Friday 10 February 2017

Compass Points 201

It was as if time had folded in on itself. Had American history entered an alternate universe? In this eerily familiar new world, Hillary Clinton had not won the election after all. Donald Trump had. What did it mean? How had the historic Clinton machine sputtered and failed at the last minute? What had the pollsters and pundits and corporate television executives got so totally wrong? Game of Thorns: The Inside Story of Hillary Clinton's Failed Campaign and Donald Trump's Winning Strategy by Doug Wead (978 1785902260, £12.99, pb) published by Biteback is the first authoritative account of the momentous 2016 US Presidential election campaign. It describes how the scandals of a lifetime finally reached critical mass for both candidates, though with differing results. It shows how, during the last few days of the campaign, some on Clinton’s staff saw the ghostly fog of defeat creeping up on them but were helpless to act, frozen by the self-denial. This is the story of how, despite reportedly spending more money on her campaign than any presidential candidate in history, Hillary Clinton fell at the last hurdle. And it is the story of how, against all odds, Donald Trump won the presidency. There are bound to be plenty of books published on this topic – but this is the first one, and it’s by an author who is a former White House staffer and commentator with unprecedented knowledge of US elections. It’s out on 28 February – there are sure to be mega reviews and mucho publicity for it and I strongly suggest you order it now!

If watching La La Land has put you and your customers in the mood to try the life of an aspiring actor then you will certainly need this excellent range of titles from Oberon – all neatly grouped together as The Actors Toolkit. From How to Do Accents (pb, £128.99, 9781840029574)  to Acting: Cut the Crap, Cue the Truth; Living the Life and Doing the Job (pb, £14.99, 9781849434799) to Shakespeare’s Advice to the Players by Sir Peter Hall (pb, £14.99, 9781783190096); you can find all eleven of these essential titles on their website at website at .Oberon have some of the very best books for actors in training or continuing to develop, and these titles they should be everywhere that has a good drama section. Oberon have advertised The Actors Toolkit in Drama Teaching magazine and are attending drama teaching and uni events to promote the range. As Dustin Hoffman said “You can’t improvise this shit!”
Congratulations to Bibliocloud who pipped Compass to the post in last night’s IPG Book Awards for the Services to Publishers prize. And well done to all the winners – you can see the full list here. IPG chief executive Bridget Shine said: “It is testament to the strength of independent publishing in the UK that this has been the most competitive year in the history of our Awards. Our judges had to work long and hard to select the winners, who represent the very best of the independent sector.”

The Romantic Novel Awards have just announced its 2017 shortlists and hurrah – titles by Choc Lit are very well represented on them. The awards comprise seven categories and The Velvet Cloak of Moonlight by Christina Courtenay has been shortlisted in the Paranormal or Speculative Romance Novel category while Girl Having a Ball by Rhoda Baxter is up for The Romantic Comedy Novel which is for a “consistently humorous or amusing” book. Little Girl Lost by Janet Gover is up for The Epic Romantic Novel category - which “contains serious issues or themes, including gritty, multi-generational stories.”
You can find the full shortlist on the RNA website here. RNA chairman Eileen Ramsay said: “Romantic fiction appears in many guises and continues to dominate the best-seller lists. Our awards celebrate the many shades of romantic fiction, highlighting the wide appeal of the genre and some of the best examples from the last year.” The 2017 RNA Awards will be announced and presented by Prue Leith on 13th March when the winners of the seven categories will be announced and will then go forward to compete for the overall prize of the £5,000 Romantic Novel of the Year Award.
Talking of romance, what do you make of the news that researchers have concluded that Mr Darcy, the romantic hero of Pride and Prejudice would not have been dark and handsome, but would have likely had powdered mid-length white hair, a long oval face and a small mouth, a long nose, a pointy chin and a pale complexion. Whaaat??? Read the whole piece on the Sky News website here!
Oh, go on then, here  you go – you know you want to watch it! Yes, I’m sure that’s much more what Jane Austen had in mind!

A great mention in GQ this week for Paradise City saying “Great crime fiction hinges on a sense of place, and after returning to London after ten years living in the world in which he’s set his sophisticated debut, Thomas proves an adroit guide to a city that has developed at dizzying speed."  Paradise City (£14.99, hb, 978 1910050972) is a fast-paced and darkly atmospheric novel which introduces Joe Thomas as a new and distinct voice in crime fiction and its published this week by Arcadia. Joe has a feature for The Guardian travel section which is due to run this Saturday and The Big Issue and Latino Life have both run features written by Joe, with the former taking a full page. Joe also wrote a 500 word feature for Male Xtra / Female First which you can read here  about seeing Brazil through the eyes of an ex-pat and where he got some of the ideas for this gripping novel. On digital media; Shiny New Books have confirmed a review will run next week, alongside a piece written by Joe and other literary and crime sites that are due to run in the coming weeks include Crime ReviewRaven Crime Reads and Crime Squad.

