Friday 27 October 2017

Compass Points 236

It’s Halloween next Tuesday of course – and a good opportunity to tell you about Haunted Places (£19.99, hb, 978 1782745211) which has just been published by Amber. The strange cries at night heard in a dilapidated penitentiary, the glimpse of a Grey Lady passing in a castle corridor, the face at the window in a room that has been locked for decades; stories of hauntings never cease to intrigue us. From English palaces to American prisons, from forts in India to a doll-infested island near Mexico City; Haunted Places features the world’s most fascinating spooky locations. All the stories are striking: from patients re-appearing in a deserted Italian island sanatorium, to the lift operator in a Banff hotel still working his shift decades after he died, to the restless spirits of the Salem witches and it also features 150 eerily atmospheric colour photographs. Author Robert Grenville thinks the appeal of paranormal places is linked to the idea of abandonment and ruin. "Abandoned buildings have a feeling of loss about them that a haunting only exaggerates and amplifies," he reflects. There is a brilliant interview with Robert and a whole gallery of photos from the book on the CNN Travel website here - have a look, the pictures are truly stunning. This title is part of Amber’s evocative Abandoned Places series, which includes Abandoned Castles (hb, £19.99, 978 1782745228), Abandoned Wrecks (hb, £19.99, 978 1782745204) and Abandoned Places (hb, £19.99, 978 1782743941). Full of striking photos, these alluring books illuminate and explore exploring compellingly beautiful locations, providing a moving pictorial examination of worlds we have left behind.

It's certainly the season to be scary, and Jack Squat and The Niche, which are Two Dark Tales - a pair of disturbing novellas from the master of the literary uncanny, Charles Lambert, have just had a good review in the TLS which called them “charming, elegantly written” and “deeply poignant.” Attitude Magazine described the two novellas as “gripping” and these disquieting, creepy stories are sure to win Charles new fans. Two Dark Tales (£8.99, pb, 9781910709290) has just been published by Aardvark Bureau as one paperback with two different covers on the front and back – very clever, as you can see here! 

And talking of terrifying things; here is what the Buzzfeed community came up with when asked to nominate the most frightening Wikipedia web pages …. Don’t look at them alone!

On 15th December it will be 20 years since ex-football hero Alan Hudson suffered a horrific hit and run car incident which almost killed him. Huddy: The Official Biography of Alan Hudson by Jason Pettigrove (978 1902719 573, pb, £13.99) is published next week and there will be a lot of media coverage for it – which began with a two-page spread in the Times a fortnight ago. Copies arrived this week the office and this illustrated large-format 240-page paperback with its sixteen pages of colour photos looks really good. It reveals for the first time, the full story of the real Alan Hudson, the man behind the lurid newspaper headlines and booze-fuelled anecdotes. One of the finest players football has ever seen, he is still revered at Chelsea, Stoke City and Arsenal and yet his professional success was dogged by injuries and enormous personal challenges. His love of the glitzy 'footballer lifestyle', dominated by hard-drinking, glamorous women, and frequent brushes with authority made him as many enemies as close friends. The one thing that couldn’t be taken away from him, however, was his talent for the beautiful game. There are some fantastically evocative pictures in this book – including one of Huddy with the rest of the Chelsea team recording Blue is the Colour in 1972, which includes the lines “After the ball was sent in, after the whistle blew. Charlie got his lead up and down the wing he flew. He crossed the ball to Huddy and Huddy passed it back. And then old Charlie knocked the goalie flat.” You can watch a rare Pathé film of that recording here. This book would make a great Christmas present for any footie fan who loves reminiscing about those 70’s glory days – it’s published by St David’s Press.

Talking of the beautiful game – is this the most ridiculous penalty goal ever? I think it just might be!

