Friday 11 December 2015

Compass Points 152

Simon Templar always imagined the worst thing that could happen to him was his parents' decision to give him the same name as a fictional hero (and just in case you are in any doubt as to whom that fictional here might be, have a quick look here!)  Ok, back to the story. But then his entire life changes one evening when his drunken father-in-law to be divulges some shocking news about his daughter - the love of Simon's life. Simon Says by Daniel Gothard is about learning to love again, forgive mistakes and completely understand the meaning of FUBAR (google it). This is an entertaining contemporary romantic comic novel in the vein of Nick Hornby, Richard Curtis or David Nicholls. It has a great cover, and the author is very promotable. He has a strong regional following (Oxford); has previously had two novels published (his last novel Friendship and Afterwards was shortlisted for The People's Book Prize) and has appeared in numerous literary journals: he is also Arts Correspondent for After Nyne magazine. Simon Says (pb, 978 1910692486 £8.99) by Daniel Gothard is published by Urbane Publications in January and you can order it here!

The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader has signalled a lurch to the left in the party. His ascent will, for many, trigger unhappy memories of the dark days of the 1970s and ’80s, when a bitter struggle for ideas raged within the party. Hammer of the Left (originally published in 2003) by John Golding is a compelling account of Labour’s civil war during those decades – and with the rise of Jeremy Corbyn and the left within Labour; the book provides a timely reminder of where the party has been before. It is a visceral, no-holds-barred account of political intrigue and warfare and a vivid portrait of one of the most turbulent times in the history of Labour. A timely reminder perhaps for the party of today of the dangers of disunity and of drifting too far from electoral reality? Hammer of the Left by John Golding with a foreword by Neil Kinnock (pb, 978 1785900266, £10.99 is published by Robson Press and you can order it here.

Are you expecing a baby next year?? And are you trying to come up with THE name – maybe something literary as befits your status as a cool and trendy bookseller? Well, have a look here at this great list of inspirational names taken from novels –Buzzfeed reckons “they’ll make your ovaries tingle”!

2016 will see the 100th anniversary commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising: an event that has been claimed by many groups. For some it represents a blood sacrifice without the hope, or even intention, of success. For others, it was the first act in a tumultuous political drama played out in Dublin streets and London cabinet rooms that led to the formation of an independent Irish State. 1916: Ireland's Revolutionary Tradition is an important book by Kieran Allen which argues that this pivotal moment in Irish history has been obscured by those who see it only as a prelude for a “war of independence”. This is a highly accessible history of the Easter Rising and its aftermath, emphasising an often ignored social and political radicalism at the heart of the rebellion. Kieran Allen suggests that it gave birth to a revolutionary tradition that continues to haunt the Irish elite. He highlights an alternative history which stresses the revolutionary tradition associated with 1916; one that was betrayed, but never eradicated, and that is needed now more than ever in a country that has been laid low by austerity and debt repayments. 1916: Ireland's Revolutionary Tradition by Kieran Allen (pb, 978 0745336329, £12.99) is published by Pluto Press in January and you can find out more and order it here.

Are you wondering why you don’t have room for as many titles on the shelves of your shop as you used to? Well, the answer could be that it’s not just British women who apparently have an obesity problem – our novels are getting fatter too! Yes, books are apparently steadily increasing in size, according to a survey that has found the average number of pages has grown by 25% over the last 15 years.  You can read about it in the Guardian here.

Nothing like something thoroughly scurrilous to welcome in the New Year with – and Royal Babylon by passionate poet Heathcote Williams is certainly controversial! Royal Babylon sets out in verse form what Williams describes as “the criminal record of the British Monarchy.” It is a short but powerful book, detailing the ways in which the Queen and her family have made headlines over the years by activities and connections which, time and again, have shown poor judgment, demeaning behaviour, or a lack of compassion. From animal killing to sexual scandal, profligacy to remoteness from her subjects, the accusations pile up in a 500-verse tirade which has all Williams’ hallmarks of passion, satire and irony. Blimey – that sounds absolutely extraordinary! This is not the first time Heathcote Williams has tackled “big” topics: his previous poems have covered human rights, capital punishment and pacifism – and of course his powerful argument for a worldwide ban on whaling: Whale Nation. Royal Babylon (978 0993153310, pb, £7.99) is published by Skyscraper Publications in January, and the right-wing newspapers, Telegraph etc are certain to go bonkers – so there will be plenty of publicity;  find out more here.

