Friday 21 July 2017

Compass Points 223

The UK is set to go crazy for Cezanne this autumn, when the major exhibition of his portraits that is currently on in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris transfers to London’s National Portrait Gallery from 26 October to 11 February 2018 before it moves to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Lorenz have an excellent book on this artist by Suzie Hodge. Cezanne: His Life and Work in 500 Images (hb, £16.99, 978 0754823131) is a gorgeous book exploring this fascinating artist who changed the world of art and inspired future painters such as Picasso and Matisse, who said of Cezanne that he was "the father of us all." See a couple of spreads below – it is packed with interesting info and beautiful pictures. And a heads up that from 2 November 2017 to 7th May 2018, Tate Britain are running a major exhibition entitled Impressionists in London, French artists in Exile. This focuses a lot on Monet's paintings that he did in London, and Lorenz also have the perfect accompanying title for this: Monet: His Life and Work in 500 Images (hb, £16.99, 978 0754819530) – all in the paintings in the exhibition are in the book!

And if you want to remind yourself of the genius that was Cezanne – then this evoactive ten-minute trip through his work is a pretty good place to start!

There have been some terrific reviews recently for Patty Yumi Cottrell's beguiling debut Sorry to Disrupt the Peace (pb, £10, 978 1911508007) which was published in May by And Other Stories“Electrifying in its freshness . . . equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking” said The Observer, “Blackly comic and sophisticated . . . the memorable impact of Sorry to Disturb the Peace . . . comes from what lurks unsaid” said The Spectator and there have also been pieces in the Irish Times, The Skinny Buzz Magazine and you can read an interview with Patty Yumi Cottrell here in the Guardian.

As we welcome back Game of Thrones to our screens, I wonder if you are seeing an upsurge in sales of the book? Or is Lord of the Rings still the bookseller’s bread and butter bestseller? I found this Epic Rap Battle between the two very funny!

Sammy is a spiky teenager living in Dublin, Nico is a warm and conscientious girl from Moldova. When they are thrown together in a Dublin brothel in a horrific twist of fate, a peculiar and important bond is formed. Harvesting (£11.99, pb, 978 1848405974) is a novel about a flourishing but hidden world, thinly concealed beneath a veneer of normality and was inspired by author Lisa Harding’s involvement with a campaign against sex trafficking run by the Children’s Rights Alliance. Heartbreaking and funny, gritty and raw; it is about the failings of polite society, the bluster of youth and the often appalling weakness of adults, where redemption is found in friendship and unexpected acts of kindness. The Irish Times said of it “Harding is to be commended for writing about such an important and under-reported topic... a character-driven and highly dramatic novel...vivid and credible” and Roddy Doyle called it “shocking and shockingly good. It is thought-provoking, anger-provoking, guilt-provoking, and most importantly it is a brilliantly written novel.” There was a recent excellent review in the London Economic which you can read here. It’s just been published by New Island.

A most interesting piece by Secret Bookseller, which you can read here about the effects of discounting on an indie bookshop like hers.  She points out that retailers are already jockeying for position as to who can sell La Belle Sauvage (the new Philp Pullman title, out in October) at the cheapest price possible and provides an extremely comprehensive overview of the winners and losers of this approach. Tons of facts and figures to absorb, plus relevant comment from the bookselling community. Very thought provoking.

Andrew Crofts is a ghost-writer and author who has published more than eighty books, a dozen of which were Sunday Times number one bestsellers. His new novella under his own name: Secrets of The Italian Gardner (pb, £7.99, 978 1910453384) has just been published in paperback by Red Door, and as part of the publicity, they set up a blog tour for Andrew – something new to him – and maybe to some of you. Read his amusing piece entitled Confessions of a Blog Tour Virgin here on Book Brunch. He discusses what he perceives as “a radical power shift” in the publishing process, meaning that both readers and authors now have far more opportunities to talk to one another directly, speeding up "word-of-mouth" recommendations” and “streamlining the whole process to a fantastic degree.” Secrets of The Italian Gardner begins when Mo, the wealthy dictator of a volatile Middle Eastern country, enlists a ghost-writer to tell his story to the world and enshrine him in history as a glorious ruler. Reviewers have said “I found this book to be totally absorbing” and “like the flowers on the cover, the story bursts from the pages and really grips you from start to finish…an unusual story; unique and well worth reading.”

