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.

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