Friday 27 May 2016

Compass Points 171

There’s been lots in the press this week about the terrible tragedy when a boat carrying migrants capsized in the Med – but what is it really like to be a refugee, attempting to make the journey over the sea to Europe? Award-winning journalist Wolfgang Bauer and photographer Stanislav Krupar were the first undercover reporters to document the journey of Syrian refugees from Egypt to Europe, and their book is called Crossing the Sea: With Syrians on the Exodus to Europe (hb, £15.00, 978 1908276827) which came out in March from And Other Stories.  Posing as English teachers in 2014, they were direct witnesses to the brutality of smuggler gangs, the processes of detainment and deportation, the dangers of sea-crossing on rickety boats, and the final furtive journey through Europe. Combining their own travels with other eyewitness accounts in the first book of reportage of its kind, Crossing the Sea brings to life both the systemic problems and the individual faces behind the crisis, and is a passionate appeal for more humanitarian refugee policies.
There has recently been some very positive review coverage for this title, which is going to really make readers want to find out more. The Irish Examiner said “where Bauer excels is filling in the back stories, and providing detail on the nefarious, cut-throat business of people smuggling” and there have also been good piece in the New Statesman and the Times Literary Supplement. The title is a staff pick at Foyles Charing Cross and I really do urge you to stock it if you haven’t done so already! As one of the reviews of the German edition said “The last words of this book are Have mercy. There is no more to say. Wolfgang Bauer’s impressive and brutally honest depiction of the fates of refugees speaks for itself.”
Nancy Clara Cunard (1896 – 1965) was a writer, heiress (to the Cunard shipping fortune) and political activist. She was born into the British upper class and devoted much of her life to fighting racism and fascism. She became a muse to some of the 20th century’s most distinguished writers and artists, including Aldous Huxley and Ezra Pound, who were among her many lovers, before suffering from mental illness and dying aged 69 in hospital in Paris.
Carcanet are publishing her Selected Poems (978 1784102364, pb, £9.99) edited by Sandeep Parmar at the end of July which will be a major poetry event. These poems by a trail-blazing muse and activist of the Jazz Age include experimental free verse as well as popular balladic forms – and there is bound to be media coverage for this rebellious writer who was way ahead of her time. You can find out more and order Selected Poems here.
If you’d like to find out a bit more about Nancy Cunard, there is a good piece here in the Huffington Post with some fab pics of this queen of the jazz age. As they say: “Cunard truly was one of the twentieth century’s great, unrepentant individualists: her silhouette remains unique and instantly recognizable even today: an exclamation point-thin frame; dark, kohl-rimmed eyes; arms invariably heavy with bracelets.” Or you can watch a short photographic montage of some of her most famous images on YouTube here.

Is there anyone who doesn’t love a bit of Bob Marley – especially in the summertime? Coming this summer from Omnibus Press is the Bob Marley Graphic Novel by Jim McCarthy, Gerry Kissell and Benito Gallego (pb, 978 1783059676, £16.99). This is a graphic novel telling of the life of the Jamaican reggae singer who achieved such immense international fame and acclaim. Starting out in 1963 with the group The Wailers, he forged a distinctive song-writing and vocal style that would later resonate with audiences worldwide. Diagnosed with a type of malignant melanoma in 1977, Marley died on 11 May 1981 in Miami at the age of 36. He was a committed Rastafari who infused his music with a sense of spirituality and is considered one of the most influential musicians of all time credited with popularizing reggae music around the world, as well as serving as a symbol of Jamaican culture and identity. I like the sound of this one; the Omnibus biography of Bob Marley Catch A Fire is widely regarded as one the best music books ever written and I think there will be a good market for this graphic novel. It’s out in July and you can find out more about it here.
And you can hear one his most famous songs here – incidentally, this has had over ninety-two million views on YouTube which I think is a tremendous testament to his immense popularity!

