Friday 1 July 2016

Compass Points 176

Hurrah for independent bookshop Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, who has written an open letter in the Bookseller to publishers of translated fiction, pledging support for their work in the wake of Brexit. His letter was addressed to many of our wonderful publishers including & Other Stories, Comma Press, Gallic Books, and Hesperus Press, and said: “In the dismal afterglow of Brexit we’re feeling the need to switch straight back into a positive gear on the shop floor, to reiterate our immense thanks to you for publishing the incredible translated works that offer a window into so many different worlds and to demonstrate our solidarity with you in these complex times.” Owner Nic Bottomley continued: “Musing on the myriad implications of the narrow ‘leave’ vote’, I found myself focusing on the fact that our friends whose businesses centre on publishing translated works… are probably facing trickier challenges than us right now.” He said that his business is “determined” to continue supporting translated books “be it via display, hand-sell or other more overt messaging”. He also asked publishers to tell him about any specific titles the shop should be getting behind.  “Even if in the future it becomes more of an expensive pain in the ass to translate and publish European works, we remain excited each time you do it,” he said. We totally agree Nic, and thanks for your support! You can read the whole letter here.  
Meanwhile Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has said “the arts can bring us together” as a nation following the “uncertainty and division” caused by the EU Referendum. Speaking to the London Evening Standard (and you can read the entire article here ) Vaizey said that the arts were the “lifeblood” of creative industries and urged the UK to “seize on our strengths and look for opportunities. In times of uncertainty and division it’s the arts that bring us together,” he said. “London 2012 united the nation and the world looked on in awe of our creativity, courage and character. Now is the time to come together once more.” He added that the arts were “what the rest of the world listens to, and what they know best about us. They are naturally outward-looking, collaborative and internationalist. What they say matters,” he said. “They represent, after all, our most successful industries, and what they produce is the envy of the world.” Hear hear Ed, we couldn’t agree more!

I think many people are feeling a bit uncertain about what the future will bring, so perhaps we all need to have a little read of The Universe Has Your Back by bestselling author Gabrielle Bernstein (£10.99, pb 978 1781804254). This title promises that it will show us How to Feel Safe and Trust Your Life No Matter What – just what we all need right now. Gabrielle Bernstein assures us that we can all “move away from fear and regain a sense of power in a world that all too often make us feel utterly powerless.” Yep, I think that certainly would be useful for many of us and apparently if we use what’s in this book, we’ll begin to “find strength when we’re down, synchronicity and support when we’re lost, safety in the face of uncertainty, and joy when we’re are otherwise in pain”. Can I suggest that Hay House send a box or two over to Westminster?  Gabrielle Bernstein has been named “a new thought leader” by Oprah Winfrey and she appears regularly onTV. If you like her style, there’s lots more at The Universe Has Your Back will feature in the October issue of Red magazine and the book is published in September.

We all have our favourite books – and hopefully a fair few of them are the ones sold by Compass! But what are our much-loved gems to give to friends? Have a look here at this fun article in the Telegraph about the books we love to share!

We have it confirmed that Joan Ruddock will be appearing as a guest on Woman’s Hour to talk about her Biteback autobiography with host Jenni Murray on Wednesday 27th July. This is excellent publicity for Going Nowhere (hb, £25, 978 1849549974) which is a frank and good-humoured account of a life punctuated by political activism as well as personal tragedy. The story of Joan Ruddock, born in the Welsh valleys, who came to lead one of Britain's biggest protest movements and went on to address the United Nations, before becoming an MP and minister, is a remarkable one. After her election to the Commons in 1987, Joan held three consecutive shadow posts and, by 1997, was thought to be on the fast-track to high office. Despite having what was perceived by all to be a promising political future ahead, she was overlooked in Tony Blair's early appointments and, as such, branded ‘going nowhere’ by the press. This remark, though insulting, proved to be baseless, and Joan was soon appointed the first ever full-time Minister for Women. It was a portfolio that saw her, alongside Harriet Harman, push through a radical agenda, getting sacked for her pains a year later. Undaunted, she ran a number of high-profile campaigns from the back benches, including opposing GMOs, championing Afghan women's rights and modernising the Commons. Going Nowhere: A Memoir by Joan Ruddock is published on 14 June.

