Friday 13 July 2018

Compass Points 268

England’s Pride of Lions may be coming home without the coveted Jules Rimet trophy, but there is certain to be an outpouring of interest in books on the team, and first out of the tunnel is England: The Quest for Glory (£13.99, pb, 978 1902719733) which is out in three weeks’ time from St David’s Press. Sky Sports and Sun journalist Tom McDermott reveals how Gareth Southgate’s behind-the-scenes efforts have created a new, refreshing football philosophy which has given fans hope for the future and asks whether England’s journey signals the beginning of a glorious new era. Essential reading for all England fans, McDermott investigates how culture, psychology, media pressure and the FA itself have historically hampered the national team and asks if there are lessons to be learnt from English success in other sports such as cricket and rugby. He explains how other football nations have transformed their fortunes and charts the changes that need to be made before England can regularly challenge in the final stages of international competitions and be acknowledged as serious trophy contenders. Packed with revealing insights from former players such as Alan Shearer, John Barnes, Darren Anderton, Michael Owen, Alan Smith, Tony Cottee, Jamie Carragher and Paul Parker, as well as fascinating contributions from Gerard Houllier, Michael Vaughan, Sir Matthew Pinsent and a host of managers, coaches, academy staff, football psychologists and performance specialists; England: The Quest For Glory seeks to provide the answer to the question asked by all England fans: Will football ever come home?

Also from St David’s Press, this next title is up to number 11 already in Amazon’s Premier League Titles bestseller list and is officially published next week! Nuno Had a Dream: Wolves’ Championship Season 2017-18 (pb, £14.99, 978 1902719740) is a celebration of the triumphant 2017-18 season inspired by Portuguese manager Nuno EspĂ­rito Santo who has created a team and a football philosophy that has totally revitalised and revolutionised the club. Lovingly written by local journalist and lifelong Wolves supporter David Harrison and illustrated with fabulous photos from official ‘access all areas’ photographer Sam Bagnall; Nuno Had A Dream describes and analyses the emotional journey to the Premier League travelled by the team and its faithful fans.

“Knowing what awaits us should make us grasp at life’s fading light, every single wonderful colourful noisy moment. We have around us all that cant, about living for the moment, you only get one chance and so on, but who hears that stuff? And if they do, it slips their mind in a minute or so, becomes a tiny fillip, a full stop in their book of the day. We have to really believe it, cherish it until we swoon on the beauty of being alive; every single bloody second. For it will soon be gone, soon vanished. It’s the best we can do, the only thing that has a chance of saving us when our eyes close for the last time: well, I gave it my best shot, did what I wanted, made a difference, ate it all up, yum yum.” So writes author and journalist Mark Hodkinson in his new novel That Summer Feeling (pb, £9.99, 978 1904590323) which is published by Pomona on 15 October. This book coalesces genres, among them coming-of-age, campus, northern, realist and comic. It takes a literate, enigmatic and upbeat view of all that truly matters in life – families, love, ambition, writing, disillusionment and hope. The Times said of Mark: “Hodkinson writes quite beautifully, which means that those of us with lesser gifts are given a glimpse into his soul. It is a richly rewarding place to be.” and there is a big marketing campaign for this title, with reviews and features expected in the broadsheet press and glossy magazines.

We mentioned the gorgeous Abandoned Civilisations (£19.99, hb, 978 1782746676) last week, which is published by Amber on 18 August and I’m pleased to say that this has now been featured in the Mail and the Sun so you can have a look at some of the spectacular colour photographs exploring a hundred lost worlds that feature on its pages. These pics really are stunning – if looking at them doesn’t encourage you to order this book then I really don’t know what will! The Telegraph will also be featuring it in the coming weeks.