Over half a million students are currently sitting their A-Levels to see if they can get the grades to enable them to head off to the dreaming spires (or possibly the scummy cesspits) of university life. And they will all be wanting to know what it’s going to be like which is where A Guide to Uni Life by Lucy Tobin comes in.  The Telegraph called this a “must-read” and this is a fully revised edition of this bestselling one stop guide to university life, packed with real-life student tales. Written by a graduate, A Guide to Uni Life offers a unique viewpoint on how to juggle studying, having fun and avoiding money troubles by someone who has lived through the experience themselves and can pass on lots of handy tips and advice for new or potential students. There is a very large target market for this title, and Lucy Tobin (a graduate from Oxford) is a an author and widely published journalist of educational articles in many national newspapers including the Times and the Guardian who really knows her stuff. A Guide to Uni Life by Lucy Tobin (pb, £9.99, 978,1844552160) is published by Crimson in August and you can find out more here.
Any of you who have been to uni will find this rings very true – some of the truly stupid stuff students say !

Welcome to a new member of the Compass family:  Amber Books who publish illustrated reference books for adults and children. You can find out a bit more about them on their website Coming from them in August are three terrific Mini Encyclopaedias which should give DK a run for their money! Each one is paperback, 163mm x 123mm and combines engaging accessible text with highly detailed colour artwork.
Dinosaurs by Gerrie McCall (pb, £9.99, 978 1782743842) profiles these mighty lizards who still fire our imaginations. The entries are grouped chronologically, and each dinosaur or other prehistoric creature is illustrated with a stunning full-colour picture. For easy reference, each entry also includes a table of information containing key data such as size, weight, diet, meaning of name, armour, hunting techniques and distribution of fossil remains. Engaging accessible text provides an introduction to each dinosaur's behaviour, habits and other key information. You can find out more about Dinosaurs here.
Mammals by Chris McNab (pb, £9.99, 978 1782743859) comprises some of the most intriguing creatures on the planet and offers a truly comprehensive overview of mammals from every continent, from the big cats of Africa to the dolphins that roam the world’s oceans. The entries are grouped by order, then within each order by family (and where necessary, within each family by subfamilies); each family section contains examples of the key species, which are illustrated with beautifully detailed, full-colour artworks. Find out more about that one here.
And finally, The World of Birds by Michael Wright (pb, £9.99, 9781782743231) includes 300 fascinating entries which cover all of the world’s major bird families – from the penguins of the Arctic to the flamboyant inhabitants of the Amazon rainforests. Being pocket-sized like all three mini-encyclopaedias; the book is handy for taking with you when birdwatching and with its outstanding colour artworks, an at-a-glance table of information and authoritative text, Birds will appeal to anyone interested in the natural world. Michael Wright is a Natural Sciences graduate from Cambridge University and a member of the Association of British Science Writers who has contributed to many books in the field of wildlife, natural history and the environment. Find out more about Birds and order it here.
What is it like to work for an indie publisher? Have a look at this fun blog post from Katie Caunt who works at Carcanet here!
What do you know about Iceland’s most celebrated novelist Sjón? Born in Reykjavik in 1962 he is a poet, librettist and lyricist, (he has worked with his countrywoman Björk), who has written three operas and published eleven volumes of poetry. His novels have been translated into thirty languages; he won the Nordic Council’s Literary Prize for his novel The Blue Fox and the novel From the Mouth of the Whale was shortlisted for both the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. This author has a growing UK and international profile with praise from the likes of A. S. Byatt and has had great reviews in the mainstream UK press.
His new novel Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was is published by Sceptre in June and there will be a UK-wide tour by Sjón from 2 -7 June (including the Hay Festival) and a major media campaign with confirmed coverage in the Guardian Review where there will be a centrefold interview with him just ahead of publication; as well as BBC Radio 4 Open Book, BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking and Newstalk with Pat Kenny and reviews in the TLS, the Spectator and the Guardian. So please do make sure you order his three backlist titles The Whispering Muse, From the Mouth of the Whale and The Blue Fox from Telegram – they have great covers (go to the blog!) and as Steven Cooper at Waterstone’s said recently in the Bookseller: “Sjón will no doubt find a place alongside Karl Ove Knausgård in the hearts of literary hipsters everywhere”. David Mitchell called his writing “a quirky, melodic, ticklish, seamlessly-translated, lovin­gly-polished gem… it deserves space on any self-respecting bookshelf of European fiction.” There is much affection for this author whose work is a highly original mix of folk tale and thriller, all set against the beautiful Icelandic landscape. All three of these paperbacks are available now!
From the Mouth of the Whale (978 1846590832, pb, £8.99) is set in 1635 when Iceland is a world darkened by superstition, poverty and cruelty. Men of science marvel over a unicorn’s horn, poor folk worship the Virgin in secret and both books and men are burnt. Jónas Pálmason, a poet and self-taught healer, has been condemned to exile for heretical conduct. Banished to a barren island, he recalls his exorcism of a walking corpse on the remote Snjáfjöll coast, the frenzied massacre of innocent Basque whalers at the hands of local villagers and the deaths of three of his children. This is a magical evocation of an enlightened mind and a vanished age.
The Whispering Muse (978 1846591242, pb, £7.99) is set in 1949 when Valdimar Haraldsson, an eccentric Icelander has had the singu­lar good fortune to be invited to join a Danish merchant ship on its way to the Black Sea. Among the crew is the mythical hero Caeneus, disguised as the second mate. Every evening after dinner he entran­ces his fellow travellers with the tale of how he sailed on the Argonauts’ quest to ret­rieve the Golden Fleece.
The Blue Fox (978 184650375, pb, £6.99) is set in 1883 with the stark Icelandic winter landscape as the backdrop. We follow the priest, Baldur Skuggason, on his hunt for the enigmatic blue fox. And just as the priest pulls the trigger we are swept away to the world of the naturalist Fridrik B. Fridriksson and his charge, suffering from Down’s Syndrome, who was found shackled to the timbers of a ship run aground in 1868. The fates of all of these characters are intrinsically bound, and gradually unravelled in this spellbinding fable that is part mystery, part fairy tale –  Bjork called it “magical”. 
This week we raised a glass to say goodbye and remember Burt Kwouk the actor who played Cato in the Pink Panther films. Hopefully the “little yellow friend” is still leaping out on Peter Sellers somewhere up above us – here he is in one of his first bouts with Clouseau from from 1964 and here again in 1975 and also here . I had to include three clips as it is genuinely impossible to decide which is funniest!
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 click here  or talk to your Compass Sales representative.