There will be lots of gorgeous gift titles competing for your attention this autumn; but something that is both lovely and unusual is Haiku, (978 1782743873 14.99, hb) published in September by Amber. Haiku is an ancient form of Japanese poetry which is possibly the best know form of verse worldwide. There are few rules to haiku, but they are strict: A haiku must have 17 phonetic sounds, a sense of cutting images or ideas, and a reference to a season. From those restrictions, poets have written about many things, from the year’s first blossom to aging, from mosquitoes humming to insects singing, from catching one’s shadow to crossing a stream in the summer. Haiku features 90 of these perfect little gems, presented both in Japanese script, and in an English translation. It is beautifully produced in traditional Chinese binding with a timeless design, and is both an ideal introduction to the form, and a celebration of one of the oldest, most beautiful and accessible forms of poetry in the world. It features classic poems from four poets: Matsuo Bashō, Yosa Buson, Kobayashi Issa and Masaoka Shiki which range across more than 200 years of Japanese poetry. Haiku is a 96-page hardback, 264 x 195 mm, and the translation is by Hart Larrabee. You can order Haiku now.

Hay House author Mel Wells has gone mega-viral this week with her outrage over the way Samsung phones (and others) automatically “beautify” our selfies. Her post on Instagram was picked up by Cosmopolitan which you can read here and then by the Sun which is here and the Mail which is here. This all adds up to over 10 million (yes you read that right) readers which is amazing publicity for Mel’s newest book: The Goddess Revolution: Make Peace with Food, Love Your Body and Reclaim Your Life. (pb, £10.99, 978 1781807125)
The book is credited in every article – and all the publicity will undoubtedly lead readers to this title – so do make sure it’s on display. Written with honesty and passion, The Goddess Revolution shows how it is possible to have a healthy, satisfying and guilt-free relationship with our bodies without any dieting or strict regimes. Tackling modern issues - including the unrealistic strive for perfection caused by airbrushing - Mel shows us how we can truly start to show our body the love it deserves, take back our power around food and, in return, feel better than ever. The Goddess Revolution was published earlier this month and you can order it now.

Many congratulations to publishers Jessica Kingsley who have just won the Innovation Excellence Award from the Stationers’ Company for their list of comics on graphic medicine. There were 49 applicants with 20 shortlisted companies, so it is really impressive that Jessica Kingsley Publishers picked up this award.  This accolade is significant largely because it is very difficult for book publishers to demonstrate innovation and the judges were impressed both by how quickly Jessica Kingsley Publishers managed to bring their new graphic medicine list to market, and also by the creative and positive way they used the comic form.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers have of course also recently won the Independent Academic, Professional Publisher of the Year award at the British Book Awards. You can find out more about all the title available from Jessica Kingsley Publishers on their website here   – do have a look there are lots of interesting titles there which you may well not be aware of. And of course you can order any of their titles from Compass!

OMG some authors will go to ANY lengths to shift copies of their books! Have a look here   at Urbane author Simon Wan engaging in a spot of self-promotion at WH Smith for his new title Love and a Dozen Roast Potatoes (pb, £8.99, 978 1910692905)! NB Compass Points does not endorse this sort of behaviour!

Here's a good top ten: The Best Books By and About Brits on the Continent i.e. A Brexit Reading List. As the long and fruitful relationship between Britain and the continent comes to an end in its current form you may enjoy this . It’s probably worth pointing out that many of these were written before the EU even existed, so hopefully there’s no reason to think that the literary bounty generated by the relationship between us and our neighbours should dry up any time soon!

The London Magazine did a great interview recently with Ian McMillan  which you can read here where Ian was asked “how he felt about being referred to as the ‘John Peel’ of poetry.  He replied “That’s an ancient thing that Alec Finlay said about me many years ago – partly because John Peel likes picking up new bands and new music... I feel like we’re in a good time for poetry at the moment, lots of people are writing poems and I just still get excited finding new voices, so that’s the John Peel of poetry, really. Also I wear shapeless cardigans like he used to.” The Guardian called Ian “a force of nature” and Andy Kershaw said he was “inching towards the status of a National Treasure.” Ian’s new poetry collection To Fold the Evening Star (pb, £9.99, 978 1784101886) was published in April by Carcanet.

As Wimbledon begins, find out what the famous tennis fest has in common with one of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies, on the brilliant Oberon Books blog here.