The Guardian called Charlie Craggs “a radical social innovator working across the UK, making a real difference to society.” The Huffington Post said “Charlie has made the world more inclusive, fair and a whole lot more fun too.” What does she do? Well, to quote her hugely influential campaign , she’s “tackling transphobia fabulously, through education and empowerment.” Now she’s written a book, To My Trans Sisters (£12.99, pb, 978 1785923432) which has just been published by Jessica Kingsley. Charlie says she “began by asking myself what I felt my community needed, and what I needed when I began my own transition. I decided to create the book I wish I had had. When I started transitioning in 2013, I really struggled. I didn't know any other trans people, and I felt really lost and alone. I made a lot of mistakes—from not knowing how to cover my five o'clock shadow, to taking the wrong dose of hormones, to dealing with transphobia the total wrong way. What I needed was a big sister figure to guide me through transition. This is the case for most trans people: Transition is hard enough, but it's harder when you have go through it alone. I wanted to create a book of sisterly advice for the girls who need that big sister figure like I did.”  
Lots of publicity for this one – you can read an article by Charlie in Broadly here,  read an extract from the book in The Debrief here, and see an interview in Refinery29 here. Vogue have crowned her one of their Vogue's Girls on a Mission and you can read that article here. They say To My Trans Sisters is a compilation of essays - edited by our heroine - written as words of advice from a range of women from politicians and musicians to models. It's filled with lessons learnt and helpful advice ranging from light-hearted musings to the downright essentials. A must-read if ever there was.” Charlie has also been interviewed on LBC Radio, in Teen Vogue, in Elle and Dazed & Confused and I suspect we’re going to be hearing a lot more from this inspirational woman.

A new title from Alexander McCall Smith is always a Christmas treat and The Good Pilot, Peter Woodhouse (hb, £14.99, 978-1846974090 ) which is out next week from Polygon looks like a cracker to me! It’s in this year’s BA Xmas Catalogue and Sandy will be doing lots of media activity at Christmas time to support it, including Christmas stories for the Telegraph and The Lady. He’s just done a lovely interview with the Sunday Times, which ran last weekend. The book begins in 1944, when Val is working as a land girl when the Americans arrived at the nearby airfield. Mike, a young American airman, arrives in her life and so too does Peter Woodhouse, a dog badly treated on a neighbouring farm … You can find out more on Alexander McCall Smith’s own website here.

Last week, we told you about the brilliant Dark Chapter (£8.99, pb, 978 1785079061), winner of The Guardian Not the Booker prize and its author Winnie M Li will be appearing on Woman’s Hour on 7th November, (alongside Anne Cassidy, author of No Shame) to discuss sexual assault and rape. The discussion will be broadcast live between 10am and 10:45am. This is excellent publicity for this title which as well as winning Not the Booker, was Highly Commended for the CWA Debut Dagger 2015, shortlisted for the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize and the Pat Kavanagh Prize and runner-up in the Leeds Literary Prize. Inspired by true events it is a story of the dark chapters and chance encounters that can irrevocably determine the shape of our lives and it’s published by Legend.

What are the causes of the rise in economic inequality in the western world and what can be done about it? The Inequality Crisis (pb, £12.99, 978 1447337584) is written by award-winning academic and policymaker Roger Brown, and provides a comprehensive survey of all the available evidence, looking at both sides of the inequality argument. In an accessible and jargon-free book packed with fascinating facts and quotes and fully up to date with the latest developments from Brexit to Trump; this title offers practical suggestions for what can be done, such as raising taxes on higher earners, tougher action against tax avoiders, helping people on lower incomes to save, and reducing inequalities in education. It has just been published by Policy Press and you can see a great display of it here at Blackwell’s Broad Street in Oxford – thanks guys!

Time Out said “Mark Pepper is a writer to watch” and his latest thriller Veteran Avenue (pb, £8.99, 978 1911583318) has just been published by Urbane. Since leaving the military, John Frears has been drifting, unable to settle. Then he gets word that a funeral is taking place in LA. Donnie Chester, fellow veteran of the first Gulf War, has been shot dead. He decides to head to the States to pay his respects then go sightseeing. It is a simple plan, in keeping with his life to date. But his life is about to become more complicated when a mysterious event from his past crashes into the present, which could mean the difference between life and death… Mark’s previous two novels (which were published by Hodder) have had good reviews – the Lancashire Evening Post called The Short Cut “A speedy, scary and sexy thriller told with great style and wit” and he was interviewed recently talking about Veteran Avenue for the ITV News website – you can watch that here.  The book bloggers love him: as one said “Time Out are quoted as saying Mark Pepper is a writer to watch – maybe, but more to the point, he’s definitely one to read.” You can read an interesting piece about the story behind Veteran Avenue on the Dorset Book Detective’s website here.

