Thursday 20 August 2015

Compass Points 136

Let’s open with a #fridayfreebie as they say on Twitter! When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow by Dan Rhodes (pb, 978 1910709016, £8.99) has already had quite a bit of pre-publicity – it’s one of the first titles from hip and happening new publisher Aardvark Bureau. You will no doubt remember that this is the laugh-out-loud satire on dogma, which tests the limits of freedom of expression, originally self-published by Dan – once a lowly stockroom assistant in a branch of Waterstones! The original hardback editions of this title are now changing hands for upwards of £100 – and it attracted plenty of attention – the Guardian calling it “A zippy little farce… a hoot!” It begins at the Women’s Institute in the village of Upper Bottom where everyone is eagerly awaiting the arrival of a very special guest speaker: the world famous evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins. But with a blizzard setting in, their visitor finds himself trapped in the nearby town, with no choice but to take lodgings with the local Anglican vicar. Will the professor be able to abide by his motto – cordiality always – while surrounded by Christians? Will he ever reach Upper Bottom? And can his assistant, Smee, save the day? The Evening Standard said “Finally, one plucky publisher has taken on the challenge of the book hailed by Michael Holroyd as a satire ‘as devastating as Candide’” while the Observer commented “Going too far is Dan Rhodes’ forte.” I’m sure there are lots of you out there very keen to read this controversial title – and we now have finished copies to share! Make sure you are one of the first ten booksellers to email with your name and address – and we’ll send you one! And if you want to find out more about this book, and hopefully place a nice fat order; you can do that here!

Loving these great pics of book pillows  - cushions to snuggle up on while you read! I especially like this Pride and Prejudice one!

Nick Lezard has chosen A Doctor’s Dictionary: Writings on Culture and Medicine for the Saturday Review Guardian Book of the Week. Art and medicine collide in these fascinating essays by this the notable doctor and poet, which explore the links between art and medicine, culture and science. Bamforth uses his wide experience of medicine around the world, to examine various interesting cases; including the mysterious ‘Stendhal’s syndrome’, which caused 106 tourists in Florence to be hospitalised due to an overload of sublime Renaissance art. Iain Bamforth has worked as a hospital doctor in places as diverse as Paris, the Australian outback, and south-east Asia. He has published a history of modern medicine as told through literature (The Body in the Library), as well as five collections of poetry and writes regularly for literary and medical journals. The Guardian previously said of his writing: “Bamforth’s work is rich in perceptual acquaintance, making it not only intelligent but also extremely sensual. To read him makes the patterns of our minds richer.” and to be a Guardian Book of the Week is a real achievement which should lead lots of interested readers to this title.  A Doctor’s Dictionary by Iain Bamforth (pb, 978 1784100568, £16.99) is published by Carcanet this month and you can find out more and order it here

Another doctor – another dictionary – another time – but still a very good opportunity to view this clip I think!

Burnham, Cooper, Corbyn or Kendall? Who knows – but your customers can certainly find out all they could possibly want to know about the history of Labour party leadership in an essential new title from Biteback coming in September. British Labour Leaders by Charles Clarke and Toby S James (hb, 978 1849548168 £25.00) is a handsome hardback, published on the eve of the Labour Party conference in September, which considers the qualities of leaders from this historic party, among them some of the towering figures of British political history, and places each in the context of their respective time and political landscape. From Keir Hardie to Ed Miliband, and featuring eight Labour prime ministers since the inauguration of James Ramsay MacDonald; this book offers an analytical framework by which those leaders may be judged, and a detailed personal biography of each. Charles Clarke’s previous book The Too Difficult Box won the Practical Politics Book of the Year at The Political Book Awards 2015 and this new title is certain to provoke discussion and debate.

And in the interests of balance, of course Biteback are publishing British Conservative Leaders  (hb, £25.00, 978 1849549219) which takes us from Robert Peel to David Cameron, featuring twenty-two Conservative prime ministers also by Charles Clarke and Toby S James which you can order here and British Liberal Leaders (hb, £25.00, 978 1849541978). 

