Friday, 29 September 2017

Compass Points 232

On a warm April morning in 1906 a crowd of expectant correspondents from London’s leading newspapers gathered at the Hotel Cecil in the Strand to view the new wonder of the age; the electrobus. This clean, green machine was gearing up to take on the noisy, polluting petrol vehicle, which was just starting to replace the horse-drawn omnibus and surely had the potential to be a game-changer in terms of what it would mean to city-dwellers who were already choking on petrol fumes. Disastrously though, the London Electrobus Company was in the grip of a gang of greedy and fraudulent financiers, who systematically conned shareholders, looted the company's coffers and drove the promise of the electrobus into the ground. A Most Deliberate Swindle: How Edwardian Fraudsters Pulled the Plug on the Electric Bus and Left Our Cities Gasping for Breath (£10.99, pb, 978 1910453421) is crammed with fascinating characters and vividly captures the Edwardian era. As Michael Palin said: “that London could have had electric buses a hundred years ago is extraordinary enough, but as Mick Hamer recounts with great panache, the reason it didn't is even more extraordinary. This is a great tale, expertly told.”
The book was launched this week by publishers Red Door on The Big Lemon which is of course Brighton's own electric bus - here you can see some fab photos! There was also a great review this week for it Nature magazine this week, describing it as an “accomplished expose”. This title has got “ideal Christmas present” written all over it– the Michael Palin quote is nice and big on the evocative cover and it is ideal for anyone interested in the Edwardians, green issues, or transport history – that’s a LOT of readers!
And for a reminiscent one-minute glimpse into what London looked like back in 1906 – click here. 

Henry Jeffreys, drinks writer for the Guardian, tweeted this week that that 20th Century Pub: From Beer to Book Bunker by Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey (pb, £16.99, 978 0957278721) out this month from Safe Haven is a strong contender for his drinks book of the year in a crowded market. Beer expert Robert Protz called this timely reflection on the various different guises of the English pub; “a scintillating read, well-informed, well-argued, painstakingly researched, illuminating and inspiring.” 20th Century Pub celebrates the pub in all its forms with all its triumphs and the failures, and as well as acting as a memorial to what we have lost, it is very optimistic about the future. Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey have been blogging at since 2007. They won the British Beer Writer of the Year award in 2014 and the Fortnum & Mason Online Drinks Writer of the Year award in 2016. With the huge current interest in craft beer and pubs, I think this entertaining and intelligent hardback by these two award-winning writers looks set to do extremely well.

Happy Banned Books Week! Here’s a very amusing piece from US booksellers Barnes and Noble, writing “in honour of this glorious celebration of our freedom to read what we want, and remembering there are people out there still trying to take this freedom away for dumb reasons like not wanting their kids to read the word nipple.” Go here  to laugh at the full list of 11 books banned for completely ridiculous reasons!

Salt Creek (£14.99, hb, 978 1910709412) by Lucy Treloar from Aardvark is shaping up to be a book that sells and sells – right through to Christmas. Think The Poisonwood Bible set in Australia. It’s that kind of novel. The reviews have been superb – and you can see a round-up of them on the promotional leaflet here.  And here is the big interview with Lucy in yesterday’s Guardian. In telling the story of her settler ancestors, the Salt Creek author knew she was on controversial ground. Two years and much praise later, she still feels “torn and filled with conflict”– have a read, it will definitely make you want to try the novel!

Tony Attwood, author of Jessica Kingsley’s The Complete Guide to Asperger Syndrome (978 1843106692, £19.99, pb), and Asperger’s Syndrome (978 1853025778, £12.95, pb) was on the front page of the Guardian on Wednesday, as “the world expert on autism” talking about how he took years to notice the condition in his own son. The piece talks about how easy it is to misdiagnose this condition and Tony also talks about some of the ramifications and consequences of autism, which in his son’s case led to addiction and several periods of imprisonment. You can read that here.
Both of these books are major bestsellers for JKP – and unsurprisingly sales have risen again following the article. If you don’t stock them – you certainly should! You may also be interested to see a really interesting 30-minute documentary made by ABC Television in Australia about Tony, his work and his son which you can watch here.

If there’s one fiction genre which seems to be having a serious “moment” it’s short story collections. Darker With the Lights On (978 0995705258, £12.99, hb) by David Hayden published by Little Island Press has just sold out of its first print run – it will be back in stock in a couple of weeks – so please do order it if you haven’t done already! Readers have raved about this: “Quietly innovative, subtle of tone, full of feeling, this is a superb debut”, “One of the most startlingly brilliant and original debuts I've ever read. Hayden is one hell of a talent”, “These stories captivate and seduce the reader … beautiful, luminous.” Many of you may not be familiar yet with Little Island Press. Founded in 2016, in its own words it "publishes innovative, intellectually ambitious writing in elegant, hardback editions." Having started with poetry, it has this year moved into fiction, including this lyrical collection of twenty tales. David Hayden was at Hodges Figgis this week in conversation with Sinéad Gleeson then on 19 October he’s at Waterstone’s Islington in conversation with David Collard and 20 October at Burley Fisher Books in Hackney. There will be coverage in the Guardian Review and on a Guardian Podcast, in the TLS and the London Review of Books.