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 20 October 2017

Compass Points 235

Hurrah! Carcanet have not one, not two but THREE poets on the TS Eliot Prize shortlist! Former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion described this annual prize for the best new poetry collection as “the prize most poets want to win.” And in a very strong year, (with a record 154 poetry collections submitted) the TS Eliot Foundation has increased the winner’s prize money to £25,000 to mark the 25th anniversary of the award! The poets are: Tara Bergin for The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx (978 1784103804), Caroline Bird for In these Days of Prohibition (978 1784104788) and Robert Minhinnick for Diary of the Last Man (978 1784103484). All are £9.99 paperbacks. One of the highlights of this prize are the TS Eliot Shortlist Readings which is the largest annual poetry event in the UK and which will be hosted once again by Ian McMillan. They are on Sunday 14th January, the day before the Award Ceremony itself which will be at the Wallace Collection on Monday 15th January.  An exciting new addition coming this year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this highly prestigious prize; is a series of little films of all the shortlisted poets, reading their work and giving a short interview. I’ll let you know when these are available to view! You can see the full shortlist of ten and find out more on the TS Eliot Prize website.

What’s your opinion on Katie Hopkins? Do you share the opinions of Donald Trump who tweeted recently “thank you to respected columnist Katie Hopkins for her powerful writing” or are you more in agreement with Simon Cowell who said he “would rather take a bath, fill it with vinegar, cut myself a thousand times, immerse myself slowly for an hour than work with her.” Love her or loathe her, she is impossible to ignore, and Rude (pb, £9.99, 978 1785902468) which is out from Biteback on 7 November is equally in your face. Part memoir, part handbook for the modern woman, this book shares Katie’s disasters, her biggest disappointments and the time she had to ring her super sensible boss to say she was on the front pages of the tabloids having sex in a field. Like you do. From being kicked out of the army for being epileptic, to firing little Lord Sugar; from her first husband leaving her in the maternity ward for the big-boobed secretary, to the reality behind Celebrity Big Brother, to the privacy of her home and role as a mum of three; she has plenty of surprises to share and lessons she thinks we should learn. As you would expect, Katie doesn’t sugar-coat anything, and neither does she hold back, making her as honest in her book as she is in life.

Let’s just remind ourselves of some classic Katie Hopkins moments here!

So, so pleased to see the braw Scottish Bothy Bible winning the of Travel Guidebook of the Year on Wednesday at the Travel Media Awards 2017. The awards were created in recognition of the hugely influential role that today’s travel media play, and categories cover a wide range of media, from consumer travel magazines to travel trade titles and guide books. The evening saw 20 publications, broadcasters, journalists and photographers awarded prestigious trophies. You can find out more on their website here.  The Scottish Bothy Bible (£16.99, pb, 978 1910636107) is rightly a bestseller for Wild Things and whether you are actually planning your own bothy break or just an armchair traveller it is a captivating read. Beautifully produced, full of gorgeous captivating photos and maps so that just by reading it you feel you are learning more about the real Scotland.

Huge congratulations to debut novelist Winnie M Li whose vivid account of the aftermath of a sexual assault, Dark Chapter (£8.99, pb, 978 1785079061) is the winner of this year’s Not the Booker Prize. It was the voting public’s favourite, and the Guardian judges concurred. You can read more about that in the Guardian here. Dark Chapter which is an astonishing and unique novel inspired by the author’s own story, is out in paperback from Legend on 1 November and there’s a LOT of buzz about it. The Stylist made it one of their Top 10 Debuts to Look Out for in 2017 calling it “an important and moving book” while Cathy Rentzenbrink said it was “complex and rewarding” and Erin Kelly said Dark Chapter is a must-read. It’s gripping, compelling and all the more authentic for inhabiting both voices so completely. Stunning.” The Daily Mail said it was a “heart-wrenching depiction... Brave, raw and strikingly original, it is a story that will resonate for many years.”

