My goodness there seems to be a lot of shouting around these days! Whether it’s the politicians arguing about the pros and cons of Brexit or Chris Evans on Top Gear; everyone seems to be TALKING IN CAPITALS! However, perhaps voicing our opinions vociferously is a good thing – certainly two very opinionated titles just published in the Provocations series from Biteback are doing rather well at present! In I Find That Offensive (£10, pb, 978 1849549813) Claire Fox argues persuasively that “we train our kids to be censorious cry-babies” and “if today’s students believe that hearing a dissenting opinion can kill them, it’s because we taught them to think like that”. She had a massive author piece promoting her book in The Spectator last week, which you can read here. You can also listen to Claire talking on the Spectator podcast on that page and find out why she believes that because “parents go to ludicrous lengths to eliminate all risk from their children’s lives; this narrows their horizons and teaches them to be less daring.” And here's a cracking piece in the Daily Mail entitled “Why today’s young women are just so FEEBLE: They can’t cope with ANY ideas that challenge their right-on view of the world”. There was a similarly robust piece in The Sun! Claire has also been interviewed about her book on the Daily Politics show and by Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2.
Meanwhile, James Bloodworth’s The Myth of Meritocracy: Why Working-class Kids Still Get Working-class Jobs ( pb, £10, 978 1785900532) is also getting plenty of coverage – in an article in The Big Issue here James argues that meritocracy actually legitimises inequality, and “as Boris Johnson put it in 2013: “The harder you shake the pack, the easier it will be for some cornflakes [the clever ones] to get to the top”. Yet if the distribution of merit boils down to the lottery of IQ, why not draw the opposite conclusion – how can it be fair to punish those who simply missed out in the random shaking of the pack? Ought Britain really to condemn people to poorly paid drudgery based on what is, in essence, mere chance?” There have also been pieces on this title in the New Statesman and Progress magazine and James Bloodworth has been interviewed on The Big Questions and the Daily Politics show.
And hands up anyone who thinks this sketch on British social class from the 1960’s still rings surprisingly true!
As another summer of sport gets underway this entertaining list will amuse those of us who prefer to read about it rather than partaking in anything too energetic – a Top Ten of the Best Cricket Scenes in Fiction: everything from Wodehouse and Douglas Adams to Dickens and even Joyce!
Fugitive Colours by Liz Lochhead (978 1846973451, hb, £9.99) is a new collection from one of Scotland’s most loved writers which is published by Birlinn to celebrate the end of her term as Makar (Scotland’s Poet Laureate). Whether or not you’re in Scotland there is a very large market for Liz’s work – she has a large and devoted audience and delights listeners wherever she goes. As the Sunday Herald said: “The most striking aspect of Fugitive Colours, as with all her work, is its directness. She could be talking to the reader over a tearoom table, so conversational and confiding is its tone. Her eagerness to tell a story fills the pages”. There has also been coverage in the Scotsman: “An eclectic mix of the poignant, the quirky and the playful. …Delighting in language and rhythm, and free with her allusions, she always makes her meaning clear”; on the Janice Forsyth Show BBC Radio Scotland; in the I Love This feature in Homes and Interiors; on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and it will be a Scottish Book of the Month in Waterstone’s. There is also a MAJOR publicity coup for Liz coming up in July – which is so top secret that I can’t write about it yet – ask your Compass Account Manager for details! You can find out more about Fugitive Colours here.
If you love books (obvs) and you also love shopping for accessories – then you’ll probably love this great quiz from our pals over at Buzzfeed on which book related jewellery item you should buy!
Well, you know what starts today, so don’t forget to stock Euro 2016: The Ultimate Fan Guide by Lloyd Pettiford and Ronan Fitzsimons (pb, £7.99, 978 1910692097) published by Urbane. Irreverent and funny, this highly entertaining guide is a must for any fan, combining detailed and accurate knowledge of the beautiful game with a witty and insightful commentary on the history of the tournament, and the key players, teams and nations. It tells you everything you need to know about the forthcoming championships, and will have you laughing out loud at the weird facts, stories, and anecdotes surrounding the players and teams taking part in the finals. Euro 2016 includes all the fixtures and kick-off dates and times, an essential overview of the grounds, notes on the players to watch, and the all-important match and group predictions.
A totally different take on being a footie enthusiast is Fan by Danny Rhodes (pb, £8.99, 978 1910050538) which was published by Arcadia in March. This gritty coming-of-age novel is based on the author’s own experiences as a Nottingham Forest fan at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989. As Match of the Day commentator Steve Wilson said “If you watched football in the 1980s, you’ll want to read it. If you started watching the game post-Hillsborough, you MUST read it” while LizLovesBook.com commented “Without a doubt one of the best books I have ever read for impassioned impact, beauty of writing, absolute authenticity and pure emotional resonance”. Football, the 80s, relationships, growing up – it’s all here. Scott Pack called this “an important book. It is dark and grim and severe but it is a remarkable thing to read. It has immense power and is utterly compelling”.
