Friday, 31 May 2019

Compass Points 307


So, so much buzz from Cannes about the new Tarantino film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood; you can see a trailer here. OMG it looks extraordinary, and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Kurt Russell and Al Pacino! Set in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles, it is the usual Tarantino mix of provocative, dazzling, bloody and shocking; unsurprising when you realise that much of the plot involves Sharon Tate, Roman Polanski and Charles Manson. It’s out in the UK on 14 August and there is going to be an absolute avalanche of publicity (the Guardian has already given it five stars). So this is a good opportunity for some 1969 Hollywood themed windows/tables/displays in your bookshops, and Charles Manson: The Man Who Murdered the Sixties (pb, £9.99, 978 1789501834) by Professor, David J Krajicek which is published on 15 August is absolutely perfect! Posing as a musician-come-guru-come-Christ-figure, Manson built a commune cult of hippies, consisting mainly of troubled young women. But what made this group set out on the four-week killing spree that claimed seven lives? Set against events of the time, this book includes breakdowns of each murder, including diary accounts, interviews and legal testimonies from the killers themselves, an account of the events in Manson's own words, an insight into Manson's psychology and in-depth profiles of his followers. The Tarantino film’s ending is a closely guarded secret, but it’s bizarre, brutal and bloody and the Manson story is likely to be endlessly debated over the coming months. It’s published by Arcturus.



Talking of shocking stories; here's a very interesting piece in the Guardian on shocking books. Would American Psycho be published today? Do disturbing novels reflect an extreme reality or are they just titillation? Plenty to ponder!

Thatcher: A Very British Revolution is a five-part BBC Two documentary now screening on Monday evenings. You can see the episodes so far here. Two Biteback authors have been interviewed for it; Caroline Slocock author of People Like Us: Margaret Thatcher and Me (pb, £9.99, 978 1785904608) and Bernard Ingham whose diaries The Slow Downfall of Margaret Thatcher (hb, £20, 978 1785904783) are published on 11 June. Caroline has been much in demand by the media including Women’s Hour, Channel 4 and Sky News and Newsnight since Theresa May’s resignation last week. Her contributions have been knowledgeable, insightful and refreshing from someone now outside the Westminster bubble. Bernard will be interviewed on BBC R4’s Today programme on 10 June and will feature on the BBC R4 Today podcast. He will also be interviewed in the Fame & Fortune feature in the Sunday Times, for the Sunday Telegraph and on BBC Radio 5 Live for the Emma Barnett show.

I think Dominic Raab urgently needs to get himself a copy of Bell HooksFeminism is for Everybody (£18.99, pb, 978-0745317335 ) after this dismal performance! Published by Pluto in their Passionate Politics series, this is a short, accessible introduction to feminist theory by one of its liveliest and most influential practitioners which provides both a primer to the question “what is feminism?” and an argument for the enduring importance of the movement today. The books was included in Grazia recently on their essential feminist reading list which you can see here.  

Some exciting news announced this week by Comma in collaboration with Hay Festival. A selection of women writers, artists and scientists are taking part in a new global project reimagining the future of Europe. Their short stories and essays will be shared through an anthology, Europa28: Visions for the Future which will be published in March 2020. These twenty-eight women, one from each European country, represent a multi-disciplinary snapshot of the best minds of our time, including novelist Leïla Slimani, entrepreneur Hilary Cottam, activist Janne Teller, anthropologist Gloria Wekker and actress Lisa Dwan. You can find out more here.

The twelve strong longlist for the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize, (the only UK based award to recognise excellence in a single authored short story collection) was announced this week and hurrah, two Compass titles are on it! You see the full longlist, and find out more about the prize here. The magnificent Mia Gallagher is back with Shift (£9.99, pb, 978 1848406698) a captivating new short story collection published by New Island that explores the dark side of the feminine psyche. Told in diverse voices and from multiple points of view, each story packs an emotional punch. Mia Gallagher lives in Dublin and her debut novel, HellFire, received the Irish Tatler Women of the Year Literature Award while her second novel, Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland (£9.99, pb, 978 184805066) has been acclaimed as one of the most important Irish novels published in the last decade. Elsewhere, Home by Leila Aboulela (£8.99, pb, 978 1846592119) won the 2018 Saltire Fiction Society Book of the Year and was acclaimed by the Observer as “a beautiful and desolate collection ... quiet brilliance”. Its published by Telegram. The prize is awarded in October – good luck to Mia and Leila!

IVF is now mainstream medicine – an established procedure that has provided the means of realising the dream of parenthood for millions worldwide. But 40 years ago, plenty viewed the method of fertilising an egg with sperm in a laboratory with the deepest suspicion. There’s a great interview with Professor Simon Fishel in the Star here talking about his brilliant new book, Breakthrough Babies (pb, £14.99, 978-1788600736) which has just been published by Practical Inspiration. The Yorkshire Post also ran a feature on it in Monday’s issue, you can see that here.