Have a look here for more about Little Island – and twenty-nine other small indie literary publishers who are punching way above their weight. What an inspiring list this is!

Joseph Conrad is regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language. To celebrate his name, as well as his vision, Conradology out from Comma in November is an anthology of fifteen all-new, specially commissioned short stories and essays, rejoicing in, responding to and critiquing the literary legacy of Joseph Conrad. The Book Blast blog included it in their pick of Top 10 Reads for Independent Minds which you can see here – (Carcanet and Aardvark books are included in this too I see!)

You may have read in the Bookseller last week, that one of our wonderful publishers And Other Stories has launched a £5,000 book prize to find “the next great writer” in the North. The Northern Book Prize has been developed with New Writing North and will be celebrated with a free event in Sheffield, to where And Other Stories recently relocated from London, on 19th October, as part of the Off The Shelf literary festival. As well as the £5,000 prize, the winner will also receive editorial support from the publisher to develop the manuscript if needed, as well as a contract for worldwide publication. Stefan Tobler, founder of And Other Stories, said “we are not the first and definitely won’t be the last to say that the publishing industry is much too focused on one city. There is a thirst to have more literary fiction published in the north.” He also revealed that since the press moved from London to Sheffield he had noticed a difference in the “quality of the working lives” of his staff, and Tara Tobler, And Other Stories editor and Stefan's wife, added: “We hope to tap some of the extraordinary literary energy in the North and are confident the prize will only grow in prestige and popularity in the years to come.” Submissions for the prize will open on 16th November and close on 1st February 2018. The winner will be revealed at the Northern Writers’ Awards Ceremony, in June 2018 with And Other Stories aiming to launch the winning book during Off the Shelf next year. You can find out more on the And Other Stories website here.

Lots of you will have noticed the difference between the book jackets of titles published in the US and UK. This really interesting piece in the Guardian examines the reasons behind this – looking particularly at Hillary Clinton’s What Happened? (published by Simon and Schuster), concluding that the US one “looks stylish and elegant; the UK one is dreadful” and then asking “why did the Americans get it right and the British so wrong when UK book design is supposedly the envy of the world?” Hmm – a slightly overly subjective view from the Guardian on this one perhaps?

Here's a fantastic new book by “Mushroom Man” Michael Hyams and Liz O'Keefe. The Mushroom Cookbook: A Guide to Edible Wild and Cultivated Mushrooms And Delicious Seasonal Recipes to Cook with Them (978 0754832867, £15, hb,) has gorgeous full page photographs by Jon Ashford and has just been published by Lorenz. Michael Hyams is at the centre of the mushroom world, sourcing them, providing them to markets and restaurants, and sampling the results at home, in cafes and in the dishes of Michelin-starred chefs. This guide to edible fungi contains a full directory of wild and cultivated types and fifty tempting and original recipes to use them through the seasons. The delicious recipes are grouped seasonally, from Pulled Rabbit and Morel Ravioli or Chestnut Mushroom and Mousseron Tart to Kale and Shiitake Soup and a Gourmet Mushroom Burger. Yum! Two of the spread are below.

Kyle Gray says he's been able to see angels since he was four years old and was a guest on ITV’s Loose Women this week, when he talked about his belief in guardian angels and the release of his new book Light Warrior: Connecting with the Spiritual Power of Fierce Love (978 1781808528, £10.99, pb) which is out from Hay House in November. You can see that here. Angels by Kyle (978 1781802632, pb, £8.99) came out at the start of this year and was recently featured in Soul & Spirit magazine who called him “the hottest name in spirituality” and Light Warrior will be featured in December’s Spirit and Destiny magazine on their ‘Rising Star’ page. 
So, what exactly is a light warrior? Some of you may well be surprised to hear that you actually are one! A light worker is anyone who has heard the internal call to make a difference in the world and a light warrior is someone who chooses to respond to the call. Light Warrior is a manual for those who are ready to take action and gives you the spiritual armoury to help you including warrior workouts that will help you to create a loving connection with your angels and increase your psychic protection. Kyle Gray is a bestselling author and speaks at sell-out tours all around the world. He is based in Glasgow where he runs his boutique Yoga & Meditation studio The Zen Den. You can find out more at

Ooh – I liked this story – one publisher has decide that “sexists” no longer deserve to be considered for publication – and is refusing to even look at any manuscript that arrives with a letter addressed to “Dear Sir”. Excellent!

As we predicted last week, loads and loads more publicity for Justice for Laughing Boy: Connor Sparrowhawk: A Death by Indifference by Sara Ryan (£12.99, pb, 978 1785923487) – a mother's memoir which tells the story of her son's premature death while in NHS care, and her subsequent campaign for justice. The Guardian are running an extract from the book on 11 October, the day before the verdict against Southern Health is announced. This will be big news, whatever the outcome! Sara Ryan was on the Today programme this week and will also be on BBC Breakfast and Radio 5 Live. Justice for Laughing Boy is published by Jessica Kingsley on 19 October.

