Tuesday 27 June 2017

Compass Points 220

Theo Michaels was back on ITV’s breakfast show this week with his fabulous and fun summer microwave mug recipes. If you want to find out how to cook warm orzo and lemon chicken salad, chilli salmon and spinach salad and, one of his favourites, sea bass with fresh pea puree in 90 seconds (and frankly, who wouldn’t) then you can see all three recipes on This Morning here. And you can see even more of Theo’s brilliant microwave mug meal recipes on his own website here! All the recipes are from Microwave Mug Meals (£9.99, hb, 978 0754832850) which is published by Lorenz.

On July 27th, 2015, Colin Cremin overcame a lifetime of fear and repression and came to work dressed as a woman called Ciara. Man-Made Woman: The Dialectics of Cross-Dressing (pb, £16.99, 978-0745337128) charts her personal journey as a male-to-female cross-dresser in the ever-changing world of gender politics. Interweaving the personal and the political, through discussions of fetishism, aesthetics and popular culture, Man-Made Woman explores gender, identity and pleasure through the lenses of feminism, Marxism and psychoanalytic theory. Cremin's anti-moralistic approach makes this a very emancipatory and empowering read, where both author and reader are encouraged to examine their relationship to gender. One critic called this “a wonderful book, erudite, politically astute, brilliantly written, and at times wickedly funny. It's my favourite I've read for quite some time” and this feminist-Marxist analysis of being a crisscross-dresser set within the scathing critique of patriarchal-capitalism is sure to get plenty of publicity. It is published by Pluto in August, and if you would like to read a proof copy then please email Kieran O'Connor at kierano@plutobooks.com

Talking of outdated gender stereotyping in popular culture, I think you will very much enjoy looking at these seriously outdated vintage advertisements!

Any novel set in the Houses of Parliament is probably onto A Good Thing I feel, as it has provided the location for many a memorable moment – most recently perhaps, THAT scene in Apple Tree Yard.  Among my personal favourite fictional political characters are Hugh Grant as the PM in Love Actually; Alan B'Stard played by Rik Mayall; all the cast of Yes Minister; Frances Urquhart; Malcolm Tucker; Harriet Jones played by Penelope Wilton and Harold Saxon (aka The Master) played by John Simm in Dr Who; and the prime minister in Ian McEwan's The Child in Time whose name I can’t remember. Any more? This leads me neatly to a new arrival in this genre; The Threat Level Remains Severe (pb, £8.99, 978 1910709153) which shines a sly light into the backrooms and office romances of the corridors of power by an author who currently works there! You can find out more about her inspiration for the book here.  There will be an interview with Rowena Macdonald in the Femail section of the Daily Mail on Saturday 8th July and this Sunday (2 July) Rowena will be featuring in the One Day slot in the Sunday Telegraph magazine, Stella. This is a full page of promotion – terrific publicity for this stylish, acutely observed contemporary drama, published next week by Gallic.

A few weeks ago; we talked about the Chemsex Monologues, and this week we tell you about Something for the Weekend: Life in the Chemsex Underworld (pb, £12.99, 978 1785902291) coming from Biteback on 27 July. When James Wharton left the army, he found himself with more opportunities than most to begin a successful civilian life; a husband, two dogs, two cars, a nice house in the countryside and a book deal. But a year later he found himself alone, living in one room and trying to adjust to single gay life back in the capital. In his search for new friends and potential lovers, he became sucked into London's gay drug culture, soon becoming addicted to partying and the phenomenon that is 'chemsex’. Exploring his own journey through this dark but popular world, James looks at the motivating factors that led him to the culture, as well as examining the paths taken by others. He reveals the real goings-on at the weekends for thousands of people after most have gone to bed, and how modern technology allows them to arrange, congregate, furnish themselves with drugs and spend hours, often days, behind closed curtains, with strangers and in states of heightened sexual desire. Something for the Weekend looks compassionately at a growing culture that's now moved beyond London and established itself as more than a short-term craze. As our sales team have reported, the jacket of this book is certainly not for the more conservative or timid booksellers among you  but as they always do, Biteback have definitely tapped into a growing trend, and there will be a market for this title.

