Friday 6 November 2015

Compass Points 147

If it’s January, then it’s time to stop eating and drinking – so thank goodness it’s only November. However, when the New Year does arrive, your shop will be flooded with customers looking for help, so please press The Easy Way for Women to Stop Drinking by Allen Carr into their shaking hands. Allen Carr's Easyway is a unique method that does not require will-power and really works, and here the method focuses on one of the fastest-growing problems of modern times: women's drinking. Alcohol blights women's lives often in a different way to men's: women tend to stay at home drinking alcohol; women often feel particular shame over drinking too much; drinking around children can be a particular burden; and women often feel that to stop drinking is an impossible task. Luckily, Allen Carr's Easyway makes it easy. With startling insight into why women drink and clear, simple, step-by-step instructions, Allen Carr shows women the way to escape from the alcohol trap in the time it takes to read the book. (pb, £8.99, 978 1785991936) is published by Arcturus Publishing in January and you can find out more and order it here.

And if you’re a woman who drinks a lot, and has absolutely no intention of stopping in January – then you’ll probably find this very funny!

Someone who won’t be needing the above title is Jeremy Corbyn: firstly because he isn’t a woman, and secondly because he doesn’t drink alcohol. However, I wonder what he will make of Comrade Jeremy by Rosa Prince which is also published in January. This is the first comprehensive biography to be published in the wake of Corbyn’s election to leader of the Labour Party and explains exactly how and why this very British iconoclast managed to snatch the leadership of a party he spent forty years rebelling against? Who is he and where did he come from? And what exactly happened over the space of an extraordinary summer to propel an old lefty to inspire and excite hundreds of thousands of people? From Corbyn’s cosy rural upbringing, through three marriages – including his decision to divorce one wife for sending their son to grammar school; Comrade Jeremy is the story of the most unexpected leadership contest ever to take place in modern British politics. Comrade Jeremy by Rosa Prince (pb, 978 1849549967, £14.99) is published by Biteback and you can find out more and order it here.

And if you can’t wait to read Rosa Prince’s books, then here are 11 unlikely and amusing facts about Labour’s leader.

Compass Points was at the launch of the 2016 Good Food Guide this week – which has been going for 65 years and is published by Waitrose. As you would expect, excellent food was served at the party – including a rather marvellous cake! This edition is very handsome: cloth-bound 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. 
However, the books nearly didn’t reach the UK at all as the pallets containing the copies were searched at customs when they arrived from Italy and were found to contain migrants! Hmm – shall I make a tasteless joke here about the stowaways being able to research where to eat their first meal while they hid – no perhaps not.

As a new indie bookshop opens in Chiswick in west London today – yaay! Amazon announces they are going into bricks and mortar bookselling too – boo! James Daunt, MD of Waterstones, told the Bookseller he hoped the Amazon venture would "fall flat on its face" and you can read both stories here and here.

Does what is happening in the Middle East fill you with fear? According to veteran political journalist Gwynne Dyer, it shouldn’t. Don’t Panic is an intelligent and wryly articulated new book which argues that the Western tendency is to overreact, time after time, to the threat posed by Islamist terrorists. The dreadful spectacle of beheadings, abductions, cages, flames and triumphalist proclamations arouses powerful emotions in many of us: disgust, rage, hatred, grief and perhaps a yearning for vengeance. Gwynne Dyer argues that these atrocities actually have nothing to do with the West, and do not significantly increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks in Western countries. Rather, they are designed to use Western overreaction as a stepping stone to seizing power in the states they are trying to overthrow. This is one of few books on ISIS that will not date, as it strikes a balance between understanding the history of the group and of similar revolutions and responses generally, and traces the evolution of events on the ground Don’t Panic: ISIS, Terror and the Making of the New Middle East by Gwynne Dyer (hb, 978 1902932378, £12.99) is published on 25 November by Periscope and you can find out more and order it here.

Ooh, we do love a literary quiz. And it doesn’t get much more literary than … Twilight. WTF? Sorry, sorry, meant to write Pride and Prejudice. No hang on a minute, Stephanie Meyer actually wrote Twilight as an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, transforming Darcy into Edward and Elizabeth into Bella. But can you tell the difference between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Edward Cullen? Are you sure? Take this quiz on Buzzfeed  to prove your literary credentials!

