Friday 5 January 2018

Compass Points 244

New Year, new term – and for thousands of children and parents this January marks start of the serious run up to the all-important GCSE exams in the summer. The GCSE Mindset (978 1785831843, pb, £18.99) has just been published by Crown House, and is by the authors of the best-selling A Level Mindset (978 1785830242); Steve Oakes and Martin Griffin which has now sold over 5,000 copies since its publication in spring 2016. Growth Mindset is a massive trend in schools at present and this paperback offers forty practical and applicable activities designed to supercharge GCSE students’ resilience, positivity, organisation and determination. At a time when GCSE teaching can feel like a conveyor belt of micromanaged lessons and last-ditch interventions, Steve and Martin suggest a different approach, underpinned by their model of essential life skills: vision, effort, systems, practice and attitude. These five non-cognitive characteristics beat cognition hands down as predictors of academic success, and The GCSE Mindset presents a user-friendly month-by-month programme of activities, resources and strategies that will help students break through barriers, better manage their workload and ultimately release their potential – both in the classroom and beyond. The book is suitable for teachers and tutors of course; but in terms of general bookshop sales, is also absolutely ideal for any parents who want to boost their 14–16-year-olds’ academic outcomes and prepare them for further education and employment. Which is basically EVERY parent of a teenager – because who wouldn’t want to do that?! GCSEs are changing massively – and this title has been reviewed and praised by experts as “a really timely book given the increasing interest in essential life skills and students’ well-being. This well-written book provides a wide range of beneficial activities to help students achieve their full potential and develop lifelong learning capabilities. With the pressurised and demanding education system we currently have, it is imperative that we support our young people to develop resilience and grit, and to manage and organise their learning effectively. The GCSE Mindset offers an excellent starting point for achieving this.” Professor Cathy Lewin, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Lots of good publicity breaking now for Confessions of a Recovering MP (978 1785903359, pb, £12.99) by Nick de Bois which is published next Tuesday. A 21st century Member of Parliament is not an executive who can make and enforce decisions, nor are they a counsellor, a housing officer, benefits clerk, bank or trading standards officer. But they are often expected to provide a new home, sort out benefits, provide a loan or settle a dispute about a computer game bought for little Jimmy that doesn't work – as well as being a legislator who votes on making important laws. In May 2010 with an unimpressive and insecure majority of 1,682, Nick de Bois in began the journey of a lifetime, meeting head-on the bizarre, the inexplicable, the touching, the shocking, the vitally important and, thank god, lots of utter nonsense as well. There was an author interview with Adrian Chiles talking about the book on Radio 5 Live this Wednesday which you can listen to here and coming up are more interviews with Nick on Talk Radio Europe (08/01/18), ITV’s Good Morning Britain (09/01/18), Sky News: All Out Politics (09/01/17) and Talk Radio (15/01/18 ). Gyles Brandreth said of this one “I’ve been there it’s all true. And Nick de Bois tells it like it is quite brilliantly” while Mathew Parris wrote “Nick de Bois has a cocky style, a fund of good stories and a fresh perspective on a messy but noble job. I wish I’d read a book like this before I started.” It’s published, of course, by Biteback.

Dryanuary anyone? No, thought not. Most therapies and therapists seem to offer an all-or-nothing solution: either give up completely or give in to the drink. However, there is good news for those of us who would like to reduce our intake without giving up completely. Clinical hypnotherapist Georgia Foster offers us a middle way and even better, it takes just seven days! Georgina’s “Drink Less” courses have a high success rate (95% of attendees report reduced alcohol consumption) and in her new book, Drink Less in Seven Days (£14.99, pb, 978 1910453575) she shares the secrets of this success. This title which is published by Red Door will be featured on the Psychologies Facebook page (which has 1.3 million followers) in a live event and feature next Thursday (11 Jan) and there will be an interview with the author in the Saturday Telegraph on 27 January. There are also forthcoming features confirmed in the Daily Express and Marie Claire and we are hopeful that ITV This Morning, Cosmo Online and Grazia will also do something on this book!

Congratulations to Michael Hyams and Liz O'Keefe, authors of The Mushroom Cookbook (£15, hb, 978 0754832867) published by Lorenz which has just been announced as UK winner of Best Mushroom Cookbook in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards! The prize was founded in 1995 by Edouard Cointreau and every year, books from 205 countries participate in these prestigious awards which honour the best food and wine books, printed or digital. The well-known Mushroom Man's guide to edible fungi, has mouth-watering photographs by Jon Ashford and is a full directory of wild and cultivated types with fifty tempting and original recipes to use them through the seasons. The book now goes through on the shortlist for the 'best in the world' award to be decided in China in May 2018.

Some nice publicity for Carcanet titles coming up this week: On 9th January Karen McCarthy Woolf will be on Radio 3’s Free Thinking. Karen explores translating, rewriting and using Homer's epic work The Odyssey to frame a memoir; you’ll be able to listen to that one here. Then on 10th January Vahni Capildeo will be on the same programme, exploring the uncanny possibilities of the ‘In Between’ – that one is here. On 11th January Sasha Dugdale will be interviewed on Radio 4’s Front Row about her latest collection, Joy (978 1784105037, £9.99, pb) and then on 12th January Caroline Bird will be talking on Radio 3’s In Tune about the TS Eliot Prize (readings at the Southbank on the 14th, Awards Ceremony itself on the 15th).

How very very pleasing to see that Trump’s attempts to silence an author have led directly to extra footfall into bookshops and sales – you can catch up on some of the revelations contained in the new book on the BBC here. And the book is on its way to the UK as I type – pub date is today – read all about that in the Bookseller here.