Here's a great blog post on the fabulous Tentacle (£8.99, pb, 978 1911508342) by Rita Indiana; and you see it pictured here looking very swanky in the newly opened Margate Bookshop! It begins “Now translated into English by Achy Obejas and published by the wonderful And Other Stories, both the cover and the blurb were enticing enough to catch my eye. Well then, what about the content within the pages? It was excellent. Here’s why…”

A really interesting article here in the Scotsman entitled “Against all odds: The rebirth of Scottish publishing.” Of course, there is plenty of mention of the great publishing done by our pals at Birlinn and 404Ink and it concludes that “there seems to be a renewed buzz around books” which is a message we can all heartily agree with!

And talking of 404Ink, there will be a new edition of the flash fiction favourite The Goldblum Variations coming in October from them to coincide with the indie publisher's first international rights deal which sees Penguin publishing it in the US this autumn. The collection follows the adventures of Jeff Goldblum and alternate versions of himself as he travels the universe, in a mighty celebration of weird and wonderful Goldbluminess and it will be released with brand new content. Heather McDaid from 404 Ink said “It’s a bitesize but incredibly fun book, and we’re thrilled that Penguin will be helping bring the gift of Goldblum to many more people.” You can read more about it in the Bookseller here.

I’m really pleased to share the news that Carcanet’s In Her Feminine Sign (£12.99, pb 978 1784108533) by Dunya Mikhail has been chosen by the Poetry Book Society as their Wild Card in the Autumn 2019 Selections! This brilliant poetic exploration of language and gender, place and time, through the mirror of exile is Dunya’s fourth collection to be published in English and is out in August. Congratulations, Dunya! And well done to all the poets and publishers who made the list; you can see the full list of selections at the Poetry Book Society's website here.

Here's a very sad story from the Guardian entitled “Amazon blamed as iconic bookshops announce closure” with the news that award-winning indie Wenlock Books in Shropshire and Camden Lock Books in London are set to shut forever. I so applaud The Wigtown Bookshop’s tweet in response to this news; who said: “One day, hopefully the headline will read Iconic bookshops blamed as Amazon announces closure”.

Now We Can Talk Openly About Men by Martina Evans (pb, £9.99, 978 1784105785) has been shortlisted for yet another poetry prize – it was selected as a 2018 TLS and Irish Times Book of the Year, shortlisted for the Poetry Now Award and the Piggot Poetry Prize, and has now been shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize 2019! The prize is given for the best poetry collection of the year written by a poet of any nationality who is currently living in the UK. Now We Can Talk Openly About Men is a book of vivid contrasts: age and youth, women and men, the Irish and the English.

Congrats to Celestial Bodies, written by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth from Arabic and published by Sandstone Press, which won the Man Booker International Prize. You may not be aware that three other titles from Marilyn Booth are published by Edinburgh University Press, and you can find them on their website here.

Why is it getting harder to secure a job that matches our qualifications, buy a home of our own and achieve financial stability? Underprivileged people have always faced barriers, but people from middle-income families are increasingly more likely to slide down the social scale than climb up. There’s just been a terrific review for the new Policy Press title, The End of Aspiration? Social Mobility and Our Children’s Fading Prospects (£12.99, 978 14473483200, pb) by Duncan Exley saying “exhaustive research and empathetic human narrative creates a devastating picture of how wealth and privilege all too often shape experience and opportunity. A book that should not only be read, but urgently acted upon."

Great to see an excerpt from the forthcoming Resist anthology from Comma featured in the Times Literary Supplement, Eley William's reimagining of the Rebecca Riots (1839-44) is here. Resist: Stories of Uprising (£14.99, pb, 978 1912697076) is out in July, and builds on the success of their previous anthology, Protest. From the anti-gun rallies in the US, to the demos in Palestine, people are taking to the streets around the globe and standing up to governments that have fallen out of step with the popular mood. As Britain teeters over the brink of Brexit, it has never been more important to re-engage with its own long history of popular resistance and this anthology challenges 20 acclaimed authors to get under the skin of key moments of British protest, working closely with historians, crowd scientists, and activists.

This evening sees the launch at the Writers Centre in Norwich of Vahni Capildeo's third Carcanet collection, Skin Can Hold (pb, £9.99, 978 1784107314). The collection marks an adventurous departure for a pen-and-paper poet and these texts are the fruit of collaborative experiments in theatre, dance and other performance, drawing on burlesque and mime as well as Capildeo’s fascination with Caribbean masquerade. The evening also includes the UEA MA Poetry Showcase, with readings and performances, discussion and drinks. Sounds terrific!