Not the Booker Prize 2017 is back for another year of compelling contention and it’s time to get your recommendations in! This award is run by the Guardian newspaper, and was set up in 2009, to see if the wider reading community could do any better than the official Booker jury, asking: Does the blogging crowd have more wisdom than the panel? Can we come up with a more interesting shortlist than the judges? And can we pick a better winner? You can nominate any book eligible for this year’s Man Booker prize (that is to say basically any novel originally written in English, by a writer of any nationality, published in the UK between 1 October 2016 and 30 September 2017). All you have to do is post on the comments section of this page here with the book, author, publisher and pub date. Nominations will remain open until 23.59 BST on Sunday 30 July. 

There will be a big review of Seasonal Disturbances (£9.99, pb, 978 1784103361) Karen McCarthy Woolf’s highly-anticipated follow-up collection to her Forward Prize-shortlisted debut An Aviary of Small Birds in the Sunday Times this weekend. This compelling collection explores climate change, immigration, racism and the British class system; very much tapping into the post-Brexit current political climate. Warsan Shire (whose poetry featured prominently in Beyoncé’s 2016 feature-length film Lemonade) called it “a strange and stunning collection from a true writer. Vulnerable, hilarious and wise, Seasonal Disturbances is a darkly humorous exploration of the human condition.” Warsan Shire is the first Young Poet Laureate of London and has over 87k Twitter followers, so this is a great endorsement to have. Seasonal Disturbances is published next week by Carcanet, and you can see Karen reading some of the poems from her first collection here.

As a Guardian columnist, award-winning teacher, award-winning broadcaster, author, editor, singer, songwriter, producer and public speaker; Phil Beadle knows a bit about leading a life that is both creative and successful. In Rules for Mavericks: A Manifesto for Dissident Creatives (pb, £9.99. 978 1785831133) he glides and riffs around the idea of being nonconformist, examining the processes of producing good work in creative fields and examining how orthodoxies can silence dissident voices. It is a 'how to dream' book, a 'how to create' book, a 'how to work' book and a 'how to fail productively' book. In this elegant guidebook to leading an imaginative and inventive life, Phil writes that “If you make any stand against power, then power will stand against and on you. And it will do so with centuries of experience and techniques in how to do so effectively: you will be painted as barbaric, dismissed as stupid and insane, be told to know your place. Most of all, you will be termed maverick.” Rules for Mavericks was published this spring by Crown House and you can listen to a short podcast of Phil talking about his inspiring book here. There has been lots of publicity already for this title – which you can view here.  

In 2012, The Recovery Letters website was launched to host a series of letters online written by people recovering from depression. It now has around 3,500 page views a month, and you can view it at . The inspirational and heartfelt letters provided hope and support to those experiencing from this terrible condition, and were testament that recovery was possible. Now these letters have been compiled into an anthology and are interspersed with motivating quotes and additional resources as well as new material written specifically for the book. The Recovery Letters: Addressed to People Experiencing Depression (pb, £9.99, 978 1785921834) edited by James Withey and Olivia Sagan has been much praised as “a message of hope from the dark side, an antidote of rational belief to fight the lack of faith all depressives feel” and this powerful collection of personal letters from people with first-hand experiences of depression will serve as a comforting resource for anyone on the journey. There will be a piece in the Telegraph next week on this title, including an interview with James discussing his own experiences of depression and talking about why he started the project. Two of the letters are published in the current issue of Marie Clare with an introduction to the book from the authors, two more are extracted with a summary of the book in Women’s Health magazine and there’s a piece on Female First entitled Five Reasons Why You Won’t Understand Depression if You’ve Never Had It which you can read here. Gwyneth Lewis, author of Sunbathing in the Rain said “This book will save lives, which can't be said of many. Writing or reading a letter strikes at the sense of isolation which is at the root of despair. Read this book, buy it for others, it's rare and powerful medication.”

