Friday 25 August 2017

Compass Points 227

The footie season has started  (cue cross muttering that it gets earlier every year, doesn’t seem right when it’s still the school hols, far too hot to kick a ball about etc etc).  Take yourself back twenty-five years ago, when after numerous discussions with football authorities, players and television broadcasters, the First Division clubs resigned from the Football League and the Premier League was formed with the inaugural campaign starting on Saturday 15 August 1992. Here's  that classic “whole new ball game” ad for Sky – which for many marked the beginning of something great but for others heralded the beginning of the end of “real” football. Essential reading for every fan whatever their age and viewpoint, is a new paperback just out from Urbane: The Premier League: 25 Years by Lloyd Pettiford (pb, £12.99, 978 1911583097). It charts each of the twenty-five seasons with the story of how the titles were won and the players who starred. From 2011/12's incredible finale, to Arsenal's "Invincibles", as well as each of Manchester United's record 13 triumphs, find out more about the league’s rich history! The book also includes fan sections for every single one of the clubs that has appeared in the League, with greatest moments and greatest players, as well as the worst!

And if you are a footie fan then you will certainly enjoy this piece in the Telegraph – a look back at the first ever Premier League's 22 teams. Who were those squads and where are they now twenty-five years later?

What are you looking for in a debut historical novel? Award-winning author? Strong narrative voice? Evocative and striking cover? Salt Creek (£14.99, hb, 978 1910709412) coming from Aardvark in September by award-winning Australian author Lucy Treloar ticks all of these boxes and many more. A story of love, duty, hardship and intolerance told by a strong woman in 1850s colonial Australia, Kirsty Wark said of its heroine “Hester Finch is a wonderful character – the brave heart of this haunting, absorbing story.” The Australian wrote that it “refigures the historical novel … Salt Creek introduces a capacious new talent,” the Sydney Morning Herald said it was “written with a profound respect for history: with an understanding that beyond a certain point, the past and its people are unknowable” and Bookbag called it an “evocative and beautifully written debut novel, set in 19th century Australia. Rich with landscape and stifling heat, it is absorbing and thought-provoking.” If you would like to read an extract and also find out more about Lucy Treloar’s inspiration for this captivating novel, you can do that here.  I can thoroughly recommend it!

Who wouldn’t want to read this on today’s BuzzFeed – Ten Lovable Things about Bricks and Mortar Bookshops. Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes!

Next Tuesday (29th August) the BBC World Service will be broadcasting an episode of a new programme called In The Studio featuring the first female Poet Laureate of Jamaica, Lorna Goodison. The programme will follow Lorna’s progress as she crafts a poem to commemorate Emancipation Day, the end of slavery in Jamaica. This date is also Lorna’s birthday and you will be able to listen to the programme here. Lorna Goodison’s Collected Poems (pb, £14.99, 978 1784104665) is published by Carcanet.

Ros Ball and James Millar, the two authors of The Gender Agenda: A First-Hand Account of How Girls and Boys Are Treated Differently (pb, £9.99, 978 1785923203) were on Woman’s Hour this week. You can listen to Jane Garvey talking to the authors about the books, and the following fascinating phone-in here.  Aiming to tackle gender stereotypes head-on, this life changing experiment about gender identity presented as a collection of Ros and James’ online writing has already attracted loads of media attention and this “perceptive, practical and powerful” book is available now from Jessica Kingsley.

Pride in Publishing (PiP), a brand-new networking group for LGBTQ+ people in the industry, launched today to create a way for queer members of the publishing industry to meet up, connect with others and find peer support. The professional networking group aims to provide a space where LGBTQ+ employees in publishing can find fellowship and air suggestions for how to create progress for LGBTQ+ people and representation in the industry. You can read more about that story in the Bookseller here.

Mary Contini is the bestselling author of numerous books about Italian life and cooking, including Valvona & Crolla: A Year at an Italian Table and The Italian Sausage Bible. Now with Dear Alfonso: An Italian Feast of Laughter and Love; (pb, 9781780274805) she relates in her inimitable style the story of her father in law Carlo Contini. Heart-warming, moving Dear Alfonso is a wonderful celebration of food, family and friendship, taking the reader from wartime Naples, to Genoa, and eventually to Edinburgh, where Carlo arrived in 1952 on a three-month visa to learn English. Here his life was to change forever when he met Olivia Crolla and married into her family business, the famous delicatessen Valvona & Crolla. It’s published on 7 September by Birlinn, and BBC Radio Scotland will be talking about it on their Kitchen Café on 14.9.17, there’s a review coming up in Country Life, as well as interviews with Mary in the Herald Magazine and the Scotsman.

