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.

No comments:

Post a Comment