Friday 26 January 2018

Compass Points 247

Getting more wildness into our lives is a huge trend at present – whether it’s camping in ever more exotic locations, trekking off to new horizons, or simply being mindful in a forest – and Wild Things Publishing have been right at the forefront of this movement! The Scottish Bothy Bible was a particular success story last year, but the whole list has had a stonking 2017 as you may have read in the Bookseller recently. You can remind yourself of all the titles on their website here. We can’t wait for the Wild Guide to Wales and Marches (978 1910636145, £16.99, pb) which promises to reveal the hidden places, great adventures and the good life in Wales, Herefordshire and Shropshire. It’s out on 1 May and this new compendium of adventures will guide the discerning explorer or adventurous family to over 800 wild swims, ancient forests, lost ruins and hidden beaches. As always, there’s plenty of mesmerising photography and its packed with practical information including GPX co-ordinates and 25 maps. Wales and the Welsh Marches is one of Europe's fastest growing adventure holiday destinations and I think this super-inspiring publisher is going to have another bestseller on their hands with this new title. Wild Things – we think we love you! 

Talking of which, have a read here to find out more about the story behind the simple lyrics and immediately recognisable guitar riff of one of the most memorable songs ever – written in 1965 and most famously performed by the Troggs a year later.

Can you imagine sitting down with your husband and the father of your two small children and telling him “The idea of having sex just with you for the next 40 years – I can’t do it” Author Anita Cassidy did just that when she realised her life was built around something she didn’t believe in: monogamy. Read this fascinating piece  in the Guardian on Discovering my true sexual self: Why I Embraced Polyamory – ideas which are explored in Anita’s debut novel Appetite (£8.99, 978-1910453476, pb) which you see here looking mighty fine on the shelves of WHS Victoria! Anita says “I’m a writer, a relationship radical, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt and a friend. I am also a lover of old books, new music and (mostly) clean food. Whilst I understand the limitations of labels, I do identify as bi-sexual, polyamorous, kinky. Above all else, I am curious about everything: about life, about learning and about love.” Appetite is published by Red Door.

2018 was meant to be the “year of publishing women”, after the novelist Kamila Shamsie challenged the books industry to publish no new titles by men for a year, in order to “redress the inequality” of the literary world. In the end, our wonderful friends at And Other Stories were the only ones to rise to her challenge – you can read the whole story in the Guardian here.

What’s your favourite tree? I think most of us have one – the one we go out of our way to look at when it’s in blossom or the one that looks especially stunning on a bright autumnal morning. Have a look here in Time Out to see the picks of author Paul Wood – and you can see more in his brilliant book London’s Street Trees: A Field Guide to the Urban Forest (£12.99, pb, 978 0993291135). Loads more stuff on this over on Twitter @The StreetTree and Paul posts daily pics on Instagram too! It’s published by Safe Haven.

“Destined to become one of the greats...This is not hyperbole: it's a masterpiece” and “I have never read a novel about Kenya that's so funny, perceptive, subversive and sly.” are just two of the rave US reviews for Dance of the Jakaranda (978 184659209, £8.99, pb) by Peter Kimani which will be published by Telegram in the UK on 5 March. Dance of the Jakaranda is set in Kenya against a backdrop of British colonisation and I’m pleased to tell you that here is an extensive publicity campaign planned for this important and award-winning author. Peter Kimani will be in the UK from 10-17 March 2018 for events, radio and print interviews; so far a feature in the Guardian, an interview on BBC World Service and also an interview on BBC Radio 4 Open Book are confirmed. There’s also been great feedback from theTLS and other media, so we’re expecting strong review coverage. The novel opens in 1963 when Kenya is on the verge of independence from British colonial rule. In the Great Rift Valley, Kenyans of all backgrounds come together in the previously white-only establishment of the Jakaranda Hotel. The resident musician is Rajan Salim, who charms visitors with songs inspired by his grandfather’s noble stories of the railway construction that spawned the Kenya they now know. If any bookseller would like a readying copy then please contact – or if you’d be interested in book signings – Peter is already going to London, Cambridge and Bristol. There are some promotional bookmarks up for grabs too!

