Friday 5 December 2014

Compass Points 109

Well, I’m very sorry of course, that it’s not published by one of the Compass publishers; but anything that brings people into bookshops must be good! How many copies of Girl Online have you sold? Zoe Sugg’s debut novel sold 78,109 copies last week – more than JK Rowling, Dan Brown or EL James achieved with their first books. The sales record is the highest since Nielsen BookScan began compiling data in 1998! JK Rowling brought out her first Harry Potter book a year before that and in an initial print run of only 1,000 copies (and don’t we all wish we owned one of those!) Fifty Shades of Grey sold 14,814 copies in its first week, although it went on to become the best-selling debut of all time. Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons sold only 98 copies in its first week of UK release, and Twilight just 53 copies. Reacting to news of her record-breaking fiction debut, Sugg said: ‘It’s such an amazing feeling. I’m so grateful to everyone who has bought a copy of Girl Online. I love that so many of my viewers are enjoying the book! " The sequel is out this summer.

Another important news story today is that the High Court has deemed the government’s ban on sending books to prisoners unlawful. Mr Justice Collins today declared the ban unlawful saying he could see “no good reason” for the rule, “in the light of the importance of books for prisoners.” New measures were brought in November last year in England and Wales, preventing prisoners receiving parcels unless under “exceptional circumstances”, but the High Court gave its ruling today after the case was brought by Barbara Goron-Jones, a life sentence prisoner at Send Jail in Surrey. J K Rowling tweeted that she was "delighted" to hear the ruling, while Ian McEwan, meanwhile, added: “The imagination triumphs over small-mindedness. This is great news for prisoners, great news for the book.”  You can read the full story in today's Bookseller here

Now moving from the present into the future, Beta-Life: Short Stories from an A-Life Future (pb, 978 1905583652, £12.99) was featured on Radio 4's Open Book on Sunday 30th November. Martyn Amos (the Co-editor) and Sarah Schofield (a contributor) were interviewed by Mariella Frostrup and the programme featured an excerpt from Sarah's story The Bactogarden. The programme will be repeated on Thursday 4th December at 3.30pm on Radio 4, and is available to listen to online here. This anthology of specially-commissioned stories imagines life in 2070 an exploring the future of robotics, and the possibilities promised by the next generation of computers. It features works from award-winning authors such as Stuart Evers, Julian Gough, Toby Litt, David Vann and Adam Marek as well as fifteen pioneers in evolution-designed robotics as well as pioneers in the Life Game, computer games technology, and artificial intelligence. This is one for all fans of science fiction and speculative fiction; and taps into the current worldwide focus on futurism, AI, and advanced technology. Beta Life is published by Comma Press and you can order it here

Sound like something out of Terminator – one of my fave bits of SF ever, remind yourself of the brilliance here!

An interesting book coming in the New Year is Back to the Future of Socialism by Labour MP for Neath, Peter Hain  (hb, 978 1447321668, £20.00). In this personal, accessibly written polemic, Peter Hain reassesses Crosland’s classic 1956 text The Future of Socialism and sets it in the present day, thereby redefining Labour’s future. He asks what’s gone wrong with capitalism, and how should governments respond? Did Big Government or Big Banking cause the global financial crisis, and is the answer investment, austerity, market forces or more regulation? With the UK approaching a UK in 1015 there are bound to be many political books jostling for space on your shelves, but please make room for this one.  It is written by a well known, respected but controversial Labour MP and is bound to attract a lot of media attention. It will be serialised in the Observer and the Guardian, and there will be a launch at the House of Commons, plus an author tour and bookshops signings around the UK. It is published by Policy Press in January.  Order it and find out more here

So much publicity around at the moment for Valerie Trierweiler’s explosive memoir Thank You for the Moment (978 1849548236, hb, £18.99). This book is featured absolutely EVERYWHERE– even Grazia magazine had it in their Top 5 Hot Things to Do this Week column,  so please make sure you keep it on display! This fascinating memoir of an extraordinary woman whose private life became very public as she was unwittingly cast into the eye of a political storm is published by Biteback, has had great reviews with Grazia for example calling is “brilliant” and the Independent commenting “I have long thought Britain should follow the US and give an official role and speaking part to the leaders’ wives (or husbands), and this book reinforces this argument.” You can find out more and order it here.