And finally, for some Friday fun, I found this very funny – some of the most uncomfortably suggestive moments and characters in favourite childhood films. From the Little Mermaid, to Princesses Leia and Jasmine – these are moments in U rated films that are maybe just a little too tantalizing!

That’s all 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 nuala@compass-ips.london



Friday, 24 May 2019

Compass Points 306


Brilliant, independent publisher of radical, left‐wing non­‐fiction Pluto are fifty! Established in 1969, they may be one of the oldest radical publishing houses in the UK, but their focus remains firmly on making timely interventions in contemporary struggles. Foyles in Charing Cross are running a superb promotion for Pluto’s 50th birthday throughout June where customers can get 50% on 50 books. What a good idea! If any other bookshop would like to do something similar, then please talk to your Compass Regional Manager or email lee.morgan@compassips.london! I’m pleased to say that they are Bertram’s publisher of the month in June too, which means extra terms for all you indies for the whole of June, another very very good reason to do a 50th anniversary window or table! You can see some of the titles in the Foyles promotion pictured here, other suggestions would be:

978 0745339580             After Grenfell
978 0745339474              To Exist is to Resist
978 0745338620             Monitored: Business and Surveillance in a Time of Big Data
978 0745338552             Rebel Footprints: A Guide to Uncovering London's Radical History
978 0745338156              The New Authoritarians: Convergence on the Right
978 0745338118              Propaganda Blitz: How the Corporate Media Distort Reality
978 0745338040             Radical History of the World
978 0745338309              Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain
978 0861043798             Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism
978 0745337470              A Party with Socialists in It: A History of the Labour Left
978 0745399034             Peoples History of the Russian Revolution
978 0745399300             Sound System: The Political Power of Music
978 0745337456              Alt-Right: From 4chan to the White House
978 0745399485             Violence of Austerity
978 0745335421              Rethinking Camelot: JFK, the Vietnam War, and U.S. Political Culture
9780745399317               On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare
978 0745335650             Propaganda and the Public Mind: Interviews by David Barsamian
978 0745399515             Towards a Gay Communism: Elements of a Homosexual Critique

Big up to Carcanet who have a title shortlisted in each of the three categories of this year's Forward Prizes for Poetry. Helen Tookey’s second Carcanet collection City of Departures (£9.99, pb, 978 1784107598) has been shortlisted for Best Collection; Isabel Galleymore’s first collection Significant Other (£9.99, pb, 978 1784107116) for Best First Collection and Parwana Fayyaz’s poem Forty Names published in PN Review is shortlisted for Best Single Poem! You can find out all the details of these three titles on the Carcanet website here and see the full shortlist on the Forward Prize website here.  The Forward Prizes for Poetry are among the UK’s most coveted literary awards: the annual ceremony in October features readings by exceptional poets from around the world, and attracts a young, lively and diverse audience and significant media coverage. The prizes have been awarded since 1992 to more than 70 poets.

Some good publicity for Paul WoodsLondon’s Street Trees (£12.99, pb, 978 0993291135); Sky News did an interview with him yesterday on the back of a new £10m initiative from Michael Gove's to plant 130,000 urban trees. Paul now has a very useful page on his website thestreettree.com listing all the events he’s doing – there’s lots coming up! It’s published by Safe Haven.

Coming on 16 June from Oberon, is Riot Act (978 1786826015, pb, £9.99); a powerful piece of theatre, chronicling 60 years of queer history. Attitude magazine said “this stand-out piece will become part of LGBT cultural heritage.” Playwright Alexis Gregory interviewed three men at the heart of LGBT history: Michael-Anthony Nozzi, one of the only remaining Stonewall survivors; radical 1970’s drag icon Lavinia Co-Op; and Paul Burston, a 1990s London Aids activist. Hard-hitting, provocative, tender, truthful, funny, political and personal, these are stories of queerness, activism, addiction, sex, drag, community, conflict, youth, ageing, fierce queens and a Hollywood diva. This special commemorative Stonewall 50th anniversary edition includes exclusive photographs from the original production, and there will be a nationwide tour of the piece, during June, July and August 2019. The tour includes:
June 6 – 8 Old Joint Stock Theatre. Birmingham.
June 16 Arcola Theatre.
June 23 Arcola Theatre.
June 27 Crewe Lyceum.
June 30 Arcola Theatre.
July 3 Norwich Theatre Royal.
July 10 Wardrobe Theatre. Presented by Bristol Pride.
July 25 Oldham Coliseum
July 30 Marlborough. Brighton.
August 1 Marlborough. Brighton.
August 2 Manchester tbc, 70 Oxford Street (pop up venue) for Manchester Pride and Superb Festival.
In February 2020 the LGBT History Month Tour dates will includeCurve Theatre, York Theatre Royal, Theatre By The Lake and the Bradford Playhouse

The Power of Less is a handbook of simplicity. Leo Babauta shows us how to know what you want, and what you need, how to choose what is essential, and clear out the rest. As Red magazine said, these six productivity principles, are “just the thing when you're feeling overwhelmed, his strategies for organising stuff (email, admin, life generally) are easy to follow”. Leo is writing a piece for Marie Claire which has a circulation of 100,000 for their summer issue, it will also be featured in Woman’s Own in June, Psychologies in July and there will be an extract in August’s Health and Fitness magazine.  It’s published on 6 July by Hay House.