There are lots of books out this year commemorating the 100 anniversary of the Russian Revolution of course, but The Russian Countess: Escaping Revolutionary Russia (pb, £19.99, 978 1911293071) is the unique and very personal account of Countess Edith Sollohub, who found herself trapped, separated from her three young sons, stripped of her possessions and fearing for her life. This new deluxe edition of this bestselling title has had endorsements from all the big names in Russian history. Simon Sebag Montefiore called it: “A classic of the last years of the tsars that’s essential reading. Charming, touching, tragic and thrilling, this is a superb memoir from the doomed but decadent and elegant world” while Antony Beevor writing in The Sunday Times said it was “fascinating and beautifully written … a revelation, and one of the great memoirs from that era.” This “thrilling tale of danger, war, and escape” (Daily Mail) stands out for its vivid style, depth, insight – and above all, its readability. It’s just been published by Impress.

Well, any excuse – and it’s always good to end with a bit of music – so I hope you will enjoy this “Russian” classic – from Boney M – can you believe it’s 40 years since it was a hit. Yes.

It was National Poetry Day this week of course, and the Bookseller reported the welcome news that poetry sales are booming, with sales up by around a sixth in volume and value compared to this last year. Part of the celebrations included an international call for readers to submit poems that could be lost to future generations. From Assyrian to Irish Gaelic, the National Poetry Library is launching a major new project to collect the poetry of thousands of languages in danger of dying out, and preserve them for future generations. According to Unesco, of the 7,000 languages spoken in the world more than half are endangered, with one dying every two weeks. Chris McCabe from the library said: “By the end of the century, Unesco estimates that half of our languages will be lost, and when languages go, their poetry goes too.” You can read more about this story here.

Over on Twitter we enjoyed @Red Lion Books in Colchester’s game for National Poetry Day – tweeting anti-kindle limericks such as this one:

Spy novel lover called Jane
Her Kindle drove her insane
The battery failed
as the spy was unveiled.
Now she’s back reading real books again!
And this
A lass of a ‘certain age’
Stamped on her Kindle in rage.
For it wouldn’t display
Fifty Shades of Grey
Now she’s back with the printed page

Anti-kindle limericks are ticking a lot of boxes for me, so naturally @Compass IPS was only too happy to join in with our own offering:

A political reader named May
Whose Kindle broke down every day
Exclaimed WTF
I'm not having much luck
Thank goodness for bookshops - hooray!

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

Sophie P-N‏ @sophparkes Bloody loved the #NFA roadshow tonight. Great to meet and hear new/new-to-me authors and publishers all in one room. And midweek wine!
Anness/Lorenz Books‏ @Anness_Books Syrup steamed pudding ... even easier in the pressure cooker, yum yum #bakeoff #NewCompletePressureCooker
The Oldie‏ @OldieMagazine #HughHefner: He may have been the most sex-obsessed oldie of modern times, but his manners were impeccable @Playboy
Oberon Books‏ @OberonBooks WIN a gorgeous bundle of poetic books, by tweeting us your fave line of poetry. Good luck! #NationalPoetryDay #books #poems
The Refugee Tales‏ @RefugeeTales Happy #NationalPoetryDay from #RefugeeTales. Hooray for poetry in our anthology giving space for refugee and detainee voices. Poetry rocks!
Amazing Dyslexic‏ @amazingdyslexic Too excited with the rather lovely tag on Amazon today of #1 best seller!!! Thank you for supporting us #amazingdyslexic @JKPBooks
Waterstones @Waterstones 'Poetry is like a bird, it ignores all frontiers.' – Yevgeny Yevtushenko #NationalPoetryDay
Comma Press‏ @commapress “This is a book that gathers energy and urgency as it goes on” - Bookmunch on Protest
Oberon Books‏ @OberonBooks retweeted Frau Welt‏ @DasFrauWelt I once asked Angela Lansbury how she seemed so relaxed on opening night. Her reply: "If they don't like it, fuck 'em."
GermanForeignOffice‏ @GermanyDiplo @Twitter is considering #280characters! Or as we say in Germany: 4 words. #Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz

