Thursday 26 November 2015

Compass Points 150

Black Friday – bah cut-price humbug who needs that – but I very much like the idea of Civilised Saturday and the inaugural event is tomorrow – so very good luck to all you booksellers who are giving this a whirl! Leslie Oliver from The Bookworm in Selkirk said: "Last year Black Friday was all a little bit bonkers, wasn't it? I don't think the Black Friday proposition; everything sold at a huge discount; is really the right proposition for books and book lovers. I think Civilised Saturday works much better for bookshops and our customers. I think it is a lovely idea." I do too, and you can read about it in the Bookseller here. 
What would be the ideal book to sell on Civilised Saturday do you think? I would probably suggest John Burningham's Champagne (hb, 978 0993386206, £25.00) published by LochAwe Books and also 101 Gins To Try Before You Die (hb 978 1780272993, £12.99) by Ian Buxton which is published by Birlinn.

Being civilised is undoubtedly a thoroughly good thing of course – but is Civilised Saturday just an example of how very middle class we’re all becoming? Has the UK in fact reached peak middle class??! If you need hard evidence that this is indeed the case, then have a look on BuzzFeed here!

Harm (pb, £8.99, 978 1910692738) by Hugh Fraser is currently part of a major front of store promotion at Waterstone’s – and when I tell you that on the table at Waterstone’s Piccadilly, it was placed in between I am Pilgrim and I Let You Go it will give you a good idea of how good  this debut crime thriller is! If the name Hugh Fraser is ringing a bit of a bell, you’d be right, he is a very well known actor, playing Captain Hastings in Agatha Christie's Poirot and also the Duke of Wellington in Sharpe. However, this novel can stand alone – it has a cracking cover and an action packed story full of mystery and intrigue. It begins in 1956, when 15-year-old Rina is scavenging and stealing to support her siblings and her alcoholic mother. When a local gangster attacks her younger sister, Rina wreaks revenge and kills him. Innocence betrayed, Rina faces the brutality of the post-war London underworld and by 1974 she’s an assassin on an assignment in Acapulco.  Just another quick, clean kill, but then she wakes to discover her employer’s severed head on her bedside table, and a man with an AK 47 coming through the door of her hotel room… I think this looks great, it has a cracking cover – and Hugh Fraser and Harm will feature in S Magazine (which is part of the Sunday Express) on 6 December. It’s published by Urbane, and you can find out more and order it here.

Watch a short promotional film for it on YouTube here

Oooh I do love a good revenge read – doesn’t everyone? There’s nothing like watching a score being settled and payback justly received. Have a look here for the Guardian’s top ten novels!

In the Heart of the Sea is a thrilling film that is due to release in a couple of weeks – if you have been to the cinema recently you are certain to have seen the trailer for it, it’s also been shown on TV, and if it’s passed you by completely, then you can watch it here! The book in which it is based, Beneath the Heart of the Sea: The Sinking of the Whaleship Essex (pb, £7.99 978 1843915607) by Owen Chase is published by Hesperus Classics – and I do think anyone who sees the film – or even the trailer, would be tempted to find out more, as it is a pretty gripping and extreme account of shipwreck survival. On the morning of November 20 in 1820, in the Pacific Ocean 2,000 miles from the coast of South America, an enraged sperm whale rammed the Nantucket whaleship Essex. As the boat began to sink, her crew of twenty, including first mate Owen Chase, grabbed what little they could before piling into frail boats and taking to the open seas. So began their four-month ordeal and struggle for survival. A bleak story, only eight men survived having endured starvation and dehydration, giving in to cannibalism, murder and insanity Owen Chase recorded the extraordinary account in his autobiography; (which was originally published in 1821) this new edition is a very handsome looking paperback which mentions the film on the cover,  and you can find out more here.