With the Cricket World Cup about to start next week, there’s plenty of publicity for Keeper of Faith (978 1909245860, pb, £8.99). The BBC World Service in an interview with Tatenda Taibu on 17th May called it “A deep story and a significant one” and there are interviews coming with Tatenda in the Liverpool Echo on 24th May, the Guardian on 29th May, BBC Radio Merseyside, Radio City, TalkSPORT,  BBC NW Tonight and ITV Granada, TMS during June, and a piece by Mick Atherton in the Times and on Sky Sports. There will also be reviews in the Telegraph, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail and more! This revealing memoir lifts the lid on the challenges of representing Zimbabwe in the era of Robert Mugabe, and details how constant controversy and conflict ultimately restrict meaningful progress. It’s just been published by DeCoubertin.


The Bobsphere reviewed Comma’s new title, The Book of Cairo (£9.99, pb, 978 1910974254) saying: “The Book of Cairo has something for everyone and is quite a varied collection. It’s rare that you’ll laugh, cry and smile within the space of 100 pages, but this volume manages to do that perfectly.” You can see that here.  STORGY also reviewed it, saying of the collection “Each story provides a fresh and exciting glimpse into the city of Cairo ... the city lives and breathes on the pages of this book.” That’s here.  

Financial magician, flamboyant politician, minister in both world wars, press baron, serial philanderer, Winston Churchill's boon companion, Max Beaverbrook was without a doubt one of the most colourful characters of the first half of the twentieth century. Max Beaverbrook: Not Quite A Gentleman (hb, 978 1849547468, £25) by Charles Williams has just been published by Biteback and has had some terrific reviews in the Oldie, Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Mail. You can read the Telegraph five star review here.  Fascinating stuff, it ends with the memorable sentence “Clement Attlee is reported to have said that Beaverbrook was the only evil man he had met. This thorough biography leaves one in no doubt that he was an ironclad, ocean-going monster.”

There’s been lots of publicity of course for the 75th anniversary of D-Day – and here's some really brilliant coverage for Amber’s D-Day: The First 24 Hours (£19.99, hb, 978 1782747550) by Will Fowler in the Sun. Headlined as “The day that changed the world; D-Day’s first 24 hours captured in haunting new photos released in book marking 75th anniversary” it is well worth a look! This dramatic visual history explores every area of operation with first-hand accounts, timelines, and maps and brings the turning point of World War II to vivid life.

Great promotion for Yorkshire Coast Path (£14.99, pb, 978 0993291180 ) by Welcome to Yorkshire on their website which you can see here  and also on Twitter to their more than a quarter of a million followers. This definitive walking guide maps the whole route on large-scale OS maps and is packed with colour photos. It is an essential purchase for the long-distance walker and afternoon stroller alike. It’s published by Safe Haven

Who’s planning a BBQ this Bank Hols? Well, according to Buzzfeed, there are eight types of people at a BBQ, why not take this quiz  to find out which one you are!

That’s all 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 nuala@compass-ips.london .



Friday, 17 May 2019

Compass Points 305


Major publicity for the spectacular new Wild Things title Islandeering: Adventures Around the Edge of Britain's Hidden Islands (£16.99, pb, 978 1910636176); here on the BBC (which had 600,000 views) and here and here in the Mail, and here on the front page of the Saturday Guardian Travel section; has now pushed this title to the top of the charts on Amazon. If you haven’t got it in your bookshop yet then you are truly missing out – this publisher knows which outdoor trend is hitting the zeitgeist and Islandeering is definitely it! Many booksellers were surprised by how well they did with the Scottish Bothy Bible given that bothies are relatively obscure; and I think this title has exactly the same appeal. Islandeering shares similar psychology as climbing to the summit of a mountain, according to author Lisa Drewe, appealing to the same "completist" urge. Lisa hiked, biked, swum and kayaked around 150 islands in the UK before selecting her 50 favourites and this gorgeous book is for both genuine adventurers and also those who just want to look at the pictures and imagine themselves bothy-bagging or conquering one of these stunning little pieces of paradise!