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, 22 September 2017

Compass Points 231

The longlist for the “World’s Oldest Sports Book Prize” has just been revealed and well done to Biteback, who have a title on it! The sixteen-title longlist for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award was announced yesterday, and what some term the ‘Bookie Prize’ (now in its 29th year) is sports-writing’s most valuable and prestigious award. As well as £29,000 in cash, this year’s winning author will receive a free £2,500 William Hill bet, and a day at the races. The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory by David Bolchover (£20, hb, 978 1785901393) is the remarkable story of Béla Guttmann: the first superstar football coach who in 1961, as coach of Benfica, lifted one of football's greatest prizes: the European Cup – a feat he repeated the following year paving the way for the celebrated coaches of the modern age. More extraordinarily still, Guttmann was a Holocaust survivor. Having narrowly dodged death by hiding for months in an attic near Budapest as thousands of fellow Jews in the neighbourhood were dragged off to be murdered, Guttmann later escaped from a slave labour camp. He was one of the lucky ones. His father, sister and wider family perished at the hands of the Nazis. As the Times wrote: "Moving, original, full of insight, this is a gripping tale told by a skilled storyteller. You don't need to be interested in the Holocaust to find this fascinating account of some great footballing moments absorbing. And you don't need to be interested in football to want to learn about this tale of survival. But if you are by chance interested in both, you will find this book extraordinary." The shortlist for the Sports Book of the Year will be announced on 24th October 2017 and the winner will be announced on Tuesday 28th November. You can find out about all of the titles on the longlist here.  
Biggest book-to-movie hit in the cinemas at present must surely be Stephen King’s It which seems to be scaring the bejesus out of just about everyone. Luckily, there is a way to turn your shrieks of horror at the creepy AF clown Pennywise into shrieks of laughter via the entertaining Twitter account @Pennywise_Dance. Have a watch on BuzzFeed here. Even Stephen King himself has got involved, suggesting Lou Bega’s Mambo #5 as a possible option – yep, that works for me! 
Lots and lots of enthusiasm on social media for the announcement that Polygon are reissuing all twenty-two Muriel Spark books with beautiful new jackets – as revealed in last week’s Compass Points. Golden Hare Books tweeted “YYYYYAAAAAAAASSSSSSSS wonderful @PolygonBooks have done good” and Sophie Hannah said “Look at these beautiful Muriel Spark new editions! Hmm ... going to have to buy these on covers alone.” You can see lots more info about the new editions and other plans for the Muriel Spark centenary celebrations on Twitter by following @murielspark100 and also by using #MurielSpark100. Here's the Bookseller article. 
Book dedications. Usually pretty generic and boring, right? But not always… How about Joan Rivers’ “This book be dedicated to Kanye West because he’ll never fuckin’ read it” or “For Mom. (Just skip over the sex scenes please)”. Have a look on the Bored Panda website for some of the most creative – you can even vote for your faves!

