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!

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