Thursday 30 January 2014

Compass Points 72

The Forever Girl by bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith (hb, £16.99 978 1846972294) is published by Birlinn next week. This is a brand new novel from one of the world’s most popular authors. This moving love is the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day and follows on from the great success of Trains and Lovers, Alexander McCall Smith’s previous stand-alone novel which sold 20,000 hardbacks in the first six weeks of publication. This big-hearted and often heartbreaking novel about unrequited love and the unexpected places it takes us. At the age of four, Clover chooses her own name. Aged six, she falls in love with her best friend, James, with whom she happily spends all her time. But in the adult world, things are not so simple: at the same time that Clover’s mother finds she’s fallen out of love with her husband, she realises that James’s father is interested in her. As the children grow into adulthood, their connection becomes more complicated as well: James drifts away from Clover, but she keeps him in her sights: she attends the same college in Scotland and then follows him to London, Sydney, Singapore, rebuilding her life in every city, hoping each time that James will see what he is missing. As Clover and James and their parents, navigate their irresistible but baffling mazes of emotion, we are given a beautifully realised tale about how love, even if unrequited, can shape a life.  There will be quite a bit of publicity for this lovely new novel; Alexander McCall Smith will be on BBC Breakfast TV on 4 February, and also will be interviewed on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland. Features are confirmed throughout February in the Yorkshire Post, the Spectator, Woman magazine, the Daily Express, the Scotsman, and the Mail on Sunday.

“If you like it, Beyoncé once sagely advised, put a ring on it. Online these days, it’s more a case of: if you like it put a hashtag on it, abbreviate it, re-tweet it, or Instagram the shit out of it.” How true, how true, and I’m pleased to say that The Totes Ridictionary from Plexus (978-0859655118) is still selling like crazy – or should that be cray-cray. Lots of great reviews on and off line – two of which you can read here from Aitfa's Bookshop and also from The Love of a Good Book. Like the reviewers, I like the Twistorical Romance section where the author Balthazar Cohen imagines what would happen if history and literature’s famous couples were on Twitter; and also the vintage film stills with added contemporary slang speech bubbles. Here’s an example:

 And, oh go on then, let’s see what happens next...

Rocks Off: Fifty Tracks That Tell the Story of the Rolling Stones by Bill Janovitz is published next week by Polygon (978 1846972997 pb, £12.99) . This terrific new history of the band tells their story through expert and detailed accounts of fifty of their most vital recordings, providing both valuable details about the sessions themselves and the eras in which they were created. It is a wonderful and unique history of the Stones which serves as both an introduction to newcomers and a welcome addition for Stones completists. As Booklist said, “His vibrant description of Gimme Shelter alone is worth the price of the book”.

The Bluffer’s Guide to Chocolate (pb, £6.99 978 1909937048) by Neil Davey is the brand new title published in February in the 5-million-copy bestselling Bluffer’s Guide series. Neil Davey is widely published in food magazines and the national media and is followed on Twitter @DineHard by in excess of 8,000 followers. You can also read his blog at If "life is like a box of chocolates" then this Bluffer's Guide to Chocolate is just what you need to help you "work, rest and play."  And its publication is perfectly timed for Valentine’s Day – and then Easter. You can order The Bluffer's Guide to Chocolate here. Hmm, thinking of work rest and play gives me reason to muse on what would be the best chocolate ad of all time?

Could it be the crumbliest flakiest girl do you think? But did you prefer her in the bath, in the sunflowers or possibly in a canoe?

Or would you rather watch the airhead gorilla Phil Collins?

Or do you feel that one finger is just enough?

 Or do you prefer the idea of some black clad nutter breaking into your house and leaving a frankly somewhat sinister picture of himself on your bed?

Personally I rather like this newish ad which uses CGI to show us footage of the incomparable Audrey eating a Galaxy – although I find it pretty hard to believe she tucked into them on a very regular basis!

