Friday 16 December 2016

Compass Points 197

Happy Christmas! All of us at Compass wish every bookseller a successful festive season and hope you all enjoy a fabulous Christmas and joyful New Year!
If you are struggling to come up with innovative ideas for your own Christmas lunch, then have a look here at the ever-resourceful Theo Michaels who shows us how to do Christmas in a Mug! This article was from the Daily Mail and is just part of the tremendous publicity that Microwave Mug Meals (hb, £9.99, 978 0754832850) published by Lorenz Books has received. He was back again on This Morning on 8 December showing us how to make an entire festive feast in a mug in matter of minutes finishing off with a perfect Christmas pudding! You can watch that here.

Compass have been enjoying the company of all of our lovely publishers this week at our sales conference where we heard about lots of the brilliant books that will be bouncing into your shops between March and August 2017.Our conference was in Slough – and of course I’m NOT saying that the Compass MD is anything like David Brent – however, while the motivational messages from the conference are fresh in our minds, this does seem like a good opportunity to remind ourselves of some of  the best bits from The Office.

OK, back to the books. Highlights from our conference included some gripping novels including Death's Silent Judgement; the next thrilling book in the Hannah Weybridge thriller series by Anne Coates from Urbane; Death of a Translator from Arcadia and Because I Was Lonely (pb, £8.99, 978-1910453292) from Red Door.
This is a cleverly crafted, unputdownable debut novel from Hayley Mitchell which traces the rollercoaster of actions and reactions experienced by a cast of credible, fallible, characters who rekindle an old friendship on Facebook; but what begins as a little harmless flirtation soon becomes an obsession, and slowly the threads of their lives unravel before them…

Baby Wise: Learn to Trust Your Baby’s Instincts in the First Year by Rachel Fitz-Desorgher (pb, 978 1910336311 £12.99) which is published by White Ladder met with an enthusiastic response from our sales team – it sounds terrific! Written by an experienced midwife this title shows that by responding to your baby’s needs, you can’t parent “wrongly” and that contrary to what many so-called experts will tell you; your baby is a highly evolved being with an instinct to survive that you don’t need to “train”! 

Comma Press are publishing second volume of Refugee Tales – I know many of you have done extremely well with the first collection of these moving and poignant and all too frighteningly common experiences of Europe’s new underclass: its refugees. Here, poets and novelists retell the stories of individuals; presenting their experiences anonymously, as modern day counterparts to the pilgrims’ stories in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, this new book offers more intimate glimpses into otherwise untold suffering.

His many fans will be delighted to hear that Gallic have a new novel from Antoine Laurain – the hugely popular author of The Red Notebook and The President’s Hat. The Portrait (pb, £7.99, 978 1910477434) begins when an avid collector unearths the find of a lifetime a Paris auction house: an eighteenth-century portrait of a man who looks uncannily like him. Much to his delight, his bid for the work is successful, but back at home his jaded wife and circle of friends are unable to see the resemblance. However, as he researches into the painting’s history, he is presented with the opportunity to abandon his tedious existence and walk into a brand-new life…

And Other Stories have The Little Buddhist Monk which is the new title by Cesar Aira; the most important and influential writer in Latin America today. Those who love his extreme eccentricity and innovation and playful spirit will adore this new tour de force set in Korea, where a Buddhist monk (who’s really very tiny) dreams of the Western world and secretly reads up on Western culture. When he meets the holidaying French couple Napoleon Chirac and Jacqueline Bloodymary he offers his services as their guide, in the hope they will take him, a penniless monk, to Europe. He whisks them off on a tour of the temples. Among the many twists and turns, our stunned tourists encounter a suicidal horse and discover that a person can also be a robot.
Birlinn also have some fantastic titles coming up in 2017 – one which caught my eye in particular was Captain Fantastic: Elton John’s Stellar Trip Through the 70’s by acclaimed music journalist Tom Doyle. In August 1970 Elton John achieved overnight fame after a rousing performance at the Troubadour in Los Angeles; over the next five years he was unstoppable, scoring seven consecutive number 1 albums and sixteen Top 10 singles in America. But behind his outré image and comedy glasses lay a desperately shy individual, conflicted about his success, his sexuality, and his narcotic indulgences. In 1975, at the apex of his fame, John attempted suicide twice yet, after announcing his retirement in 1977 at the age of thirty as well as coming out as a gay man, he gradually found his way back to music. Captain Fantastic is an intimate look at the rise, fall and rise again of John’s fame-and-drug fuelled decade, with a final section bringing his life up to the present.

