Friday 17 November 2017

Compass Points 239

Well done to Parthian, who had a cracking night at the Welsh Literature Book Awards in Cardiff last week, winning four out of the five awards!! Pigeon (£8.99, pb, 978 1910901236) by Alys Conran won the Welsh Book of the Year and the Wales Arts Review People’s Choice Award and the Rhys Davies Trust Fiction Award – a veritable hat trick! Pigeon is a journey through the uneasy half-forgotten memories of childhood; a wonderful story about wishful thinking and the power of language. And many congrats to Peter Lord who won the Creative Non-Fiction award for The Tradition: A New History of Welsh Art (hb, £50, 978 1910409626) which surveys the evolution of the visual culture of Wales from the Renaissance to the end of the twentieth century in a new, single-volume history – full of the most sumptuous pictures of over 400 landscapes and portrait paintings, prints and sculptures. On behalf of the judging panel, Jonathan Edwards said: “This year’s winning books are a real celebration of just how exciting, vibrant and diverse literature in Wales currently is. These writers are great talents who have succeeded in proving that Wales is a world-class contributor to literature.” Parthian are having a great year with loads of prize winners – I would really recommend having a quick browse through their excellent website to find out a bit more about this vibrant, surprising and original publisher, which reflects both a diverse and contemporary Wales and the wider world.
As the Huff Post dramatically puts it “Bookworms, ready yourselves for next level awesomeness: the most beautiful library has opened in China which can house up to 1.2 million books.” Have a look here to see some pictures – the 33,700 m² space uses cascading bookshelves to create stairs, seating and the layered ceiling - all of which are filled to the brim with books. I must say it is pretty awesome!

Shockingly, the use of foodbanks in Britain is increasing. This hugely topical issue is succinctly addressed in a shocking and provocative new title from Policy Press: Hunger Pains: Life Inside Foodbank Britain by Kayleigh Garthwaite (pb, £14.99, 978 1447329114). The book provides a highly accessible analysis of food bank use in the UK – why people are there, how it affects their health and how they feel about it. Drawing on hundreds of hours of compelling interviews, Hunger Pains emphasises the harsh reality of food bank use for the growing number of people forced to turn to them for help, told in their own words. It offers a serious challenge to contemporary thinking about the factors driving increasing food bank use, and dispels the damaging myths that food bank users are seeking emergency food as a result of flawed lifestyle choices. This title has just been awarded the prestigious Peter Townsend Prize at the 2017 BMA Awards and Dr Garthwaite hopes “the recognition the prize brings allows the messages of the book to reach a wider audience, and hopefully help to begin a new conversation about foodbank use going forward.” 
Taking a different angle entirely on the subject of food; there was a big feature in the Telegraph for The Course of History: 10 Meals That Changed the World by Struan Stevenson with recipes by Tony Singh (hb, £16.99, 978 1780274911) which you can read here. Many decisions which have had enormous historical consequences have been made over the dinner table, and have been accompanied (and perhaps influenced) by copious amounts of food and wine. In this book Struan Stevenson brings to life ten such moments, exploring the personalities, the issues and of course the food which helped shape the course of history. Accompanying Struan's analysis are the actual recipes, researched and recreated by acclaimed chef Tony Singh. 10 Meals That Changed the World has just been published by Birlinn and is ideal Christmas present fodder – it even has a picture of a turkey on the front!
Food through the ages – I think that’s the ideal opportunity to watch another Epic Rap Battle of HistoryGordon Ramsay vs Julia Child here!

Worryingly, amidst all the stories of sexual harassment in Hollywood and Westminster, a survey by the Bookseller finds that over half of women have experienced something similar in our own industry. A recent poll found that 54% of female respondents in the book trade reported sexual “harassment, assault or predatory behaviour”. You can read the full story in the Guardian here.

Yippee – I am pleased to say that Choc Lit have three titles on the shortlist for the Romantic Novelists Association 2017 Awards which will be announced and presented by Prue Leith on 13th March in the Gladstone Library, London. You can find the shortlists in full on their website but the Choc Lit titles are Little Girl Lost (978 1781893227, pb, £7.99) by Janet Gover which is up for The Epic Romantic Novel category. The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight (£7.99, pb, 978 1781893203) by Christina Courtenay is the the Paranormal or Speculative Romance Novel category and Girl Having a Ball (Kindle only) by Rhoda Baxter is shortlisted for the Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year. Good luck to all three authors!
Talking of choc – what’s your favourite bar of the sweet stuff? Have a look here to see the Top Ten Chocolate Bars – and find out if you agree with the number one choice?

