Friday 11 January 2019

Compass Points 288

Happy New Year booksellers! I hope you all had an excellent Christmas! Here you see some of our staff at our Christmas party – I hope all of your festivities were as merry! 

First up is this article from the Guardian on readers’ favourite bookshops around the UK – and why they want their “ashes scattered in the fiction section”. Lots of our faves are here too – nice one!

For such a beautiful industry, there is a lot of ugly behind the scenes in modelling, and with the aspirational nature of this world comes exploitation. The Model Manifesto (£14.99, pb, 978 1788600651) from Practical Inspiration empowers and educates models to take control of their lives into their own hands and educates the public on the reality of what's involved. Leanne Maskell has drawn on her 13 years of experience working as an international model together with her legal background to create this easy-to-understand, A-Z guide in order to end exploitation of vulnerable models. With contributions from top industry experts, The Model Manifesto includes solid advice on everything from mental health issues to paying tax. It covers every aspect of the modelling industry in detail to give an honest and realistic insider view, covering both the highs and the lows. It has a foreword by Carole White of Premier Models and there is a big six-week PR campaign for this one, it’s published in May during London Fashion Week, so is certain to attract attention. There are confirmed features in Vogue, Elle, In Style, Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Grazia and for parents of child models, or those considering entering modelling from a young age, features in Junior, Smallish, Absolutely Mumma and Angels & Urchins and there will be lots more publicity for this one I’m sure.

I love the bold new branding for Carcanet Press as they enter their 50th year of publishing– check it out at their website:! They have also been featured in BookBrunch and The Bookseller today!

It’s definitely the weather for a warming bowl of something spicy – and ramen (an enticing combination of noodles, broth and topping) is loved for its wonderful depths of umami flavour. Ramen: 50 Classic Ramen and Asian Noodle Soups by Heather Whinney (£10, hb, 978 0754834366) which has just been published by Lorenz shows how to make classic ramen dishes as well as irresistible twists and variations. Quick, sustaining and delicious, ramen is low-fat and healthy, and this book has traditional recipes as well as all kinds of tempting new ideas, clear instructions for making your own base stocks and gorgeous pictures by William Shaw. Every recipe also has a nutritional breakdown. There’s been some syndicated reviews for this one – meaning that local newspapers from Hull to Hertfordshire have carried a picture and feature.

Andy Grant will be on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday in the coming weeks, with Jamie Carragher talking about You’ll Never Walk (hb, £15.99, 978 1909245709). As reviewers have said: this is “shocking and graphic in parts, gut-wrenching and heartbreaking in others, but through all of the adversity is a true story of courage, grit, determination and never giving up. It's filled with humour, honesty and and is heart-warming in its entirety. You can't fail to be moved by the life of this incredibly brave young soldier.” It’s published by De Coubertin.

Here's the Guardian’s take on “2019 in books: what you'll be reading this year” and we’re pleased to see a great bit of publicity for Jane Yeh’s forthcoming Discipline (£9.99, pb, 978-1784107079) which is coming from Carcanet in March, the feature calls it “Haunting and hilarious: explorations of identity and performance prompted by videos and paintings, animals and street life”. Also pleased to see a plug for Border Districts (£8.99, pb, 978 1911508380) by Gerard Murnane which is out from And Other Stories this month. This is the first UK publication for the cult Australian author who, at nearly 80, is gaining international recognition; his 1974 debut Tamarisk Row (£10, pb, 978 1911508366) follows in February.

Half boat, half aeroplane; the flying boat was the journey of a lifetime. Imperial Airways legendary Empire boats flew up the Nile in nightly hops alighting on lakes and in harbours all the way down to South Africa. But in 1939 the Corsair came down in fog on a tiny river in the Belgian Congo and, through an epic salvage operation, gave its name to a new village in an obscure backwater. The Flying Boat that Fell to Earth: A Lost World of Air Travel and Africa (£9.99, pb, 978 0993291166) by Graham Coster tells the story of this amazing adventure, and seeks out, from Alaska to the Bahamas, the very last places on earth where it was still possible to catch a flying boat. This is published by Safe Haven this week and a promotion will be appearing in the Telegraph on the 21st and 25th January.

