Friday 15 June 2018

Compass Points 264

Who’s ever wondered why most business books are written by men? Well, if you and your bookshop are bored of the same old macho willy-waving, then this is a highly refreshing list in the Independent of ten that are written by women. It includes two titles from a publisher we’ve recently been delighted to welcome to Team Compass; Practical Inspiration Publishing. This is the home of books that mean business: from management to marketing, parenting to leadership, HR to outdoor skills, internationally recognized authorities share their expertise. Strip Naked and Re-Dress With Happiness by Maria Hocking (£10.99, pb, 978 1910056448) is an emotional and thought-provoking title about how to survive and thrive though adversity; whether you’re in the boardroom or just facing going out alone. Maria shares her emotional journey of battling alopecia, amongst other health challenges, and how these shaped her outlook but also her future career. The Invisible Revolution by Nicola Huelin (£14.99, pb, 978 1910056615) shows the reader how they can join the empowered mumpreneurs and build a business they love. From finding your vision and personal values to marketing and persistence, it covers multiple important aspect of the business world. The list also includes the recent Hay House title Purpose: Find Your Truth and Embrace Your Calling by Jessica Huie (£12.99, pb, 978 1788170567). In it, Jessica documents her journey from teen mum struggling to make ends meet, to an extremely successful entrepreneur who advised the prime minister and worked with every celebrity around. Estelle, no less, said of this title “Once you read her story you are left feeling refreshed, rebuilt and ready to take on the world.”

Thanks Estelle, let’s have a bit of your uplifting music right now!

While we’re on the subject of inspirational women; it’s Feminist Book Fortnight from Saturday 16th June to Saturday 30th June. In celebration of Vote 100 (the hundredth anniversary of some women in the UK getting the vote) a group of radical and independent bookshops is launching this fabulous celebration of feminist books, when some of our very favourite indies around the country will be highlighting the diversity of feminist books with displays of books and events. You can find out all about it here.  

Lots of publicity coming up for the wonderful Elsewhere Home (pb, £8.99, 978 1846592119) by Leila Aboulela which is published by Saqi on 2 July including interviews and extracts in the Herald, a feature in Woman’s Way, radio interviews on the BBC World Service and lots of appearances at festivals. It’s been longlisted for the People’s Book Prize which you can find out more about – and vote for – here.

Here’s a highly topical book coming from Pluto in September. Talking to North Korea: Ending the Nuclear Standoff (pb, £14.99, 9780745337852) is by Glyn Ford and is a very controversial take on one of the most terrifying political situations of the twenty-first century. Glyn has visited North Korea over 40 times and has worked with the regime’s leadership as MEP. He has been highly in demand recently – he’s very knowledgeable and opinionated and has just done a couple of slots on Talk Radio, one with Eamonn Holmes and one with James Whale. You can hear his views on the Trump / Kim summit on this terrific five-minute video promoting his book on YouTube here.  Talking to North Korea challenges the media myths which paint it as a rogue state run by a mad leader, myths which are used Glyn believes by Western governments to support a military strike against the country. What if, instead of forcing regime change, the West listened to what the regime actually wanted?

Punch and Judy Politics? I’ll say! Who saw the extraordinary scenes at PMQ’s this week? What perfect timing for Ayesha Hazarika and Tom Hamilton’s book which launches next week. The authors have been much demand with their comments all across the media! Ayesha and Tom spent five years preparing Ed Miliband for the weekly joust, living through the highs and lows, the drama, the tension and the black humour of the political front line. With their unique knowledge plus personal recollections from key players from both sides, including Tony Blair, David Cameron, William Hague, Ed Miliband, George Osborne, Vince Cable, Harriet Harman and Neil Kinnock, this insightful and often hilarious book takes you behind the scenes of some of the biggest PMQs moments. Punch and Judy Politics: An Insiders' Guide to Prime Minister's Questions (£20, hb, 978 1785901843) is published by Biteback.

I had a bit of a chuckle at this A-Z of Author Events on Secret Bookseller’s blog. A is for Authors, B is for Books – yep I think we’re all in agreement so far. How about K is for Knobhead and N is for Narcotics…

What is a “lost” women’s classic? How unappreciated does something have to be before you consider it lost? Also, lost to whom? In a recent article on Top Ten Lost Women’s Classics in the Guardian, which you can read here Nuala O’Faolain’s Are you Somebody? (£7.99, pb, 978 1848406858) was listed as one of the “books, you’ll realise, that your library was lost without.” New Island reissued it this year in an anniversary edition to mark ten years since the author’s death. The Guardian said of Nuala’s writing that she was “someone witty and female who would not only call a spade a spade but acknowledge the blade, the handle the funny way it sticks out of the earth” and this book is as Roddy Doyle said “an extraordinary, powerful memoir. It is beautifully written, with an honesty that is both sensitive and stark.”

Great to see Kalwant Bhopal launching her book White Privilege: The Myth of a Post-racial Society (£15.59, pb, 978 1447335979) at The Centre for Research in Race and Education in Birmingham this week. Despite claims that we now live in a post-racial society, Kalwant examines how race continues to disadvantage those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, shifting from overt to covert racism. She also shows how certain types of whiteness is privileged, whilst other white identities, Gypsies and Travellers for example, remain marginalised and disadvantaged in society. Drawing on topical debates around education, employment, class and poverty, this important book examines the impact of race on wider issues of difference in society. It’s published by Policy Press.

