Friday 26 May 2017

Compass Points 215

London's Street Trees: A Field Guide to the Urban Forest (£12.99, pb, 978 0993291135) by the appropriately named Paul Wood has just been published by Save Haven. Books about trees are definitely having a bit of a moment at present (The Hidden Life of Trees was a number one bestseller for weeks as I’m sure you know) and last week there was a big piece featuring this title in the Guardian which you can read here . This fascinating, illustrated book features trees in the capital – but is relevant to any city – and as the Guardian piece said: “for someone like me who’s not a natural naturalist, the book reveals a previously unconsidered world situated just outside the front door.” Over 300 different species and cultivars grace the city's magnificently green streets, from fabulous avenues of flowering cherries in Herne Hill and Chiswick to a magnolia in front of the Cheesegrater. There are indeed the well-known plane trees that go back to the nineteenth century, but also new species that reflect this modern world’s multicultural vibrancy. Do you know how there come to be Australian Bottlebrush trees on a street in Pimlico? This guide tells you where to find Giant Redwoods, why you don't see many beeches on our streets, and which London street trees were painted by Monet. It will make everyone who lives in a city look at their own environment in an entirely new way. You can find out more on Paul Wood’s entertaining blog
A great review of Marching on Together this week in the @footyblog blog which you can read in full here. Marching On Together is more than just a novel based on Leeds United fans. The true meaning and following of the story bonds you with their personality and the struggles they all face. As a book titled as Marching on Together, many would believe that Leeds fans would be the primary target audience but they couldn’t be more wrong. The story is so much more than just the football, that is the just the beginning of the tale. That is what links the characters together but each have their own story to tell and the attachment you feel after reading is what the book is all about, the twists and the turns and the unexpected truths revealed down the line.” Marching On Together by PJ Whiteley (pb, £8.99, 978 1911129332) has just been published by Urbane.

Congratulations to both Carcanet and Comma who have been shortlisted for the 2017 Northern Soul Awards in the Northern Publisher of the Year category – hooray! The winner will be announced at a ceremony on 29th June at the Hilton in Manchester. You can find out more about the shortlist here.

In times of war, scientists and inventors experiment with strange and new ideas. Some of these weapons prove to be war winners, like the atomic bomb or the tank. Others, however, are much less successful. The World's Worst Weapons (£9.99, pb, 978 1782743644) by military expert Martin J Dougherty is an entertaining and informative guide to the guns, tanks, ships and aircraft that proved to be utter failures in battle. Examples include the Soviet dog mines, dogs supposedly trained to run under German tanks which would detonate the explosives on their back, or the Douglas X-3 Stiletto, designed to explore the supersonic flight environment but underpowered and incapable of passing the speed of sound. With a thoroughly researched text complemented by photographs, full-colour artworks and first-hand accounts; The World's Worst Weapons is highly entertaining guide to the weapons that went badly wrong. It has just been published by Amber, and together with the World’s Worst Cars (£9.99, pb, 978 1782743651) will be featured this weekend as a reader offer in the Express – great exposure for this terrific twosome.
The World's Worst Cars takes a detailed but light-hearted look at motoring tragedies old and new and asks: Why did they ever reach the showrooms, what went wrong, why were they so unreliable, and what kind of person actually bought them?? From the deadly Ford Pinto to rusty Lancias and plastic Nissans, this book features more than 150 of the cars that we love to hate, illustrated with annotated photography and archive images from the car's heyday. I think these books are brilliant; it’s a fun idea, very well executed and the Express coverage will undoubtedly increase demand.
I haven’t got a Top Ten Worst Weapons or Cars for you, you’ll have to order the books for that – but I have got a Top Ten Movie Guns here and also a Top Ten Movie Cars here!

We are thrilled to announce that The Wolf is Not Invited by Avril McDonald (pb, £9.,99, 978 1785830174) has just won The People's Book Prize Children's Award 2016/17. The Wolf is Not Invited is a picture book for 4-7 year olds, beautifully illustrated by Tatiana Minina which is part of the Feel Brave series published by Crown House. These are little stories about big feelings; designed to help children explore emotional intelligence, positive psychology and some of the real-life issues which they might face in an engaging, creative and non-threatening way. They have had terrific reviews – and are popular with both parents, and teachers as an ideal way to help young children manage tough emotions. You can find out more on the website .
The Threat Level Remains Severe (£8.99, pb 978 1910709153) is a smart, funny, black comedy about working life and the perils of dating in the 21st century. Part thriller and part observation on the worlds of work and dating, The Threat Level Remains Severe is a summer read with a Bridget Jones-esque heroine but also a satirical behind-the-scenes look at Westminster – by an author who really know her stuff because she works at the House of Commons! Rowena Macdonald’s debut short story collection, Smoked Meat, was shortlisted for the 2012 Edge Hill Prize and The Threat Level Remains Severe, her first novel, is published on 10th July by Aardvark Bureau. You can read a piece by Rowena Macdonald on the Gallic/Belgravia website here. Aardvark are currently running a great promotional giveaway for this book on GoodReads blog which you can find here  and early reviews are excellent for this confident and funny novel. Shena Mackay, author of The Orchard on Fire said “The Threat Level Remains Severe, shines a sly light into the mundane backrooms and office romances of the corridors of power and is a stylish, bleakly funny and sad, acutely observed contemporary drama” while Robert Edric commented “Surely one of the most insightful, honest and reassuringly humane tales of the true workings of the Mother of Parliaments in all its shabby, slapdash and vainglorious reality.”
Fancy some #Fridayfun? Take this quiz and see if the BuzzFeed team can guess your favourite classic novel based on the type of bookshelves you like!!

