Friday 8 July 2016

Compass Points 177

You will be hearing a lot more about children’s books from us in the coming months, as Compass are now pleased to represent a selection of some of the very best independent publishing in this area. We are having our first ever children’s book conference next week – so I will be able to tell you about some of our top children’s titles for the autumn very shortly!

In the meantime, I mentioned the marvellous Jessica Kingsley Publishing last week, and one of their new titles M is For Autism (pb, £8.99, 978 1849056847) is number two this week in the Guardian’s Children’s Book Chart for the Top Ten Speedy Reads. You can see the full list here. The Guardian Books page of its award winning website has millions of readers – many of whom are going there specifically to look for purchasing recommendations – so this is great publicity for this title which it described as “gorgeous, thoughtful writing, with truly striking illustrations and layout.” M is for Autism is written by the students of Limpsfield Grange, (a school for girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder) together with Vicky Martin and draws on real life experiences to create a heartfelt and humorous novel that captures the highs and lows of being different in a world of normal. M's world is tipsy-turvy, sweet and sour, and the beast of her anxiety is always lurking outside her classrooms ready to pounce. M just wants to be like other teenagers her age who always know what to say and what to do. So why does it feel like she lives on a different plane of existence?
The layout of this paperback is amazing – with wonderfully original and colourful drawings and fonts – it has had fantastic reviews on Amazon, with readers really responding to the imaginative way it tackles its subject.  “This book does a brilliant job of describing how it might feel to be an autistic teenage girl. As a dad with an autistic 10-year-old daughter, I found some parts made me feel quite emotional.” “Spot on! It absolutely describes how it is to be autistic and totally captures the despair, love and frustrations of the mother too”, “A trailblazer, why aren't there more books or characters like M?” “Compelling, beautiful and utterly engaging.” I would really urge you to stock this tile – there is a massive demand for books on autism/Asperger’s that bridge the gap between “special needs” text books and more mainstream teen reads like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.

Talking of teen readers, you know we love a bit of e-books vs real books debate and here's  a heartening article in the Guardian. Entitled Why Teenagers are so Resistant to e-Readers, it discusses why, when in many areas of their life teenagers are moving online, surveys seem to show that they still prefer print books over e-readers. Maybe innovation just can’t beat tradition?

There was a terrific full page spread this week for Moonology by Yasmin Boland in the Daily Mail which you can see here. I mentioned this title a few weeks ago and it’s now the number one bestseller in the Astrology section on Amazon, so please do order it. It promises to show you how to understand the moon's magical eight phases so that you can improve every aspect of your life. You will know better what to expect in the days ahead, and how to time all the important events in your life, from sending a crucial email to getting married! This is a book for all those wishing to consciously create their own lives, to deepen their connection with nature and the divine, and to take their spiritual practice to a new level. Moonology: Working with the Magic of Lunar Cycles (pb, £10.99, 978 1781807422) has just been published by Hay House.

While we’re on the subject of new age psychobabble – sorry divine empowerment – we absolutely love this fabulous new show frontage for Happy Glastonbury. As this shop says, it certainly “captures the joyful essence and vibration” of this thriving indie!

I think we can all agree that everyone needs a bit more poetry in their lives – so how inspiring to see Carcanet poet Gillian Clarke performing her tribute to the Welsh footie team ahead of their match against Portugal. Including more poetry on BBC Newsnight can only  be a Thoroughly Good Thing – you can watch that here. Gillian Clarke: Selected Poems (pb, £9.95, 978 1857543353) is available now from Carcanet.

On the subject of Welsh football, Together Stronger: The Rise of Welsh Football’s Golden Generation (£13.99, pb, 978 1902719481) by Chris Wathan is doing very well indeed. This superb book with 32 pages of colour photos was described by the Telegraph as “A must-read” and describes how “a country that has always produced great players, finally produced a team with the quality and the unity to reach a first major tournament since 1958.” It has a foreword by Wales Captain Ashley Williams who writes: “There are no writers who have been as close to Welsh football as Chris over the last ten years. It is a story that's worth telling, worth reading and definitely worth enjoying! It's been a story to remember – and one worth waiting for.” Wales have done their country – and the UK – proud in the Euros, and this is definitely a title to put front of store – there are plenty of “make a quick buck” footie titles around – but this is not one of them. Henry Winter in the Times said it was “a well-informed insight into Wales' rollercoaster ride to the Euros. Chris Wathan writes with authority and sensitivity. The devastating chapter on Gary Speed's death is deeply moving.” With exclusive behind-the-scenes insights from many of Wales’ key players including Chris Gunter, Neil Taylor, Joe Ledley and captain Ashley Williams – as well as the revealing and candid thoughts of Wales managers John Toshack and Chris Coleman; award-winning journalist Chris Wathan has written the inside story of how a golden generation emerged to tell the greatest tale Welsh football has ever told. It is published by St David’s Press and you can order it now.

