Friday 20 April 2018

Compass Points 257

How fab to hear Crown House authors, Bradley Busch and Edward Watson discussing revision strategies and tips from their book Release Your Inner Drive: Everything You Need to Know About How to Get Good at Stuff (978 1785831997, £9.99, pb) on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show this week on BBC Radio 2 – this is AMAZING publicity for this book – and you can listen to it again here. This no-nonsense, visual guide condenses wisdom from the fields of psychology and neuroscience into infographics and clear explanations of everything you need to know to give you or your child the best possible chance of success. It shows you how to take control, concentrate better, find your motivation, fail better, make revision stick, perform under pressure, ace those exams, put down that phone when you re meant to be revising, get over FOMO, stop procrastinating, get a good night’s sleep, take care of yourself and your mental health, learn from sporting champions and grow your mindset to get ahead. Phew, is that all?! Chris Evans really gave these authors a huge big up on his show, and Paralympic medallist Jordanne Whiley, MBE said “I worked with Bradley during the most stressful time of my life, competing in a Paralympic Games. By using a lot of the techniques in this book I have become a more successful person, not only in my career but also outside of it. I have changed the way I view failure and this is what has helped me the most. The techniques are simple but they have had a massive impact, it’s almost hard to believe. This book teaches us how to get big rewards from simply changing the way we view and handle what life throws at us. For anyone looking to better themselves in some way, no matter how big or small, this is the book for you.”

A really wonderful piece in the New Statesman on Enitharmon which you can read here entitled: The poets’ home: how one small, heroic publisher shaped modern poetry. It celebrates the publication of The Heart's Granary: Poetry and Prose from 50 Years of Enitharmon Press (£30, hb, 978 1911253280) “Beautifully produced, with poetry and prose bursting the seams of its 380-odd pages, it’s an anthology designed not to prove a theory or establish a canon, but to celebrate the work of one of our most remarkable small publishers. Enitharmon is well-known for its wide-ranging poetry list, but there’s plenty of prose here too. I particularly enjoyed this section of The Heart’s Granary, a tight-focused, characterful set of extracts from, among others, Sebastian Barry, Edward Thomas and Edmund White. There’s also extraordinary artwork. Peter Blake, Gilbert & George, David Hockney, RB Kitaj and Paula Rego have all worked with Enitharmon’s editor Stephen Stuart-Smith and are represented in here alongside recouped treasures from David Jones and Gwen Raverat. Also among the colour plates are stunning cover designs from the press’s half century. This book is an unusually beautiful object.” Edited by Lawrence Sail, this really is a gorgeous book which would appeal to very many readers; as the New Stateman article says: “The work collected richly here adds up to a joyous read that should be on everyone’s bedside table.”

The Authors’ Club announced the shortlist for its 2018 Best First Novel Award and hurrah, Dark Chapter by Winnie M. Li (978 1785079061, £8.99, pb) published by Legend Press is on it. You can see all six shortlisted titles on their website here. There’s a Shortlisted Authors event at Waterstones Gower Street on Thursday 7 June and then the winner will be announced by AL Kennedy, this year’s guest adjudicator, at a dinner at the National Liberal Club on Friday 22 June. Dark Chapter was the winner of The Guardian Not The Booker Prize 2017 and had great coverage in YOU Magazine, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, The Times, Metro, The Weekender, the Irish Sun, the Scotsman, and The Stylist, who called it “complex and rewarding… an important book”. Highly Commended for the CWA Debut Dagger, it is an astonishing and unique novel inspired by the author’s own story.

A super review this week for The History of England’s Cathedrals by Nicholas Orme (pb, £20, 978 1907605925) calling it a “beautifully written account that marshals an overwhelmingly vast, fragmentary, and tangled corpus of material with skill. Despite its sweeping scale there is real substance to the text, which will both engage and please a range of readers. My final word of praise is that this book is eminently suited to its primary purpose: indeed, I have already used it in my own teaching where it has been favourably received. I heartily recommend others follow suit.” Nicholas is a noted religious historian, and this is his pioneer history of the subject. Although much has been written about the architecture of cathedrals, no one has ever told the whole of their story from Roman times to the present day, and this 200-page engaging and informative book is clear, accessible, and superbly illustrated. It’s published by Impress.

