Friday 28 March 2014

Compass Points 80

A major advertising campaign begins today for Spring Tide, the compelling crime thriller from critically-acclaimed Swedish scriptwriters Cilla and Rolf Börjlind. There will be a very eye-catching ad for this title on the online pages of the Mirror, the Independent, the Evening Standard, the Guardian Books Page and the Telegraph Books Page. These pages get thousands and thousands of views every day – and if viewers click on the ad, they will be taken to more info about the title on the Hesperus website – and be able to see the gripping trailer on which you can watch on YouTube here. There will also be a London Underground Tube Advertising for two weeks at high footfall stations such as Bank, London Bridge, Euston, Kings Cross St Pancras and Green Park and loads of publicity and review coverage on the radio and in the press. Please back this book, Hesperus has put a lot of oomph behind it, and everyone who has read it has loved it!If you'd like some signed book plates for your copies then please email  Spring Tide by Cilla and Rolf Borjlind is published by Hesperus Nova (pb, 978 1843915157 £89.99) this month and you can find out more and order Spring Tide here

Who enjoyed The Alan Clarke Diaries? Ooh yes, me, me, me; and I’m sure all of you booksellers certainly enjoyed the benefits of all those sales! Well now imagine a book which is “Not unlike the Alan Clark Diaries but without the modesty or discretion.” The Times or “Think Alan Clarke Diaries on crack,” Sunday People. The book we are talking about is An Unexpected MP: Confessions of a Political Gossip by Jerry Hayes, which is not an autobiography or a political memoir, but a raucous and salacious romp through Westminster and the press during the 1980s and 1990s!  Jerry Hayes was the Conservative MP for Harlow in Essex from 1983 until 1997, a period he spent largely in one Westminster bar or another, at least once dressed as a chicken, observing his fellow political animals. During that time, the man of whom Speaker Boothroyd said, “he would look very pretty as a French maid; I wish I had his curls", and to whose beard Margaret Thatcher took a strong, personal dislike, also kept a fabulously, rip-roaringly indiscreet diary! As Lord Bruce of Donnington is quoted as saying; “All politicians have feet of clay. Most are wankers”. An Unexpected MP is an anecdote fest that will entertain anyone who enjoys a good laugh and even those who have absolutely no interest in politics. It is just published by Biteback, (hb, 978 1849546454 £16.99 with 8 pages of photos) and has been reviewed in the Sunday People and the Times.

In the months leading up to the European Parliament Elections in May, please don’t forget to display Europe: In or Out: Everything You Need to Know by the Times’ David Charter. This book resolutely does what it says on the tin and is the only completely unbiased, decently-priced, layman’s terms guide to what Europe actually means to Britain, and what withdrawal would actually mean to each and every one of us on an everyday basis. No subject has more bearing on the future economic prosperity of Britain, no subject has been the cause of so many arguments across the land, and no subject has been the touch-fire of so many late-night monologues by irate taxi drivers than Europe, and, more specifically, Britain’s place in it. This is an incredibly important topic and here, the reader will find the major issues laid out in short, concise chapters. David Charter 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. Europe in or Out (978 1849546843 £8.99 B-format paperback) was published by Biteback this week and is a clear, comprehensive and compelling guide to the impact of the EU and the implications (good and bad) of a British exit. This topic is going to feature increasingly in the news as we get closer to May – and you can order Europe: In or Out here

And if you’re completely confused about what the current situation is with Europe – then you could do a lot worse than watch this helpful little 5 minute video on YouTube!

The Golden Fleece: Essays by Muriel Spark (978 1847772510 pb £16.99) is published this month by Carcanet. This is the best of Muriel Spark’s previously uncollected witty, thought-provoking prose. It is grouped into four sections: Art and Poetry; Autobiography and Travel; Literature; Religions, Politics and Philosophy. There is much to savour here: vivid depictions of Rome, Venice, Istanbul and Tuscany; encounters with John Masefield and Edith Sitwell and reflections on a variety of writers from Robert Burns to Robert Louis Stevenson. Dame Muriel Spark was born in Edinburgh in 1918 and her many novels include The Girls of Slender Means (1963). She was made a Dame in 1993 and died in 2006, at the age of 88.  Muriel Spark’s companion Penelope Jardine was on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour today at 10 am to talk about her life with Muriel and editing The Golden Fleece.  You will shortly be able to listen to this episode on the Women’s Hour page on the Radio Player which you can find here. Penelope Jardine will also be giving interviews in the Telegraph and the Guardian.

Have you seen the new film The Railway Man starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman? If not, you can watch a trailer for it here. There has been a lot of publicity surrounding it, and it has certainly renewed interest in Far East WW2 and POW experiences. Railroad of Death: Comradeship and survival on the River Kwai Railway is the first, original account by a prisoner of war on the Burma Railway and was first published in 1946. Regarded as the best account of the war crimes committed on the railway, this title will appeal to WWII history enthusiasts but also has a wider human interest and memoir audience. John Coast was a young officer in the Norfolk Regiment who was taken prisoner at the Fall of Singapore in February 1942. His book is moving, dramatic and chilling in the detail it gives of the cruelty inflicted by Japanese and Korean soldiers on the prisoners and Asian workers who died in even greater numbers working on the railway. Yet it is at the same time lyrical in its descriptions of the natural world surrounding the camps and the food and kindness shown by some Thais to the prisoners. This new edition has an introduction which takes Coast’s legacy of dealing with his experiences in the camps forward through to his groundbreaking 1969 BBC programme Return to the River Kwai and Beyond. Railroad of Death (pb, £12.99 978 1905802937) is published by Myrmidon Books in May.