Friday 20 May 2016

Compass Points 170

We’ve just had a four day sales conference here at Compass Towers, where we found out about all of the fabulous new titles that our publishers will be bringing out this autumn. Thank you so much to everyone who came and presented their books – I look forward to spreading the word about them in the coming weeks!
There have been some terrific displays all over the country for lots of our books, which you can see below! Thanks very much to all you lovely booksellers! You can see below: The Waves Burn Bright by Iain Maloney (Freight) in Waterstone’s Glasgow; a wonderful window for The Huntingfield Paintress (Urbane) by Pamela Holmes at Daunt Books in Hampstead; 60 Degrees North (Birlinn) by Malachy Tallack at the Lord Crewe Arms in Hexham; a great new short stories section including lots of titles from Freight at Queens Park Books London; Life of Elves (Gallic) and its author Muriel Barbery at Blackwell’s Holborn and Librarie La Page in South Kensington; a whole table of And Other Stories in Foyles on the South Bank; a great display for As If I Were A River by Amanda Saint (Urbane) in Waterstone’s Lancaster; a truly inventive and beautiful window for Wild Swimming Walks (Wild Things) by Sophie Pierce and Matt Newbury at Dartmouth Books; and finally a super window for The Night He Left (Freight) by Sue Lawrence in Waterstone’s Dundee! We LOVE them all!