What do you know about Dhaka? If you’re like me, not much, but having now swotted up a bit I can tell you that it is the capital city of Bangladesh, which emerged as a nation state in 1971 after a violent struggle for independence from West Pakistan and is now the world’s tenth largest city with a population of more than 18 million people. There is no doubt that a great way to find out more about the world is to read its fiction – and  I don’t have to tell you that translated fiction is a big growth area at the moment.  The Book of Dhaka, (from the same team that bought you The Book of Gaza) is a unique anthology of ten short contemporary stories set in Dhaka, Bangladesh – that have been translated from Bangla. These are fascinating stories from a city with an incredibly rich and varied cultural inheritance. The Book of Dhaka, edited by Ra Page (pb, 978 1905583805, £9.99) is published by Comma Press in January and you can order it here.

As the Times succinctly put it, “Everyone can relate to F**k It.” In his latest book, John C. Parkin brings the power of saying “F**k It” to the subject of doing what we love. F**k It: Do What You Love sets out to prove that when our job is something we love we're actually more likely to be happier, healthier, wealthier and more successful. Many people feel that: “doing what you love is for time-off, not work”, or “I could never make a living from doing what I love”; but through no-nonsense ideas and motivating calls to action, John brings us from pessimism to inspiration. By the time you’ve finished the book you will be thinking “F**k it, I can't waste any more of my life” and “F**k it, I will find a way to make this work”.   F**k It: Do What You Love by John C Parkin (pb, 978 1781802465, £10.99) is published by Hay House in January - find out about it here.

So what are the top ten best jobs? Is bookselling one by any chance I wonder? Have a look here at this picture list from the Telegraph to find out what we in the UK would really love to be doing!

Hmm – I actually think most of those choices are kind of dull. What I want to do is get paid to eat sweets all day – or drink wine – yes that’s much more like it! Here’s a film of the 15 dream jobs according to YouTube!

Congratulations to poet Kate Miller who is on the Costa Award shortlist for Observances (pb, 978 1 906188 15 3, £9.99) which is published by Carcanet. The Guardian describes her as the “oddball entry” which isn’t entirely complimentary but might catch people’s attention and intrigue them enough to buy a copy! Observances are atmospheric studies of distance, sea and landscape, the loosening of family ties and anticipations of birth and death, which have already received much acclaim. Winners in the five categories will be announced on Monday 4th January 2016 and will receive £10,000 each. The overall winner of the 2015 Costa Book of the Year will receive £30,000 and will be selected and announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in central London on Tuesday 26th January 2016. Here is the shortlist in pictures.

’Tis the season to be jolly, there’s no doubt about that – but what do you think are the ten best parties in literature? Have a look here at this entertaining list from the Huffington Post – it’s not necessarily the ones you might first think of – Satan’s Rout anyone?

Come January, never mind all of that feasting; what your customers will be ready for is something virtuous – yet nourishing. What they need is… bone broth. This is a trend that has been bubbling away for a while (sorry) and is set to be a big thing in 2016 – chuck away that Nutribullet, turns out all you need all you need is a saucepan and a piles of bones in order to be both healthy and deeply hipster. The Bone Broth Secret by Louise Hay and Heather Dane is a beautiful 4-colour book, which revives one of the oldest healing forms of nourishment. Louise and Heather show how you can use this simple, effective and almost effortless tool to boost your health, energy and radiance. Whether you're a complete beginner or an expert in bone broths, the book will teach you practical tips which take into account our busy modern way of life, and show you how to incorporate bone broth into your existing diet and lifestyle. The book includes fifty delicious recipes as well as ideas of what else can be made with broth, such as soups, compotes and even dessert! Yet the most important thing that you will take away from this book is what is unique to all of Louise's teachings: listening to your body to create recipes that nourish exactly what you need, and infuse your food with love and affirmations. Sounds pretty tempting I must say, and The Bone Broth Secret by Louise Hay and Heather Dane (pb, 978 1401950088, 12.99) is published by Hay House in January and you can order it and find out more here.