And while we’re on the subject of music – there is a MEGA exciting title coming in May from Brian May – yes THAT Brian May – which is an all new, never before seen pictorial biography of Queen – yes THAT Queen – in …. wait for it…. 3D!!!

I LOVE this  – people reading fake books with highly controversial covers in the subway and then filming other commuters’ reactions to them. Hilarious!
I also love this : a compilation of some the year’s funniest banned ads – yep, I can quite see why some of those didn’t get past the censor! Enjoy!

That’s all for this year folks! See you in 2017!
This blog is taken from a 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 talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.

Friday 9 December 2016

Compass Points 196

Hope the season is going well for you so far! We love this fabulous Christmas tree in the Bodleian Museum Bookshop in Oxford! This week we’re talking about some of the top titles that are published in early 2017.

First up is Songs from The Violet Café (£8.99, pb,978 1910709177) by Fiona Kidman (the author of The Infinite Air) which is published by Aardvark in January.  This is a powerful story of women's lives spanning decades and continents from one of New Zealand's most popular authors: The Herald said of it “this is an author writing at the height of her powers.” It is an honest portrayal of sexual politics and female friendship, reminiscent of Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend, and the book will appeal to fans of her as well as Maggie O'Farrell and Anne Tyler. The novel begins in 1943 when Violet Trench crosses Lake Rotorua with a small boy, but rows back without him. Sixty years later, a boat is ritually set alight on the same body of water. The intervening years see Violet open a café by the lake the scene of an event in the summer of 1963 with lasting repercussions for Violet and her young employees. Their lives diverge, but Violet's influence on them all and on runaway Jessie Sandle in particular will linger like the scent of the truffles with which she infuses her dishes. Lots of readers and reviewers loved The Infinite Air; I think Songs from the Violet Café (which has a really beautiful cover) could do even better.
Ok, talking of Songs from the Violet Café – what are the top three songs about cafes? Well, mine would be a retro choice first with Ella Fitzgerald's I Want the Waiter with the Water, then definitely Billy Joel's  Scenes from an Italian Restaurant; but the best café song ever must surely be the amazing Suzanne Vega's Tom’s Diner .

Still on a musical theme; those hipsters over at Omnibus Press tweeted this today:

Omnibus Press @OmnibusPress Productivity in the Omnibus Press office has just dropped to virtually nil because of this.
And I quite agree – have a look  to find out what are the connections between all the musicians you like! Great fun – and the perfect Friday time-waster!
There was a fascinating piece  with some great pics in the recently published Omnibus title Amy: A Life Through The Lens by Darren and Elliott Bloom with Matt Trollope (hb, £20.00, 978-1785582011 ) in the Jewish News today which you can read here.  And there is a whole website promoting the book which you can find at – loads of poignant pics and film of Amy Winehouse to look at and a great marketing tool for this title.

