Friday 30 November 2012

Compass Points 25

Your weekly round up of publishing news, publicity information and trivia!

Hurrah hurrah, Christmas is on its way – and with it that chance to podge up on all the delicious seasonal scoff - turkey, sausages, pork pies – if you’re lucky maybe even a venison casserole and a roast partridge or two! Naturally the Christmas food police will tell us that this massive annual increase in our meat and saturated fat consumption is extremely bad for us – but is it really? For twenty-six years John Nicholson was a vegetarian, following a seriously healthy diet that included no cholesterol or animal fats but plenty of brown rice and lentils. However, for twenty-six years John Nicholson was ill – tormented year after year by apparently untreatable IBS. He was eating the healthiest diet known to mankind yet his digestive system was breaking down. His illness was affecting his life so badly that eventually he and his partner considered doing the unthinkable – eating meat. The results were spectacular. Twenty four hours after eating meat, he was better. After forty eight hours he was totally well. All his symptoms had gone – the IBS, the headaches, the mid afternoon tiredness, achy knees – the lot. Even his eyesight improved to the point he no longer needed to use reading glasses. Twelve months on, he feels like a new person. The Meat Fix: How a Lifetime of Healthy Eating Nearly Killed Me is the story of how eating meat again after twenty-six vegetarian years changed John Nicholson’s life powerfully for the better, and of his quest to understand why the supposedly healthy diet he had existed on was actually damaging him. This is a fascinating, surprising, often hilarious and shocking journey of discovery.

Amuse Agents by Preston Likely is getting some cracking publicity – and is the perfect stocking filler Christmas present – so make sure you have plenty on display for those impulse purchases! This book is an amusing compilation of extremely daft spoof small ads that Preston put up in shop windows over a space of two years.  Normally these little cards advertise everything from second-hand cars to baby-sitters, cleaners, kittens and rabbits. But the ones created by 46-year-old Preston Likely were designed for a laugh and to see whether anyone would reply in similar humorous vein… There was a massive full page piece about it in the Mail this week, which gives you a good flavour – you can see it here – and the reviews online are very favourable – for example; “Such a funny book, I left this book on my dining room table for people to browse and within seconds readers were laughing, it is one of those books you can browse through as it gives you instant belly laughs, and in times like these, a laugh is just what Preston prescribes. One of my favourite adverts is the Pickpocketing Course.”  This article has now been reproduced online by The Lady and The Mirror (now there’s a diverse readership) – so lots more people will be finding out about the book – and looking for it!

Now, who’s a fan of Bob Servant – the hilarious fictional Dundonian businessman? This comic character was created by Neil Forsyth and is the star of three collections of email exchanges between "Bob Servant", the fictional author, and internet spammers. The first title was originally published in the UK in 2007 and is characterised by Servant's increasingly surreal contributions and growing frustration on the part of the spammers. On publication the character of Bob Servant was compared to that of John Shuttleworth and a number of reviewers drew comparison to Henry Root. Irvine Welsh selected this  title, the then little-known Delete This At Your Peril as his choice in an Esquire Magazine poll for The Funniest Books Ever and along with support from a number of bands including Snow Patrol and Belle and Sebastian, created a word of mouth campaign that attracted the attention of the BBC who serialised the books on Radio 4. Now in January 2013 comes a new BBC4 TV series. you can watch a clip from it hereThe series will run for six weeks – plenty of time to build up a mega fan base for the three hilarious books on which the series is based. The trilogy of books by Neil Forsyth comprises: Delete This At Your Peril, Bob Servant: Hero of Dundee and Why Me? The Very Important Emails of Bob Servant. The series starts Brian Cox, and there is going to be lots of publicity for it. Brian will be on be on Lorraine Kelly, The One Show and lots of other chat shows and the author Neil Forsyth is writing tie in pieces for newspapers including the Guardian and Scotsman where he’ll give plenty of mention to the books. They are all being reissued with new covers to tie in with the TV series in January.