Sir Malcolm Rifkind is a genuine political heavyweight. His career has been as glittering as it has been long-lived; serving as a minister for eighteen years – longer than anyone since Lord Palmerston in the nineteenth century.  Coming in July is Politics and Pragmatism: The Memoirs of Malcolm Rifkind. This is a major political biog and an important historical document that includes frank reflections from a top-ranking political career and the many personalities encountered along the way. Informed and stimulating, but also more relaxed, amusing and readable than most books of this genre; Rifkind’s memoirs include his battles with Margaret Thatcher over Scotland, explain how he helped change Polish history during the Cold War, describe his presence at the Gorbachev–Thatcher summit and tell how he served as both Defence Minister and Foreign Secretary during some of the most turbulent years of the late twentieth century.  The book also covers Rifkind’s years working with MI6 and the CIA and both spies and those spied upon – Rifkind is currently banned from Russia by President Putin. This is a book about the past and the future and there will be a major press campaign and serialisation in a national newspaper. Politics and Pragmatism: The Memoirs of Malcolm Rifkind (pb, 978 1785900037, £20.00) is published by Biteback and you can find out more here.
We love a successful indie bookshop story, so we were very pleased to hear about The White Horse in Marlborough as reported in The Bookseller. Two years ago it closed its doors after more than 60 years as a result of declining sales. That same year, BA Association figures revealed that the number of independent bookshops in the UK had fallen below 1,000. The combination prompted two city executives to act. They stepped in to “draw a line in the sand” regarding the decline of indie bookshops in the UK and bought the freehold of the White Horse, maintaining that “no town is worth its salt without a thriving bookshop”. Since then, the indie has increased its stock from 10,000 to 20,000 titles, and doubled sales. The shop is now making a profit which “exceeds all expectations” according to Angus MacLennan, general manager of the indie, who has masterminded its turnaround. Its newest phase – an expansion of the 16th century building to add a gallery and events space at the rear of the bookshop and art shop – has just been completed, along with an expansion and refurbishment of the existing art studio and the addition of a bespoke children’s area. The aim is to turn the venue into a cultural hub to attract yet more shoppers. MacLennan explained the secret to the shop’s transformation: “The event space was non-existent –  that was our back yard. Now we can have proper events and we hope to hold an event every two weeks. We will also hire it out as a community space for business talks and society talks. Selling books is still the main part of what we do. The more people you can get to visit you, the better.” The new-look shop had its grand re-opening on 12th May, which was attended by more than 200 guests.
The TLS called Yasmina Khadra “A skilled storyteller working at the height of his powers” and the Independent said he was “world-class”. He has sales of 3 million on 42 countries, and his previous novel, The Swallows of Kabdul was shortlisted for The IMPAC award. In August comes his new book: The Angels Die (pb, 978 1908313911, £8.99) which is published by Gallic. This is the dramatic story of one man’s rise from abject poverty to a life of wealth and adulation, and is a stunning panorama of life in Algeria between the two world wars. Khadra gives an inside view on global conflict religious intolerance and prejudice and you can find out more about him and The Angels Die here.

An interesting blog piece here from the Bookseller on what makes a “real” book – can a pacy thriller really be seen in the same light as high-brow literary work? Does being lauded but not well-read make a book more real than a disposable “beach read” discarded, dog-eared, by the poolside?