Staying with a foodie theme; the 2018 edition of the Good Food Guide (pb, £17.99, 978 0953798360) is published on 7 September by Waitrose, and there is lots and lots of publicity for it – especially the news that a Cornish seafood restaurant has been crowned the best in the UK, elbowing L’Enclume in Cumbria into second place after four years in the top spot. The guide also raves about unlikely new entrants, including a tiny 12-seater Kent dining room that doesn't yet have a customer loo, and a canteen in a posh holiday park. You can read some of the many articles here in the Times, here in the Sun and here  in the Mail – pretty much all the nationals covered it! The press also picked up on plenty of other stories from the new Guide including this article saying that many restaurants' loud music is proving a turn off for diners – apparently a growing number of establishments are putting off customers by deafening them with "Glastonburyforce" songs! Elizabeth Carter, editor of the guide, said: "Restaurants are getting noisier - that's what our readers, this year in unprecedented numbers, are telling us" which is leading to a spike in complaints about noise from customers The Good Food Guide first started ranking the UK's restaurants in 1951 and is now easily the UK’s bestselling restaurant guide The expert inspectors dine anonymously and pay the bill in full and their entertaining and impartial reviews take account of feedback from thousands of regular diners, making it an essential companion to eating out in Britain. It also includes interviews with top chefs and all the latest new foodie trends!

As you-know-who appears to be making ever more psychopathic decisions across the pond; Arcadia continue to get plenty of publicity for Darkness Over Germany (£15.00, pb, 978 1911350194) – the warning from history for our troubled times which was first published in 1943. Amy Buller's compelling interviews with Germans from the 1930s really resonate with today’s issues and political events – the #warningfromhistory is trending on social media – and there is much to learn from this powerful book.

And on the same note, I liked this article in the Guardian – the top ten books about tyrants. How about a tyrannical window display – you could include This Is Not America (£12.99, pb, 978 1785902352) by Alan Friedman just out from Biteback which is a searing account, examining the real America through the mouths of its citizens. Friedman tells a vivid story of terrible inequality – from the excesses of Wall Street to the grinding poverty of Mississippi – and explores the issues, from racism and gun control to Obamacare, that have polarised a nation. A title to watch out for from Biteback in 2018 will definitely be Trump's Willing Executioners (pb, £12.99 978 1785902925) by Simon Marks which is a look at the extraordinary cast of characters; ideologues, chancers, enablers, spinners, thugs and even some genuine public servants who have thrown their hat into the ring occupied by the 45th POTUS.

And here is WatchMojo’s take on the Top Ten Most Ruthless Dictators in History.

In fresh evidence of the vibrancy of Irish literary publishing; comes the news this week that the wonderful New Island Books, our favourite Dublin-based publisher, and Head of Zeus, the London-based Independent Publisher of the Year, are to collaborate on a range of literary titles originated by New Island. You can read the full story in the Irish Times here.   

I very much enjoyed reading this post from Secret Bookseller this week on what she thinks of the ever-increasing number of self-published authors out there. Do have a read and see if you agree, or if you think she’s being as “snarky” as some of her twitter followers clearly do!

Women Who Blow on Knots (pb, £9.99, 978 1910901694) by Ece Temelkuran which has just been published by Parthian is getting some great reviews. “If you cannot think of a better road story with heroines other than Thelma & Louise, you should read this novel” and “an extraordinary novel, a stunning road story,” “a feminist and fairytale-like partners in crime novel which is a breathtaking thriller at the same time,” “like a firework. It is the book where Twitter and the Thousand and One Nights fairy tales meet.” A phenomenon in Turkey with more than 120,000 copies sold, Women who Blow on Knots chronicles a voyage reaching from Tunisia to Lebanon, taken by three young women and septuagenarian Madam Lilla. Although the three young women (each holding a dark secret) embark on the road for different reasons it is only at the journey's point of no return that Lilla's own murderous motivations for the trip become clear. Unique and controversial in its country of origin for its political rhetoric and strong, atypically Muslim female characters, Temelkuran weaves an empowering tale that challenges us to ponder not only the social questions of politics, religion and women in the Middle East, but also the universal bonds of sister- and motherhood.  Women Who Blow on Knots was a featured title this month at Blackwells Oxford – and definitely deserves a wider readership. You can watch a short promotional film for the book on YouTube here.

Karen McCarthy Woolf will be live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row at 7.15pm on Tuesday 5th September discussing Seasonal Disturbances (pb, £9.99, 978 1784103361). A 2017 Poetry Book Society recommendation, these lyrical and inventive poems are charged yet meditative explorations of nature, the city, and the self and have just been published by Carcanet.

I haven’t got any musical themed books to finish with today – so here's  Tay Tay’s new one instead, which dropped today to frenzied fever from the over-excited Swifties.
PersonalIy, I think the best thing about it is that it apparently references this Right Said Fred seminal classic I’m Too Sexy, and they are credited as co-writers. Genius.