Whew, there’s quite the spat developing in the poetry world this week! Carcanet poet Rebecca Watts took to the pages of PN Review to lay out her disdain for “the cult of the noble amateur”, and her despair at the effect of social media on poetry. It is a stinging critique of the “rise of a cohort of young female poets” led by the likes of Kate Tempest, Hollie McNish and Rupi Kaur, describing their work as characterised by “the open denigration of intellectual engagement and rejection of craft”. The essay has split the poetry establishment, with some praising it as “stonking stuff” and “brilliant”. PN Review editor and Carcanet publisher Michael Schmidt said that “many of our readers seem relieved that literary criticism is at last being applied to writing that has, hitherto, been welcomed with open arms by journalists because it is easy to read, and contains few challenges.” You can read the original piece together with Hollie McNish’s reponse to it here. Over on Twitter it all kicked off big time, with many slamming Rebecca for what they perceive as “elitist” and “snobbish” attitudes. The response on Facebook was a little more measured; with poet Lemn Sissay saying for example: “There’s room for all forms of poetry. And whichever side you’re on, it’s foolish to say there isn’t.” Here's an article about it in the Guardian, and Rebecca was on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row programme last night, talking about the controversy – you can listen to that on the iPlayer here.  Whatever your opinion, it’s certainly provided some terrific publicity for both poetry, and Carcanet – and since the since the hullabaloo, both PN Review’s and Carcanet’s Twitter followers have increased – Jenny Éclair tweeted yesterday “Whoa that was intense #poetry.” 
Rebecca Watts debut collection The Met Office Advises Caution (pb, £9.99, 978 1784102722) was published by Carcanet in 2016. It is a witty, warm-hearted guide to the English landscape, and a fresh, assured take on nature poetry. With an original point of view and an openness to the possibilities of form, Rebecca retunes the genre for modern ears.

Teaching Creative Thinking (£16.99, pb, 978 1785832369) by Bill Lucas and Ellen Spencer is currently a Staff Pick in Foyles, and as they say is “incredibly clear and practical … a treasure trove for those who want children to think creatively and appreciate that this is a skill that can be taught.” I’m sure Bill and Ellen’s new book in this series coming in April should do equally well. Developing Tenacity: Creating Learners who Persevere in the Face of Difficulty is a both a powerful call to action and a practical handbook. The UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility recently proposed the adoption by schools of specific interventions in the areas of resilience and character; meanwhile, across in the US, an end-of-high-school ‘score’ for grit is also being considered. In line with this growing consensus, an increasing body of evidence suggests that cultivating these competencies is key to success both in school and in later life. Developing Tenacity (pb, £16.99, 978 1785833038) defines and demystifies the essence of resolve and persistence, and offers action-oriented and research-informed suggestions as to how it can best be developed in learners. Both titles are published by Crown House.

It often feels that our society views human beings as either useful or not and, once we have outlived our usefulness, we become a burden. All too often, the elderly are left to stagnate, their minds fading away from boredom and repetition. This is the theme of A Rock and a High Place (£8.99, pb, 978 1787198852) from dark comedy novelist Dan Mooney (whose debut title Me, Myself and Them was published last year). The novel begins with our widowed hero Joel bored and depressed with his lot, in both life and his nursing home. To bring agency into his life, he decides to kill himself. He shares his plans with the newest resident, a retired flamboyant soap actor called Frank, and the two of them embark on a mission to find the perfect suicide. Along the way, they discover the strength within themselves and the power of friendship. The book has recently been reviewed by The Bookbag who called it “a brilliant rallying cry to society filled with wonderful characters and a brilliant British humour”; you can read the full review here. It’s out from Legend Press in April.

Vegan cooking is all set to be one of THE major trends for 2018 – and there will no doubt be loads of vegan cookbooks out their vying for your attention. However, Cooking for the Senses: Vegan Neurogastronomy (hb, £25.00, 978 1848193000) by Jennifer Peace Rhind and Gregor Law does something slightly different. An alternative way of looking at food, this fully illustrated hardback introduces neurogastronomy and explains how understanding smell, taste and our other senses can be the key to making tasty, healthy food in your own kitchen. The authors explain the science of flavour and provide guidance on how to train your palate and be more mindful in the kitchen. This cookbook will inspire you with a practical flavour guide to a wide range of plant ingredients, and over 100 delicious vegan recipes for everyone that reflect neurogastronomy in action. Seasoned with tales of the authors' own culinary experiences, this first book on neurogastronomy for the home cook is bursting with flavour. And having seen a finished copy recently I can tell you it looks absolutely gorgeous! Wake up to creamy avocado with fragrant orange pepper seasoning and green Tabasco dressing, snack on sweet and citrusy carrot and lime leaf kebabs and curl up with a warming bowl of butternut squash and spinach curry! It’s published by Jessica Kingsley on 21 February.