As he enters his sixties, Bruce Springsteen remains a paragon of all that is cool and right. He’s a genuine voice of the people, an elder statesman who has inspired generations of bands. There are dozens of books about the Boss, so what’s left to say? Nothing objective, perhaps. But when it comes to music, objectivity is highly overrated. Walk Like a Man: Coming of Age with the Music of Bruce Springsteen is a frank and funny blend of biography, music appreciation and memoir. Novelist Robert Wiersema grew up with Springsteen’s songs, and this book tells the story of a man becoming a man (despite getting a little lost along the way), and of the man and the music that have accompanied him on his journey. It is essential reading for all fans of Bruce Springsteen, and it’s coming in January.
Order it here

And here's the Boss himself at his brilliant best!

Who watched that episode of the Junior Apprentice a couple of weeks ago where the contestants had to come up with a cookery book for a niche market. I don’t think their plans for of a student cookbook entitled #Where’s Mummy? or a cookbook for professional women entitled er, Professional Woman – are exactly going to set the world on fire – although they did come up with some clever marketing ideas and graphics. But where they really fell down was on the proof reading – with some real shockers of spelling and grammar. See guys, this publishing game isn’t as easy as everyone thinks! Of course what they should have come up with is something like Everyday Lebanese Cooking, which is published by How To Books in January. Lebanese food is definitely having a bit of a moment at present – there are more and more Lebanese restaurants appearing on our high streets and there is a growing interest in the fresh tastes offered by this delicious cuisine.   As well as having the reputation of being amongst the healthiest in the world; Lebanese food is the deal food for the current economic climate because it is very economical to make.  Mona Hamadeh has been cooking Lebanese food for friends and family for over 50 years and this book is a response to being constantly asked to share her recipes.  This book includes a wide variety of dishes from Lebanese cuisine, including the well known and delicious hummus, baba ghanouj and tabouleh as well as many other maza (starters), chicken and fish main dishes and of course the scrummy middle eastern pastries. Find out more and order it here

And here's an amusing introduction to this year's Junior Apprentice candidates!

This blog goes weekly to over 550 booksellers. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website.

That’s all for now folks, more next week!

Friday 23 November 2012

Compass Points 24

Your weekly round up of publishing news, publicity information and trivia!

OK, we’re all now into the full blown run up to Christmas – and hoping that it’s a bumper one for the retail trade. What could be more tempting for your customers to feast their eyes on in your seasonal window display; than a good old fashioned Christmas ghost story? The Beautiful Child is based on an unfinished novel by Henry James – the enormously popular American writer, who has many many fans. The story has now been rewritten and completed by Emma Tennant - one of the U.K.’s best-selling female writers and an expert at revisionist versions of works of classic authors, the most well known of which is Pemberley - a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. The Beautiful Child is an unforgettable tale, which ends on a very Jamesian note of terror in a Christmas idyll, amplified throughout by Tennant’s trademark feminist-dreamlike style. A chilling account of cruelty and neglect, it suggests a terrifying real scandal behind James’s inability to complete his story of a couple who beseech a fashionable artist to paint the child they never had – none other than the dipsomaniac Mr and Mrs Smith, longstanding servants of James . . .
This title will be of enormous appeal to Henry James fans as this is a little-known tale by the author and its Christmas theme ensures mega publicity. This is kicking off with Radio 4’s Saturday Review, which will be talking about the book on Sat 1 December. And the Saturday Telegraph will be making it their lead review in the Books section on the same day. The combined figures for readers of the Telegraph plus listeners to Radio 4 are huge! And a very high proportion of them are keen book buyers who all will be looking to buy The Beautiful Child following the reviews – make sure they can easily find it in your shop!!

And if you want to remind yourself of the scary power of Henry James, watch this clip from The Others – based on one of James’ most terrifying and popular ghost stories – The Turn of the Screw.

Who remembers the news story about the little girl who blogged about her school dinners – and then got into trouble with the council? The publicity that the incident drummed up led to 10- year old Martha Payne being able to raise £120,000 for the charity Mary's Meals, which helps to feed children in Malawi. Her story is detailed in the new book Never Seconds: The Incredible Story of Martha Payne and every copy sold will result in a donation being made to the charity. Publishers Cargo have described the book as 'the story of the year' – and they may well be right; it’s certainly getting an astonishing amount of media attention!  In the last fortnight Martha has been on BBC Breakfast News, Newsround, Scotland Tonight, ITV Daybreak and The One Show. There has been an enormous amount of coverage in the newspapers too – you can see a round up of all of it here. All of this is leading to mega sales – the books is rising daily in the Amazon sales charts – don’t let them get all the action, order it here and get it on display!