As a major fan of the scrummy chickpea dip, I am massively looking forward to The Hummus Cookbook (hb, 9.99, 978 0754832836) which is published by Lorenz Books in January. And hurrah, hummus not only tastes good but is healthy too – it contains smart carbs that are slow to digest, so leaving you feeling fuller for longer, as well as being low in fat and a good source of protein and fibre. Incredibly easy to make at home, the results are so much better than shop-bought. Sara Lewis has researched, tested and tasted traditional hummus recipes from lemon and olive oil to Turkish hot buttered and also created new blends such as red beet, white beans, black beans, peas, kale and lemon. As always from Lorenz and Anness Books; this hardback has a huge amount of gorgeous photos (over 300) at a great price – have a look below to see some of the full colour spreads and you will see that it’s really well laid out with loads of techniques, tips and practical guidance, from soaking and cooking the pulses to blending and garnishing as well as making your own tahini, harissa, za’atar, chermoula and flatbreads, with easy to follow recipes for yeast-free and gluten-free breads too! Yum yum!

A title that many of your customers will be all too ready for (and me too if I keep scoffing the hummus) the in the New Year is Till the Fat Lady Slims by Debbie Flint (£7.99, pb, 978 178189333 3). I appreciate that there are an absolute deluge of diet titles competing for your bookshelves; but the USP of this one is that previously self-published this semi-autobiographical weight-loss and lifestyle book on Kindle with much success, and this new paperback edition includes many testimonials from her fans – the author is a very successful presenter on QVC. In 1998 Debbie found herself more than two stone overweight, under stress and in need of help. Enter Freedom Eating. This natural weight loss method helped Debbie break free from Food Prison and un-learn all the bad habits from a lifetime of 'starting again on Monday'. Till the Fat Lady Slims contains some painful secrets which many readers will find familiar. The book also includes material covering the dangers of sugar, information on how to use Debbie's method alongside traditional dieting and endorsements from successful slimmers. “Debbie Flint’s honest account of what she went through will hit home to every yo-yo dieter out there. Life-changing and well-worth reading. Till the Fat Lady Slims is in my view absolutely BRILLIANT!” It’s published (rather ironically, I feel) by Choc Lit in January.
Guy Fraser-Sampson is an established writer, having published not only fiction but also books on a diverse range of subjects: his darkly disturbing economic history The Mess We're In was nominated for the Orwell Prize and his Mapp and Lucia novels have all been optioned by BBC TV. Death in Profile which was published this year was a truly original crime story harking back to the Golden Age of detective fiction yet speaking to a contemporary audience, and was much praised. Ruth Dugdall, CWA Debut Dagger Winner called it “classy and sophisticated … if you thought the Golden Age of crime writing was dead, then read this.”  So I’m really looking forward to the second in the Hampstead Murder series:  Miss Christie Regrets (978 1911331803, £7.99, pb) which is published by Urbane in January. It opens with a sudden death at an iconic local venue, which some of the team believe may be a connected with an unsolved murder featuring Cold War betrayals worthy of George Smiley and soon emerges that none other than Agatha Christie herself may be the key witness who is able to provide the missing link. On one level a classic whodunit, this quirky and intelligent read harks back not only to the world of Agatha Christie, but also to the Cold War thrillers of John Le Carré, making it a worthy successor to Death in Profile which was dubbed “a love letter to the detective novel”.
Well, I can’t resist it, who are the top ten fictional detectives? Sherlock, of course – and maybe Dick Tracy, Hercule Poirot or Philip Marlowe? Have a look here to see if your favourite sleuths are there!

Here’s something to cheer up your customers at a time of year when we can all be feeling a bit down: 100 Ways to be Chirpy by George Brazel is an excellent way to beat the January blues. George Brazel is a trained and experienced psychiatrist who spent two years living with Buddhist monks in Tibet before embarking on a life of offering advice and wisdom to patience in his New York practice. This short and sweet little hardback (£6.99, 978-1906251796, hb) is the first in a new series of in-a-nutshell books to inspire and guide published by Little Books. Future titles will include 100 Ways to Get to Sleep, 100 Ways to Relax, 100 Ways to Stay Young and 100 Ways to be Thin. Full of practical tips and a zen-like simplicity, 100 Ways to be Chirpy contains all you need to know to get your life on track and find out how to be a glass half-full rather than half-empty person.
And until that comes out in January, I usually find that this does the trick to cheer me up: all together now: “life’s a piece of…”

Or, as my son has just pointed out to me, this would be an even better choice of song to finish with! Thanks Sam, perhaps you'd like to take over writing the blog!

