Friday 28 September 2018

Compass Points 276

Wowee – what a terrific bit of publicity for the new edition of Queen in 3D (hb, £30, 978 1999667429) here  in the Mail Online – this has already had nearly 8,000 shares – and I am reliably informed that the Mail have also massively promoted it via their Snap Chat account – reaching many thousands more! This second edition of the book features new photos from the making of Bohemian Rhapsody – the early awaited Queen biopic – photographed on set in 3D by Brian May. It is published the same day that the film is released, October 24th. This new hardback edition with its much lower price has the full content of the first edition, plus this new material from the film set which I think makes it pretty sensational value. It also has the high-quality stereo viewer embedded in the backboard of the book, so that readers can enjoy these extraordinary 3D photos captured by Brian from the 1970s to the present day. There’s been publicity for the book in the Daily Express the Sun, the Mirror online and the Times.  The PR momentum will continue up until the release of the book with The Big Issue to run a Q&A with Brian, the Mail on Sunday running a film special including a full page on the book and on pub date, articles and interviews with Brian will feature in Mojo and Classic Rock. If time permits Brian will also hit the radio studios: Magic, Absolute, Planet Rock, Heart, LBC, R2 Chris Evans, R4, 6 Music as well as ITV’s Lorraine. This is going to be BIG!

Frank Foley helped thousands of Jews escape from Germany, described at the Eichman trial as a Scarlet Pimpernel, risking his own life to save those threatened with death by the Nazis. He was a British spy, a fact that made his efforts on behalf of the Jews even more dangerous as he had no diplomatic immunity and was liable to arrest at any time. He not only went into the concentration camps to get Jews out but hid them in his own home, but he remains virtually unknown, largely because his job as Passport Control Officer in Berlin was a cover for his real role as MI6 Head of Station. Sixty years after his death, Prince William has just unveiled a statue of Foley in Stourbridge, which you can read about here,  and Biteback have the definitive book on this remarkable man; Foley The Spy Who saved 10,000 Jews (£10.99, pb, 978 1785900549). Its author Michael Smith was on Sky News this week talking about Foley and this outstanding title deserves to be much more widely read. The Daily Telegraph called it “a fascinating book. Smith writes well: coolly and unexaggeratedly, sensibly and authoritatively.”

Into The Peatlands: A Journey Through the Moorland Year (£12.99, pb, 978 1780275598) “makes you yearn for a sip of golden whisky whose barley malt has been smoked over a rich, peaty fire” according to today's Daily Mail – you can read  here how bookseller Robin Crawford explores the history of peat in his new book. Great publicity for this fascinating study of the wildlife and folklore associated with these lonely, watery places.It's published by Birlinn.

A most entertaining plug for Neville Southall’s autobiography The Binman Chronicles (pb, 8.99, 978 1909245235) in this amusing article in the Mirror – where a journalist just happens to come across Neville by his broken-down car on a Welsh country road.  “There’s too much technical coaching now,” he says. “They coach the sh** out of people. You’re worth £200k a week and you can’t make a decision? If I don’t trust you – why are you playing? Nurses earn £18k a year and they take vital decisions every day.” Have a read here for some other gems from the man considered one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time! Southall's amazing story is the ultimate antidote to the dull stereotype of the modern footballer and it’s published by De Coubertin.

A bit bored? Try these twenty three book jokes to make you smile!

A couple of great reviews for the controversial Pluto title Propaganda Blitz: How the Corporate Media Distort Reality by David Edwards and David Cromwell. There’s a feature in Dissident Voice which you can see here saying “I would place a copy of this book in every journalism school” and also a piece in the Southern Daily Echo here.

A terrific review in the  Times Literary Supplement for Lola Ridge's To the Many: Collected Early Poems edited by Daniel Tobin (£14, pb, 978 0993505645) , which has just been published by Little Island Press, saying “with this handsome edition we are finally able to admire once more the prismatic patterns cast by her hard-headed and beguiling lyrics." Transnational long before the term gained currency, Lola Ridge was one of the most notable poets writing in America from the publication of her first book, The Ghetto, in 1918 until her death in 1941. This new edition of her collected early poems intends to redress the serious neglect her own work has endured over the past seventy-five years and includes the never-before published manuscript, Verses.

