Friday 27 June 2014

Compass Points 91

Who’s heading off on a holiday this summer? And probably lots of you are flying – that’s if those rascally French air traffic controllers even allow your plane to take off. But there are millions out there who are so terrified of flying that that a holiday overseas is a total no-no. No More Fear of Flying by Allen Carr will solve this issue and ensure that flying becomes a positive pleasure. With startling insight into why we fear planes and clear, simple, step-by-step instructions how to cure ourselves of the problem, Allen Carr unravels the many misconceptions that make us believe flying is dangerous. No More Fear of Flying explodes the myths and brainwashing from the media and Hollywood that surround flying and provides masses of practical tips to help readers feel safe and secure on their next fear-free flight. There is no doubt that Allen Carr is the absolute experts’ expert. He has an international reputation as the world's leading expert on stopping smoking and his network of clinics now spans the globe. Allen Carr's 'Easy Way' method has been applied to a host of issues including alcohol, weight control, stress and gambling - and now fear of flying. No More Fear of Flying by Allen Carr (£4.99, 978 1784042790) is published in paperback in August by Arcturus.

Do you think Allen Carr would cure Marge Simpson? Nope me neither.



Summer seems to be the time when live stand-up comedy in the UK goes into overdrive. This year there are almost 600 comedy shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival alone – and of course there will be plenty of hilarious jokers at Glasto this weekend – and probably not all of them will be on stage. The BC has just launched its New Comedy Award for 2014 – and if you fancy yourself as a bit of a Tommy Cooper – then find out how you can enter it here. What better time then for the fabulous Bluffer’s series to bring out The Bluffer's Guide to Stand-Up Comedy! This paperback by Rob Beattie is an all new title from the 5-million-copy bestselling series which provides instant expertise, jargon and ready-made wit. As Today said; this is “a series which threatens to undermine the proper foundations of knowledge.” The Bluffer's Guide to Stand-Up Comedy by Rob Beattie (9781909937246, £6.99, pb) is published in July.

And have a look here on the Bluffer's Website for some good tips about how to bluff your way in a comedy club!

One of my personal faves in the world of stand up comedy is Sarah Millican, who you can see in a ten minute clip from her Live At The Apollo set here



What happens when you pluck a family from a Welsh hillside and transplant them to a French field? How do you renovate derelict pig shed pas de finance? Lessons in Impermanence is an exploration of experimental living. Jettisoning the 9–5, Jane Parry documents the Breton country year in a journal, facing up to the many challenges involved when you opt to live close to nature. These challenges encompass the physical and psychical, material and emotional. Mousetraps, schooling, the French tax system, yoga and mandalas all provide scope for new experiences. A candid account of rural Breton living, Lessons in Impermanence reveals the development of a very personal philosophy, as Jane and her family embrace the difficulties and triumphs of their alternative lifestyle with wit and humour. There is still a massive market for these “I gave up the rat race and moved my whole family abroad/onto a boat/into outer space” type of memoirs, and Lessons in Impermanence (978 1909844636, pb, £8.99) by Jane Parry is published by Parthian in August.

Now it’s time for a bit of dystopian science fiction. Let’s imagine an alternate future where humans seal their own fate. A time when, despairing at the state of world degeneration, a group of the world’s most renowned intellectuals form the new Scientific World Government, aiming to put the world to rights. Elected into power, they quickly start making changes for the better, eliminating world hunger and cancer; encouraging scientific thought and banning frivolous entertainment. But while congratulating themselves on a job well done, they fail to notice that actually, people are not happy… The suicide rate has sky-rocketed and, strangely, it turns out the public want a little risk and conflict in their lives. So to cater for the masses, the Department of Psychology forms a plan. They will stage an entertainment show the likes of which the world has never seen before. It starts with gladiatorial style battles, bloodthirsty and brutal, where the victors become celebrities of unseen proportions, and quickly escalates into entire historical battle re-enactments involving chemical warfare and mass destruction. Now hang on a minute, you may well be thinking. This sounds exactly like The Hunger Games. Well, yes, but rather than jumping on the bandwagon like so many other authors, Pierre Boulle (author of The Planet of the Apes and Bridge of the River Kwai) actually penned Desperate Games over forty years ago! This long neglected dystopian SF classic has been out of print for a long time, but is published next month in a brand new translation. Desperate Games imagines a world governed by science and brutality gone mad and is a thoroughly gripping tale for our times. Desperate Games by Pierre Boulle (9781843915355, pb, £8.99) is published by Hesperus in July and you can order it here

And here is that thoroughly chilling scene from The Hunger Games where the kids have to start fighting it out for the entertainment of others.