In 2015, in response to a challenge issued to the publishing industry by Kamila Shamsie, And Other Stories declared that in 2018 it would only publish female authors – and now we’re nearly there! If you’d like a catalogue of the 2018 And Other Stories publishing programme, you can request one over on Twitter @andothertweets. Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti, has recently expressed her support for the idea and And Other Stories is the only publishing house to have taken up the challenge to make 2018 a Year of Publishing Women (YPW2018, for short).In the wake of research suggesting that women are far less likely to be awarded major literary prizes YPW2018 has given the publisher the impetus to address biases that sideline women writers – biases which are particularly acute in fiction in translation where only about 30% of fiction published is written by women. Constraints can be creative though, and And Other Stories believe their 2018 list is all the richer for the many wonderful new authors you’ll find on it! In this first half of the year, there are classic authors Ann Quin and Norah Lange, with whom it is about time the world got better acquainted, there are novels by lauded contemporary writers Cristina Rivera Garza, Christine Schutt and Fleur Jaeggy, as well as the first novel by a brilliant young Catalan writer, Alicia Kopf. Order a catalogue from them and have browse for yourselves!
OK all of you grammar geeks out there in your bookshops – what would you say is the most important bit of punctuation – and the one that the internet is killing off fastest? Have a read here  of this amusing article on Buzzfeed, about the demise of the full stop – or period as Americans call it!

Many of us are used to “sharing” music – even though it is illegal – i.e. passing on downloaded tracks to friends and family so they don’t have to cough up for the new Tay Tay album themselves. And the same thing is happening with eBooks, albeit on a smaller scale. However, the bestselling US fantasy novelist Maggie Stiefvater is leading a chorus of writers warning readers that if they download pirated e-books, then authors will not be able to continue writing because they will be unable to make a living. This is a growing trend, and a particular worry for publishers at a time when eBook sales are slightly in decline. eBook piracy is “a very significant issue and of great concern” to publishers, said Stephen Lotinga of the Publishers Association, which works to take down and block pirated eBooks links and sites. You can read more on that story in the Guardian here. 
Talking of eBooks, it is very interesting to look at how being a bestseller on a Kindle can sometimes also lead to increased sales of the physical book. Fifty Shades of Grey being probably the most famous example of this. With that thought in mind, I will tell you that The Visitors by Catherine Burns (hb, £14.99, 978 1787199859) is a massive Kindle bestseller at the moment and is currently number one the suspense/horror category. This dark, unsettling, yet compulsively readable novel came out in hardback this Autumn from Legend, and it’s published in paperback in June 2018 when I have a feeling it’s going to be BIG! Marion lives with her domineering older brother, John in a decaying Georgian townhouse on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to shut out the shocking secret that John keeps in the cellar. Until, suddenly, John has a heart attack and Marion is forced to go down to the cellar herself and face the gruesome truth that her brother has kept hidden. As questions are asked and secrets unravel, maybe John isn't the only one with a dark side? Legend said this title is perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Ruth Ware and as I say, the eBook stats speak for themselves as to its addictive readability!
We all know how well Catcher in the Rye sells – 65 million copies in total and around 250,000 a year. We also know how famously reclusive its author JD Salinger was before he died eight years ago at the age of 91. A new film Rebel in the Rye, starring Nicholas Hoult shedding new light on this very private man which received good reviews, came out this autumn – you can see a trailer here. The film also stars Zoey Deutch, who currently features in the video for the new Ed Sheeran single, Perfect. However, unfortunately the third big name in this biopic (and it was all looking so promising) is Kevin Spacey, so let’s skip straight onto telling you about the biography which provided much of the information used in the film. J.D. Salinger: A Life Raised High by Kenneth Slawenski (£20, hb, 978 1904590231) is a definitive profile of one of the most famous authors of our time and provides a detailed, highly readable account of Salinger’s life – it’s published by Pomona. Slawenski is a world-renowned expert on Salinger and based in the US, he was able to do first-hand research, conducting many interviews and gaining access to library-held records and files. The Sunday Times called it “an intriguing study of a famous recluse” and the Observer said that “Slawenski demystifies his subject and presents a wonderful portrait of a writer fastened unerringly to the truth.” The film will have undoubtedly raised interest in Salinger – so do order this biog for your gift book tables. 
A lovely review here in the TES this week for Teaching Creative Thinking: Developing Learners Who Generate Ideas and Can Think Critically by Bill Lucas and Ellen Spencer (£16.99, pb, 978 1785832369) published by Crown House – I really can’t recommend this title highly enough! They say “Lucas and Spencer have provided well-evidenced solutions for an important element of modern education. It is an immensely practical guide and is suitable for all teachers – except those for whom creativity is pedagogical indulgence and superfluous debauchery.” And it’s currently a staff pic in Foyles!

William Letford will be on Radio 3’s The Verb this evening at 10pm, talking about his second Carcanet collection Dirt. You can listen to that once it’s available on the iPlayer here. These poems embrace a good life stitched together with bad circumstances, bungled chances, missed callings. Whether loitering on the street corner, “poackets ful eh ma fingers”, or stumbling from a bar “like a monkey in the jungle of traffic, stinking, wild and free”, the characters in Letford's poems deliver one thing in spades: heart. “On Friday I visit my seventy-seven-year-old granny. She’s smoking a joint. It's not a surprise.” Letford's words are lightly worn yet carefully measured; they move between English and Scots, lyrical and concrete, accumulating what the poet has described as an array of textures. Nicholas Lezard writing in the Guardian said “The pleasure I have gained from new Scottish genius William Letford's poems will, I am confident, stay with me forever.”
A terrific review for the new biography of Muriel Spark; Appointment in Arezzo (£12.99, hb, 978 1846973758) by Alan Taylor in the Guardian yesterday – which you can read in full here “fascinating” “valuable” “astute” “revealing” and “beguiling” are just some of the glowing adjectives applied to this title which has just been published by Polygon.