We’re always very pleased to welcome new publishers into the Compass family – so I’m looking forward in the coming months to telling you more about De Coubertin who are a sports publisher based in Liverpool. You can find out more about them on their website here. They currently have two titles on the longlisted for the Cross Sports Book Awards in the Best Football Book category: Faith of our Families: Everton An Oral History 1878-2018 (hb, £25, 978 1909245648) and From Delhi to the Den: the Story of Football’s Most Travelled Coach (£12.99, pb, 978 1909245471).

Who feels they spend way too much time dodging those pesky energy vampires? In her new book which has just been published by Hay House, Christiane Northrup draws on the latest research in this exciting new field, along with stories from her global community and her own life, to explore the phenomenon of energy vampires and show us how we can spot them, repel their tactics and take back our own energy. An extract from Dodging Energy Vampires (9781401954772, £20, hb) will be in Kindred Spirit (Circ. 100,000) and Christiane will also be writing articles for Natural Health and Yoga magazines.

Some brilliant local publicity for the paperback publication of The Girl on the Beach by Morton S. Gray (978 1781894194, pb, £7.99) who won a Choc Lit competition to ‘Search for a Star’. The book, which follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s headteacher, saw off entries from across the UK to win a publishing contract in 2016. Lyn Vernham, Choc Lit's MD said: “Morton's success is down to the simple fact that she is an excellent writer and can create great suspense stories with strong compelling characters. We could see her potential when she entered the competition. We are delighted but not at all surprised by the success of The Girl on the Beach.” There’s a lovely piece here in the Worcester News about the many coffee shops she has frequented in order to write her novels!

The Northern Fiction Alliance have written an open letter “to the London-centric publishing industry” which begins “The book world is changing. And despite being notoriously slow-moving, the last few years have seen the industry take a long, hard look at itself, and question how it can better reflect its readers and society.” You can read the whole thing in full in the Bookseller here.

Congratulations to Charlie Craggs and Elly Barnes, two Jessica Kingsley authors who have been nominated for the 2018 DIVA Awards. Voted for by the public, the DIVAs are split into eighteen categories, paying tribute to the lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer people making a difference in all walks of life. Winners will be named at the awards ceremony on Friday 8th June with plenty of glitz, glamour and celebrity guests! You can find out more and to cast your own votes here. How to Transform Your School into an LGBT+ Friendly Place by Elly Barnes (pb, 978 1785923494, £14.99) and To My Trans Sisters by Charlie Craggs (£12.99, pb, 978 1785923432) are two very different titles – but equally essential for any bookshop!

Apparently, kindness is replacing mindfulness as the buzzword for how we should live. Have a look at this recent article in the Guardian which wonders if that means we are all becoming more compassionate? Or is it just a marketing gimmick? Either way, it’s a very good opportunity to remind you about Raje Airey’s insightful book Practical Kindness: Discover the Power of Compassion for Health and Happiness (£8.99, pb, 978 0754833130) which distils centuries of wisdom into a handy guide to experiencing more kindness every day. It’s divided into three sections, each forming part of a 'tree of kindness' that can grow from small beginnings and shelter us from the storms of life. Throughout the book there are plenty of practical ideas and compassion-based exercises, for bringing more compassion and gentleness into your everyday life. Give it a try people, it’s a thing. It’s published by Lorenz.

It’s exciting to hear that Comma are partnering with the Bristol Festival of Ideas to bring two of the wonderful writers –  Zviad Kvaratskhelia and Bacho Kvirtia – from their short-story collection The Book of Tbilisi over to the UK next month for an event. Who knew that Bristol and Tbilisi have been twinned cities for thirty years? Certainly not me! In the 26 years since Georgia declared independence from the Soviet Union, the country and its capital have endured unimaginable hardships: one coup d’├ętat, two wars with Russia, the curse of organised crime, and prolonged periods of economic depression. Now, as Tbilisi has begun to flourish again drawing hordes of tourists with its eclectic architecture and famous, welcoming spirit it can seem difficult to reconcile the recent past with this glamorous and exotic present. But with wit, warmth, heartbreaking realism, and a distinctly Georgian sense of neighbourliness, these ten stories in this book do just that. You can find out more about that event at Waterstone’s on 22 May here.