Yuri Herrera was tipped in the Critic’s Picks for the Summer Books of 2017 in the Financial Times this week as one of "two of the best writers working today: unsentimental, clear-eyed witnesses in troubling times" You can see that whole piece here.  The book they were recommending was Kingdom Cons (pb, £8.99, 978 1908276926) which has just been published by And Other Stories. Part surreal fable and part noir romance, this prize-winning novel in which a penniless street musician swears an oath of loyalty to a powerful Mexican drug baron, questions the price of keeping your integrity in a world ruled by patronage and power.  The New York Times called it "short, suspenseful . . . outlandish and heartbreaking."

A drug baron usually makes pretty memorable fictional villain – or sometimes even hero. Who’s top of the pile? Walter White? Tony Montana? Have a look here at a pictorial line up of fifteen of the most ruthless and powerful, from The Wire to 21 Jump Street. And here are WatchMojo’s Top Ten Movie Drug Dealers – they so shouldn’t be cool, but some of them so are!

How to manage childhood anxiety is a growing concern for many. Dr Suzanne Barret and Dr Fiona Zandt, the authors of Creative Ways to Help Children Manage Big Feelings (pb, £19.99, 978 1785920745) which has just been published by Jessica Kingsley; spoke recently about the issue on a podcast here. This ingeniously easy-to-use therapy toolkit helps children to stay on top of "big" feelings like anger, sadness and anxiety and provides activities using everyday materials and a variety of tried-and-tested therapy models. With its winning mix of creative resources and clinical expertise, all wrapped up in a simple and practical format, this is the ideal companion for those working with children aged 4-12.

How many of you are secretly budding crime writers who dream of giving up your day job and plunging into the fickle world of publishing? Charles E McGarry’s was one such would-be author and in his thirties, he gave up a well-paid job as a business analyst with BT to concentrate on writing. He received one rejection after another from agents and publishers and some fourteen years later, his tale is finally being published next week by Polygon. You can hear all about his journey from the bedroom to the bookshelf on a brilliant 6-part podcast which you can find at www.debutpodcast.com. It includes interviews with two of the biggest names in Scottish crime writing, Val McDermid and Chris Brookmyre, who offer advice to McGarry on his fledgling literary career as well as many entertaining insights into the journey to publication. The Ghost of Helen Addison (pb, £7.88, 978 1846973796) was featured in the Bookseller’s Editor’s Choice, and there have also been pieces about it in Scotland on Sunday, the Daily Record and in the Scotsman here.  Charles’ editor at Polygon loved how the novel’s protagonist, private detective Leo Moran, was not the conventional divorcee, alcoholic detective with the empty fridge; but an avowed gourmand and wine connoisseur who enjoys the pleasures of life to the hilt in the splendid isolation of his West End apartment! However, he becomes increasingly unsettled by his visions of violent crimes, and after the ritualistic murder of a young woman in Argyll, he helps the police, meeting a host of strange and colourful characters along the way, including her ghost…

The Book of Khartoum (pb, £9.99, 978 1905583720) which was published in April by Comma, is back in the spotlight, as one of the stories featured by Sudanese author Bushra al-Fadil; The Story of the Girl whose Birds Flew Away; has been shortlisted for The Caine Prize for African Writing. It is only the second translation from Arabic in the prize’s 18-year history. The story was translated into English for the first time by co-editor Max Shmookler, with support from Najlaa Osman Eltom. He is joined on the shortlist by Chikodili Emelumadu (Nigeria), Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria), Arinze Ifeakandu (Nigeria) and Magogodi oaMphela Makhene (South Africa). The Book of Khartoum was the first major collection of Sudanese short stories in English translation, and you can read al-Fadil’s shortlisted story in full here. There are reading and events across London promoting the prize next week which you can find out about here and the winner of the prize will be announced on Monday 3rd July. Comma have had quite a run of awards recently – you can find out more on their news pages here.  