Sexual assault is not an easy subject to write about – and an even harder subject to laugh about. I think Tracy Ullman successfully manages it in her sharp parody of police attitudes  here though!

Neil Powell’s Was and Is: Collected Poems (pb, £14.99, 978 1784102326 ) published by Carcanet is up for the poetry category in the East Anglian Book Awards and you can see the full shortlist here.  The winner will be announced at a celebration of regional writing and publishing in England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, Norwich on 24th November. These playful and elegiac poems by the celebrated biographer of Amis and Britten explore music, seascapes and landscapes, travel, family, love and loss in traditional forms with warmth and humour. Peter Scupham called them “lucid, elegant, formal and humane.”

There has been lots of upbeat poetry news to tell you about today hasn’t there, so in celebration of all things poetic, I don’t think you can do much better than listen to this  highly hilarious ten minute-clip from Hancock’s Half Hour: The Poetry Society!

We’re always pleased to tell you about a really good author of historical fiction, as it is a massively popular market. Tracey Warr’s first novel was shortlisted for the Impress Prize for New Fiction, the Rome Film Festival Book Initiative, and received a Santander Research Award. Her second historical novel, The Viking Hostage has now sold more than 1,500 copies. Her Conquest trilogy is set in medieval Wales and follows the tumultuous life of the last Welsh Princess and its first book Daughter of the Last King won much praise from the book bloggers with Lisa Reads Books calling it “a wonderful novel brilliantly researched and told in a fantastic page turning style… it will appeal to fans of Carol McGrath, Joanna Courtney and Patricia Bracewell”.  WhatIRead suggested that it was “recommended if you’re a fan of Poldark, Outlander or Philippa Gregory” and Cosy Reads said that “Tracey Warr manages to bring forgotten, historical characters to life with such vivacity …I impeccably well researched history and well-conjured settings … one engrossing historical read”. The second book in the trilogy Conquest: The Drowned Court (£8.99, pb, 9781911293088) is out from Impress on 30 October. This title will obviously have a big appeal to Welsh bookshops – but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be popular everywhere else too! Tracey is doing numerous events at medieval castles over the coming months and also talking about her writing at on 8 November at Gaywood Library in Kings Lynn, 13 November at Pembroke Dock Library (close to Pembroke Castle where the heroine of The Drowned Court lived), and on 27 November at Downham Market Library. You can find out more about Tracey Warr on her website

Talking of Welsh history, let’s hear what Edmund Blackadder has to say on the subject…

And more Welsh news with the announcement that Pigeon by Alys Conran (pb, £8.99, 978 1910901236) is on the shortlist for the Rhys Davies Trust Fiction Award – one of the awards in the 2017 Wales Book of the Year awards. There are 10 prizes on offer for works of fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry in English and Welsh and the winners will be announced at a ceremony in Cardiff's Tramshed on 13 November. Pigeon is a journey through the uneasy half-forgotten memories of childhood, a story about wishful-thinking and the power of language. The New Welsh Review said it “might have been authored by Faulkner... just as imaginatively capacious ... never overwrought, rather pitch-perfect.” It is published by Parthian.