Are you watching all those copies of Fifty Shades etc. whizzing through your tills and thinking “I’d like a bit of that?” If it’s the mega amounts of money that EL James is making rather than the S&M that appeals to you – then maybe you should give up the bookselling game and try your hand at writing erotic fiction instead? Mills and Boon are running a series of free workshops on writing erotica, which you can find out about here. You get free champagne and cupcakes too – now that’s more like it as far as I’m concerned. But of course they aren’t just running the workshops to give frustrated saucepots something to do in the evenings – it’s all part of a clever marketing ploy to promote a series of sexy books by Tiffany Reisz from her Original Sinners series. As an unknown debut author with monumental sales, Tiffany Reisz’s success not only mirrors that of Fifty Shades of Grey, but also demonstrates the reading public’s hunger for a new trend in erotic fiction: explicit yet well written novels, with sex and storyline in equal measure. An erotic novel within an erotic novel, in the Original Sinners series Tiffany Reisz examines dark compulsions and carnal hungers. Oooh er. The third book in this series is The Prince, and it’s published in December. Reviewers have described Reisz’s writing as “intense, heart-wrenching, sweet, and above all...beautiful” and she is gaining new fans fast. Don’t miss out – order The Prince and find out more here.

Yet again, finding enough affordable energy for the UK is in the news again today, and there's no doubt that the energy crisis is one of the most pressing and significant problems the world has to face. With limited resources of fossil fuels left, and the additional political and environmental issues that surround their use, it is clear that life on earth cannot continue as it is without the development of alternative sources of power. Wind power has been one of the most popular alternative forms of energy suggested – but increasingly, many are starting to question its effectiveness. The UK government’s policy of support for wind energy and its attempts to achieve 20% electricity generation from renewable sources by 2020 has been lauded by many, yet described as “a fatuous obsession” by others. So Much Wind by Struan Stevenson is just published. He has served as a Conservative Euro MEP for Scotland since 1999 and is President of the Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development Intergroup. He believes that the truth is that wind turbines violate the principle of fairness by transferring vast amounts of money from the poor to the rich. They despoil our unique landscape and environment; they risk plunging the nation into a devastating energy crisis and through noise, the flicker-effect and vibration, they abuse the health and welfare of people and animals which have to live near them. They are visual monstrosities that produce a trickle of electricity at vast cost to the consumer and they do not significantly reduce CO2 emissions.  Struan Stevenson believes that the time has come to expose Scotland’s green energy myth and that he’s the man to do it. This book is sure to ruffle plenty of feathers and you can find out more here.

And finally - The Hundred Year Old Man who Jumped Out of the Window continues to storm the bestseller charts - it was the number one in the Picks of the Year from Amazon.  The Odd Couple – which details the curious friendship between Philip Larkin and Kingsley Amis, was highlighted in The Bookseller this week as being one of the week’s most reviewed titles in the national press.

And if you want to seem super up to date and trendy (what do you mean, no one uses that word any more), then why not waste a few moments watching this:  Pop Love 2012;  a great mashup of 24 of this year’s biggest pop songs!

This newsletter is sent weekly to over 550 booksellers. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website.

That’s all for now folks, more next week!

Friday 16 November 2012

Compass Points 23

Your weekly round up of publishing news, publicity information and trivia!

Where would you like to go today? New York? Paris, St Petersburg? Dublin? Amsterdam? Venice? Berlin? London? But before you go, you’ll need someone really knowledgeable and entertaining to tell you all about it. Forget those students and amateurs at Lonely Planet, or Time Out – how about having Scott Fitzgerald giving you the lowdown on Fifth Avenue? Or Anna Pavlova telling you about her schooldays in St Petersburg? Or David Bowie cycling through Berlin? Or Ian McEwan sitting in a city bar, and telling you what he overhears? City Picks is the eclectic and original travel writing series which Kate Mosse describes as “brilliant ... the best way to get under the skin of a city. The perfect read for travellers and book lovers of all ages.” The Financial Times said they contain “a wealth of atmospheric literary snippets that evoke …prismatic and engrossing.”  The most recent title (published in October) was on St Petersburg, and there is going to be a big piece coming up on it in the Daily Telegraph in a special Russia supplement in December. The publishers have a great website which gives you a good flavour of every book at And Oxygen Books also have a one hour performance event based on the titles in the series called Around the World in 80 Books which they’ve successfully put on at various book festivals and big libraries.  It takes a whirlwind tour round world writing based around the books in the City Picks series with a built-in competition and reading list. If you are interested then contact the publisher at And you can order City Pick: St Petersburg here.