Fuzzy-haired, neurotic Catrina Davies is devastated when the love of her life, Jack, leaves her to go surfing on the other side of the world. Trapped in a dead-end job and torn by his departure, Catrina dreams of running away. But how do you run away when you’re fl at broke? Luckily, her friend Andrew comes up with a plan: they’ll get a van, turn it into a camper, and busk their way from Norway to Portugal, via the midnight sun. But when Andrew is killed in a tragic accident, Catrina, determined to stick to her friend’s vision, decides to go it alone. Her travels unravel without warning into a winding adventure. Meeting intriguing and inspiring people who lead her to pursue things she wouldn’t have imagined doing before, she is gradually taught the real meaning of love, courage, and above all else the importance of following your dreams no matter how daunting they might be. This is an unforgettable story of a journey like no other – a deeply emotional and inspirational debut by a unique storyteller. Ribbons are for Fearlessness by Catrina Davies is published in March (978 1 84953 447 5 pb £8.99) by Summersdale and is a book about growing up and confronting fear – funny, emotionally affecting and wise.

Copies of England’s Motoring Heritage from the Air by John Minnis (hb 978 1848020870 £35) published by English Heritage ( have just arrived in the office – this is a very handsome looking volume which provides a graphic account of how England has changed over the last 90 years through the impact of road transport on the landscape.  Most of these photographs, from the Aerofilms collection, have never been published before. When Aerofilms fliers first went up in the skies in 1919, they captured a country that had more or less been preserved in aspic in 1914. What we are looking at in many of the earliest photographs in this book is essentially Edwardian England, and this fantastically illustrated book shows just how radically things changed over the ensuing half century. We trace the outward expansion of places brought about by the availability of the car: the new suburbs and ribbon development. We see how new arterial roads came into being to meet the needs of motor transport and how the centre of cities start to be rebuilt to accommodate it. We see how the car encouraged more people to go further afield for sport and pleasure: to the seaside, the races or to new forms of attractions such as the amusement park in the country. And we see how public transport changes over the period from trams to buses with the advent of new facilities such as bus stations. The photos and text take us right from England at the dawn of popular motoring towards today’s motorway age.

Look out too for Aerofilms: A History of Britain from above by James Crawford and Katy Whitaker (£25.00 hb 978 1848022485) also from English Heritage which brings together lots more fabulous pics from the unique Aerofilms collection. It tells the fascinating story of the men and women behind the Aerofilms company which began in 1919 when a group of entrepreneurs, adventurers hoped to marry the still fledgling technology of flight to the discipline of photography. This untested and eccentric idea became a major commercial operation and throughout the first half of the twentieth century, this group of showmen and stalwarts manufactured and sold a potent sense of place and identity to the British people. They were ‘Mad Men’ of the air, their photographs building a vivid picture of ‘Brand Britain’ that still resonates today.

For a wonderfully nostalgic reminder of how England has changed, you could do a lot worse than look at the films of cinematographer Claude Friese-Greene who travelled across the UK in the 1920’s with his new colour film camera. His trip ended in London, with some of his most stunning images, which were recently revived and restored by the BFI. Here you can watch a really brilliant film by Simon Smith which has juxtaposed images from Friese-Greene’s 1927 film with his own footage – taken in 2013. Really lovely!

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

This blog is read weekly by over 700 booksellers, 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 24 January 2014

Compass Points 71

Meet the five eccentric Harvey sisters Morgan, Pandora, Cressida, Thisby and Teresa. All are unconventional, unschooled and oddly named by their famous detective writer father and fragile mother. Still living in the comfort of the rural family home, apart from Pandora who has done the impossible and managed to bag herself a husband, the eccentric sisters are largely left to their own devices, living at a distance from the outside world. So when Gregory turns up on their doorstop unexpectedly one afternoon, his car having broken down outside their front door, Morgan declares it fate and welcomes the somewhat stunned Gregory into the female dominated household. The excitement Gregory’s visit instils into the house disrupts the sisters’ stable world, making them question their secluded existence. However, Mrs Harvey is not at all pleased by the blossoming friendship and new acquaintances Gregory brings into the girls lives. Can the close family unit stay together in the face of change? Guard Your Daughters is a delightfully funny enthralling moving period novel, by Diana Tutton, which has been out of print for 60 years, and is republished in March in a  new edition (paperback, 9781843914921, £8.99) by Hesperus Classics with a beautiful jacket – just right for its target market! And what is its target market I hear you ask? Well, I think we can all  tell from the above blurb that we are about to enter that well-loved land first made popular by Jane Austen – and then commandeered by Dodie Smith and Louise M Alcott; where large quantities of sisters live together in a crumbling mansion all waiting for Mr Right to turn up and change their lives. Nothing wrong with that at all – and there are thousands of readers out there looking for something very much along these lines. Guard Your Daughters will fit the bill perfectly, and you can find out more and order it here.  