IKEA: love ‘em or hate ‘em? Whichever it is, the company who the Mail on Sunday referred to as “the flat-pack Fuhrer” is now as much a part of the global landscape as Disney or Coke. Surprisingly, the firm appears to have escaped any sort of moral scrutiny or serious examination how it unpacked its global empire over two decades. In The Truth about IKEA, insider Johan Stenebo reveals for the first time in close-up detail the brilliance of the flatpack giant in growing its business, as well as where it fell short of its green ideals, exposing the nepotism and murky financial dealings behind Sweden’s iconic export. Casting an insider’s eye over the practical application of the ‘IKEA philosophy,’ Stenebo provides an exclusive view inside this successful profit machine, and how Ingvar Kamprad secretly became one of the world's richest men. The Truth About IKEA is the only book to tell the inside tale of IKEA's astonishing success of growth.  The Financial Times called it “racy”, the Guardian “explosive” and the Independent “merciless”. The Truth About IKEA (pb, £9.99 978 1908096074) is published in paperback by Gibson Square in August and you can find out more about it here.
Whatever you think of the furniture, who doesn’t love a crazy (and rude) IKEA advert!
What to call your new sprog is one of the first – and possibly the most important decisions that new parents will face. Will you go traditional (Arthur and Mabel), biblical (Noah and Abel) or trashy (Chardonnay and Sable)? Baby Names by Ella Joynes is the bestselling UK book on this topic, containing over 8,000 names. It includes pop culture and superstar trends, the latest royal and celebrity baby names, top names in different countries, loads of advice and guidance as well helpful tips on dealing with family expectations! This popular annually updated title is now on its 8th edition with over 60,000 copies sold. Pregnancy and Birth called it "inspiring and original" and Mother & Baby magazine said "This will help make your job easier". Baby Names 2017 (pb, £6.99, 9781910336137) by Ella Joynes is published by Crimson Publishers in August and you can find out more here.
And have a look here at the Top Ten Awkward Baby Names from!
Loads of publicity is kicking in right now for The Lockerbie Bombing by Kenny MacAskill (£20.00, hb, 978 1785900723). The two-part serialisation has begun in the Sunday Times with the second part this Sunday; there’s been a front page story in the Scottish Daily Mail and also coverage for it in the Times, the Record, the Scotsman, the National the Guardian, and on and Radio 5 Live. On 21, December 1988, Pan Am flight 103 left London Heathrow for New York. Shortly after take-off, a bomb detonated, killing all aboard and devastating the small Scottish town of Lockerbie below. Only one man has ever been convicted of the crime, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. However, few people believe that the bombing was carried out by a single individual. In 2009 al-Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds by the author of this title, Kenny MacAskill who was Scotland’s Justice Secretary from 2007-14. The release from prison and deportation back to Libya caused a political controversy in the UK and severely damaged Anglo-American relations.   This book lifts the lid on what became known as The Lockerbie Bombing and is the definitive story, casting a new light on the affair. Find out more and order it here.
A nice piece in the Bookseller this week about And Other Stories who will be publishing the next five novels from 2015 Man Booker International Prize finalist César Aira. The first book, The Seamstress and the Wind (£7.99, pb 978 1908276841), which we told you about a few weeks ago, will be published on 21st July. It tells the story of a seamstress who is sewing a wedding dress in a small town in Argentina. All of a sudden she fears that her son has been kidnapped and driven off to Patagonia. She gives chase in a taxi. Her husband finds out and takes off after her – to the end of the world, to the place where monsters are born, and where the southern wind falls hopelessly in love.And Other Stories describe César Aira’s books as “madcap, eccentric, literary crack” and if you’d like some, you can order The Seamstress and the Wind here  
If you’re planning on writing that great novel – have you started it yet or can you just never find the time? Those who are truly committed believe you can always find a moment to write; some get up at 4 am, some use their commute on a bus or train to scribble down the next chapter. Some writers may well empathise more with Jo Ely who got her first novel Stone Seeds written by skipping the housework and writing when her kids were in school or asleep. She feels that “writing dystopian or speculative fiction allowed her to go to places where I wouldn’t normally be allowed, and to say much more than I could get away with in a real-life setting.” Read more about that on WordPress here . Stone Seeds is a sci-fi action thriller where the characters have to use every last ounce of their youthful courage, ingenuity and flawed humanity to keep themselves and hope alive in a world of menace. Bestselling author Sophie King said of it “Your imagination, your facility for sumptuous prose, and your deft handling of the story’s psychological and emotional content are hugely impressive, and Stone Seeds is a very good book.” Jo Ely has had short stories published already, and was shortlisted for the Fish International Short Story Prize. Stone Seeds (pb, £8.99, 978 1910692875) is her debut novel, it’s published by Urbane and you can find out more about it here.

What is the connection between the silent comedy of film stars like Charlie Chaplin and the Communist avant garde? Well, according to a new title just out from Pluto Press, they have much more in common than you might at first imagine! The Chaplin Machine: Slapstick, Fordism and the Communist Avant-Garde by Owen Hatherley explores the tragic-comedic story of the cinema, art and architecture of the early 20th century and spotlights the unlikely intersections of the East and West. Could Buster Keaton have starred in Battleship Potemkin? Did Trotsky plan to write the great Soviet comedy? And why did Lenin love circus clowns? The Chaplin Machine reveals the lighter side of the Communist avant-garde and, in particular, its unlikely passion for American slapstick.
You can see Owen Hatherley talking about this intriguing title in a short promo video on YouTube here. And you can order The Chaplin Machine (pb, 978 0745336114, £16.99) here.
And to finish with a bit of humour, let’s have a look at what Owen refers to as the “famous trinity” of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton  and Harold Lloyd. Enjoy!
Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week...
Pushkin Press ‏@PushkinPress  It's a veritable boom! Translated fiction sells better than English fiction, a study finds…
Dr. James D. Boys ‏@jamesdboys @HillaryClinton will secure the nomination on June 7. To find out how, order Hillary Rising from @BitebackPub
Urbane Publications ‏@urbanepub  @Pammieholmes with A.N Wilson at the launch of The Huntingfield Paintress @NewJournal #mustread
Tristan Gooley ‏@NaturalNav  Wild Swimming Walks in Dartmoor and South Devon. Nice. Sounds like a recipe book for feeling alive.
Linda Henderson ‏@LindaTeaDragon  Just back from @UllapoolBookFes - excellent & make way for The Brilliant and Forever @Kevin_MacNeil and his amazing talking alpaca. Joyful!
AuthorEmmaClapperton ‏@EmmaLClapperton Great night @wdclibraries for @NeilMackay's The Wolf Trial event. Fantastic chat. Thanks for signing my book Neil.
Urbane Publications ‏@urbanepub   Great news!! The very talented @SupernovaQ has signed with Urbane for her second novel. The Secret Wound will publish spring 2017! Chuffed!
St. David's Press ‏@StDavidsPress  St David’s Press is delighted to appoint @CompassIPS as its sales and marketing representatives.
Freight Books ‏@FreightBooks Treats: "Practically each story is a punch in the throat in its own right."
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 click here  or talk to your Compass Sales representative.