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week …

BOOKS etc. @BOOKSetc It's #NationalLazyDay another excuse to do absolutely nothing, apart from finding a quiet place to read a good book.
Comma Press @commapress Fight fake news with historically accurate fiction, Protest: Stories of Resistance @edbookfest, don't miss it!
Red Lion Books @RedLionBooks Happy Birthday to Martin Amis, who once said 'No novel has ever changed anything, as far as I can see.'
Polygon Books @PolygonBooks 'a rattlebag of rumbles, fumbles and the affectionate potshot or two at some sacred koos' @culturevultures on Oyster by by Michael Pedersen and Scott Hutchison
Oberon Books @OberonBooks Get thee to #Foyles Charing Cross for 3 for 2 across #EdFringe17 plays! It's like you're really there! ...Kinda. #theatre #books #bargain
Biteback Publishing @BitebackPub Meet the former soldier @jameswharton who lost a year to London’s #chemsex scene here  @TimeOutLondon
Matthew at Urbane @urbanepub Summer in Tintagel by Amanda James is officially the Amazon no 1 bestseller in romance!
Comma Press @commapress Thanks to @GoldenHareBooks for showing us around your beautiful shop, amazing to see indie publishers on every shelf! #northernfictionalliance
Gallic & Aardvark @BelgraviaB @RowenaMacdonald debut novel 'The Threat Level Remains Severe' wins new fans here   @LitroMagazine #notthebooker
That’s all for now folks! More next week!

This newsletter 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 18 August 2017

Compass Points 226

Is there a man or woman among us who does not love this theme tune?

Super-popular TV channel Gold are about to screen a brand new six-part series on Only Fools and Horses starting on Tuesday August 29th which looks like a real must-watch for the show's millions of fans. (At its height, more than 24 million people watched this classic comedy series, making it Britain's most popular television programme ever!) As well as featuring Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst, the new programme gives rare perceptions into the show and what went on both on and off camera. The Story of Only Fools and Horses features previously unseen material as well as insights from the show's biggest fans, such as Jonathan Ross and Danny Baker AND Steve Clark, author of Only Fools and Horses: The Official Inside Story (pb, £9.99, 978 0955891694) which is published by Splendid Books and available now! You can find out all about the new TV series here.  Only Fools and Horses: The Official Inside Story is fully authorised by the family of John Sullivan (the show's creator and writer) and contains in-depth interviews with all the show's stars and a comprehensive episode guide. Its author Steve Clark was the only writer on set for the filming of Only Fools and Horses, and this book gives a thoroughly engaging and unique insight into this legendary series – time to get it back into your bookshops methinks as the new Gold series looks like a biggie!
Are you a fool or do you know your horses? How much do you really know about the classic series – take the quiz here!

The world is littered with castles, once majestic but now standing as ghostly reminders to the way we once lived: an ancient hilltop fortress, a crusader citadel in the West Bank, a fairytale medieval castle fallen into ruin. A beautiful new book, Abandoned Castles by Kieron Connolly (hb, 978 1782745228, £19.99) just published by Amber, explores more than a hundred from all around the globe. From medieval Japanese castles to French foreign legion forts in Morocco, the book ranges widely across history telling a story about the way we fought and defended ourselves. Some are beautiful, others brutal, but each has survived and aged, long after the people are gone. With 150 outstanding colour photographs, Abandoned Castles is a brilliant pictorial examination of castles, forts, keeps, and defensive fortifications from the ancient world to the end of the nineteenth century. This title was featured in the Guardian recently as their Travel Photograph of the Week, which you can see here and as one reviewer said “There is something incredibly romantic about castles…more than anything they are also our link with a different world, places we can explore while walking in the footsteps of people who saw the world in a different way from us. I love this book because of its scope and its beauty and its explanations of why, where and when these castles came to be built…this would make a terrific present.”

In a year when much has been written about Passchendaele; 1917 - The Passchendaele Year: The Diary of Achiel Van Walleghem (pb, £19.99, 978 1911454403) is unique. Not just a forgotten source of the western front, it is one that will change our views on the conflict, and on how men and women tried to cope. It offers a personal documentary and highly individual witness to the terrible events in Flanders in 1917 which epitomized the worst slaughter on the western front of the First World War. This book tells the previously untold story of a village priest, Achiel Van Walleghem who lived just west of Ypres, and kept an extensive day-by-day account. He was very well informed by the officers lodging in his presbytery and, urged by his innate curiosity, he witnessed and noted the arrival of the first tanks and the increasing importance of the artillery. He also visited the camps of the Chinese Labour Corps and the British West Indies Regiment. On 7 June 1917, he awoke early to see the enormous mines of the Battle of Messines exploding. And he was present when a deserter was shot at dawn. He records all this, and much more with an unusual humanity. As a bystander living amidst the troops, he often had a special view of the events that unfolded before his eyes. and equally records the misery of the local Flemish population and their relationship with the British rank and file. This unusual and moving book was published by Edward Everett Root Publishing this spring, and definitely deserves its place on the bookshelves among the weightier WW1 tomes.