What a fabulous summer many of us are enjoying this year. Naturally, no sooner have I written this than it’s just started raining. Nevertheless, if you have customers looking for something to take with them as they stride enthusiastically into the Great British Countryside; then an ideal recommendation would be William and Dorothy Wordsworth: A Miscellany by Gavin Herbertson (pb, £9.99, 978 1903385593). The selection has been made with lovers of nature and in particular mountains, in mind and contains many of William's most well-known poems juxtaposed these poems with extracts from Dorothy Wordsworth's Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland. It has just received a five-star review on BookBag saying: “This is a great edition, displaying some of Wordsworth's best shorter works from across his literary career. It is a good taster if you're unfamiliar with the poet and what to read a broad range of his work… It’s worth mentioning the size and design of the edition here; it is compact, but hardy and strong … has been designed specifically to be taken out in nature; it is the kind of book that would accompany you on a long summer walk, to be taken out and read when surrounded by greenery and lakes. This is the perfect thing to take on a trip to the Lake District.” You can read the whole piece here. William and Dorothy Wordsworth: A Miscellany is published as a Rucksack Edition – which means it is both robust and small (18 x 3.5cm) – by Galileo.

Cyril Connolly famously said that “There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall” and author Sophie Jonas-Hill has certainly found writing her debut novel Nemesister challenging while looking after her two children – which she writes wittily about on the ByTheLetter book blog here. Nemesister (pb, £8.99, 978 1911129301) is an American gothic thriller of deception and obsession, slicked in sweat and set in the swamps of Louisiana; where the female protagonist stumbles into a deserted shack with no memory but a gun in her hand. Together with an apparent stranger she finds herself isolated and under attack from unseen assailants. Bloggers have loved it saying it “took me by surprise and I loved the twists and turns … the tension is slowly but surely ramped up … tense atmospheric feel mainly because of the location … unsettling and dark.” It’s out this week from Urbane.

Who doesn’t love a book title with a pun in it? Have a look here at eighteen of the funniest from Tequila Mockingbird to Here’s Looking at Euclid. Now Gibson Square have their own entry into the genre, with The Swinging Detective (pb, £8,99, 978 1783341177) by Henry McDonald. The author has been a Guardian journalist for 25 years and this novel is based on real events from when he was based in German as correspondent. Darker than The Killing and The Bridge, a detective (damaged by Northern Ireland) and his former girlfriend, seek to solve an increasingly gruesome trail of murders in Berlin. Cutting through a cast of seedy underworld figures, Russian mafia, corrupt politicians, neo-nazis, and Israeli avengers; hero Martin Peters is at first highly efficient, but his private swinging life soon starts to interfere with and dangerously hamper his investigation…

I absolutely LOVED The Singing Detective – and who wouldn’t want to hear that highly evocative theme tune again – played here live by the band that made it a 1940’s hit – the Harmonicats.

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week …
Richard Lyle @CompassRichard  So, you forget to print order forms before you go to bed, print them at 5:00am instead of having breakfast then leave them behind. #RepsLife
Red Lion Books @RedLionBooks  'If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up.' Hunter S Thompson, born #onthisday in 1937.
Carcanet Press @Carcanet  It’s been 200 years since the death of one of Britain's best novelists, Jane Austen, check out #JaneAusten200 to see how she's remembered
The Bookseller @thebookseller  Budget airline @easyJet has launched a children's book club with 7k classic books selected by Jacqueline Wilson:
Birlinn Books @BirlinnBooks  Our 25th birthday! Three cheers for our staff, authors, readers & all the wonderful people we've worked with over the years :)
Mark Scott @mark_jkp  The Gender Agenda: is it possible to raise children free of sexist stereotypes?
Comma Press @commapress  Happy publication day Refugee Tales: Volume II!  Listen in on @BBCRadio4's Today Programme today where one of the Refugee Tales guest walkers will be talking about his experience live!!
Richard Lyle @CompassRichard  The fight for supremacy over recalcitrant broadband continues. #RepsLife #RichardsDiary #workingfromhome
And Other Stories @ Andothertweets  Hurrah! Wonderful to see Fleur Jaeggy’s I am The Brother of XX as one of excellent @LRBbookshop bookseller Charlie's Picks! In some very good company too...
Compass IPS North @compass_david  Ok, I've resisted for so long, but now I'm embracing Twitter.
Matt Haig @matthaig1  WRITING TIPS 1. Write some words. 2. Delete some words. 3. Write some writing tips instead. 4. Eat a biscuit from the mini-bar. 5. Sigh.
That’s all for now folks! More next week!

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