Has any film been more heavily promoted this week than Bridge of Spies – Tom Hanks seems to have been absolutely everywhere! Do not forget to stock Abel by Vin Arthey (978 1849549691, £9.99) on your espionage books table – this is the story behind the Steven Spielberg blockbuster and traces that narrative from the most unlikely of beginnings in Newcastle, to Moscow and beyond to the streets of New York. Abel is a singular and absorbing true story of Cold War espionage to rival anything in fiction and you can order it here.

Never mind Tom Hanks in Bridge of Spies (although I’m sure he’s awesome) what we really really love is him in the Carly Rae Jepson video – which you can watch here!

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week...
The Oldie @OldieMagazine  
Have excess weight and your cock peek it into a bed? Mark Mason on funny translations, December Oldie
Freight Books @FreightBooks  
Last night we launched The Social Bite Cookbook & heard inspiring stories behind the recipes
BibliophileBookClub @BibliophileBC  
Thanks @urbanepub for this beauty #Boundfeetblues!
Guisborough Bookshop @guisboroughbook  
It's Civilised Saturday this week, and to celebrate we will be offering 10% off everything! #Civilised Saturday
Birlinn Books @BirlinnBooks  
Upcoming @McCallSmith events: St. Andrews & Arbroath
IPG @ipghq 
Breedt: Ebook sales affected by idea that there’s a problem with giving digital things as gifts. ‘No-one buys an ebook as a gift!'
booksaremybag @booksaremybag  
 #Civilised Saturday: The Antidote to Black Friday

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 20 November 2015

Compass Points 149 - Christmas Gift Books

We're definitely in the run up to Christmas now, and here you see a dozen of Compass’s finest offerings for your gift books table this season!A festive season involving plenty of champagne, gin, steak and artisan bread would suit me just fine, and the first four books will guide your customers towards the very best...

John Burningham's Champagne is a book of pure loveliness, as cheering and restorative as a glass of fizz itself. It is an album, a scrapbook, a potted history and a celebration all rolled into one by the creator of some of our best loved books for children, also a connoisseur of the 'King of Wines' and how it makes us feel.John has created a beautiful book of 184 pages, combining his own matchless illustrations with photographs, clippings, menus and ephemera that help us relive a sequence of 'champagne moments'.The cast of characters includes Napoleon, Oscar Wilde, Noel Coward, Marilyn Monroe, Larry Hagman, John Betjeman and Jay-Z! John Burningham's Champagne (hb, 978 0993386206, £25.00) is published by LochAwe Books and you can find out more here.

Everyone loves a glass of the fizzy stuff it’s true, but there’s little doubt that at the moment, we're in the middle of a new Gin Craze. Scarcely a day goes by without an established brand offering a fresh take on their established styles or, more likely, a new boutique distillery opening its doors – where gin is de rigueur. With serious gin bars stocking well over 300 brands, how do you choose? In his inimitable style, best-selling drinks writer Ian Buxton lead readers through the great gin trap with this no-nonsense guide to 101 Gins. This is a superbly written and timely guide, which has had terrific reviews: the Guardian said “how does Buxton manage to craft such an entertaining book? By having his gin and drinking it, of course. His humorous scepticism is part of the fun, but he is also an enthusiast and able to explain the varied distillation processes”and it would make a terrific present for the gin-lover in your life! 101 Gins To Try Before You Die (hb 978 1780272993, £12.99) by Ian Buxton is published by Birlinn.

We’ll certainly need some carbs to soak up all that alcohol – cue The Artisan Baker! This is one of those titles which really had us salivating when the finished copies arrived at Compass TowersYou and your customers may not have heard of Ori Hellerstein (he runs an award winning bakery in Painswick, Gloucs) but once you pick up this handsome hardback, you cannot fail to be seduced by his passion for baking; the easy to follow tried-and-tested recipes and the gorgeous full colour illustrations. Who wouldn’t want to make a textured wild-rice loaf, some aubergine & feta triangles or a decadent Nutella brioche? In his foreword, Guardian food and drink editor and BBC TV Great British Menu judge Matthew Fort says: "You can tell whether bread has been made by a passionate baker just by looking at it. It has a kind of perky look to it, confident, all loved-up. The crust is properly crusty. The shape is plump and inviting. Well, that's what I thought when I saw Ori Hellerstein's loaves for the first time." I couldn’t agree more – and incidentally I think perky, confident, loved up, plump and inviting is a pretty good look for anyone! Click here to see a gallery of spreads from the book. The Artisan Baker by Ori Hellerstein is published by Connections (hb, 978 1859063965, £14.99) and you can find out more here