You can watch a short extract from Royal Babylon on Youtube here

The groundbreaking and wonderfully unconventional memoir, Bound Feet Blues by Yang-May Ooi (978 1910692301, £16.99, pb) from Urbane has had a LOT of press coverage this month which you can see a summary of here.

We can all have a good debate/argument about what we think are the greatest British books of all time – but perhaps it is more interesting to see what readers outside the UK think is our finest literature. Have a look here at this list of the top 100 British novels – as complied by the BBC, who polled book critics from around the world – from Australia to Zimbabwe.  Interesting.

French Women Don’t Get Fat, Tiger Women Don’t have Cocky Kids, and now we have Smart Women Don't Get Wrinkles. This new title by popular author Helena Frith Powell (whose books have sold over 50,000 copies in the UK ) brings you advice from stunning-looking ladies from around the world, as well as exercise routines and recipes; organic non-invasive options and hard-core chemical an d surgical solutions. Basically, Helena utilises all the weapons she can get her hands on, in the ongoing fight to stay sane during the hideous journey into old age. Smart WomenDon’t Get Wrinkles: Anti Aging Secrets from around the World describes one woman's battle with time, using humour and sensible advice on how to protect your body from the marauding years; as well as looking at the cerebral side of ageing – it even includes tips on how to keep your man from looking even worse than you do! This title will be serialised in the Daily Mail – and Helena Frith Powell is a regular contributor to the national press including the Times and Telegraph, so there will be plenty of coverage for it.  Smart Women Don't Get Wrinkles by Helena Frith Powell (hb, 978 1783340606, 12.99) is published by Gibson Square in January and you can order it here.

Poised, elegant and incredibly talented, Audrey Hepburn is one of the best loved actresses of all time. Whether it was her status as a fashion goddess, her amazing ability to portray female characters with such depth, or her legacy as a role model, both on and off the silver screen; Audrey Hepburn remains one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. 100 Reasons to Love Audrey uncovers the unequivocal reasons that make her an icon – and would be a very good Christmas present for teenage girl – she is just as popular with the younger generation as she ever was with us oldies.  100 Reasons to Love Audrey will be featured as the Book of the Week next week in Hello magazine and In-Style Magazine are running a picture spread from it  in this week’s issue and on website – which you can look at here. 100 Reasons to Love Audrey (978 0859655309, pb, £14.99) is published by Plexus and you can order it here.

Remind yourself why we love her so much with this compilation of some of her best moments form YouTube.

If 100 Reasons to Love Audrey is a good prezzie for the girls – then Rock Stars Cars is a good one for the boys – it’s been extracted this week in the Sun and there’s also an extract in the Times. Rock Stars Cars (978 1905959778, hb, 12.99) by Dave Roberts is published by Red Planet and you can order it here.

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. We’re enjoying the #RuinAChristmas movie this week...
The Grinch Knows What You Did Last Summer
The LIDL drummer boy
The Delayed Polar Express
ET - The Extra Testicle
'There's Something about Mary.'
It's A Wonderful Knife
Rudolph the Red Nosed Alcoholic
Homeless alone
Batman Returns (your gifts)
Gloves, Actually
Clear and presents danger!

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

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 4 December 2015

Compass Points 151

There’s been loads of publicity for the excellent Five a Side Bible. GOALS – which is the biggest 5-a-side soccer centre in Britain – will promote the book through their social media channels and in an email to their 168,000 email subscribers. Plus, they have put up posters in all of their 43 centres throughout the UK. The author Chris Bruce has been on Talksport, and is currently running plenty of promotion on his own very popular 5-a-side website, which gets 50-60,000 hits per month. Radio Clyde have run a competition to win copies of the book, the Anfield Wrap (a huge Liverpool fan site) have run a feature article on it, and there has also been coverage in the Daily Record, the Herald, the Scotsman and the Evening Times. The Five a Side Bible (£14.99, hb 978 1910449288) by Chris Bruce is published by Freight; watch the short film about it on Youtube here!