Phew – well I’m ready for something a bit more light-hearted now I must say. Love Insurance by Earl Derr Biggers is a romantic comedy of improbable proportions, very evocative of early 1900s America when it was written. This light and sophisticated writing in the manner of the day is described by Hesperus as P.G. Wodehouse meets Oscar Wilde meets The Great Gatsby, which pretty much corners the market in frothy wit I’d say. This zany romantic comedy has as its hero, Owen Jephson (an insurer at Lloyds) who is taken aback when Lord Harrowby asks him to insure against his fiancée jilting him at the altar. Never one to turn down an interesting offer, Jephson agrees but swiftly dispatches Dick Minot to Florida to make sure that Lloyds’ assets are protected and that Cynthia Meyrick makes it down the aisle. Unfortunately Minot promptly falls in love with Cynthia and it comes to light that Lord Harrowby may not be all that he seems. From then on, things go rapidly downhill as expensive necklaces go missing, long-lost brothers rear their heads and it is touch and go whether Lord Harrowby and Cynthia will eventually be joined in marriage or not.  Love Insurance has a lovely nostalgic cover, and is a highly, cinematic novel, full of charm and perfect for summer reading. Its author, Earl Derr Biggers, rather surprisingly was the creator of Chinese detective Charlie Chan! Love Insurance by Earl Derr Biggers (978 1843915256, pb, £8.99) is published by Hesperus in July.

Born in 1945 Augusta, Georgia, the daughter of an insurance salesman and a school teacher, Jessye Mae Norman came into a family of accomplished musicians and began learning the piano at an early age. A precocious talent, after nearly winning a singing competition in Philadelphia, Jessye was awarded a full scholarship to Howard University in Washington where her love and knowledge of music would grow and her obvious ability would flourish. Stand Up Straight and Sing by Jessye Norman is the autobiography of one of the most celebrated and often controversial singers of the classical world. It tells the story of Norman’s extraordinary journey in her own inimitable voice. Her career has been one of meteoric musical highs. As well as possessing a gloriously rich and powerful voice she is blessed with an uncommonly wide vocal range that, when allied to her statuesque bearing and commanding stage presence, has made her an incomparable modern interpreter of most of the operatic repertory, establishing hers as perhaps the greatest contemporary female voice in the world of classical music. Stand Up Straight and Sing by Jessye Norman (978 1849546850, hb, £20.00) is published next week by Robson Press and Jessye is currently over the UK doing the following interviews to publicise the book: The Daily Telegraph, BBC Radio 4, Midweek, Classic FM, BBC Radio 3 and the BBC World Service.

If you are not familiar with the extraordinary power of Jessye Norman’s voice then here she is singing Schubert's Ave Maria.




“Despite being pasty and overweight, the writer was a hit with the ladies.” Well, there’s a headline to inspire many of us with confidence. This reassuring sentence comes from the big piece yesterday in the Daily Mail all about a new biography: The Three Lives of Dylan Thomas by Hilly Janes which has just been published by Robson Press (£19.99, hb, 978 1849546881). As the article says: “Six decades after his death, Dylan Thomas is creeping back into fashion. But the superb rolling music of his lines isn’t to everybody’s taste; some prefer their poetry crisper, sharper, cooler. The trouble is that there have been many, many accounts of his shambolic, sponging, drunken life — and the more you read, the harder it is to separate the petulant, self-indulgent, overgrown child from the glorious bard, who is surely one of the most interesting voices of the last century. Hilly Janes paints a largely sympathetic portrait of the poet, which is fitting, since her unique ‘way in’ is through the eyes of her own father, the distinguished painter Fred Janes. He completed three portraits of his lifelong friend — and these (pictured on the book jacket) give Hilly Janes her loose structure: the ‘three lives’.”  You can read the whole piece here - it’s highly entertaining! 