An excellent book to have ready for all those January de-toxers flooding into your shopping looking for assistance, is 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse by JJ Smith (pb, 978 1781805466 10.99). This diet has become a phenomenon in the United States and looks set to be THE diet book for 2015. 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse is actually a bit of a publishing phenomenon. Originally self-published, it sold 80,000 copies before being acquired by Simon &Schuster, whose editions shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Now released with in an expanded edition with all new colour photography and 30% new material, this edition is the definitive version. The 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse promises to jump-start your weight loss, increase your energy level, clear your mind and improve your overall health. This book provides a shopping list, recipes and detailed instructions for the 10-day cleanse, along with suggestions for getting the best results. If you successfully complete the 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse, the book says you will lose 10-15 pounds in 10 days and naturally crave healthy foods so you never have to diet again. Let’s face it – that’s got to be worth a try! The book will be excerpted in Bella magazine on 6th January (circ. 195,000) and will feature in a future issue of Spirit & Destiny (circ. 39,000) and Healthy magazine (circ. 120,000). It will also be excerpted by Red Online in December (450,000 unique monthly browsers) and the author will be interviewed by Talk Radio Europe on 5th January (2 million unique monthly listeners). The book will also feature in up to 200 regional newspapers in January 2015 as part of a ‘New Year, New You’ feature syndication. 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse is published by Hay House and you can order it here

You can see JJ discussing her book on TV in a five minute interview on YouTube here

One person we’re sure to be seeing plenty of in 2015 is Nigel Farage. Like him or loath him, there’s no doubt he has become an important and influential figure in British politics. His apparent fearlessness and off-message willingness to speak his mind, while horrifying many, has offered a tonic to those who are sick to death of the usual round of sound bite politicians. Nigel Farage in His Own Words edited by Andrew Liddell is a dazzling array of politically incorrect, tell-it-like-it-is bon mots and public utterances, collected in one highly entertaining volume. Who did he say this about, for example: “I don’t want to be rude but, really, you have the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk and the question I want to ask is: ‘Who are you?’ I’d never heard of you. Nobody in Europe has ever heard of you.” Farage and UKIP are primed to do well in next year’s general election; and hopefully the leader’s growing popularity will be reflected among book buyers. His autobiography, Flying Free (978 1849540940), has already sold 7,000 units. Nigel Farage in His Own Words (pb, 978 1849548175 £7.99) is published by Biteback in February and you can find out more and order it here

The African Equation by Yasmina Khadra is, a gripping story of moral conflict, set in  East Africa, from an author who is, (as the TLS said) “a skilled storyteller working at the height of his powers.” This bestselling author – sales of 3 million in 42 countries – tells a tale of cultural awakening and lasting friendship which begins when Kurt Krausmann, a recently bereaved Frankfurt doctor, is persuaded to join his friend Hans on a humanitarian mission to the Comoros islands. On the way, misfortune strikes: the boat is hijacked in the Gulf of Aden and the men are taken hostage. This is a gripping read, and the author’s previous title, The Swallows of Kabul, has sold well. The African Equation by Yasmina Khadra (pb, 978 1908313706, £8.99) is published by Gallic in February and you can order it and find out more here

Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box by Robert Ford and Philip Cowley (978 1849547550) published by Biteback has been selected by Helen Lewis in the Guardian as one of her Political Books of the Year – she describes the above title as a stocking filler for the 'politics nerd in your life'. This collection of essays on all kinds of fascinating trivia, from the reasons why wannabe councillors should change their name to Aaron Aardvark to explaining why men seem more knowledgeable about politics than women (answer: they're bluffing) is indeed the ideal Christmas present.
Read the whole article here

Got your Christmas lights up yet? Here are some of the best from all around the UK!

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

This blog is taken from a newsletter which is sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website or talk to your Compass Sales representative.

Friday 28 November 2014

Compass Points 108

How sad to hear the news that PD James died yesterday aged 94. Those of you that have had the pleasure of meeting her in your bookshops will know what a remarkable person she was – a great loss to the publishing world. She told the BBC last year she was working on another detective story and it was "important to write one more. With old age, it becomes very difficult. It takes longer for the inspiration to come, but the thing about being a writer is that you need to write," she said. "I hope I would know myself whether a book was worth publishing. I think while I am alive, I shall write. There will be a time to stop writing but that will probably be when I come to a stop, too." Here are a couple of clips from films of two of her best known works: the thought provoking and chilling Children of Men, and in complete contrast, the scene where one of her best loved characters, detective Adam Dalgiesh (played by Martin Shaw) proposes, in The Murder Room. If you haven’t read any PD James I urge you to start now – you have many treats in store!

