We start with two sober – but ultimately inspiring titles. Placed in care at a very early age, Paolo Hewitt went to live with a foster family where he endured extreme abuse and humiliation. Following years of abuse he was sent to
children's home at
the age of ten where he met a gang of children. Like him, they w ere outsiders
struggling to find their place in the world. Paolo paints a vivid picture of his
coming of age in his classic memoir of growing up in care; The Looked After Kid – a testament to the
resilience of children who “go to sleep at night believing the world to be a
dark and terrible place” but wonderfully emerge from the darkness to shine
their lights on all. Irvine Welsh called it: “An uplifting story about
refusing to give up on your dreams... real inspiration to loads of people who
have had similar backgrounds to Paolo.” This title originally sold 10,000
copies via Mainstream/Random House and has now been fully revised with a new
section describing the reaction to the book and the authors' subsequent work
with children in care. It is published this month by Jessica Kingsley
And Paolo Hewitt has also written a brand new title which will be published on the same day. But We All Shine On tells the inspiring story of the author’s journey to track down the group of friends who shared his childhood in care at the children's home. Stepping into the past, Paolo hears remarkable stories about how his friends coped with life both in and out of care. We meet Des, the boy who reinvented himself, Norman, the runaway child who crossed a continent, David, the boy who couldn't be heard, and the curious case of Terry – the child who stood in a school field for four days. Paolo hears about his friends' struggles and triumphs, and discovers many things: about himself, about care, but most of all about the indomitable force of the human spirit – even when faced with the most overwhelming odds. These are two extraordinary titles, and sadly, the stories that Hewitt tells, could not be more pertinent today with the revelations about life in care that come to light on an almost daily basis. As Dr Robert of The Blow Monkeys says: “Hewitt has shed a light on the murky world of late 60s and early 70s children's homes. An empathetic listener and master story teller his is the authentic voice... from the inside… first hand. The characters are his friends. They trust him. The stories herein are touching, funny and most of all redemptive. It's quite possibly his masterpiece.” These are books that that many people will want to read, and the media will be very interested in. Paolo Hewitt is a well-known journalist with a strong media profile, and there will be a big interview with Margarette Driscoll in the Sunday Times this weekend or next. The publishers are be backing up the article with ads on Facebook and Twitter mentioning the article and the new book, and I am certain there will be more press coverage to come – the books have evocative covers and these moving accounts of the strength and resilience of children are gripping, insightful and honest and deserve to sell extremely well. But We All Shine On: The Remarkable Orphans of
Home (978 1849055833, £8.99, pb) and The
Looked After Kid: Memoirs from a Children's Home (978 1849055888, pb,
£12.99) by Paolo Hewitt are published by
Jessica Kingsley Publishers on 21 October. Burbank
For something a little lighter, don’t forget about Brandon Graham’s hilarious novel Good for Nothing which is being reissued in paperback in time for Christmas by Skyscraper (November 27th, £8.99, 978 095518105 4). This title has had huge number of word of mouth recommendations, and readers on Amazon absolutely love it saying “this is unlike anything I have read lately…a brilliant book and Brandon Graham is a very special writer… both literary and popular…amazing, page-turning, FUN and insightful read. … You MUST share some funny lines with your spouse because it's THAT GOOD. … A seamless, brilliantly-paced book. … I cannot wait for Brandon Graham’s next book… an entertaining, funny and yet poignant look at modern life…” The Daily Mail called it “very, very funny” and Stephen Fry said he was “enchanted.” If you haven’t read it yet – please do – it’s been one of the most universally enjoyed titles here in the Compass Office for this year – and it cheers you up no end!
The News is Read By… by Charlotte Green (978 1849546911, hb, £20.00) is getting absolutely loads of publicity at present thanks to Charlotte’s willingness to tell all about her BBC boss’s wandering hands, and other sex pest stories from the 1970’s. You can read some of the revelations from the book in the Daily Mail here and in an article from the Telegraph here – both published last week. This autobiography in fact has far more of interest in it than those headlines might imply; since the broadcaster Charlotte Green is a true national treasure. When news broke that she was to replace James Alexander Gordon as the voice of BBC Radio 5’s football results, the Times announced, “Exquisite voice to announce results of the beautiful game”. Until her retirement in early 2013,
was the voice of
Radio 4. Her warm and perfectly modulated tones reassured millions of
devoted listeners that, despite some of the dreadful news stories she had to
read out to the nation over a period of 27 years, we were safe in her hands.
When she resigned listeners took to Twitter in their thousands to bemoan their
loss and colleagues at the BBC gave her a rare spontaneous and emotional
send-off. Charlotte was there with us, when we woke up in
the mornings and as we drifted off to sleep at the end of the day, when she
would read the Shipping Forecast. As the newsreader on Radio 4’s bulletins she
describes how she got through the worst news stories, such as the Charlotte bombings on 7/7/05,
for which she received a Sony Gold Award. Memorably her bulletins would
occasionally degenerate into suppressed laughter or a full-on fit of giggles on
air during the very serious Today programme. Her highly entertaining
autobiography is a the book all Radio 4 and Classic FM devotees
will feel compelled to buy for the joy of spending a few hours in her company,
and finding out about this wonderfully warm, funny and modest woman whose
writing is as beautiful as her voice. I know this is a phrase that you have
probably heard one time too many this autumn from various keenie beanie
publisher’s reps – but this book genuinely is the perfect Christmas prezzie for
all those hard-to-buy-for older rellies! It is published by Robson Press
and you can order The News is Read By
Let’s just hear that very funny moment when Charlotte cracks up on air here!
And here is a little compilation of Charlotte Green – and others – reading that classic of British Broadcasting; The Shipping Forecast.
That one doesn’t include that lovely lovely music for the late night forecast though, so let's have a little burst of that shall we!
You can watch Charlie Morley talk abut Lucid Dreaming here on YouTube – it’s had 73,000 views so far!
Well this all sounds a bit like the plot of Inception – and if like me you never really worked out what on earth this film was on about – then you’ll enjoy this honest trailer – i.e. NOT the official one!
And if you want to become a real expert at all that ludicrous cyclist jargon then do have a look at this funny 3 min vid on YouTube here!
I bet you look good on the dance floor. No really – I do. Of course the savvy among you will realise that I am of course referring to those cool and trendy popstrels, the Arctic Monkeys. Arctic Monkeys: Pretend Memories (978 1905959730, £14.95) by Rob Jovanovic is an illustrated paperback biography of the band out from Red Planet Publishing in November. By all accounts it is now time for a good book about this multiple No 1 band, and the fact that there will be no new album before Christmas means this book will be the perfect purchase for their fans. The Arctic Monkeys are the most interesting British band of the 21st century, constantly evolving but ensuring that each album kicks just as hard and fast as the previous one. Alex Turner and co are not going away, this is a band in it for the long haul and their fan base is ultra-loyal. You don’t ‘grow out’ of the Arctic Monkeys. The band is riding higher than ever, which is pretty high. Every album has gone to number one in the
UK (while they have also strengthened their
following in the and elsewhere overseas) and this
lengthy in-depth appraisal with a 16 pages photographic section should sell
really well. US
And here is that classic Arctic Monkeys track from 2005, and also Do I Wanna Know? – love the video for this one!
And finally … here’s are some interesting musings on the art of book cover design – and some great examples – now that’s something that you certainly don’t get with an eBook!
That’s all for now folks, more next week!