Got the January blues? Have a look at these these  – that should cheer you up!

The Bookseller announced this week that “Comma scoops Constantine's fifth short story collection” – you can read that piece here. The Dressing-Up Box, Constantine’s fifth collection, will bring together all of the author's new stories written since Tea at the Midland, winner of the 2013 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, the title story of which also won the 2010 BBC National Short Story Award. Oscar-nominated David Constantine is regarded as one of the UK's leading short fiction writers, and on signing the deal, commented: “Comma Press is the place to be. No editor has done more for the short story – and so for contemporary literature altogether – than Ra Page.”

There was a full page spread in the T2 section of the Times this Monday for Katri Skala headlined “Me, My Mother and Her Anger.” Katri writes “The title of my recent novel A Perfect Mother is an ironic riff on the traditional notion of the perfect nuclear family... I wrote against the idea of perfection and certainty. I wrote to embrace complexity and difficulty.” Her book (978 0995647848, £15, hb) came out from Hikari last year and is a bracing, hypnotic story of mid-life crisis about the complexities of love, relationship and legacy

What a Hazard a Letter Is (hb, £14.99, 978 0993291173) from Safe Haven has continued its run of terrific publicity with an excellent review in the Spectator calling it a “sparkling collection” and “a great idea for a book”, that’s here  and a handsome four-page feature by the author about letter-writing in Country Living. It also features in the latest QI podcast, (it starts at about 21 minutes 40) which has 700,000 subscribers!

Angela Readman's short stories have won many awards including The Costa Short Story Award which she has been shortlisted twice for. Next week And Other Stories publish her debut novel Something Like Breathing (pb, £12.99, 978 1911508304). There are reviews confirmed in the Guardian Review, the Daily Telegraph, and the Sunday Express, plus an author “20 Questions with the TLS” next week. Set on a remote Scottish island in the 1950’s. friendship blossoms between the enigmatic Lorrie, and the shy Sylvie, a whisky distiller’s granddaughter. As the adults around them struggle to keep their lives on an even keel, the two young women are drawn into a series of events that leave the small town wondering who exactly Sylvie is and what strange gift she is hiding. Readman’s feel for emotional nuance and flair for mixing strangeness with poignant detail make this long-awaited debut novel one to savour.

The Black Prince and the Capture of a King: Poitiers 1356 (£25, hb, 978 1612004518) by Morgen Witzel and Marilyn Livingston is featured in the Feb issue of Military History Monthly. The capture of a king in the course of a battle was a relatively rare event and this, the climactic event of the Black Prince's first campaign as commander, came at the end of nearly a year of campaigning across the southwest of France. The battle of Poitiers in 1356 is less well known than more famous clashes such as Agincourt, however, it was no less dramatic, and equally important in terms of the course of the Hundred Years War. The detailed account and analysis of the battle and the campaigns that led up to it has a strong focus on the people involved in the campaign: ordinary men-at-arms and non-combatants as well as princes and nobles. It’s published by Casemate in May.

Top Ten Kings  in history anyone?

“2019 is set to be a fascinating year for women in translation: Kamila Shamsie suggested that, more than the Year of Publishing Women itself, the real question is what will happen in 2019?” So begins a really interesting Women in Translation blog piece which you can read here. Good to see a mention for Comma’s The Sea Cloak (£9.99, pb, 978 1905583782) as well as titles by And Other Stories and Parthian.

A good little push for The Grand Tour Cook Book (£40, 9788799816903, hb) in the February issue of Bikes Etc. This modern classic is the ultimate performance cookbook and a must-have for all cycling aficionados serious about nutritional intake. Translated from the original in Danish, Hannah Grant’s unmissable cookbook takes you through 350-pages of easy-to-prepare recipes containing allergy friendly, natural foods. The Grand Tour Cookbook is the ultimate companion in the kitchen for athletes and is based on actual food prepared for professional cycling’s gruelling three-week Grand Tours including the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and the Vuelta. It’s published by Musette/Casemate.

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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