Friday 14 October 2016

Compass Points 188

Off to Daunts in Notting Hill this week for the launch of the new edition of the Good Hotel Guide 2017 (pb, £20.00, 978 0993248412) featuring the best hotels, inns and B&Bs in Great Britain and Ireland. There has been a distinct resurgence in sales for this guide in recent years – consumers seem to be realising that the physical book has many advantages over the website – not least the fact that you get £150 worth of vouchers in the printed guide, giving you a whopping 25% off compared to the 10% off that is available online! As the Mail on Sunday said, this is “the one guide that offers a sense of what a place is really like” and the newly designed 2017 Guide has a cleaner brighter format, full-colour throughout, with 11 pages of user-friendly maps showing you locations for around 900 selected hotels in Great Britain and Ireland. It includes lists of special hotels, ranging from child-and-dog-friendly to romantic and great value and is the clear market leader in its field; as the Guardian said: “Squeaky clean advice. No. 1 of the guides that take no freebies.”

You booksellers are ever innovative with your well-chosen but seemingly random displays for titles; designed no doubt, to make the browsing punter pick up and try something they wouldn’t otherwise have thought to try! We love this brilliant example of this at Toppings St Andrews – where I spot Prime Minister Corbyn: and Other Things that Never Happened (hb, £14.99, 978 1785900457) from Biteback nestled up against books by George Orwell, Oscar Wilde and Shakespeare!

As the US election gets ever closer, In Trump We Trust: How He Outsmarted the Politicians, the Elites and the Media by Ann Coulter (pb, £9.99, 978 1785901416) and Hillary Rising: The Politics, Persona and Policies of a New American Dynasty by James D. Boys (pb, £14.99, 9781849549646) both published by Biteback continue to sell well.

I love this moment when a CNN reporter is genuinely dumfounded by the fervour of a particular ardent Trump supporter, and if you haven’t seen this already then you must watch – Clinton and Trump having the time of their life!

This week was Ada Lovelace Day and Twitter went bonkers celebrating the achievements of Ada, and other women in science who were ahead of their time. Hopefully you used the opportunity to sell lots of Ada’s Algorithm: How Lord Byron’s Daughter Launched the Digital Age through the Poetry of Numbers by James Essinger (£8.99, pb, 978 1783340712) which has just been published in paperback by Gibson Square. This title tells the story of Ada’s turbulent private life and her exceptional achievement. It traces how her scientific peers failed to recognise the extraordinary breakthrough she had made in the middle of the 19th century and suggests that if they had, the computer age could have started almost two centuries ago. The film rights for Ada’s Algorithm have already been optioned by Monumental Pictures who made Suffragette.

We gave you an introduction to Anness Books last week, and this week we’re getting very excited about one of their October titles, Microwave Mug Meals (hb, £9.99, 978 0754832850) by Theo Michaels which is published by their hardback imprint, Lorenz Books. As it says on the cover, this book brings you fifty delectably tasty home-made dishes in an instant: all are speedy and simple and taste incredible. Whether you are after a quick brunch, a speedy spag bol, a healthy bean stew or fresh-tasting fish, there's every kind of meal here from Mexican chicken to a Brazilian feijoada to an authentic Asian stir-fry. Not forgetting the instant sweet fixes, such gooey chocolate orange cake!
Theo Michaels first came to light during MasterChef 2014 when he reached the heats of the semi-finals and since then he’s appeared on BBC Breakfast News, Sky TV, The Food Networks and The Big Eat and is a regular on BBC Radio’s Weekend Kitchen. He has his own YouTube Channel which is featured on Woman’s Own, Best Magazine,  Netmums, MumsGuideTo and many others. He also has his own website and blog at has recently been at the St Albans Food Festival, where he was promoting Microwave Mug Meals: here’s an extract from his blog: “Yes, that’s right, there wasn’t a frying pan in sight! The dishes turned out great with plenty of surprise from the audience. I cooked Eggs Florentine with my reverse engineered Hollandaise sauce (which is spectacular, honestly, it is brilliant!), this was followed by my five-minute moussaka complete with béchamel sauce and finally the piece-de-resistance: my stuffed chicken breast with cream cheese and olives on a bed of cumin and chickpea ragu. All done in a mug in 6 minutes!”
Yum, that all does indeed sound scrumptious! There are a few of these “meal in a mug” cookbooks around – but this is definitely superior to most of them – it’s a great price, great quality, and by a great chef who will be giving it loads of publicity!