Leanne Maskell was on the ITV’s Lorraine breakfast show this week, talking about The Model Manifesto: An A-Z Anti-Exploitation Manual for the Fashion Industry (£14.99, pb, 978 1788600651). You can see a short clip here; this tweet alone has had 2.5K views and the Lorraine show regularly gets a million viewers, so this is really terrific publicity. There has also been coverage in the Times, Grazia, Mail, Sun, Express, the Independent and on the BBC. The Mail piece was headlined “Former model who began her career at 13, reveals her agency told her to lose 5cm from her hips for a job she wasn't even paid for and sent emails asking what she had eaten. She's written a tell-all manifesto for models to avoid exploitation” and had a full credit for the book – you can read that article here.  This guide to the modelling industry focuses on ending the financial, physical, sexual and emotional exploitation of aspiring and current models and it really is a great read – highly recommended. It’s published by Practical Inspiration.

We’ve just heard that there will be a big serial in the Daily Mail sometime pre-publication for the Biteback title Cleaning Up the Mess: After the MP’s Expenses Scandal by Ian Kennedy (978 1785904943, hb, £20).  Ian will also be interviewed on BBC R4’s Today programme, and on Iain Dale's show on LBC and there will be a feature in the Daily Telegraph. It’s hard to believe that it’s now ten years since the news broke that MPs had been claiming taxpayer’s money to pay for such excesses as a floating duck-house, moat-cleaning services and 550 sacks of manure – revelations which shook Westminster. Ian Kennedy was the chairman of Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority for its first seven years, designed to scrutinise every claim and hold MPs to account. He came up against a series of obstacles, ranging from MPs who had never used a computer to vicious online abuse, all the while being hounded by the press for not doing what they wanted. Riveting stuff, and it’s published on 11 June.

Big congratulations to all of our friends at Emerald, who won the Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year Award at the Nibbies this week. The British Book Awards judges applauded Emerald’s PR and marketing activity, which “achieved some impressive coverage for its books in mainstream as well as academic channels”; and also admired Emerald’s “care of people” – authors and staff alike. “This is obviously a great place to be published – a real go-to place for academics” they said. They saw concerted efforts to support diversity too, both in Emerald’s output by appointing its first Gender and Diversity Publisher, and in-house by launching a STRIDE initiative and tackling issues around family-friendly working and the gender pay divide. Fantastic! You can find all the winners here.  

We were also so pleased to see the wonderful Golden Hare Bookshop win Independent Bookshop of the Year!  The judges called it an “effervescent Edinburgh indie” saying “in a city not short on either bookshops or distinctive independent retailers, Golden Hare stands out for the beauty of its boutique-style store, its sharp growth in sales, and its eagerness to try new things in the pursuit of customers.” And Compass were thrilled to get a shout-out in their Twitter thank-you thread, where as well as thanking writers, staff, the independent book trade and the Stockbridge community; they said thanks “to publishers whose reps take the time to see us and get to know us – we have learned so much from you. John McColgan, @MackayGillian, @BloomsburyNorth and @compass_david especially.” Thanks guys – we love you too!

Super to see the fabulous Comma profiled as the 10th and final radical indie publisher in Huck Magazine, who said of their work “Unapologetically political, Comma Press are in the vanguard of UK literary culture”, you can read the whole piece here.

Who knows a mum who blogs, Instagrams or Facebooks? Most of us almost certainly do, and I for one am very much looking forward to reading The Mummy Bloggers (pb, £8.99, 978 1789550535) a new novel out on 3 June from Legend which takes a sharp and funny look at this all too popular phenomenon! The title will be will be featured in the Mail on Sunday’s You Magazine on 2nd June and stars three mummy bloggers, each of them idolised, imitated, taunted and trolled online. When the women are nominated for a prestigious blogging award with a hefty cash prize, the scene is set for a brutal and often hilarious battle for hearts, minds, and clicks! Author Holly Wainwright has been called “the freshest, funniest new voice in fiction since Liane Moriarty” and this perceptive novel looks like a winner to me!

Robin Renwick will be appearing on BBC BookTalk tomorrow to discuss his Biteback memoir Not Quite A Diplomat (£20, hb, 978 1785904592). The FT said that “in the century since the British imperial statesman Sir Alfred Milner started the Boer War, no British envoy has had such an impact on South Africa as Sir Robin Renwick.” Sir Max Hastings said he was “an ambassador with real clout in Washington” and the Guardian wrote that “he became a bridge between the ANC and De Klerk’s government and a personal friend of Nelson Mandela.” This entertaining book looks back over an illustrious career in the foreign service and paints vivid and revealing first-hand portraits of some of the giants of international politics over the past forty years, from Mugabe to George Bush Sr, the Clintons and Margaret Thatcher.