In yet another week where the world appears to be ever more bonkers, I think it’s time for some more headlines from The Daily Mash …

  • Passionate crowd of about 15 people broke into chants of 'Oh, Andrea Leadsom' at a village fete in Northamptonshire yesterday
  • Tesco launches pre-binned bagged salad
  • Remainer celebrates one year of feeling morally superior
  • EU Brexit secretary David Davis is on his way home from Brussels after Google abolished the European Union.
  • Parenting 'a doddle', confirms aunt who has been babysitting for half an hour
  • May hoping for 'constructive relationship' with creationist homophobes who think Pope is Satan
  • Glastonbury massive media coverage welcomed by Britain's top letches
  • Please stay while we savour your humiliation, Britain tells May
  • Researchers discover only British actor who hasn't been in Doctor Who
  • Robots are enjoying the May-Hammond rapport
  • Corbyn to perform Labour manifesto on 50-date stadium tour
  • My idiot sons could run this country better than you, the Queen tells May
  • Third bottle of wine 'always a bad idea for wide variety of reasons', say experts
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.

Friday 23 June 2017

Compass Points 219

This week was National Breastfeeding Week and ex-midwife, parenting consultant and author Rachel Fitz-Desorgher hosted a Q&A session on the Mother and Baby social media pages to talk about this while ever so subtly promoting her fantastic new book Your Baby Skin to Skin (£12.99, pb, 978 1910336311) which is out from White Ladder Press. If you’re on Facebook, you can watch that session here - there have been over 4,500 views of it already! Your Baby Skin to Skin has had ecstatic reviews from parents, e.g. “After my second baby was born, I got rid of all the parenting books I had ever bought and swore I'd never buy another. The conflicting advice about 'the right way' to parent in the early years had ended up feeling deeply unhelpful. Your Baby Skin to Skin is the first book I've picked up since then that has had the opposite effect. It reminded me that the most helpful advice is simply to trust my instincts and listen to my baby” and really does give parents a fresh, empowering approach by the woman who has been described as “the best mother, doula, midwife and best friend all rolled into one”.

Here's a cool story – a dustbin man in Columbia has built a free community library of thrown away books. Mr Gutierrez, who has gained the nickname The Lord of the Books, began collecting books that had been dumped in the waste bins in wealthier parts of the city – the collection began with discarded copy of Anna Karenina.

The Sunday Herald's Culture Awards, dubbed Scotland's Oscars, have been unveiled and many congratulations to Birlinn who have THREE authors on the Author of the Year shortlist. The awards, now in their second year, are to celebrate, reward and nurture the huge pool of talent across the Scottish arts and cultural scene and the Birlinn three join a starry line up which include Ewan McGregor, Karen Gillan and David Tennant. The authors are: Liz Lochhead (Fugitive Colours, 978 1846973451), Kevin MacNeil (The Brilliant & Forever, 978 1846973376) and Malachy Tallack (The Un-Discovered Islands 978 846973505 and 60 Degrees North 978 1846973420). The Culture Awards will be held on Thursday, July 13, 2017 at Glasgow’s stylish art and music venue, SWG3.

James McAvoy won a Culture award last year – I love this clip of him on The Late Show explaining to a US audience exactly what it means to be Scottish!

Meet Simon Haines. For a decade, he's been chasing his dream: partnership at a law firm. The gruelling hours of his job have come close to breaking him, but he is now within a whisker of his millions and in less than two weeks, he will know the outcome of the partnership vote. He decides to spend the wait in Cuba to clear his mind before the arrival of the news that might change his life forever. But alone in Havana he becomes lost in nostalgia and begins to relive his past… Set against the backdrop of an uncertain world, Being Simon Haines by Tom Vaughan MacAulay (£8.99, pb 978 1910453353) is a searching story about the current generation of young professionals and their aspirations. It asks the most universal of questions: are we strong enough to know who we are? It was published by Red Door yesterday, with a launch at Waterstone’s Leadenhall and Red Door have organised a super Book Blogs Tour for it and reviews have been extremely enthusiastic – have a look and read the opening chapter of the book here.  
There is also an advertising campaign running on the Docklands Light Railway for the next three weeks plus a fun promotion with teaser cards promoting it on tube trains around the city and twenty copies of the book placed around London for readers to discover. This is all backed up with a clever Twitter campaign – have a look at #WhoIsSimonHaines . Being Simon Haines is an assured and intelligent debut: The Times said it “pushes all the seductive buttons in a world tangential to our own” and if you’d like to find out more, you can read a piece where Tom talks about writing it in the Warrington Guardian here.

