Friday 8 June 2018

Compass Points 263

This week, Team Compass have been at our sales conference, hearing about all the fabulous books that our wonderful publishers are bringing out between September 2018 and February 2019. We can’t wait to tell you more about them in the coming months – there are some real crackers!

There have been some lovely reviews for the Books of Tbilisi (978 1910974315), Riga (978-1910974384) – and the newest in the series – Havana (978 1910974018). STORGY said: "The Book of Tbilisi deserves every piece of praise it gets. It deals with raw emotion, real struggles, and introduces characters who leap from the page and exist outside of the stories they were created for." You can read the whole review here. Selcouth Station said of The Book of Riga: "I think that the concept of this book, short stories rooted in the same place, works so well because of the nature of short stories. I’ve been shown glimpses of Riga through the lens of several characters and their perspective creators. I went into reading this book with high expectations, weary because of how that usually leads to disappointment. However, when I finished the last pages of The Book of Riga I breathed that familiar sigh of content, pleased." That’s here. Bookmunch called it a "quirky and varied" collection here. The forthcoming Book of Havana was including in Culture Trip's Book Editor's 11 Books You Really Should Be reading for June; that's here and The Independent Literary Fiction Blog, said: “It’s a collection that’s saturated with the sights and smells of Havana, that will lead you through the backstreets to show you the reality of the city in all its glory and squalor. It’s hard to imagine wanting anything more from a collection of this type.” They are all published by Comma.

“When London first hosted the Olympics, in 1948, alongside boxing and canoeing there was also competitive poetry. By 2012 there were no medals for literature, but a fringe event called Poetry Parnassus invited poets from every Olympic nation to read in London. In a spirit of woolly equality there were no prizes on offer, but if there were, Austria’s representative – the brilliant Evelyn Schlag – might well have won. This week Schlag finally got the medal she deserved, one of three gongs awarded at the Hay Festival (the others went to Margaret Atwood and Jackie Morris). Much acclaimed as a novelist and poet on the continent, if Schlag is still little read in Britain then All Under One Roof (£12.99, pb, 978 1784102241), which is out on 28 June from Carcanet deserves to change that. Witty, tender, occasionally baffling, often sexy, it's a small gem to look forward to.” This was the start of a major article in the Telegraph, who have featured All Under One Roof as their Poetry Book of the Month. Subscribers can read the full article here.

If you weren’t at the Hay Festival – but wish you had been, then you could do a lot worse than listen here to the special Guardian Hay Podcast and discover which novel knocked Midnight’s Children out of the running for the Golden Booker, which is marking 50 years of the UK’s top literary award. You can also hear poet Tishani Doshi gives an impassioned response to the problem of violence against women in India and neurologist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore explains why we should take teenagers more seriously.

Darker With the Lights On by David Hayden (978 0995705296, pb, £9.99) is now up for two awards – it’s  longlisted for the Edgehill Short Story Prize and shortlisted for the inaugural London Magazine Collyer Bristow Prize for Debut Fiction. The Guardian said “Once in a blue moon, a book comes along that really is like nothing you’ve ever read before. The 20 stories in this debut collection from David Hayden are strange, uncomfortable fables of memory, metamorphosis, time, disassociation and death: hard to fathom, but impossible to ignore; twisty and riddling, yet with a blunt impact that reverberates long after the final page.” It’s just been published in paperback by Little Island Press and as Eimear McBride said: “Why it's taken this long for his first collection to be published is beyond me but I, along with anyone with even the vaguest interest in looking at modernism anew, will be queuing up for a copy."