In the meantime, if you too would like to live in a picturesque setting with lots of squabbling sisters (Elizabeth Taylor, Winona Ryder, Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Romola Garai and Clare Danes for example)  while you wait for Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant or Gabriel Byrne to turn up (oooh yes please) ; then why not have a little Friday afternoon wallow in the following:  firstly the trailer for the 1949 film of  Little Women, then perhaps for contrast the trailer for the 1994 Little Women film – and how about the Sense and Sensibility trailer and also the trailer for I Capture the Castle. And of course we must see the start of the most popular sister story of them all – the beginning of the 1995 TV series of Pride and Prejudice.

Phew – that’s enough giggling girls for the moment, what about something for the boys? Ah ha – here’s something that sounds suitably manly; The Fifty Year Sword by Mark Z. Danielewski (978 1908885999 £20.00 hardback) coming from Cargo in March From the National Book Award finalist and one of the USA’s most revered cult writers, this is an explosive and thrilling ghost story. A local seamstress named Chintana finds herself responsible for five orphans on her birthday. The children are captivated by the storyteller who arrives and tells a tale of vengeance - and produces a long black box he sets before them. As midnight approaches, the box is opened, a fateful dare is made, and the children as well as Chintana come face to face with the consequences of a malice retold... The Los Angeles Times called this “a terrific premise that is equally well executed in a book that is mostly sci-fi but incorporates some elements of modern dystopian fiction… thrilling.”  It is quite a hard novel to describe, but that Dallas Morning News had a good try, describing it as “a seriously experimental confection of modern horror literature. . . . Composed mostly of dialogue, some attributed to various speakers, some not, some near-abstract drawings of needlework constructions, and a lot of white space—all wrapped in the pages of a very classy piece of book production—The Fifty Year Sword might be the oddest book of the year. In certain ways, it might be the most interesting and enjoyable. . . ..” . There’s no doubt that this book is unique; the Chicago Tribune called it  “A swift, old-style ghost story with crisp, eerie illustrations. The text itself becomes blade cuts. The tale’s momentum and dark tone take over, speeding the story to its surprise end. . . The Fifty Year Sword is a pleasure to read.”  Since his revolutionary debut House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski has continuously astonished critics and fans with his blend of beautiful prose and wild experiments with typography and design. These passions culminate in The Fifty Year Sword which is a novella of startling simplicity, tremendous artistry and with a terrifying sting in the tale. You can hear Mark Z. Danielewski talking for just one minute about the book on YouTube here.

I mentioned The Foundling Boy by Michel Déon (pb9781908313560) a couple of weeks ago, and this classic of modern French fiction published in the UK by Gallic has been getting rave reviews. The Independent on Sunday praised Déon's “quiet, wryly funny prose and story-telling abilities' and described his novel as 'a delight” while the Sunday Times said: “It is shamefully parochial of us that this eminent writer has been so ignored by the anglophone world'” and noted “the general air of light irony and the innocent-abroad subject suggest roots in Candide and Henry Fielding's The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling” and the New Statesman said “'Remarkable … Rooted in 19th-century realism but profoundly subversive of its conventions … Deserves a place alongside Flaubert's Sentimental Education and Le Grand Meaulnes.” Lots of you independent booksellers out there have been really getting behind this book – thank you very much indeed! These include Toppings of Bath and Ely, who chose The Foundling Boy for their reading group, and also Mr B's in Bath, who included it in their Christmas catalogue to great success. The bloggers too are more than enthusiastic – have a look at reviews here from Jenny Messenger, Jera's Jamboree and Liz Loves Books.