As I’m sure you are well aware, 2014 marks the centenary of Dylan Thomas’s birth. Poems of his such as Do not go gentle into that good night regularly come top of polls of the nation’s favourites, and his play Under Milk Wood is studied in schools all over the world and has never been out of print. In addition to The Three Lives of Dylan Thomas, there are three other Dylan Thomas titles which I would like to bring to your attention:  Firstly Dylan Thomas by Walford Davies (hb, £16.99, 978 1783160587). This is published by University of Wales Press and is the best short introduction to Dylan Thomas, written by a leading authority on the poet. Accessibly written, it covers the whole range of Thomas’s poetry and prose, and shows its change and development. By means of close analysis throughout, this book will help a wide range of readers to enjoy and understand the power of this major poet’s life and work.

Dylan Thomas: Under Milkwood:  Images by Peter Blake (978 1907587610, pb, £30). is a beautiful 176 page edition of Dylan Thomas’s groundbreaking 1954 “play for voices” Under Milk Wood. Revealed here for the very first time with the definitive play text are the ‘dismays and rainbows’ of this great artist’s richly detailed sequences of 110 watercolours, pencil portraits and collages, comprising one of his most distinctive and significant single bodies of work. The sleepy Welsh seaside town of Llareggub, comes to life in the cycle of one spring day. At once a lively and humorous depiction of the butchers, bakers, preachers and children, of Captain Cat, Nogood Boyo and Polly Garter it is also a modern pastoral tale on a Chaucerian scale. It is published by Enitharmon Editions.

And finally, A Pearl of Great Price: The Love Letters of Dylan Thomas to Pearl Kazin was published earlier this year by Parthian Books. As the Sunday Times wrote; it offers “a unique insight” into the poet. The letters from Dylan to his mistress Pearl were bought and sold on condition that they would not be published during her lifetime. In an interview with the Sunday Times in January, editor Jeff Towns explained that he was given permission to use the letters by Kazin's son, David, after her death three years ago.. Until these letters came to light, Pearl had remained something of a ghost – the mysterious ‘Sarah’ of Dylan Thomas in America. In A Pearl of Great Price, Jeff Towns, with a little help from Pearl’s son David Bell, attempts to flesh out the woman Dylan felt more for than any other mistress and offer new insights into their liaison. There’s was an intense and passionate relationship and these  six love letters from Dylan to Pearl, never before published, along with a couple of snapshots of them together in London form the basis for this book. You can order A Pearl of Great Price: The Love Letters of Dylan Thomas to Pearl Kazin Edited and Introduced by Jeff Towns from Compass: 978-1909844681, hb, £20.

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 20 June 2014

Compass Points 90

Well, it looks like England’s World Cup journey is well and truly over; quelle surprise. Never mind; pour yourself another beer and bung another burger on the barbie, there are still plenty of things to enjoy about a British summer. Hang on though. Do you worry that you drink too much? Or perhaps you fear that your dependence on drugs, food, sex, or some other vice is spiralling out of control, and taking your quality of life with it? Who Says I'm an Addict? A Book for Anyone Who is Partial to Food, Sex, Booze or Drugs by David Smallwood is a down-to-earth, accessible read that offers insight into the root cause of addictive behaviour - and will help the reader take the steps necessary for recovery, whether they just feel concerned about some of their behaviours or believe that they have a serious problem. David Smallwood is a highly-renowned addiction expert, currently Treatment Director at One40 Ltd of Harley Street, and his previous experience includes managing the addiction unit at the Priory. He looks in detail at all areas of addiction with compassion, clarity, and wisdom and this book is guaranteed publicity in health and wellness publications as well as national newspapers. Who Says I'm an Addict? (978 1781804094. £12.99) is published in paperback this month by Hay House and you can find out more and order it here.

And if you need a bit of help and guidance from some of those fantastic Hay House authors right now, then don’t’ forget about Hay House Radio, which you can listen to at www.hayhouseradio.com/ - radio for your soul!

There was a very interesting article on poetry and its relevance today in Newsweek this week – which of course includes mention of our own fabulous poetry publisher Carcanet. The article discusses whether poetry is an “archaic and redundant practice” or does it in fact “provide the essential intellectual nourishment to survive our time-pressed, emotionally-bereft 21st century lives.” As the article points out, the $64,000 question is not necessarily whether the general public like poetry, but whether they will actually buy poetry – there are lots of interesting statistics and comments about the state of poetry publishing in the UK at the moment, and you can read the entire article here.

How old are you? No – how old are you really? Why not play this fun game on buzz feed where you answer 15 questions which will reveal your true age!

Now, here’s a funny thing. When I took this quiz may age came up as 42. Which sadly, is not true. But according to the comments below the quiz, this has happened to quite a few other people too. And now I’m wondering; is this a weird co-incidence or could this be a Douglas Adams related joke??

