Friday 1 June 2018

Compass Points 262

Who has seen this AMAZING trailer for the new Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody – coming out in October? I must say I think the remix of the Queen music in this trailer is absolutely superb. And talking of perfect timing (almost like they planned it!) this film will coincide with the new edition of Queen in 3D (978 1999667429, £30, hb) Following the huge success of the slipcased deluxe first edition last autumn; those clever folk at the London Stereoscopic Company are now bringing us a “Lite” edition — the same content and quality, but now with a compact viewer, sunk into the back board of the book which will make Brian May’s vivid words and pictures available to millions more of Queen fans at a lower price. This new edition contains all the words and the 300 pictures from the original, it’s 208 pages, 325x240 mm with a “lite” OWL 3-D viewer included and it’s out in October. Bohemian Rhapsody is going to be HUGE – and so is this new edition methinks!

Today's millionaire footballers can thank the Premier League, Pay TV and a bloke called George, says Jon Henderson author of When Footballers were Skint: A Journey in Search of the Soul of Football (£20, hb, 978 1785903847) which has just been published by Biteback. He’s written a great article about it which you can read here saying “I wrote the book for two reasons. First, before it was too late, to capture the reminiscences of the country’s leading professionals who really were hard up, living on a meagre and strictly enforced maximum wage regardless of their status, while subject to a punitive ‘slavery’ rule. And, secondly, to give perspective to the surreal changes that have taken place since, both to players’ lives and the character of the crowds who watch them.”

And to take yourself right back to the times “before the silly money came in.” this highly nostalgic ten-minute film is well worth a watch – magnificent stuff!

I’m delighted to say that Carcanet are shortlisted thrice for this year’s Forward Prizes! Best Collection includes Venus as a Bear by Vahni Capildeo (£8.99, pb, 978 178410554 9), Best First Collection includes Shrines of Upper Austria by Phoebe Power (£9.99, pb, 978 1784105341) and Best Single Poem includes And Death Demands a Labor by Sumita Chakraborty (published in PNR 237). The Forward Prizes for Poetry are Britain’s most coveted poetry prizes: celebrating the best new poetry published in the British Isles and honouring both established and emerging writers. They will be awarded on 18 September 2018 at the Southbank Centre, London. You can find more details about the shortlists here.

A great piece here in the Guardian from Kogan Page author Charles Arthur where he tells us how GDPR is “the data detox we’ve been waiting for” – and also includes a good plug for his new books Cyber Wars (£14.99, pb, 978 0749482008). He writes: “researching my new book, Cyber Wars, which looks at various hacking incidents, I was stunned to discover that TalkTalk was fined more for bad customer service than it was for allowing the theft of the personal and bank details of thousands of people by a cyber attacker.”

And for some of the funniest GDPR memes and tweets have a look here!

Lots of publicity expected in the like of the Newcastle Journal, Herald, Northern Echo etc as well as the specialist military and archaeology media for Lost Lives New Voices: Unlocking the Stories of the Scottish Soldiers from the Battle of Dunbar 1650 (pb, £20, 978 1785708473). This is an absolutely fascinating book – with special appeal of course for bookshops in Scotland, Durham and Northern England – it’s just been published by Oxbow. Using the latest scientific techniques as well as archaeological and historical evidence, it reconstructs with vivid accuracy the stories of the Scottish soldiers who were in Durham cathedral and castle in the fateful autumn of 1650. Of the prisoners who survived their ordeal after Dunbar, new evidence has emerged taking us across the Atlantic where the soldiers began new lives on the frontiers of New England working in ironworks, sawmills, farming and fishing and adapting to the vast forested landscapes which they named ‘Scotland’ and ‘Unity’, after the vessel they had sailed in. None returned to the country of their birth.

There was a wonderful review of Ironopolis (hb, £11.9, 978 1912109142) in the Morning Star this week calling it “the most accomplished working-class novel of the last few years. By any measure, Ironopolis is an extraordinary novel. Glen James Brown’s debut work is breathtaking in its ambition and delivery.” You can read the whole piece here . Ironopolis has just been published by Parthian and everyone at Compass who has read this one says it is terrific –I urge you to order it!

Anxiety and depression – the stigma around admitting we need help is vanishing fast – and  there’s a terrific blog piece here by Michael Maitland who talks honestly about how “feeling stressed and trying to be ‘a man’ about it; i.e. bottling it all up” negatively impacted his mental health. His book (written with his father Iain) Out of the Madhouse (pb, £12.99, 978 1785923517) has just been published by Jessica Kingsley and combines personal insights, humour and practical tips, with essential support for anyone experiencing a depression-related issue. It confronts the shocking bleakness of mental illness head on but is also profoundly moving and beautifully written, with loads of excellent advice for family and friends.