I’m sure many of us have think F**k It on a regular basis – but not many of us have managed to turn it into an entire life philosophy; bestselling series of books and serious money maker.  One man who has however, is John C Parkin and if you don’t believe such a simple concept could possibly lead to something so mega, then check out his website at . If you would like to share in his good fortune, then you could do a lot worse than join the F**k It craze, and sell some copies of the book (£10.99 paperback 9781781802960). This now classic text has been updated with inspirational new material, coming from Hay House in March. F**k It has taken the world by storm, helping countless people to let go, stop struggling and finally do what they want; to ignore what everyone else is telling them and go their own way. John  C Parkin suggests that saying F**k It is the perfect Western expression of the Eastern spiritual ideas of letting go, giving up and finding real freedom by realising that things don't matter so much (if at all). It's a spiritual way that doesn't require chanting, meditating, wearing sandals or eating pulses. And it's the very power of this modern-day profanity that makes it perfect for shaking us Westerners out of the stress and anxiety that dominate our lives. This book has now sold over 95,000 copies and been translated into 19 languages and received extensive press.

There is already a buzz building for the next Pascal Garnier novel, The Front Seat Passenger, (paperback, £7.99 978 1908313638) with early copies having been delivered to Mr B's Bookshop in Bath who tweeted: “You’ll have to wait until March but we can confirm it is awesome!” Pascal Garnier is critically acclaimed in the UK and this novel has more of the beautiful, pared-back prose that is his hallmark. As the Independent says, his writing would suite those readers “with a taste for Georges Simenon or Patricia Highsmith.” And the Sunday Times says that ‘the combination of sudden violence, surreal touches and bone-dry humour have led to Garnier’s work being compared with the films of Tarantino.” This new novel begins with Fabien and Sylvie, who had both known their marriage, was no longer working. And yet when Sylvie is involved in a fatal car accident, her husband is stunned to discover that she had a lover who died alongside her. With thoughts of revenge on his mind, Fabien decides to find out about the lover’s widow, Martine, first by stalking her, then by breaking into her home. He really needs to get Martine on her own. But she never goes anywhere without her formidable best friend, Madeleine...
The Front Seat Passenger is published by Gallic in March, and you can order it here.

Talking of complimentary tweets, The Yellow Lighted Bookshop in Gloucestershire this week recently tweeted “We love Good For Nothing! Best book we’ve read in the last year! Thank you vv much”. You’ll remember that this is also the book which Andrew Marr also raved about – it’s just been published by Skyscraper Publications, and as Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveller’s Wife enthused; Brandon Graham is a very funny, painfully observant, no-holds-barred American writer. … This is a brilliant book. When times are really horrible it's good to be able to laugh (especially at ourselves).” This debut novel, containing humour with a bite, is genuinely laugh out loud funny – and if you haven’t read it yet I urge you to give it a try!

We are pleased to tell you that Parallax, a collection of poetry by Sinéad Morrissey published by Carcanet (paperback 978 1 847772 04 6) is the Winner of the 2013 T S Eliot Prize for Poetry. The judges said “In a year of brilliantly themed collections, the judges were unanimous in choosing Sinéad Morrissey’s Parallax as the winner. Politically, historically and personally ambitious, expressed in beautifully turned language, her book is as many-angled and any-angled as its title suggests.” These remarkable poems are assured and disquieting, and explore the paradoxes in what is seen, read and misread in the surfaces of the presented world. Stephen Knight, writing in the Independent called her “The outstanding poet of her generation.”  As you would expect, there has been an enormous amount of publicity for Sinéad’s win of such an important poetry prize; and Newsnight, Radio 4, and Radio 1 have all interviewed her. Parallax has also been featured on the BBC News , and there have been articles in the Belfast Telegraph, the Financial Times, the Guardian, the Independent, the New Statesman and the Telegraph.

And if you find the idea of parallel universes intrinsically fascinating, then have a look here for a four minute, easy to understand explanation of the possible science behind such a concept!

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

This blog is read weekly by over 700 booksellers, 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 17 January 2014

Compass Points 70

Apparently this weekend is the one where most of us fall off the wagon, and give up our diets. Well, a finished copy of The Superfood Cookbook by Dana Jacobi (978 0992625443) published by Emex has just arrived in the office – and it looks just the thing for helping us all stick to those New Year’s resolutions of eating properly. It is packed full of nutritious meals for any time of day using nature’s healthiest foods. The styling is very modern and contemporary, and it focuses on the core plant-based ingredients (vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes) that are the building blocks of healthy recipes. Emphasising easy meal planning, the recipes are organised by course: breakfast, mains, sides & snacks and desserts. The Superfoods Cookbook also includes stunning visual galleries of key ingredients showcasing the vast array of whole foods readily available in local markets, with descriptions that reveal health benefits and suggest how to prepare them. Special features throughout the book offer additional quick ideas for using superfoods, such as strawberries, kale, chillies, melons, butternut squash, and more, in easy meals or snacks. It is a really attractive large format paperback with terrific full colour photographs throughout, and you can find out more about the Superfoods Cookbook and order it here.