Friday 13 May 2016

Compass Points 169

Who wants a better life? A slimmer bod? A new husband? A million pounds? Well, maybe all you need to do is wish for it. No, this isn’t the theme of the next Disney movie, but something known as “manifesting” – which is all the rage in the self- help world at present.  A book entitled The Secret, which you are no doubt aware of, has sold 20 million copies by espousing the theory that anything can be yours if you wish for it hard enough. “Manifesting” is also the central idea behind Gabrielle Bernstein’s book May Cause Miracles (pb, £10.99, 978 1781800607) published by Hay House which is available now. This week there was a splendid article in the Mail featuring Gabrielle Bernstein, entitled The Woman Who Swears She Found a Husband Just By WISHING: Don't Laugh. A Best-selling Book Says She Could Be Right. In the piece, Gabrielle says everyone should daydream for at least two minutes a day and try to change negative thoughts into positive affirmations. “Try to visualise what you want to create, then commit to that belief and take actions to help follow it through,” she says. Have a read of that right here. Maybe you’ll be able to wish yourself right out of that bookshop and onto a Caribbean island!
Until then, there’s always Disney to fall back on – whether it’s  the blue fairy,  a fairy godmother or even a wishing well, that you’re hoping will turn your wishes into reality. Well, it all worked out OK for Pinocchio, Cinderella and Snow White – so maybe Ms Bernstein is actually onto something here.

Congratulations to all the winning bookshops in the British Book Industry Awards 2016 which were announced this week.  Fab indie Winstone’s (founded by Wayne Winstone) was crowned winner of the £5,000 Independent Bookshop of the Year prize. According to the judges it showed "strong, market-beating sales growth”, “exceptional” customer service and outreach work in the community. “What Wayne has done with the shop is remarkable,” they said. “He took a huge risk but it has paid off magnificently. Winstone’s is supremely good at what it does day in, day out, year after year. It’s obviously adored in its community and ambitious to expand. There’s a very exciting future ahead." Individuals in the trade were also rewarded for their hard work. Jonny Green, manager of Waterstones Piccadilly, was awarded the title Bookshop Manager of the Year, for his “meteoric rise” from a Leicester bookshop temp to running two of the country’s most iconic bookshops in six years (the other being Hatchards). He is credited with having a transformative effect on sales and service at the Waterstone’s flagship and for “inspirational leadership”. Marian Mouzinho of Blackwell’s bagged Young Retailer of the Year. She is the fourth Blackwell’s staffer to win the award in six years and credited in revolutionising Blackwell’s children’s bookselling in Newcastle, leading a “huge” events programme and establishing key external partnerships. Her colleagues called her “the definition of going above and beyond”. Many congrats all round!
Feeling angry that your bookshop didn’t win? Then you will need this! Eleven fictional curse words that you can start using right now in your everyday life – “Ficky Fick” and “Ach Crivens” sound especially useful….