Great to hear that Carcanet poet Phoebe Power has been shortlisted for the Somerset Maugham Award  for Shrines of Upper Austria (£9.99, pb, 978 1784105341). This playful exploration of unfamiliarity as a traveller wanders across Austria, observing lakes, folk culture and uneasy histories is a welcome engagement with European culture in the wake of Brexit as the poems reconsider the meaning of the terms ‘foreign’ and ‘home’. The Somerset Maugham Awards are for published works of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by writers under 35, to enable them to enrich their work by gaining experience of foreign countries. Past winners include Helen Oyeyemi, Julian Barnes and Zadie Smith. The award will be presented at a party at Southwark Cathedral on the evening of Monday 17th June. You can find out more here.

We were pleased to see TWO Comma titles in the Guardian’s Top 10 Books about Sudan which you can see here. Firstly, the Book of Khartoum (£9.99, pb, 978 1905583720) which they said was “a vivid, and overdue, introduction to life in the capital through the eyes of a range of writers” and also the powerful debut from Rania Mamoun, Thirteen Months of Sunrise (pb, £9.99, 978 1910974391) which they said was “intriguing … playful.”

The BBC have had a whole week of menopause coverage, culminating in today’s show on everything from Partners to Pelvic Floors, which featured Ruth Devlin as a guest on the sofa with Louse Minchin. She is of course the author of the brilliant Men... Let’s Talk Menopause (pb, £9.99, 978 1788600804) published by Practical Inspiration. You’ll be able to see a clip of that interview soon on the iPlayer here.  She’s also been on BBC Radio Scotland, and will be on BBC Radio Manchester’s The Dead Good Show on 24th May at 7pm and Talk Radio Europe on 30th May at 1.20pm. And there will be a big spread on the book in the brand-new magazine for 40+ women’s health called Simply You; the June issue is out at the end of May. Men... Let’s Talk Menopause has already been included in features in the Express, Daily Record and Daily Mirror 10 Questions About Menopause for Women, that’s here and Men, that’s here. You can also see a great review for the title on the website Menopause Health Matters here.  

Wow, wow, wow is my reaction to some spectacular photos from a new title just out from Amber entitled Iceland (pb, £9.99, 978 1782748717) by Chris McNab which is in their Visual Explorer Guide series. They’ve just gone up on the Mail Online and you can see them here.  They capture Iceland’s quite breathtaking landscape; including the northern lights hanging over mysterious rock formations, black sand beaches, geothermal pools, mighty volcanoes and majestic waterfalls. McNab says: “Nestled in the far, frigid north of the Atlantic Ocean, balanced on the edge of the Arctic Circle, Iceland has forged its own unique way of life in a landscape quite literally awesome in scale, beauty and power. It is an island that simply cannot fail to impress.” The simply stunning pics in the Mail (which are just a small selection of the 200 in the book) have been shared already almost 1,000 times on Facebook, this book is a great price, beautifully produced and Iceland is a booming tourist destination, so it should sell very well.

A nice review of Pluto’s Rebel Footprints (£12.99, pb, 978 0745338552) in the Observer last weekend, saying “Historian David Rosenberg brings London’s past to life in his lively second edition of 19th-century rallies and protests. Entertaining … it is  written with the kind of eye for colourful detail that you would expect from a tour guide.” You can read that here. David Rosenberg was also interviewed on BBC Radio London's Robert Elms Show and you can hear that here. 

Comma released episode four of their superb five-star podcast this week, which this month is looking at the legacy of the Suffragette movement, and in particular at the force-feeding of imprisoned suffragettes in the early 1900s under the ‘Cat and Mouse Act’. You can find that here or search for Comma Podcast on your usual platform.

Bursting with fascinating stories, striking photographs and exclusive material provided by NASA personnel; The Apollo Missions: The Incredible Story of the Race to the Moon (hb, £14.99, 978 1788885232) perfectly captures the risk, complexity and gravitas of this immense journey. Its author, former NASA engineer, Dr David Baker has lots of forthcoming events, he’s at Knuston Hall in Wellingborough, Northants for a course on Apollo on 16-19 May; he’s guest of honour for a space modellers event on 7 July at Hanslope, Bucks, he’s giving a lecture at the British Interplanetary Society, Lambeth Rd, London, on Apollo lunar landing techniques on 12 July; he’s giving a talk at the Battle History Society in East Sussex on 18 July and on 20 July  there’s a massive 50th anniversary event in Henley on Thames town square with live video streaming where Dr Baker will be on stage doing a running commentary on what the landing was like with a giant screen on the wall of the Town Hall tracking events minute-by-minute to the landing! The predicted attendance for this will be thousands! So it’s fair to say that David will be doing lots of promo and he also appears regularly on The Interplanetary Podcast which you can find here.  There’s a full-page advert appearing on page 35 of the June 2019 issue of Spaceflight Magazine which you can download here. The Apollo Missions has just been published by Artcturus.