Martina EvansNow We Can Talk Openly About Men (pb, £9.99, 978 1784105785) is the Observer’s Poetry Book of the Month – with an enthusiastic review saying “I loved everything about this book … there is a garrulous humanity and humour in Evans’s writing.” You can read the whole feature – which includes an extract, here.  Now We Can Talk Openly about Men is a pair of dramatic monologues, snapshots of the lives of two women in 1920s Ireland. The first, Kitty Donovan, is a dressmaker in the time of the Irish War of Independence. The second, Babe Cronin, is set in 1924, shortly after the Irish Civil War. Kitty is a dressmaker with a taste for laudanum. Babe is a stenographer who has fallen in love with a young revolutionary. Through their separate, overlapping stories, Evans colours an era and a culture seldom voiced in verse. It has just been published by Carcanet.

In 1919 Sigmund Freud published an essay The Theory of the Uncanny that delved deep into the tradition of horror writing and claimed to understand its darkest tricks. In the spirit of this great experiment, back in 2007, fourteen leading authors were challenged to write fresh fictional interpretations of what the uncanny might mean in the 21st century; updating Freud’s famous checklist of what gives us the creeps. Possum, one of the stories from this award-winning collection has now been turned into a film, which is premiering on the 25th June at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Directed by its author Matthew Holness and starring Sean Harris, who is on magnificently twisted form as Philip, a troubled children’s puppeteer who is forced to face up to his wicked stepfather (Alun Armstrong) and the dark and surreal secrets that have tortured him his entire life. Comma are publishing a new edition of The New Uncanny (£9.99, pb, 978 1905583188) that Time Out called a masterclass in understated creepiness.” I LOVE the new cover! It’s available to order now.

As the #MeToo movement spreads across the creative industries, writers are facing increasingly draconian attempts by publishers to police their behaviour, calling into question centuries old assumptions about the desirability – or even the possibility in today’s networked world – of separating writers’ lives from their work. So begins a very thought provoking article in the Guardian here about the return of ‘morality clauses’ in US publishing contracts. Are writers entitled to hold offensive opinions? How about sexual misconduct? And should their behaviour influence our opinion of their work?

Author Andy Hedgecock wrote a brilliant article recently for The Morning Star about the real-life people that inspired his short story Trying Lydia in Comma’s anthology Protest: Stories of Resistance. He found that researching a Luddite rising in Nottinghamshire revealed state collusion which offered many insights into the present. You can read the whole piece here.

Andrew Liddle’s new biography Ruth Davidson: And The Resurgence Of The Scottish Tories (hb, £18.99, 978 1785901744) continues to gain attention, particularly, north of the border of course with a variety of news pieces in The Times, Daily Record,  Scotsman, The National and Herald Scotland and this review in The Times. A lesbian, kick-boxing former Territorial Army reservist, Davidson has broken the mould of both Tory and Scottish politics and has been touted as a future Prime Minister. This first biography of one of Britain’s rising political stars examines how Davidson rejuvenated the toxic Tory brand and asks what the future holds both in Scotland and beyond for this extraordinary young politician. With Scottish politics in flux following the hard-fought independence referendum and Britain s imminent departure from the EU, Davidson’s profile will only become more prominent as she heads up the official opposition. It’s published by Biteback.

John Erik Fossum and Hans-Petter Graver, authors of Squaring the Circle on Brexit: Could the Norway Model Work? (978 1 447348122, pb, £ 12.99) have published an interesting blog post here for the LSE Politics and Policy website – all great timing, with Brexit debates more in the news than ever! It’s published by Policy Press.

The William Roache book Life and Soul: How to Live a Long and Healthy Life (hb, £18.99, 978-1781809778) is published by Hay House next week and there’s loads of publicity – he is going to be EVERYWHERE! Just for starters that includes Loose Women –15th June, BBC Breakfast – 20th June, RTE TV – 22nd June and Granada TV News – 20th June. He will be speaking on the following radio shows: BBC Radio 2 Steve Wright – 19th June, BBC Radio 5 – date tbc, BBC Radio Manchester – 20th June, Newstalk Pat Kenny Show – 22nd June and will be featured in the Daily Mirror – 10th/11th June, Daily Mail – w/c 12th June, Sunday Express, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Mail Weekend, OK! – w/c 12th June and the Radio Times w/c 12th June. And there’s likely to be more!

There was a great review of Banthology (£9.99, pb, 978 1910974360in World Literature Today saying "The stories, while cohesive, are not so similar that reading them feels monotonous. Rather, utilising uniquely different styles, each author manages to capture and fully develop a different perspective on the same overarching themes of immigration and xenophobia." You can read that here.

It’s Pride Month and of course Jessica Kingsley are fully committed to publishing pioneering books on LGBT issues for all readers. From children's storybooks, through to memoirs and practical guides for practitioners, there's something for everyone. To celebrate #Pride2018 in your bookshops check out their full range of titles here.  

Always good to finish with some music – and in the absence of an official England World Cup offering, what do we have to entertain us? First up is this unofficial remix – Rasputin Rebooted from Ricky Wilson and Freddie Flintoff. No, I’m not joking. OK then how about this, Live it Up, the official FIFA video by Nicky Jam feat. Will Smith and Era Istrefi. Hmm. Or you could try Colors from Jason Derulo which is the Coca-Cola World Cup anthem. No? Not really feeling it? Never mind, this little ditty from CBeebies is trending rapidly – and something tells me it could yet be the hit of the summer…

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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