I love it when authors put up videos on YouTube – and here's  a fascinating conversation about David Herd's poem Feedback from his recent Carcanet collection Through (£9.99, pb 978 1784102562. The poems in this stunning collection resume David Herd's inquiry into the language of public space taken up in All Just (2012) and address the ways in which contemporary public language has been rendered officially hostile. Through sets out to register broken affections and to re-explore possibilities of solidarity and trust.

A terrific piece in the Guardian by Mohammed Moulessehoul, whose books are published under the female pseudonym of Yasmina Khadra entitled “Algeria could have been a paradise for all” where the novelist explains why he turned to boxing to tell the story of his country’s struggle against France’s bloody post-war repression. You can read the whole interview here . The Angels Die has just been published by published by Gallic. The New York Journal of Books said The Angels Die is a must read for readers of international fiction, whether historical or contemporary” while the TLS enthused: “here is a skilled storyteller working at the height of his powers.”

The turmoil in the middle east at present has prompted many booksellers to highlight the incredible range of literature that is now coming out of that region. This is a great display in Blackwell’s Oxford, entitled Around the Middle East: The Perspective from some of the Region’s Best Novelists. As well as including The Angels Die (Gallic) it also features short story collections The Book of Gaza (£9.99, pb, 978-1905583645) and The Book of Dhaka (£9.99, pb,  978 1905583805) which is published this month by Comma;  and Refugee Tales (pb, £9.99, 978 1910974230) published by Periscope, described by one reviewer as “a collection of beautifully written tales about real asylum seekers and refugees experiencing the iniquities of the UK's detention system which is essential reading for anyone interested in human beings.” A really good theme for a book display methinks…

There was a double page spread on The Philanthropist's Tale: The Life of Laurie Marsh (hb, £16.99, 978 1910692547) in this Saturday’s Express Life & Style magazine. Laurie Marsh is one of the world's most successful entrepreneurs but I bet you’ve never heard of him! Here for the first time is the incredible tale of this extraordinary philanthropist; from the streets of Lambeth to glamour of LA, it's a compelling true story of rags to riches, and sharing those riches with others.  From persuading Disney to license their characters for the first time outside the USA, to convincing film stars to perform in low budget movies, Laurie has carved success from his confident, entrepreneurial and collaborative approach to life. Now in his eighties, Laurie still works every day, using his wealth and influence to help as many good causes and charitable organisations as he can. It's an inspirational and fascinating story of entrepreneurial success, and commitment deserving causes. The Philanthropist's Tale: The Life of Laurie Marsh is published by Urbane.
Talking of entrepreneurial success; is Karthik – one of this year’s contestants on the new series of The Apprentice, one of the biggest plonkers of all time? You decide: watch here!