The buzz is really building for The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Theriault (pb, £7.99 9781843915362) published by Hesperus. There have been three great reviews so far with the Guardian calling the book “quirky and charming”, the Independent calling it a “beguiling story” with “all the makings of a hit” and the TLS saying “the writing is peppered with delightful insights”. Its author, Denis Theriault is in the UK at the moment and doing lots of publicity before his slot on the Simon Mayo’s BBC Radio 2 Book Club on Monday 1st December at 6pm. Radio Two are already trailing the book – you can see it on the Radio 2 website here. The Radio Two Book Club could not be better promotion for this title – the show is massively popular, and just the thing to really push this title into the big league. You have sold 11,500 copies so far and after Monday it could be even more!

There was a fantastic plug for A CH Sisson Reader, which is edited by Patrick McGuinness and Charlie Louth in the Guardian last week which you can read here. C.H. Sisson was born in Bristol in 1914 and to celebrate his centenary, the CH Sisson Reader includes a generous selection of his poems, translations and essays. The poems are drawn from all periods of Sisson's writing life, from the darkly satirical work of the 1950s and 1960s to the Virgilian Somerset poems to the reflective late poems in which Sisson, looking out on the landscape he cherished, sees himself standing at the “last promontory of life”. The essays demonstrate the wit, precision and sheer scope of Sisson's writings on literature, culture and politics. The review in the Guardian is glowing: “He was great, in his way, and shouldn’t be forgotten … His essays are superb. His pieces on Eliot, WB Yeats and Edward Thomas are supremely useful no matter how well you know their work.”  A CH Sisson Reader by Patrick McGuinness and Charlie Louth (978 1847772657) has just been published by Carcanet and you can find out more here

Refusing the Veil by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (978 1849547505, £10, hb) is another title in the new Provocations series (the groundbreaking new series of short polemics composed by some of the most intriguing voices in contemporary culture) from Biteback. As a Shia Muslim woman, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown will never accept that the veil is a legitimate choice for any woman. Her mother’s generation threw them off in the 20’s and stamped their mark on history. Alibhai-Brown argues that what they did was as serious and brave as the struggles of western suffragettes. The Koran does not command full veiling. In Refusing the Veil, she makes an argument for reclaiming female human rights and freedoms. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a prominent commentator on issues relating to immigration, diversity and multiculturalism. She is a regular columnist for The Independent and the Evening Standard. Yasmin is writing a piece for the Independent on Sunday on this topic – and there will be many who are very interested in what she has to say. They have just reviewed the book saying “Those interested in equality, justice and the emancipation of all women should buy this accessible, forthright book, talk about it and share its central message.”

Authenticity is a Con (hb, 978 1849547871, £10.00) by Peter York is the third title in this series, published this month. Politicians are now told they must be ‘authentic’-like Nigel Farage, drinking, smoking, men of the people. Food has to be ‘authentic’ meaning, presumably, made in ovens of clay with woods taken from the right tree in Tuscany or Bengal, using milk from named cow breeds which have been grazing on particular age old grass etc. It is all a con says York – the authenticity brigade is taking people for a ride. Nothing is real, and that’s no bad thing! Peter York is an author, broadcaster, journalist, management consultant and cultural commentator. He was Style Editor of Harpers and Queen for ten years and he co-authored The Sloane Ranger Handbook in 1982.

Ok here’s a title to order under the category books you know your customers will be clamouring for come January; but aren’t the slightest bit interested in at this precise moment. And that title is Stop Drinking Now by Allen Carr (pb, £9.99. 978 1848379824) published by Arcturus. This is a fresh take on the Allen Carr method with all-new text and includes a free hypnotherapy CD. Most drinkers are convinced that it's almost impossible to stop drinking. But this book shows you how to stop immediately, painlessly and permanently. It understands drinkers and how they think and, without being judgemental or patronising, takes them through the process of how to get alcohol out of their lives. This book has more compelling evidence than ever before that your addiction to alcohol is much less physical than it is mental. Alcohol is not something your body needs, but something your mind thinks it needs. Stop Drinking Now explains the mental process of addiction and how to reverse that process easily, painlessly and permanently. Allen Carr is recognized as the world's leading expert in helping smokers to quit and he has sold over 15 million books. Stop Drinking Now applies Allen Carr's Easyway method to the problems of addiction to alcohol, allowing readers to take back control of their lives.

