Good afternoon! First up today we have a couple of titles which have been very successful for you in hardback, and are coming in paperback in July. Power Trip: A Decade of Policy Plots and Spin by Damian McBride (978 1849547147 £9.99) caused a sensation when it was published last year and now this fascinating, funny and at times shocking memoir has been updated with lots of brand new material and is set to sell extremely well all over again – you sold 11,000 copies of the hardback. The Sunday Times called it “Current Affairs Book of the Year: This devastatingly forthright account of McBride’s years as Gordon Brown’s spin doctor and attack dog is the best book I have read all year“ while the New Statesman wrote “Damian McBride is a bastard. And, unusually for a memoirist, he's very keen to let you know that from the start. ” This riveting and eye-opening expose of British politics is published by Biteback. You can watch Damian being interviewed by Paxman – who naturally doesn’t pull his punches – they’re talking about the fallout from the publication of Power Trip in hardback – which you may remember, came out on the eve of the Labour Party conference – all very entertaining!
Next comes the paperback of The Merman by Carl-Johan Vallgren (978 1843915263, £8.99). This is ideal for those who like their summer reading to be challenging and intense. Time Out said it was “A Perfume for a new generation… Tremendous” while the Daily Telegraph wrote “The story is charged, atmospheric, and thought-provoking”. The Guardian found it “Challenging and shocking” while the Edinburgh Book Review called it “Unassumingly simple, sweetly aching, heart-warming and absolutely beautiful”. Harsh reality meets magical realism in Carl Johan-Vallgren’s bleak tale of sibling love, betrayal and redemption which has masses of fans in his native
Sweden, and has made the
bestseller lists all over Europe. This dark
haunting fairytale has a striking and rather beautiful cover and is published in
B-format paperback by Hesperus Nova in July.
When Alan Rowan finished his shifts as a sub-editor at a national newspaper at midnight, he knew he was too jacked up on deadline adrenaline to attempt sleep. At the same time, he was starting to worry if he would ever complete his ambition to reach the summit of every ‘Munro’ in
– those peaks of over
3000ft. One crazy night, he decided upon a single solution to both problems. He
would begin his ascents in the middle of the night, see the sun rise above the
clouds and then come down the mountain just as everyone else was going up,
before arriving home to have breakfast with his unsuspecting family. Moonwalker: Adventures of a Midnight Mountaineer
is a unique story – the memoir of a man whose love of mountains would
override his body-clock and all conventional notions of health and safety. It is
funny and touching; at once a deeply personal memoir and a riotous travelogue.
This title would appeal to armchair travellers as well as those walkers who will
be familiar with many of the mountains Alan climbed; and is an entertaining
addition to the leisure, outdoors and adventure bookshelf. Moonwalker: Adventures of a Midnight Mountaineer
(978 1909430174, pb, £9.99) by Alan Rowan
was published by BackPage Press yesterday and there has
already been some good publicity, you can read a great article here. There is also
a terrific 3 minute promo video for Moonwalker here on YouTube with some
really stunning photography of the sun rising on a mountain top. If it doesn’t
make you want to set off immediately for Scotland with your climbing gear, at
the very least it should certainly make you want to order lots of copies of the
Oooh, and since it’s Friday and we like a few entertaining videos to watch – let’s just remind ourselves of the original and best moonwalker himself...
Well, summer football fever is now really starting to build up now and I’m pleased to say you are already selling lots of copies of our various footie titles. The Celtic player Fraser Forster is part of Roy Hodgson’s 23-man England squad which has given the media a nice little link to talk about a new title from BackPage Press: Sean Fallon: Celtic's Iron Man by Stephen Sullivan (hb, 978 1909430013, £19.99) which is currently being heavily promoted by anther footie legend Pat Bonner. Sean Fallon is one of British football's great untold stories. For the first time in this authorised biography the Celtic legend speaks candidly about his time as right-hand man to Jock Stein and how together they ruled Scottish football and conquered
Europe with the Lisbon Lions. We learn how the Irishman
shaped Celtic's glory era of the 1960s and 70s by signing not only the majority
of the Lions, but also players such as Kenny Dalglish, and Pat Bonner. Fallon also reflects on his stellar playing career
and his own, oft-underestimated role is illuminated by revealing interviews with
the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish. The Times called it
“Magnificent... an important and eloquent account of arguably the greatest
talent-spotter in British football history." while the Daily Mail
said "A remarkable redefining of a true giant of the game" and the
Daily Record recommended "If you are going to read one football book
this year, this should be it. Beautifully written, an incredible
You can read lots of the coverage via the links on the BackPage blog here.
And you can watch a short 2 minute tribute to Sean Fallon here on YouTube broadcast by RTE news last year when he died, aged 90.
The Last Victorians: A Daring Reassessment of Four Twentieth Century Eccentrics tells the story of four eccentric public figures who attempted to promote Victorian values throughout the early and middle years of the twentieth century. The subjects of are Sir William Joynson-Hicks, the controversially authoritarian Home Secretary from 1924 to 1929; William Ralph Inge, author, Anglican priest and Dean of
John Charles Walsham Reith, founding father of the BBC; and Sir Arthur
Bryant, influential and bestselling historian. Each of these four
individuals represented a school of thought swept away by modern views in
post-Victorian society but, author W Sydney
Robinson argues eloquently, they still have lessons to teach us.
Propelled from the outset by Robinson’s brilliant prose, The Last Victorians is an unusual slice of
narrative history by an exceptionally talented young writer. The Last
Victorians: A Daring Reassessment of Four Twentieth Century
Eccentrics by W Sydney
Robinson (hb, 978 1849547161, 16 pages of pictures, £20.00) is
published by Robson Press in July. St Paul
All four of these fascinating characters have fine upstanding Victorian names: William, William, John and Arthur – but you might be intrigued to learn that this wasn’t necessarily the case for everyone in this era. Have a watch here for some facts that may surprise you!
On Further Reflection: Sixty Years of Writing by Jonathan Miller is a beautiful £20 hardback (978 0992627065) published in July by Skyscraper. Jonathan Miller is 80 this year, and this book will be one of a number of ways in which his birthday will be marked. Miller himself is a much-sought-after interviewee, and always gives good value. He will make a keynote appearance at Hay-on-Wye in May and Dartington in July and this title is likely to attract major reviews in the quality press. Actor, doctor, TV presenter, film director, opera director, sculptor – Sir Jonathan Miller’s careers cover a vast range. He is also a gifted and insightful writer, but his writings have been scattered across a series of books and articles over the last sixty years. This selection gives an idea of the depth and variety of his preoccupations, from mesmerism to neurology, film and theatre to art history and technique, parody to reportage. Each extract has an introduction by Miller, setting it in the context of his interests in the arts and sciences. Here is the great man being an Oxbridge philosopher with John Cleese back in 1977.
Well, John Cleese may have been funny then, but he certainly isn’t nowadays – at least not in my opinion anyway. But humour of course is a very personal thing. Here are 21 jokes so stupid they're actually funny – or are they? You decide!
That’s all for now folks, more next week!
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