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. This week in celebration of the somewhat unreal news we’ve had this year, we bring you a selection of news tweets from @TheDailyMash.
Daring non-conformist’s favourite Christmas song. An amazing non-conformist has shocked friends and colleagues by revealing his favourite Christmas song is the Pogues’ Fairytale of New York
Last piece of actual work this year to be completed by 3pm. Office workers across Britain have confirmed that absolutely nothing of consequence will be done next week.
Twenty percent of all children are Mick Jagger's. Mick Jagger is responsible for 20 percent of all human births, say researchers.
Guardian begins annual ruining of Christmas. The Guardian newspaper has launched its annual appeal to make you feel dreadful about Christmas.
Brexiters confident obscure local problems will be in government plan. Thousands are convinced Brexit will solve their weird local grievances like their local town centre being full of manky pigeons, or people skateboarding on pavements.
Lunatic buys shitload of Christmas presents for baby. A man has spent a ridiculous amount of money on Christmas gifts for his six-month-old son.
Vinyl sales overtake sales of food. More vinyl albums are being sold than food, because owning records is more important than eating.
Attractive colleague given inappropriately expensive gift. Awkwardness has descended on an office after a man bought an expensive Christmas gift for a female colleague, it has emerged.
Amazon to just put random items in your house then force you to pay for them. Amazon NoChoice is a new service where non-chosen, non-returnable items arrive overnight, with charges automatically debited from your bank account.
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 talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.

Friday 2 December 2016

Compass Points 195

Sad news today that one of Britain’s finest character actors Andrew Sachs, who played Spanish waiter Manuel in Fawlty Towers, has died at 86. His autobiography I Know Nothing (£9.99, pb, 978 1849549004) is available in B-format paperback from Biteback. As the Times said “There is a lot more to the memoir than Manuel… as well as telling a jolly showbiz tale, he can also strike a more serious and insightful tone when the subject matter requires it.” The memoir begins in 1938, when few weeks before Kristallnacht Andrew Sachs looked on as Nazi officers arrested his father while the family was eating in a restaurant. The son of a Jewish father and a lapsed Catholic mother, a few days later he watched as the Nazis burned and looted Jewish shops on the streets of Berlin. I Know Nothing is full of stories of Sachs’ extraordinary life, as well as plenty of entertaining anecdotes about working with a galaxy of stars including Rex Harrison, Norman Wisdom, Noel Coward, Alec Guinness, Richard Burton and Peter Sellers. And of course, it tells of how he eventually came to team up with John Cleese (who has written the foreword for the book) on the show that would make him famous as the hapless waiter from Barcelona. It is a touching and inspiring read.
Which are your favourite Manuel moments? Well, I think two very strong contenders must be this  and this!

Vahni Capildeo’s Measures of Expatriation (pb, £9.99, 978 1784101688) published by Carcanet has been selected as one of the Telegraph’s Best Books for Christmas – you can read the whole piece here and also as one of the Guardian’s  Best Books 2016  where Marina Warner said Measures of Expatriation by the Trinidadian-British poet Vahni Capildeo gives a long, searching look at dislocation and plurality and polyvocality and diasporas: it’s a very singular and powerful collection.”

Talking of Carcanet; their brand new January to August 2017 Catalogue is now online – have a browse here  to see what tempting poetry goodies are in store for next year! Carcanet’s 2017 is a year rich in geographies with collections from Jamaica, the United States, France, China, Australia, Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland and England; and the imprint moves forward much enhanced by the addition of Anvil Press Poetry with its wonderful mix of new English-language poetry and translation, modern and classical.