Parenting is harder than you think, but most parents are too knackered to notice. Nothing can prepare you for what lies ahead: you'll lose sleep and gain weight; you won't have a proper day off for years; you'll become slovenly in how you dress and you'll find the years are slipping away faster than ever. Or is that just me. But the amazing thing is, whatever your children do to you, you'll love them just the same. The Ups and Downs of Being a Parent is a very funny on the “joys” of parenthood, featuring more than 120 laugh out loud cartoons drawn by Tony Husband. Best of all, it'll help you see where everybody else is going wrong! This is a perfect cute and light-hearted present that can be shared and enjoyed by different generations by one of the country's best-loved cartoonists – best known perhaps for his work in Private Eye. The Ups and Downs of Being a Parent by Tony Husband (hb, £7.99, 978 1785997051) is published in August by Arcturus and you can find out more here.
Talking of parenting, many of you will have children who are currently knuckling down to exams – whether it’s the much maligned SATs reading paper or an A level in Further Maths. And all over the country we tiger parents are right behind them, pushing them ever harder. How to Get into Oxbridge is a title from academic publishers Kogan Page that many will seize on with joy, hoping it might give their little ones the extra oomph required to get them out from under the duvet and off to the dreaming spires. This book includes practical and insider knowledge that can't be found elsewhere - like how to strategically choose a college to boost the chances of admission, and how to interpret and respond to interview questions in a way that demonstrates intellectual curiosity and academic potential. There are sample personal statements; examples of interview questions for all subjects plus practical advice on fees and funding and how to manage parents and peers. How to Get Into Oxbridge: A Comprehensive Guide to Succeeding in Your Application Process by Dr Christopher See (pb, £14.99, 978 0749463274) is available now – I can assure you this title will sell as I have known parents of kids as young as 4 buy this type of book – maybe put it in the children’s section next to The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Nice window Heffers btw – thanks very much !
The publicity bulldozer continues to roll on for My Italian Bulldozer (hb, £14.99, 978 1846973550) by published this month by Polygon. There’s a great article in The National which you can read here on why Alexander McCall Smith chose Italy as the setting for this new novel.
And you’ll be pleased to hear that there will be an eleventh book in the hugely successful 44 Scotland Street series coming in August. Over 120,000 copies have now been sold of this delightful series, and the arrival of The Bertie Project will make this the longest running serial novel in the world! Serialisation in the Scotsman starts in spring, along with a BBC Radio 4 adaptation. The Bertie Project by Alexander McCall Smith (hb, £16.99, 978 1846973598) is published in August by Polygon and you can find out more here.
Who doesn’t LOVE a bomb-based thriller? Whether it’s the iconic “there’s a bomb on the bus” from Speed or some of the scenes from Spooks and James Bond; a countdown to kaboom has got to be one of the best plot drivers ever. Have a watch here of the top ten tensest countdowns!
Coming in July is A State of Fear by Joseph Clyde, which is the pseudonym of George Walden, the former Booker Prize chairman, journalist, diplomat and government minister. A Syrian decides to play dirty and plant two dirty bombs in Britain in this fast-paced thriller which the Daily Mail called “compelling and packed with insight… deserves to be a best-seller.” Following the US execution of Bin Laden, a Syrian sleeper cell detonates a nuclear bomb in the heart of London by ramming a vehicle into the Bank of England. Forced to take shelter from the packed radiation dust, a seemingly random group of people gathers in a hairdressing salon nearby. They are all connected to the attack in some way, but how? Will they be able to prevent the bombers' next attack? A State of Fear by Joseph Clyde (pb, 978 1783340743, £8.99) is published by Gibson Square in July and you can find out more here.

And just to whet your appetites, here are the top ten nuclear bomb movie scenes!

A warm welcome to Arcadia, a new publisher for Compass – who bring us “beautiful literature from around the world, thanks to the considerable talents and dedication of our translators.” I notice in a recent Twitter debate entitled Who would win in a fight – translated fiction or English fiction?, that the translated fiction came out top, winning 78% of the vote!  In August comes Stone and Honey, which is a novel full of Greek flavour that will strongly appeal to fans of Patrick Leigh Fermor and Victoria Hislop. A beautiful vibrant novel, that captures one person’s dilemma when deciding between honour and love, this story is universal and at the same time a deeply personal tale of a love that surpasses distance, and survives time. Ideal for readers who love descriptions of the flavours and romance of the Mediterranean; Stone and Honey by Christine Zempi (pb, 978 1910050804, £9.99) is published by Arcadia in August and you can find out more here.

Plenty of publicity this week for I Find that Offensive from the excellent Provocations series this week. Its author Clare Fox claims that political correctness has now gone much too far and that “we’re all walking on eggshells, trying to avoid offending people. No matter where you go, somebody's going to say 'I find that offensive" There was a  great piece by Clare in the Evening Standard which you can read here  entitled The Fear of Giving Offence is Killing Democracy and Stifles Truth and an author interview on Talk Radio which you can listen to here. You can order I Find That Offensive (hb, £10.00, 978 1849549813) which has just been published by Biteback  here.