Following last weekend’s offering in the Mail on Sunday (which was in turn a focus of The Andrew Marr Show’s paper review), part two of the serial for Geoffrey Robertson QC’s new book, Rather His Own Man: In Court with Tyrants, Tarts and Troublemakers (£25, hb, 978 1785903977) is due to run this weekend. Hailed as the “exception’ to the ‘rarely memorable’ world of legal memoirs”, according to Lord Pannick QC who reviewed the book in The Times, this is “a legal autobiography that entertains, informs and inspires.” Linking in with the many columns in the wake of the BBC’s A Very English Scandal, Geoffrey wrote about his experiences defending the New Statesman in the aftermath of the Jeremy Thorpe case in The Guardian. He is also due to be featured as the subject of next weekend’s News Review profile in the Sunday Times, alongside a review in the books pages, and further reviews expected in the Daily Telegraph, Times Literary Supplement, Literary Review and Law Society Gazette.

"My story is reaching readers who then create their own experience of it. Each reader interprets and reacts emotionally to characters and events in the book and no reading experience is ever exactly the same" says Tracey Warr whose superb Conquest series is published by Impress. Daughter of the Last King (978 1907605819, £8.99) and The Drowned Court (£8.99, 978 1911293088), recount the story of a Welsh noblewoman caught up in the struggle between the Welsh and the Normans in the 12th century and is a highly readable weave of researched history and imagined stories.

Refugee Tales (£9.99, pb, 978-1910974230) was featured on Clare Balding's Ramblings programme on Radio 4 this week; she was walking in Surrey with a group of asylum seekers who are former detainees of the Gatwick Immigration Removal Centres. You can listen to the programme here.

It's Men’s Health Week 11-17 June, and there’s lots of publicity linked to this for Dave Chawner’s witty and practical memoir Weight Expectations: One Man’s Recovery from Anorexia (£9.99, pb, 978 1785923586). The Telegraph Men Channel has You Don't Look Anorexic – a written feature from Dave on how anorexia is not always physically obvious, and how he used his anorexia as a coping mechanism to combat his anxiety. The Independent is running an interview with Dave about the book, his experience of anorexia and the misconceptions that surround men and mental health/eating disorders. And the Sun will have an interview with Dave about his anorexia and anxiety. It’s published by Jessica Kingsley on 21 June.

A really interesting piece here by Anthony Burgess, on LitHub where he asks “If A Clockwork Orange Can Corrupt, Why Not Shakespeare and the Bible?” It is taken from a new compilation of unpublished and uncollected material which has just been published by Carcanet. The Ink Trade: Selected Journalism 1961-1993 (pb, £19.99, 978-1784103927) is a selection of reviews and articles which are provocative, informative, entertaining, savage and extravagant. Burgess’ journalism has fallen somewhat into neglect in recent years, but his writing – as this article proves – is always very readable and was often crucial in establishing new writers, new tastes and trends. There’s a super review of it in the Manchester Review of Books here.  

And if you haven’t seen or read A Clockwork Orange then do watch this  one-minute trailer – it gives you a very good idea of just how extraordinarily powerful and provocative a writer Anthony Burgess was.

Tis the season for a large glass of something cold or warm (depending on whether you’re more of a Crocodile Dundee or a John Major type of drinker), and The Pocket Guide to Beer (£7.99, pb, 978 1780274898) which was launched this week by Birlinn will point your tastebuds in the direction of something new. This handy, fun and informative guide to beer takes the reader on a journey using the BeerTubeMap, a unique flavour map that links beers by flavour and style. It comprehensively shows how beer styles from around the world relate to each other and includes both traditional and new wave beers, along with some practical tips on keeping up with the ever-changing world of beer! The no nonsense, un-geeky style makes it a great starter guide for beer newbies whilst providing inspiration for more seasoned drinkers. It’s by bar manager Joe Dick and industry expert Nikki Welch.

I LOVE it when publishers and authors create little films to promote their books! Have a watch of this dramatic video trailer for Drugs To Forget (pb, £8.99, 978-1910453513) a new thriller by Martin Granger just published by Red Door. CrimeTime Magazine said “If you hanker for fast-moving adventure novels look no further. Clearly Mr Granger is a name to watch” and this suspenseful race against bio-terror, where a foreign chemical agent is found on British soil sounds great!

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

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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