More amazing press for Possum, the new film based on the story of the same name which features in the Comma anthology The New Uncanny: Tales of Unease (pb, £9.99, 978 1905583188). The film will be released across the UK on the 26th October and Time Out have included the "icky Brit horror" starring Sean Harris in their 15 Must-See Movies this Autumn, you can read that piece here. The film has already opened to rave reviews in the US; the Hollywood Reporter calling it a “horror-tinged psychological suspenser which has niche genre-audience appeal” and Possum will also be showing at the Hull Horror Film Festival on Oct 26th and at the Manchester Horror Film Festival on the 30th before a Q&A and book signing with its writer and director Matthew Holness. You can see a (very scary!) trailer here. All terrific publicity for the book – a must have for Halloween book tables and window displays!

What a wonderful launch at Stanfords Bookshop in London for Pieces of Me (£8.99, pb, 978 1787198036) by Natalie Hart, which is published by Legend next week. The event was attended by a host of national press including Costa Judge and Prima Books editor Nina Pottell, who absolutely loves the book, tweeting afterwards “Lovely to be at the first event for the bloody brilliant #PiecesOfMe @NatalieGHart. Great to hear Natalie talk about why she needed to write this book. It will be in my Best of the Year so I highly recommend it. It’s out next Thursday.” The event was covered across social media, including from notable authors such as Ali Land (Richard and Judy Sunday Times best-selling author). As you can tell from her enthusiasm, Nina Pottell is heavily supporting this book, it’s Prima Magazine’s October Book of the Month, and she’s hosting a twitter competition with her followers on launch day. There will be another celebratory party for the book on its publication day 4 October in Barnett’s of Wadhurst Bookshop which is the bookshop Natalie worked in when she was 13! Pieces of Me is a debut novel that explores the ongoing impact of war and how it’s often left to the women to pick up the pieces. As author Tor Udell wrote, “The way Hart has made a mosaic of different women’s experiences, be they British, American or Iraqi, is profoundly moving. This is a love story that will leave you in tatters and yet there is an enduring sense of women making, mending and creating that gives this book a radiance. I will never forget it.”

A big piece here in the Telegraph this week for a Crown House title, headlined My Child's Different: It's Still Too Easy for Kids Like Mine to be Written off as Naughty. The piece features Elaine Halligan author of My Child's Different: The Lessons Learned From One Family's Struggle to Unlock their Son's Potential (£12.99, pb, 978 1785833281) which came out this summer. This title is already a bestseller, and clearly strikes a chord with masses of parents. Richard Branson said of it “it is really important that we provide young people with the support they need to succeed. Alternative thinking can spur creativity and innovation and has the power to change the world. This book shows how with the right support, young people can maximise their potential.” This is a must-read for any parent bringing up a child who is seen as difficult and is a practical and inspirational read. Compelling, engaging and eloquently written, it also brutally honest, as Elaine Halligan takes you inside the chaos of special needs provision and sheds light on the stark realities of social exclusion.

A lovely big four-page feature in the Lady Magazine this week for the fabulous Vegetable Cakes (978 0754833246, hb, £10) by Ysanne Spevack featuring lots of the sumptuous photos from the book! It is also inside and on cover of the October edition of Vegan Living –which is out today. This magazine is sold widely in WH Smith, Waitrose, M&S, Tescos and Sainsburys, so it is great publicity for this book. Vegetable Cakes really is a feast for the eyes; squashes, sweetcorn, carrots, spinach, peas, kale, onions and even fiddlehead ferns take you into a new culinary universe, where the tastes are intriguing but the results are also irresistibly tempting! Online searches for vegetable cakes have soared by 50% in the past six months and what was once seen as the preserve of hippies and health-food fanatics has become firmly entrenched in the mainstream. As the Daily Mail said, these recipes are “mouth-wateringly moreish and surprisingly delicious.” Radish pavlova anyone?

The Labour conference is all over the news, but one story 
you may have missed was the Guardian report that  “Labour has shifted focus from bingo to quinoa” with voters “repeatedly mentioning the fancy grain when asked what food it best represented.” Tom Watson said he was “disappointed” by this focus group research suggesting that Labour under Corbyn was more associated with the grain than with a pie and pint, and retorted that most of his friends didn’t know how to pronounce quinoa. “And it is not on my new diet list, so I was very disappointed when I read that, because I’m definitely a meat and two veg man.” Tom – you need to broaden your horizons mate, and get yourself a copy of Quinoa (hb, £4.99, 978 0754830313). This vibrant little book published by Lorenz has thirty nutritious recipes making the most of this adaptable wonder grain. Rich in protein, cholesterol-free and low in fat, the tasty recipes in this book will help you radically improve your eating habits.