Congratulations to Michael Bradley, who is a finalist in the People’s Book Prize for his book Teenage Kicks: My Life as an Undertone (pb, £15.99 978 1785581809) which is published by Omnibus Press. This bitter-sweet and heart-warming tale of unlikely success, petty feuding and playful mischief during five years of growing up in the music industry has been highly praised as “fascinating, brilliantly written and told with such a delightful humour that I found myself laughing out loud. It’s a must read, not just for Undertones fans, but for anyone interested in music. Without out a doubt this is the best music book to hit the shelves… Ever.” The People’s Book Prize is a national competition aimed at finding, supporting and promoting new and undiscovered works. Its founding patron was Dame Beryl Bainbridge and the current patrons are Frederick Forsyth and The Publishers Association. It aspires to champion new authors, showcase undiscovered works and empower the public to vote with confidence for the nation's next bestsellers and writers of tomorrow. It also wants to engage the community and raise the profile of publishers, libraries and new writers, forming an alliance with retailers to sell and distribute winners' books and you can see the whole shortlist and find out more about the prize here. The winners will be announced at the eighth Awards Ceremony in late May 2017.
Ooh let’s have a listen of Teenage Kicks John Peel's favourite record!) right now to celebrate!

Pumpkin Flowers: A Soldier’s Story by Matti Friedman (pb, £12.99, 978 1785900433) published by Biteback has been chosen as one of the New York Times’ 100 Most Notable Books of 2016. You can see the whole list here.  Pumpkin Flowers is a lyrical yet devastating insight into the day-to-day realities of war, and a powerful coming-of-age narrative. Part memoir, part reportage and part haunting elegy for lost youth, it follows a band of young soldiers – the author among them – conscripted out of high school into holding a remote outpost in Lebanon. Raw and beautifully rendered, this essential chronicle casts an unflinching look at the nature of modern warfare, in which there is never a clear victor and innocence is not all that is lost.

The current focus on Cuba means there may well be renewed interest in Slow Train to Guantanamo: A Rail Odyssey through Cuba in the Last Days of the Castros (978 1908129505, £11.99, pb). Award-winning journalist Peter Millar jumps aboard a railway system that was once the pride of Latin America – and is now a crippled casualty case – to undertake a railway odyssey the length of Cuba in the dying days of the Castro regime. Starting in the ramshackle but romantic capital of Havana, once dominated by the US mafia, he travels with ordinary Cubans, sharing anecdotes, life stories and political opinions; to the Guantanamo naval base and detention camp. Peter Millar has been a correspondent for Reuters, the Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph and was named Foreign Correspondent of the Year for his reporting on the dying stages of the Cold War. He has a new book out next spring – and Slow Train to Guantanamo is available from Arcadia now. “Loved this book. Travelled to Cuba whilst reading it and everything he says comes true. He packs in so much information without you even realising how much he is telling you. Definitely worth reading whether you plan to go or not.”
Who’s enjoying The Crown on Netflix – isn’t it fab?! There’s no doubt that it provokes an enormous surge of affection and respect for our queen. Some of you may have spotted that her first cousin Margaret Rhodes died this week aged 91; her intimate and revealing autobiography The Final Curtsey has already been a number one bestseller and is well worth putting on display with all the current interest in the monarchy. This is an enthralling account of a singular life, and a unique insight into the intimate moments of the British Royal family. The Queen Mother regarded Margaret Rhodes as her "third daughter", and she was extremely close to her cousins the Queen and Princess Margaret throughout their lives. The book is full of charming anecdotes, fascinating characters, and personal photographs and is an unparalleled insight into the private life of the British monarchy. The Final Curtsey: A Royal Memoir by the Queen’s Cousin (978-1780270852, £8.99, pb) is available from Birlinn now.
Here's  a short interview Margaret Rhodes did in 2013 with CNN, talking about her very special relationship with the royal family.