Macmillan Cancer Support’s drive to encourage people to Go Sober for October sounds like a very good thing (you can find out more at and if you are mounting a Books Go Sober for October display, then don’t forget to order the Arcturus Easyway titles which are bestsellers in this field. They are: The Easy Way to Control Alcohol (978 1848374652, £7.99), Stop Drinking Now (978 1848379824, £9.99), Your Personal Stop Drinking Plan (978 1784283636, £8.99) The Easy Way for Women to Stop Drinking (978 1785991936, £8.99), The Illustrated Easyway to Stop Drinking (978 1784045043, £4.99) and No More Hangovers (978 1848375550, £4.99). All are paperback, and all are in stock. For those not familiar with Allen Carr’s Easyway method, this highly effective plan which was originally designed to help smokers, has now been successfully applied to a wide range of other issues. Alcohol abuse is one of the fastest-growing problems of modern times and many believe that to stop drinking is an impossible task. Luckily, Easyway is a tried-and-tested cessation method that really works. With startling insight into why we drink and simple, step-by-step instructions, Easyway shows you the way to escape from the alcohol trap, painlessly and permanently. The book removes the psychological need to drink and helps drinkers regain control of their lives. You can see all six jackets for above for this series which the Sun hailed as "a different approach ... a stunning success" and the Standard called "an intelligent and original method." 
A strong shortlist of six writers celebrating the bold and transformative power of the short story for the 2017 BBC National Short Story Award has now been revealed. Celebrating its twelfth year, the Award is one of the most prestigious for a single short story, with the winning author receiving £15,000 and four further shortlisted authors £600 each. Selected from over 600 entries, this year’s shortlist is: Murmur by Will Eaves, The Waken by Jenni Fagan, The Edge of the Shoal by Cynan Jones, The Collector by Benjamin Markovits and If a Book is Locked There’s Probably a Good Reason for That, Don’t You Think? by Helen Oyeyemi. Humanity and its enduring spirit, the mystical and mysterious, the known and unknown are all explored in a shortlist that shows just how unique the short story form is in allowing the writer true freedom to experiment. The anthology containing all five stories, The BBC National Short Story Award 2017 (978 1910974353, pb, £7.99) with an intro by the Chair of Judges, Joanna Trollope, was published this week by Comma Press and is available now. Plenty of publicity coming up for this one on the BBC: the shortlisted stories have been broadcast all this week at 7.15pm on Radio 4 accompanied by interviews with the authors; and the winner will be announced live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row from 7.15pm on Tuesday 3 October. On Saturday 2 October two of the shortlisted writers, Jenni Fagan and Benjamin Markovits join the judges in conversation at the Small Wonder Charleston Festival. I love the cover for this year’s anthology! Last year’s anthology BBC Short Story Award 2016 (978 1910974278, pb, £7.99) which includes stories by K. J. Orr, Hilary Mantel, Tahmima Anam, Claire-Louise Bennett, Lavinia Greenlaw and edited by Jenni Murray; is also available. 
The squabbling and strife those who are supposed to be governing us doesn’t look as if it will be abating any time soon, and anyone fascinated by the opportunism and cut-throat side of those in charge will enjoy Protest Vote: How Mainstream Parties Lost the Plot (£8.99, pb, 978 1783340729) by Tim Newark which is published by Gibson Square. This is the first history of the politics of discontent currently sweeping Britain; as the Spectator said, it is an “excellent and timely history of the decline of the old party system.” Through riveting inside accounts of Britain’s maverick politicians, historian Tim Newark takes us from the ascent of protest voting to the present-day electoral revolt against the two-party system to expose the feuds and raging rows that are tearing the system apart.
I have previously mentioned the moving and powerful Jessica Kingsley title Justice for Laughing Boy: Connor Sparrowhawk: A Death by Indifference by Sara Ryan (£12.99, pb, 978 1785923487); and there’s lots more coverage for it coming up. This mother's memoir which tells the story of her son's premature death while in NHS care, and her subsequent campaign for justice carries a strong message of how people with learning disabilities are fully human and deserve to be treated as such. #JusticeforLB is a high profile and ongoing campaign, already covered nationally by the Guardian and Sara Ryan was on Radio 4 today, giving her first national radio interview about the book; there is more about it on the BBC website here.  Connor's story is already used to teach health and social care students and train staff and this book serves as a wake-up call to all of us asking whether we can really claim that we respect the life and dignity of learning disabled people. Justice for Laughing Boy is published on 19 October. 
Congratulations to Carcanet who had two wins at last night’s Forward Prizes. Sinead Morrissey won the £10,000 award for Best Collection of Poetry and was awarded the prize at a ceremony in London's Royal Festival Hall for her sixth collection, On Balance. The Forward Prize is one of the most prestigious prizes in poetry, and previous winners include Ted Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy and Seamus Heaney. The journalist and broadcaster Andrew Marr chaired the 2017 judging panel and said the poems in On Balance were “full of energy. This is writing that successfully comes right up to the edge, again and again. We were taken by the openness, the capacity and the exuberance of this work. On Balance is a collection that readers will keep, and go back to for a long time to come." Ian Patterson’s The Plenty of Nothing won the £1,000 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, which was featured in PN Review 230. This poem "speaks to the reader with great force and skill. Both complex and bold, this is the kind of poetry that will inspire other poets to take greater risks", said Marr. You can read more about the winners on the BBC here.  
Teresa May has laid out her own ideas today about the sort of Brexit we should have – but do they chime with yours? Clean Brexit: Why Leaving the EU Still Makes Sense; Building a Post-Brexit Economy for All by Liam Halligan and Gerard Lyons was out this week from Biteback (978 1785902581, hb, £20.00) and as you’d expect has had plenty of publicity – you can read articles here in the Express, the Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator. Authors and economists Halligan and Lyons believe great days lie ahead and that freed from the EU’s regulatory stranglehold, the UK can thrive, spreading wealth throughout the whole of the country. Balanced and accessible, Clean Brexit claims to be the ultimate guide to making a success of Britain’s divorce from the EU; ooh, I do so hope our glorious leader has read it. Lord Lawson former Chancellor of the Exchequer called it “excellent. Thorough and lucid, the conclusion compelling.”

Ron Hutchinson is an Emmy-Award winning screenwriter who has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Marlon Brando, Samuel L Jackson, Robin Williams, Steven Spielberg and Elizabeth Taylor. He has written for HBO, Universal Studios, Showtime, and the BBC, amongst others and has got the scars to prove it! Now he’s written a wickedly funny memoir, Clinging to the Iceberg (£14.99, pb, 978 1786822208) which explores the inner workings of the business of writing for hire. Genuinely laugh-out-loud, insightful, absurd but always true, it’s written by someone whose career has spanned over forty years on stage and on screen, including thirty lucrative and sometimes uproarious ones in Hollywood. It will astound and maybe even inspire you, while along the way revealing the REAL tricks of the dialogue writer’s trade. This smart, strong, unflinching analysis of the movie and television industries has the potential to be a real bestseller I think – it has loads of hilarious anecdotes including a near death experience on Venice Beach, being paid by DreamWorks to not actually work for them, and struggling to stay sane on location on one of the great movie flops of all time, The Island of Doctor Moreau. It’s out from Oberon at the end of September – there’s already a real buzz about it – Ron was on the Radio 2 Jonathan Ross Show last week which you can listen to here and there was a piece in the Observer last weekend which you can read here.  There’s also an extract coming up in the Telegraph and an interview in the Guardian.
Ron Hutchinson is extremely entertaining about working on the film of The Island of Doctor Moreau (which is of course based on an 1896 HG Wells novel) in his book – and if you want to get a pretty good indication of exactly WHY it was such a flop (and give yourself a jolly good laugh in the process) then I strongly suggest you watch the trailer for it here!

And I don’t know if Ron came up with any of these gems, but here are Watch Mojo’s ten best opening lines in movies – and to finish, here are the top ten most affecting and iconic words spoken by the big screen heroes before they die!