Some of you may have cynically assumed this last book might be rather a slim volume; but of course the Liberals have a good claim to be the oldest political party in the world. From the Whigs of 1679 to the formation of the Liberal Party in 1859, and then to 1988 and the merger with the Social Democratic Party to form today’s Liberal Democrats; politicians of all these labels have held to a core of liberal principles: the belief in individual liberty with the aim of enlarging freedom for all. This book is the story of those parties’ leaders, from Earl Grey, who led the Whigs through the Great Reform Act of 1832, to Nick Clegg, the first Liberal leader to enter government for more than sixty years. It is edited by Duncan Brack, Tony Little and Robert Ingham and you can find out more and order it here.

And before we leave the subject of party leaders, let’s just remind ourselves again of the side-splitting sight of Cameron rapping! When’s Cassetteboy going to turn his attention to Jeremy Corbyn, that’s what I want to know?!

What is the number one gardening book on Amazon at present? Well I’m pleased to tell you that it is Gardening in Your Slippers: New Poems for Garden Lovers (hb, £9.99 978 1783340750) by Liz Cowley. This together with Liz’s previous poetry collection; Outside in my Dressing Gown: Poems for Garden Lovers (hb, £9.99 978 1783340798) are selling like pink begonias – so don’t miss out on these super little hardback s, they are absolutely perfect gifts and will carry on blooming and bearing fruit right through the autumn to Christmas. 
You Magazine (4 million readers) said they will “plant a smile on your lips” and Joanna Lumley has praised the poems as being “straight from the heart.” Liz Cowley was recently interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live show which you can listen to here and both titles are published by Gibson Square.

Still on a botanical theme, look out for Painting Flowers by Jill Winch (£7.99, pb, 978 1784047436) published by Arcturus in October. This inspirational title shows you how to create beautiful watercolours with this step by step guide. Topics include: equipment, accurate drawing, getting started with watercolour and useful techniques and how to paint leaves and stems. It includes a section on the increasingly popular method of using watercolour pencils to illustrate flowers. Jill Winch is an award-winning botanical artist and has been teaching people to paint and draw flowers for many years. She breaks the process down into manageable steps; taking examples from a wide range of flowers and throughout the book, Jill's own beautiful paintings provide inspiration and guidance. Art for adults is a huge growth market, and you can find out more about this lovely book and order it here.

And while we’re on the subject of art, we must of course mention the rise and rise of the adult colouring book – again this market is very well served by Arcturus Publishing. New in October from them comes the the Calm and Creative Colouring Book (pb, 978 1785990366, £6.99) which you can order here. The popularity of adult colouring books seems to know no limits and perhaps that's not surprising, as this peaceful activity improves concentration, reduces worry and stress, and provides enjoyable, all-important downtime. In a world that is always hurrying towards the next goal or deadline, stillness and calm have become increasingly valuable and “mindfulness” – in particular – is undoubtedly one of the buzz words of the moment.  These books, with their wealth of patterns and pictures, offer a creative outlet for busy adults, removing the pressure of having to start with a blank page and providing a framework for self-expression. Whatever the reason for their success, there is no doubt that if you’re not stocking them you are missing out – by their very nature colouring books get “used up” – leaving your customers clamouring for more! 
Previous successful titles from Arcturus include: The Meditation Colouring Book (pb, £6.99, 978 1784046323) The Mindfulness Colouring Book (pb, £6.99 978 1784049775) and The Calm Colouring Book (pb, £6.99, 978 1784046316). 
And don’t forget My Magical Oasis: Art Therapy Colouring Book for Creative Minds by Eglantine de la Fontaine (pb, 978 0859655354, £9.99) which was published by Plexus in June – you can order that here.

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from last week...
I can confirm that Janice Galloway's new stories are GLORIOUS. (Gutted I won't be at @edbookfest to see her).
We're all brand new, even our FB page is new. Follow us there too!
"I intend to live forever - or die trying!" Groucho Marx #Anniversary
Thanks to The Beatles Photo blog who have given us a nice plug! Our new Beatle photo book has just hit the shelves...
Calling all picnickers! Don't forget to nominate your favourite heritage picnic spot!
The Hairdresser of Harare a "moving account of contemporary Zimbabwe," says @nytimesbooks.
The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Pancake. #LiteraryCakes @HesperusPress

That’s all for now folks! More next week!

This blog is taken from 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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