There was an excellent interview with Alison Murdoch this week, discussing her powerful and poignant book Bed 12 (£9.99, pb, 9780995647800) about how it feels to suddenly plunge into the world of acute medicine, on BBC Radio London: you can listen to that here; (it starts at 2hours 6 minutes in). Dr Phil Hammond said this book was “a love letter to the NHS, and the everyday acts of kindness that keep it afloat ... it needs to be widely read” and Alison will be talking about it on Good Morning Sunday on 25th June and Hikari Press are expecting more coverage for it in the Guardian, Red Magazine and the Evening Standard. Alison will also be reading at The Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London on Saturday 24th June – details are here – and talking at The Royal Medical Society on 7th July.

In a thoroughly uncertain world, what you need to set yourself up for the day is a superfood breakfast and Lorenz have just the book. Superfood Breakfasts! 50 Smoothie Bowls, Power Bars & Energy Balls: Smoothie Bowls and Power-Packed Seed Bars and Balls to Start the Day by Sara Lewis (hb, £9.99, 978 0754832379) is bursting with fabulous breakfast ideas packed with essential vitamins, minerals, good fats, good carbs and fibre to help keep our body in tip-top shape and to boost our immunity. Soul and Spirit Magazine is featuring this title in in its July issue – you can see a couple of spreads from it below!

This week is Refugee Week so an ideal opportunity to remind you about Voices from the Jungle (pb, £14.99, 978 0745399683). The refugee camp near Calais epitomises for many the suffering, uncertainty and violence which characterises the situation of refugees in Europe today. But the media soundbites we hear often ignore the voices of the people who lived there; people who are looking for peace and a better future, people with astounding stories. Voices from the Jungle is a collection of these stories told in powerful, vivid language and illustrated with photographs, poems and drawings by the refugees. It paints a picture of a different kind of Jungle; one with a powerful sense of community despite evictions and attacks, and of a solidarity which crosses national and religious boundaries. It should be read by anyone hoping to understand this crisis a little better and you can see some of the pictures and read extracts from it on a blog here introduced by one of the editors, Katrine Møller Hansen. There have been promotional events for it linking in with Refugee Week at UEL, and at Book and Kitchen tomorrow – you can see more info about that one here. Voices from the Jungle: Stories from the Calais Refuge Camp is published by Pluto.

The Threat Level Remains Severe (pb, £8.99, 978 1910709153) published next month by Gallic has been chosen as one of Red Online's top summer reads  - you can see that here and its author Rowena Macdonald will feature in the Telegraph's Stella magazine on 2nd July, writing about her experience of having been stalked at work. Confirmed magazine review coverage also includes Good Housekeeping and Closer.

What’s the difference between a public service organisation and a sailing boat? You can find the answer here in an extract from The Moral Heart of Public Service, where its editor Claire Foster-Gilbert of the Westminster Abbey Institute explores why we so often think that members of the public service lack moral integrity. There was some great publicity this week in the Telegraph for this title which has just been published by Jessica Kingsley; a long interview with one of the contributors, Mary McAleese with two juicy plugs for the book!

On the subject of moral integrity, and as the Brexit talks finally grind into gear, I think it’s a good time to watch this  – Tracey Ullman as Angela Merkel!