Some wonderful reviews for Nicola Pugliese’s Malacqua (978 1911508069, £10, pb) which was published by And Other Stories at the end of last year. The Financial Times called it “a beautiful and haunting exploration of life at a meteorological extreme” while the New Statesman wrote “Malacqua is a brooding novel, with flashes of brilliance … Pugliese’s narrative is epic in intent, [combining] reportage with nightmarish indications of the insidiousness of the new waterscape, absurdism and phantasmagoria.” And Boyd Tonkinsaid “This rediscovered classic has a back-story almost as uncanny as its mood. The skies clear, but the mystery lingers in this clammily unsettling tale.”
Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe (pb, 978 1787352766, £15) by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger was praised in the Telegraph this week. Most of the discussion of Brexit in the UK has focused on the causes of the vote and on its consequences for the future of British politics, but this book examines the consequences of Brexit for the future of Europe and the EU. Drawing on the expertise of leading scholars from a range of disciplines, Brexit and Beyond charts the likely effects of Brexit across a range of areas, including institutional relations, political economy, law and justice, foreign affairs, democratic governance, and the idea of Europe itself. It has been widely praised, with academics calling it a “must read” and a “much needed scholarly guidepost”. The LSE said “This book explores wonderfully well the bombshell of Brexit: …this collection of essays by leading scholars will prove a very valuable reference for their depth of analysis, their lucidity, and their outlining of future options.” It’s just been published by UCL Press.

The Irish Times recently asked a selection of indie publishers to choose one of their top 2018 titles, and New Island Books Editorial Director Daniel Bolger chose Heartland (pb, 978 1848406605) by Patrick McCabe which he described as “a mad, brilliant, fun book – a bloody, boozy Irish western – that doesn’t have a predecessor I know of. A man hiding in the rafters of a dive bar in Glasson County watches a local gang of heavies beat his friend (and accomplice in the ripping-off of Roy Munro). While waiting for their superior to come and finish him off, the story of how he got there and where he ends up slowly comes to light. A bit of a departure, it has Patrick’s trademark dark psychology, simmering violence and emotional torment. This book is a triumph, a redneck sinfonia of rough poetry, humour and humanity by one of Ireland’s greatest and most original writers.” I don’t know about you, but that definitely makes me want to read it! It’s out in April.

On Tuesday, came the sad news that beloved SF writer Ursula Le Guin had died aged 88. Many writers took to Twitter to express their grief and admiration for Le Guin and the ways in which she and her writing changed their lives. Neil Gaiman said that her words are written on his soul and Margaret Atwood praised her "immense imagination, what a strong and trenchant mind."  You can read a summary of the all the acclaim over on Buzzfeed here.

There is absolutely loads in the news at the moment about cyber-attacks – with security chiefs warning that a “major UK cyber-attack is a ‘when, not if' scenario” – you can read about that on the BBC here and also in the Guardian here where they report on the shocking fact that “£130bn was stolen from consumers in 2017.” It sounds like we all definitely need to read Cyber Wars: Hacks That Shocked the Business World by Charles Arthur (978 0749482008, £14.99, pb) which details the dramatic inside stories of some of the world's biggest cyber-attacks as well as advice on how to avoid it happening to you. These are the game changing hacks that make organizations around the world tremble and leaders stop and consider just how safe they really are. Charles Arthur provides a gripping account of why each hack happened, what techniques were used, what the consequences were and how they could have been prevented. This book provides a deep insight into understanding how hackers think as well as giving invaluable advice on staying vigilant and avoiding the security mistakes and oversights that can lead to downfall. A sophisticated malware attack on Sony, a phishing attack on the Clinton campaign and the Talk Talk data leak are all covered here in engrossing and entertaining style – it’s out from Kogan Page on 3 May.