That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This blog is taken form an e-newsletter which goes out 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, 15 September 2017

Compass Points 230

No doubt you heard of the sad death of Sir Peter Hall on Monday; the BBC obituary of this giant of theatre is here. His relationship with Oberon Books goes back many years so this is doubly sad for them, notwithstanding his status as a cultural titan. You can read the tribute that James Hogan publisher at Oberon wrote for this “treasured author who helped to transform the fortunes of the small independent press 15 years ago” in the Bookseller here.
There are four Oberon titles available – all of which are well worth ordering! The Autobiography of Peter Hall: Making an Exhibition of Myself (£25.00, pb, 9781840021158) is, as the Independent said “Compulsive stuff ... his insights, off stage as well as on, are still much needed.” Peter Hall's Diaries: The Story of a Dramatic Battle (pb, £16.99, 978 1840021028) chronicles the eight frenzied years between 1972 and 1980 when Hall conducted the historic move of the National Theatre from the Old Vic to the South Bank, and then triumphantly consolidated its position as the leading showcase for theatre in Britain. With remarkable candour Hall describes his relationship with Lord Olivier; and numerous actors, directors and playwrights including Ralph Richardson, Alec Guinness, John Gielgud, Jonathan Miller, Harold Pinter, John Osborne and Samuel Beckett. In his startlingly frank, incisive style, he creates sometimes affectionate, sometimes acid portraits of both his friends and his enemies. On its publication Michael Billington writing in the New York Times called it “an intimate, candid, crisis-filled account that raises controversy, dust and tempers in theatrical circles.” 
Shakespeare’s Advice to the Players (pb, £14.99, 978 1783190096) is an invaluable reference book for students, actors and directors working on Shakespeare productions and a treasure trove for avid Shakespeare readers and theatregoers. In it Sir Peter works through speeches from Shakespeare’s plays, revealing and elucidating as he proves the key to understanding and speaking them. Sir David Suchet commented that “reading this book I am reminded not only of Shakespeare's genius but also of Peter's. He manages to convey, lucidly and helpfully how to speak the language that can seem so very daunting.” And finally Exposed by the Mask: Form and Language in Drama (pb, £9.99, 978 1840021820) reveals in four parts, a lifetime’s discoveries about classical theatre, Shakespeare, opera and modern drama. The Sunday Telegraph called it "the wisest and most stimulating short book about theatre since Peter Brook’s ‘The Empty Space”.

I daresay many of you are pretty irritated by the news that British bookshops contribute ELEVEN times more corporation tax to the UK than Amazon does. You can read the full report in the Bookseller here. Looking on the bright side, this does show what a good state the British book trade is in, contributing £1.9bn to UK finances. Tim Godfray, CEO of the BA said that the report is “irrefutable proof” of the “significant economic value of bookshops to the UK’s economy.”

Published at the end of this month is the Radio Times Film Guide 2018 (pb, £27.50, 9780992936440) A cinephile's dream, and running this year to a whopping 1216 pages, this guide contains nearly 25,000 authoritative, opinionated and readable reviews, complete with credits, star rating, BBFC rating and availability on DVD or Blu-ray. Well-thought-out extras include a chronological list of the winners of major awards at the BAFTAs, Berlin, Cannes, the Golden Globes and the Oscars; 200 pages of actor and director filmographies; and a list of four and five-star films organized by genre. Readers are agreed – this is the best value for your money guide available, giving you “everything you could want. Excellent, authoritative but user-friendly reviews. Not your online, everyone's-an-expert-now rubbish. Get the opinions of those who actually know what they're talking about.” The Radio Times is a brand that readers really trust: “Great film book. It's a must for my dad every year. Only one he'll have bought. He says all the rest are a waste of money” is a typical comment – and this hefty blockbuster is clearly an excellent Christmas present option!
This year’s edition has lovely Leo on the from cover – so let’s have a look at here at five minutes of Di Caprio’s best acting performances or here if you prefer the grisly Oscar winning stuff!!