If someone wanted to describe you in terms of a literary character – I’m not sure Gollum would be the one you’d be most flattered by! But would you be sufficiently insulted to send someone to jail over it? A man may go to prison for two years for comparing Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the slimy, bulged-eyed backstabber from Lord of the Rings. But is Gollum actually just a tragically misunderstood literary hero? Read the whole story here.

And why wouldn’t you want to be Gollum anyway? After all – he’s won major awards – have a look here at his none too gracious acceptance of one from MTV!

Limited edition coffee-table photographic books can do very well at Christmas – and Odd & Sods, by Paul Hallam (978 0955084096, pb, £25.00) will certainly have a market. It is a brilliant collection of Paul Hallam’s photos of the London 80’s Mod scene and is published by Omnibus in a handsome 96-page limited edition of 500 copies. It includes a great essay by Greg Faye and an interview with Mick Ferrante that really bring the photographs to life. Mods in the 1980’s was one of the first retro cycles so popular now within British style where the young ransacked their parents’ wardrobes for original pieces and adapted them with vintage buys and bespoke tailoring and you can  find out more about Odds and Sods here

Here’s a rather nostalgic minute of film on Youtube – showing some of those London Mods in action – from 1982.

A bit of a surprise seller for us this season has been A Lion was Learning to Ski by Ranjit Bolt (hb, 978 1783340828,:£9.99). I don’t know why we’re surprised, perhaps all you savvy booksellers could have told us there was a gap in the market for nonsensical animal poems.   Waterstone’s especially are doing extremely well with it – and if you haven’t already got it in stock I would suggest you order it right now. Ranjit has done lots to publicise it, which has clearly reaped benefits as it’s selling as fast as – well, as a lion on skis. You can read three of the limericks from it in The Herald here – who chose them for their Poem of the Day promotion. A Lion was Learning to Ski is published by Gibson Square - and you can order it here

According to the BBC; Old Soldiers Never Die is the greatest ever account of trench warfare. Frank Richards’ classic account of the war from the standpoint of the regular soldier, and a moving tribute to the army that died on the Western Front in 1914; Old Soldiers Never Die is published in a new edition by Parthian. In this remarkable tale, Richards recounts life in the trenches as a member of the famous Royal Welch Fusiliers, with all its death and camaraderie, in graphic detail, vividly bringing to life the trials and tribulations faced by the ordinary rank and file. Arguably the greatest of all memoirs of the Great War, Old Soldiers Never Die (pb, 978 1910901199, £8.99) is published in January and you can order it here.

Lots of Biteback books featured in the Independent’s Best Political Books of 2015 round up this week.  Why the Tories Won: the Inside Story of the 2015 Election (978 1849549479, £12.99, pb) by Tim Ross was described as “A meticulous and balanced account of the general election”.
Project Fear (978 1849549318, £12.99,pb) by Joe Pike was praised as “A racy eyewitness account of the pyrrhic victory that Better Together pulled off in the Scottish Referendum.” 
Following Farage by Owen Bennett (978 1849548694, £12.99, pb) was described as “An even racier account of the rise of UKIP … full of booze, treachery and human stupidity” – that certainly sounds like the sort of political book I’d like to read!

And Lady Constance Lytton by Lyndsey Jenkins (978 1849547956, hb, £20.00), another Biteback title had an outstanding review in the Sunday Times last week: placed in their 2015 Best Biographies feature.  It said “This superb book has been curiously overlooked … Jenkins writes of “Lady Con” with humour and poignancy, making this a life to cherish.” The Suffragette film should have given this title a boost – it is a really good read, and an ideal Christmas gift for those interested in historical biogs.

Talking of books that have been made into films, what was your favourite of 2015? Remember all the fuss around Fifty Shades of Grey when it came out in February? Well – wouldn’t it have been soooo much better if it had actually starred Mr Bean? Not convinced? Have a watch here and I'm sure you will be!