Millions of teens around the country are in the throes of exams. Tears, tizzes and tantrums abound – and that's just the parents. Two men hoping to help children and their parents get a handle on the most effective ways of revising, and handling stress have a brilliant book out from Crown House packed with their expert tips – and it’s getting lots of publicity! Bradley Busch and Edward Watson have worked with Premier League footballers and Olympians, and strongly believe that the techniques they’ve used to coach elite athletes can help children achieve their potential. Release Your Inner Drive: Everything You Need to Know about How to Get Good at Stuff (£9.99, pb, 978 1785831997) was featured recently here in the Daily Mail, and here in the Guardian and there will be more to come – these authors are GREAT at self-promotion! “LOVE this book. Perfect for teenagers as has lots of tips based on research. The graphics are fab and really colourful, so grabs attention quickly. The parts on motivation and mindset really stand out. Would definitely recommend other parents get this book” is typical of the Amazon reviews – do NOT let them get all the sales!!

Actually, I think all you need to know about revision and exams is contained in this  classic Mr Bean clip – I can’t actually believe it was first broadcast 27 years ago!! Still comedy gold IMO.

A phenomenon in Turkey with more than 120,000 copies sold; Women Who Blow on Knots (pb, £9.99, 978 1910901694) chronicles a voyage reaching from Tunisia to Lebanon, taken by three young women and septuagenarian Madam Lilla. Its author Ece Temelkuran weaves an empowering tale pondering not only the social questions of politics, religion and women in the Middle East, but also the universal bonds of sister- and motherhood. Unique and controversial in its country of origin for its political rhetoric and strong, atypically Muslim female characters, it is Foyle’s Book of the Month for June and there have also been well attended events promoting it at Waterstones Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square; preview launches at Asia House, and appearances at the Hay Festival, the Edinburgh Festival and the Stoke Newington Literature Festival. KulturWest described it as being “like a firework. It is the book where Twitter and the Thousand and One Nights fairytales meet.” Ece Temelkuran is one of Turkey’s best-known novelists and political commentators and this title is a PEN Translates Award Winner – definitely one to watch. As one reviewer said “If you cannot think of a better road story with heroines other than Thelma & Louise, you should read this novel”. It has just been published by Parthian.

Jane Menczer was on BBC Cambridge recently promoting her title An Unlikely Agent (£8.99, pb, 978 1846973802) which was published last month by Birlinn. The book bloggers have gone mad for this title: “I would heartily recommend it if you enjoy spy novels with a twist of romance, elements of danger and plenty of nail-biting suspense”; “an enthralling Edwardian espionage thriller featuring an endearing, independent female lead and lashings of intrigue”; “an engrossing read, with many funny moments, and I rather hope this gifted debut novelist dishes up more detective delights in the very near future”.

When does a riot become a revolution? When does a demonstration of dissent tip over into a moment of unstoppable political change? Protest: Stories of Resistance (pb, £14.99, 978 1905583737) asked fifteen authors to bring crucial moments of British protest to life. Each author is paired with either a historian or a genuine witness to the protest; resulting in the stories being both readable and factually informed; and each tale is then followed by an accessibly written afterword by the witness or historian. By following fictional characters caught up in the momentum of nonfictional moments, the stories offer rare insights into protests from a live, street-level perspective and include the Peasants Revolt, the Suffragettes, the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, Greenham Common, and more. The authors include Frank Cottrell Boyce, David Constantine, Alexei Sayle and Maggie Gee. This is a brilliant and timely idea for a short story anthology – it has a great cover and it is published by Comma Press on 6 July. You can see some of the authors reading their stories on YouTube here.

So, let’s end with the Top Ten Protest Songs! Power to the people! Right now!

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. And if you'd like to subscribe to the newsletter so that you get it every week in your own inbox then please submit your email at the foot of this page!