Just a thought – see here to be reminded why 42 is indeed the answer to life, the universe and everything. And of course this spring does mark the 10th anniversary of Douglas Adams’ death. Hmmm….

Who among you has dreamed of giving up their life as a bookseller, and becoming an actor instead? Well, Covering Shakespeare: An Actor’s Saga of Near Misses and Dogged Endurance by David Weston (hb, 978 1783190645 14.99) may encourage you to do just that. Or alternatively it may possibly convince you that a life in books is at least slightly more secure than one on the stage. This title from the award-winning author of Covering McKellen is a witty and amusing memoir of tales of life behind the scenes which also gives an insight into all of Shakespeare’s plays. David Weston has appeared in twenty-nine of Shakespeare’s thirty seven plays and has worked with all the major companies to the outmost limits of the Fringe; from Hollywood to Hong Kong with the great, the mediocre and the forgotten. He has stories and reminiscences about them all as well as advice for young actors, all written in his inimitable style. Benedict Nightingale, theatre critic on The Times has written the foreword for this book and says of it: “A most enjoyable and informative book; very distinctive and very entertaining. I like it a lot and am sure many others will.” Covering Shakespeare: An Actor’s Saga of Near Misses and Dogged Endurance is published by Oberon Books in August.

Shakespeare is right back on the curriculum for our schools it’s true, with Michael Gove announcing recently that GCSE English literature students will be required study at least one full Shakespeare play, as opposed to extracts. But is Michael Gove right – or would another author be more relevant to the children of today? Let’s have a look at one of those epic rap battles to help us decide shall we!



I see John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars has grabbed the number one book chart spot this week the general release of the film today. It looks as if this teen romance (which trounced Tom Cruise's latest action movie when it opened at the US box office) will increase the sales of this bestselling paperback still further. Read about it and watch the trailer on the BBC news page here.

What better time than today to remember a true sporting genius. Bobby Moore: Sporting Legend is published in August.  This is a new paperback edition of the definitive biography of England’s sporting hero. In this definitive and authorised biography, award winning sports writer Jeff Powell – for many years a close family friend to Moore and his family – has created a powerful and fitting tribute to the legend, recreating the golden era of English football and the man at its helm. Apart from passionate accounts of Moore’s greatest moments in football, Powell’s unique access to Moore and his family enabled him to reveal the very private side of this supremely gentle man. The book gives insights into Moore’s friendships with Franz Beckenbauer, Eusebio and Pele, as well as with his 1966 World Cup winning teammates and managers. The Daily Telegraph said “It is Powell's lucid picture of Moore the footballer...which makes the most indelible impression...an admirable portrait.”  This title was originally published in 1994 and is the authorised biography (with 16 pages of photos) now published in B format paperback. It has been written with full access to Bobby Moore and his family: its author Jeff Powell delivered the eulogy at Bobby Moore’s funeral, describing it as “one of the saddest yet one of the most moving days of my life.” This extraordinary story of a footballing life is a vital title for the sports section of every bookshop. Bobby Moore- Sporting Legend by Jeff Powell (978 1849547390£9.99, pb) is published by Robson Press.
 You can order Bobby Moore here  (and I bet Roy Hodgson wishes he could.)

And finally, if you want to laugh rather than cry about England’s performance last night, then have a look at this entertaining summary of the evening's action!

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


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

Friday 13 June 2014

Compass Points 89

Well, before we get onto books, how very sad to hear of the death of Rik Mayall – surely one of the most hilarious men ever – and someone who has definitely featured many a time in Compass Points via one spurious link or another! Here then are some of his funniest moments – I especially love his reading of George’s Marvellous Medicine!

Now onto the literary stuff  – and I’m pleased to tell you that coming in August is a new Alexander McCall Smith – something to get your tills a-jingling and a-jangling with joy! Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party is published by Polygon in hardback (978 1846973000 £9.99) and is a brand new, stand-alone novel from this most popular or writers. It follows on from the great success of Trains and Lovers, which sold 20,000 hardbacks in the first six weeks of publication; so let’s hope you do just as well with this one! The story begins when Fatty O’Leary’s loving wife Betty plans a trip to Ireland for his 40th birthday and almost immediately things start to go wrong. The seats in economy class on the plane are too small; Irish bathroom furniture is not as commodious as he’d have liked. And all the time Fatty must put up with the unthinking cruelty of strangers. In a hilarious and touching portrayal of a kindly and misunderstood soul, Alexander McCall Smith has created yet another memorable character who will become an instant favourite to his many fans.