OK, now imagine yourself sitting not in some faraway city quaffing absinthe in a bar; but in a Spanish prison – for ten years. In 1997, English holidaymaker Terry Daniels found herself unwittingly in the middle of a drug bust involving thousands of pounds’ worth of cocaine being smuggled from Brazil to Spain by her companion. After eventually being cleared of any charges she returned home assuming the nightmare was over – but her troubles had just begun. Five years after her ordeal, Terry awoke one morning to the anti terrorist police breaking down her door. She was arrested and soon after found herself being extradited to Spain to be tried abroad. Terry was sentenced to ten years in a maximum-security Spanish prison. Passport to Hell is the hard-hitting account of her fight for justice, a page-turning memoir of an ordinary woman who survived and eventually triumphed over remarkable misfortune. During her time inside, Terry Daniels’ story was featured in The Mirror, The Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph and appeared on every major news programme. There will be extracts and serialisations to promote this book in national newspapers, magazines and websites plus TV and radio appearances by Terry. Her extradition was a landmark case resulting in changes to the law regarding interpretation and translation and access to documents and nowadays she undertakes charity work on behalf of Fair Trials International and Prisoners Abroad; and volunteers with ex-offenders and drug abusers.  Passport to Hell is out in January 2012 and you can order it here.

Now, what do you think is the fastest selling bit of kitchen kit at the moment? No, it’s not a juicer. No, it’s not one of those dinky little coffee machines; no, it’s not even a breadmaker. It’s a halogen oven. Sarah Flower has been a great fan of halogen ovens ever since their launch and is the author of several bestselling books on halogen ovens, including The Everyday Halogen Oven. Now comes The Complete Halogen Oven Cookbook - her full colour guide to using a halogen oven.  In this comprehensive and fully illustrated book she shares with you the many tips and tricks she has learned while cooking with virtually all the available halogen oven models.  It includes many of the old family favourites, now with colour photos, plus many new dishes that Sarah has created and personally tested. There are recipes specially designed for one or two people, and many complete meals you can prepare without ever using a conventional hob.  Her website gives you all the info you could possibly ever need on halogen ovens, if you’re not familiar with this product; but really all you need to know is: halogen ovens are a growing trend; this author is the bestselling guru on the subject; a full colour book from her is published in January 2013; you can order it here.

OK who’s seen Skyfall? Isn’t it absolutely fantastic? However, eagle eyed (and pedantic) Londoners might have noticed that the train which narrowly misses Daniel Craig as he dives through an escape hatch on the District Line – is not in fact a District Line train. Thank you so much the Daily Telegraph letters page for pointing out this vital fact. However, if producers Broccoli and Wilson had read Mind the Gap: A London Underground Miscellany by Emily Kearns then they probably wouldn't have made such a rookie error. The iconic Tube has been around for 150 years, and today 150,000 passengers use the Underground every hour. During 2013 there is bound to be huge amounts  of publicity to celebrate the 150th anniversary; and this entertaining book  explores the way the London Underground is used, not only as transport, but as a location for filming, as a cultural marker, a setting for books, a gallery to showcase new artwork and a forum for discussion. The capital’s subterranean railway provides a wealth of untold stories and hidden stations ripe for discovery and this book should sell really well – not just in London.

And while on the subject of Skyfall and trains – who’s seen the great promotion by Coke where they gave unsuspecting passengers at a busy station just 70 seconds to win tickets to the film… 

We’re off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of….But hands up who knows that this iconic film was based on a book originally published in 1900? And who knew that this book was such a huge success (long before the film was even a glimmer in MGM’s eye) that it led to Baum writing a further thirteen books based in the Land of Oz. And you probably don’t know either, that in March 2013 there will be a new film: Oz: The Great and Powerful. Directed by Sam Raimi and featuring James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz (who incidentally is Mrs Daniel Craig – ooh it’s all connected) and Zach Braff. It is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz telling how the Wizard (James Franco) arrived in Oz and became ruler. So what better time for publisher Hesperus to come up with beautiful new editions of the first four titles in the series: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Marvellous Land of Oz, The Emerald City of Oz and Glinda of Oz. The new covers really are stunning – modern, stylish and eye-catching; they give these classic and timeless tales a whole new lease of life with editions which any adult or child would be proud to own.