Over a million people in the UK work in call centres, and the phrase has become synonymous with low-paid high stress work and dictatorial supervisors. However, rarely does the public have access to the true picture of what goes on in these institutions. Working the Phones (pb, £17.99, 978 0745399065) is a masterful account of life in a British call-centre by Jamie Woodcock who worked undercover to gather insights into the everyday experiences of the workers: it’s just been published by Pluto. He shows how this work has become emblematic of the shift towards a post-industrial service economy, and all the issues that this produces, such as the destruction of a unionised work force, isolation and alienation, loss of agency and, ominously, the proliferation of surveillance and control which affects mental and physical wellbeing of the workers. By applying a sophisticated, radical analysis to a thoroughly international 21st century phenomenon; Working the Phones presents a window onto the methods of resistance that are developing on our office floors, and considers whether there is any hope left for the modern worker today. Peter Fleming, author of The Mythology of Work said “This brilliant insider account of life in a British call-centre reveals the dirty realities of digital capitalism ... a book that is sure to become a classic.” You can hear Jamie talking about the book on YouTube here and read an extract from it here.
And talking of phone calls, I still think this complaint to Asda about a pizza with no topping must surely be the funniest phone call ever!
And finally, a charming festive title that you may not be aware was published today by Hesperus Press. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (pb, £8.99, pb) by L. Frank Baum (author of the Wizard of Oz of course) tells the true story of Santa Claus, from being found as a baby in the woods to making the first toy the world has ever seen (a carving of his cat Blinkie), to the invention of the dolly, the Christmas stocking, the Christmas tree, his battles with the evil Awgwas and being granted the mantle of immortality so he can keep bringing joy to children forever.
Beautifully written, and with glorious new illustrations by John Shelley, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus brings the magic of the Oz books to the life of Father Christmas and introduces the reader to unforgettable characters like the Master Woodsman, Necile the Wood-Nymph and little Mayrie, who just wants a toy of her own. This is truly a book for children of all ages.

That’s a version of Father Christmas you may not be familiar with – but who played him best on screen? Have a look here  to see the top ten movie Santas!

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week...
Michael Bradley @MickeyUndertone Thank you to everyone who voted for the book. It's through to the final next year. Conga through Derry now. @PeoplesBkPrize @OmnibusPress
Mark Thompson @marktwrites  The Mayor and Mayoress of Stockton-on-Tees - 'Civilised Saturday' and signing of DUST. Fabulous day! @RedDoorBooks
Eddie Marsan @eddiemarsan RIP Andrew Sachs. You came here as a refugee with nothing but your talent and your spirit, and you enriched our lives. Thank you so much.
Miranda Hart @mermhart  Andrew Sachs made me cry with laughter in my favourite sitcom. That legacy won't die but today a little cry that he and his era have gone.
Piers Morgan @piersmorgan  Very sad to hear about Andrew Sachs - a true comedy legend & great actor. Thinking of you @johnrsachs & all the family. RIP.
Freight Books @FreightBooks Join us to launch Whisky Island - get a complimentary nip of whisky and sort out someone's Christmas gift in one go!  
Sara @bookwitchsara  No matter how goth you think you are, you aren't Charlotte "I repaired my mourning shoes with the hair of my dead siblings" Bronte
Claire Eastham @ClaireyLove #GivingTuesday - Take 5 mins today to ask someone how they are. You can even do it over a brew with no slap on! mentalhealth #anxiety
Red Lion Books @RedLionBooks 'You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.' - C S Lewis, born on this day in 1898.
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 talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.

Friday 25 November 2016

Comass Points 194

The crippling anxiety that many young people suffer from – as well as the mental health the nation in general, is something of a hot topic at present – and We’re All Mad Here: The No Nonsense Guide to Living with Social Anxiety by Claire Eastham (pb, £12.99, 978 1785920820) published this month by Jessica Kingsley has clearly struck a chord with many readers, as it is currently a number one bestseller on Amazon! So please do stock it – it’s a title which deserves as wide a readership as possible – and as the many heartfelt reviews confirm, it is a “fantastic book. Honest and accessible … very helpful and practical whilst keeping a good sense of humour throughout. Brilliant.” It’s been receiving some superb publicity this week: the author was interviewed on Tuesday by Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on This Morning, with an audience phone-in;  you can see  a short version of that interview here and a longer version here.  She was also on a Radio 1 panel discussing her book at the end of last week. Claire has an award-winning blog with thousands of followers Social anxiety is an increasingly common condition, but personal accounts are rare, and this very readable mix of honest personal insights, practical advice and humour comes with glowing recommendations from all the mental health charities. The JKP website crashed under the weight of orders they received following Clare’s appearance on This Morning – such is the enormous demand for this title!