Ahh – how times have changes when adults actually want to stop drinking. Not so long ago, we even featured having one too many in popular children’s TV programmes – who remembers this classic moment in Camberwick Green when Windy Miller has to have a little snooze after one too many glugs of cider!

Do you enjoy selling books? Or would you rather be doing something else? How about this for a really interesting job; Basil Thomson was responsible for hunting, arresting and interrogating possible spies identified by the British intelligence services before the First World War. Odd People (pb, 978 18495479, £9.99) was originally published in 1922 and this classic espionage title is available for the first time in many decades in January from Biteback.  Basil Thomson was head of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Metropolitan Police and in Odd People, he recalls the hysteria of his age, rocked by exuberant spy-scares provoked by German aggression in the build-up to war and by those within the British establishment who sought to manipulate popular panic. Speakers in Parliament claimed that there were 80,000 Germans working in Britain’s railway stations and hotels just waiting to reinforce an imagined invasion army. The Daily Mail helpfully instructed its readers that they should ‘refuse to be served by a German waiter’. Against this backdrop, Thomson himself was an Edwardian novelty; a real-life Sherlock Holmes, to whom he compared himself –though he thought his own caseload far more interesting than any of Conan Doyle’s fictional sleuth. Odd People is a compendium of the marvellous specimens he tracked and interrogated in those extraordinary times, most famous among them the exotic dancer, courtesan and spy, Mata Hari. Above all, this extraordinary memoir is a wittily observed and fascinating portrait of an incomparably exciting job at a time of great national crisis and paranoia.

Hollywood has always been fascinated by these spies – Mata Hari in particular. Here is a particularly daft (and also rather saucy!) two minute clip about her from a film made in 1984!

Stevie Davies is a Booker Prize shortlisted author whose new novel Awakening is published by Parthian in January (pb, 978 1909844704, 8.99). The novel is set in Wiltshire 1860: one year after Darwin’s explosive publication of The Origin of Species. Sisters Anna and Beatrice Pentecost awaken to a world shattered by science, radicalism and the stirrings of feminist rebellion; a world of charismatic religious movements, Spiritualist séances, bitter loss and medical trauma. This historical novel is “Charged with sensitivity to the otherness of the past ...her social comedy breathes life into an oppressive world” according to  Helen Dunmore writing in the Guardian; while the Independent says that “Davies weaves this intricate web of faltering, painful relationships with great skill and writes very powerfully and movingly about the subtle half-tones and tentativeness of love, of childbirth, of loss as well as the horribly intrusive shock of male Victorian medical practice towards women.”

You can here a short clip of Stevie reading from the first chapter of Awakening here.

What do we think those who are dead would say to us if they could talk? Well according to a recent episode of Dr Who, they would say “Please don’t cremate me“ (prompting a fairly large of complaints to the BBC incidentally). Maybe many of us don’t think about this that often, but lot of people believe that there is a purpose behind the events of our world, that everything happens for a reason, that there are no mistakes. And lots wonder, what’s next? Is there life after death? Will I ever see my loved ones again? In The Top 10 Things Dead People Want to Tell YouNew York Times bestselling author Mike Dooley explores these questions, and gives readers a fresh and unconventional perspective on life, its meaning and how to live it well. In ten profound chapters, he offers his personal observations about the world in the form of a letter from the recently deceased, sharing the revelations and insights they have gained since their transition, like:
• They're not dead.
• They're sorry for the pain they caused.
• They were ready to go when they went.
• Your pets are as crazy, brilliant and loving, here, as they were there.
The Top 10 Things Dead People Want to Tell You offers hope to those who've lost loved ones, and gives us a new way of looking at death that can radically improve the way we live today. The Top Ten Things Dead People Want to Tell You by Mike Dooley has just been published by Hay House (£10.99, pb, 9781781803943 and the book and author will be featured in the November/December issue of Kindred Spirit magazine.

You may find interesting the news that Amazon Anonymous has raised £7,000 for a campaign urging people not to shop with Amazon this Christmas. The campaign group is asking people to sign up to its Amazon Free Challenge, where customers boycott shopping with Amazon from the 1st to the 25th of December to show the retailer that: “if they don’t pay their workers or pay their fair share of tax, we won’t pay them”. The group said instead it would help shoppers find more ethical alternatives to buy their Christmas presents from. You can read all about it in this Bookseller article here – and I would recommend scrolling down to the comments section for more salient points on this thorny issue.