Friday 16 June 2017

Compass Points 218

What a fabulous window this is from Golden Hare Books in Edinburgh  featuring a gorgeous hand painted illustration inspired by Sinéad Morrissey’s new volume of poetry On Balance (pb, £9.99, 978 1784103606) published by Carcanet which has just been nominated for the Forward Prize.
Winner of the 2017 Poetry Book Society Choice Award, and set against a backdrop of ecological and economic instability, this new collection (her sixth) examines some of the great feats of human engineering to reveal the states of balance and imbalance that have shaped our history. The poems also address gender inequality and our inharmonious relationship with the natural world and is a tour de force from the writer who the Independent described as “the outstanding poet of her generation.”

Carcanet also have The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx by Tara Bergin, (£9.99, pb, 978-1784103804) which is published on 27 July, Raking Light by Eric Langley and Ian Patterson (£9.99, pb, 978 1784103323) and The Plenty of Nothing by Ian Patterson (published in PN Review) shortlisted for these prestigious awards – a title in every category in fact, which is tremendous! The Forward Prizes for Poetry are the most coveted awards for poetry and have played a key role in bringing contemporary poetry to the attention of the wider public for quarter of a century. 
The three prizes – £10,000 for Best Collection, £5,000 for Best First Collection and £1,000 for Best Single Poem – are unique in honouring both the work of established poets and the debuts of brilliant unknowns. The 26th annual Forward Prizes will be awarded on 21 September 2017 at the Royal Festival Hall by jury chairman Andrew Marr You can see the full shortlist of 15 here and a piece in the Guardian here.

Today is Bloomsday –  the annual celebration of Joyce’s masterpiece Ulysses and a fine day to remind yourself of his genius! You may fancy yourself as a bit of a literary genius yourself – but how well do you know your Joyce? Test your knowledge with our 16 questions for 16 June in this fine Guardian quiz here.

Quite a bit of publicity over the last week for The European Game: The Secrets of European Football Success (£14.99, 978 1909715486) which has just been published in paperback by Arena Sport. Over three months Daniel Fieldsend travelled the continent discovering the methods for success used at some of the biggest clubs in Europe; from Ajax, Juventus, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and many more. At every stop on his journey, Fieldsend delved to the very heart of what made the club tick, speaking to members of staff all the way up the hierarchical ladder, from scouts and academy coaches to first team managers, analysts and board members, pulling back the curtain to reveal their day to day workings. Insightful and compelling, The European Game comprises leadership, tactics, coaching and scouting as well as politics, finance, fandom and culture. It is a broad investigation into Europe's relationship with football and what nations can learn from one another. Daniel has done some radio interviews for it, including Radio City, which you can listen to as a podcast here, and TalkSport Radio. The Economist said it “shows how globalisation, and the professionalisation of all facets of football, have transformed the sport on the continent…and how important regional and national differences between teams still linger” and there will be articles in the Morning Star, Goal magazine and others to come.

Many women want children – long for them in fact; but have to come to terms with the fact that it is not to be. Dear You: A Letter to my Unborn Children (pb, £9.99, 978 1910453407) is a breathtakingly candid and moving memoir, in which Tessa Broad writes to the children that never were. She writes to them as their adult selves with openness and honesty and tells them of the childhood she envisaged for them and the mother she believed she would be. She describes her reluctant transformation from the woebegone, wannabe mummy that she once was, to the woman she is now; childless but sailing through Mother's Day with a smile on her face. From the 'trying for a family' stage to the relentless treadmill of infertility treatment, Tess recounts her story with humour, warmth and pathos, taking the reader on her journey with her, sharing her experiences, the roller-coaster ride of IVF, the sudden departure of the husband whose children she wanted to have and ultimately to her acceptance that the life she wanted was not hers for the taking. Dear You: A Letter to my Unborn Children by Tessa Broad which is published by Red Door is being serialised in the Daily Mail between 15-24th June and there will also be an interview, extract and photos to run in Bella magazine on the week of publication which is 29 June.