Something else that might just help is Happy Hormones, Slim Belly by Jorge Cruise; just published by Hay House (978 1401943295 ) This title is aimed specifically at women over 40, and is a new approach that goes against conventional wisdom of slashing calories and spending hours at the gym. It uses breakthrough science to confirm that cutting sugar for two days, then adding it back for five days, will keep your insulin low, which cuts belly fat, and your serotonin high, which makes you happy. Happy Hormones, Slim Belly is the perfect guide to balance your hormones, turn your metabolism to fat-burning mode, and get your mood soaring day after day. This title adapts the vogue for 5/2 diets into one of Jorge Cruise’s incredibly successful programmes – he is the author of three bestselling weight loss titles which have been translated into 15 languages with 5 million copies in print. Jorge’s title The Belly Fat Cure has been among the top-selling items for Hay House since its publication. If you need further encouragement then you can have a look at him in action on a US chat show here. This book seems to combine the two ideas which are most in vogue at present – i.e. cutting out foods for two days a week – and also seriously regulating your sugar intake – and not surprisingly it is getting a lot of publicity. It is excerpted in the Feb edition of Woman magazine (circ. 250,000), as well as Bella magazine (circ. 209,022) and the Sun in January (circ.2 million).

And if your vice is not the dreaded doughnut but the secret ciggie – then none other then Richard Branson on his own website has some advice to offer – and hurrah, it’s to recommend some Compass titles– the massively bestselling Allen Carr series – published by Arcturus. Stop Smoking with Allen Carr (978-1-84858-997-1 £12.99 hardback & audio CD), Finally Free: The Easy Way to Stop Smoking for Women (£7.99 paperback 978-1-84858-979-7) and Stop Smoking Now Without Gaining Weight (£9.99 paperback & audio CD 978-1-84837-373-0) are three of the biggest sellers. To date Allen Carr’s books have sold in excess of 14 million copies in more than 35 different languages and over 50 countries across the globe, so don’t forget to have them in stock!

The Bluffer’s Guide to Etiquette (£6.99 paperback 978 1909937000) was featured in the Daily Mail this Thursday, and was also reviewed in the Financial Times under the heading “The polite way to put a sock in it".  This paperback has just been published, and is by William Hanson, who is considered by Sky News to be “the UK's leading consultant in etiquette & protocol” and is widely regarded as the UK’s freshest and most trusted authority on etiquette and protocol. His youth, coupled with his old-fashioned values, gives him credence to adjudicate on modern manners.

Coming in March are new paperbacks on two subjects which never seem to go out of date – and as every bookseller knows, there is a large army of nutters – sorry eager customers – just waiting to buy them.  Firstly, Tyrants: History's 100 Most Evil Despots & Dictators (9781782126966). This title from Arcturus by Nigel Cawthorne introduces one hundred of the most infamous and despised characters history has ever seen. Including familiar names as well as lesser-known and more recent examples, the most evil characters of history are profiled and analysed. You can order Tyrants here and of course we can’t pass by this great opportunity to watch some of the baddies profiled in action in one of the brilliant Epic Rap Battles - Stalin, Lenin, Putin – what more could you want!

And secondly, also from Arcturus, Crop Circles by Steve and Karen Alexander (£9.99 9781841934013). Through stunning photography and detailed analysis, this lavish, groundbreaking book explores the mysteries of crop circles around the world. This revised and updated edition reveals the latest in crop circle phenomena and is illustrated throughout with stunning colour and aerial photographs and claims to reveals the hidden secrets behind crop circles by two world authorities on the subject. You can order Crop Circles here. And whether or not you are a believer or a sceptic, I’m sure you will enjoy this crackpot – sorry highly scientific – video on the subject.