And a final footie essential for any bookshop is Bobby Moore: Sporting Legend by Jeff Powell (978 1849547390, £9.99, pb). This is a new edition of the bestselling biography of the England football legend which is available now from Robson Press. In this definitive and authorised biography, award-winning sports writer Jeff Powell – for many years a close family friend to Moore and his family – has created a powerful and fitting tribute to the legend, recreating the golden era of English football and the man at its helm. Powell delivered the eulogy at Bobby Moore’s funeral, describing it as “one of the saddest yet one of the most moving days of my life.” The Telegraph said of this book “it is Powell's lucid picture of Moore the footballer...which makes the most indelible impression...an admirable portrait” and apart from the passionate accounts of Moore’s greatest moments in football, Powell’s unique access to Moore and his family enables him to reveal the very private side of this supremely gentle man. Bobby Moore: Sporting Legend has 16 pages of photos, and is available now.
But during this footie mad weekend, it’s good to remember that far more people visit historic houses every year (three quarters of all adults in 2015) than ever go anywhere near a football match! So don’t forget to stock Hudson’s Historical House and Gardens 2016 (£16.99, pb, 978 0851015699). This gorgeous paperback has 450 pages packed full of nearly 1,000 stately homes, countless heritage gardens and many smaller hidden gems tucked away in every corner of the country; and Hudson’s are mounting some terrific summer promotions for it. There’s a chance to win a Fortnum and Mason's Hamper if you can nominate the UK's best Heritage Picnic Spot and also a chance to win tickets to the Chalke Valley History Festival as well as tons of fab ideas for Fathers’ Day! Hudson’s Historical House and Gardens 2016 gets 5-star reviews on Amazon: “This is a boon for families like us who thrive on good old British holidays”,” always good value and full of up to the minute news”, “informative book, beautifully set out, will make a gorgeous gift!!” so don’t let them get all the sales – stock it now!
Refugee Tales (9.99, pb, 978 1910974230) edited by David Herd and Anna Pincus and published by Comma Press is going to be featured on Woman's Hour this Wednesday (15 June) which will definitely attract attention – and there is more press coverage to come. This is a modern day counterpart to the pilgrims’ stories in The Canterbury Tales and brings together the stories of fourteen real-life refugees whose voyage to the UK has not been a journey of spiritual salvation but rather one of sheer, physical survival. Told by leading novelists and poets (including Ali Smith, Chris Cleave, Marina Lewycka, Patience Agbabi, and Avaes Mohammed), these Tales have been developed in collaboration with refugees, former immigration detainees, and those who work with them. With titles like ‘The Detainee’s Tale’, ‘The Appellant’s Tale’ and ‘The Unaccompanied Minor’s Tale’, each is based on close conversations with the people behind the stories (whose anonymity is preserved for reasons of security) and offers a compelling, shocking and truthful account of what it means to seek asylum in the UK. Refugee Tales already has the backing of the Guardian, who have run the story written by Ali Smith – and as I say, there is certain to be even more media interest in this topical and timely book; Shami Chakrabarti said “Refugee Tales is a wonderful way of re-humanising some of the most vulnerable and demonised people on the planet. This collection is both challenging and poignant. Readers will surely be moved to move their leaders to action” Refugee Tales is published this month; there’s a piece about it in today’s Bookseller here and you can find out more here
Did you know the cycles of the moon have a huge effect on our health, our mood, our relationships and our work? World-renowned astrologist Yasmin Boland believes that by understanding these phases, we can work with them to improve and empower every aspect of our lives Moonology: Working with the Magic of Lunar Cycles explains how connecting with the moon can change your life for the better and contains powerful rituals and ceremonies for each moon phase. This is a book for all those wishing to deepen their connection with nature and take their spiritual practice to a new level. Moonology by Yasmin Boland (£10.99 978 1781807422, pb) will be extracted in the Daily Mail on Monday 13th June which is great publicity for this title just published by Hay House. The book and author will also feature in the September/October issue of Kindred Spirit and future issues of Spirit & Destiny, Soul & Spirit, Chat It’s Fate, Fate and Fortune and Woman’s Way. The book will also feature on Red Online. Find out more about it here.Always good to finish with some music – so how about the top five Moonology songs!
Well, first up probably has to be this version of the classic Rogers and Hart ditty from The Marcels! Then it’s a marvellous night for this from Van Morrison followed by this classic 1985 performance from The Waterboys. Number two is this from REM but my number one Moonology song is going to have to be this 1979 classic from The Police!
That’s all for now folks! More next week!
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