Last week was World Mental Health Day, which seems like an excellent opportunity to tell you about Gail Mitchell’s transformative book, Loving The Life Less Lived (pb, £9.99, 978 1910453261) which is published by Red Door. Like many people, Gail battled with anxiety and depression for many years, finding it exhausting, stressful and demoralising at times. Realising that this approach to her condition was futile, Gail chose a different approach: acceptance. Taking control in this way removed some of the pressure and enabled Gail to focus on developing coping strategies, creating the tips and tools that are included in this empathetic and practical book. Gail Mitchell focuses on the positive aspects of her condition, showing how a person living with mental illness is so much more than the label that society puts on them. She found acceptance empowering, enabling her to live her life to the full. Perhaps not the life she had planned, but one that is happy and fulfilling and that she loves. You can find out more on her blog at

Theo Michaels appeared again on ITV This Morning this week – he’s becoming something of a regular! Introduced by Holly Willoughby as “The king of the microwave” he cooked winter stews in a matter of minutes which were tasted with great appreciation by Holly and Phillip Scofield. He was talking about Microwave Mug Meals (978 0754832850, £9.99, hb) and Microwave Mug Soups 978 0754833734, £10, hb,) which is his new title out on 3 November from Lorenz. Everyone loves soup, it is the ultimate comfort food. Whether you yearn for a traditional creamy tomato, a spicy fish chowder or a deliciously umami-rich ramen, a mug of soup is the perfect supper on the sofa, quick lunch and between-meal savoury snack. And Theo Michaels can show you that a great-tasting soup does not have to involve long cooking with big pans and bulk ingredients! Every soup in this book has been specially created to suit the microwave and to be cooked in a single mug, ready to eat. Instead of opening up a can, you can have an even yummier home-cooked mushroom soup, or chicken, even minestrone – made fresh in just the same amount of time. The appearances on This Morning are absolutely fantastic ongoing publicity for this charismatic author and his books.

Swallow Summer (pb, £9.99, 978 1905583447) by Larissa Boehning (translated by Lyn Marven from the German) is one of six titles to be shortlisted for the inaugural Warwick Prize for Women in Translation. The winner will be announced on the 15th November. The prize aims to address the gender imbalance in translated literature and to increase the number of international women’s voices accessible by a British and Irish readership. A recent report by Nielsen Book showed that translated literary fiction makes up only 3.5% of the literary fiction titles published in the UK, but accounts for 7% of the volume of sales. You can find out more about the prize here. Each character in Larissa Boehning's unflinching debut collection experiences a moment where they’re forced to confront how differently things turned out, how quickly ambitions were shelved, or how easily people change. It is published by Comma.

Compass Points has now been bringing you the very best in new titles, publishing news, trivia and fun every Friday for five years! The first ever book we featured back then in autumn 2012 was Sex and Punishment: Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire (pb, £10.99, 9781908906106) by Eric Berkowitz which is published by Westbourne Press, who launched the same year. They’re an imprint of the fabulous Saqi (which also includes international literary fiction imprint Telegram). Sex and Punishment tells the story of the struggle throughout millennia to regulate the most powerful engine of human behaviour: sex. The "raging frenzy" of the sex drive, to use Plato's phrase, has always defied control but that's not to say that pretty much every civilization hasn’t tried; wielding their most formidable weapon: the law. At any given point in time, some forms of sex were condoned while others were punished mercilessly. Jump forward or backward a century or two (and often far less than that) and the harmless fun of one era becomes the gravest crime in another. The Sunday Times called it “enlightening and hugely entertaining” and it has become a bestseller – proving Compass Points sure knows how to spot them!

The first ever film we featured was this one! Still love it!

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are our favourite tweets from the week!