And if you’re intrigued, then why not order Rosalind: A Biography of Shakespeare’s Immortal Heroine by Angela Thirlwell (hb, £16.99, 978 1783198559) published by Oberon. This title is for everyone who has ever loved Shakespeare and celebrates his most innovative heroine, the actor-manager of As You Like It. She’s alive. She’s modern. She’s also a fiction. Played by a boy actor in 1599, she’s a girl who gets into men’s clothes to investigate the truth about love. Both male and female, imaginary and real, her intriguing duality gives her a special role. What is a man? What is a woman? We are all Rosalind now.

The Gospel According to Johnny Bender (pb, £8.99, 978 1911129004) by Dean Lilleyman was launched this week at The Chameleon Arts Café in Nottingham – you can see some pics from that here.  The Gospel According to Johnny Bender is set simultaneously in 1979 and 1999, and it’s the twisted story of a village carnival day, a psychological thriller that sees several truths of love, lust and murder unfold in pseudo real-time. Lilleyman’s first novel, Billy and the Devil (pb, £8.99, 978 1910692332) was the unflinching portrayal of an alcoholic, a story that has courted both controversy and praise, the Man Booker Prize nominee Jane Rogers calling it “Brilliantly evoked in all its sordid detail, black humour, demented courage, and alienation.” Both have very eye-catching covers – and Lilleyman has garnered a great deal of enthusiasm online for his writing: “one of the best books I've read in a long time”; “an astonishing debut - so poetic, raw and emotive” – so I think The Gospel According to Johnny Bender will be one to look out for – it’s officially published by Urbane next week.

I’m looking forward to Dragon Games (pb, £8.99, 978 1846973543) by Jan-Philipp Sendker which is published by Polygon at the end of September. This is the second novel in the Rising Dragon series that began with Whispering Shadows which was hailed as “an absorbing mystery … vivid and knowing”. Bookbag said “If you loved The Art of Hearing Heartbeats and/or A Well-Tempered Heart - you will not be disappointed by this one. And if you didn't, this might tempt you to look again at someone who is fast becoming one of my favourite modern authors. Five stars.”
Dragon Games continues the story of Paul Leibovitz, living in Hong Kong, deeply in love with the city, its culture, and most of all, Christine. When a fortune teller predicts the death of someone she loves, however, the pair are once again thrust into the murky criminal world of Hong Kong and forced to fight for their lives. Moving and entertaining, Jan-Philipp Sendker 's books cast a profound and clear light on the inner world of a superpower that many in the West cannot begin to comprehend. Reviewers have described The Rising Dragon series as “intriguing” and “a bit different to the usual thriller” – they have excellent covers and I would thoroughly recommend the three backlist titles and this new paperback.
Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week...
Jane Aitken@JaneAitken27 Stop winding each other up on twitter remainers/leavers. It’s done, we’re out. Wish it weren’t so, but it is. Squabbling now pointless.
James Tonkin‏@jtonks1 Just finished Wolfgang Bauer's beautifully written "Crossing the Sea" - heartbreaking stories of refugees fleeing Syria. A Must Read.
(((Thom Brooks)))@thom_brooks Found my book Becoming British in the Parliament's book shop!
Choc Lit‏@ChocLituk Can't Buy Me Love by @janelovering is guaranteed to have you laughing out loud! Another lovely review from Kim :)
Birlinn Books@BirlinnBooks  "McIntosh can talk theology, science and myth with scholarly aplomb" - A wonderful review of POACHER'S PILGRIMAGE
Urbane Publications@urbanepub England may be crap, but cheer yourself up by reading about a bloody good football team #BusbyBabes
And Other Stories‏@andothertweets 'The main thing is Stay Calm' Excerpt from @yuri_herrera #Transmigration in the Love issue of Granta Magazine
Topping & Company @ToppingsStAs Poetry is needed, lots of poetry; We can offer that
And Other Stories‏@andothertweets Super-chuffed that the super-smart Eimear McBride picked Martin John in her @TheTLS summer recommendations
Morgan Fraser PR‏@MorganFraserPR Health Coach Mel Wells in @CosmopolitanUK calling out Samsung for phone cameras that automatically 'beautify' people

Urbane Publications‏@urbanepub Delighted that Serial Damage by Liz Cowley and Donagh O’Brien will be stocked by WHSmith this autumn....
Steven Chiverton‏@FamblyGuy What is the point of Iain Dale?
Iain Dale‏@IainDale Christ alone knows.
That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This blog is taken from an e-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.

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