Top Ten Movie Hackers anyone? Have a watch here !

This weekly blog is written for the UK book trade. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the Compass office on 020 8326 5696. Every Friday an e-newsletter containing highlights from the blog is sent out to over 700 booksellers – and if you’d like to receive this then please contact

Friday 19 January 2018

Compass Points 246

Havana is a city which many believe is poised at a watershed in its history, about to change forever. The Book of Havana, (which is part of the Reading the City series) is published on 22 February and brings together ten stories by Havana-based authors, offering different perspectives on a city that has stood in defiance of much of the rest of the world for decades. Covering everything from the hardships of the ‘Special Period’, to the frustrations of the city’s schizophrenic currency system, and the dispossession felt by so many of its young people (especially among the LGBT community) these stories take us beyond the intoxicating colours of the tourist-friendly Malecon and Old Town, and into a far more complex and contradictory place. The Book of Havana (978 1910974018, pb, £9.99) is edited by Orsola Casagrande and published by Comma.

Let’s get ourselves into a Cuban mood by listening here to the super-catchy song by Camila Cabello. Or would you prefer the Donald Trump version here?!

Caroline Bird’s In These Days of Prohibition published by Carcanet has just had a great review in the Sunday Times which said it “achieves serious funniness by filtering mental illness and addiction through the prism of pop-surrealism.” It was also much praised in the Telegraph which said “Since she published her debut aged 15 in 2002, Bird's witty writing has been wrongly dismissed in some quarters as lightweight. This brave eighth collection (a slant account of her year in rehab) proves those critics wrong from its first page.” You can read the whole piece  here. And you can watch Caroline reading her work along with the other TS Eliot shortlisted poets here.  

I really love the look of these three children’s titles out from Arcturus this month, they are paperbacks at £4.99 with a great funky retro-style cover design – what’s not to love! The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (978 1788282567), What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge (978 1788282581) and The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit (978 1788282574) all feature the original, unabridged text and classic illustrations. These tales of adventure, bravery, curiosity, ambition, and triumph over adversity are loved the world over – and there are three more coming in February: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (978 1788282536) Heidi by Johanna Spyri (978 178828-254-3 and The Call of the Wild by Jack London (978 1788282550).

If you are not familiar with the three January titles – I can tell you they all contain famous (and frequently tear-jerking) scenes; Compass Points will now bring you a five-minute résumé! Firstly, here is the most famous moment from Tom Sawyer; then here is a précis of What Katy Did – which as you can see is something of a weep-fest, and finally here are the closing moments of The Railway Children – hankies at the ready please!

Mridula Baljekar, author of the Complete Indian Regional Cookbook: 300 Classic Recipes from the Great Regions of India (978 0754833598, £28.50, hb) appeared on Channel 4's Food Unwrapped last week creating a low-fat chicken korma; the programme told her it was hugely popular and got a lot of follow-up asking for the recipe. She's also talking to the channel about doing a series on healthy Indian cooking, so watch this space!  In the meantime, her vibrant award-winning cookbook came out last summer from Lorenz, and really is one of the most comprehensive around with an enormous (512 pages) variety of dishes, an authentic sub-continental taste, and almost fool-proof step-by-step instructions. Recipes are grouped by region, taking you on a regional tour of India, and a real culinary adventure awaits anyone who buys this sumptuously illustrated book.

And if you would like to see Mridula Baljekar cooking some of her healthy and tasty recipes, you can watch them here  on her YouTube channel.

How many of us judge other people? All the time? As journalist Catherine Gray says in Stella “I realised judgemental comments were constantly flying out of my mouth. I judged people for drinking too much (I drank way too much myself); I judged them for calling in sick to work (and did it myself); I judged colleagues for leaving uptight notes about washing-up in the staff kitchen …” The list goes on and I’m sure this is sounding all too familiar to most of us! Gabrielle Bernstein is clearly onto something by suggesting we all do a Judgment Detox (978 1788170734, £12.99, pb) with our lives, as her new book showing us how to Release the Beliefs That Hold You Back from Living a Better Life from Hay House has had LOADS of coverage – as well the big article in the Sunday Telegraph’s Stella magazine there are features in The Times, Marie Clare, Red Magazine, Woman and Home and lots more. I think this book is going to sell and sell – in these tricky times it’s nicer to be nice.