Steak. I love it, you love it. Perhaps no one loves it quite as much as Mark Schatzer and that’s why he embarked on an odyssey to four continents, travelling thousands of miles across eight countries and working his way through more than 100 lbs of the stuff. Steak: One Man’s Search for the World’s Tastiest Piece of Beef is an impassioned, funny and remarkably enlightening study of steak which readers have loved: “I utterly love this book. There's so much fascinating detail in here…part travelogue, part food journal, part technical handbook... Mark's writing style is very visual, there's so much to learn from this book!” Mark has been called “the Bill Bryson of Beef” – and his writing style is equally amusing – have a look below at a couple of excerpts – including an eye wateringly graphic description of collecting semen from bulls in Scotland! It is published by Periscope Books (pb, 978 1859649022, £12.99) and you can order it here.

And if you’re someone who truly appreciates carefully crafted language – how do you feel about the news that the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year is … a picture. Here’s how the internet reacted...

The Good Food Guide2016 is a very handsome beast: clothbound with gold foil and a white ribbon bookmark and there will be lots of marketing for it through Waitrose Weekend and Waitrose Kitchen, reaching 2.4 million readers a month. The Good Food Guide includes in-depth, impartial and entertaining reviews, the culinary trends for 2016 and the hotly anticipated listings for the Top 50 Restaurants and Top 50 Pubs. It also contains £50 worth of restaurant vouchers. It’s been going for 65 years, it the UK’s bestselling restaurant guide, what more do you need to know – stock it and it will sell! You can order the 2016 Good Food Guide here.

After all that boozing and scoffing, your customers will need a bit of exercise – so thrust the Five-a-Side Bible into their hands! Five-a-side footie is a massive participation sport, which has virtually no books on it until this one. In terms of participation, five-a-side football is now much bigger game than league football; with 1.5m people in the UK playing regularly – I don’t have to tell you what a good prezzie this would make for all those dads and lads out there who are involved. It’s illustrated throughout in full colour, and is written in a magazine style, full of humour and anecdotes as well as lots of practical information. It covers sports science, tactics, nutrition, and fitness but also the crazy team names (The Neville Wears Prada, Murder on Zidane’s Floor), outlandish excuses for not playing, kit disasters, the five-a-side archetypes, the best five-a-side players in the UK and a bucket list of jaw-dropping pitches as shown here! The Five- a-Side Bible (£14.99, hb 978 1910449288) by Chris Bruce is published by Freight and you can find out more and order it here.

See a great little film about this title – which gives you lots more info on YouTube here

Testing Times is the brilliant new collection of satirical sketches of political life by Britain’s greatest living cartoonist, The TimesPeter Brookes. Brookes, multiple winner of the British Press Awards Cartoonist of the Year, here showcases the stand-out pieces from his opinion-page cartoons, subjecting our political masters to the most brutal of roastings and holding the mighty to account. Always hilarious and beautifully crafted, these cartoons – which take us well beyond the 2015 general election and its historic fallout – are the sumptuous evidence of a contemporary genius at work. Testing Times is published in an illustrated landscape hardback format – his two previous titles Sign of the Times (978 1849545976) and Hard Times (978 1849541749) sold have each sold over 5,000 copies – and this is an ideal cartoon gift for anyone who enjoys the best of contemporary satire.  Testing Times by Peter Brookes (hb, 978 1849549172, £18.99) is published by Robson Press and you can order it here.