Maybe it’s because we need something to take our minds off reality, but whatever the reason, theatre is booming right across the UK at the moment. The Time Traveller's Guide to British Theatre by Aleks Sierz and Lia Ghilardi published by Oberon (£9.99, 978 1783192083, £9.99) would make an excellent Christmas gift for the many luvvie lovers all over the country.  The Guardian called this “an immensely entertaining, informative guide” and other reviewers have described it as “a cheerful romp, an excellent gift for the theatre-mad among your family and friends” and “a fast-moving ride on a theatre-go-round — only much more informative. The gossip is fun, too.” The Stage said “I am bowled over by The Time Traveller’s Guide to British Theatre... never before have I chortled and marvelled my way through anything quite so informative and entertaining.”

Personally, I love a musical. But what are the best songs EVER in any musical? Have a look at these ten  belters and find out if the hills are alive or whether life is a cabaret and all that jazz, one day more, tomorow!

There has been some good publicity for Istanbul Istanbul by Burhan Sönmez (978 1846592058, pb, £8.99) which was published by Telegram this week. This is something of a love song to Istanbul from this internationally award-winning author, inspired by his own experiences of being imprisoned after a military coup. There was an event to launch it at Waterstone’s Piccadilly and interviews with Burhan Sönmez on Monocle 24 radio, on the  BBC World Service, on  BBC Cambridge, on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking Books in Translation programme and on RTE. It was featured in the Reader’s Digest November Round-Up and the Guardian said it was  “destined to become a classic” – you can read that entire piece here.

Never mind Black Friday, it’s all about Blue Monday – that is to say The Blue Monday Diaries: In the Studio With New Order (£14.99, pb, 978 0859655460) by Michael Butterworth; which is a memoir of the time he spent with New Order in 1982 whilst the band was recording Blue Monday and Power, Corruption and Lies. Butterworth kept a handwritten diary documenting this period, when he was both living with the band and going with them to the Britannia Row studios and this diary forms the centre of the book. You can read selected passages from The Blue Monday Diaries on Michael’s entertaining blog here and the book is published next week by Plexus.

An interesting interview with author and MP Liam Byrne in the Guardian recently, talking about his new book Black Flag Down (hb, £12.99 978 1785900952) and discussing his view that Islamophobia is growing as anti-extremism policy fails, and that supremacists will thrive unless government sees that grievance rather than God inspires many to violence. You can read that article here and there have also been pieces by Liam in The Guardian the Times, and the Mirror. You can hear Liam Byrne talking about this on the Radio 4, Today Programme and on the BBC Daily Politics show. Black Flag Down is published by Biteback.

What would you say are the ten most shocking children’s books? Of course, “shocking” can be somewhat subjective – one person’s deepest darkest nightmare is someone else’s “ho hum is that the best you’ve got?” Have a look here to see which ones you’ve read – and if you agree!

A Knight with a Big Blue Balloon by Ranjit Bolt (£8.99, pb, 978 1783341382) published by Gibson Square will be in the Telegraph round-up of top Christmas books tomorrow. Robert McCrum in the Observer called Ranjit “a literary lion... a parable of print and paper in the age of ebooks and social media...” while Simon Callow said he was “a limericist extraordinaire.”