Many of us are very disturbed about what appears to be a rising tide of Islamophobia sweeping through the United States and Europe. The Islamophobia Industry by Nathan Lean (£12.99, pb, 978 0745332536) takes the reader through a world of conservative bloggers, right-wing talk show hosts, evangelical religious leaders and politicians, all united in their quest to exhume the ghosts of 9/11 and convince their compatriots that Islam is the enemy. Nathan Lean uncovers their scare tactics, reveals their motives and exposes the ideologies that drive their propaganda machine. Situating Islamophobia within a long history of national and international phobias, The Islamophobia Industry challenges the narrative of fear that has for too long dominated discussions about Muslims and Islam and is a thought provoking and many would say essential read for anyone concerned about the world today. If any bookseller would like a proof to read of this title which has just been published by Pluto, please email Kieran O'Connor to request one.

It's that time of year again, when the very best, bonkers and brilliant from the world of theatre, comedy, circus, dance and performance descend on the beautiful city of Edinburgh; when flyering becomes an art form in itself, and when it's never too early (or too late!) to head to a theatre or pub – or both! Oberon Books are the experts the field of theatrical publishing, bringing you the latest from the writers and theatre-makers at the top of their game, as well as a whole host of fantastic new faces – in short, the very best of the Fringe! Two “Festival Picks” from their list are firstly How to Win Against History (pb, £12.99, 978 1786822918) which the Telegraph called “a work of genius ★★★★★ and Postcards from the Gods said “The thing is so good... Must see. Kill to inherit a ticket.” This new Songbook Edition contains the fully-transcribed piano and vocal arrangements for all fourteen songs from the show, so readers can pour themselves a sherry and sing any of the glamorous roles! 

Or how about Letters to Morrissey by Gary McNair (pb, 9781786822987), the third play in a trilogy of darkly comic works drawing on the joys and struggles of growing up in working class Scotland. It’s 1997. You’re 11. You’re sad, lonely and scared of doing anything. One day you see a man on telly. He’s mumbling, yet electrifying. He sings: “I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does”. You become obsessed with him. You write to him. A lot. British Theatre Guide said “McNair’s writing and delivery, under the direction of Gareth Nicholls, are impeccable, allowing visitors to enter into the young man’s soul and share his love of Morrissey and the musician’s philosophy.” And here is Morrisey singing that seminal line from the song that is something of a spiritual experience for many. Have a look here at the special pages on the Oberon website to find out about all the other Edinburgh Fringe plays they publish – inspiring stuff!

Oyster (978 1846973970) is the second collection from prize-winning Edinburgh poet Michael Pedersen featuring truly gorgeous illustrations from Frightened Rabbit lead singer and songwriter Scott Hutchison and is published on 1 September by Polygon. From Grez-sur-Loing to sizzling summers stretched out in the Meadows and Portobello; Michael Pedersen’s unique brand of poetry captures a debauchery and a disputation of characters, narrated with an intense honesty and a love of language that is playful, powerful and penetrative. It was launched at the Edinburgh Book Festival this week, and Michael was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland, in The Skinny and in the Scotsman who made the launch one of their Top-10 EIBF picks. Michael was also on the BBC R4 Poetry Show and on BBC Live at the Fest and will be reading at events in Glasgow, London and Nottingham which are virtually all sold out – so there is certainly a demand for this playful and extravagant poet of whom Irvine Walsh said “Michael Pedersen's poems get under my skin. As well as defining and codifying my own experiences, they also challenge them. And I always feel more upbeat and hopeful after having read them. You really can't ask much more from a poet.”

Whatever happened to British protest? For a nation that brought the world Chartism, the Suffragettes, the Tolpuddle Martyrs, and so many other grassroots social movements, Britain rarely celebrates its long, great tradition of people power. However, Protest: Stories of Resistance, edited by Ra Page (hb, £14.99, 978 1905583737) and published by Comma is set to change that! This timely and evocative collection contains stories by twenty authors who re-imagine key moments of British protest, from the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 to the anti-Iraq War demo of 2003. Written in close consultation with historians, sociologists and eyewitnesses – who also contribute afterwords – these stories follow fictional characters caught up in real-life struggles. Protest features stories by Sandra Alland, Martyn Bedford, Kate Clanchy, David Constantine, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Kit de Waal, Stuart Evers, Maggie Gee, Michelle Green, Andy Hedgecock, Laura Hird, Matthew Holness, Juliet Jacques, Sara Maitland, Courttia Newland, Holly Pester, Joanna Quinn, Francesca Rhydderch, Jacob Ross and Alexei Sayle. It covers events as diverse as the Welsh Language protests, the Poll Tax riots, the Greenham Common marches and the anti-Vietnam demonstrations.  There’s been lots of brilliant publicity for this: there’s a special Protest event coming up at the Edinburgh Books Festival this Tuesday and ahead of that the Skinny has just given it a rave review calling it “a kaleidoscopic feast... A great gathering of voices, a dispersal of perspectives” – you can read the whole piece here. The Protest event at Manchester Lit Fest with three of the authors and hosted by Maxine Peake has sold out in the space of a fortnight! You can listen to editor Ra Page discuss the Protest project on Radio 4's Open Book programme earlier in the year here .