Vintage Travel Posters is one of those titles which slightly passed us by until we saw the finished copies – and then we all drooled over it! It is also a great price – just £9.99 for 128 pages of large format (23cm x 28cm) full colour glossy hardback. Vintage Travel Posters is an informative guide and stylish guide to these posters from a bygone era – from the worlds of shipping, airlines, railways and tourism. The range of eye-catching posters in this book reflects the art and fashions of society at the time and range from 1870 to the 1960’s; everywhere from Cuba to Cromer! Some are full page spreads, sometimes there are several on a page – there’s always some interesting info about each one. This really is a lovely book, which I think would make a great gift for all those lovers of vintage style – and that’s a lot of people! Vintage Travel Posters (hb, 978 1784047481, £9.99) is published by Arcturus.

Last year’s edition of The Radio Times Guide to Films sold nearly 10,000 copies – making this the UK’s bestselling film guide by some considerable margin! The 2016 edition features in-depth reviews for more than 24,000 films – an increase of 1,000 films compared to last year and includes more than 500 new entries. There is a Radio Times star rating/review of each movie from the dawn of cinema to the latest cinema and previews of upcoming new movies running all the way through to 2017 There are actor and director indexes, an awards section covering the Oscars, the Baftas, the Golden Globe awards, and Cannes and Berlin film festivals and at a grand total of 1,712 pages, it’s the most comprehensive edition ever! The Radio Times Guide to Films 2016 (pb, £25.00, 978 0992936426) gets consistently 5-star reviews from its readers online – and you can find out more and order it here.

Another title to enjoy major sales last Christmas was the first ever Popmaster Quiz Book (you sold more than 20,000 copies!) and there’s a new edition for this year, which should do just as well! Popmaster Quiz Book 2 has had on air promotion on BBC Radio 2 for months – more than 8m listeners tune into the Popmaster quiz on Ken Bruce show every day, he has a massively loyal fan-base and 66,500 Twitter followers! The book can be used solo, to test your pop trivia knowledge, or as a game with friends; it presents hundreds of questions to tease and enthrall and is this is the ideal Christmas quiz book for any age. Popmaster Quiz Book 2 by Phil Swern and Neil Myners (pb, 978 1905959792, £9.99) is published by Red Planet and you can find out more here

If you’d like to have a go at Popmaster right now then click here to test your knowledge of 60’s, 70’s and 80’s music on the Popmaster online page!

If your favourite happens to be 60’s music – then Looking Through You: Rare and Unseen Photographs from The Beatles Monthly Archive will be right up your street. This is a unique and original colour and black and white photographic record preserving many important moments within the Beatles’ career and is published as a beautiful limited (3000 copy) slipcase edition which includes a facsimile of a calendar from 1964. Looking Through You presents a selection of over 300 images from the precious Beatles Book Monthly photo archive, many of which have never been published before and captures the Beatles’ development from British provincial theatres – through foreign tours including their ground-breaking first American visit – and onwards to the band’s withdrawal into the recording studio. This gorgeous book has been heavily featured in the media and I think there will be plenty of customers for it. This is not one of those make-a-quick-buck bodged together photographic coffee table books – this is the real deal. Looking Through You: Rare and Unseen Photographs from The Beatles Monthly Archive by Tom Adams (hb £39.95 978 1783058679) is published by Omnibus Press.

Here’s one of my personal favourites from those early Beatles days!

There are some great pictures in Looking Through You of the Fab Four in a mini – but I don’t think they feature in Rock Stars CarsHowever, you do get Jon Bon Jovi, David Cassidy, Jim Morrison and loads more! This is a fun book: witty, irreverent but informative text accompanies colourful, larger-than-life photographs of 127 rock stars and their cars!The online social media campaign for this title is already attracting car enthusiasts, music fans and petrol-heads alike and this is a great at-the-counter or gift-table title! It’s fantastically browsable, with immediate visual impact! Want to see Chuck Berry in his Thunderbird? Debbie Harry in her Chevrolet? Morrissey in his Fiat 500? Well who wouldn’t! You can see some spreads from the book here. Rock Stars Cars (978 1905959778, hb, 12.99) by Dave Roberts is published by Red Planet and you can order it here.