 You won’t be surprised to hear that the classic 1939 film is one of my favourites. But which bit is best?  I think the scarecrow’s opening song is a great moment – aka (as many on YouTube have commented) Mitt Romney’s theme tune.  

This newsletter is sent weekly to over 550 booksellers. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website.

That’s all for now folks, more next week!

Friday 9 November 2012

Compass Points 22

Your weekly round up of publishing news, publicity information and trivia!

There’s a great review of Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel by Peter L. Winkler in this week’s Guardian which you can read here. From the age of 19, Dennis Hopper believed that he was a genius. However, late in life even he had to admit that there was a "vast body of crap – most of the 150 films I've been in – this river of shit that I've tried to make gold out of". He started out as a promising young supporting actor in Hollywood, where he fell under the spell of James Dean (they shared an interest in grass and peyote). But when Dean suddenly died, Hopper – who once saw Dean's ghost in the back of his car – went off the rails and ruined his career. Cue descent into alcohol, drugs and violence ("The marriage reached a turning point on the afternoon that Hopper broke his wife's nose"), followed by resurrection as the co-writer, director and star of Easy Rider. What a classic film – here’s a little snapshot to remind yourself.

 This book unsparingly documents Hopper’s journey from self-destructive bad boy to iconic survivor of the counterculture. It is the first book to cover the entire life and career of the man who hung out with Elvis Presley, and Jack Nicholson, and is a must-have for Hopper’s fans, film buffs, and readers hooked on celebrity scandals.

This year has seen some absolutely spectacular ceremonies – the opening of the Olympics to name just one. When we watch these huge extravaganzas, I’m sure many of us wonder how on earth the organisers have managed to pull it off! And do things ever go totally tits up? Well, now we can find out! It’s All Going Terribly Wrong is a wonderfully funny account of the many major events that Sir Michael Parker KCVO CBE has organised - including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee; birthday celebrations for the Queen; London’s G7 conference; royal weddings in countries such as Jordan; victory commemorations; charity events and some of the world’s largest military tattoos – Berlin, Edinburgh and the London Tournament. His all too imaginative plans were all too often achieved in the face of stifling bureaucracy and often to the surprise of more senior officers - his designs got more elaborate every year – he once ended a military show on ice! He records his triumphs and disasters and the inside story of some spectacular cock-ups – although to the spectators and the watching world on television all might have seemed fine!

 His plans for the Queen’s 1977 Silver Jubilee bonfires definitely did not go to plan – much to the Queen’s amusement …and as for the fireworks in Hyde Park to celebrate Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding – that’s another story!  But Sir Michael Parker cannot have got it all wrong – he was knighted by the Queen and also awarded the CBE. The book has just been launched in London – and as you might expect for an author with so many connections – the launch party was very well attended!  As a result the book will be featured by royal correspondents, social diarists and reviewers in much of the national press – including:  the Daily Mail, the Standard, the Sunday Telegraph, the Sunday Times, the Scotsman, Tatler, The Field and the Spectator. Any sort of book with authentic royal gossipy stories always sells well – and this handsome hardback would make a great Christmas gift.

Publicity and word of mouth are building this week for The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen. Reviews will appear in many of the nationals soon, and there is a terrific review on Crime Time – the popular crime website edited by Barry Forshaw, which you can read in full here.  This thriller has a taut, suspenseful plot and unexpected twists and turns. It explores schoolyard bullying and the effect it has on young people when adults look the other way. Urban settings and strong portraits of authentic characters are crafted in depth and detail, ensuring the book will linger in the reader’s mind. This Nordic noir crime novel is perfect for fans of Jo Nesbo and The Killing and The Bridge. Carin says The Gingerbread House is a novel about evil – and the consequences of a horrible childhood. It's also concerned with issues of how disrespect from the people around you will ruin your self-confidence, and compromises your hopes for the future. As a child, I was subjected to intimidation and harassment myself, so the plot of the book came easily to me. Many of the scenes in the novel are versions of my own experiences. I wanted to explore how different people react to traumatic experience, and how bad childhood experiences can distort our adult lives. It's a crucial tenet for me that we all should take responsibility for the wellbeing of the people around us.” Powerful stuff – as is the novel itself – you can click here to read the first chapter.