And talking of protests, Protest Vote: How Politicians lost the Plot by Tim Newark (978 1783340729 £8.99, pb) is also getting some great press coverage at the moment! Through riveting inside accounts of how Britain's maverick politicians exploit the behind-the-scenes struggles in the major parties; Tim Newark takes us through the rise of protest voting in Britain. With entertaining portraits of the main players, he exposes the astonishing feuds and raging rows that are happening behind the scenes. The Spectator called it an “excellent and timely history of the decline of the old party system” while the Northern Echo wrote: “Newark’s pacey, racy gossip about political murky doings frequently made me chortle and also cleared up a few mysteries… This book is a treat: a political book which is the antidote to politics, you’ll love it, I promise.” And historian Andrew Roberts called it “brilliant and witty.” It is published by Gibson Square.

Congratulations to the Old Hall Bookshop in Brackley, Northampton which celebrated its 40th birthday recently with champagne and readings. John and Lady Juliet Townsend opened the shop in July 1977 to sell second hand and antiquarian books, shortly afterwards they started selling new books too. At the party last week John was joined by two of his daughters and four of his grandchildren to toast the continuing success of the shop. What a very gorgeous looking bookshop this is! It is now managed by Chris Bridger who is the buyer and along with John personifies the spirit of the place. It looks utterly idyllic – and apparently also has a lovely garden at the rear which is often used for events!

We’re loving this piece about our own Hugh Andrew in the Herald – accurately described as “a man of strong and swift opinions” who says “What I hate is the Scotland of tat, of See You Jimmy hats, of tartan and shortbread. It’s as infectious in books as it is infectious in everything else. And it’s an image of Scotland that many cultural bodies seem to think that our country is about. If I have one mission in life, it is to slay that myth. Everything we are about is a challenge to the bargain tat, which illustrates to me both cynicism and a crippling lack of confidence.” You can read the whole article here. 

Who doesn’t love a well-plotted, page turning thriller? Death's Silent Judgement is the exhilarating sequel to Dancers in the Wind by Anne Coates, and continues the compelling and twisty series starring London-based investigative journalist Hannah Weybridge. The series is very much in the best traditions of British women crime writers such as Lynda La Plante and Martina Cole and is attracting very favourable attention from the book bloggers. “Doesn't disappoint. The intricate plot created by Coates in this novel is well-researched and sensitively portrayed. Hannah is a thoroughly modern, feisty woman. Highly recommended.” It has just been published by Urbane and the third title in the gripping Hannah Weybridge series will be out next year!

The latest episode of the entertaining Hitchhiker’s Guide to Scottish Literature Podcast is now available to download: this month, Kristian and Vikki are talking Fanaticism and Enlightenment; and you can find that here!

A mouth-watering recipe from The Homemade Sweet Shop: Make Your Own Confectionery with Over 90 Recipes for Traditional Sweets, Candies and Chocolates by Claire Ptak (pb, 978 1780195193, £9.99) has just been featured in the current issue of Baking Heaven magazine. Hard-boiled, chewy, soft or sticky, sweets are the stuff of childhood memories, and the good news is that they are surprisingly easy to make at home. This fabulous book opens with an overview of the history of sweets and chocolates, and a cook's guide to ingredients, equipment and techniques. More than 90 step-by-step recipes follow, including Salt-Water Taffy, Peanut Butter Fudge, Sugar Mice and Raspberry Lollipops. Each method is clearly set out and illustrated including a stunning picture of each finished confection. Packed with tips and variations, this guide will enable cooks of all abilities to recreate their best-loved sweets and chocolates at home. It is published by Southwater.
And who wouldn’t want to turn their kitchen into a truly scrumptious sweetie factory – just like this one!  

How many of us feel we are constantly trying – and inevitably failing – to be the perfect mum? The Supermum Myth: Overcome Anxiety, Ditch Guilt and Embrace Imperfection (pb, £11.99, 978 1910336342) empowers mothers to stop feeling like a 'rubbish mum' and start having confidence in their own parenting. Author Anya Hayes and psychologist Dr Rachel Andrew use mindfulness and CBT techniques, as well as other established therapies to help you turn around negative thoughts and learn to stop comparing yourself to others, or berating yourself for not living up to the unrealistic notion of Supermum. Instead, you'll learn to view your parenting in a different light, to be kinder and less tough on yourself. It's not about lowering your expectations of yourself, it's about accepting and acknowledging how well you're doing. Both authors have a very strong and popular presence on social media (@anyapilates and @timepsychology), all the #parenting and #mum bloggers are already very enthusiastic about it and there’s no doubt that the thousands of readers who loved Hurrah for Gin: A book for Perfectly Imperfect Parents and The Unmumsy Mum will definitely feel they are meeting up with fellow travellers on the bumpy road that is modern motherhood. The Supermum Myth is published by White Ladder Press in September and I very much like the sound of it!