The royal family continue to enthral some of us, and annoy others in equal measure, as the pretty much blanket coverage of Wills, Kate, gorgeous George and cutie-pie Charlotte in Canada has demonstrated. So two new titles from Biteback should do well this Autumn I think. Mrs Keppel: Mistress to the King (£20.00, hb, 978 1785900488) is by bestselling author Tom Quinn who draws on a range of sources, including salacious first-hand eyewitness accounts, to paint an extraordinary picture of Alice Keppel, and her infamous affair with King Edward VII. This is great read, giving us loads of detail about the outrageous goings-on of the Edwardian aristocracy, and the lives of royal mistresses right down to Alice’s great-granddaughter, the current Duchess of Cornwall. Both intriguing and astonishing, this is an unadulterated glimpse into a hidden world of scandal, decadence and debauchery.
The King Who Had to Go: Edward VIII, Mrs Simpson and the Hidden Politics of the Abdication Crisis (£25.00, hb, 978 1785900259 is a fascinating behind-the-scenes account of the royal abdication crisis of 1936, in which Adrian Phillips reveals the previously untold story of the hidden political machinations and insidious battles in Westminster and Whitehall that settled the fate of the King and Mrs Simpson. The monarch’s phone lines were tapped by his own government, dubious police reports poisoned Mrs Simpson’s reputation, and threats to sabotage her divorce were deployed to edge Edward VIII towards abdication. Here's  that famous abdication speech from 1936 – very evocative of a different era. And here's a short ten-minute film reminding us of the part Camilla played in the long list of royal mistresses!

If you’ve received your copies of The Un-Discovered Islands: An Archipelago of Myths and Mysteries, Phantoms and Fakes by Malachy Tallack (hb, £14.99, 978 1846973505) which is published this month by Polygon then you will no doubt be exclaiming at its beauty, and the glorious full-colour illustrations by Katie Scott. Gathered in the book are two dozen islands once believed to be real but no longer on the map. This is an atlas of legend and wonder; of places discovered and then un-discovered. You can watch a lovely two-minute preview of the book here on YouTube and if you haven’t ordered this book for your bookshop yet, then I really don’t know what you are waiting for, it’s fab!

Is getting old all about attitude? Arnold Appleforth claims it is. In which case he certainly needs all the attitude he can get, because his journalistic career is on life support, his sex life non-existent (except for a recent regrettable incident at a well-known chain restaurant), his financial position precarious and his alcohol consumption prodigious. The Diary of a Has-been: The Intimate Chronicle of Arnold Appleforth: Legendary Journalist, Idealist and Sponger by William Humble (£12.99, hb, 978 1911129608 ) has just come out from Urbane in October and takes the form of a diary, dealing with Appleforth’s own life with intimate, eye-watering honesty and also providing pungent political comment on the disgraceful state of contemporary Britain. Join Arnold as he drops pearly bon mots before swine and makes one last grab for literary immortality. And struggles to survive in a sadly unappreciative world...

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. It’s 90 years today since Winnie the Pooh was first published, so today here are some of our favourite tweets in an outpouring of love for #WinnieThePooh!

Waterstones‏@Waterstones Happy 90th anniversary to #WinnieThePooh, first published on 14th October 1926.
Blankspace@blakeney “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” A.A. Milne. Happy 90th Birthday #WinnieThePooh
Parris@supernovester You're an old guy but i love you so much happy 90th pooh bear
Identity Design ‏@identitylondon You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter thank you think. Happy 90th birthday #WinnieThePooh!!
Paul Squires@paulsquirescom “It is wise to ask someone what you are looking for, before you begin looking for it.” #WinnieThePooh
Blondie Rambles@BlondieRambles "I need you to come here and find me ‘cause without you I'm totally lost." #WinnieThePooh
Duck Barn Interiors‏@DuckBarn “Home is the comfiest place to be” Winnie the Pooh
Curved House Kids ‏@CurvedHouseKids Anyone else think Penguin was a weird idea? Is nothing sacred? Maybe we're just old being old fashioned. #Pooh90
Prestige Bathrooms ‏@PrestigeBathLtd If the person you are talking to doesn't seem to be listening-be patient- he may have some fluff in his ear #WinniethePooh
Celeste Thorson ‏@CelesteThorson I knew when I met you an #adventure was going to happen.
SusanGarren ‏@SusanGarren #WinniethePooh What day is it?" It's today," squeaked Piglet. My favorite day," said Pooh. A.A. Milne
And here are ten things you may not have known about our furry friend!
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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