Sidelines: Selected Prose 1962–2015 by Michael Longley published by Enitharmon. (978 1911253297 hb, £30) had a good review in the TLS this week; a nice feature on the prose writings of this tender, wise and much-loved poet.

A BIG feature in last weekend's Mail on Sunday for the shocking, hilarious and brutally honest Biteback memoir Confessions of a Recovering MP (978 1785903359) by veteran Tory backbencher Nick de Bois. As always with a Mail article there was a big spike in sales on Amazon following its publication – don’t let them get all the benefit of this great publicity! Full of indiscreet anecdotes, this great read lifts the lid on David Cameron’s turbulent time as Prime Minister and the rise of Theresa May; and reveals what really goes on behind the scenes at Westminster. You can read the whole piece here.  

And the Mail on Sunday will be running another extensive feature on 28 January –  this time for Behind Diplomatic Lines by Patrick R. H. Wright (978 1785903380, hb, £25) which is published by Biteback on the same day. Do make sure you have it on display – there have also been recent diary mentions of this title in the Times. Patrick Wright was a diplomats at the forefront of some of the late twentieth century's most important global events. His five years at the Foreign Office found him dealing with the backlash from the Falklands War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, strained relations with the EU, the First Gulf War and, perhaps most challenging of all, the `fire and glares’ of Margaret Thatcher. Lord Wright's account is not only an essential documentation of a significant historical period, but is entertaining throughout, painting lurid pictures of ‘Britain versus the Rest' and recalling numerous amusing scenarios. He is also brutal in his assessment of various high- profile political figures – sure to make headlines!

Congratulations to debut novelist Sheena Kalayil who has won the Best First Novel in the Writers’ Guild Awards in a winners list dominated by women. The Bureau of Second Chances is a quiet but compelling story, based on a widower returning to his native India. Bookbag gave it five stars saying “There is plenty of light, with passages that will make you smile, but it has its share of darkness, touching on caste and social expectations in India, as well as reflections on marriage, illness and parenting ... I raced through the last third of the book on the edge of my seat, desperate to know how it turned out” while Scotland on Sunday wrote: “A bittersweet, uplifting tone makes it impossible to put down … Kalayil writes beautifully, painting colourful portraits of her characters and managing her story's unexpected twists with aplomb.” It’s published by Polygon.

Waterstones has reported an 80% jump in annual profits, with the bookseller predicting an even brighter future just six years after the rise of the ebook threatened its existence. James Daunt, said the chain had transformed its fortunes since he took over in 2011. “When I took over Waterstones was bust, it was losing horrendous amounts of money and the Kindle was eating away at sales,” he said. “It did look very bleak. Now it doesn’t, it’s nice and sensibly run, with every prospect of doing better still.” Read more on that story in the Guardian here.

That Ann Quin renaissance? It's happening said Jonathan Coe in the Spectator. The Guardian Review agreed, and you can read Jennifer Hodgson's fascinating piece about “the free-wheeling life and wild, weird fiction of the cult 1960s author” in the New Statesman here.  Unmapped Country: Stories and Fragments (978 1911508144, £10, pb) was published yesterday by And Other Stories. As Jennifer writes: “The stories collected in The Unmapped Country for the first time distil Quin at her wildest and often her most virtuosic. And collectively they demonstrate, in rare and unexpected ways, an imagination committed to pushing British fiction into weirder, dirtier and more anarchic places.” Please do read it if you haven’t done already!

Here's  a fab piece in the Irish Times where independent publishers tell us about their top reads for 2018 by selecting two of their books they’re most excited about this year. Lots of good publicity for our publishers including And Other Stories, New Island, Parthian and Comma who all forecast exciting times ahead. Hurrah! 2018 will certainly be a great year for Welsh publishing, as it’s Parthian's 25th anniversary! “So, we’re looking back and seeing if it’s all been worth it with the best of our Carnival of Voices series” says one of its founding partners, Richard Lewis Davies.