Gabriel Gbadamosi’s debut novel, Vauxhall has been selected by Fay Weldon as her choice for BBC Radio Four’s A Good Read. The programme will be broadcast on the 24th June, and repeated on the 26th June. And of course it will remain available on the BBC iplayer. This really is terrific publicity for this title, which is published by Telegram this month so do make sure you have it on display. Vauxhall (pb, 978 1846591464 £12.99) is a tender and occasionally dark portrait of a child looking for his place in inner city London in the early 1970s.  Police, methylated tramps, Nigerian royalty, gypsies, Irish aunts, teachers, thieves, cockneys and homesick Jamaicans clamour for young Michael’s attention: his world is bursting with all walks of Lambeth life. This title will appeal to readers of Brick Lane, Pigeon English,
Capital, White Teeth and NW.

A real buzz is building for a beautifully produced little hardback book published by Birlinn entitled In Love with Death by Satish Modi (pb, 978 1780272146 £9.99).  Satish Modi is chairman of Modi Global Enterprises. He supports a wide range of charities, educational institutions and the arts, and is a key member of Ambassadors for Philanthropy. In this book he explores the questions surrounding the fact that death is the inevitable fate of every single person on earth. How do we accept the inevitability of our own death? How do we live our lives with meaning? Will money lead us to happiness? The author examines these questions is a moving, powerful, thought-provoking work based on his own reflections as well as the experiences of people from all walks of life. The result is a fascinating book that teaches us that whoever we are and whatever our aspirations in this life, it is important for each and every one of us to accept our own passing. In doing so we can free ourselves to live as well and fully as possible, guided by the principles of goodness, love and compassion.  This is definitely a book which touches those who read it very deeply – and Satish Modi has been over from New Delhi promoting it tirelessly and effectively. He was on air live for a one-hour programme on BBC Asian Network last week. This was an extremely engaging interview and discussion on the book, where Modi responded brilliantly to the host's questions and covered several important topics on the theme. This evoked great interest from listeners - resulting in an overwhelming number of phone calls, text messages and e-mails to the producers of the programme! Some of these phone calls were put on air and the reactions were amazing – many expressed how impressed they were and how much they agreed with Satish Modi's views on the subject. Overall, a fantastic, very well handled and very interesting interview! You can find it on the iplayer here. Back on 15th of May, Modi also participated in a discussion on "Death as a taboo" on the BBC World ServiceBBC World Service radio has 256 million listeners a week, and all of the many the listeners who phoned in said they would certainly buy copies for themselves and for others! If you’d like to here Satish on the BBC World Service, then you can download the interview here
The book was launched with a lecture by Satish at the Old Operating Theatre Museum (a museum of surgical history and one of the oldest surviving operating theatres in the world) in London – you can read an account of the evening in Frost - an online lifestyle magazine - here and it’s very complimentary! The journalist says “I read some of the book on the way home and almost miss my stop in doing so. I find it engaging and as enlightening as talking to the man himself!” More interviews are coming up in the May and June issues of various literary and lifestyle magazines such as Mayfair Times and Bric. This is truly a book which affects all those who read it.  A little anecdote for you: Ms Magda, the Manager of the Richoux Cafe in central London, was so highly influenced by it that she is displaying copies of In Love with Death along with the chocolate boxes in her showcase! She also mentioned that one lady guest picked up a copy of the book and spent four hours on the table with a cup of coffee and read the whole thing!  Magda instructed the waiters not to disturb the lady or ask her to vacate the table, as she felt reading the book was more beneficial than having a few more customers for the table! High praise indeed! Please order and read this book if you haven’t done so already and get it on display – it is definitely a real word of mouth book – and has a very appealing cover – one for those personal recommendations!

A couple of important titles are coming from Carcanet in August, to commemorate the WWI centenary. War Poet by Jon Stallworthy is a new collection by the acclaimed biographer of Wilfred Owen and editor of Oxford Book of War Poetry. Jon Stallworthy has won the Wilfred Owen Poetry Prize and the WH Smith Literary Award and is the former Poetry Editor of Oxford University Press and Master of Wolfson College, Oxford. Review coverage for this collection is anticipated in all the major broadsheets.