In the post-Brexit world, intergenerational conflict has become a visible phenomenon. There is an overwhelming sense of blame from younger generations: it was 'the wrinklies', who voted Leave; who are overburdening hospitals, shutting the youth out of the housing market and hoarding accumulated wealth. By 2020, one in five Britons will be pensioners, and living a longer retirement than ever before. 'A good thing', politicians add, through gritted teeth. The truth is that for them, 'the old' are a social, economic and political inconvenience. In a new Provocations title from Biteback: The War on the Old (£10.00, pb, 978 1785901713) John Sutherland (age 78, and feeling keenly what he writes about) examines this intergenerational combat as a new kind of war in which institutional neglect and universal indifference to the old has reached aggressive, and routinely lethal, levels. This is a book which sets out to provoke but in the process, tells some deep and inconvenient truths.  John Sutherland has had opinion pieces talking about his book in the Daily Express, Big Issue, and New Statesman – and a massive double page spread in the Daily Mail – entitled How the Young Declared War on the Old .

Talking of controversial oldsters, who said “It takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen”? No, it’s not the US President Elect for a change – it’s that guru of the modern soundbite, Homer Simpson. Have a look here for 40 of the best ever Simpson quotes – I particularly love “You tried your best and you failed dismally. The lesson is, never try.”

Compass are very pleased to welcome Red Door Publishing to the team! Red Door are a new and innovative publishing house with an award-winning team who are creating a strong list of brilliant fiction, excellent commercial non-fiction and ground-breaking business books. You can find out more about them at

One of their autumn titles is the beautifully written Dust, by Mark Thompson (£8.99, pb 978 1910453223). This debut novel would not be out of place alongside the work of Steinbeck and Philipp Meyer’s American Rust. At turns funny, and at others heart-achingly sad, the story follows two 10-yr old boys in small-town New Jersey in the 1960s, against the backdrop of the Vietnam war. As they smoke their Kents out on an abandoned cannery dock and watch the gulls sway on rusting buoys in the sea; they dream of adventure. Through the dry heat of a formative summer, they face religious piety, alcohol, girls, sex, loss, tragedy – all the tiny things that combine to make life what it is for the two friends. But it’s a road trip through the heart of southern America that truly reveals a darker side – the two halves of a divided nation, where wealth, poverty and racial bigotry collide. Lots of enthusiasm online on social media for this novel “Just finished the fantastic Dust by @marktwrites . Very much recommended” and “one of those rare timeless books that people will discover in years to come and wonder why they never read it first time around” are typical endorsements. It has a striking and evocative cover – one to watch I think.

To celebrate the arrival of Red Door Publishing, let’s finish with the top five songs about doors. Well, first up should be the Red Door that the Stones are determined to paint it black and then who wouldn’t want to step through the Monkees’ door into summer? Who doesn’t love knockin' on heaven's door or want to find out what’s behind the green door? But I think the best door themed song ever must be this one! Ha ha ha ha!!

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

Guardian Books ‏@GuardianBooks John Bird slams absence of library funding in autumn statement

andrew smith ‏@andrewaxiom Last week @BigIssue asked me to choose five books on immigration, this was the third: Becoming British @thom_brooks

Polygon Books ‏@PolygonBooks Cheesing for @Detroit67Book - his Young Soul Rebels have raved their way to the longlist for @PenderynPrize!  

Red Lion Books ‏@RedLionBooks 'It is never too late to be what you might have been.' George Eliot, born on this day in 1819.

Birlinn Books ‏@BirlinnBooks That's oor @JimHunter22 up there accepting a very well deserved @Saltire_Society award last night for History Book of the Year:Set Adrift Upon the World:The Sutherland Clearances! Chuffed!

Help For Writers ‏@HelpForWriters Harry and Beatrix Potter face off on eclectic Waterstones book of the year shortlist

Comma Press ‏@commapress The New York Times notable books of 2016 includes David Constantine's The Life-Writer, published by Comma in the U.K.!

GuardianSmallBiz ‏@GdnSmallBiz Bookshops are gearing up for #civilisedsaturday, the brainchild of @booksaremybag

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 talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696