Another Provocations title certain to provoke even more controversy and debate is Manxiety by Dylan Jones, which is published in August.  “Masculinity, it seems, is in crisis, as more and more men claim to be suffering from manxiety and feelings of inadequacy and fearlessness. It seems not a week goes by when men are not being accused of being too violent, too stupid or too sexual...” Could it be time for a new men’s movement? Could it be time for a movement of their very own? Something that encourages men to fight back? Manxiety has reached such heights that men are perpetually in a state of stress, wondering where they fit into world that seemingly no longer has any use for them. In this controversial new book Dylan Jones asks is this true? Are men to be believed? And what should be done about it? Fortunately, he has all the answers.  Dylan Jones looks at men’s place in the modern home and workplace and the anxiety men are starting to feel regarding their loss of status in a world now dominated by women. Dylan is the high profile editor-in-chief of GQ and has written fifteen books on subjects as diverse as music, politics, etiquette and photography. His book about Cameron on Cameron, was shortlisted for the Channel 4 Political Book of the Year, while his biography of Jim Morrison was a New York Times bestseller. Manxiety (hb, £10.00, 978 1785900822) is published by Biteback and you can find out more about it here.
To finish with some tunes – lets have the top five Manxiety songs! Well, first up IMO is I’m a Man, by the very excellent Pulp. Anyone suffering from Manxiety will probably be going through their Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown and is maybe a little tired of being told that Boys Don't Cry. Wondering where you fit into this “mixed up muddled up modern world”? Then you certainly need to listen to Lola. But the number one Manxiety song must surely be this corker from the one and only Johnny Cash – performing in the St Quentin jail (and if that’s not going to give you a full blown attack of Manxiety than I don’t know what would!).

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. And this week it just has to be the best of #Eurovision!
Innocent drinks@innocent Voting lines open. Vote for the naked wolf guy. We've already lost Boaty McBoatface. We need this to keep our faith in democracy
Gavan Reilly ‏@gavreilly How did Belgium get permission to enter Fleur East's 'Sax'?
John Walton ‏@thatjohn Ukraine. Is this the one where she is basically singing THE RUSSIANS MURDERED MY ENTIRE FAMILY?
Ms Karie Bookish ‏@karieurovision I do love when Sweden hosts #Eurovision and throw casual one-liners about basic human rights.
Mark Mahon ‏@MarkMahon I'm a little confused by Australia in the #Eurovision pleased for them but it makes no sense to me
David Purdue ‏@DavidPurduedue Australia: The closest you'll come to seeing the Union Jack raised as the winner.
Rosemary Mac ‏@RosemaryMacCabe If they are soldiers of love, I wouldn't mind them storming my battlefield IF YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING
Radio Times ‏@RadioTimes The UK's @JoeandJakemusic will be second last to perform at #Eurovision's Grand Final
Eurovision@Eurovision Hozier complimented Poland! How cool is that?
Gerry Stergiopoulos ‏@GerryGreek My favourite moment tonight was Mans storming the stage naked... That bod!! *Gerry hyperventilates
Margin of Ewa ‏@EwaSR OK so I really hope they're voting through songs you can go and make a cup of tea during #Eurovision
Alex T Smith ‏@Alex_T_Smith Bet Germany describes herself as "wacky" YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE MAD TO WORK HERE BUT IT HELPS LOL CAT EMOJI AHAHAHA
Innocent drinks ‏@innocent "Cos Uptown Belgian Funk gonna give it to you, Cos Uptown Belgian Funk gonna give it to you, Don't believe me just plagiarise."
Juno Dawson ‏@junodawson Germany not bothered about accusations of cultural appropriation then.
Melinda Salisbury ‏@AHintofMystery NORWAY DIDN'T GET THROUGH? This had better be some kind of sick, twisted joke. I was angry about Iceland, but this? No. No.
Irish ‏@IrishSunOnline Boss of Eurovision believes that Ireland should send #Jedward back to contest
Dustin The Turkey ‏@DustinOfficial As some form of consolation can we leave Marty Whelan over there? #Eurovision #robbed
Damien O'Meara @damien_omeara We didn't want to be in it anyway ye shower of hoors.
That’s all for now folks! More next week!
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 click here  or talk to your Compass Sales representative.