In time for the summer tourist season comes Great Britain: Let’s Get Quizzical! by Gwion Pydderch (978 1849535892 £7.99) a small gift hardback) published in May by Summersdale. This fun little book is full colour throughout, and takes the reader on a brain-teasing trip through the best bits of Great Britain. You can spot a couple of brightly coloured bulldogs in a hidden pair puzzle; brush up on your knowledge of British cities in a word search and find out who bought Stonehenge at an auction for £6,600. Get quizzical with this visually stunning compendium of entertaining activities and surprising facts about Old Blighty.

And if you’d like to challenge yourself on how well you really know the British Isles, then why not take this fun test on British geography from Buzz Feed. No pressure, but if you score less than 10 you will be deported.

Have you heard of Miranda Kerr? Well I must say I’m somewhat surprised, she is one of the world's most successful supermodels and is on the top 10 on Forbes' list of highest-earning models. She is the face of Victoria's Secret and the Clinique fragrance Happy and models in ad campaigns for numerous huge brands, including Prada and Balenciaga. She also used to be married to Orlando Bloom – and is basically famous for being absolutely gorgeous and frequently wearing very little. Ah – now you’re interested. Here is a typical ad; this is the spring trailer for H&M  where the lovely Miranda keeps her friend waiting in a taxi while she prances around in front of her bedroom mirror, taking off her clothes and taking self indulgent selfies of her perfect bod. If only my life could be like that – hang on a minute, perhaps if I read Miranda’s book then maybe it will be. Treasure Yourself: Power Thoughts for My Generation by Miranda Kerr (pb, £9.99 978 1401941895) is published in May. It is described by publishers Hay House as being “a fantastic voice for the self-help movement that will appeal to a new generation, so we can all earn the secrets of inner beauty from one of today's leading supermodels.” Bring it on Miranda I say – and hopefully Orlando Bloom might move on to me next. Have a look at this classic moment where Miranda Kerr meets her fantasy treasure bra and then order Treasure Yourself here

Now, I’m not sure whether any of the pearls of wisdom from the winsome Miranda will really qualify for this next award, but which would you say is the best sentence ever written? Maybe "Don't forget to love, don't forget to listen. In our hearts we have lived a thousand lives." by F. Scott Fitzgerald from The Great Gatsby? Or what about "The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't." from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams? Have look at what The American Scholar website believes are the ten best sentences  – and see if you agree!

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

This blog is read weekly by 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 21 March 2014

Compass Points 79

Well, maybe many of you today are jumping over the travel guidebooks, jogging round the cookbooks, or dong press-ups in the biographies all in aid of Sports Relief!  One highlight of tonight’s TV is certain to be the Only Fools and Horses special episode – staring David Beckham!  You can watch the trailer for it here! There’s been quite a bit of publicity for this – and many of the features have also mentioned the four Only Food and Horses books, published by Splendid Books – for example there was a big piece in the Sun on Thursday which featured Only Fools and Horses: The Official Inside Story. So make sure you have got all of them – this series is eternally popular – and tonight’s episode will no doubt provide another outpouring of favourable comments on this national treasure of a TV series. First up, as previously mentioned is Only Fools and Horses: The Official Inside Story by Steve Clark with a foreword by Theo Paphitis (pb £9.99 978 0955891694). This book takes us behind the scenes to reveal the secrets of the hit show and is fully authorised by the family of John Sullivan, the show's creator and writer. The book is based on dozens of one-to-one interviews with the show's stars including Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst and key members of the production team and it also contains material from the BBC archives. It includes rare photographs and other exclusive material. 
There is also The Wit and Wisdom of Only Fools and Horses, compiled by Dan Sullivan, foreword by David Jason which contains the crème de la menthe of the hilarious one-liners from the series so you can re-live all Del, Rodney, Grandad, Uncle Albert, Boycie, Trigger and the rest of the gang’s funniest and most memorable lines. (£4.99, pb 978 1909109001). And there’s  More Wit and Wisdom of Only Fools and Horses, compiled by Dan Sullivan, foreword by Nicholas Lyndhurst which was published last October (pb £4.99 978 1909109018). Also finally don’t forget The Official Only Fools & Horses Quiz Book which enables the show’s many fans to test their knowledge of the legendary sitcom. This paperback is packed with more than 1,000 brain-teasers about the show including: What name does Trigger know Rodney by? What’s the title of Rodney’s prize winning painting? In which two episodes does Del Boy get arrested? And what is Joan Trotter’s middle name? Plus there’s an episode guide and an exclusive foreword by the show’s creator and writer John Sullivan, who reveals some of the mystery behind the much-loved series and just how he came up with some of television’s most memorable moments (£7.99, pb, 978 0955891663).

