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!

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