Let’s finish with some music. Losi Havilio's Petite Fleur (translated by Lorna Scott-Fox) is just out from And Other Stories. This is a powerful and surprising new novel from the author of the cult hits Open Door and Paradises. When his fireworks factory job ends explosively and his wife returns to work, Jose is surprised to realise he has a talent for keeping house: childcare, tidying, cleaning, cooking, gardening, he excels at it all. On Thursdays, he hangs out and drinks good wine with his jazz-loving neighbour. But when Jose's new talents take a sudden and gruesome turn, life, death, resurrection, and domesticity unexpectedly converge. In one single, hypnotic paragraph, Petite Fleur harnesses the unpredictability of Aira, the strangeness of David Lynch and the mysticism of Tolstoy in a discordant riff on suburban life. Litro magazine said it was “lively and entertaining … highly visual language …. in its subtle strangenesses and jarring juxtapositions, Petite Fleur is a far stranger read than many more deliberately surreal works. Reality itself is incriminated.” You can read that review here.  Tweeters also love it; Chris@cjgrool wrote “WTF! I just read Havilio's 'Petite Fleur'   – a chilling, haunting, raunchy little masterpiece!”
So, let’s listen to a rendition of Petite Fleur to finish with today, played by one of my all-time favourite musicians, Sidney Bechet in 1954. Enjoy!

That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This newsletter 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 11 August 2017

Compass Points 225

Next Thursday 17 August is A level results day for thousands of students across the UK. In a brilliantly timed publicity coup, author Lucy Tobin will be talking about her bestselling title A Guide to Uni Life: The One Stop Guide to What University is REALLY Like (pb, £9.99, 978 1844552160) on the Steve Wright Show on Radio 2 on the same day. The last time the Steve Wright Show featured this title, it went straight into the top ten of ALL books at Amazon – PLEASE do not let them scoop up all the sales – stock up on this book now and get it front of store – it will sell!! A Guide to Uni Life which is published by Trotman/Crimson offers a unique viewpoint on how to juggle studying, having fun and avoiding money troubles by someone who has lived through the experience themselves and can pass on lots of handy tips and advice. Compass Points has it on good authority from a uni student who has just finished her first year that this title is on fleek – the tips on essay writing were apparently especially useful!  When Lucy talked about her insightful, honest and entertaining paperback on Steve Wright two years ago it sold 2,000 copies in just two months – let’s see if we can do even better this time around!
Another excellent way to find out what student life is REALLY like would be to box set the whole of Fresh Meat – although this three minute clip of Jack Whitehall advertising for a new housemate also gives you a pretty good idea!

Congregations to AardvarkRowena Macdonald’s brilliant debut novel The Threat Level Remains Severe has been shortlisted as one five titles on the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize. The other titles are: Not Thomas by Sara Gethin (Honno Press), Dark Chapter by Winnie M Li (Legend Press) Man With a Seagull on His Head by Harriet Paige (Bluemoose Books) and The Ludlow Ladies’ Society by Ann O’Loughlin (Black and White Publishing). If you’d like to find out more – and maybe try and get yourself on the judging panel for the final choice – then go to the Guardian page here.
Oberon Books is a must for any culture vulture. This independent UK publisher specialises in the performing arts and are currently running a “Stars” scheme, which means they are looking for bloggers to work with. You can read one popular blogger CultureBean’s enthusiastic response to that cool idea here. And this is why she thinks readers should go out of their comfort zone and read a play!
1) You can interpret the text however you want. Take back some creative control.
2) It’s fun to play each part as you read. Talk out loud and freak out your partner.
3) Dialogue is much quicker to read than prose. Get through a book in a single sitting!

To celebrate Women in Translation month, Gallic are giving away a bundle of their bestsellers on Twitter including the “enchanting” (Irish Times) and “beguiling” (New York Times) novel The Life of Elves by bestselling author Muriel Barbery (pb, £8.99, 978 1910477335). The winner will be selected on 31 August and you can find out more about that promotion on Twitter here.

And then to celebrate World Lion Day yesterday (LOVING these promotional opportunities!) Gallic are giving away copies of Henrietta Rose-Innes’s gorgeous new novel Green Lion (£8.99, pb, 978 1910709252). J M Coetzee said that Henrietta Rose-Innes was “a welcome addition to the new South African literature” and the novel challenges the way we interact with nature, raising questions of endangered species but also about human relations. You can find out about that giveaway here. Henrietta Rose-Innes will be at the Edinburgh Festival and is also is going to the fabulous Golden Hare Books in Edinburgh on 22 August to read from Green Lion and discuss the issues raised by eco-fiction. The book is published the previous day. Can I come up with a witty remark here about lions and hares? No.
Favourite fictional lions? I think my top three would be Michael Morpurgo’s wonderful Butterfly Lion, then the cowardly one from The Wizard of Oz – but top of the food chain must of course be the mighty Aslan! Hear me ROAAAR!