In amongst all the commemorative publicity for the First World War, the extraordinary poetry that this conflict generated is getting its fair share of coverage.  The Times ran a 4 page guide to First World War poetry  on 17th March which included A Dead Boche by Robert Graves and cited the Carcanet edition of his Complete Poems Volume 1 (978 857541717)

Staying with World War I, Outside Verdun by Arnold Zweig (translated by Fiona Rintoul) is a novel which sees the conflict from the point of view of a German soldier. A forgotten masterpiece of First World War German literature (first published in Germany in 1933), Outside Verdun is an utterly gripping, heart-breaking story of revenge and sacrifice based on the author’s own first-hand experiences of combat. Epic and engrossing, this is a First World War novel which is a truly authentic first-hand account and which has never been published in the UK – this is a stunning brand new translation. The novel begins when, following the unlawful killing of his younger brother by his own superiors, Lieutenant Kroysing swears revenge, using his influence to arrange for his brother’s unit, normally safely behind the lines, to be reassigned into the very heart of the battle for France. Bertin is the lowly but educated Jewish man through whose eyes the story unfolds; he is the innocent caught in the cross-fire. Outside Verdun not only explores the heart-breaking tragedy of one individual trapped in a nightmare of industrialised warfare but also reveals the iniquities of German society in microcosm, with all its injustice, brutality, anti-Semitism and incompetence. Fiona Rintoul’s brilliant translation captures all the subtleties, cadences and detachment of Arnold Zweig’s masterful prose.  Outside Verdun is published in May by Freight (trade paperback, £12.99 978 1908754523)

Some great publicity for Spring Tide by Cilla and Rolf Borjlind, published this month which you will remember is the compelling crime thriller which opens with a woman buried up to her neck in the sand as the high tide is rapidly approaching. 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. Olivia Rönning hopes to join their ranks; she has only one last hurdle to overcome, a challenge to pick a cold case and solve it. Little does she know the world she is getting involved in, the danger she faces and the ugly truths she risks uncovering. The authors of this gripping tale Cilla and Rolf Borjlind were talking about Spring Tide on BBC Radio Scotland's The Culture Show with Janice Forsyth on Wednesday, and you can listen to this interview on the iplayer here. It is just been published by Hesperus (pb, £8.99 978 1843915157) and you can order Spring Tide here.

Who likes a story where the two main characters change places and swap identities? From Trading Places, to Freaky Friday – to Tale of Two Cities – even The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – this is always makes for a cracking plot in my opinion. The Prince and the Pauper is one of the very best in the genre – an American classic from genius Mark Twain, concerning two boys who change places and alter their paths forever. It is published in May in a new edition by Hesperus Minor (paperback, £7.99 978 1843915034). For those who don’t know the story, it begins in London, 1547 when two young boys meet by chance and strike up a conversation at the gates of a palace. Tom Canty is a poor young boy with few prospects in life; his new friend happens to be Prince Edward VI, the Prince of Wales. The Prince and the Pauper could not be more different from one another: except for the small fact that they look identical. When Tom admires the Prince’s fine garments, he and Prince Edward decide on the spur of the moment to swap clothes. But with cruel irony the Prince is mistaken for a poor beggar in Tom’s rags and is kicked out of his own palace while Tom is taken to be the Prince by everyone he meets. Suddenly the Prince and the Pauper have swapped not only clothes but also their homes, families, lives and their very identities. While the boys are eager to learn about life in someone else’s shoes, they ultimately want to return to their own homes and families. But this proves to be a tall order when nobody believes the prince’s claims that he is really a Prince despite being clothed in rags… In this gripping tale of mistaken identity, we see Mark Twain venturing into historical fiction for children while displaying his typical flair for witty dialogue and incisive satire. The Prince and the Pauper was Mark Twain’s first historical novel and is packed with setting and character description that makes sixteenth century England really come to life. It is in part a social satire, particularly compelling in its condemnation of the inequality that existed between the classes in Tudor England – and above all is a rattling good read that definitely deserves a place on any child’s bookshelf. It has been adapted for film and television many times – even Mickey Mouse has had a bash at playing the two title roles! I rather like the look of  this 1937 version with Errol Flynn and also very much appreciate  this hilariously cheesy version from 1975  Goodness me, who’s that in the starring roles; yes it’s none other than a very young Nicholas Lyndhurst – in his pre Rodney Trotter days. Wow – he must have been very glad indeed to get the Only Fools and Horses gig if only to get out of those tights and give up the silly Artful Dodger accent!

Plenty of publicity coming up for Miracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow and Finding Your True Purpose by Gabrielle Bernstein which is published in April by Hay House ( £12.99, pb, 978 1781802533). This New York Times bestselling author promises to help readers clear stress and find peace even if they only have a minute to spare. Bernstein knows that most of us don't have time for an hour of yoga or 30 minutes of meditation to dissolve our anxiety, so she has hand-picked 108 techniques to combat our most common problems – from fear and anxiety to burnout and fatigue. Inspired by some of the greatest spiritual teachings; Bernstein offers up spirit-based principles, meditations and practical tools. The book and author were recently featured on (450,000 monthly visitors and in Stylist magazine (circ. 435,000). The book was reviewed in the April issue of Natural Health & Beauty magazine (circ. 60,000) and will be featured in the May issue of Cosmopolitan (circ. 300,000), the May issue of Yoga (circ. 90,000) and a future issue of Psychologies (circ. 73,357). The book will also be featured in the June issue of Marie Claire (circ. 227,000) and the April issue of Soul & Spirit (circ. 50,000). The book and author will also feature in the Daily Express (circ. 500,000). This is all great publicity – and Gabrielle Bernstein is definitely becoming more and more well known in the UK, so order your copies of Miracles Now here!