Fall in, Ghosts: Selected War Prose is also published by Carcanet in August. (Hb, 978 1847772114 £14.95). Fall in, Ghosts is the startling prose of a survivor whose name is synonymous with war writing: Edmund Blunden. The poet Edmund Blunden (1896-1974) survived the battles of Ypres and the Somme, and moved among the ghosts of the Great War every day of his life. Long after the war he kept faith with his fallen comrades: he was an early editor of Wilfred Owen and his memoir, Undertones of War, is a prose classic. This selection is deeply informed by his reading of 18th and 19th century literature and by his love of the English countryside.  Rich with the spirit of his own much-loved poetry, this volume evokes what was most human and natural in that most unnatural of environments, the Western Front. Fall in, Ghosts is edited with an introduction by Robyn Marsack who is Director of the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh.

If you are unfamiliar with the work of Edmund Blunden – or just want a reflective moment of peace on a Friday; then have a look here at his poem: 1916 seen from 1921 on YouTube.

Staying with the war theme, but moving forward to 1939; Alphabet House is a gripping, psychological World War II thriller from bestselling Danish author Jussi Adler Olsen, author of the Department Q series. Jussi Adler-Olsen’s books have sold over 10 million copies worldwide and been translated into 35 languages. The Times said “Adler-Olsen is the new "it" boy of Nordic Noir” and the Guardian praised his “gripping story-telling”. Alphabet House is full of action and cinematic appeal – perfect for fans of John Grisham and Alfred Hitchcock. It starts Germany where two English pilots are shot down and crash land behind enemy lines. The area is swarming with German troops and they have only minutes to crawl from the wreckage and make their escape. Boarding a train reserved for wounded SS men on the way home from the eastern front, they ditch their clothing and personal belongings and pose as German soldiers, hiding for days in soiled, bloody beds, feigning unconsciousness. But their act is too convincing and they find themselves being transferred to Alphabet House, a mental hospital for those damaged by war. How will they escape? And for how long can you simulate insanity without going crazy for real? They are playing a dangerous game and it seems they might not be the only ones in Alphabet House hiding secrets... Alphabet House is published by Hesperus Nova in August (pb, 978 1843915447 £8.99).

Alphabet House has a terrific cover, which rather reminds me of the iconic moment with the bi-plane in Hitchcock’s masterpiece North by Northwest; and indeed I suspect this is intentional as Hesperus say Hitchcock fans are certain to enjoy this page-turning psychological thriller – and the film rights are just about to be optioned! Let’s have look at that famous scene to remind ourselves shall we!


Now, who fancies a novel where we can find out what has happened to all of our favourite Jane Austen characters? Oooh yes please hear you Janeties cry, but hasn’t that already been rather done to death (as it were) recently with Death Comes to Pemberley, Longbourn, The Austen Project, Me and Mr Darcy etc. etc. not to mention Pride, Prejudice and Zombies? Well, in fact Old Friends and New Fancies (pb, 978 1843915348 £8.99) was first published 100 years ago, in 1914 – so yah boo sucks to all the other pale imitators; Sybil Brinton can definitely claim to have come up with the idea first.  Old Friends and New Fancies was the first ever Jane Austen sequel and follows Elizabeth Bennett, Mr Darcy and many other beloved characters embarking on new stages of life, new friendships and new romances. Taking in all of Jane Austen’s preferred locations and backdrops, the plot of Old Friends and New Fancies takes us from London to Bath and, of course, to Pemberley where Elizabeth and Mr Darcy are now happily married. Austen fans will be thrilled to see such a wide palette of characters making their appearances, with personalities from each of her six novels playing a role in clever combinations. The union between Tom Bertram (from Mansfield Park) and Isabella Thorpe (from Northanger Abbey) is a brilliant new romance to discover. Yet it is also lovely to encounter once again the familiar tender relationship between Emma and Mr Knightley. Written in a style truly reminiscent of Austen’s and making free use of her characters, Sybil Brinton’s work is a must read for Austen fans and one which they will devour with relish. I don’t have to tell you that Jane Austen is a perennial favourite who never goes out of fashion, and interest in her works is currently at an all time high, so I think we can safely assume this will sell extremely well. Old Friends and New Fancies is published by Hesperus in August.

Well, if we’re going to mention Pride and Prejudice, there’s only one possible film clip to show really isn’t there - and what better way to cool down!


