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.

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