Some books make you so hungry when you read them that you feel you must go straight out and eat right that minute! This next title, Fragrant Heart by Miranda Emmerson which details Miranda’ travels through South East Asia, contains authentic recipes so readers can recreate Miranda’s food and very helpfully has a comprehensive bibliography and Asian food suppliers section at the end of the book so that keen cooks can learn more.  A very good idea as the mouth-watering descriptions of food in this book will certainly make you keen to try the food yourselves – and we can’t all be as intrepid as Miranda and her partner who in 2008 set off for one last big adventure before settling down. They chose to travel through South-East Asia. All did not go to plan: Asian flu, falling off boats and the general chaos of a life abroad challenged them at every step, and yet, in the midst of it all, they fell in love with the culture and culinary delights of China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia. Fragrant Heart by Miranda Emmerson (who is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4) is published in May by Summersdale (pb, £8.99 978 1849535588)

Which would you say are the best books about food and cooking ever written? Not including actual cookbooks of course. Well, personally, much of Hemmingway’s writing makes me long to crack open a cold beer and settle down with something spicy in the sunshine, but here are the best examples of food writing on Buzz Feed – according to them, the top 14 titles every food lover should read.

Well after all of that eating I think we’ll need to do a bit of exercise to burn it off – especially on Sport Relief day. Wild Running by Jen and Sim Benson (pb, £16.99, 978 0957157361) should do the job – if this doesn’t make you feel like donning the lycra then nothing will. Wild Running: 150great adventures on the trails and fells of Britain is the first UK guidebook for those who love to run or want to run, and who dream of exploring Britain’s fantastic collection of mountain, forest and coastal trails. This is Britain’s first guide to the best trail and fell runs 150 hand-picked runs, chosen both for simple navigation and sensational beauty. Graded from beginner to challenging terrain data with safety and training advice this book includes classic races, iconic runs and ‘hard-as-nail’ climbs. I think I'll leave those to someone else if it's all the same to you. It has 1:250,000 route maps and directions with online maps too and GPX downloads for mobiles. Running is the most popular way to keep fit in Britain and off-road running is one of the fastest growing pursuits. Wild Running combines stunning photography, engaging travel writing and practical guidance and is set to become the definitive guide to this sport. This large format paperback has 250 photos and 150 maps and is published by Wild Things Publishing in May.

If that all sounds far too much like hard work, and you’re in the mood for a little more reading on a Friday afternoon, then why not click here to go straight to the Parthian newsletter. In this spring edition you can find out all about the XX Women's Writing Festival – which raised many important issues facing women who write; on writing young adult fiction, writing from life and writing about sex! Parthian is a literary publishing success story based on the west coast of Wales and their list incorporates an innovative range of new fiction, poetry and drama. Central to their mission is a belief in the power of a great book, and what they publish reflects a diverse and contemporary Wales that casts a keen eye on the wider world. Exciting, vibrant, surprising, relevant and original – have a look at their newsletter and their website.

As booksellers, do you support gender specific publishing – i.e. titles such as Usborne's Illustrated Classics for Boys, described by the publisher as "a collection of stories of action, adventure and daring-do [sic] suitable for boys", or Illustrated Stories for Girls, which contains "brand new stories about mermaids, fairies, princesses and dolls".? Well, this week saw the launch of a national campaign to stop children's books being labelled as "for boys" or "for girls" which won the support of Waterstones, as well as children's laureate Malorie Blackman, poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Philip Pullman and a handful of publishers. The Let Books Be Books campaign seeks to put pressure on retailers and publishers not to market children's books that promote "limiting gender stereotypes” and a petition calling on children's publishers to "stop labelling books, in the title or on the packaging, as for girls or for boys" because "telling children which stories and activities are 'for them' based on their gender closes down whole worlds of interest," has passed 3,000 signatures. Read about the campaign in the Guardian here

Never mind whether they are for boys or girls: how many books have you read overall? The BBC reckons of the 100 “essential” titles – most people have only read six – and then tend to fib massively about all the others. Well, now in the privacy of your own bookshop, you can take this quick test  – and you don’t have to share the results with your colleagues if it’s too embarrassing!

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

This blog is sent weekly by 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 March 2014

Compass Points 78

What sad news this morning about the death of Tony Benn. One of Britain’s most enduringly popular politicians he was also one of the most enigmatic and controversial politicians of the post-war era. Jad Adams’ book Tony Benn: A Biography (published by Biteback) is the definitive biography of this extraordinary man – make sure you have plenty of copies! The Sunday Times it was a life “told with considerable grace and style”, the New Statesman called it  “an enjoyable read”, the Daily Express said it made “fascinating reading’” while the Telegraph commented that “Benn’s character shines through this fat but very readable biography” This is a comprehensively revised edition of this classic title which has been written with unparalleled access to Benn’s private records, and chronicles the behind-the-scenes story of Benn’s bitter battles with every leader of the Labour Party since Gaitskell. It details his service in the governments of Wilson and Callaghan, his role as a champion of the left during the Labour Party’s long period in opposition, his retirement from Parliament to ‘spend more time involved in politics’ in 2001, and his subsequent emergence as a leading figure of the British opposition to the war in Iraq. You can order Tony Benn: A Biography by Jad Adams (978 1849540964 £14.99, B-format paperback with 8 pages of photos) now.

