If there’s one thing we love to champion at Compass, it’s a really good novel from a small independent publisher. These are the ones that can massively struggle to find a space up against the might of the industry “big boys” but given the right enthusiasm from the book trade, can really soar. So, we’re very pleased to promote That Summer Feeling by Mark Hodkinson author and founder of small publisher Pomona, who has written an excellent piece in BookBrunch this week entitled “The book industry needs a shake-up and a wake-up” which you can read here. That Summer Feeling (£9.99, pb, 978 1904590323) is published on 15 October – and there was a superb review of it in the Spalding Gazette this week calling it “beautifully written … a gorgeous read … funny at times and oh-so-true … truly stunning. 202 pages and not a word wasted”. You can read the whole piece here. The book has also been featured in the Keighley News and the Bradford Telegraph and Argus. I really urge you to give this one a try – it has a beautiful evocative cover, and all who have read it here at Compass have loved it.
Lots and lots of great PR coming up for Mission Moon 3-D: Reliving the Great Space Race by David J. Eicher and Brian May (£30, hb, 978 1999667405). There’s a press launch at the Science Museum on 22 October where key UK national media will be present. Then Sky News will interview Brian and BBC Future are also running two online video interviews with him about the book and his passion for stereo photography. The UK's leading tech magazine Wired will feature it as will BBC Sky at Night magazine, Astronomy Now, Nature and New Scientist. There will be reviews and features in the nationals, including the Guardian and Mail Online and the photography magazines Amateur Photographer, Black, WhitePhotography Magazine and Lomography will also feature the book. And Brian will be doing a day of radio interviews including Radio 2, Radio 4 Front Row, Absolute, Magic, LBC and Heart. It's published by London Stereoscopic.
October is Black History Month, and Oberon have just published a new compilation; Hear Me Now: Audition Monologues for Actors of Colour (pb, £14.99, 978 1786824615). This is a unique collection of over eighty original audition pieces, which are ideal for actors of colour searching for speeches for auditions or training, writers, teachers, and theatre-makers who are passionate about improving diversity. From a cross-dressing Imam, to the first black Prime Minister, the British Indian girl with dreams of becoming a country music star, or the young black boy who loves baking as much as football – Hear Me Now provides varied, nuanced stories that expand beyond the range of existing material available; and is an essential tool for actors of colour to showcase their range. It seeks to inspire, empower, and create a legacy for generations to come.
Green issues are never far from the news, and a new Pluto title has been getting some great publicity. Simon Pirani, author of Burning Up: A Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption (978 0745335612, £18.99, pb) currently has articles in History Today and The Ecologist both of which refer to his book, which is a major contribution to understanding the greatest crisis of our time. Pirani shows how fossil fuels are consumed through technological, social and economic systems, and argues that these systems must change.
This eye-catching feature in the Guardian entitled: Bruce Grobbelaar: How Many People Did I Kill? I Couldn’t Tell You is bound to increase interest in his autobiography Life in a Jungle (hb, £20, 978 1909245570). Have a read, it is strong stuff; on the former Liverpool goalkeeper’s traumatic experiences in Zimbabwe’s war of independence, Heysel and Hillsborough, and the match-fixing trials which tainted his reputation. Bruce has also been on ITV Granada, Radio City Talk, in the Evening Standard and the Liverpool Echo talking about the book which is published by de Coubertin.
Our lives today are oppressed by the demand that we live, feel and experience with ever greater intensity. We are enticed to try exotic flavours and smells; urged to enjoy a wide range of sexual experiences; pushed to engage in extreme sports and recreational drugs; all in the pursuit of some new, unheard-of intensity. Tristan Garcia argues that such intensity rarely lives up to its promise and always comes at a price. The Life Intense: A Modern Obsession by Tristan Garcia (£14.99, pb, 978 1474437127) was reviewed here in The Observer last week and has just been published by Edinburgh University Press.
Hurrah for Carcanet and And Other Stories, who have both been shortlisted as Northern Publisher of the Year in this year's Northern Soul Awards! The awards, now in their second year, celebrate outstanding contributions to culture, arts and enterprise in the North and will take place at Manchester Cathedral on 15th November. Northern Soul, champions the work of organisations big and small, that excite and influence Northern audiences, capture and promote Northern identity, and place the region in the national and international spotlight. You can find out more about the awards and see the full shortlist here.
The BBC have just announced that they are repeating their landmark series Scotland from the Sky on three consecutive Saturdays; October 13th, 20th and 27th, on BBC2 Scotland at 7pm. Each programme will also be on the iPlayer UK-wide for 30 days (so taking the last programme almost into December). There will be quite a bit of promotion for this, which of course is terrific publicity for the tie-in hardback, Scotland from the Sky (978 1849172523, £25, hb) which was published this year by Historic Environment Scotland. This lavishly illustrated book draws on a vast collection of aerial photography, starting in the years around the First World War and moving all the way up to the present day. Historian and series presenter James Crawford opens an extraordinary window into our past to tell the remarkable story of a nation from above, showing how our great cities have dramatically altered with the ebb and flow of history. The book shows how aerial imagery can reveal treasures from the ancient past, uncovering secrets buried right beneath our feet. This is a fascinating (and little known) story of war, innovation, adventure, cities, landscapes and people.