The London Socialist Historians Group have strongly defended radical historian David Rosenberg after the Daily Mail ran a smear story about him on 5th April, which in typical Mail style did not include any evidence that Mr Rosenberg was associated with anti-Semitic views but made much of the fact that he sat next to Jeremy Corbyn at a recent event and was not an enthusiast for the current Israeli government. The historians point out that Mr Rosenberg is a well-known Jewish socialist historian with an impressive record of recovering the working-class history of the radical East End of London, much of which is detailed in his excellent Pluto book Rebel Footprints: A Guide to Uncovering London’s Radical History (£9.99, pb, 978 0745334097). You can read the Guardian review of this excellent and informative walking guide here.

Good are happening with the newly formed Independent Bookshop Alliance, and the latest exciting idea is that you indies out there can choose which books you’d like to have as exclusive editions. Sounds good doesn’t it! The BA have come up with a list of the potential titles on SurveyMonkey and independent bookshops can now (anonymously) highlight the titles on the list that they think would make a great Indie Exclusive Edition. Then the Alliance can see if there are any particular titles that are favoured by a lot of shops, which in their own words will then “give us the opportunity to go to the publishers and say Hello publishers, there are 90 bookshops who have expressed an interest in have book x as an Indie Exclusive Edition. Sort it please. The publishers really want to make this happen, but obviously, they need some kind of assurance that the indies want to get behind the books that they'll be doing for us. SOMETHING IS HAPPENING PEOPLE. Please read/share and shout loud." If you are not yet signed up to the Alliance, but would like to get involved with this survey, then please email, and they will send it to you.

This weather certainly inspires an urge to get up and go off for an adventure, and for all of those about to set off on one, the perfect read to take with you is A Van of One's Own (£8.99, pb, 978 1910901991) by Biddy Wells. Propelled by a thirst for peace and quiet, and, perhaps, for freedom, Biddy left for Portugal on her own, with only her old campervan, Myfanwy, and her GPS, Tanya, for company. As she meets wise and not-so-wise people, members of the campervan community and friendly locals, her outlook on life begins to shift, and a chance meeting in a bar leads to the person who will put her on the right track. But will she go back home, to Wales? And what is the meaning of ‘home?’ You can read more about this delightful road-trip memoir on the Parthian website here.  

The book bloggers are really loving The Man on the Middle Floor (£8.99, pb, 978 1910453544) by Elizabeth S. Moore; as is ES Magazine who called it “visceral and tender”. “Lionel Shriver meets Mark Haddon in this break-out debut… Thought-provoking and thrilling, The Man on the Middle Floor will leave readers talking” says one fan. Despite living in the same three-flat house in the suburbs of London, the residents are strangers to one another. The bottom floor is home to Tam, a recent ex-cop who spends his days drowning his sorrows in whisky. On the middle floor is Nick, a young man with Asperger’s who likes to stick to his schedules and routines. The top floor belongs to Karen, a doctor and researcher who has spent her life trying to understand the rising rates of autism. They have lived their lives separately, until now, when an unsolved murder and the man on the middle floor connect them all together. Told from three points of view, The Man on the Middle Floor is about disconnection in all its forms; sexual, physical, parental and emotional. It questions whether society is meeting the needs of the fast-growing autistic section of society, or maybe exacerbating it. Go to the Red Door Twitter Feed to read all the other ace reviews on the blog tour!

We love this piece in the Guardian praising the wonderful Five Leaves Books in Nottingham in with a terrific recommendation – “intelligent, engrossing” – for Alicia Kopf's Brother in Ice, published by And Other Stories. Kopf will be at Five Leaves for an event in June too!

I told you last week that there may well be a piece about Alt-Right: From 4chan to the White House (pb, £12.99, 978 0745337456) by Mike Wendling  coming up shortly in your super soaraway Sun – and sure enough here it is! Absolutely ace publicity for the book, which is published by Pluto this week.

And if you need a bit of light relief from the antics of Alt Right – and all the other grim political news in the world today- then how about the trailer here for the new Incredibles film which is out in June – yippee!

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

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