And finally - something to make everyone smile – pure genius in my opinion – all of it!

That’s all for this week folks! Hope you enjoyed our top 12 gift titles! 

This blog is taken from a newsletter which 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 November 2015

Compass Points 148

Well, I really can’t think of anyone more glamorous to lend support to a book than George Clooney, so well done to Freight, whose excellent cookbook The Social Bite received the endorsement of the most gorgeous man on the planet this week! The Hollywood star visited The Social Bite cafe which helps homeless people during a visit to Edinburgh – and goodness me; it certainly got plenty of publicity, being the lead item on most of the news channels, for most of the day! The actor donated $1000 (about £650) to the cafe which donates all its profits to homeless people. The Social Bite employs formerly homeless people to work in their cafes and operates a "suspended" coffee and food programme where customers can pay for a hot drink or food for a homeless person. Last month, it launched what is thought to be the first "selfless" loyalty card, which lets customers feed the homeless by accruing loyalty points to enable the purchase of a free meal and hot drink for a homeless person. 
The Social Bite Cookbook features delicious, diverse and affordable recipes from the café. Its head chef Michael Thomas and his formerly homeless assistants Joe, John, Sonny, Iain, and Colin, bring you simple healthy ideas including lunches to go, one pot dinners, five ingredients or fewer and lots of  mouth-watering new recipes. The Social Bite Cookbook also features inspirational stories from the men describing how they have transformed their lives. Bob Geldof has also endorsed this book saying “I am sure you will enjoy the recipes shared in this book… Happy cooking.” The Social Bite Cookbook by Margaret Callaghan (pb, 978 1910741009, £9.99) is published by Freight and you can find out more and order it here. 

And what a good excuse to watch this two minutes best of George Clooney mash up!

More good news for Freight; The 2015 Saltire Publisher of the Year shortlist has been revealed, featuring two past winners (Sandstone Press and Saraband);  three Edinburgh-based publishing houses (Black and White Publishing, Floris Books and Luath and (yippee!) Glasgow-based Freight Books, described by the panel as "clever publishers who produce beautiful books". Established in 2013 and supported by Creative Scotland, the Saltire Society Publisher of the Year Award is dedicated to encouraging and supporting the Scottish publishing industry through recognising and promoting the work of Scottish publishers. This year’s winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on the 26th November and will receive £4,000 to assist their business in its further development.

An absolutely outstanding review for Suicide: Dream Baby Dream in this month’s Vive Le Rock magazine (widely available on the high street from WH Smith etc).  “Kris Needs has gone on a huge odyssey of research with this monumental book. The detail uncovered is staggering, not only chronicling Suicide’s untold and often neglected significance in the musical mythology of New York, but also the history of the city herself; from the Paragons and 50s doo-wop, the Velvets and Warhol, disco and Lower East Side 70s, through 80s no wave and beyond. Kris finds the connections and joins the dots with remarkable insight and an authentic authority. He writes about New York like Henry Miller writes about fucking: passionately and with devotion.” Appearing in early 70s New York City as primal prototype street punks, Suicide are now hailed as one of the most important and influential groups of the 20th century, inspiring that decade’s major musical movements but too feared and shunned to be awarded their rightful acclaim at the time. Suicide: Dream Baby Dream by Kris Needs (hb, 978 1783057887, £19.95) is published by Omnibus Press and you can find out more about it here.

Here are Suicide performing Dream Baby Dream – a song later covered by Bruce Springsteen on his solo tour.

Two big reviews coming up for Biteback titles this weekend: Firstly 1956: The Year That Changed Britain by Francis Beckett and Tony Russell (hb, 978 1849549127, £20.00) will be featured in the Observer on Sunday.
Secondly, there will be a big article on Love, Paul Gambaccini: My Year Under the Yewtree (978 1849549110, hb, £20.00) in the Sunday Telegraph. These big features really do get readers interested in buying the books – so do make sure they are on display!