Have you ever wondered how much time and energy women spend avoiding harassment from men? Dr Fiona Vera-Gray has; and she’s spent the last five years speaking to women about how they change their behaviour through fear of sexual assault. If you're a woman reading this, when is the first time that you remember interruption from an unknown man in public? Being told to cheer up, being stared at, a whistle, a car horn, a comment? What about all the times you've thought… maybe? You think that man might be staring at you but you couldn't say for certain. Don't want to be thought of as paranoid. But maybe, you think, I'll just sit over here, get on the bus, do a quick scan, choose the seat closest to other women, or closest to the driver. Catch the next train, just to be safe. The Right Amount of Panic: How Women Trade Freedom for Safety (£14.99, pb, 978 1447342298) has just been published by Policy Press. With real-life accounts of women's experiences, and based on the author's original research, this book challenges victim-blaming and highlights the need to show women as capable, powerful and skilful in their everyday resistance to harassment and sexual violence. You can read a really interesting article by Dr Vera-Gray about it on the BBC website here and there is more publicity to come for this highly topical title.

For sufferers of hay fever, summer 2018 will not just go down for the long hot days, but also for the quantity of sneezing. As the Met Office has warned this summer is worse than usual due to an unusually high pollen count. How and why we suffer from allergies is one of the 16 fascinating stories in Bodyology: The Curious Science of Our Bodies (pb, £8.99, 978 0995497863) – a compendium of investigations into popular health issues by leading science writers. It asks whether conventional thinking about allergies is completely wrong. Might their rise might be linked to a feature of modern life: man-made chemicals? It’s published by Canbury Press.

Ian Fleming and Operation Golden Eye: Keeping Spain out of World War II (£19.99, hb, 978 1612006857), has been selected as one of the Bookseller’s Highlights of the Season in their Non-Fiction Buyer's Guide this autumn. Casemate have high hopes for this book which they are publishing at the end of September and will be putting a lot of marketing behind it. This fascinating title tells how Ian Fleming and Alan Hillgarth were the architects of Operation Golden Eye, the sabotage and disruption scheme that would be put in place had Germany invaded Spain. Fleming visited the Iberian Peninsula and Tangiers several times during the war, arguably his greatest achievement in WWII and the closest he came to being a real secret agent. It was these visits which supplied much of the background material for his fiction, even calling his home on Jamaica where he created 007 Goldeneye. The scheme included the widespread bribery of high ranking Spanish officials and the duplicity of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of the Abwehr. Operation Golden Eye was eventually put on standby in 1943 as the risk of the Nazis occupying Spain was much reduced. Author Mark Simmons consulted the Foreign Office as well as SOE and CIA files when writing this book and it is an enthralling read.

From pigeons to parakeets, it’s impossible not to notice birds in London. But how many more would you see if you knew where to look? Can you really see a striking black-and-white wader like the Avocet, or a graceful bird of prey like a Marsh Harrier or a shy reedbed-dwelling Bittern all within the city? Did you know Peregrine Falcons nest at Battersea Power Station, or that over a hundred species have been logged at Hampstead Heath in one year? A new book Birdwatching London (pb, £12.99, 978 0993291159, published in association with the London Wildlife Trust) reveals the amazing variety of birdlife in the capital and offers wonderful ideas for a day out among nature from woodlands to wetlands, parks to post-industrial backwaters. Illustrated throughout with stunning colour photographs this has just been published by Safe Haven. Author David Darrell-Lambert has recently been on BBC Radio London talking about this lovely guidebook (you can hear that interview here ),there’s also been an extract BBC Wildlife magazine, a feature on the Londonist website and a review in British Birds magazine. There are events at Ink@84 bookshop in Highbury, the RSPB on Rainham Marshes, Stanfords in Covent Garden and the Broadway Bookshop in Hackney.