Slightly belated, but very fulsome congratulations from all at Compass to Peter Owen, the 86-year-old founder of the Peter Owen Publishing, who has been awarded an OBE for Services to Literature in the Honours list which came out at the tail end of 2013. Peter Owen founded the company in 1951 and has been publishing world literature – including many Nobel Prize laureates – for over six decades. He commented: “This honour is also recognition of the work my staff, past and present, have put in to help create our distinguished list. Our 60th anniversary in 2011 received wide press coverage and reaffirmed that this company has always punched above its weight, influencing other publishers both in the UK and abroad. It remains the longest-established UK publisher of its kind still owned by its founder.” Peter Owen started his company, aged twenty-four, six years after the Second World War. He ran the business from home, with a typewriter as his only equipment. Soon, however, the company started to flourish, enabling him to employ some staff, his first editor was Muriel Spark, and he was able to bring some of the very best international literature to what was a very insular British market. In the sixty-plus years since then, although the industry has changed beyond recognition, Peter Owen Publishers continues the tradition of producing new and interesting writing. The company has published seven Nobel Prize winners and boasts a backlist that includes some of the most talented and important writers from all over the world. Compass are very proud to represent Peter Owen – you can have a look at their latest titles on The Daily Telegraph called him “A maverick who seems to break all the rules but might, I suspect, simply be publishing books the way they used to be published before the big money arrived and will be published again when the big money has gone” while the Mail on Sunday said “A publishing impresario for whom books are global . . . We owe him the explosions not only of the only Catholic Japanese novelist, Shusaku Endo, but of Jane Bowles, James Purdy, Americans of shock genius and a host of translated Europeans, from Hermann Hesse to Chagall and Colette.” Well done Peter – long overdue!

Well, with all the lovely sunshine that many of us have enjoyed in the past week, our thoughts are turning towards summer – and with it summer pastimes. What could be more evocative of a British summer than the sound of leather on willow? In the 1990s award-winning cricket commentator and journalist Ralph Dellor conducted a series of face-to-face taped interviews with famous cricketers past and present. Nine of these extraordinary interviews have now been captured in the written word in Lost Voices of Cricket: Golden moments with some of the game’s greats. They are Denis Compton (1918 – 1997); Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie (1933 – 2006); Bob Wyatt (1901 – 1995); Trevor Bailey (1923 – 2011); Cyril Washbrook (1914 – 1999); Sir Alec Bedser (1918 – 2010); Bill Alley (1919 – 2004) and Brian Statham (1930 – 2000). Ralph Dellor and Stephen Lamb (his fellow sports journalist) have edited and annotated the interviews so they are put into context of time and place. The book is packed with wonderful black and white photographs and each chapter is a classic piece of cricketing history and insight into the legends and lore of the game. The long overdue publication of these interviews is the rightful celebration of past sporting heroes, as well as a fascinating chance to look back into the past of this game and sporting culture in general. This is a history book as well as a catalogue of nostalgia that not only cricketers but all who love sport will revel in. Lost Voices of Cricket: Golden Moments with Some of the Game’s Greats by Ralph Dellor and Stephen Lamb (978 1909657502 £9.99, pb) is published in May by Bene Factum Publishing and you can find out more and order it here.

If you’re now in the mood for a bit of cricket nostalgia – then have a look at this terrific ten minute film featuring highlights of cricket matches from 1839-1938 – including some of the cricketers interviewed in Lost Voices of Cricket.  It’s a British Pathé film made in the 1940s so the sound quality is quiet – turn your speakers up!

Let’s stick with the British theme – and MI5 in the Great War by Nigel West is a fascinating narrative of MI5’s operations during the First World War.  This title is based on a top secret history, which remained classified in MI5’s registry for many years. Recently declassified and published here for the first time, this fascinating document was never intended for circulation outside of government, and is of considerable historical significance. MI5 in the Great War concentrates on the main narrative of the Secret Intelligence Service’s activities in the war; the original document has been edited and brought up to date by bestselling writer and historian Nigel West. The topics covered include a detailed account of German pre-war espionage, and the extent to which the Kaiser’s own spies developed an extensive network in Britain; previously undisclosed details from the individual MI5 dossiers compiled on enemy spies executed in England, including that of Sir Roger Casement, who was famously hanged for treason; MI5’s abortive attempt to manage a double agent reporting to the German Nachrichtenstelle in Rotterdam, and the detection of attempts made by the enemy to infiltrate MI5 with double agents. There will be many WW1 books published this year of course, but this is also a unique and extraordinary document detailing the workings of MI5 in its early years. Nigel West is the pen name of Rupert Allason, a bestselling author specialising in security, intelligence, secret service and espionage issues – and this title is both fascinating and highly readable.MI5 in the Great War (hb with photos,  978 184954676 £25.00) is published in May by Biteback and you can find out more and order it here

Well, you know I am utterly incapable of mentioning MI5 without either referencing Spooks or James Bond - so here are the top 50 James Bond moments – all in a fast-moving 007 minute sequence!