Six Leeds United supporters set off for a short break in Bruges. Two brothers Allan and Johnny Collins, the former a successful businessman, the latter just out of prison, are visiting great-grandad’s grave on the Western Front. They’re joined by Johnny’s bandmates, Craig and Terry; the tomboy Petra and the out-of-sorts Yvonne. For all the political events, historic and current, that surround them, they find it difficult to avoid discussion of their beloved football club as it languishes in the second tier of English football. And as their trip progresses they find it is more than just the club that binds them together. Very much in the style of Nick Hornby, Marching On Together by PJ Whiteley will also appeal to fans of Jon Rance, Graham Swift and Jonathan Harvey. Bestselling author Louis de Bernières said “I very much enjoyed Marching on Together and was happily carried along by the wonderfully realised characters” and PJ Whiteley’s first book Close of Play was shortlisted for the People’s Book Award and selected for a WHS Recommends promotion. Marching on Together is published at the end of the month by Urbane.
We do love a footie novel – what are your favourites? Have a look here at this top ten of football fiction in the Guardian to see if you agree with their choices! Football films are famously even more difficult to pull off than football novels – but here's  one fan’s suggestion for the top ten best and here's  another’s. I’m sorry, but exactly WHY is Gregory’s Girl on neither of these lists??

A big thumbs-up to Comma Press, who have announced that in 2018 they have decided to translate only writers from the countries affected by Trumps’ proposed travel ban – Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Sudan. Comma specialises in short-form writing and has a number of writers directly affected by the ban, including all 20 contributors to two prose collections. Hassan Blasim, the Iraqi-born writer is now unable to travel to the US, despite huge success there with his 2014 novel The Iraqi Christ. CEO and publisher Ra Page said “If the only narrative America wants to export right now is the narrative of hate, then we need to look elsewhere. We need to consciously turn our backs on the circus that America is descending into. We need to fight this. And make no mistake it will be a fight.” Have a look here at this piece in the Guardian talking about this and how other publishers and authors including Malorie Blackman and Matt Haig have responded to Trump’s decision.

We're delighted to announce that Adam Crothers' Several Deer (£9.99, pb, 978 1 784102 44 9) has been shortlisted for the Shine/Strong Award. This award is presented annually to the author of the best first collection of poems published in English or Irish by an Irish poet and is made possible by the generous support of Shine which is the national organisation dedicated to upholding the rights and addressing the needs of all those affected by mental ill health. Several Deer is much indebted to Bob Dylan and Lana Del Rey as to Emily Dickinson and George Herbert; and Crothers writes about destruction, consumption, misogyny, gods, sex, failure, and rock ’n’ roll. But he does so with rhythmic subtlety and verbal craftsmanship, and for all their craft, the poems remain empathic and sincere, “Now send in the clowns”, ends the collection’s opening poem – and so they follow: happy and sad, wise and tragic, a touch melodramatic, wilfully misunderstood. Easily side-tracked and keen to be sound tracked, the collection doesn’t take its sadness seriously. It listens to the hits. Several Deer has been described as a “pun-tastic prick-tease” – come on all you edgy booksellers, that quote is crying out to be quoted on a Pick of the Week card! It’s published by Carcanet – and you can read a review in the London Magazine here.
Is the internet changing the power dynamic between the sexes? For example, while eighty per cent of those interviewed in polls say that affairs are wrong, the percentage who admit to having had an affair has doubled every ten years. Ooo er missus. Looking at the latest data, social scientist Catherine Hakim traces new faultlines between men and women in our increasingly sexualized culture in the paperback of The New Rules (£8.99, pb, 978 1908096609). The hardback edition of this first ever study on the effects of the internet on marriage and relationships had a massive amount of global publicity. The paperback which is published by Gibson Square next week has a great cover – and as the Times said is “too juicy to ignore.“ The Telegraph called it “the recipe for happiness?” and the Daily Mail speculated whether “having an affair could save your marriage.” The Times are running an interview with Catherine Hakim on Monday 13 Feb and the Today programme also wants to interview her – this book is certain to be talked about so do make sure you have it!
So to finish, what are your fave the top ten “caught cheating” scenes in books and movies? Gone Girl? Bridget Jones? They’re all here!
Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week...
Compass Academic ‏@CompassAcademic Spotted in the window @Foyles - only @ClaireyLove's We're All Mad Here! You know it's a winner when you make a window display!
Sophington Towers ‏@s0phie When you get a fresh batch of reading materials in from @BirlinnBooks #happybookface
And Other Stories ‏@andothertweets In Oxford? Head to @blackwelloxford to find out why their Senior Bookseller Ray is such a fan of Arno Geiger's The Old King in His Exile!
Booksaremybag ‏@booksaremybag Book sales the week before Christmas were highest in 10 years
Jonathan Coe ‏@jonathancoe So Trump is tagging his daughter on twitter but gets some random stranger by mistake. Funny! Gets the nuclear codes on Friday, did you say?
Polygon Books ‏@PolygonBooks Ahoy-hoy, we spy a certain @malachytallack's new book taking Amazon's number 1 bestseller spot! Brilliant
Red Lion Books ‏@RedLionBooks 'My idea of a writer: someone interested in everything.' - Susan Sontag,
Gutter Bookshop ‏@gutterbookshop Suffering from a Night Nurse hangover this morning - I expect to semi-awake by mid-afternoon... #BobsCold
Pluto Press ‏@PlutoPress 'You've got to be taught to hate and fear'. The appointment of Jeff Sessions suggests Trump intends to do just that:
Cecilia Bennett ‏@CeciliaEBennett A town without a bookshop buys fewer books. To support the book industry, support independents - inspirational talk by Andy Rossiter at the IPG conference.#ipgsc
Matthew at Urbane ‏@urbanepub Waterstones is not in the risk business when making buying decisions says James Daunt - but some publishers are in their commissioning :-)
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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