And talking of Trump, books and bans – do look out for out for Banthology: Stories from Unwanted Nations (hb, £9.99, 978 1910974360) which is out later this month from Comma, featuring new fiction in translation from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen (aka the ‘banned nations’). In the last year Trump’s travel ban has been blocked, revised and now implemented and this book, commissioned as a response to the initial ban, explores the emotional and personal impact of all restrictions on movement, through satire, allegory, literary realism and more. This title was one of two Comma titles featured in’s blog post earlier this week on forthcoming literature in translation; you can read that here.

There was an exclusive feature on Judgement Detox: Release the Beliefs That Hold You Back from Living a Better Life (£12.99, pb, 978 1788170734) by number one New York Times bestselling author Gabrielle Bernstein in The Sunday Times Style magazine (Circ. 700,000) last weekend. Gabrielle believes that judgement is at the core of our discomfort and the root of many of our life blocks and having made the commitment to heal her own relationship to judgement, now shares the process she used to liberate herself. This six-step interactive programme that calls on spiritual principles from A Course in Miracles, Kundalini Yoga, meditation and other metaphysical and healing teachings, shows how when you become willing to let go, judgement, pain and suffering will begin to dissolve. It’s published by Hay House.

In need of something funny? Here are seventeen amusing book related posts from Tumblr and Buzzfeed!

Throughout this week, Alan Taylor's Appointment in Arezzo (£12.99, hb, 978 1846973758) has been Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4. You can catch up on them all here! Spark fans have been tuning in at 9.45am each day to hear a serialisation of this wonderful book which is published by Polygon – there is loads and loads of social media buzz about the ongoing celebrations for this fabulous author.  #murielspark100 @MurielSpark100

Once upon a time, there lived a happy family called the Maitlands. Iain, the father, was a writer. Tracey, the mother, worked at a nearby school. They had three bright and charming children, Michael, Sophie and Adam. It looked like the perfect family life. Until October 2012, when Iain’s son Michael was rushed to hospital. Years of depression, anxiety and anorexia had taken their toll, and he had pneumonia and a collapsed lung. The doctors weren't sure if he would make it. Told with humour and frankness through Michael's diary entries and Iain's own reflections; Out of the Madhouse charts Michael's journey to recovery from entering the Priory and returning home, to becoming a mental health ambassador for young people. Sharing tips and techniques that have helped them and others to self-manage, this is an essential resource for anyone experiencing depression, anxiety, OCD and similar issues. The Sunday Times Magazine is running an interview with Michael Maitland on either 21st or 28th January, and there will also be pieces coming in The Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror – and probably more, this is a topic that many will be of interest and help to many. Out of the Madhouse: An Insider's Guide to Managing Depression and Anxiety (£12.99, pb, 978 1785923517) by Iain and Michael Maitland is published by Jessica Kingsley on 18 January.

A “holiday bookshop” in a Scottish town which gives holidaymakers the chance to run the shop for a two-week stint is booked solid until 2020 and has sparked plans for copycat versions in Asia. The Open Book in Scotland’s “book town” of Wigtown in Dumfries and Galloway, was launched by American Jessica Fox four years ago and is marketed through Airbnb. Paying guests have the chance to live in a flat above the shop and run the bookshop themselves for a fortnight which has proved hugely popular with guests around the world. You can read more on this here – it’s not a new story but there’s been lots of social media buzz about this one recently – maybe it’s as we all look to changing our lives in the New Year?
Compass really wouldn’t mind moving from London to live in Wigtown ourselves with its sixteen bookshops and population of nine hundred and we absolutely love the Twitter posts from The Bookshop run by Shaun Bythell (author of Diary of A Bookseller); especially this seasonal treat on YouTube!

So, this week our amusing tweets are all from The Bookshop @WigtownBookShop, which is, to quote: “Scotland's largest second-hand book shop, a mile of shelving full of all sorts of things which you can't get on Kindle, like books.”

First customer I dealt with yesterday 'Happy New Year. Your cat doesn't stink quite as much as he did last year.' All the festive spirit.

Telephone caller - 'I've got a very rare set of encyclopaedias to sell, it's called The Book of Knowledge, 8 volumes' Me - 'Sorry, it's really not worth anything, we don't take them' Caller - 'But I've looked it up on eBay and it's worth a lot of money'

You would think that answering the phone with 'Good morning, The Bookshop' would negate the requirement for the question 'Oh, are you open?'

'Are you the proprietor?' No conversation that began with those words ever ended well.

Today I've had both 'Hello, would you mind pointing me in the direction of your cookery books?' and 'Cookery'. Which category are you?

All our shelves are identified by a letter and a number so that we can find books quickly when we get orders. Today I was putting a climbing book out, and noticed that all our Scottish mountaineering books are located on shelf K2.

'What I'm really looking for is an antique shop.' What I'm really looking for is someone who can read the word 'Bookshop' above the door.

'This book, it says the price is £30. Is that right?' Please, please tell me that you do this with every item at the checkout in Tesco.

Shop quiet all morning until the moment Emily and I choose to unload 70 boxes of books from the van, at which point a man appears, stands in the doorway and announces that he's from Durham, doesn't read books, and, pointing at the sky, asks 'Is this what the climate usually is?'

Current email imbroglio involves a man who is complaining that we sent him a paperback edition of a book which WAS ONLY EVER PUBLISHED IN PAPERBACK. He wants a hardback. They don't exist.

'Death to the Kindle? Don't you think that's a bit harsh?' No. 'My son travels a lot and loves his.' I don't care.

That’s all for now folks! More next week!
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