Maybe you dream of giving up your job as a lowly, underpaid bookseller, and becoming a fabulously wealthy author instead? Well, not so fast my friend, not so fast. According to the Guardian; record numbers of authors are actually struggling to make a living at all – and many are applying for financial assistance to the Society of Authors. Have look at the whole article here.

In 2002 47% of white Britons believed immigration had damaged British society (a belief shared by 22 per cent of black and Asian Britons) and 28 per cent believed it had benefited it. In 2012 only 11 per cent of people believed that immigration in the past decade had been “a good thing for Britain and a whopping 67 per cent thought it has had a negative effect. Not only does a clear majority of the British public now seem to want immigration all but stopped, it has become hugely ambivalent even about multiculturalism, post-war immigration and the very idea of 'diversity'. How could this happen? In The Diversity Illusion, Ed West investigates who is responsible for Britain's current state of affairs and why mass immigration has never been put to the vote. He compellingly argues that Britain should face up to the real impact of immigration against the mounting concerns “even on the Left” about its consequences. The picture of modern Britain he paints is a forceful warning to stop subscribing to the diversity illusion. The Diversity Illusion by Ed West (978 1908096319 £9.99, pb) is published by Gibson Square and has attracted much admiration. The Sunday Times made it one of their Top 3 Stand-out Political Books of the Year; the Mail on Sunday called it “A powerful new book.” The Sunday Times “A brilliant dissection of the dominant cultural heresy of our times” The Daily Telegraph “Enticingly provocative” and the Express “Damning”.

How were Black Friday and its more up-market neighbour Civilised Saturday for you? Profitable I hope – here’s how the sale day might have looked if it had been narrated by David Attenborough!

Points of Origin (pb, 978 1905583621, £9.99)published by Comma Press is the first major English translation (by Brendan O’Kane) of a collection of  tartly sardonic short stories from leading Chinese writer, journalist and satirist Diao Dou. It taps into current interest in the way the Chinese government treats its artists and the debates surrounding censorship laws and is sharp, witty and bitingly satirical. We were delighted to see that Points of Origin made it on to the Guardian annual round-up of the best books of 2015 – you can read the whole piece here.

Carcanet poet Christopher Middleton died on Monday (30th November). Middleton had been publishing poetry since 1944 and was described by fellow poet Geoffrey Hill as "a major poet of our times". Middleton's first collection with Carcanet, The Lonely Suppers of W.V. Balloon, was first published in 1975 and for four decades Carcanet has been his main publisher, issuing six collections of poems, one of experimental prose, two of essays, a Selected Writings, a Selected Translations, and two Collected Poems. You can read an obituary in the Independent here. 
There have been lots of other publicity pieces for Carcanet this week: The Skinny Literary Gift Guide called them “one of the finest poetry presses around” and featured Waiting for the Past by Les Murray, Marrying the Ugly Millionaire and Grevel Lindop’s Luna Parkyou can read that here. The Glasgow Herald chose Muriel Spark’s Complete Poems: “a happy addition to an oeuvre that never ceases to sparkle” as one of their Books of the Year and the Guardian featured The Other Mountain by Rowan Williams as their Poem of the Week.

Got the new Adele album yet? Or are you a non-fan? Either way, you’ll probably find this pretty funny – Adele’s Hello remixed courtesy of the movies!

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week...

Archie is really chuffed with our new @Saltire_Society #SaltireLiterary Publisher of the Year award. #officedog
Coverage of Tea & Chemo appearing in the local press
@indybooks chooses Fishnet by @kirstininnes as one of their Top Ten debuts of the year!
Keep your tweets coming! What would you text Grandpa this Xmas? Use #GrandpaGeorge for a chance to win a copy of Georges Grand Tour on 8Dec
So good to meet up with @JaneAitken27 & Emily Boyce @BelgraviaB. Talking about @AardvarkBureau plans for 2016…
What? You'd like me to review all the big Xmas celebrity memoirs based on their Kindle samples alone? Sure thing

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.