From the top of the food chain to an animal fairly near the bottom? Dogs! Or doggos as the internet rather perplexingly seems to refer to them! Our rep for London and the South-East Sophie is currently being helped out on her calls by the enchanting Carys, an 11-month-old cocker spaniel – who you can see here in Blackwells! Gorgeous doggos frolicking in bookshops are of course “a thing” as evidenced by #BookshopDogs! Carys especially enjoyed subbing in Dogs Enjoy the Morning (pb, £10.99, 978 1848406551) by Benedict Kiely which was originally published in 1968 and is about to be reissued in a lovely new edition by New Island as part of their Modern Irish Classics series. Set in Cosmona, a fictitious village in Ireland, it features a host of weird and wonderful including the doctor and his plump wife; the one-eyed peeping tom, Gabriel Rock; the shell-shocked chaplain; and Whispering Christy.
However, Carys was not quite so keen on Dogs Gone Bad (£6.99, hb, 978 1782743217) which is just out from Amber. This is a hilarious book of 45 quirky real-life deviating dogs. They include the woman in China who crashed her car while giving her dog a driving lesson; a Labrador from 1924 who was sentenced to life in Pennsylvania Penitentiary for having murdered the governor's cat and the dozy guard dog who was retired from a bar after he slept through their only burglary in 12 years! These, and many other true canine stories are featured with fun colour photo montages of the erring pooches along with lots of bizarre tales about the kind of dogs that don’t win awards for bravery; who chase the cops but not the thief; who eat religious offerings or chew up all the Christmas prezzies! 

Refugee Tales Volumes I and II have just been given a great review in Disclaimer Magazine calling them "beautiful and thought-provoking" A special well done to two of the authors whose work is featured in these Comma Press collections and who have just had their novels longlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize. Ali Smith is longlisted for Autumn (published by Hamish Hamilton); and Kamila Shamsie is longlisted for Home Fire (published by Bloomsbury). Kamila Shamsie was on Channel 4 News this week talking about Refugee Tales II and will also be at Manchester Lit Fest with Marina Warner.

Staying on the subject of refugees, the extraordinary and vivid Voices from the 'Jungle': Stories from the Calais Refugee Camp (pb, £14.99, 978 0745399683) published by Pluto has just been given a terrific review on the socialist website Counterfire which described it as “important” and “moving … please read this powerful book, one way we can respect each other is to listen to each other.” Illustrated with photographs and drawings by the writers, and interspersed with poems, this book should be read by everyone seeking to understand the human consequences of this world crisis. You can read that piece in full here. 
Some superb reviews for The Knife Went In: Real Life Murders and Our Culture (9781783341184 hb, £16.99) by Theodore Dalrymple which has just been published by Gibson Square – and is currently number 24 on Amazon. Peter Hitchens called it “A razor-sharp exposé of our society” in the Mail on Sunday while the Sunday Telegraph wrote “Nobody has observed the fallacies of modern England with a clearer eye, or a more intelligent quill. It would be nice to know that the BBC had heard of him because we could expect to hear him deliver next year’s Reith Lectures.” The Times said “Dalrymple is one of the most interesting men of our times. There is nothing in his tale to celebrate, yet in the telling he deserves the commendation of anybody who values human civilization.” 
Congrats to Carcanet poets Kate Miller (The Observances, pb, 978 1906188153, £9.99) and John Dennison (Otherwise, pb, 978 1847774996, £9.99) who have both been shortlisted for the Michael Murphy Poetry Prize. You can find out more about that one here. 

If you read a newspaper in a shop without paying for it, is it stealing? Do you own the view from your own house? Are you more likely to find God in hospital than a church or a temple? Is it a lie if you believe it? Are you a different person with your clothes off? These questions, strange as they may seem, actually help you’re your brain to work better. By moving away from stock “right or wrong” answers you can create “neural pruning”, which means the mind opens up new pathways and creates new connections. They are to be found in The Compleat Thunks Book by Ian Gilbert (£12.99, pb, 978 1781352724) which has just been published by the Independent Thinking Press and was recently featured in the Daily Express, which you can read here and Ian was also talking about it recently on BBC Radio Sheffield. We are living in an age in which facts don’t count, certainty no longer exists and complexity means we never quite know what just happened, let alone what will happen next. Ian Gilbert believes that to better prepare ourselves for such a world, we need a brain workout that isn’t so much about finding answers as getting our heads around questions – and The Compleat Thunks Book will help you start to look at the world in a whole new light. At times controversial and often provocative, these brainteasers are sure to stimulate philosophical enquiry. Covering as wide a variation of topics as possible from love and lies to parking a car and molesting robots, The Compleat Thunks Book will appeal to people of all ages, tastes and prejudices, and can be used to steer pub or family discussions away from the same old topics! Ian is a leading educational speaker and a man who the IB World magazine named as one of its top 15 educational 'visionaries'. The Little Book of Thunks won the first education book award from the Society of Authors for “an outstanding example of traditionally published non-fiction that enhances teaching and learning”. This new title brings together classic Thunks from a number of his books, as well as hundreds of new ones, all designed to make your brain hurt as you think, question, debate and argue your way to a better understanding of how to survive in a world gone dangerously bonkers.
The Sunday Times Culture section last weekend devoted its front cover and three pages to Kathryn Bigelow and her new movie, Detroit. Kathryn Bigelow directed The Hurt Locker (the first woman to win as Oscar for direction) and also Zero Dark Thirty, so she has a track record for intense, controversial and action-packed yet critically acclaimed thrillers. The Sunday Times piece calls the film “A scalding, immersive race drama, it zeroes in on a little-known incident during that city’s race riots of 1967, in which a battalion of cops and National Guardsmen, thinking they’d heard sniper fire, descended on a flophouse at the Algiers Motel. There they found two white women partying with black men, at which point the evening metastasised into a horror show of racial subjugation, involving a “death game” that would leave three of the men dead and everyone else sworn to secrecy.” All the secrets of that incident and many more are detailed in the Polygon book Detroit 67: The Year that Changed Soul (pb, £9.99, 978 1846973666) by Stuart Cosgrove and it’s the ONLY one available on the subject. We have stickered the stock to reinforce the connection, so it’s as close to a film tie-in as there is! The movie is released on August 25th and I’m sure in the next few weeks there will be even more previews, reviews, interviews and articles to highlight it – you can watch a trailer here. 