Sinéad Morrissey will be on Radio 4’s Poetry Please on Sunday 4th February at 4.30pm. Her many awards include first prize in the UK National Poetry Competition, the Irish Times Poetry Prize (2009, 2013), and the TS Eliot Prize (2013). In 2017 On Balance won the Forward Prize for Best Collection, a Poetry Book Society Choice Award, and was also shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award. She’s published by Carcanet.

We're thrilled to see Memphis 68: The Tragedy of Southern Soul (£16.99, hb, 978 1846973734) by Stuart Cosgrove published by Polygon on the Penderyn Prize Music Book longlist as well as Sound System: The Political Power of Music (£12.99, pb, 978-0745399300) by Dave Randall which is published by Pluto. You can read more about that prize in the Bookseller here. The shortlist will be revealed in early March and the winner announced at The Laugharne Weekend festival on Sunday 8th April 2018.

So, let’s finish with some of that stonking Memphis 60s sound! Firstly, how about some  Elvis. And how about a bit of Aretha? But we have to end with where the book starts; with the city's most famous recording artist, Otis Redding, who died in a plane crash in the final days of 1967. Frankly, we could probably all try a little more tenderness. Music doesn’t get much better than this.

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 12 January 2018

Compass Points 245

British and Irish fairies have been around since 500 AD. But ever since the Cottingley Fairy Hoax of 1917-21, their credibility and popularity have been in sharp decline. However, with the new-found popularity of fantasy series such as Game of Thrones, those wishing to be “away with the fairies” is on the increase once more, and British fairies are regaining their old lustre. Magical Folk: British and Irish Fairies by Dr Simon Young and Dr Ceri Houlbrook (hb, 9781783341238, £16.99) is the first major history of the tiny folk in almost half a century and as the Herald wrote recently, is “a big insight into the lives of little people… provocative.” This handsome hardback has just been published by Gibson Square, and has already had some extremely good review coverage, with the Mail on Sunday calling it “enchanting” the Independent calling it “a gazetteer of myths, legends, and sightings” and the Sunday Telegraph describing it as “engaging and authoritative… British fairies, it turns out, are classic eccentrics.” It contains black and white illustrations, is 300 pages and has a gorgeous evocative cover – the ideal browse on a cold winter’s night!

The Cottingley Fairies are probably the most famous example – but who’d like to see some others? Here are the Top Five “real” fairies caught on camera! This is a very entertaining five-minute film – but I’m afraid it does seem to be narrated by an alien – or possibly Siri.

The Book of Tbilisi (pb, £9.99, 978 1910974315) was published by Comma Press right at the end of last year – so you may have missed it. It was named as one of World Literature Today's 75 Notable Translations of 2017 – you can read about all of the titles chosen here.  In the 26 years since Georgia declared independence from the Soviet Union, the country and its capital, Tbilisi, have endured unimaginable hardships: one coup d'état, two wars with Russia, the cancer of organised crime, and prolonged periods of brutalising, economic depression. Now, as the city begins to flourish again – drawing hordes of tourists with its eclectic architecture and famous, welcoming spirit – it's difficult to reconcile the recent past with this glamorous and exotic present. With wit, warmth, heartbreaking realism, and a distinctly Georgian sense of neighbourliness, the ten stories in The Book of Tbilisi do just that. This new collection of translated stories is part of Comma’s very popular Reading the City series which already includes Tokyo (978 1905583577), Gaza (978 1905583645), Dhaka (978 1905583805) and Khartoum (978 1905583720). Coming in February is The Book of Havana (978 1910974018) – which I’ll tell you more about next week!

Food and Sex: two appetites the modern world stimulates, but also the ones we are expected to keep under control. But what happens when we don't? Embarking on an affair, lonely wife and mother Naomi blossoms sexually in a false spring while David, the fattest boy at the local comprehensive and best friend of her son, struggles to overcome bullying and the apathy of his divorced mother. Appetite (£8.99, pb, 978 1910453476) by Anita Cassidy is an exciting debut novel which has just been published Red Door; it’s featured in this week’s Bella magazine and there is a feature on Anita coming up in the Guardian. Tipped as one of the Bookseller’s One to Watch in 2018 titles, Appetite is a pacy, thought-provoking novel making a potent statement against Big Food, Big Pharma, Government and the school system, as well as our 'sofa-box-set-take-away' culture. First written as a novel about food and sex, Appetite evolved into a book about love. It is about how people manage their relationships with food, and sex, and other people, and how to take that first step towards change, by becoming more self-aware. Great cover!