OK, you know how publishers love to describe books by suggesting they are a mash up of two exiting bestsellers? Fifty Shades of Grey meets Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter meets the Da Vinci Code – you know the sort of thing. Well this next title has been described by its publishers Hesperus Nova as Bridget Jones meets Life of Brian, which certainly makes the mind boggle a bit! Apocalypse Next Tuesday by David Safier is a wicked comedy featuring a mojito-drinking Jesus, devastatingly handsome Satan and salacious Archangel Gabriel. Its author David Safier is a bestselling German author whose novels have sold over 2 million copies worldwide and been translated into over 13 languages; and this title spent 19 weeks on the bestseller lists and sold a whopping 150,000 copies – in hardback!!  It begins when Marie (who has just jilted her boring boyfriend at the altar) meets a handsome carpenter and asks him out. His bizarre assertions that he is Jesus aren’t enough to put Marie off – her biological clock is ticking, and it’s time to settle down. Meanwhile, Satan (a dead ringer for George Clooney) is on the prowl, recruiting horsemen for next week’s Armageddon, scheduled for Tuesday, and Archangel Gabriel has discovered the pleasures of the flesh and is off on a sex marathon. Things are looking grim. Fortunately, Marie is dating the son of God – maybe, just maybe, he can get things straightened out. Provocative and blasphemous (with added pizza), Apocalypse Next Tuesday is a book full of surprises, and those who have read it in the Compass office have been laughing out loud from the very first page! Apocalypse Next Tuesday (pb, £8.99, 978 1843915072) is coming in May and you can find out more and order it here.

Those of us old enough to remember the colossal furore that Life of Brian caused when it his our cinema screens in 1979, are constantly glad that we live in a country where Apocalypse Next Tuesday can be published at all – and that we are free to  laugh at what we choose. Cheer yourself up by whistling along to the original blast of blasphemy!

Andrea Pirlo is one the best and most popular footballers in the world and published in April by Backpage Press is Andrea Pirlo: I Think Therefore I Play – his story, in his words. It is a most unusual footballer’s autobiography, told with warmth, humour and insight. Andrea Pirlo has been the playmaker for each of Italy’s big three clubs – Inter, Milan and Juventus. He has won the Champions League and the World Cup. The vibrancy, humour and vivid insight that carry Pirlo’s autobiography along confound his image as a dead-eyed assassin on the field of play. The World Cup this summer will see the end of Pirlo’s international career and his memories of playing for Italy (with whom he won the 2006 World Cup) are a big part of this story. He is out of contract in the summer and is likely to leave Italy for the first time – possibly to play in England; so this is a timely salute to a special talent who may yet have one final chapter left to write. Andrea Pirlo: I Think Therefore I Play (pb, £9.99 978 1909430167 £9.99.) is published on 5.4.12 and the day before on Monday, April 4 there will be extensive coverage in the Daily Mail (print and online), the Guardian and the Sun and the Times. There will also be extracts from the book on which is the biggest football website in the world.  This book is going to be very big indeed and you can find out more and order Andrea Pirlo here.

And if you are a bookseller wondering what all the fuss is about – or even wondering who Andrea Pirlo actually is – than watch this great 4 minute YouTube film – with a fab Coldplay soundtrack, it should convince you that Pirlo clearly is a bit of a legend!

All over the UK at the moment some very lucky booksellers are receiving their invitations to the fabulous 40th International Anniversary launch part for The Abba Photo Book, which is published this month by Max Strom Publishing (hb, 978 9171262820 £35.00). Ah well, if you’re not lucky enough to be going to this mega party and meeting all four members of Abba (no me neither) then console yourself that it’s all super-duper publicity for the book which should sell by the bucket load. And at least thanks to the wonder of YouTube you can get all nostalgic and remind yourself of their mega performance at the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton when almost exactly 40 years ago (on 6 April 1974) they won with Waterloo! Yay – go Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid!

Don’t forget about The Wisdom of Kids by Soula Zavacopoulos (978 1849533744 £6.99, pb) This playful little gift book collects amusing, insightful and endearing pearls of wisdom from some of the most unlikely little geniuses ever to open their mouths. It has just been published by Summersdale and is the perfect Mother’s Day present – and lots of the parenting websites (including Gurgle and have been recommending it as such this week.

While most people associate testosterone with men, it's one of the most vital hormones in women, but one that they begin to lose as they enter their 40s.  As a result, women approaching midlife are often plagued with insomnia, fatigue, depression, forgetfulness, low libido and a general sense of malaise. But Dr Kathy Maupin knows that it doesn't have to be this way. In The Secret Female Hormone, How Testosterone Replacement Can Change Your Life Dr Maupin together with therapist Brett Newcomb bring vital information about testosterone to the general public for the first time as they share the latest research on testosterone replacement therapy and its effects. Speaking in clear and practical terms, they show readers how to find the right treatment plan for their individual needs. Testosterone: The Secret Female Hormone by Dr Kathy C Maupin (pb, 978 1781801789 £10.99) is the first authoritative book on testosterone for women, written by a medical doctor with years of experience treating hormonal imbalance and it is getting some terrific publicity. There was a huge piece last week in the Daily Mail (circ. 1.7 million) and the Daily Mail online (circ. 6 million) entitled Could the Male Hormone Really Transform a Woman’s Life, Looks and Libido? which you can read here. An appearance by the author is also scheduled soon on the ITV Lorraine Kelly show. The Secret Female Hormone has just been published by Hay House and you can order it and find out more here.