The new titles published in January 2012 are now on the the Compass New Titles Website and one of the most popular is likely to be Finally Free! The Easy Way to Stop Smoking for Women by Allen Carr. January is the key time for people to try and give up smoking, and Allen Carr is recognized as the world’s leading expert on helping smokers to quit. He has sold over £13m books and his technique has enabled millions of smokers to stop easily, painlessly and permanently.  This book is a presentation of his famous Easyway method specifically adapted for women - it has accessible new text and an upbeat, attractive design. As Ellen DeGeneres said:  “I stopped smoking… I read this book by Allen Carr. It’s called The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. Everyone who reads this book stops smoking!” If you like Ellen, watch her here talking very amusingly about stopping using Allen’s method!

Now, if there’s one thing that the British public seem to be truly fascinated by, it’s history and genealogy. Who Do You Think You Are? is watched by over 4 million regular viewers each week and is in its 8th series. The public’s fascination with DNA has also never been greater, with Steve Jones and Richard Dawkins regularly making the bestseller charts with their works. So it’s great to hear that in January comes a fascinating new book; Britain’s DNA: A People’s History by Alistair Moffat with a foreword by Eddie Izzard. This is published to coincide with a major, nationwide BBC1 2-part series featuring Eddie Izzard as he follows his ancestors’ movements as they made their way from Africa, through Europe, to Britain. Based on exciting new research involving the most wide-ranging sampling of DNA ever made in Britain, Alistair Moffat shows how all of us who live on these islands are immigrants. Hidden inside all of us – every human being on Earth – is the story of our ancestry. Printed on our DNA are the origins of our lineages, the time in history and prehistory when they arose, and the epic journeys people have made across the globe. Moffat writes an entirely new history of Britain where instead of the usual parade of the usual suspects– kings, queens, saints, warriors and the notorious – this is a people’s history, a narrative made from stories only DNA can tell which offers insights into who we are and where we come from.

And hey – Eddie Izzard – who doesn’t love a bit of that on a Friday afternoon. Here he is, trying to educate an American audience about British history…

This blog is sent  weekly to over 550 booksellers. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website.

That’s all for now folks, more next week!

Friday 2 November 2012

Compass Points 21

Your weekly round up of publishing news, publicity information and trivia!

On 12 May 2009 Margaret Evison’s son Lieutenant Mark Evison died of wounds sustained whilst leading a patrol in Helmand Province. Hailed a hero, Mark’s death was a national sacrifice, his funeral public, his grave to be one of many in the identical, ordered rows in a military cemetery.  But to his mother Margaret it was the most intimate of griefs. In Death of a Soldier, she attempts to reconcile her own unanswerable sense of loss with the idea that her son died for a good cause. With her, we confront the horror  of his death and witness her struggle to see epithets such as ‘heroic’ and ‘noble’ as more than a mask to hide that  ugliness. Included in the book is Mark’s diary, kept while he was in Afghanistan and delivered to Margaret at home some weeks later. Widely quoted since its discovery, it contains the thoughts of a sensitive young officer and serves as a poignant reminder of the terrible human cost of the war in Afghanistan. Whilst this is a book about the nature of grief, it is also the story of a mother’s struggle to understand how and why her son came to die, and as such it touches on many issues of public interest. Margaret Evison was on BBC Breakfast this morning talking about the book and there is also an interview on the BBC News Channel which is being played constantly. In the run up to Remembrance Sunday there will be many more interviews with Margaret and coverage of this book in general. She is on Radio 5 on Sunday morning, there was an interview in the Times on Tuesday and the Standard, the Daily Mail and the Sunday Express are all running pieces this weekend. Next week Margaret is doing a morning of regional radio interviews and will be appearing on the LBC Book Club on Thursday and Sky Sunrise on Remembrance Sunday.  She is also doing Women’s Hour on Radio 4 on Christmas Day.  As Margaret eloquently demonstrates, that mixture of the personal and political is what uniquely characterises the death of a soldier, and this articulate, revealing and at times almost unbearably moving book is an important reflection on loss, war and our responsibilities to those we send to fight.