The dreadful events in the UK recently have certainly focussed our attention on the gallant boys in blue – so a very timely publication date for How to be a Police Officer by Graham Wettone (pb, £12.99, 978 1785902192) which was launched last night at Daunts. Published by Biteback this is a must-read for anyone curious about the reality of life on the front-line and takes you from those first thoughts about joining through to the training itself and to the real work involved in policing. A thirty-year veteran of the police service in London and across the UK, Graham Wettone now trains prospective police recruits and is the policing expert for Sky News. This book offers fascinating insights into the job taking in the upheavals that have shaped the landscape of British policing and explaining what it really takes to make it in the force.

Well, there are plenty to choose from, and Graham Wettone may not approve – but what are your most hilarious cop moments from the world of film? Here's a top ten to get you thinking…definitely more How NOT to be a Police Officer!

The Portrait (pb, £8.99, 9781910477434) – a new novella by Antoine Laurain – is out in a fortnight from Gallic and will be reviewed in the Saturday Express this weekend and the Observer very shortly. This author has so many fans, and as one blogger put it, this is “a delightful literary soufflé that fans of his other charming books will savour… distinctive for its energetic prose and plot and for his skill in rendering simple what is otherwise complex… pure entertainment.” As always with Laurain, the premise of this book hooks you in straight away. An art collector, Pierre-François Chaumont is stunned to discover an eighteenth-century portrait of an unknown man who looks just like him and much to his delight, his bid for the work is successful. However, his jaded wife and circle of friends are unable to see the resemblance, but Chaumont remains convinced of it, and as he researches into the painting’s history, he is presented with the opportunity to abandon his tedious existence and walk into a brand-new life…

Bring your lover to live with you and your husband. What could go wrong? Possibly a Love Story by Olivia Fane is a viciously funny satire on the middle classes and middle-class values, but with a huge heart, and it’s getting some fab reviews! “Hugely entertaining, I read it in two sittings” said Isabel Wolff and the Telegraph wrote “Her work ... has an almost dreamlike clarity.” It’s ideal for summer reading book tables, and is perfect subtle and clever holiday escapism. Possibly a Love Story (pb, £8.99, 978 1910050965) is published by Arcadia.

Ooh, we do love a love triangle! From Romeo and Juliet, to Gatsby, Daisy and Tom to Twilight, this has been an enduring literary theme – have a look at this list of some of the most famous book love triangles here! And what are the Top Ten film Love Triangles? Thought you’d never ask – they’re right here!

Here’s an interesting question – does the curse of the 'difficult second album' affect poets as well as musicians? The Telegraph ponders this question here , and comes to the conclusion that in fact, some of the most famous poets, such as Sylvia Plath and Philip Larkin, only found their voice in their second books. The reason behind this musing was the launch this week of the Ledbury Forte Prize; a biannual award for follow-ups, with a £5,000 prize. This is the first award of its kind, and the shortlist features Carcanet's Holy Toledo! (pb, £9.99, 978 1784102609) by John Clegg. This startling new collection is a bestiary of the American Southwest; a history of English literary criticism in the twentieth century and an unreliable guide to the desert! Generous, humorous, oddly askew, the poems in this book have their own highly individual rangy energy. The winner of the Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize will be announced at this year’s Ledbury Poetry Festival, on Friday June 30.

An interesting story on the BBC news today about a bell from SS Mendi which has just been recovered in Swanage. You can read the whole piece here. SS Mendi sank off the Isle of Wight during WW1, killing more than 600 black South African labourers. Historic England's book We Die Like Brothers: The Sinking of the SS Mendi (hb, £17.99, 978 1848023697) by John Gribble was published earlier this year and is an important book, demonstrating that SS Mendi is one of a very select group of historic shipwrecks from which contemporary political and social meaning can be drawn. The wreck of the SS Mendi is now recognised as one of England's most significant WW1 heritage assets and in this book, John Gribble uses the loss of the Mendi to highlight the story of the SANLC and other labour corps as well as the wider treatment of British imperial subjects in wartime.

BuzzFeed Books recently asked subscribers to their newsletter to tell them about a book they couldn't get out of their head. Have a look here at the 31 novels that their fans say will stick with you long after you've finished reading.