Oscar Marzaroli was Scotland’s most prestigious twentieth-century photographer. He was born in Castiglione Vera, Italy, in 1933 and came to Scotland with his family at the age of two. Although best known for his acclaimed and evocative photographs of Glasgow in the 1960s, he was also a film cameraman, and directed over 70 films for Ogam Films, a company he co-founded in 1967. He died in 1988. A documentary on Oscar Marzaroli will be screened on BBC2, Tuesday April 1st at 10pm and the tie-in book is Waiting for the Magic: The Photography of Oscar Marzaroli (hb, £25.00 9781780271484) published by Birlinn. This beautiful hardback coffee table book celebrates Marzaroli’s extraordinary talent with a number of specially-commissioned essays and a selection of previously unpublished photographs, as well as many of the iconic, much loved work for which he is renowned. Marzaroli’s portraits always had a purpose and a point; his empathy is apparent as is his lack of intrusion and respect for people in their unique landscape, whether it be urban or country. If you are not familiar with Marzoli’s work you can have a look at some of his photos on the website

And finally – if you think Apocalypse Next Tuesday is a weird title, have look at these (sometimes unintentionally) funniest book titles and covers ever! My personal favourite is Mommy Drinks Because You’re Bad.

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

This blog is read weekly by 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 7 March 2014

Compass Points 77

Now – is it Drink Time yet? Absolutely I should think so – mid afternoon on a Friday is usually wine o’ clock in my house – that is if I haven’t already started at lunchtime of course. And so was it in the household of Patrick Leigh Fermor: a man made fascinating by his life story, his charisma, his generosity and his talent. Drink Time by Dolores Payás is a delightful and moving account of the colourful adventurer; a snapshot account of his final years surrounded by his drinks, his guests, and above all, his books. Dolores Payás (Spanish translator of several of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s books) visited her subject in 2009 in his house in Greece. Out of this encounter emerged a friendship that lasted until the writer’s death in 2011. It was from those hours spent together chatting that this charming, personal and soulful sketch of the English author and traveller was born. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, the 70th anniversary of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s kidnapping of the German General Kreipe from Crete this year will give cause for a renewed flurry of interest in this unique character. As you will know, titles by and about Patrick Leigh Fermor are enduringly popular, and Drink Time is sure to be no exception. As the Sunday Times said recently; “By any standards, Patrick Leigh Fermor led an extraordinary life”. This short book conveys a portrait of a man who “became indomitable, proud and charming in old age, while retaining his other attributes”. It is an original and witty study in nostalgia mixed with personal fortitude, right up until the end and is published in paperback by Bene Factum in May (978 1909657625 £9.99)

Vladimir Putin has been much in the news recently and it is hard to know whether to be intrigued or appalled by this extraordinary leader. The Putin Mystique: Inside Russia’s Power Cult by Anna Arutunyan (hb, £16,99, 978 992627027) might just answer some of our questions – it was published by January by Skyscraper Publications. The publishers have taken out a big ad in this Saturday’s Guardian which you can see below, featuring some of the great reviews – the Times called it “intriguing and insightful” which will hopefully boost sales for you – the ad says “Available in all good bookshops” – so make sure you’re one of them! It is not often that our publishers buy adverts in national newspapers – so please support this extremely topical book, which is a vivid and revealing exploration of the way in which myth, power and religion interact to produce the love-hate relationship between the Russian people and Vladimir Putin.

Teardrop Island by Cherry Briggs (£8.99 978 1849534147) has been named by the Independent this week as one of the top ten best Asia travel books – you can read the full listing here. This title follows in the footsteps of the eccentric Victorian James Emerson Tennent, along a route which takes Cherry to pilgrimage trails, into tea estates and rural regions inhabited by indigenous tribes, as well as through restricted areas of the former warzone, delving under the surface of the contemporary culture via cricket matches and fortune tellers. As Wanderlust magazine said, Teardrop Island is “a fascinating and enjoyable read from an articulate and entertaining writer.” It was published in June last year by Summersdale.

The People in the Photo by Hélène Gestern has had some really terrific review coverage over the last fortnight in everything from the Sun to the Spectator, which you can read here. This heart-wrenching but ultimately uplifting novel (978 1908313546 pb, £8.88)   has just been published by Gallic and you can order it here.

Have a little look here at the trailer for this famous 1979 film. Hard to believe that it’s 35 years since the film Quadrophenia first hit the world’s cinema screens. Jimmy the Mod’s search for identity against the backdrop of the May Bank Holiday riots of the 1960’s, is regarded as the finest example of a British “youth” movie and a warmly remembered timepiece for a generation. Set against the backdrop of the Mods and Rockers riots of 1964, the film took its lead from The Who’s classic rock opera of 1973. With a stellar cast including Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash, Toyah Wilcox and Police front man Sting, the film launched a whole generation of Britain’s finest actors. Even in 2014, the word Quadrophenia still resonates as a buzzword for youthful exuberance, and modernist imagery. Quadrophenia has become a glorious benchmark for youthful hopes and dreams as well as channelling  60’s and 70’s nostalgia. Quadrophenia:  A Way of Life: Inside the Making of Britain’s Greatest Youth Film explores the making of this seminal cult film and its subsequent influence on popular culture. Containing interviews with cast members, director and scriptwriter this is the definitive account. It has the full backing of The Who management with use of all photos from film plus lots of great unseen shots. As someone who was just too young (yes really!) to get into see this film when it first came out – but tried everything possible to get into the cinema – I can certainly testify to its extreme coolness – and there will be plenty of others out there who remember it – and will want buy this title. This is first ever comprehensive look at the whole Quadrophenia phenomenon. Quadrophenia: A Way of Life by Simon Wells ( pb, £9.99 978 0957078345) is published by Countdown in May and you can find out more and order it here.