I am so pleased to say that Mya Guarnieri Jaradat has been shortlisted for the £4,000 Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize for her for her exploration of the lives of asylum seekers and migrant workers in The Unchosen: The Lives of Israel’s New Others (£14.99, pb, 978 0745336442). This beautifully written book, which draws on a decade of courageous and pioneering reporting, captures the voices and the struggles of some of the most marginalised and silenced people in Israel today. It is published by Pluto. The prize shortlist, celebrating writing demonstrating the "depth and diversity" of Jewish writing globally, comprises one novel, two memoirs, a work of investigative journalism, a history and a biography and you can read more about it in the Bookseller here.  

The Great Siege of Malta is the subject of In Our Time on Radio 4 all this week; and will be available as a podcast after that. Oxbow have the definitive title on one of the most famous battles of the early modern world; The Great Siege of Malta: The Epic Battle between the Ottoman Empire and the Knights of St. John by Bruce Ware Allen (pb, £16.00, 978 15126-01169). Drawing on copious research and new source material, Allen stirringly recreates the two factions' heroism and chivalry, while simultaneously tracing the barbarism, severity, and indifference to suffering of sixteenth-century warfare. The Great Siege of Malta is a fresh, vivid retelling of long hot summer of bloody combat, embroiling knights and mercenaries, civilians and slaves, in a desperate struggle for this pivotal point in the Mediterranean.

You’d think it would be hard to confuse Randall Hansen’s Fire and Fury, a 2008 military history book with a second world war bomber on its cover, with Michael Wolff’s No 1 bestseller Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, whose jacket shows the US president mid-rant. Yet Hansen, a Canadian academic, wryly revealed this week that the shared title had helped his 10-year-old study to return to three of Amazon’s category bestseller lists. Hilarious! How many other books have benefitted from a title mix-up? Well, titles as diverse as Life After Life, WTF and Autumn have all sometimes been a bit – you can read more about the muddles in this amusing Guardian piece here!

Teeth are often considered the marker of health, attractiveness, success, and even happiness. Yet our approach to dental care has been fearful, costly, and segregated from other parts of the body. We've long known that oral health echoes our overall well-being. But what if we were to flip the paradigm? What if we thought about dental health as the foundation for our physical health? Dr Steven Lin, the world's leading dental nutritionist, has forged a new scientific outlook to reshape our perception of dental disease. The Dental Diet: The Surprising Link between Your Teeth, Real Food, and Life-Changing Natural Health (978 1401953171, hb, £20.50) has just been published by Hay House and was recently featured in What Doctors Don’t Tell You, Psychologies and also Health Triangle Magazine.

Anyone of a certain (my) age may well find this book reminds you of a once very well-known and much quoted poem by Pam Ayres – so here  it is – apparently, it’s now on the GCSE English syllabus! 

On Boxing Day, STORGY magazine reviewed M. John Harrison's You Should Come With Me Now, (pb, £8.99, 978 1910974346) calling it a “a collection of short stories that were quite different and a joy to read. What I really enjoyed most about these short stories is that Harrison leaves each one open to the interpretation of the reader…plays on the mind long after reading, …really make you think out of the box.” You can read that article here. More rave reviews flooded in over the festive period with SF CrowsNest describing M. John Harrison as “a writer in a league of his own” and CNET making the collection one of their Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of 2017. Lastly there was a superb review in The Scotsman who wrote that: “In the far-distant future, when hyper-intelligent scorpions are looking back on the culture of the upright apes that once cluttered this planet, I think they will be frankly bemused that Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for Literature, that Ian McEwan won the Man Booker Prize, that Donna Tartt won the Pulitzer and yet all the time M John Harrison was staring them in the face.” Wow – how can you not want to read it after praise like that! It’s from Comma.