Last week I told you how much I am enjoying Joanna Walsh’s short stories Words from World End which are coming in September, and this week I am very pleased to tell you that her spellbinding second collection Vertigo, (£8.99, pb, 978 1908276803) published by And Other Stories is one of five titles nominated on an all-female shortlist for the £10,000 Edge Hill Short Story Prize. The winner will be announced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on the 26th August. Prize organiser Ailsa Cox, described it as an “amazing line-up”. She said: "All five writers are rising stars, and you're going to hear a lot more of them in the future. In each of these collections, you'll find passion, wit and intelligence, and above all a way of working with language that is unique to the short story form.” The prize is the only UK-based award that recognises excellence in published short story collections and will also include a £1,000 Reader’s Choice Award to an author from the shortlist. Find out more in the Bookseller here.

The Bureau of Second Chances by Sheena Kalayil (978 1846973925, pb, £8.99) was published yesterday by Polygon and this beautifully written book set in India, explores how life can change unexpectedly while restoring the readers faith in human kindness with its warm-hearted hero Thomas. It has had some fab reviews from the blogs and press: “There is plenty of light, with passages that will make you smile, but it has its share of darkness, touching on caste and social expectations in India, as well as reflections on marriage, illness and parenting ... I raced through the last third of the book on the edge of my seat, desperate to know how it turned out” said The Bookbag, giving it five stars; while Scotland on Sunday wrote “A bittersweet, uplifting tone makes it impossible to put down. Kalayil writes beautifully, painting colourful portraits of her characters and managing her story's unexpected twists with aplomb.” There’s an author interview, coming up at the start of July in the Sunday Post, and an extract in the Scotsman and an interview with Sheena Kalayil on BBC Radio Manchester, plus some railway station advertising in Edinburgh.

Here’s an interesting e-book idea; a new book app is challenging the notion that reading “well” necessarily means falling back on the same old classics, from Trollope to Tolstoy. Each week, Alexi, a “digital book club”, turns to writers for inspiration, asking them to rout out hidden gems which are then offered to members to read on their phone or tablet. The result is an ever-changing library that features a selection of books you are less likely to know. You can read about it and see the suggestions here –  interesting, but still not a patch on a human bookseller’s recommendation in my opinion!

Tis now the season of suddenly being asked to rustle up some cakes for a school fete or other summer shindig; so thank heaven for Traybakes: 40 Brilliant One-Tin Bakes for Enjoying, Giving and Selling by Hannah Miles (hb, £9.99, 978 0754832843) which was published in March by Lorenz. This tasty title is featured in the June/July issue of Baking Heaven and there was also a piece about it on the BBC Three Counties Radio programme. Traybakes are one of the simplest forms of cakes and oh joy, they can be prepared in very little time and cut into easy squares to serve, sell and eat! They transport easily in their tin and are just right for offering up at a summer event! Every recipe fits the same standard tin size and they each make 24 slices. Chocolate brownies and blondies, lemon meringue, red velvet and more this is genuinely a really good collection of tried-and-tested irresistible bakes. Its author Hannah Miles was a finalist in the 2007 BBC MasterChef programme, in which she gained the hearts of the nation and the adulation of the judges: John Torode said of her: “I think Hannah is one of the most naturally gifted cooks I have seen in a long time.” Hannah’s food career has since taken off, and she writes for various magazines, including Delicious, and continues to make television and MasterChef Live appearances. As always from Lorenz, this book has step by step recipes and full colour spreads on every page, a couple of which you can see below– the photography is mouth-watering and the price fantastic!

Thanks very much to Waterstone’s in ScotlandWild Guide Scotland: Hidden Places, Great Adventures and the Good Life (£16.99, pb 978 1910636121) published by Wild Things is currently their Book of the Month for June, and it’s selling like the Flying Scotsman! Look at this absolutely stonking window display from Waterstone’s Aberdeen!

So, let’s end here today with Wild Thing from the Trogs to celebrate! Wild Things Publishing – you do make our hearts sing and yes, we think we love you!

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.