Zealot: the Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan certainly attracted plenty of publicity when it came out in hardback last year, and in March it is published by Westbourne Press in paperback (9781908906298). The Telegraph said it was “A lean, fast-paced account of First Century Palestine, often revealing and always finely written, which attempts to locate Christ within his historical landscape.” Others called it “A bold, powerfully argued re-visioning of the most consequential life ever lived” and Publisher’s Weekly said “Compulsively readable and written at a popular level, this superb work is highly recommended.” Reza Aslan is an excellent self publicist – even going as far as to make a somewhat controversial video in order to sell his book this Christmas (shades of Life of Brian methinks) which you can watch here. Whether or not it was thanks to this bit of self promotion, the hardback has certainly sold very well – and you can order the paperback of Zealot here

As well as being a time for diets and self-sacrifice, January is also the time when many are  determined to make this the year they learn  to drive – and also when thousands of kids round the countries are staring to get seriously stressed about this summer’s exams. As someone who has both of these scenarios unfolding in my house; I will definitely be having a look at two little books from Summersdale; Driving Test Tips (9781849535380) by Andrew Adams and Exam Busting Tips (9781849535397) by Sam Morgan. These books of short, straightforward tips are highly useful for any student and previous editions have sold over 11,000 copies. Exam Tips identifies the most common stumbling blocks and is crammed with practical tips on how to overcome academic angst. It is the one-stop expert guide to co-ordinating revision and lifestyle during any exam period, no matter what level of education you are at and contains advice which is relevant to tackling all kinds of exams, from SATs to degrees.
Driving Test Tips has lots of these short, straightforward tips which make the book easily digestible and indispensible for the nervous learner driver. If you want an example of how not to drive, then have a look at how Mike Wasowski gets on in the hilarious Pixar short film Mike's New Car. Or for something a little more retro – but still extremely funny, have a listen to the classic Bob Newhart sketch from 1960.

A Well Tempered Heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker is published by Birlinn in March, (9781846972850) and is the follow-up to the international best-selling novel The Art of Hearing Heartbeats which was selected as one of Amazon’s Rising Stars in spring 2013 and has sold 10,000 copies in the UK to date. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats has sold over 200,000 copies in the USA and Jan Philipp Sendker’s vivid and evocative prose has won praise from critics and readers all over the world. In this new novel, almost ten years have passed since Julia Win came back from Burma, her father’s native country. Though she is a successful Manhattan lawyer, her private life is at a crossroads; her boyfriend recently left her, she has suffered a miscarriage, and she is, despite her wealth, unhappy with her professional life. Julia is lost and exhausted. One day, in the middle of an important business meeting, she hears a stranger’s voice in her head starting to ask questions Julia has been trying to avoid. Why do you live alone? To whom do you feel close? What do you want in life? Interwoven with Julia’s story is that of a Burmese woman who finds her world turned upside down when Burma goes to war and calls on her two young sons to be child soldiers. This spirited novel, like The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, explores the most inspiring and passionate terrain: the human heart. Order A Well Tempered Heart here

It’s always extremely satisfying when a film based on a book does well, as it inevitably leads customers back onto the bookshops to seek out the original title – and of course the multi Oscar nominated 12 Years a Slave is no exception – the Hesperus edition of this searing classic (978-1843914716) is outselling the Penguin film tie- in edition in many shops. And whatever you may think of the recent adaptations of The Hobbit and Sherlock, there’s no denying that Tolkien’s and Conan Doyle’s words remain as good as ever.

There’s always room for a good spoof however, and perhaps this alternative ending for the Desolation of Smaug might entertain you?

Talking of musicals, I still love this very funny combination of Sherlock, Doctor who and the sublime lyrics of Irving Berlin!

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

This newsletter is sent weekly to over 600 booksellers, 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 10 January 2014

Compass Points 69

Happy New Year! We hope Santa brought you everything you were hoping for, and that you are now ready and refreshed for 2014! What are you looking forward to in the year ahead? There’s plenty of sporting activity ahead that’s for sure – and plenty of companies keen to cash in on the reflected glory and excitement surrounding it! Here’s Coca Cola’s take on the 2014 World Cup for example. 