Who’s got a New Year’s resolution to try and become a bit richer in 2018? And who could not be tempted by this story in the Mirror of two lads who quit their £9-an-hour job labouring on building sites to sell rare coins online – and who now make up to £70,000 a year! If this appeals to you – then you’re definitely going to need a new title from Oxbow: A Beginners Guide to Ancient Coins (£9.99, pb, 978 1907427657)! It’s published in the Spink Books Living History series on 31 March. It could easily be the best ten quid your customers ever spent – how about displaying it in your shop next to a clipping of the news article! David Sear is the eminent numismatic (that’s my new word learned for today then) in this field, and this is a really approachable and informative introduction to the hobby. Ancient coins have long fascinated generations of collectors by virtue of their beauty, the stories they tell, and for the unique insight they give into the history of the time in which they were made – they are, quite literally, living history. This guide gives a general background to the fascinating world of ancient Greek and Roman coins, looking back more than twenty-six centuries.

Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now? Very good question indeed, and it was good to see the 2018 edition of this superb title by Ian Dunt at number 5 this week in the Non-fiction Top 10 in the Foyles Politics and History department. Nick Cohen in the Spectator said this was “highly recommended” and Caroline Lucas said called it “compact and easily digestible. I would encourage anyone who is confused, fascinated or frustrated by Brexit to read this book. You will be far wiser by the end of it.” What is special about this book? It is both blunt and informative –  and it is based on extensive research with experts across the law, trade and politics. Michael Gove may think that the British public has had enough of experts, but Ian Dunt and Canbury Press disagree. This incisive and important guide is for people who still believe in evidence and reason.

t’s very definitely the weather for a mug of something healthy and warm, so I’m not at all surprised that Theo Michael’s Microwave Mug Soups (pb, £10, 978 0754833734) has been selling like –  well, like hot soup! Media coverage has been fab – with a reach of over 30 million viewers and looking ahead, there will be more coming through. BBC Radio London want Theo in at the end of this month and the food editor at Time Inc is including some recipes across the magazine portfolio, particularly in Woman & Home. Yes Chef magazine will run a recipe and a book plug in the February issue and Feast magazine is also going to include something in February or March. Everyone loves soup – and it seems everyone also loves this book to with its 50 delicious recipes from around the world, all of which can just be made with only a mug to wash up! It was published in November by Lorenz.

Great news for two of our publishers whose titles have been shortlisted in the Fiction With a Sense of Place category in the highly prestigious 2018 Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards, which celebrate the broad scope of travel writing. Six of the award's categories are open to a public vote which, combined with the judges’ verdict, will determine the 2018 winners. You can read more in the Bookseller here. The winners will be announced at a dinner on 1st February 2018 during the Holiday and Travel Show at Olympia. The winner of the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year (receives £5,000 and all winners receive an antique globe trophy, to be presented at the awards ceremony. The two titles are Hummingbird (pb, £8.99, 978 0995994607) by Tristan Hughes which is published in paperback by Parthian in March; and The Bureau of Second Chances (pb, £8.99, 978 1846973925) by Sheena Kalayil from Polygon.

If there’s one movement guaranteed to get even bigger throughout 2018 it’s gender diversity. Of course, one of the top publishers for this is Jessica Kingsley, and some of their books have had some excellent press coverage recently. Firstly Fox Fisher and Owl were featured here in the Indy’s 9 LGBT+ people who defined and defied in 2017. They mentioned their forthcoming book too! Then the Metro featured Charlie Craggs, Fox Fisher and Owl, and Jane Fae in their Trans Power List 2017-18: top activists and influencers – with a mention for Charlie’s book To My Trans Sisters (pb, £12.99, 978-1785923432). You can see the whole list here. The Indy 100 listed 12 books that will make you a better person in 2018 which included Juno Roche’s frank funny and poignant Queer Sex: A Trans and Non-Binary Guide to Intimacy, Pleasure and Relationships (pb, £12.99, 978 1785924064) which is published in April – that one is here  and then finally, the Independent in its Review of the Year: The Female Groundbreakers of 2017 included Charlie Craggs, again with a mention of the book here.

OK, it’s Friday, it’s January, we really need a super fun quiz. Try this one over on Buzzfeed to find out How Many Clues Do You Need To See Before Guessing The Movie? For each question you'll see a screenshot from a film. If you correctly name the movie from just the first screenshot you'll score ten points – for each further screenshot you need to see, the score for a correct answer will decrease by two points. And yep, the better you do, the more of a film freak you are!

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.