Hands up who loves The Archers? (Cue the music tum de tum de tum de tum) You’ll love this one then! Leading scholars combine their love of the long running Radio 4 show with their specialist subjects, in Custard, Culverts and Cake (pb, £14.99, 978 1787432864); a sometimes serious, but most often wry look at the people of Ambridge. A group of Archers Academics take on subjects such as food, geography, social media and faith and wearing their scholarship lightly, lead us easily through topics as diverse as prison diets for nursing mothers, the psychology of domestic violence perpetrators and why Ambridge men don’t make their own sandwiches. To enjoy this collection, readers do not need to be experts on forensics, farming or flooding (though it helps if you like cake). There is, naturally, an entire section dedicated to the Helen and Rob storyline! This looks like a total winner to me, here's a piece in the Times Higher Education supplement, discussing the chapter entitled “My Parsnips Are Bigger Than Your Parsnips” which focuses on the lesser moral failings of those involved in the annual Ambridge Flower and Produce Show. We read about the notorious “chutneygate” when Jill Archer’s chutney was confused with Carol Tregorran’s and she was wrongly awarded Best in Show. Even this was matched by the times when Jim Lloyd’s onions were disqualified following illicit use of twine and when labels were swapped on the runner beans. Custard, Culverts and Cake is edited by Dr Cara Courage and Dr Nicola Headlam and is the perfect gift for all Archers fans – the BBC Radio 4 soap has well over 5 million listeners, so that’s a lot of people who’d be v happy to find this book under their Xmas trees! Quite a bit of publicity confirmed for it too; there will be an interview on Radio 4 in the next couple of weeks, and there will also be interviews with the authors in lots of local media including the Portsmouth News, on BBC Radio Bristol, in the Sheffield Star and Yorkshire Post. The Times are likely to run a piece in their entertainment pages as are the Telegraph. It will be in the Christmas Book Selection for the Church Times and also in December Waitrose, BBC Wildlife and Good Housekeeping magazines. The book jacket features the official Archers logo, and it has just been published by Emerald Publishing – here's a super display of it at Blackwell's Oxford!
And if you are an Archers fan, then you will probably like this – an original recording from 1958!
We were very excited to see that three of our publishers have titles on the Saltire Awards shortlists. In Search of Dustie-Fute by David Kinloch; Moon for Sale by Richard Price and Farm by the Shore by Thomas A. Clark which are all published by Carcanet have been shortlisted for the Poetry Book of the Year Award. Scotland: Mapping the Islands edited by Christopher Fleet, Charles W.J. Withers, and Margaret Wilkes from Birlinn is on the award for Scottish Non-Fiction Book of the Year and Goblin by Ever Dundas published by Freight is up for First Book of the Year. Widely regarded as Scotland’s most prestigious book awards; the Saltire Literary Awards are organised by the Saltire Society, a non-political independent charity founded in 1936 which aims to celebrate the Scottish imagination. You can see the shortlists for all seven of the awards on their website here. The Awards Ceremony will be held on the 30th November at Central Halls, Edinburgh.
A good review for a “sparklingly sardonic book” by Peter Fleming, The Death of Homo Economicus: Work, Debt and the Myth of Endless Accumulation (pb, 978 0745399409) in the Guardian last week which you can read here. Author Peter Fleming believes that in today's workplaces we work harder and longer, labouring under the illusion that this will bring us more wealth. He feels that as this myth becomes increasingly preposterous, it's time to understand just why we insist on believing in it. “The nicest thing about his book is its avoidance of despair: it is often hilariously angry, but the stylish expression of outrage can itself be a positive and optimistic act” says the review. It’s just been published by Pluto and you can see a great pic of it here looking very fine at the London Review Bookshop.
Whatever your feelings about her, there’s no doubt that Theresa May has got her work cut out at the moment; all the more surprising considering that running the country was never part of her – or anyone else’s – plan. Theresa May: The Enigmatic Prime Minister (pb, £10.00, 978 1785902734) is a fascinating biography in which Rosa Prince explores the self-styled unflashy politician whose commitment to public service was instilled in her from childhood. More than a decade after she warned stunned Conservatives of their “nasty” image, May has become Britain's second female premier, a woman who had to fight against the odds to become an MP, who remained overlooked and undervalued during much of her time in Parliament, yet who went on to become a formidable Home Secretary and, now, the leader of her country as it faces its greatest challenge since the Second World War. Out in paperback from Biteback this month, the Sunday Times called this biography “immensely thorough”.
The New Complete Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Jennie Shapter (hb, £15.00, 978 0754832881) which was published in September by Lorenz, has been selected for the latest Lakeland catalogue. This is really quite an accolade as Lakeland are renowned for very thoroughly assessing all the competition before deciding which product is the best one to recommend for their discerning customer base! They said it was “complete in every detail … includes a no-nonsense introduction to the ‘science’ of pressure cooking… offers plenty of interesting and practical advice … filled with delicious and inspiring recipes, illustrated with over 500 photographs, and cover every type of cookery… from baked eggs to fiery curry, from kedgeree to Swedish meatballs, and from winter warmers to summer salads, you’re sure to find loads of tasty ideas and new family favourites, many of which can be served up after just minutes under pressure. There’s even room for scrumptious sweet treats like banoffee pie or lemon cheesecake – plus an authentic, but speedy, Christmas pudding recipe to inspire you for the festive season." You can see the full listing for this superb cookbook here – this title really is the best in the business!