The clocks have gone back, the nights are drawing in – so many readers are ready to settle down with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book. They could do a lot worse than to choose a title from Hot Choc Lit which has slightly raised heat levels from the usual Choc-Lit books – this is romance that sizzles! The first title for this imprint is Take a Chance on Me by Debbie Flint who is a super-popular presenter on QVC – so will be well known to the 12 million women in the UK who regularly tune in!  As you know, Choc-Lit always road-test their book with the online reading community before they are published, and Take a Chance on Me has had particularly good reviews, with bloggers writing “There are some particularly steamy scenes in Take A Chance on Me but they are exceptionally well written” and “This is fast paced, suspenseful … new and fresh with a magnificent ending. A marvellous heartfelt novel” and “Loved this book! Quick witted and full of funny banter ... five stars, an awesome read.” Take a Chance on Me (snappy title, zappy cover) (978 1781892671, pb, £7.99) is published in December by Hot Choc Lit and you can find out more and order it here

So what do we think about this year’s Christmas ad from John Lewis? Have a watch here  if you haven’t already seen it and fancy a bit of a blub – and join in the debate on #manonthemoon on Twitter. Personally, I think anything that encourages more support for the elderly at this time of year must be a good thing – and you can find out more at

There are three popular titles from Hudson coming in December that you need to stock ready for everyone preparing to book their 2016 holidays. B&Bs and Hotels 2016 (pb, 978 0851015712, £7.99) features everything from guest houses, to farmhouses, hostels and campus accommodation. 
Self Catering & Camping 2016 (978 0851015705, £7.99) features self-catering units, serviced apartments, approved caravan holiday homes, narrow boats and cruisers as well as holiday parks and villages. Both titles are official UK Tourist Board Guides, and are published by Hudson’s with Visit Britain Publishing
Hudson’s Historic Houses and Gardens (pb,  978 0851015699, £16.99) is your bang-up-to-date guide to Britain’s unrivalled wealth of historic buildings open to the public; including National Trusts, English Heritage, Cadw and Historic Royal Palaces as well as privately owned houses. More people visit historic houses every year - three quarters of all adults in 2015 – it is more popular as a day out than football! 2016 is both the Year of the English Garden and Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, so interest in heritage days out will be high. With a copy of Hudson’s Historic Houses and Gardens in hand (or in the car) visitors can follow directions and maps to visit nearly 1000 of Britain’s grandest stately homes, great gardens and smaller hidden gems tucked away in every corner of the country. It’s good to look at with plenty of gorgeous photographs and would make a fantastic gift.

A new title from Aardvark is always exciting, and The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt by Tracy Farr sounds very promising. Tracy Farr is a first-time novelist who has been shortlisted for many top literary prizes in her homeland Australia. This title is the fictional memoir of Dame Lena Gaunt: musician, octogenarian, junkie and tells a powerful story of a life characterized by the pull of the sea, the ebb and flow of passion and loss, and an enduring relationship with music. As one reviewer wrote, this is “beautifully written … it combines music and art as it moves around the globe through the dazzling 30s and 40s, paying tribute to the life of an artist in all its forms.” The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt (pb, £8.99, 978 1910709054) is published in January and you can order copies here

The instrument that features heavily in the Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt is a theremin. Hands up who knows what that is? Nope, me neither. The novel tells us “music from a theremin can sound like a human voice, or an electronic scream; like an alien spaceship, or the low moan of a cello. The best players can tease all of these sounds from the wood and wire and electricity that is a theremin” which I’m sure you’ll agree makes you want to hear one right now! Here is one played by its inventor, Louis Theremin, and here is another lovely example. All a bit too old fashioned for you? How about this theremin remix of Gnarls Berkley!

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week...
The 'hard edge' of Christmas has started on the 2nd Floor. Our Christmas tree has gone up (after a struggle).
"Jellyfish is a reminder that Janice Galloway is one of the finest writers around." …
An early mention but if you're buying books for Xmas this year, please do support your local bookshop. They give great service & experience.
"Gossipy and full of fizz... a pacy, readable and politically salacious account." @ScotRevBks review #ProjectFear by @joepike
Nothing gives that #fridayfeeling better than a new indie bookshop opening - so welcome #chiswickbookshop and @ECBCrane from all at Compass!
The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb will be part of the 3 for 2 promotion at Blackwells - marvellous!

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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