Ooh – I am loving this display for Red Door from Kenilworth Books in Warwickshire who say “Small publishers are a thriving, powerful force in the British book industry; and yet rarely do we see their news supported by industry or cultural media. We’re creating displays to introduce these extraordinary companies to our customers. Meet @RedDoorBooks #PublishingRevolution” What a great idea – beautifully executed!

A number of the Comma Palestinian authors have been in the news recently, being interviewed and asked to write opinion pieces on the current tensions. Rawan Yaghi was on Newsnight and wrote a piece for Mondoweiss which you can read here. His writing will be included in Palestine + 100: Stories From a Century after the Catastrophe (pb, £9.99, 978 1910974445) an anthology coming from Comma in 2019. Atef Abu Saif, editor of The Book of Gaza (£9.99, pb, 978 1905583645) and author of The Drone Eats With Me (£9.99. pb, 978 1905583713) was interviewed on Sky News, the Guardian and also The New York Times.

There have been some superb US reviews for Because We Are Bad: OCD and a Girl Lost in Thought (£7.99, pb, 978 0993040740) by Lily Bailey. said “Bailey tells her story with impressive frankness and eloquence…expressive, droll, and evocative. Though the book is rife with her harrowing experiences... its overall effect is that of a late-night diner catch-up with a lovable friend.” and the Washington Post called it “remarkable… vivid… I hope this book finds a wide readership." It is also getting five-star acclaim on Amazon – don’t let them get all the sales – this one should be in your shops right next to Bryony Gordon’s latest bestseller which I see everywhere! It’s published by Canbury Press.

Some great publicity is planned for Elsewhere, Home (pb, £8.99, 978 1846592119) a new collection from prize-winning author Leila Aboulela. These intimate stories of longing and exile by one of our finest contemporary writers have just been published by Saqi and from the heat of Khartoum at the height of summer to the wintery streets of London, from the concrete high rises in the Gulf to the blustery coast in Aberdeen, they vividly evoke the overlapping worlds of Africa, Britain and the Middle East. So far, interviews are confirmed with the Herald, Sunday Herald, BBC World Service, and BBC Africa; and Leila will be appearing at the following events: Africa Writes Festival (29 June), Daunts Marylebone (3 July), London Migration Museum (4 July) Edinburgh International Book Festival (Aug), Aberdeen Unbound: Booked! Festival (24 Aug) and the Marlborough Book Festival (September). Rachel Cusk writing in the Telegraph said Leila Aboulela is the kind of writer from whom British people need to hear” and with this publicity – they absolutely will be!

Are you the person who seeks out the liquorice sweeties in the box – or the one who avoids it at all costs? Whatever your personal preference, liquorice’s popularity is on the rise again – and is so much more than confectionery; its sophisticated herbal taste makes it a marvellous culinary ingredient as well. In Liquorice: A Cookbook (£10, 978 0754833659) by Carol Wilson you'll discover a liquorice cheesecake, choc chip muffins with liquorice buttercream, glazed liquorice roast pork, and all kinds of marinades, sweets, drinks and preserves, as well as a guide to liquorice around the world and its fascinating history. Perfectly timed for the famous Pontefract Liquorice Festival in July (who knew?) this is published by Lorenz in June.

This week the BBC revealed the existence of secret networks of badger baiters who kill the protected species for fun. An ex-soldier went undercover to expose the gang, who used hunting dogs to ‘dig out’ badgers as well as going lamping — shining bright lights that attract animals and then clubbing them to death. You can read his report here. Badgered to Death: The People and Politics of the Badger Cull (pb, £8.99, 978 0993040757) by Dominic Dyer delves into this centuries old persecution. With numbers of badgers, foxes and hedgehogs falling sharply, Dominic argues that the animal should not be killed in its thousands as a result of a government cull to control TB. The badger cull brings out high passions in people, as witnessed by the actor Brian Blessed’s expletive-laden rant against farmers while dressed as a tudor king!Badgered to Death is an impassioned polemic, but reads like a thriller, and is essential reading for anyone with an interest in wildlife and the environment in general. It’s been highly praised and is published by Canbury Press.

If you’re a book reviewer or blogger as well as a bookseller and would like to review the latest in the Book of the City series The Book of Havana (pb, £11.99, 978 1910974018), or Sean O'Brien's (whose writing the FT called “strange, creepy, often brilliant”) supernatural short story collection, Quartier Perdu (£8.99, pb, 978 1905583706); then those lovely folk at Comma Press can send you a copy! Get in touch at  

Let’s end with some music. What do Katy Perry’s Firework, Art Garfunkel’s Bright Eyes and Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road have in common? They’ve all been inspired by books of course – click here to see forty such songs – I absolutely LOVE this list from the Scottish Book Trust!

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

This weekly blog is written for the UK book trade. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the Compass office on 020 8326 5696. Every Friday an e-newsletter containing highlights from the blog is sent out to over 700 booksellers – and if you’d like to receive this then please contact

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