Following last week’s fab 6Music film about the glories of a library, I rather like this beautifully illustrated love letter to libraries  by Chris Riddell explaining exactly why they are such special places. As with last weeks paean, much of this could equally well apply to bookshops!

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

This blog is taken from a newsletter sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website or talk to your Compass Sales representative.

Thursday 20 November 2014

Compass Points 107

Hurrah – the festive season is almost upon us – a fantastic excuse to eat and dink as much as we like! But come January, we all know that what we – and all of your customers – will be in the mood for; yep, some sort of drastic detox. How fortunate then that published in that very month is Super Juice Me! A 28-Day Juice Plan by Jason Vale (author of the best-selling Funky Fresh Juice Book ) Jason made a groundbreaking and critically acclaimed film, Super Juice Me! The Big Juice Experiment, in which eight people with twenty-two different diseases between them, lived on nothing but freshly extracted juice for 28 days. Jason wanted to test what effect, if any, living on a juice only diet for 28-days would have on their diseases and overall health. The results at the end of the Super Juice Me! Big Juice Experiment were nothing short of remarkable, with every person experiencing positive changes to their health conditions; one person even lost 38lbs in just those 28 days! A DVD of this film is going to be shrink-wrapped to the front of Hello magazine in January – which will give it massive exposure. Super Juice Me! is without question the single most effective juice diet yet; as Jason says, “Give Me 28-Days And I’ll Give You Back Your Life”. He challenges anyone suffering from overweight or a lifestyle disease, to try it on for size. As you can imagine, the media will be all over this book! ITV’s This Morning will be interviewing Jason on 17th of December, OK! Magazine will review it on 22nd December, BBC Radio 2 Steve Wright in the Afternoon will feature it on 8th of January, Channel 4 Sunday Brunch will talk about it on 11th January and there will be lots more local and national radio interviews. So make sure you have ordered plenty – it’s going to be BIG! Super Juice Me! A 28-Day Juice Plan (£11.99, pb, 978 0954766450) is published by Crown House Publishing in January, and you can find out more and order it here

Click here to watch a trailer for Jason Vale’s Super Juice Me! documentary.

We are now entering a period of intense promotion on Radio Two for the The Popmaster Quiz Book. Just to remind you, this is based on the pop quiz that takes place on the Radio Two morning show hosted by Ken Bruce which reaches over 8 million listeners. Popmaster is a much loved feature – and there is no doubt in my mind that this book is the perfect Christmas present for anyone who loves Radio Two, anyone who loves quizzes, or any one who loves pop music – and that must be a fairly massive cross-section of all your customers! Starting on 1 December, there will be a full week of promotion for the The Popmaster Quiz Book on air on BBC Radio 2, which will continue with a plug for the title following the daily quiz right through to Christmas. There will also be a whole page promoting the book on the BBC Radio 2 website. The Popmaster Quiz Book contains hundreds of officially approved questions to tease and enthral from the BBC show offering readers the chance to score their own results and test their knowledge against friends and family. The format gives a clever way of revealing the answers, adding to the fun! The Popmaster Quiz Book (pb, £9.99, 978 190595950 1) is published by Red Planet and you can order it here

And if you’d like to do a different sort of pop quiz – then click here to find out which pop star is your alter ego!

The Costa Book Award Shortlist has been just announced and is getting lots of press coverage. Originally established in 1971 as the Whitbread Prize, the Costa Book Awards is the only major UK book prize that recognises the most enjoyable books across five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book. You can read all about it this year’s awards in the Guardian here. We are delighted to announce that the Carcanet poet Kei Miller has been shortlisted for the prestigious Costa Book Award for Poetry for The Cartographer Tries to Map A Way to Zion. The other 2014 Costa Poetry Award shortlistees are Colette Bryce for The Whole and Rain-domed Universe (Picador), Jonathan Edwards for My Family and Other Superheroes (Seren) and Lavinia Greenlaw for A Double Sorrow: Troilus and Criseyde (Faber & Faber). Winners in the five categories, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on Monday 5th January 2015. The overall winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2014 will receive £30,000 and will be selected and announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony on Tuesday 27th January 2015. The Cartographer Tries to Map A Way to Zion (pb, £9.95 978 1847772671) by Kei Miller is published by Carcanet.