Great to see And Other Stories titles featuring in some of the Summer Reads lists; not least in the Guardian, the Guardian Podcast and on Front Row. In the Guardian's Summer Reads, Kamila Shamsie tells us she's reading all our Year of Publishing Women titles this summer: “The publishing house And Other Stories has committed to making 2018 a Year of Publishing Women – I’m planning to work my way through their entire list for the year over the summer. First up: Fleur Jaeggy’s Sweet Days of Discipline, translated by Tim Parks. It is set in a boarding school in postwar Switzerland, the opening pages are spare and beautiful, with an intriguing darkness.” On BBC Radio 4 Front Row last Tuesday, journalist Sarah Ditum had lots of nice things to say;  including Clemens Meyer's All the Lights “a collection of stories . . . they really build up a – quite gritty at times – picture of the whole country” and Nicola Pugliese's Malacqua “an amazing, fascinating book . . . full of the texture of the 1970s.” On The Guardian Podcast, editor Richard Lea calls Yuri Herrera's Signs Preceding the End of the World “a terrific slim novel about a young woman who makes the border crossing and finds her life has changed.”

Talking of Summer Reading, the Second Part of the Guardian feature included Sunny Singh’s recommendation of (with illustration!) “South Atlantic Requiem (hb, £15.99, 978 1911350316)

by Edward Wilson, one of my favourite spy novelists” It’s published by Arcadia You can read the full article here.

Possum, the new film based on the story of the same name in the just published anthology The New Uncanny (pb, £9.99, 9781905583188 ) has been picking up rave reviews this week, including one on The Hollywood Reporter, which called it a “horror-tinged psychological suspenser which has niche genre-audience appeal” and The Hollywood News, Culture Fix and Sci-Fi Now both gave it excellent reviews and four stars apiece after its premiere in Edinburgh. The film screens at the Galway Film Fest this week and FrightFest in London next month. Early reviews from fans are also good, with one saying on the IMDb website   “A genuinely scary film. Excellent sets, acting and soundtrack. I don't want to give anything away but it's the first film I have watched in ages that has had me terrified!” There could soon be a lot of people out there keen to buy the Comma book which Time Out called “a masterclass in understated creepiness”.

There’s nothing more satisfying than growing your own produce, and then using it to make a delicious homecooked meal and Grow Happy, Cook Happy, Be Happy by Bryony Hill (£20, hb, 978 1910453582) is full of practical gardening advice, cookery tips and mouth-wateringly easy-to-make recipes that will make you happy inside and out. Alan Titchmarsh said of it “Bryony's talents as both cook and photographer are clearly evident in this book. Her joie de vivre is infectious and her recipes mouth-watering” This colour illustrated book is packed with Bryony’s own stunning photographs of flowers, vegetables and the wonderful wildlife found in her garden and this title is perfect for readers of Good Housekeeping and fans of Mary Berry and Kirstie Allsopp “Here is a book which can really make you feel both healthy and happy” said Josceline Dimbleby and there are likely to be more great reviews to come – this is Bryony’s seventh book, she has lots of excellent media contacts and was the wife of ex-professional footballer and television pundit Jimmy Hill! It’s just been published by Red Door.

With the resignations of David Davis and Boris plus all the other Cabinet and Brexit shenanigans, it’s a good time to promote Biteback’s Fighters And Quitters: Great Political Resignations by Theo Barclay (hb, £20, 978 1785901041) which reveals the tales of the politicians who fell on their swords and explores the reasons why they did. Who jumped and who was pushed? Who battled to stay in post and who collapsed at the first hint of pressure? Who came back, Lazarus-like, after their resignation for a second act? The book also examines the swathe of sex and spy scandals that have killed dreams of high office, from peers busted in bed with prostitutes to MPs caught cavorting in public parks, and, of course, the Profumo affair.

Poet Caroline Bird whose fifth collection In These Days of Prohibition (978 1784104788, £9.99, pb) has just been published by Carcanet, was brilliant on BBC Radio 4's Poetry Please with Lemn Sissay. You can listen to the whole show here – just skip to 20 minutes in to hear Caroline – but the whole thing is great!

A quiz to finish! Answer seven questions and Buzzfeed will tell you which fictional bookworm you are. Do you see yourself as a Matilda or more or Lisa Simpson? Find out here.  

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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