Friday 25 October 2019

Compass Points 325

The James Bond franchise is one of the most successful in cinema history. It’s now over fifty years old, yet still as popular and lucrative as ever. Smersh Pod is a cult podcast celebrating the films, with 40,000 downloads a month, and now its creator John Rain has written Thunderbook (£16.99, hb, 978 0957507623) which is, as Al Murray commented,
 ‘an affectionately droll Bond-by-Bond stroll through the films we know and love, whether we like them or not.’ It is the perfect Christmas gift for Bond lovers, an entertaining and informative read that will prime them for the new adventure No Time To Die which is due for release in April 2020. It has been selected for the BA Christmas Catalogue and there is a full-page ad in the November issue of Total Film. Reviews, features and interviews are planned for Empire and the Guardian. As well as Al Murray, another celeb endorsement comes from Kathy Burke who called it ‘beautifully observed and a laugh-out-loud joy’. Smershpod is already promoting the book extensively through all their social media channels and one lucky bookseller can win a copy of it by emailing with their bookshop name and address and Thunderbook in the subject line.

And for Bond fans, you can watch a trailer for No Time to Die here.

Sustainability is the buzz word for businesses right now, and as the Economist said, The Battle to Do Good: Inside McDonald’s Sustainability Journey (hb, £6.99, 978 1787568167) is a must-read even for those who are cynical about the business of corporate social responsibility.’ In it, former McDonald's executive Bob Langert takes readers on a behind-the-scenes eye witness account of the mega brand giant's decades-long battle to address numerous hot-button issues, such as packaging, waste, recycling, obesity, deforestation and animal welfare. Bob gave a talk at the TEDSummit 2019 earlier this year which will be released on on 4th November and should lead to plenty of promotion from TED on their social media channels, newsletters, homepage, etc. You can find out more at Packed with first-hand anecdotes, and scores of lessons learned, The Battle to Do Good is a real page turner that provides unique insights and guidance. It’s published by Emerald.

Always a pleasure to hear the wonderful Brian May talking about his books with London Stereoscopic, and this morning he was on Radio 2’s Zoe Ball’s Breakfast Show promoting Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell (£60, hb, 978 1999667436). This cult classic (in a new edition which now includes the two long lost cards that were missing from the first edition) provides a rare and satirical look at an 1860s view of Hell. Thanks to Brian's imagination and his determination to share the wonders of these weird and wonderful 3D cards which show scenes of torture, fire, and every variety of licentious behaviour; readers can find themselves transported them to a nightmarish netherworld. And it’s published (of course) on Halloween! You can listen again to Brian on Radio 2 this morning here.

A fantastic party at the Tate Modern in London this week for Carcanet’s 50th birthday. In November, there will be more festivities in Carcanet’s home town of Manchester and there are also lots of events at bookshops and literary festivals to come. You can find out more about the celebrations for the Jubilee on their website here. Pictured here is founder and MD Michael Schmidt speaking at the party and here in the Bookseller you can read an interview where he discusses the highs and lows of the press's history and their plans for the future.

A brilliant sold-out launch at Off the Shelf Festival Of Words in Sheffield this week for The Book of Sheffield (£9.99, pb, 978 1912697137). You can hear its editor Catherine Taylor, and contributor to the collection Desiree Reynolds, discussing the book on BBC Radio Sheffield also this week here and you can read Catherine's fab piece for the Guardian about her summer job in a cutlery factory in Sheffield in the late 1980s here. From the aspirations of young creatives, to the more immediate demands of refugees, scrap metal collectors, and student radicals; these stories offer ten different look-out points from which to gaze down on the ever-changing face of the 'Steel City'. It’s part of Comma’s popular Reading the City series.

A former marketing director at Pepsi and managing director at HEAD sports, Chris Radford launched his own strategy consulting firm in 1996. He helped Mars create the Celebrations chocolate brand, turned Galaxy into a brand leader in the Middle East and helped make Miracle Gro the market leader in gardening. He has enabled many businesses to take their brands to the next level with his distinctive 'Differentiate' method and now he’s put it all into a book: Attractive Thinking: The Five Questions that Drive Successful Brand Strategy and How to Answer Them (978 11788601030, pb, £15.99). In it, readers can discover the five key questions you must answer to create a better brand strategy and the tools to deliver it. It’s out from Practical Inspiration on 1 November.

Many parents and teachers worry that in these days of endless tests, children’s imagination and originality is getting lost. A new title from Crown Storycraft (978 14785834028, pb, £16.99) is a practical resource to support secondary school teachers in developing their students’ creative writing. This book is not a style manual. Authors Martin Griffin and Jon Mayhew think there are plenty of those about. Instead, it picks apart the craft of narrative writing and provides activities designed to help their students overcome the difficulties they experience when tasked with creating something from nothing. Written by two fiction writers and experienced teachers, Storycraft packs in expert guidance relating to idea generation and the nature of story and provides writing prompts that teachers can immediately adopt and adapt in the classroom. We have three reading copies available for booksellers. Email with Storycraft in the subject box and your name and bookshop address to receive one.

Lots more publicity this week for Up Front (£20, hb, 978 1909245969) by Clive Allen. ‘You need to keep moving forward. If you stand still you eventually end up going backwards,’ said Clive chatting to Football.London. ‘It was completely bizarre,’ he says of that deal. ‘People who hear about it now can’t comprehend it. If someone paid what would be the equivalent these days of £50million for a teenage striker, they wouldn’t be moving them on without even playing them,’ that’s here in his interview by Jim White for the Telegraph. ‘I am not drinking with you,’ he said. ‘You are cheats.’ The Evening Standard ran an extract of Clive and Arsene Wenger’s turbulent meetings, that one’s here.  Knees Up Mother Brown sat down with Clive and talked career, West Ham and his new book, that’s here and finally here's an article in the Belfast Telegraph.

Many congratulations to Parwana Fayyaz who won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem for Forty Names, which was originally published in PN Review 241 (978 1784101527, £6.99). You can find out more and read about all the winners here. The Forward Prizes are the leading awards for poetry published in the UK and Ireland and Parwana’s poem draws inspiration both narrative and lyrical from medieval Persian traditions. You can read the Forty Names here.

Would you rather eat the food and drink from the Harry Potter books, or that in Disney films? Find out here!

And in this week’s Hot Topics, this week’s top story has got to be which words have made it into the new edition of the Oxford English Dictionary and whether you know what they all mean! Omnishambles? Sumphy? Chirpse? Arlarse? For all 650 new additions, have a look here and there’s an entertaining article discussing them here.

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

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