While we’re thinking about celebrating the most enjoyable books – have a look here at Scroobius Pip's animated poem Library - commissioned by Chris Hawkins for BBC 6 Music – much of what he says could also apply to your bookshop – apart from the bit about books being free that is!!

Homophobia in sport is very much a hot topic at present. There are still currently no openly gay footballers in any of the major European football leagues, and in his new book Proud, former Welsh Rugby Union captain Gareth Thomas says he contemplated suicide so he would "not be part of a horrible world I had created around me". Olympic diver Tom Daley revealed in December last year that he was in a relationship with a man, but there are far fewer examples in football. In 1990, former England Under-21 international Justin Fashanu was the first professional footballer in Britain to reveal he was gay, and he took his own life eight years later, aged 37.  When Robbie Rogers stepped out onto the field as a winger for the LA Galaxy in May last year, he made history as the first openly gay man to play in a major US professional sport. Just a few months earlier Robbie came out, only the second footballer in Britain to do so, and decided to quit football for good. Coming out to Play describes Robbie’s experiences as a closeted gay man in the rampantly heterosexual world of professional football, his decision to come out and leave behind the sport he loved, and his subsequent decision to return to football and sign for the Galaxy. Robbie Rogers knew he wanted to be a professional footballer from the age of four and knew he was gay from the age of 13. He kept the latter completely hidden until he was 25 because he considered those two realities irreconcilable. Finally, in February 2013, in a blog post that received global attention, he came out to the world. Robbie’s memoir tells the story of the torturous but ultimately happy and groundbreaking path he trod. It is a fascinating account of what it is like to be openly gay in the macho environment of the world’s most popular sport. On 26 or 27 November, there will Robbie will do a big interview with Ross Kingon ITV’s Good Morning Britain and there will be other media coverage during December. This is an important and timely memoir, and there will be many interested in reading it. Coming Out To Play (hb, £20, 978 1849547208) is published by Biteback and you can find out more and order it here

Provocations is a groundbreaking new series of short polemics composed by some of the most intriguing voices in contemporary culture, and edited by journalist, broadcaster and commentator, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. Never less than sharp, intelligent and controversial, Provocations is a major new contribution to some of the most vital discussions in society today. There are three titles published in November all in hardback, from Biteback at £10, and you can see all three titles here

The first title is The Madness of Modern Parenting by Zoe Williams which argues that parenting has become a headache, leaving parents feeling failures because they can’t live up to all the expectations of society. This book is the antithesis of all parenting discussions and public policy, mainly through a series of bonkers research propositions, which take middle-class outcomes as superior, and then tracks back to isolate what exactly it is that middle-class parents do. We can all accept that a lack of parental love leads to terrible outcomes, but the truth is, pretty well all parents love their children. Can any parent or child really feel good in this quest for perfection and perpetual blaming? There will be an extract from this title in the Guardian shortly. Provocations: The Madness of Modern Parenting by Zoe Williams (£10, hb, 9781849547512) is published by Biteback and you can order it here.

Tell me, do you think you’ve done a good job as parents if your children turn into teenagers like Willow and Jaden Smith (whose parents are actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith)? Have a little look here at this interview with them and ask yourselves whether you’d be happy if your kids came up with such nonsense!

The 2oth Century in Cartoons: A History in Pictures by Tony Husband is published this month by Arcturus Publishing (hb, 978 1784044336, £12.99) A picture says more than a thousand words and this is a decade by decade résumé of the 20th Century featuring the work of the greatest cartoonists of their time. This book summarizes the major events of the century which saw the sinking of the Titanic, the First World War, Prohibition, the Depression, the rise and rise of the automobile and cinema, the Second World War, the Nuclear bomb, Civil Rights, the Space Race, Chernobyl and a host of other events, all captured here in cartoon form to provide a vivid history as it happened. It features the work of the greatest cartoonists of the 2oth Century, from Clifford Berryman, Bernard Partridge and Ed Valtman, through DR Fitzpatrick and Leslie Illingworth to David Low and Ray Lowrie. This book not only tells you the story of the 20th Century but is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud – and there aren’t many books you can say that about! It is a really fresh take on history with over 200 cartoons of the highest standard; you are in the hands of expert artists as their work guides you round their - and our - life and times. Find out more and order it here

And if you feel you haven’t got time to browse through The 2oth Century in Cartoons: A History in Pictures to find out about our life and times – then why not watch this fantastic history of the world in two minutes!