Now – we don’t often tell you about children’s books – but this one has turned into a bit of a hot news story – and is now even trending on Twitter. The Tobermory Cat by Debi Gliori could have just been another rather lovely picture book, but instead it has been drawn into an increasingly surreal copyright battle, which has rumbled on for months and become ever more vicious, featuring hate mail, "screams of abuse" over the telephone and cyber-bullying. And all over a cat! Once upon a time, a ginger tom cat lived in Tobermory on the Scottish isle of Mull. The tourists loved him; a local artist even set up a Facebook page collecting photos of him lounging on walls, soaking up the sunshine. A Scottish publisher decided to commission a children's book about the Tobermory Cat, and asked a well-known author to write it. Everyone lived happily ever after. The End. Except it wasn't. You can read the full story in the Guardian here. In the meantime, you know what they say, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and The Tobermory Cat continues to sell and sell. The publishers (Birlinn) are highly likely to sell out of the first (hardback) edition – so order it now while you can! The Times will be covering the story this weekend – and other papers are sure to get onto it – you know what the media are like once they get hold of something a bit controversial!  The debate over whether you can copyright an idea, a story or a title is a fascinating one, and is sure to run and run…

Feeling stressed? Just say F**k It! This is the headline of a two page article in Grazia magazine (easily the bestselling women’s weekly) this week and it refers to the Hay House title just published: F**k It: The Profane Way to Profound Happiness by John C Parkin. This bestselling author believes these two tiny yet powerful words are the key to becoming happier and less stressed. He says “I run relaxation and therapy retreats in the UK and Italy. I found myself telling people to just say f**k it to things that were stressing them out. It soon because clear that most people found saying that phrase was just as relaxing and powerful as hours of meditation. The two words pinpoint what causes the most stress in our lives; that we care about too many things. And of course the F-word has inherent power. If you say it calmly it helps you let go and relax.” Common sense? Or pretentious nonsense, likely to end up in Private Eye’s Pseuds Corner? Either way, a big article like this in Grazia is terrific publicity for the book!

Ooh is there anything nicer than the smell of warm freshly baked bread on a cold winter’s day like today? Brilliant Breadmaking in your Bread Machine by Catherine Atkinson is published this month and is both for those who are new to bread making but also those who want to expand their repertoire of recipes. Bread Machines are still big sellers – especially in the colder months, and this terrific title takes you through the basic techniques and provides foolproof advice on how to make the perfect loaf. If you are concerned about what goes into the food you eat, you can now decide the ingredients of your daily bread yourself, and make bread that you will love. There are chapters on breads for those on special or restricted diets, such as gluten-free, and recipes using spelt and rye flours. All recipes are suitable for all makes of bread machine, and most recipes include ingredients for medium or large loaves or a small loaf using a compact bread machine.  Catherine is a full-time writer and food consultant to many food and lifestyle magazines and has written more than fifty cookbooks. And if you just fancy a bit of cookery karaoke in your bookshop – then click below for the fantastic Masterchef Synesthesia rap!

Few foreigners are lucky enough to set foot on Tibetan soil, but Alec Le Sueur spent five extraordinary years there, working in the unlikeliest Holiday Inn in the world. The Hotel on the Roof of the World: Five Years in Tibet is set against the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayas as Alec unfolds a highly amusing and enlightening account of his experiences. Fly infestations at state banquets, unexpected deliveries of live snakes, a predominance of yaks, the unbelievable Miss Tibet competition, and a dead guest are just some of the entertainments to be found at the ‘Fawlty Towers’ of Lhasa. This is a unique and humorous insight into a fascinating country which even today remains largely closed off from the rest of the world. Previous editions have sold 15,000 copies – this has a eye-catching new cover, and is already getting a lot of good publicity – there is a review coming up in Adventure Travel magazine (circ 20,000) and also National Geographic magazine (circ 70,000). It is published in January and you can order it here. Michael Palin said of it, (and this quote is on the cover) ‘One of the most strangely seductive places I’ve been to... Thank you to Alec Le Sueur for bringing it to life.’

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That’s all for now folks, more next week!