Who doesn’t love a glass of fizz? As Lily Bollinger – late heiress of the famous champagne house – once put it: “I only drink champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad.” I Love Champagne (hb, £12.99, 978 1910449936) by wine expert Davy Zyw (the youngest ever British sommelier at Le Gavroche, whose party trick is to whip off a cork using his iPhone) has turned his obsession for fizz into a book which has just been published by Freight. In a really brilliant piece of publicity for this highly informative, witty and accessible hardback, there will be a big piece on it in tomorrow’s Daily Mail! This is a fizzer of a title at a sparkling price and it’s brim full of info about the history of champagne, how to drink it and food pairing suggestions; as well as being excellent quality and packed with glossy full colour double page illustrations. It is written with passion, love and a thoroughly infectious sense of joie de vivre! Here are some little soupçons from the article to give you a flavour of the book! Cheers!
  • Champagne makes you tiddly more quickly than normal wine. The carbon dioxide in the bubbles increases pressure in the stomach, which helps force alcohol into the bloodstream via the stomach lining.
  • There are about 49 million bubbles in a standard size bottle.
  • When popped, a champagne cork normally travels at 40mph but some can speed at 100mph. The furthest one has been recorded to travel is more than 175 feet.
  • In France, the Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Perignon (1638-1715) is credited with developing the method of introducing sparkle into the acidic white wines of the region round Reims, now known as Champagne. He is also immortalised as the brand name of one of the most exclusive champagnes, Dom Perignon and famously said to fellow monks: “Brothers, I’m drinking the stars!”
  • Winston Churchill was partial to a bottle of Pol Roger every day. He told Odette Pol Roger, the grande dame of her family’s champagne house who died aged 89 in 2000: “I could not live without Champagne. In victory, I deserve it. In defeat, I need it. My tastes are simple, I am easily satisfied with the best.”
  • Londoners drink more champagne than the whole of America. And, as a nation, we are the biggest consumer apart from France which keep 52% of the bottles they produce.
  • Legend has it that the first champagne coupe glass that was made in the 18th century was modelled on Marie Antoinette’s left breast. Tall thin flutes have replaced them in recent years, as they keep the bubbles alive for longer, making the champagne fizzier. But Davy Zyw says it tastes best in a normal wine glass because the greater surface area and oxygen in the glass allows the individual flavours and aromas to come out.
Let’s finish with the three best songs that mention champagne. Some might enjoy chilling with Oasis in their Champagne Supernova and some might enjoy strawberry champagne on ice (?!?) as served up here by Bruno Mars; but personally I think the master of them all has to be ol’ blue eyes with this dazzling gem. And if any of you super health conscious young ’uns ever wondered why a whole generation grew up thinking smoking looked cool and sexy – here’s the reason.

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Yesterday Twitter celebrated #BookLovers Day and here are some of our favourite tweets about it!
OxbowBooks @OxbowBooks “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” Groucho Marx
Melanie Persists @CarverBookCoach “She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain." Louisa May Alcott.  I love this quote. Here's to powerful women!
Franklin Graham @Franklin_Graham "The Bible is God's book of promises, and, unlike the books of men, it does not change or get out of date." @BillyGraham
Lemon @Lemon_Lifestyle A child who reads will be an adult who thinks!
Random House@randomhouse “Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” Anna Quindlen
Shu @shusolix "Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book." Jane Smiley
Sallyjo @SallyLovesBooks  “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” C.S. Lewis
Mental Floss@ MentalFloss "There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them." Ray Bradbury
@simpsoncessiiee "If you don't like reading, you haven't found the right book" J.K Rowling
Suzanne Pardue @PardueSuzanne “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are” Mason Cooley
Sotiria @thinkingxutloud "You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and you feel a little as if you have lost a friend"
Pamela Paul @PamelaPaulNYT #BookLoversDay? But that's EVERY day here at @nytimesbooks!
That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This newsletter 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.