Emmeline Pankhurst (1858–1928) was a British political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement. In 1903, she founded the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). She died on 14 June1928, only weeks before the Conservative government extended the vote to all women over twenty-one years of age. Suffragette: My Own Story by Emmeline Pankhurst is the original autobiography of this massively influential and controversial suffragette. It is published by Hesperus in January (pb, 978 1843915591, £8.99) – and Emmeline’s story is the basis for the new Hollywood film Suffragette which is going to be HUGE! How do I know? Well, it features Meryl Streep in the role of Emmeline, and also stars Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter. It is already rumoured to be in the running for several awards. Suffragette releases in the UK on 16th January 2015. Emmeline Pankhurst was named as one of the 100 Most Important People of the
20th Century and featured in the BBC’s list of the 100 Greatest Britons. With insight and great wit, Suffragette: My Own Story chronicles the beginnings of her interest in feminism through to her militant and controversial fight for women’s right to vote. While she was the figurehead of the suffragette movement, it advocated some controversial tactics such as arson, violent protest and hunger strikes. Even today there is still debate about the effectiveness of her extreme strategies, but her work is recognised as a crucial element in achieving women's suffrage in Britain. Her mantle was taken up by her daughters and granddaughter with her legacy still very much alive today.

There isn’t an official trailer for Suffragette yet, but you can watch a great little 2 minute clip here which tells you all about it – including both a sneak previews of Meryl Streep filming it in Britain earlier this year – and also some great archive film from the British Film Institute.

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

This blog is taken from a  newsletter is sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website or talk to your Compass Sales representative.

Friday 14 November 2014

Compass Points 106

Let’s start with a bit of a literary quiz – which Shakespearean character do you think you most resemble? Hmm – Lady Macbeth or Juliet? Second Spear Carrier or Bottom? Have a go to find out who you really are?!

Well the nights are drawing in, the rain is thundering down – winter is well and truly on its way. What better time therefore to read a really dark and chilling thriller and Mind of Winter by Laura Kasischke is just such a book! It was the Winner of the Prix de Elle 2014 in France, and is a chilling and dark drama which combines domestic drama with elements of psychological suspense and horror - perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn or Kate Atkinson, Gone Girl and Before I Go to Sleep – you know the sort of thing.  On a snowy Christmas morning, Holly Judge awakens with the fragments of a nightmare floating on the edge of her consciousness. Thirteen years ago, she and her husband Eric adopted baby Tatty, from the Pokrovka Orphanage in Russia. Now, at fifteen, Tatiana is more beautiful than ever – and disturbingly erratic. As a blizzard rages outside, Holly and Tatiana are alone. With each passing hour, Tatiana’s mood darkens, and her behaviour becomes increasingly frightening . . . until Holly finds she no longer recognises her daughter. Mind of Winter is a spine-tingling and beautifully written novel that will leave you guessing until the very last page. Vogue called it “shocking” and reviews said “It’s rare and wonderful to find a book like Mind of Winter that is both a masterwork of evocative prose and a bone-chilling page-turner”. It’s published in January – but I bet you are ready to read it right now – and luckily you can! To get a free proof, email Ruby Bamber with your name and address at with Mind of Winter in the subject line – and one will soon be winging its way to you! Mind of Winter (978 1843915485, pb, £8.99) is published by Hesperus.
I love the cover for this title – have a look and find out more here.

Great publicity in the Telegraph this week for Mark Kitto’s book That’s China, which has just been published by Fortysix – you can read the whole article here. Again, reading copies of this title are available – just talk to your Compass rep. That’s China is the British entrepreneur’s gripping memoir about his daring attempt to force open China’s closed media sector. Told with Kitto’s trademark self-deprecating humour and potential unsettling honesty, That’s China (pb, £8.99, 978 9881677570) is that rare thing, a business saga that will have you on the edge of your seat all the way to the final showdown in the highest law court in China.

If you would like to listen  to Margaret Evison’s powerful and moving story about the death of her son in Afghanistan which has just been broadcast on the on the Afternoon Drama slot on BBC Radio 4; you can listen to Death of a Soldier here. Death of a Soldier (hb, 978 1849544498, £16.99) is a vitally important reflection on loss, war and our responsibilities to those we send to fight, and it is available now.