That’s all 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 nuala@compass-ips.london

Friday, 10 May 2019

Compass Points 304


We were thrilled to see When Footballers Were Skint: A Journey in Search of the Soul of Football by Jon Henderson (pb, 978 1785904660) shortlisted in the football category of The Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2019. You can see the shortlists in full here. It was published in paperback by Biteback in March and the Guardian said of it "Henderson has spent four years interviewing former players who are now in their 80s and whose stories were in danger of being forgotten. Time colours everything, but while there is something undeniably attractive about footballers being rooted in their communities, travelling to games by public transport and earning a similar amount to the fans who came to watch them - if the game did ever have a soul, this might have been that era - Henderson is too astute an observer to let the romance ever slide into sentimentality." You can read a great piece here on the Biteback blog by Jon on why he found writing the book such a rewarding experience.

Sustainability is undoubtably one of today’s hot topics, along with packaging, waste, recycling, obesity, deforestation, and animal welfare. One company has been smack bang in the middle of pretty much all of these contentious matters ever since the 1980’s, and that’s McDonalds. The Battle To Do Good: Inside McDonald’s Sustainability Journey by Bob Langert (978 1787568167, £16.99, hb) is an absolutely riveting behind-the-scenes eye witness account of the mega brand's battle to address numerous societal issues. Packed with first-hand anecdotes, interviews with key McDonald's executives and scores of lessons learned, The Battle to Do Good provides unique insights and guidance on how to successfully navigate and manage today's societal issues to make the business stronger, more relevant, and more profitable. It’s just been published by Emerald. I think this is very funny – Eddie Murphy talking about mothers who insist on making their own delicious healthy burgers, when all you want is a Maccy Ds!



Hurrah, the brilliant Ironopolis by Glenn James Brown (pb, £9.99, 978 1912681099) has just been longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, you can see the full list here. This is a terrific achievement for this title which is published by Welsh indie Parthian as it is up against some very big names! The Orwell Prize aims to encourage excellence in writing and thinking about politics and the judges said of this year’s list that it “acknowledges that the politics in a book can often be found between the lines, rather than on them, and that making your voice heard can sometimes be the most political act of all.” The shortlists will be revealed later in the month, with the winner of the £3,000 prize announced at a ceremony on Tuesday 25th June.

Kay Hutchison had a successful career, a beautiful home, and a loving husband until the day she walked away from it all and turned to a host of weird and wonderful treatments in search of answers to a question she couldn't even articulate. My Life in 37 Therapies: From Yoga to Hypnosis and why Voodoo is Never the Answer (pb, £9.99, 978 1910453773) is the frank, funny, moving and ultimately uplifting story of one woman's pursuit of happiness and inner peace. It’s published on 4 July by Red Door and there will be lots of publicity to come for this one with features and/or reviews in Good Housekeeping, Saga, Spirit and Destiny, the Scotsman, the Daily Mail, the Sunday Express and Best magazine.

The Wales Book of the Year Award is an annual prize celebrating outstanding literary talent from Wales across many genres and in both English and Welsh. There are three categories in each language –Poetry, Fiction and Creative Non-fiction, with one of the three category winners announced as the overall Award Winner at an award ceremony on 20 June. We are very pleased to see two titles from Parthian and one from the University of Wales Press on the shortlist! Arrest Me, for I Have Run Away (£pb, £10, 978 1910901809 ) by Stevie Davies is a stunning short story collection on human nature and identity and Salacia (£8.00, pb, 978-1912109258) by Mari Ellis Dunning is a collection of unique and lyrical poems where women raise their voices and subvert the age-old tales told on their behalf. Having a Go at the Kaiser: A Welsh Family at War by Gethin Matthews (pb, £14.99, 978 1786833471) is based on more than a hundred letters sent home by three Swansea brothers during the First World War, The letters written to different members of the family allow us to build a picture of what the brothers thought about a range of different issues as the war was being waged, and of how their beliefs and ideas evolved as situations changed. You can find out more about the Wales Book of the Year Awards here.

It was fab to hear Zoe Ball giving the most colossal plug to Mission Moon in 3D: Reliving the Great Space Race (£30, hb, 978 1999667405) on the Radio 2 Breakfast Show this week. She mentioned the “incredible” book just before the 8am news and then chatted to Brian May for almost a full hour afterwards, enthusing to the nation about the title! You can listen to the whole thing here. It’s published of course by London Stereoscopic.



You see here Pluto’s awesome Rebel Footprints (pb, £12.99, 978 0745338552) looking mighty fine in the fabulous Newham Bookshop, and they’ve got a launch with its author David Rosenberg, coming up on May 29th which promises to be an excellent event. Rebel Footprints tells the story of protest and struggle in London from the early nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. From the suffragettes to the socialists, from the Chartists to the trade unionists, the book invites us to step into the footprints of a diverse cast of dedicated fighters for social justice. Self-directed walks and beautifully illustrated maps seamlessly blend history, politics and geography, immersing the reader in the story of the city.