This week I’m pleased to say we can bring you a publicity round-up in an author’s own words! Here’s Carcanet poet Karen McCarthy Woolf’s description of what she’s been up to lately!
Dearest Friends and Poetry Family,
It’s been a while and the year has whizzed by in a blur in which ... I reimagined Odysseus as a London cab driver in Night Shift for BBC Radio 4 as part of My Name is Nobody … Recorded my extended poem Conversation, With Water with soundtrack for The Verb on BBC Radio 3 … & switched hemispheres to swap the English summer for winter in Mozambique! July wasn’t all beaches and blue skies though as the BIG news was the publication of my second collection Seasonal Disturbances … one of the book’s poems on gentrification was published in the Financial Times where perhaps it might get a chance to preach to the unconverted ;-), Jeremy Noel-Tod reviewed it for the Sunday Times, saying “McCarthy Woolf conjures her home city of London with vivid strokes of phrase…these are big-idea poems made up of bite-size insights and ironies … establishing the political anger and ecological anxieties that converge forcefully in the book’s shorter, more personal pieces.”
Granta also published three poems, including The CEO who's a slightly more dystopian version of dear old DT… or is that less dystopian? was also a Poetry Book Society Summer Recommendation: “to read Seasonal Disturbances is to be in the presence of a highly unusual, deeply inventive imagination, to which nothing is what it seems, nothing remains the same for long and nothing is ever allowed to get old.” I like that last bit, hope it rubs off!
CATCH ME … on Tuesday 5 September, when I’ll read from the book and talk to Samira Ahmed about it on BBC Radio 4’s flagship arts programme Front Row. 7.15 pm. At Ty Newydd, in Wales, where I’m teaching a one-week residential 11-16 September with Pascale Petit on Transforming Trauma, whether political, ecological or personal … Malika Booker is our guest poet … and there are still a couple of places going. You can book here. In Bloomsbury ... This year I spent the early shift on my birthday running a one-day Starting to Write Poetry course at Faber Academy. Which was actually great fun and reminded me why I love teaching! The next one is on Saturday 23 September. Then it’s the Poetry Book Fair at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square on 30 September, The Bristol Poetry Festival on Tuesday 17 October, the Manchester Poetry Festival on 22 October where I’m reading from Seasonal Disturbances and presenting some amazing new voices from the Complete Works showcase anthology Ten: Poets of the New Generation which I edited for Bloodaxe Books, and one of my favourites, Poetry in Aldeburgh on 3-5 November. & finally, I’ll be giving a keynote presentation on ‘sacred hybridity’ at the Complete Works Conference on Diversity in Poetry at Goldsmiths on 9 November.
Oh, and somewhere in between all that I’ll be finishing off the doctorate … on that note I’d better dash! Hope to see you at one thing or the other soon.
Love & Poetry, Karen XX

A permanently frozen London is the setting for The White City: a harrowing yet lyrical tale of survival in a dystopian near-future by Costa-shortlisted author Roma Tearne. Publishers Weekly in the US has just given it a very positive review saying “Tearne's sensitive tale of love amid the ruins of a Western civilization attempts, mostly successfully and always passionately, to tie the plight of Muslim immigrants to the suffering of all victims of modern totalitarian regimes … this small novel has a large message about human brutality.” You can read the whole piece here.  The White City (£12.99, hb, 978 1910709429) is published in the UK on 10 October by Aardvark and Roma’s previous book The Last Pier (pb, £8.99, 978 1910709306) attracted much praise (“skilled and sensitive” Independent on Sunday; “a wonderful ability to create atmosphere” The Times; “charts the patterns of love and loss with beautiful prose” Sunday Times). It also sold very well, so there will be many fans waiting for this compelling new novel.

From the Brothers Grimm to Roald Dahl, witches have been a source of inspiration to many authors, and a new novel from Impress also reflects its author Helen Steadman’s own fascination. Widdershins (pb, £8.99, 978 1911293040) tells the story of the women who were persecuted and the men who condemned them and is inspired by true events in the northeast of England. Readers have found it “immersive and compelling” and “well written and informative. I remember being fascinated as a child by the witch hunts and ducking of witches but I'd never really given much thought to the actual process involved or the sheer horror and unfairness of it all! The author has obviously researched her subject thoroughly and adapted a very real historical situation in to a fantastic work of fiction that had me hooked from the start.” You can find out more about Widdershins which was published in July on Helen’s own website at and there are some promotional events coming up around the UK. Helen will be at The Bakewell Bookshop in Bakewell on 30 September, then at the Gateshead Central Library 17 October followed by the Consett Library in Consett, County Durham on 31 October. There’s also an event at the Newcastle Book Festival on 28 November.
Top Ten witches anyone? Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?! ARGHHHHH !

Delizioso! A new deluxe, 624-page hardback edition of Valentina Harris’s classic title The Italian Regional Cook Book (£25.00, hb, 978 0754832409) has just been published by Lorenz, and it looks absolutely mouth-watering!  Famous for its bold flavours, seasonal ingredients and vibrant colours, Italian has repeatedly been voted the world's favourite cuisine and of course there is so much more to this nation's food than the ubiquitous pasta and pizzas. Italian-cooking expert Valentina Harris examines each area in turn, with a carefully curated selection of recipes, and detailed instructions and photographs to help you achieve an authentic, and completely delicious, end result. This comprehensive book is a must-have reference for anyone who is passionate about cooking authentic Italian food and is an extensive culinary tour of all the famous “foodie” regions including: Lombardy; Piedmont; Liguria; Emilia-Romagna; Veneto; Tuscany; Umbria; Sardinia; Campania; Sicily; Puglia; Basilicata; and Calabria. This newly designed single compendium volume is the first time Valentina's prestigious Italian regional series has been published together, with new additional recipes, updated dishes and totally gorgeous photographs.

“Playful and perplexing, delighting in wordplay and sly little puns” said a review last week for Worlds from the Word's End by Joanna Walsh in the Daily Mail! You can read an extract from this unconventional short story collection on Lit Hub here.  Here you can see a fantastic autumnal window display for this title at the lovely Books Upstairs in Dublin – the stunning jacket on this book looks so wonderful when there are lot of them!! It’s just been published by And Other Stories.