FavershamLitFest‏ @FavershamLit We've started a book exchange on Platform 3 at #Faversham rail station. Enjoy!
Rachel Newsome‏ @RachelENewsome Brought to tears by the powerful stories of the invisible & silenced in #refugeetales @commapress
Alex Cobham‏ @alexcobham An amazing book made me cry & laugh on 3 continents this week. #JusticeforLB. Buy it. Read it. Go change the world.
Winnie M Li‏ @winniemli Great fun yesterday @Legend_Press filming #bookblogger video on #DarkChapter #NotTheBooker with @Frizbot - look out for it next wk! #books
SF Said‏ @whatSFSaid Happiness is having your own library card - and a well-funded library service, with specialist librarians there to help you! #SaveLibraries
New Island Books‏ @NewIslandBooks We're 25 years old this year! Come help us celebrate on Saturday, November 4th @DublinBookFest - all welcome!
Waterstones‏ @Waterstones Wow, we just popped into the new-look @WaterstonesCamb and it is absolutely gorgeous. People of Cambridge rejoice!
JKP Books‏ @JKPBooks We'll be talking about our three new books on #dyslexia at half 11 today on Facebook Live. Follow us to be notified
Ashley C. Ford‏ @iSmashFizzle "How's writing the book going?"
First of all, fuck you.
And Other Stories‏ @andothertweets “It is about time more publishing firms got out of London" @yorkshirepost on UK literature spreading its wings
Red Lion Books‏ @RedLionBooks 'Don't be seduced into thinking that that which does not make a profit is without value.' Arthur Miller, born #onthisday in 1915.
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.

Monday 16 October 2017

Compass Points 234

Hands up who loves The Archers? (Cue the music tum de tum de tum de tum) You’ll love this one then! Leading scholars combine their love of the long running Radio 4 show with their specialist subjects, in Custard, Culverts and Cake (pb, £14.99, 978 1787432864); a sometimes serious, but most often wry look at the people of Ambridge. A group of Archers Academics take on subjects such as food, geography, social media and faith and wearing their scholarship lightly, lead us easily through topics as diverse as prison diets for nursing mothers, the psychology of domestic violence perpetrators and why Ambridge men don’t make their own sandwiches. To enjoy this collection, readers do not need to be experts on forensics, farming or flooding (though it helps if you like cake). There is, naturally, an entire section dedicated to the Helen and Rob storyline! This looks like a total winner to me, here's a piece in the Times Higher Education supplement, discussing the chapter entitled “My Parsnips Are Bigger Than Your Parsnips” which focuses on the lesser moral failings of those involved in the annual Ambridge Flower and Produce Show. We read about the notorious “chutneygate” when Jill Archer’s chutney was confused with Carol Tregorran’s and she was wrongly awarded Best in Show. Even this was matched by the times when Jim Lloyd’s onions were disqualified following illicit use of twine and when labels were swapped on the runner beans. Custard, Culverts and Cake is edited by Dr Cara Courage and Dr Nicola Headlam and is the perfect gift for all Archers fans – the BBC Radio 4 soap has well over 5 million listeners, so that’s a lot of people who’d be v happy to find this book under their Xmas trees! Quite a bit of publicity confirmed for it too; there will be an interview on Radio 4 in the next couple of weeks, and there will also be interviews with the authors in lots of local media including the Portsmouth News, on BBC Radio Bristol, in the Sheffield Star and Yorkshire Post. The Times are likely to run a piece in their entertainment pages as are the Telegraph. It will be in the Christmas Book Selection for the Church Times and also in December Waitrose, BBC Wildlife and Good Housekeeping magazines. The book jacket features the official Archers logo, and it has just been published by Emerald Publishing – here's a super display of it at Blackwell's Oxford!

And if you are an Archers fan, then you will probably like this  – an original recording from 1958!

We were very excited to see that three of our publishers have titles on the Saltire Awards shortlists. In Search of Dustie-Fute by David Kinloch; Moon for Sale by Richard Price and Farm by the Shore by Thomas A. Clark which are all published by Carcanet have been shortlisted for the Poetry Book of the Year Award. Scotland: Mapping the Islands edited by Christopher Fleet, Charles W.J. Withers, and Margaret Wilkes from Birlinn is on the award for Scottish Non-Fiction Book of the Year and Goblin by Ever Dundas published by Freight is up for First Book of the Year. Widely regarded as Scotland’s most prestigious book awards; the Saltire Literary Awards are organised by the Saltire Society, a non-political independent charity founded in 1936 which aims to celebrate the Scottish imagination. You can see the shortlists for all seven of the awards on their website here. The Awards Ceremony will be held on the 30th November at Central Halls, Edinburgh.