 You thought we were going to get away without mentioning football at all this week didn’t you?! Have a look here at the world’s most amazing footie pitches and then imagine you were there rather than sitting on your sofa watching England make a hash of things tomorrow!

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 6 June 2014

Compass Points 88

Well – it’s here at last – the film of the phenomenally successful The Hundred Year Old Man Who Jumped Out of a Window and Disappeared will be opening in cinemas across the UK on 4 July. You can watch the trailer for it here! This Swedish film (produced by Nice Entertainment and FLX Film and distributed by
StudioCanal) has all the madcap humour of the book – and plenty more besides – it should be a mega-popular summer hit! The book has now sold 1.3 million copies, with the Independent calling it “arguably the biggest word-of-mouth literary sensation of the decade”. This “mordantly funny and loopily freewheeling debut novel about ageing disgracefully” (Sunday Times) is now available in a film tie in paperback – with fab zany new cover artwork! And of curse the current edition with its now iconic cover is still available to order as well – both published of course by Hesperus.
The Hundred Year Old Man who Jumped Out of a Window and Disappeared Film Edition 978 1843914822 B-format paperback, £8.99
The Hundred Year Old Man who Jumped Out of a Window and Disappeared (current paperback edition) 978 1843913726 £8.99



Fairytales – good or bad for children? I’m sure most booksellers would feel they were A Good Thing – but you might recall that apparently recently Richard Dawkins told the Cheltenham Science Festival that tales could be harmful to children if they teach children the world is shaped by supernaturalism. The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail both reported that Dawkins said it was "pernicious to instil in a child the view that the world is shaped by supernaturalism" and asked, “Is it a good thing to go along with the fantasy of childhood…? Or should we be fostering a spirit of scepticism?" However, yesterday, Dawkins defended his views on the BBC World Service, and said the idea that he wanted to ban fairy tales was “absolute nonsense”. You can read the full story in The Bookseller here

We are delighted to announce that three Carcanet poets: Louise Glück, Kei Miller and Jeffrey Wainwright have all been shortlisted for the 2014 Forward Poetry Prize. William Sieghart, who founded the Forward prizes in 1991, said the writers on the shortlists “bring news that stays news, in fresh and startling language”, and that their voices “remind readers that, in an age of shortened attention spans, good poetry can communicate insights and visions with a power other art forms can only envy”. This year the Forward panel is led by Jeremy Paxman, alongside the musician Cerys Matthews and three poets: Dannie Abse, Helen Mort and Vahni Capildeo. The winners will be announced on 30 September. Faithful and Virtuous Night (978 1847774798 £9.95) by Louise Gluck which has been shortlisted for Best Collection is published in September 2014. The Cartographer Tries to Map His Way to Zion (978 1847772671 £9.95) by Kei Miller which has also been shortlisted for Best Collection has just been published this May. The Empty Road by Jeffrey Wainwright has been shortlisted for Best Single Poem.  Jeffrey has a number of poems in print with Carcanet. To find out more, go to the Carcanet website www.carcanet.co.uk. Congratulations to all three poets – and we will bring you the results when they are announced in September.

What on earth is the mighty Amazon up to now? They’ve just released a teaser trailer which you can watch here for a new product to be launched later this month, featuring people using and commenting on an unseen device. The 50-second film has prompted speculation that the internet retailer is due to launch a new smartphone which features 3D or holographic technology.

Some good reviews of Maggie Gee’s new novel Virginia Woolf in Manhattan, ahead of its official publication on Monday. Metro newspaper said “This giddily playful novel from Maggie Gee is a playful what if: what if Virginia Woolf were to suddenly reappear in the library in modern-day Manhattan? A gloriously funny, fleet-footed novel about the relationships between women and the ways literary heroes live on in our imaginations.” There was also an excellent plug in the Daily Mail with a great big picture of the books – very good publicity indeed! This title is ideal summer reading, and you can order copies and find out more here. It’s published on 9 June by Telegram (978 1846591884) in hardback at £14.99

Now here’s a question for you; what do governments and their civil servants do with all the unpopular subjects that they don’t want to confront? Well I can tell you what they do; they toss them straight into a box marked Too Difficult. Now from Biteback comes a seriously important book on that subject by some of the most influential voices in the country. These are those long-term issues facing our society and economy which are not addressed effectively – mainly because of the difficulty of overcoming short-term complications. And of course this failure to address things in the long-term inevitably makes us all deeply cynical about democracy itself. The Two Difficult Box is by former Home Secretary Charles Clarke, who brings together a cast of heavy hitters from the worlds of politics, academia and public service, including Hayden Phillips, Shirley Williams, Vince Cable, Trevor Phillips, Patricia Hewitt and David Blunkett to write persuasively on important topics such as immigration, drug regulation, nuclear disarmament and social care in old age. The Two Difficult Box  (hb,  978 1849546973 25.00) may become one of the most influential political books of the year, and its editor Charles Clarke is going to be the main guest on the Daily Politics  show next Tuesday (10th June) when he will be discussing it.