Thirteen Months of Sunrise (pb, £9.99, 978 1910974391) is out this week from Comma and the reviews have been great for this his powerful, debut collection which creates a rich and moving portrait of contemporary Sudan. Books and Bao said of the collection that it “will have you witnessing everything from fleeting love, bonded by shared knowledge and culture, to death and those things left unsaid. Like these stories, life, and that of those around you, is fleeting and must be cherished” you can read that here and Translating Women said “Rania Mamoun writes with a sparse clarity, eschewing melodrama: if her narrator here lives a lifetime in a moment, so Mamoun herself writes a life in just a few pages... and offers a rich fresco of life that is at once deeply embedded in her culture and universally recognisable”; that’s here.

Tatenda Taibu's autobiography Keeper of Faith (£12.99, hb, 978 1909245860) is his complete life story: from his uncompromising upbringing in Harare, to becoming the youngest international cricket captain in history, to quitting the game that made him at the age of 29 to pursue his faith. In this revealing tome, Taibu lifts the lid on the challenges of representing Zimbabwe in the era of Robert Mugabe, and details how constant controversy and conflict ultimately restrict meaningful progress. There will be a major press tour for this title, starting with an interview with Taibu on the BBC World Service’s cricket show on 18th May. It’s published on 23 May by DeCoubertin.

We are so pleased to see that Ken Cockburn has been shortlisted for his English translations in the Carcanet dual-language book Heroines from Abroad (pb, £12.99, 978 1784106300) by Christine Marendon. You can read more about that here. Carol Rumens, writing in the Guardian said “the voice and the language in Cockburn’s translations feel freshly rinsed” and these poems transmute elements of everyday experiences making unexpected juxtapositions in a meditative flow of thoughts. The shortlist contains translations from eight languages and the winner will be announced at the prizegiving and dinner in Oxford on Saturday 15 June.


There was a terrific review of Words in Pain: Letters on Life and Death by Olga Jacoby (978 1911072355, hb, £15) in The British Journal of General Practice, calling it “a book to read time and time again.” Have a look here at a short promotional video for the book on YouTube featuring extracts read by actor Beth Eyre, to give you a flavour of the book. Sandi Toksvig said “These wonderful letters prove that true immortality lies in what we leave behind. For those of us who cannot accept the consolation of religion, they provide a sane and comforting view of how to live and, more importantly, die. They bear reading and re-reading and teach us how to live even when in the shadow of death. A feminist, rational and heartening voice about the big stuff-life and death." It’s just been published by Skyscaper.


Some good reviews coming in notably in the Wall Street Journal for The Polyglot Lovers (£10, pb, 978 1911508441) by Lina Wolff, which has just been published both here and in the US. The Star Tribune said “Wolff upsets the applecart, mercilessly mocking male hegemony and skewering literary pretensions. What could have been angry and strident is instead caustic and mischievous: both a bracing wind and a breath of fresh air. Wolff’s constant supply of fire, bite and wit are compelling forces.” The Complete Review wrote: “The Polyglot Lovers is an amusing take on modern life (literary and otherwise) and relationships between the sexes. All in all, it makes for an interesting polychromatic fiction, a surprisingly ebullient story—carried along nicely by Wolff's entertaining and easygoing presentation—in a cleverly structured novel, its three separate parts neatly coming together by the end." Publishers Weekly said "The edifice of male genius is annihilated in this galvanizing novel from Wolff. [...] Wolff orchestrates her divergent plots into riveting harmony, but more striking is the audacity with which she reveals Max and Ruben’s reckless egoism. 'I’m an autodidact in male devastation,' Claudia declares before sticking the final pin in Max’s inflated persona. Wolff’s novel proves the necessity of cultivating such a specialty. Firing on all cylinders from beginning to end, this story pulses with intellect and vitality unmatched by the literary barons it deposes." while Kirkus called it “whip-smart and deliciously cynical ... smart, funny, and sad in turns.” You can read an extract from it here in the Literary Hub who said “Fabulously quirky characters, strange and surprising turns of events, and an ill-fated book manuscript at the heart of it all. What’s wonderful about Lina Wolff’s The Polyglot Lovers is the way that it stretches the bounds of the novel form itself."

I very much enjoyed hearing Carcanet’s Michael Schmidt, on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb last Friday talking about the great Australian poet Les Murray who died recently – you can hear that one here. Les Murray wrote frequently about the natural world he encountered on the farm at Bunyah where he lived, and on the programme, Michael reads a poem from Murray’s Presence sequence called Shellback Tick and explores his faith in language and the poem - as a way of understanding what it means to be another creature.

That’s all 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 nuala@compass-ips.london