And oh, alright then, let’s just have a listen to the genius that is My Generation – just the thing to liven up a Friday!

One star of my generation who seems to be getting a ludicrous amount of publicity at present is Aaron Paul. On everything from Top Gear to the Chris Evans Breakfast Show – this guy is absolutely everywhere. Which is of course has all come about as a result of the incendiary hotness of the US TV series Breaking Bad (last year the Guinness Book of Records named it as the highest-rated TV series of all time) and its stars – who have been jet propelled onto the A-list of fame. Wanna Cook? is the first and only companion guide available to this multiple award winning TV drama. It’s a meaty 500 page volume including episode guides to all 5 seasons of hit TV show, and is produced in a highly accessible format with a mixture of trivia, photos and analysis of the wider themes. There are analyses of the individual episodes and ongoing storylines. From details such as stark settings, intricate camerawork, and jarring music to the larger themes, including the roles of violence, place, self-change, legal ethics, and fan reactions, this companion book is perfect for those diehards who have watched this series multiple times as well as for new viewers. Wanna Cook? elucidates without spoiling and illuminates without nit-picking. It is a total must have for all the gazillions of fans. The Television Bafta Awards are in May – and Breaking Bad is heavily tipped for major success. What luck, that is exactly the month that this title is published by Myrmidon Books! Wanna Cook? The Complete Unofficial Companion to Breaking Bad (pb, 978 1905802968 £13.99) is by Ensley F Guffey and K Dale and you can order it here

"Do you have a book about angels for someone who's a complete beginner?" Is this a question that you often hear in your bookshops I wonder? Well, bestselling author Doreen Virtue PHD frequently heard this very query, and one morning when she clearly saw and heard the title Angels 101, Doreen knew that the angels wanted her to write a basic primer on the subject of these celestial beings. With beautiful full colour illustrations throughout, this title is available for the first time in paperback. It is a non-denominational overview of who or what angels are; their role in various spiritual texts and religions; the ways that angels help us and how to call upon them; information on guardian angels and archangels; and frequently asked questions. Whether you are an utter cynic or a fervent believer in this type of thing; the fact is that combined sales of Doreen Virtue's products exceed a whopping 400k in the UK and How to Hear Your Angels (978 1401915414, £6.99) is one of Hay House top ten bestselling titles in the UK. If you are intrigued, and want to find out more, then you could go to Doreen’s own website: Angels 101 (pb, £10.99 978 1401946036) is published by Hay House in May and you can find out more about Angels 101 and order it here

Who enjoyed looking at pictures of the Oscars this week – and discussing which dresses suited which stars? Who wishes they could look as totes amazeballs as Jared or Jennifer? And do the stars of today really look as truly fabulous as Marilyn and Rita et al did in years gone by? Well, Vintage Secrets of Hollywood Beauty by Laura Slater, (978 0859655088 £9.99, hb) shares many vintage beauty secrets, and lots of classic tips and tricks with step-by-step tutorials so that  you can recreate some of classic Hollywood’s most iconic looks at home.  This stylish and informative guide to beauty from the golden age of Hollywood glamour teaches readers to recreate tons of great  looks – from the pencil-thin brows made famous by Clara Bow, to Rita Hayworth’s luxuriant locks and Marilyn Monroe’s ‘blonde all over’ glow. Ooh yes – let’s just remind ourselves of those stars’ endless appeal. Here's Rita singing in Gilda – one of her most iconic roles; and here’s Marilyn in my absolute favourite film of all time.  Well, if this book can make me look like either of those two, then I will certainly be first in the queue to buy it. 

It also reveals:

  • How to recreate vintage hairstyles – from Bardot’s bouffant to Veronica Lake’s peek-a-boo.
  • Simple make-up tricks from the days before plastic surgery – from Carole Lombard’s non-surgical nose-job to Marilyn Monroe’s pre-collagen pout.
  • The shocking extremes some stars went to in their quest for silver-screen perfection.
  • Vintage recipes for miracle face masks made from all natural ingredients – such as nutmeg, honey and cinnamon.
There is no question that the vintage look is enjoying something of a moment, with high-profile television shows such as Mad Men, The Hour, Pan Am and Boardwalk Empire reviving public interest in vintage fashions and lifestyles – and I think this book could do rather well. It’s packed with instructions, illustrations and classic images as well as timeless advice from fashion figureheads. Vintage Secrets of Hollywood Beauty by Laura Slater, is published by Plexus in May.

In the meantime – which was the best Oscar outfit this year do you think? Have a look here at a fabulous website which shows us every dress worn by all the leading ladies who have ever won the best actress award – right from 1929 up to the present day!

And if looking and dreaming is the nearest you’re ever going to get to owning anything by Armani or Dior – then why not get creative at home with the paper and scissors – just like this cute 4-yr-old girl has done with her mum!

I hope World Book Day was a big success yesterday for you and your bookshop! Click here to see some lovely pics of kids all round the UK dressed up as their favourite book characters on the CBBC website! And here’s one of the younger members of our Compass team channelling his inner Gandalf!

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

This blog is read weekly by 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.