A Cat Compendium: The Worlds of Louis Wain edited by Peter Haining is not your usual cat book – but it certainly has the potential to become a very successful title. From humble beginnings Louis Wain (born in 1860) became a hugely successful popular artist. During the 1880’s he began to specialise in drawing cats: cats playing poker, boxing, playing cricket – doing almost any human activity, in fact. His pictures are widely available today as decorative motifs and popular prints, but in his day the man dubbed ‘the Hogarth of cat life’ was a celebrity who sold thousands of drawings and paintings to an insatiable public. He created the Louis Wain Annual series and the first ever animated cat character, which was later acknowledged as the inspiration for Mickey Mouse. Despite his popularity, Wain suffered financial difficulty throughout his life and after he lost his fortune, he lost his mind. He ended up in a provincial asylum, sketching psychedelic cats that were more fiend than feline. When his fate was discovered in 1925, the Royal Family and the Prime Minister joined a national campaign to rescue Wain. 
The artist never entirely recovered his health, but was eventually moved to a better home, where he continued to draw and paint almost until his death in 1939. With a wealth of Wain’s most famous drawings, as well as rare writings by and about the artist, A Cat
Compendium is an ideal book for both Wain fans and cat-lovers in general. Original Wain Annuals now change hands for hundreds of pounds and almost no other books on Wain are currently available. This book contains sixty of Wain’s best-loved illustrations and also includes an in-depth biographical study. Famous Wain fans include Nick Cave, Tracy Emin and H.G. Wells – and there is a short but fascinating 3 min film here on YouTube on Wain which serves as a good introduction to him if you are not familiar with his work. A Cat Compendium is published in August by Peter Owen and you can find out more and order it here.



Two new titles are coming in August from Hesperus Minor. This beautifully produced series of B-format paperbacks for children with their evocative and nostalgic covers is proving very popular, so thank you for all your support. The Lost Prince (9781843915232, £7.99, pb) is by Frances Hodgson Burnett; better known for Little Lord Fauntleroy, A Little Princess, and The Secret Garden. This story is an evocative portrayal of early twentieth-century Europe, inspired by real events. It is a stirring tale of destiny, revolution, family and friendship; and begins with twelve-year-old Marco and his father, Stefan who are exiled citizens of the impoverished Eastern European nation of Samavia. They live in London, where Stefan often receives mysterious visitors and where Marco befriends a street urchin known only as Rat. Stefan decides to send the pair on a secret mission in Europe, carrying a coded message to fellow Samavian patriots across the continent… Burnett’s evocation of early twentieth-century Europe is masterful, and her imaginative tale of political intrigue and family destiny will appeal to readers of all ages.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (9781843915249, £7.99, pb) by Kate Douglas Wiggin is the other title coming in August in this series – and this is a title that I remember absolutely loving as a child, so it’s great to see it back in print! This is a feel-good story in the vein of Anne of Green Gables and Pollyanna, which is vivid and beautiful in its depiction of rural life in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century.  Mark Twain, who did not dosh out praise lightly, called it “Beautiful and warm and satisfying”. It tells the story of a little 10 year old girl whose wit, charm and colossal positivity brings joy into the hearts of all she meets. The book was originally published in 1903, and was made into three highly successful films, which helped increase its popularity even more! The first was a silent film in 1917 which starred Mary Pickford. The second was in 1932, and the last time it was it was filmed was in 1938. Who do you think would be an appropriate actress to star in such a tale? Well, Judy Garland would be a good guess – but if you want someone to truly spread enchantment and joy, then I think Shirley Temple would have to be your girl.  Here's the trailer for that 1938 movie – I don’t know about you but this looks like just the sort of thing I could very happily while away a couple of hours watching. 


And here's one of the most popular songs  from the film.  Shirley Temple singing Come and Get Your Happiness – you’d have to have a heart of stone not be cheered up by that on a Friday afternoon!


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


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