Have you ever become so engrossed in a book that you can’t stop reading – I’m sure we’ve all been there! But what about when you deliberately carry on reading your book as a form of protest?  I very much enjoyed this story of the woman who refused to stop reading Claudia Rankine's searing poetry collection Citizen (about America's history of racial injustice) during a Donald Trump rally. Maybe, as the article says, openly reading a book at an event is a highly underused form of protest. It can't be construed as actively disruptive, like holding up a placard or chanting, but it conveys disdain and lack of interest much more effectively. Let’s all take out our books and start reading them when we don’t approve of something that Cameron or Corbyn is saying – I like it!

The beautiful illustrated edition of JM Barrie’s Peter Pan: The Graphic Novel with its lovely pictures by Stevie White (pb, £12.99 978 1780272900) is the Children’s Book of the Month for Scottish Book Trust and Foyles are running a competition to win a framed print from it which you can find out about here. Peter Pan: The Graphic Novel is published by Birlinn.

We all know that the government are constantly struggling to decide whether they should tax or ban sugary drinks and snacks to stop us all getting so fat. But now those civilised citoyennes of France have come up with a much better scheme – replace the choc with something chic: vending machines that dispense short stories rather than sugary snacks or soft drinks! The slim, orange-and-black machines offer readers the choice of a story drawn from a bank of 600 stories from publisher Short Édition: you press one of the three buttons, and for free, the machine spits out a story on a strip of paper resembling a receipt. They are going to be installed in eight public locations in Grenoble such as the city hall, libraries, and train stations. Love love love – you can read that story here.

The winners of the Travel Media Awards (open to all travel writers, broadcasters and photographers) were announced this week, and hurrah, The Wild Guide to Southern and Eastern England won Travel Guide Book of the Year. You can find out more about the awards at The Wild Guide to South and East England: Hidden Places, Great Adventures and The Good Life by Daniel Start, Lucy Grewcock and Elsa Hammond (pb, £15.99, 978 1910636008) has received rave reviews: “A special book, one that you will want to keep dipping into. It is in tune with the values of a more sustainable approach to life, well written with superb, slightly quirky photos that draw you into local adventures!” It’s published by Wild Things Publishing and you can order it now.

We all appreciate a clever title – but sometimes we all know they are chosen more to sell the book than to actually describe what’s inside the covers. I think you will enjoy this list from those jolly japsters over at Buzzfeed – describing what various YA books should have been called. For example: Twightlight aka If You Have Sex You Will Get Pregnant and Die or Gossip Girl aka Privileged High Schoolers Set Unrealistic Expectations for Life in NYC. Hilarious!

Lots of good publicity coming up for Steak (pb, 978 1859649022, £12.99) by Mark Schatzer which is published this month. This food/travel memoir by a Canadian award winning writer details his search for the perfect steak which culminates in Scotland, the beef of which he declares better than that of Japan, Argentina, or America! There was a piece this week in the Independent and there will also be an article  in Stella (the Sunday Telegraph magazine) an interview with Mark on the Guardian Books podcast, a feature in the Times Body and Soul section and an extract in the Observer Food magazine. This impassioned, funny and remarkably enlightening study of steak and its discontents as well as its many delights is published by Periscope and you can order it here.

A fantastic review of The Life-Writer by David Constantine (pb, £9.99, 978-1905583744) in the Guardian this week – it was their Book of the Day – which you can read here. You will recall that Comma Press also published his short story collection In Another Country (pb, £9.99 978 1905583768) which includes the inspiration for the much acclaimed film 45 Years, this summer; and you can order both titles now.