Here’s some of the stunning footage from the series to whet your appetite for the book; Glen Coe, Mallaig and Iona.
Masters of Mayhem: Lawrence of Arabia and the British Military Mission to the Hejaz (£19.99, hb, 978 1612005744) by James Stejskal has recently been featured in the Express. This book has a large potential audience, as interest in Lawrence of Arabia remains high, and this interest should continue with the WWI and Arab Revolt centenaries. T. E. Lawrence was one of the earliest practitioners of modern unconventional warfare. These tactics and strategies include striking where the enemy is weakest and melting away into the darkness before he can react and never confronting a stronger force directly, but using audacity and surprise to confound and demoralize an opponent. They have since been were used by men like Mao and Giap in their wars of liberation. The book looks at the creation of the HEDGEHOG force, the formation of armoured car sections and other units, and focuses on the men who took Lawrence's idea and used it against the Ottoman Turkish army to achieve victory in 1918. It includes never before published images from the operations, particularly of the armoured cars and has just been published by Casemate.
Quit Smoking Boot Camp (£8.99, pb, 978 1784288815) has featured heavily in this week’s Woman’s Own, both on the cover with a picture and in a feature. This title is a revolutionary version of the world-famous Easyway method, delivered in short, punchy segments to help you quit with the minimum of fuss, with minimal effort, in a super- speedy way! Choose your start date and four days later it promises that you can be free from smoking, vaping, or using nicotine in any form. The Allen Carr Easyway method is world famous, with Anjelica Huston calling it “nothing short of a miracle" and Sir Anthony Hopkins saying “It was such a revelation that instantly I was freed from my addiction." This title was published this summer by Arcturus and is already selling very well – which can only get better during Stop-tober and as we head towards the traditional New Year New You promotions!
A super review for Birdwatching London: All the Best Places to See Birds in the Capital (£12.99, pb, 978 0993291159) by David Darrell-Lambert on one of the biggest birders' websites, Surfbirds which you can see here. Published in association with the London Wildlife Trust, Birdwatching London reveals the amazing variety of birdlife in the capital, and offers wonderful ideas for a day out among nature. Illustrated throughout with stunning colour photographs, it was published this summer by Safe Haven.
John Arner Riise used social media to great effect this week as his autobiography Running Man (£20, hb, 978 1909245693) which has just been published by de Coubertin was delivered to him. He Instagrammed the pic you see here and tweeted “Got the first copy of my book today I’m excited and nervous about opening up and telling my story. Hopefully it will relate to others and that it can help others in similar situations” which in total got over 15,000 likes – let’s hope they all buy a copy! Riise was regarded as one of the most buccaneering left-sided players in European football but beneath the veneer of the famous and successful footballer, his ascent masked the huge challenges he had had to overcome on the way to the top: bullying, a broken home, uncertainty, loneliness. Running Man is a perceptive and opinionated autobiography which provides a candid insight into the life of a modern footballer.
A good plug for Loose Canon: The Extraordinary Songs of Clive James and Pete Atkin (pb, £9.99, 978 1910453650 ) by Ian Shircore in the Oldie this week, which you can see here. This Red Door title explores the sparkling lyrics and brilliantly memorable tunes that have won Clive and Pete a fanatical cult following but still managed to remain the British music industry’s best-kept secret. For fifty years, Clive James has been writing witty, moving, sometimes satirical, often thrillingly poetic songs with his musical partner, Pete Atkin. They've written more than two hundred together, releasing the first album of their work in 1970 and the last in 2015. John Peel loved them. So did Kenny Everett. Stephen Fry is a huge fan. And Clive himself believes these songs are the best things he's ever done.
You can hear some of the songs here.
Ingrid Persaud was announced as the 2018 winner of the BBC National Short Story Award, for her story The Sweet Sop all about a father and son reconnecting over their love of chocolate. The story and an interview with Ingrid are available on the Radio 4 Front Row podcast, as are all of the other shortlisted stories. The BBC National Short Story Award Anthology (978 1910974414, £7.99, pb) is published by Comma
We’re very pleased to tell you that The Cemetery in Barnes (£9.99, pb, 978-1784105464) by Gabriel Josipovici is on the shortlist of six for the 2018 Goldsmiths Prize! The prize was established in 2013 to celebrate the qualities of creative daring associated with the College and to reward fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form. The annual award of £10,000 is given to a book which embodies the spirit of invention that characterizes the genre at its best. The Cemetery in Barnes is a short, intense novel that opens in elegiac mode, advances quietly towards something dark and disturbing, before ending with an eerie calm. Its three plots, relationships and time-scales are tightly woven into a single story; three voices provide the soundtrack, enhanced by a chorus of friends and acquaintances. The ending at once confirms and suspends the reader’s darkest intuitions. It is published by Carcanet. You can see the full shortlist and find out more here.
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