Friday 5 June 2015

Compass Points 129

We at Compass love it when publishers make short trailers for their books on YouTube – it’s a great way of summarising the feel and mood of a title. Here’s an atmospheric 40 seconds promoting Escape to Perdition by James Silvester (pb, £8.99 978 1909273795) which is coming from Urbane Publications in July. This is a contemporary international political thriller in the best traditions of Le Carre and Robert Harris. Set in Prague 2015; love, deception and murder dominate as the city becomes the centre of international intrigue and shadowy organizations battle for power over a nation's future. Escape to Perdition is a timely slice of high quality political intrigue, at a time when Europe is at the centre of constantly evolving debates about its role. This is intelligent thriller writing that will appeal those who like exiting stories with depth, great characterization and a realistic setting. As the novel progresses the body count rises, options fade, and the hero’s path to redemption is clouded in a maelstrom of love, deception and murder – can he confront his past to save the future? Sounds pretty cool to me – and you can find out more and order it here.

Here’s an interesting question – when does your bum become your hip? I only ask, because there’s been a bit of stooshie (as my Scottish colleagues would say) over the redesign of the iconic cover for Jilly Cooper’s Riders! Have a look here to see what you think!

Don’t miss out on all the buzz building for Journeyman: One Man’s Odyssey Through the Lower Leagues of English Football by Ben Smith (978 1849548540, £12.99., pb)  FourFourTwo  (the biggest footie magazine) has just given it a rave review and a five star rating – making it their No.1 book of the month. This is a refreshing enlightening and candid, unvarnished life of a jobbing footballer.  It starts in 1995, when its author Ben Smith, with a dream of playing professional football, arrives at the training ground of one of England's biggest clubs to begin his journey. Aged just sixteen, he shares pre-season sessions with the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and Ian Wright at Arsenal. Surely his career can only go one way from here? The next seventeen years duly see him descend from Highbury to obscurity in a career that involves seasons playing for Reading, Yeovil, Weymouth, Hereford, Shrewsbury, Southend, Crawley, Kettering and Sudbury AFC. Smith candidly describes the contract negotiations, the insecurities, the fear and realities of injury, the impact on his personal life and the wet Saturday afternoons playing in front of 500 people. This is the honest, intelligent memoir of a quintessential journeyman footballer. The Express summed it up nicely by calling it a “fascinating tale, so ditch the latest predictable ghost written life story of a pampered Premier League star for this. This is a title which started building with word of mouth recommendations – its fans on Twitter said “by far the best footballers autobiography I've ever read. Cheers for a great book”, “Absolute gold”, “they should give it to scholars to read. No sugar coating”, “a fantastic read … a great insight into lower league football. Well done.” “Loved the book … read it in a weekend.” The book has consistently done well since its publication in April, and is fast becoming a bestseller – so make sure you have it on display – clearly footie is much in the news at present and I would say this is absolutely ideal as a Father’s Day gift for example.  Ben Smith is still in hot demand from the media and there will be lots more publicity for Journeyman to come. It is published by Biteback and you can find out more and order it here

Stop Press – we’ve just heard today that the Sunday Telegraph will be running an extract and (in their words) “a good plug for the book” this Sunday (8 June) from I Know I am Rude But It is Fun: The Royals and the Rest of Us as Seen by Prince Philip by Nigel Cawthorne (pb, £8.99, 978 1783340125)This is the affectionate compendium of the Duke of Edinburgh's propensity for putting his foot in his mouth which has just been published by Gibson Square, and coincides nicely with the Duke of Edinburgh’s 94th birthday next Wednesday!

Congratulations to Helen Tookey and Caoilinn Hughes whose Carcanet collections Missel Child and Gathering Evidence have both been shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize
You can find out more about that prize on their website here.

Lots of great press for Janice Galloway's Jellyfish  (hb, £8.99, 978 1908754950): a stunning short story collection by one of the United Kingdom’s best contemporary fiction writers which is out at the end of this month from Freight. It will be featured on BBC Radio 4’s Open Book programme on 18 June, and also reviewed in the Scotsman, The Skinny, Prospect Magazine, the Evening Times and the Guardian. There will be a cover interview in the Herald magazine on Saturday 20th June and a feature interview in Scotland on Sunday on 21st June. Janice Galloway’s stories have already attracted a great deal of praise with the Times Literary Supplement writing “in her best work, nothing is ordinary... she makes the surreal flicker like a blue flame from the edge of the everyday.” The New Statesman called them “stories that walk with steady, nerve-cracking skill down a nightmare edge” while the Independent enthused “the writing can be felt on your pulses…writing has rarely been so visceral.Jellyfish is Blackwell’s Scottish Book of the Month and you can find out more and order Jellyfish here

A warm welcome to BC Books – Bold Books for Curious Kids – a new children’s imprint from Birlinn, designed to provide writing and illustration of the highest quality for young readers throughout the UK and beyond which launched this week in Edinburgh with plenty of accompanying publicity. 
The four launch titles are Sixteen String Jack by Tom Pow (978 1780272269, £9.99), The Secret Dog by Joe Friedman (978 1780272870, £6.99), Silver Skin by Joan Lennon (£6.99, 978 1780272849) and a Peter Pan graphic novel by Stephen White (978 1780272900, £12.99). There were illustrated articles on the whole list this weekend in the Times, the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday and Scotland on Sunday.  Author Tom Pow and illustrator Ian Andrew did an interview on Radio BBC Scotland; there was an article about the new list in Scottish Field; Silver Skin, The Secret Dog and Sixteen String Jack all featured on the LoveReading blog; there was a feature on The Secret Dog on BBC Online, and there were reviews of all four new books in Carousel magazine. If you would like some POS (posters, bunting and bookmarks) to support the new list then please email and for more information on BC Books, go to the Birlinn Children's Books website here.