A reminder that the latest episode of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Scottish Literature Podcast is available to download! This month, Kristian and Vikki are reimagining Robert Louis Stevenson, paying attention to Emma Tennant’s Two Women of London, and interviewing Kevin MacNeil. You can find all that here.  

And while we’re on the subject of Scotland, I am thrilled to announce the return of Richard Hannay – John Buchan’s perennial adventurer, and hero of course of the bestselling Thirty-Nine Steps. The Polygon editions of the Richard Hannay novels have sold over 15,000 copies and October sees the publication of The Thirty-One Kings (£12.99, hb, 9781846973918), a brand-new Richard Hannay story by Robert J Harris. Towards the end of John Buchan’s last novel, a character reflects that with the outbreak of a second world war, the veterans may be called for action once more – and The Thirty-One Kings tells the tale of this new escapade. As German troops pour across France in June 1940, an individual code named 'Roland' has disappeared and is assumed to be in the hands of Nazi agents. Only Hannay knows the secret of the Thirty-One Kings, a secret upon which the whole future of Europe depends, and on his hazardous journey across the battlefields of France, Hannay is joined by old friends and new allies as he confronts a ruthless foe who will stop at nothing to destroy him. The lights are going out across Paris and time is running out for the world as both sides battle for the secret. Great stuff – bringing “elderly” heroes out of retirement and back onto the bestseller lists (e.g. Sherlock and James Bond) is a big trend at the moment and I think this well-written and exciting page-turner should do very well.
Who doesn’t love a bit of heroic derring-do escapism, so here's  Richard Hannay in his 1935 version played by Robert Donat – directed by Hitchcock of course; and here he is in his 1978 incarnation played by Robert Powell – back in the days when Big Ben was actually working!

Despite becoming a big issue in public debate, social mobility is one of the most misunderstood processes of our time. In fact, in a thought-provoking piece here you can discover “Why upward social mobility means some people move downwards”. The New Social Mobility: How the Politicians Got It Wrong (pb, £23.99, 978 1447310655) is an accessible and engaging title in which Geoff Payne, one of Britain’s leading mobility analysts, presents up-to-date research evidence to demonstrate how our politicians have not grasped the ways in which mobility works. This important book will challenge the well-established opinions of politicians, pressure groups, the press, and the public; and is also sufficiently comprehensive to be suitable for teaching and of interest to a broad academic audience. It is published by Policy Press.

Jane Austen on our tenners – hurrah – what’s not to love! However, when this news was announced few were aware that a £10 Austen banknote had already existed – issued by her favourite brother. Handsome, clever and enterprising, Henry Austen founded a bank business and charmed his way into the top rank of aristocratic society before going spectacularly bust in the financial crash of 1816. He left an enduring legacy however, for it was Henry who supported Jane’s dream of becoming a published author. Literary critic and cultural historian E. J. Clery presents a radically new vision of the much-loved novelist, revealing how her works were shaped by an acute awareness of the economic scandals, crises and speculations that marked the Regency era. Jane Austen: The Banker’s Sister (£20, 978 1785901768, hb) provides a fascinating reappraisal of the political connections and economic interests of the Austen family, and is also an engaging exploration of the bond between brother and sister. The Times Literary Supplement said it was “calmly commanding … and makes some enlightening juxtapositions of material from the Austen family so as to suggest fresh things about the author herself. A perfect read for those who cannot understand why Austen should be on the £10." See it below looking mighty fine in a superb Jane Austen display in Heffers Cambridge. Jane Austen The Banker’s Sister is published by Biteback.

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. This week here are our favourite tweets from #JaneAusten!
Waterstones @Waterstones Jane Austen is of course trending due to the new £10 note. Here's the first one being spent in @Hatchards On Pride and Prejudice. Natch.
ImaginedThings Books @ImaginedThings Thrilled the #NewTenPoundNote is out today! Fitting with the literary theme they should only be spent on books. Nothing else. Just books.
The Madder Mind @TheMadderMind “I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.”
Trevor Baxendale @trevorbaxendale Just seen Jane Austen trending and for one terrible minute thought she'd died.
David Tully @DavidEdwinTully #bbcbreakfast The Jane Austen tenner, the only woman on a note. But apparently there has been a woman on the notes since 1952. Who knew?
iHeart @HeartAmazona "I must learn to be content with being happier than I deserve.”
Phil Rickman @PhilRickman Let's not forget today that ten quid was exactly what Jane Austen got for her first novel. Peanuts even then.
Faber & Faber @FaberBooks “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
Paul Lewis @paullewismoney "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.”
MindGourmet @MindGourmet “There is no charm equal to tenderness of the heart.”
Evan Robb @ERobbPrincipal “I was quiet but I was not blind.”
Quite Interesting @qikipedia Mark Twain said he wanted to dig up Jane Austen and beat her over the skull with her own shin bone.
That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This blog is taken from a newsletter which is sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.