You can find out about all the publicity that Together Stronger has received on the St David’s Press Facebook page which is here. Also featured there is another St David’s Welsh footie title Zombie Nation Awakes: Welsh Football's Odyssey to Euro 2016 (£13.99, pb, 978 1902719467) which is the diary of reporter supporter Bryn Law. Packed with passion, tinged with sadness, and written with great humour, this diary of the campaign perfectly describes the emotions of following the Welsh national football team; when years of despair vanished in a wave of glorious euphoria to the sounds of Zombie Nation. Game by game, Bryn’s diary reflects the growing but guarded optimism of the players, the supporters and the Welsh nation, as he reported on the campaign for Sky Sports. His passion for Welsh football shines through on every page of Zombie Nation Awakes and fans of Welsh football will love it.

Twenty years ago today saw the release of the Spice Girls smash hit Wannabe – how is that even possible! We’re very much enjoying this new version, taking girl power one stage further. #WhatIReallyReallyWant

It doesn’t look as if British politics will be out of the news headlines any time for the foreseeable future – and many voters are starting to wonder whether there is any genuine alternative to what currently appears to be on offer. Of course, as always Biteback are bang on trend, and at the end of August they publishing The Alternative: Towards a New Progressive Politics which is a collection of essays that makes the case for a new, plural, radical politics. The Alternative is a multi-authored work in which Britain’s three progressive parties – Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Greens, come together to formulate a new kind of politics to defeat the Tories at the next election. It includes essays from Sian Berry, Mhairi Black, Frances O’Grady, Tim Farron, Peter Hain, Carys Afoko, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Zoe Williams and Neal Lawson and is edited by Lisa Nandy MP, Caroline Lucas MP and Chris Bowers. The book includes a manifesto of progressive policies and values and although the outlook for those holding progressive political opinions in the next general election is not auspicious, there is evidence to suggest that there could be a majority for the progressives in 2020 if only the mechanics were in place for it to happen. Interesting stuff; there is an opinion piece by John Harris in the Guardian here talking about the type of progressive alliance that The Alternative anticipates, and here's another in the New Statesman.  One of the book’s editors, Caroline Lucas is publically making a lot of noise about such a plan, and Lisa Nandy may well be declaring herself open to running in a Labour leadership contest. Another of The Alternative’s writers Zoe Williams is writing articles and appearing a lot on TV at the moment as is the SNP’s Mhairi Black. This book and its concepts are bound to gain momentum in the coming weeks, so I’d suggest you order The Alternative (hb, £12.99, 978 1785900495) now!
Talking of politics (and who isn’t) let’s just remind ourselves of the brilliant Cassetteboy’s view in April on the woman who is now set to become our next PM

Like so many finger-on-the-pulse blogs before it, The Totes Ridictionary became a bestselling book. The perfect gift, it featured a comprehensive glossary of slang that helped you sort the “jel” from the “awks”, correctly identify what was “perf” and what was “tradge”, and told you how to react if someone said you were “gorge” or “cray-cray”. Now, hurrah; this Autumn comes Totes Ridictionary 2: The Super, Revised On Fleek Edition (hb, £8.99, 978 0859655491). If you are seeking smexy new words with which to woo your bae, amuse your squad and generally #BreakTheInternet  then this is for you! 
Inspired by a slew of tasty new abbreviations currently washing tsunami-like across emails, texts, Twitter, Facebook and social media of every description, Totes Ridictionary 2 follows the same format that made Balthazar Cohen’s original so popular, this little hardback is packed with even more hilar illustrations, internet-addicted pets and smart-phone-savvy pop art as well as the imagined Twitter conversations of history. It also features Cohen’s classic glossary of terms, but beefed up with added etymological goodness (much like Stephen Fry before he gave up carbs) and all the hottest new lingo online, to help you sort your FOMO from your YOLO. Totes Ridictionary 2 takes a second, totally ridiculous look at what happens when language and technology collide in an ever-changing world whilst helping you keep your Twitter game stronger than ever and it’s published in September by Plexus.

Let’s finish with some music.  When Freddie Mercury died in 1991, the music world lost one of its most flamboyant characters, as well as a supremely talented writer and vocalist. Best known as the lead singer with Queen, his amazing four-octave voice was a distinctive element in the band's unique sound which resulted in more than a dozen million-selling albums over three decades. As the band's main songwriter he was responsible for some of their greatest hits including Killer Queen, We Are The Champions and Bohemian Rhapsody.
Published to coincide with what would have been Freddie’s 70th birthday in November 2016, Freddie Mercury: An Illustrated Life by Mark Blake (hb, £20.00, 978 1783059706) is published by Omnibus Press in September. A definitive retrospective on the life and work of Freddie Mercury, both as the lead singer with Queen and in his much-acclaimed solo capacity this is a fully illustrated 224-page hardback, including archive memorabilia and over 200 colour and black and white photos – many previously unpublished. Freddie and Queen have a LOT of fans, and there will definitely be a big market for this superb gift book. Go to the official website if you want find out more about the 70th birthday celebrations for this musical icon.
And here is Freddie at his flamboyant best!

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.

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