Who remembers The Wonder Stuff? Formed and fronted by Miles Hunt, the band had four top 20 albums and seventeen top 20 singles, including the number one hit Dizzy. In The Wonder Stuff: Diaries ’86 – ’89, Miles Hunt gives a vivid account of how a young British kid, in love with rock'n'roll, worked his way up from the beery, sweat stained clubs of the Midlands to becoming an international touring rock star in his own right. In recounting the joys of success and the frustrations of the music business' predictable pitfalls, the book chronicles the first four years of The Wonder Stuff's activities and is peppered throughout with both personal and professional photography, press cuttings and the unmistakable artwork that represented the band during these early days. Hunt continues to perform internationally as both The Wonder Stuff and as an acoustic duo, alongside his partner Erica Nockalls and during December they are all over the UK – so get yourself down to one of these venues and you can see them! Miles and Erica will be in The Darroch Bar, Gourock on the 1st and The Cluny Newcastle on the 2nd. Then Miles is reading from the book in the Poppy & Pint in Nottingham on the 4th. And The Wonder Stuff are playing on the 16th at Leicester Academy and on the 17th at Birmingham Academy. The Wonder Stuff:  Diaries ’86 to ’89 by Miles Hunt (978 0993064807, pb, £30.00) is published in November by Omnibus Press and you can find out more and order it here.

And here are The Wonder Stuff performing that classic jaunty little ditty from 1991; with Vic Reeves!

Bound Feet Blues: A Life Told in Shoes is the very personal story of bestselling novelist (The Flame Tree, published by Hodder) and acclaimed performer Yang-May Ooi. A groundbreaking and wonderfully unconventional memoir, Bound Feet Blues is a performance in book form, interweaving personal stories, cultural reflections and a multi-faceted exploration of what it means to be a woman. In Chinese tradition, women with tiny bound feet were desirable as wives and lovers, their delicate feet seen as objects of both status and sexual fetish. What can the ancient tradition of foot-binding tell us about the role of women beneath the gaze of men and the relationship between mothers and daughters? Drawing on her own history Yang-May creates a layered tapestry of meaning and exploration, deftly exploring themes of female desirability, identity and empowerment while giving the reader a compelling insight into her own incredible story. Bound Feet Blues by Yang-May Ooi (978 1910692301, £16.99) is published by Urbane this month and you can order it here.

Bound Feet Blues is also a powerful, humorous and moving solo performance by Yang-May Ooi which opens in London at the end of this month after its sold-out showcase last year – this is certain to attract a lot of media attention, which can only be good for sales of the book. Critics called it “engaging, eye-opening, funny and moving" and “beautifully performed and directed." You can find out more about that on the theatre’s website here.

And here is Yang-May Ooi, talking about the power of storytelling and writing as well as the inspiration behind her extraordinary solo story performance and the book.

And finally, what do we make of the news this week from a new book (Finding Winnie) that claims that Winnie the Pooh is actually a girl!!! Here’s how the news broke this week on US TV Chanel ABC. Well, I don’t care what (s)he is – but I do know that (s)he and his chums have come up with many words of wisdom. Here are twelve inspirational quotes to end your week with. "Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." And has any author made a recording that’s older or more evocative than this one? Here’s AA Milne reading Winnie the Pooh – recorded in 1929!

Next week will be a special Gift Edition of Compass Points – your guide to the best of the most lavish, dazzling and gorgeous coffee-table-worthy Christmas presents that will bring the customers flocking into your store and get your tills a jingling and a jangling with festive merriment!

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week...
Can an assassin confront his past to save a nation’s future?  Escape to Perdition @urbanepub
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I've said it before and I'll say it again.
Visit to @gallicbooks @BelgraviaB this morning: "The best of French in English" great window!
Don't miss this #competition! You could win a print from our Peter Pan book!
'It is a wonderful achievement'- Thanks @GuardianBooks for the glowing review of Waiting for the Past by Les Murray.
Review: "The possibilities of literature will never cease to astound, amaze & inspire us." I am Because You Are
A FREE event with comedian Rob Newman? Get to @BlackwellsHH next week!
What's the story behind writing The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt? Author @hissingswan reveals it here:

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.