A good review for a “sparklingly sardonic book” by Peter Fleming, The Death of Homo Economicus: Work, Debt and the Myth of Endless Accumulation (pb, 978 0745399409) in the Guardian last week which you can read here. Author Peter Fleming believes that in today's workplaces we work harder and longer, labouring under the illusion that this will bring us more wealth. He feels that as this myth becomes increasingly preposterous, it's time to understand just why we insist on believing in it. “The nicest thing about his book is its avoidance of despair: it is often hilariously angry, but the stylish expression of outrage can itself be a positive and optimistic act” says the review. It’s just been published by Pluto and you can see a great pic of it here looking very fine at the London Review Bookshop.

Whatever your feelings about her, there’s no doubt that Theresa May has got her work cut out at the moment; all the more surprising considering that running the country was never part of her – or anyone else’s – plan. Theresa May: The Enigmatic Prime Minister (pb, £10.00, 978 1785902734) is a fascinating biography in which Rosa Prince explores the self-styled unflashy politician whose commitment to public service was instilled in her from childhood. More than a decade after she warned stunned Conservatives of their “nasty” image, May has become Britain's second female premier, a woman who had to fight against the odds to become an MP, who remained overlooked and undervalued during much of her time in Parliament, yet who went on to become a formidable Home Secretary and, now, the leader of her country as it faces its greatest challenge since the Second World War. Out in paperback from Biteback this month, the Sunday Times called this biography “immensely thorough”.

The New Complete Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Jennie Shapter (hb, £15.00, 978 0754832881) which was published in September by Lorenz, has been selected for the latest Lakeland catalogue. This is really quite an accolade as Lakeland are renowned for very thoroughly assessing all the competition before deciding which product is the best one to recommend for their discerning customer base! They said it was “complete in every detail … includes a no-nonsense introduction to the ‘science’ of pressure cooking… offers plenty of interesting and practical advice … filled with delicious and inspiring recipes, illustrated with over 500 photographs, and cover every type of cookery… from baked eggs to fiery curry, from kedgeree to Swedish meatballs, and from winter warmers to summer salads, you’re sure to find loads of tasty ideas and new family favourites, many of which can be served up after just minutes under pressure. There’s even room for scrumptious sweet treats like banoffee pie or lemon cheesecake – plus an authentic, but speedy, Christmas pudding recipe to inspire you for the festive season." You can see the full listing for this superb cookbook here – this title really is the best in the business!

An interesting story in the Bookseller here about the whole crowdfunding phenomenon – and how it relates to the publishing industry. Authors David Walliams, David Nicholls and S J Watson are among those who have pledged money to crowdfund the publication of journalist Matt Cain’s book after it was rejected more than 30 times by traditional publishers.

Journalist Nancy Stevens interviewed “one the nicest men in showbiz” actor and author Hugh Fraser for her local Milton Keynes radio show Stevens on Sunday last weekend; his newest book Malice (pb, £8.99, 978 1911583066) (“a five-star belter of a thriller”) in his Rina Walker series (which began with Harm and then Threat) was published by Urbane this summer. Hugh will also be speaking at the Harrogate Literary Festival later this month and at the fabulous Lit and Phil Library in Newcastle as part of the Books on Tyne festival on the 25th Nov. This author has a massive fan base – both for his writing and his much-loved portrayal of Hastings to David Suchet’s Poirot – and this series set in the 1960’s London underworld, about a female assassin for hire, comes highly recommended. You can read an interview with Hugh about his writing on the blog Fangirl Nation here.

What you maybe don’t know about Hugh Fraser is that he is the co-author of the Rainbow theme tune! “What’s that?” I hear you younger booksellers cry! Here you go!

What if there were a prescription that could slim, energize and protect your body from major health risks? What if there were a remedy for everything from fatigue to stress to chronic pain? There is. Food Can Fix It (£22.99, pb, 978 1788170192) is a ground-breaking new 368-page book by Dr Mehmet Oz – America’s number one authority on health and well-being which has just been published by Hay House. It is featured this month in Bella and will also appear in Women’s Fitness and Woman’s Way. Dr Oz introduces the reader to a wonder prescription –  simple, healing, wholesome food. Food Can Fix It sets out an easy-to-follow 21-Day Weight-Loss Jumpstart Plan for harnessing the power of nutrition with clear information and a meal plan full of superfoods. He explains how to kick-start weight loss, improve your energy, decrease inflammation and prevent or alleviate a host of other common conditions –  all without medication.