A big piece in the Bookseller today on the Rising Stars of 2015; their annual list of the up-and-comers and leaders of the future in the book trade – the publishing industry’s movers and shakers! Maybe you or someone from your shop is on the list? If so, many congrats from all at Compass Points! We’re very pleased to see one of our publishers – Adrian Searle from Freight has made the grade, and you can see the whole list of the 39 stellar superstars here!

We were all most excited to hear that Sixty Degrees North: Around the World in Search of Home (hb, £12.99, 978 1846973369) by Malachy Tallack will be BBC Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4 from 13 July 2015. There is lots of great publicity coming up for this title too – including a Will Self review in the Guardian. Polygon are submitting this lovely title for all the major book prizes so there may well be more good news to come. It is going to be Scottish Book of the Month for Waterstones – and has a new pub date of 1 July. Sixty Degrees North is a deeply personal book which begins with the author’s loss of his father, and his troubled relationship. It is also a book of travel and culture, of history and natural history and most of all it is a book about home. It will appeal to readers of travel and nature books, as well as to those especially interested in “the North” and Arctic regions – and anyone who loves quality writing. You can order it and find out more here

A great piece in the Weekend Telegraph Travel section by Jonathan Knight, Punk Publishing editor of the Cool Camping series, chooses his favourite campsites in Europe with mountain views which you can read here – even those not remotely keen on camping cannot fail to be enthralled the thought of waking up and unzipping your tent to these jaw-dropping views! Cool Camping Europe (978 190688964, £18.95, pb) has just been published and is available now.

How well do you know your James Bond? Test your Bond knowledge with this fiendish little quiz from those folk at Bluffer’s Guides here and then swot up with The Bluffer’s Guide to Bond (£6.99, pb, 978 1909365049)!

A couple of books to lift your spirits from Birlinn; firstly MacLean's Whiskypedia: A Gazetteer of Scotch Whisky (978 1780272535, pb, £14.88) by Charles MacLean. This is the author who the Sunday Times called “Whisky’s finest guru” and of whom the Independent said “Charles MacLean writes like no other expert on the subject, his prose is informed and highly entertaining”. Whiskypedia explores the influences of history, craft, tradition and science on Scottish whisky. Each entry provides a brief account of the distillery’s history and curiosities, details how the whisky is made, and explores the flavour and character of each make. Charles MacLean has spent thirty years researching; writing and lecturing about Scotch whisky and Whiskypedia guides, entertains and informs novices and experts alike. The Telegraph is giving this one quite a bit of promotion on the back of their Whiskey Tasting Experience Event which they are running with Charles MacLean on 8 and 9 June. 
And secondly don’t forget 101 Gins to Try Before you Die (hb, 978 1780272993 £12.99) by Ian Buxton This new book from another best-selling drinks writer is out in August and is the authoritative guide to the world of gin, and the first book to explore the explosion of innovative gin brands and the artisanal distillers that are reinventing this highly popular drink.

And on a related subject, here’s a great podcast of Alexander McCall Smith talking whiskey and writing in a bar in Dublin with the Irish Times.

A major serialisation is coming up in the Mail on Sunday of Black Horse Ride: The Inside Story of Lloyds and the Banking Crisis over the 7th June and 14th June. Black Horse Ride is the first account from the perspective of senior figures at Lloyds TSB of the doomed takeover of HBOS at the height of the economic crash and provides key insights from high-ranking officials at the Bank of England and civil servants on Whitehall. It tells the inside story of what really occurred in the aftermath of the worst single day in banking history, a day in which two of the world’s banking giants, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, either filed for bankruptcy or had to be bailed out by the US government. Through a compelling cast of high-profile bankers, politicians and investors, Ivan Fallon brings together the accounts of all the power players involved in this dramatic saga for the first time – including the key roles played by the Governor of the Bank of England and the Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The Mail on Sunday serialisation will make sure that this is picked up as a story by all the other newspapers – so make sure you’ve got copies on display. Black Horse Ride: The Inside Story of Lloyds and the Banking Crisis (hb, £20.00, 978 1849546423) by Ivan Fallon is published on 18 June by Robson Press You can find out more about Black Horse Ride here

We love a bit of music on a Friday, so let's think of our top five songs involving horses – or even more specifically black horses?  Well, crazy horses by one of my favourite bands probably describes the behaviour of some of those bankers quite well – as does Mick singing about those wild horses. With hindsight, I think we all feel that many of those highly paid individuals were just one trick ponies leaving Lloyds TSB as a bit of a horse with no name. And what a great song is this one by KT Tunstall! (However, I’m not a fan of this one from Katy Perry- great video though!)

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite Tweets from last week...
A thousand thank yous for last night's TOKYO launch on the river, including @cargopublishing @NikkaWhiskyEU, Tengu Sake and Choya Wine...
So proud to have taken a punt on @bsmudger7's autobiog of a lower league footballer. It's become a bestseller!
Up for the Challenge of reading Sod the Bitches. Thanks @urbanepub
'ambitious, playful poems' - Great review in the TLS for @CaoilinnHughes' Gathering Evidence today!
So excited for @malachytallack Sixty Degrees North as #BookOfTheWeek @bbcradio4 @agentjenny roll on July!
Congrats to Adam @frostatwork on another Chelsea Gold! Book @RedPlanetZone in July
Please place your vote for More Life, Please! in the People's Book Prize @PeoplesBkPrize
Wild weather gone now so we can appreciate the fab @wildthingsbooks display at @blackwelloxford Sunny #FridayFeeling!

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

This blog is taken form a newsletter 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.

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