And here’s Proctor and Gamble’s super cute commercial in praise of sporting and supportive mums looking ahead to the Winter Olympics in Sochi

And how about the Tour de France? I’m loving this little film showing some of Yorkshire's best bits which is a great advert for the beautiful county where it’s all going to kick off – or should that be pedal off!

But never mind all that 2014 sport – what about the books I hear you cry! Well first up this week we have Spring Tide by Cilla and Rolf Börjlind. A woman is buried up to her neck in the sand; the high tide is rapidly approaching. Still screaming in terror, the victim takes her last breath as water fills her nose and mouth – in her stomach, she feels her baby kick. And her waters break. Twenty-four years later, the abhorrent crime remains unsolved; gruesome violence however is still prevalent after all those years and the police have their work cut out trying to keep abreast of the crime wave. Yes, we’re back in the massively popular world of Scandi crime, and this title, by two Swedish script writers is going to be massive! Critically-acclaimed script writers Cilla and Rolf Börjlind’s television credits include 26 Martin Beck films the Swedish adaptation of Wallander and the BBC4 TV series Arne Dahl.The TV rights have been sold, and a Swedish 10-part mini series is already in production – due in 2015. Book rights to Spring Tide have now been sold in 25 countries and the reviews in Sweden and Denmark have been fab! The UK Bookseller has already described it as “involved, complicated and good.” Get ready for another Scandi smash hit! This is a masterpiece by the king and queen of Scandinavian crime; it’s cinematic and powerful – but above all, it’s gripping. The authors are coming to the UK for a bookshop and literary festival tour, and there will be a major publicity campaign. If you would like a bound proof to read so that you can be onto the next big thing before everyone else is – then email with Spring Tide Proof in the subject line. It’s published by Hesperus in March; (978 1843915157) you can find out more and order Spring Tide here

I’m sure your shops are already groaning under the weight of all the new diet books available – but Weeknight Gluten Free by Kristine Kidd should last longer than most. It includes more than 100 enticing recipes and valuable advice for a vibrant gluten-free lifestyle. More and more people are adopting a gluten free diet – whether it’s for health, allergy or weight loss reasons, and this book has lots of clever tips and an extensive how-to section offers ways to customise recipes, and turn leftovers into new suppers later in the week. It even includes a tempting take on macaroni cheese that no one will guess is gluten free! It’s published by Emex in March as a paperback packed with lots of enticing full colour illustrations (978 0992625450) and you can find out more and order Weeknight Gluten Free here

Europe in or Out: Everything You Need to Know by David Charter seeks to address the staggering shortfall in public information about Europe, ahead of the 2014 European Parliament elections. David Charter is Berlin Correspondent of The Times, and Europe: In or Out, is a book that resolutely does what it says on the tin. Here, the lay reader will find the major issues laid out in short, concise chapters that explain the pros and cons of being a part of a union of European nations and the consequences and advantages of withdrawing. He covers the key issues, including jobs, travel, investment and financial services, transport, farming, immigration, fishing, education, security and law and order, and offers the unvarnished, unbiased truth of how they affect us daily and what our lives would be like in the event of Britain going it alone. All issues are explained in concise, bias-free chapters that allow the reader to make up their own mind. It’s published by Biteback in March (B-format paperback 978 1849546843) 

Personally I think you can find out all you need to know about British attitudes to Europe in this street trading scene from ‘Allo ‘Allo.

Whether or not we want to be in or out of Europe, one thing we can surely agree on is that their pop music is usually absolutely chronic. I’m prepared however to make an exception for Abba, and don’t forget that the Abba: The Official Photo book by Petter Karlsson and Bengt Wanselius is published in March. This is the biggest and best ABBA book EVER with more than 600 classic, rare and unseen photographs telling the complete story and has a foreword by all four ABBA members: Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. It tells the complete ABBA story and has the full co-operation from the band themselves, who will be in the UK to launch the book. This is the 40th anniversary of the band’s international break through in winning the Eurovision Song Contest and there will be massive media attention for this fully authorized and official photo book. ABBA has sold a stunning 400 million records and in some markets (the United Kingdom for example!) they have sold more records than the Beatles! This 400-page large format book – in the format of a classic LP – contains more than 600 pictures, many never published before. All the classic images are included but there ate also previously unseen pictures by top professional photographers. It is published by Max Ström in hardback, priced at £35. (9789171262820)

And here they are – never better in my opinion than when singing Mamma Mia in 1975.