We have just heard that Charlotte Peacock, the author of Into the Mountain: A Life of Nan Shepherd (978 1903385562, £20, hb) will be on Janice Forsyth’s BBC Radio Scotland show, on November 6th and there has also been some been publicity for this title which has just been published by Galileo in the Herald. In the 1930s, the writer and poet, Nan Shepherd was one Scotland’s best-known literati. Three novels, as well as a volume of poetry, In the Cairngorms, all published while she was still only in her thirties, established her reputation as one of the most highly respected members of the Scottish modernist movement. Then, much later, and immediately declared a masterpiece, came The Living Mountain, her meditation on mountains which has become a classic and a bestseller. Nan Shepherd was an intensely private woman, but Charlotte Peacock, in this first ever biography, has been as successful in finding her way into the life of her subject as Nan herself was in “finding her way into the mountains”. She has had unparalleled access to all Nan’s archives and to all her remaining friends and acquaintances and this beautifully written book unravels the mysteries, dispels some of the rumours and gives a real insight into the life and work of this extraordinary writer.

You may know that Nan Shepherd is currently the face on the RBS Scottish £5 note? Have a look at this rather beautiful three-minute film about its creation and Nan’s life – lovely stuff!

Great to see two of our books featured in the first ever Foyles Indie Spotlight Newsletter. The titles are Words from the Word’s End (pb, £8.99, 978 1911508106), Joanna Walsh's dazzling collection of shorts published by And Other Stories and Protest: Stories of Resistance (£14.99, pb, 978 1905583737), published by Comma. The newsletter says the titles featured are “a joy to sell … some of the biggest innovation comes from independents. It'd be easy in the Autumn season to get lost in the flurry of big bestsellers and celeb bios — so we thought we'd take an email to focus solely on the great work that independent publishers are doing. So, this one's for the indies — for all of them, no matter their size — but especially for the little guys, the underdogs, the overworked and underpaid. For the risk-takers, the rediscoverers, the trendsetters, the neck-sticker-outers; the pioneers, the curious and the brave.” Hear, hear, we couldn’t agree more – and thanks Foyles for your support!

Talking of Protest, two of its contributors have been on BBC Radio Manchester recently. Courttia Newland was on The People programme on Sunday, ahead of his appearance at the sold-out Manchester Literature Festival event. Skip to 51:46 here to hear him speak about his Poll Tax Riot story and his feelings on present day protest movements. And here is the Protest editor Ra Page speaking to Mike Sweeney.

Lots and lots more publicity this week for The Good Hotel Guide 2018; here is a big piece in the Mail and there have been articles about the awards pretty much everywhere. Over the past forty years, The Good Hotel Guide (pb, £20, 978 0993248429) has established a unique position as a reliable and independent guide, which has won more media praise than any other hotel guide on the market. Whether your taste runs to luxury castles or simple B&Bs, this book has the answer! Remember it includes 25% off vouchers – which makes the £20 cover price look like a bit of a bargain to me!

A great interview with Brian May on Sky Breakfast News this week, talking about the fabulous Queen in 3-D (£50, hb, 978 0957424685) published by London Stereo. What a great publicity plug for this title, which is selling extremely well, has had rave reviews and need I say, is absolutely ideal as a Christmas gift! And here is Brian May talking about the book at the Cheltenham Literary Festival this week. There was also some great publicity in the Express which you can see here along with lots of other fab Queen in 3-D promotional news on the dedicated website for the title,

I’m pleased to say that a Brian May guitar solo makes it into the Top Ten Guitar solos list here  – but is he number one? Time to get out those air guitars while you find out!

That’s all for now folks! More next week!

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