind this musing was the launch this week of the Ledbury Forte Prize; a biannual award for follow-ups, with a £5,000 prize. This is the first award of its kind, and the shortlist features Carcanet's Holy Toledo! (pb, £9.99, 978 1784102609) by John Clegg. This startling new collection is a bestiary of the American Southwest; a history of English literary criticism in the twentieth century and an unreliable guide to the desert! Generous, humorous, oddly askew, the poems in this book have their own highly individual rangy energy. The winner of the Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize will be announced at this year’s Ledbury Poetry Festival, on Friday June 30.

An interesting story on the BBC news today about a bell from SS Mendi which has just been recovered in Swanage. You can read the whole piece here. SS Mendi sank off the Isle of Wight during WW1, killing more than 600 black South African labourers. Historic England's book We Die Like Brothers: The Sinking of the SS Mendi (hb, £17.99, 978 1848023697) by John Gribble was published earlier this year and is an important book, demonstrating that SS Mendi is one of a very select group of historic shipwrecks from which contemporary political and social meaning can be drawn. The wreck of the SS Mendi is now recognised as one of England's most significant WW1 heritage assets and in this book, John Gribble uses the loss of the Mendi to highlight the story of the SANLC and other labour corps as well as the wider treatment of British imperial subjects in wartime.

BuzzFeed Books recently asked subscribers to their newsletter to tell them about a book they couldn't get out of their head. Have a look here at the 31 novels that their fans say will stick with you long after you've finished reading.

Last week I told you how much I am enjoying Joanna Walsh’s short stories Words from World End which are coming in September, and this week I am very pleased to tell you that her spellbinding second collection Vertigo, (£8.99, pb, 978 1908276803) published by And Other Stories is one of five titles nominated on an all-female shortlist for the £10,000 Edge Hill Short Story Prize. The winner will be announced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on the 26th August. Prize organiser Ailsa Cox, described it as an “amazing line-up”. She said: "All five writers are rising stars, and you're going to hear a lot more of them in the future. In each of these collections, you'll find passion, wit and intelligence, and above all a way of working with language that is unique to the short story form.” The prize is the only UK-based award that recognises excellence in published short story collections and will also include a £1,000 Reader’s Choice Award to an author from the shortlist. Find out more in the Bookseller here.

The Bureau of Second Chances by Sheena Kalayil (978 1846973925, pb, £8.99) was published yesterday by Polygon and this beautifully written book set in India, explores how life can change unexpectedly while restoring the readers faith in human kindness with its warm-hearted hero Thomas. It has had some fab reviews from the blogs and press: “There is plenty of light, with passages that will make you smile, but it has its share of darkness, touching on caste and social expectations in India, as well as reflections on marriage, illness and parenting ... I raced through the last third of the book on the edge of my seat, desperate to know how it turned out” said The Bookbag, giving it five stars; while Scotland on Sunday wrote “A bittersweet, uplifting tone makes it impossible to put down. Kalayil writes beautifully, painting colourful portraits of her characters and managing her story's unexpected twists with aplomb.” There’s an author interview, coming up at the start of July in the Sunday Post, and an extract in the Scotsman and an interview with Sheena Kalayil on BBC Radio Manchester, plus some railway station advertising in Edinburgh.

Here’s an interesting e-book idea; a new book app is challenging the notion that reading “well” necessarily means falling back on the same old classics, from Trollope to Tolstoy. Each week, Alexi, a “digital book club”, turns to writers for inspiration, asking them to rout out hidden gems which are then offered to members to read on their phone or tablet. The result is an ever-changing library that features a selection of books you are less likely to know. You can read about it and see the suggestions here –  interesting, but still not a patch on a human bookseller’s recommendation in my opinion!

Tis now the season of suddenly being asked to rustle up some cakes for a school fete or other summer shindig; so thank heaven for Traybakes: 40 Brilliant One-Tin Bakes for Enjoying, Giving and Selling by Hannah Miles (hb, £9.99, 978 0754832843) which was published in March by Lorenz. This tasty title is featured in the June/July issue of Baking Heaven and there was also a piece about it on the BBC Three Counties Radio programme. Traybakes are one of the simplest forms of cakes and oh joy, they can be prepared in very little time and cut into easy squares to serve, sell and eat! They transport easily in their tin and are just right for offering up at a summer event! Every recipe fits the same standard tin size and they each make 24 slices. Chocolate brownies and blondies, lemon meringue, red velvet and more this is genuinely a really good collection of tried-and-tested irresistible bakes. Its author Hannah Miles was a finalist in the 2007 BBC MasterChef programme, in which she gained the hearts of the nation and the adulation of the judges: John Torode said of her: “I think Hannah is one of the most naturally gifted cooks I have seen in a long time.” Hannah’s food career has since taken off, and she writes for various magazines, including Delicious, and continues to make television and MasterChef Live appearances. As always from Lorenz, this book has step by step recipes and full colour spreads on every page, a couple of which you can see below– the photography is mouth-watering and the price fantastic!

Thanks very much to Waterstone’s in ScotlandWild Guide Scotland: Hidden Places, Great Adventures and the Good Life (£16.99, pb 978 1910636121) published by Wild Things is currently their Book of the Month for June, and it’s selling like the Flying Scotsman! Look at this absolutely stonking window display from Waterstone’s Aberdeen!

So, let’s end here today with Wild Thing from the Trogs to celebrate! Wild Things Publishing – you do make our hearts sing and yes, we think we love you!

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.

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