The Foundling Boy by Michel Déon (pb 9781908313560) is a literary novel, lightly told – the story of young Jean Arnaud. It is a classic of modern French fiction, and was published in the UK in December by Gallic. It is a fantastic portrait of inter-war France and would appeal to readers who enjoy Evelyn Waugh, The Great Gatsby, The Forsyte Saga and The Go-Between. It has just had an absolutely rave review in this week’s Spectator, which you can read which you can read here. Headlined “This year, discover Michel Déon” it goes on to say “there’s an infectious, near-magical sense that anything might happen in this novel” and “this novel leaves you feeling better about life, not worse” …this is a  “big hearted, lovely book.”

Tonight the Summer’s Over is the début poetry collection from Rory Waterman. Rory is a well-known figure in the poetry world, as a reviewer, editor and scholar of poetry and his poems in popular forms explore the poles of belonging and estrangement; looking back on a childhood torn between two countries, two cultures, and two parents. We have just heard that one of the poems from this collection has been chosen as the Saturday Poem in the Guardian this weekend. Navigating, the opening poem in the collection, was published in the Financial Times on 4 January. Tonight the Summer’s Over is new from Carcanet (pb 978 1 84777 207 7) and you can order find out more about it and order it here.

And now for a round up of our current Compass bestsellers…

Power Trip: A Decade of Policy Plots and Spin by Damien McBride – the Biteback book (hb 978-1849545969) where “Gordon Brown’s spin doctor reveals all about his dark and dirty deeds.” was chosen by Hilary Mantel in the Guardian  (20/12/13) as her Book of the Year

F in Exams by Richard Benson (978 1840247008) is currently number 8 in the Sunday Times bestseller lists and Commando Dad by Neil Sinclair (978 18495 32617) is still enjoying a major sales surge thanks to the endorsement from our king-to-be and new Royal Dad! Both are from Summersdale.

Stephen Ward Was Innocent, Ok by Geoffrey Robertson (Biteback 978-1849546904) has obviously benefitted the publicity surrounding the launch of Stephen Ward, the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical in London, and has been reviewed by all the nationals. The Times said “Robertson concentrates with clarity and vigour on the legal shortcomings of the case…” while the Sunday Times said “His book makes a passionate case for posthumous pardon.” The Guardian review called it “A tremendous and thrilling book. I could not sleep for excitement after reading it at one sitting… written with punchiness, gusto, incisive forensic analysis and deadly gallows humour befitting is subject… a thumping, indignant read.” And it has also been favourably reviewed in the Independent, the Herald and the Yorkshire Post.

The publicity for 12 Years A Slave has gone stratospheric – it has had multiple BAFTA nominations and most of the coverage of the book has chosen the Hesperus Press edition of 12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup (pb 978-1843914716) over the Penguin film tie-in edition. Hurrah! On Friday, our book jacket will be featured on a Sky Movies Special about upcoming releases and on Saturday on BBC Radio 4 presenter Antonia Quirke will be talking about the film on Saturday Review and linking it to the Hesperus edition of the book. It is also likely that The One Show on the BBC who are due to be discussing films today, will show the Hesperus edition of the book! The Oscar nominations are announced on 16th January and there is a great deal of anticipation that actor Chiwetel Ejiofer will be nominated for, and may well win, the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in this extraordinary film. 

Still on the subject of films, The Radio Times Guide to Films 2014 Edition (pb, 978-0956752369) is selling extremely well at the moment. What would be your favourite film of 2013? Personally, I really enjoyed Gravity – and you can watch the trailer for it here. If you do go and see it, I would definitely recommend the 3D version for that real lost in space experience!

The Sunday Times Style section will be featuring quotes and photos for at least the next six weeks from The Totes Ridictionary by Balthazar Cohen (978-0859655118) from Plexus.

And finally ­– a film of The Hundred Year Old Man who Jumped Out of a Window and Disappeared is in the making – and should be out before Easter! Yay – that can only mean yet more sales for this colossal bestseller!

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

This newsletter is sent weekly to over 600 booksellers, 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.