The ever-expanding world of whisky can be a daunting one, with a deluge of new brands, distilleries and literature on the subject making it all but impossible for the amateur whisky drinker to find their feet in the industry. Following on from Nikki Welch's bestselling Pocket Guide to Wine, The Pocket Guide to Whisky (£7.99, pb, 978 1780274324) by Blair Bowman and Nikki provides a compact and accessible, easy-to-use guide to help budding whisky enthusiasts on their way. This little volume will tell you everything you need to know, from what to look for in whisky, to getting the best value for money, to the perfect accompaniments to your dram and the ideal whisky for every occasion. It has just been published by Birlinn and has been featured in the Sunday Post, Whisky Magazine, The Cask, the Great Drams website, the Whisky Boys website and the Scotch and SciFi website. And there were not just one but THREE high profile launches across Edinburgh last week for it, culminating on World Whisky Day on 20 May! The guide features the innovative Whisky Tube Map of which the Sunday Times said “LOVING the idea of the tube map and trying to work out which line I'd like to get stuck on” while the Financial Times called it “A fun and imaginative introduction to the wonderful world of flavour that whisky offers!” You can read more about it in the Scotsman here. Whisky drinking is massively on the up at the moment – and this is easily the most fun, modern informative and entertaining guide on the market!
This BuzzFeed guide features whiskey rather than whisky – but you may enjoy it nonetheless!

Carcanet Managing Director Michael Schmidt was on the Radio 4 programme Front Row on Wednesday, discussing Poetry and Atrocity – poems which have been written in response to major tragedies in the past, in the wake of the terrible attack in Manchester. The Carcanet offices are in the heart of the city, a 10-minute walk from the arena, and their former offices which used to be based in Manchester’s Corn Exchange were destroyed by the IRA bomb of 1996, so the publisher has a historical relationship with such dreadful events. You can listen to that programme here.

And anyone looking for some answers to what happened in Manchester might do worse than read Londonistan (pb, £7.99, 978 1908096272) published by Gibson Square. Journalist Melanie Phillips who has a weekly column, in the Times and who has been published over the years in the Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times and Daily Mail as well as being a regular voice on the BBC; argues forcefully that Britain's establishment is only pretending to be tough on terrorism, as it looks the other way while religious radicalisation continues. She demonstrates that this refusal to act goes back three decades, when a hub for terror throughout Europe and elsewhere was allowed access to British soil – Londonistan. In this book, Melanie Phillips interviews key politicians, moderate Muslims, academics and intelligence experts and uncovers a persistent state of denial by the establishment entrusted with our security, both on the left and right. Hers is an acclaimed and gripping history of the failure of the way in which Britain is handling its terrorist and social crisis.
Here’s an interesting piece from an indie bookseller in Brooklyn about the future of bookshops – have a read here and see if you agree with her concerns.

Fake news, post-truth, bullshit – whatever you want to call it, it’s here to stay – and unsurprisingly there are several books out on the subject at the moment! But the best (of course) is from Biteback, by BuzzFeed and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist James Ball, entitled Post Truth: How Bullshit Conquered the World (pb, £9.99, 978 1785902147). He recently described his book in comparison to the others in the Standard as “the cool young person’s version” and the Times said it was: "A crisp, highly informative introduction to what ails the information industry and what can be done about it” while the Guardian said "Better than anyone I know, Ball explains how the economics of the web is destroying the possibility of financing serious news and raising the question of whether readers want a cautious fact-checked article when it is cheaper and much more profitable to follow whack out clickbait."

You may enjoy this: Ten Fake News Stories from history – or are they??!

Michael Mosley is everywhere at the moment promoting his Clever Guts Diet so don’t forget about the excellent guide to intestinal health which is already out from Lorenz! The Good Gut Diet Cookbook: With Prebiotics and Probiotics (£8.99, hb, 978 0754832133) is an attractive hardback containing over 80 recipes for a natural, efficient digestion by the highly-experienced food writer Carolyn Humphries. Beautifully illustrated with the 160 pages of informative full-colour spreads that you would expect from this publisher; this book focuses on eating certain foods as part of a normal, healthy diet, to help improve the digestive system. With a helpful and clearly explained introduction setting out what foods should be eaten and how to add quick-fix prebiotic and probiotic foods to your meals, the book also offers a two-week eating plan and over 100 ideas and recipes for dishes that are packed with the right foods to balance your diet.

Over a million people in the UK work in call centres, and the phrase has become synonymous with low-paid and high stress work and dictatorial supervisors. Rarely does the public have access to the true picture of what goes on in these institutions, but for his Pluto title Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres, Jamie Woodcock worked undercover in a call centre and was recently interviewed on BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine show to talk about his experience – you can listen to that here. Jamie’s interview provoked much interest in the media due to his revelations about the “Squid Forfeits” – punishments where call workers were “motivated” into achieving their targets by having live squids put on their faces! The story was picked up by most of tabloidsincluding the Mirror which you can read here and the Mail here.  You can watch a much less revolting video by Jamie talking about his excellent book here.

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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