Let’s finish with a little round up of some of our latest books looking mighty fine up and down the country as you can see here! Thanks Waterstone’s Liverpool for a super promotion here of Post-Truth: How Bullshit Conquered the World (pb, 978 1785902147, £9.99) by James Ball from Biteback – a terrific book in a terrific shop!
Tis the season for putting books under a tree – and we’d absolutely love to while away some time reading beneath the enormous book tree in Blackwell’s new bookshop in the Westgate Centre, Oxford – nice one Charlie Young and all the team there, fitting a whole tree into a busy bookshop takes some doing!! We also very much admire this fabulous Angel Tree that’s just gone up in Happy Glastonbury!
As we mentioned before, thanks very much to Foyles on Charing Cross Road for choosing Teaching Creative Thinking as this week’s staff pick!
And this isn’t a bookshop as such, but we’re absolutely loving a gorgeous display of the sumptuous new hardback from Lorenz; The Mushroom Cookbook: A Guide to Edible Wild and Cultivated Mushrooms and Delicious Seasonal Recipes to Cook with Them (978 0754832867, £15, hb,) by Michael Hyams with its gorgeous full-page photographs by Jon Ashford; at Harwoods of London – which is a family run company supplying fresh fruit and vegetables in New Covent Garden Market in London! Books as one of your five a day – we love it! And a big “Hello and Welcome” to the brand-new Rother Books, who have just opened on the High Street in the historic town of Battle, East Sussex! Happy trading!
Last week we brought you the new John Lewis ad – this week here is massively popular vlogger Zoella, telling you what she thinks of it and Xmas ads in general. I’ve never watched Zoella before, and nice and lovely as she undoubtedly is, I Just. Don’t. Get. It. How is this interesting exactly? I guess I’m not her target market mind you! But if this is what young people are doing instead of reading, gawd help us. And talking of things I don’t get – am I the only person totally baffled by the M&S Christmas Paddington ad?! The best bit is when he says “F*** you little bear” at the end.

On the subject of Christmas, don’t forget about our brilliant offer – an extra 5% discount on any of our Christmas Stars, which you can get by contacting your local Area Sales Manager or Nuala at and quoting XMAS17. Look at last week’s post below this to see all of the titles included!
Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are our favourite tweets from the week! 
Compass Academic‏@CompassAcademic We’re celebrating working with some great uni presses during #UPWeek. Hurray for you guys @BrisUniPress @UniWalesPress @UCLpress!
Muriel Spark 100‏@MurielSpark100 Come celebrate the launch of @PolygonBooks Spark Centenary publications & Alan Taylor’s 'Appointment in Arezzo: A Friendship with Muriel Spark' at @Waterstones_Edi on Mon 20 Nov, 6.30pm. Interesting talk guaranteed & Prosecco incl. 
The Refugee Tales‏@RefugeeTales Our Christmas ad for @RefugeeTales isn't out. We're using our funds on support for those who have suffered detention. Walk with us. New walk launches on 20 Jan. Keep the date free!
Suffolk Libraries@SuffolkLibrary The Huntingfield Paintress by @Pammieholmes is a good story with sympathetic characters, set in nineteenth-century Suffolk 
Helen Lewis LitPR‏ @LiterallyPR Lovely @TheoCooks does it again with a mouth-wateringly impressive range of sophisticated but ridiculously quick & easy #soup recipes @Anness_Books A perfect gift for #foodies at just a tenner!
Literature Wales‏@LitWales Pigeon by @alysconran is the People's Choice Award winner for #WBOTY17 Congratulations Alys!
Rother Books‏@RotherBooks Bags have been delivered - very exciting! Ready for first day's trading tomorrow!
ebb & flo bookshop‏@ebbandflobooks #authors who put an Amazon link on your profile, please remember indie bookshops too. We need the advertising a bit more tbh @BAbooksellers
Lillie Langtry‏@Lillie_Langtry Yay! Excited about @andothertweets Year of Publishing Women in 2018!
Impress Books‏@ImpressBooks1 Home Is Nearby is a contemporary fiction novel that tells the vital story of migrant experience, of lost roots, and of the importance of art and expression during oppression #literaryfiction #contemporaryfiction
Lighthouse Bookshop‏@Lighthousebks Behold our MIGHTY WALL OF RADICAL BOOKS #makethebigotstremble! #RadicalBookFair starts in 12 hours- time for a cheeky brew #edinburgh
That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This blog is sent as an e-newsletter every Friday 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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