An interesting story in the Bookseller here about the whole crowdfunding phenomenon – and how it relates to the publishing industry. Authors David Walliams, David Nicholls and S J Watson are among those who have pledged money to crowdfund the publication of journalist Matt Cain’s book after it was rejected more than 30 times by traditional publishers.
Journalist Nancy Stevens interviewed “one the nicest men in showbiz” actor and author Hugh Fraser for her local Milton Keynes radio show Stevens on Sunday last weekend; his newest book Malice (pb, £8.99, 978 1911583066) (“a five-star belter of a thriller”) in his Rina Walker series (which began with Harm and then Threat) was published by Urbane this summer. Hugh will also be speaking at the Harrogate Literary Festival later this month and at the fabulous Lit and Phil Library in Newcastle as part of the Books on Tyne festival on the 25th Nov. This author has a massive fan base – both for his writing and his much-loved portrayal of Hastings to David Suchet’s Poirot – and this series set in the 1960’s London underworld, about a female assassin for hire, comes highly recommended. You can read an interview with Hugh about his writing on the blog Fangirl Nation here.
What you maybe don’t know about Hugh Fraser is that he is the co-author of the Rainbow theme tune! “What’s that?” I hear you younger booksellers cry! Here you go!
What if there were a prescription that could slim, energize and protect your body from major health risks? What if there were a remedy for everything from fatigue to stress to chronic pain? There is. Food Can Fix It (£22.99, pb, 978 1788170192) is a ground-breaking new 368-page book by Dr Mehmet Oz – America’s number one authority on health and well-being which has just been published by Hay House. It is featured this month in Bella and will also appear in Women’s Fitness and Woman’s Way. Dr Oz introduces the reader to a wonder prescription – simple, healing, wholesome food. Food Can Fix It sets out an easy-to-follow 21-Day Weight-Loss Jumpstart Plan for harnessing the power of nutrition with clear information and a meal plan full of superfoods. He explains how to kick-start weight loss, improve your energy, decrease inflammation and prevent or alleviate a host of other common conditions – all without medication.
We have just heard that Charlotte Peacock, the author of Into the Mountain: A Life of Nan Shepherd (978 1903385562, £20, hb) will be on Janice Forsyth’s BBC Radio Scotland show, on November 6th and there has also been some been publicity for this title which has just been published by Galileo in the Herald. In the 1930s, the writer and poet, Nan Shepherd was one Scotland’s best-known literati. Three novels, as well as a volume of poetry, In the Cairngorms, all published while she was still only in her thirties, established her reputation as one of the most highly respected members of the Scottish modernist movement. Then, much later, and immediately declared a masterpiece, came The Living Mountain, her meditation on mountains which has become a classic and a bestseller. Nan Shepherd was an intensely private woman, but Charlotte Peacock, in this first ever biography, has been as successful in finding her way into the life of her subject as Nan herself was in “finding her way into the mountains”. She has had unparalleled access to all Nan’s archives and to all her remaining friends and acquaintances and this beautifully written book unravels the mysteries, dispels some of the rumours and gives a real insight into the life and work of this extraordinary writer.
You may know that Nan Shepherd is currently the face on the RBS Scottish £5 note? Have a look at this rather beautiful three-minute film about its creation and Nan’s life – lovely stuff!
Great to see two of our books featured in the first ever Foyles Indie Spotlight Newsletter. The titles are Words from the Word’s End (pb, £8.99, 978 1911508106), Joanna Walsh's dazzling collection of shorts published by And Other Stories and Protest: Stories of Resistance (£14.99, pb, 978 1905583737), published by Comma. The newsletter says the titles featured are “a joy to sell … some of the biggest innovation comes from independents. It'd be easy in the Autumn season to get lost in the flurry of big bestsellers and celeb bios — so we thought we'd take an email to focus solely on the great work that independent publishers are doing. So, this one's for the indies — for all of them, no matter their size — but especially for the little guys, the underdogs, the overworked and underpaid. For the risk-takers, the rediscoverers, the trendsetters, the neck-sticker-outers; the pioneers, the curious and the brave.” Hear, hear, we couldn’t agree more – and thanks Foyles for your support!
Talking of Protest, two of its contributors have been on BBC Radio Manchester recently. Courttia Newland was on The People programme on Sunday, ahead of his appearance at the sold-out Manchester Literature Festival event. Skip to 51:46 here to hear him speak about his Poll Tax Riot story and his feelings on present day protest movements. And here is the Protest editor Ra Page speaking to Mike Sweeney.
Lots and lots more publicity this week for The Good Hotel Guide 2018; here is a big piece in the Mail and there have been articles about the awards pretty much everywhere. Over the past forty years, The Good Hotel Guide (pb, £20, 978 0993248429) has established a unique position as a reliable and independent guide, which has won more media praise than any other hotel guide on the market. Whether your taste runs to luxury castles or simple B&Bs, this book has the answer! Remember it includes 25% off vouchers – which makes the £20 cover price look like a bit of a bargain to me!
A great interview with Brian May on Sky Breakfast News this week, talking about the fabulous Queen in 3-D (£50, hb, 978 0957424685) published by London Stereo. What a great publicity plug for this title, which is selling extremely well, has had rave reviews and need I say, is absolutely ideal as a Christmas gift! And here is Brian May talking about the book at the Cheltenham Literary Festival this week. There was also some great publicity in the Express which you can see here along with lots of other fab Queen in 3-D promotional news on the dedicated website for the title, www.Queenin3-D.com.
I’m pleased to say that a Brian May guitar solo makes it into the Top Ten Guitar solos list here – but is he number one? Time to get out those air guitars while you find out!
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.