There is a great deal of media interest and publicity coming up for Valerie Trierweiler’s explosive memoir Thank You for the  Moment (978 1849548236, hb, £18.99). Her story about her tumultuous relationship with President Francois Hollande, sent shockwaves through the French political establishment and there will be loads of coverage of the book here over the next fortnight – with serials in the Daily Mail ( including a photo shoot) and also the Times Magazine – there will be a long interview with Valerie and she will be on the front cover. The Observer News Review are running a piece; there’s an interview in the Daily Telegraph - with Gyles Brandreth; she’ll be on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday 23rd November, and also on BBC Newsnight Monday 24th November. All of this publicity is bound to make people feel they’d like to read the book, so please make sure you have it on display! This fascinating memoir of an extraordinary woman whose private life became very public as she was unwittingly cast into the eye of a political storm is published by Biteback, you can find out more here.

Don’t forget about Telling Tales Out of School: A Miscellany of Celebrity School Days by Jonathan Sale which is published this month. The finished copies of this book are now in – and it looks great – with a much better cover than the proof one – now including the great quote from Michael Palin: “A rich compendium of shared confusion” and a fantastic list of many of the names inside, which include Clare Balding, Stephen Redgrave, Jeremy Paxman, Terry Jones, Melvyn Bragg, Simon Schama, Gary Lineker, Sue Townsend, Rannulph Fiennes – and many more! This is a fascinating collection of interviews where some of Britain’s most prominent personalities speak candidly about their childhood and their stories and anecdotes are often intriguing, startling and hilarious. Author Jonathan Sale says in his introduction: “Over a fifteen year period I have been engaged in a series of interviews of school, art school, drama school and university. They are on the whole, the kind of people sufficiently well known to appear on Desert Island Discs. It is not a crime to be a celebrity, and the word describes most of the people in this book. The word “interesting” however, describes all of them. Being a boring celebrity I hope you’ll agree should be a criminal offence. These are people who may not be typical – they have chosen to stick their heads above the parapet – but many of their experiences are similar to those undergone by the rest of us.” Telling Tales Out of School (hb, £18.99, 978 1849547734) is published by Robson Press, and you can find out more and order it here

While we’re on the subject of reminiscing about our school days – how many times a day do you bore your children about how little pocket money you used to get – or how costly things like phones were compared nowadays? Of are you one of those real oldies who is continually telling us that it was when things “went decimal” that everything started to get more expensive? Well you will have hours of entertainment on this fun inflation price conversion website finding out exactly how the numbers add up. Type in your salary for example – and see whether it would have been worth more or less if you were a Victorian bookseller in 1854! Or your pocket money – and the date you received it (sixpence a week in 1977 in my case) to see what you would be getting nowadays – (£3.70 – hmm) It goes right back to 1751 – oh what fascinating facts can be yours to entertain your pals with in the pub tonight!

Now – are you or are you not, Ready For Hillary? This becoming a highly relevant question in the US, with a Super Action committee driving ever forward to encourage her to run for President in 2016.   Read all about the campaign in this interesting article in The Daily Beast here.  And here’s a thought provoking view on what the liberal media think of Hillary – on the Politico website.  Ready for Hillary by Robin Renwick is a vivid, balanced and candid biography of Hillary Clinton and an assessment of her chances and abilities should she reach the highest office in the world. She will announce her position early in the New Year. Hillary Clinton’s biography Hard Choices (978 1471131509) has sold 30,000 copies in the UK since June 2014. What happens in the US inevitably has an effect on the UK; there are also many people who are absolutely fascinated by US politics and it is a major part of both A level and degree level politics courses. So there is a big market for this title.  Ready for Hillary by Robin Renwick (978 1849547888 £17.99) is published this month by Biteback and you can order it here.

Talking of the US, can you think of a book title for every American state? It doesn’t have to have the name of the state in the title of the book – it just has to be the best book to represent that state. Have a look here at this great map which does exactly that – and see if you agree with the choices!

And as a counterpart to that – where would you say are the ten top place in the UK that every book lover should visit? Have a look here for some suggestions – terrific photos, it makes me want to set off on a tour of Britain right now – but looking out of my window perhaps I’ll wait for better weather!

Yes yes, yes, I hear you say; enough of this literary stuff – what we really want is the next trailer for the hotly anticipated Fifty Shades of Grey film – out on Valentine’s Day 2015. Well you’re in luck – it’s just been released and you can watch it here.  And here’s the first trailer – if you’re not one of the 36 million who’ve already watched it – looks remarkably similar to the second one to me – but hey – EL James would surely approve of making a little go a very long way!

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

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