Fred D’Aguiar’s Reformation from Translations from Memory (pb, £9.99, 978 1784106065) is the Poem of the Week in the Guardian; you can read it here. This Guyanese-British poet’s work has been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and this new book wonderfully recreates moments of his and our wider history, making inclusions where exclusions have occurred before. It was published by Carcanet this summer.

They fought fascism in Spain with the International Brigades and now, seventy years later it’s great to see these Welsh miners and steelworkers in prominent position, still standing in solidarity against fascist thugs in Bookmarks Books. What a fitting place to be on such visible display. ‘You are Legend’: The Welsh Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War (pb, £19.99, 978 1860571305) by Graham Davies has just been published by the Welsh Academic Press. Almost two hundred Welshmen volunteered to fight fascism during the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War. Politically active as trade unionists, members of the Communist or Labour parties, many were unemployed miners and most were working class with the fighting spirit of the coalfield and the impoverished. Unprepared and sometimes incredulous, You Are Legend is the first book to fully document all of the Welsh volunteers and pays tribute to these brave and principled men.
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

Friday 21 September 2018

Compass Points 275

A wonderful launch at the V&A this week for Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places by Philip Wilkinson (£20, hb, 978 1848025097). Guided by public nominations and a panel of expert judges, including Professor Robert Winston, Mary Beard, George Clarke, David Olusoga, Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson and Bettany Hughes; Historic England have compiled a list of 100 places where remarkable things have happened and shaped our collective identity. The book is divided into ten categories ranging from Music & Literature, through Science & Discovery to Power, Protest & Progress. The result is a gloriously illustrated and unique history of England chosen and told by the people who live here. From the observatory in Greenwich where the modern measurement of time began, to a hut in Bletchley Park where modern computing evolved, to England's oldest inn carved into the sandstone in Nottingham, the choices are surprising, intriguing and enlightening. This is a fantastic book – you can find out lots more on the Historic England website and even better,  there’s a podcast series where you can listen to hosts Suzannah Lipscomb and Emma Barnett travelling across England visiting all the places; that’s here. This would be a brilliant Christmas present – I know that applies to loads of books published this month – but this one really would – and it’s a very good price too!

Big congratulations to Comma who have been twice shortlisted in the Manchester Culture Awards 2018 in the Inspiring Innovation and the Outstanding Contribution categories. Nominations were received for people, groups and organisations who made culture buzz in Manchester during April 2017 to April 2018 and the competition was fierce, with over 300 entries. Comma will now go through to the final judging panel, who will decide if they are a finalist in either category and all finalists will be invited to the awards ceremony on November 14th.

I love this display of Propaganda Blitz: How the Corporate Media Distort Reality by David Edwards and David Cromwell (978 0745338118, £14.99, pb) with its very own table at the front of the shop in Foyles Charing Cross – thanks guys! Just published by Pluto, this devastating title shows that the corporate media does not just 'spin' the news - it fundamentally distorts everything it touches, hiding the real issues from public view, and often completely reversing the truth. This book uncovers a storm of top-down campaigns behind war reporting and exposes propagandists at the top levels of the BBC, as well as their reporting on the Scottish independence referendum, the dismantling of the NHS and looming climate chaos. Propaganda Blitz explains the real meaning of 'objective' journalism, exposes the fake news about 'fake news' and changes the way you view the world, revealing that far from being our ally, the liberal media is actually our enemy.

How evocative and romantic is the letter that doesn’t arrive? What a Hazard a Letter Is: The Strange Destiny of the Unsent Letter (£14.99, hb, 978 0993291173) explores all those that never quite reached their intended destination, from both literature and history. From the ones that were posted on board the Titanic and intercepted by that iceberg, to the love letter in One Day that Dexter forgets to post to Emma, Caroline Atkins discovers the reasons why they weren’t sent, and how the consequences were sometimes farcical, sometimes agonisingly poignant, and sometimes actually changing the course of history. Here, are authors from Ian McEwan to Iris Murdoch, Abraham Lincoln to Ernest Hemingway, and Virginia Woolf to Van Gogh: magnificent tirades written in the red mist of rage, delicious to read but all a little more eloquent for being unsent. There was a brilliant review for this one in the Mail on Sunday's You Magazine’s Five Cosy Autumn Reads article last weekend, which you can see here, calling it “an irresistibly readable collection of letters … and a perfect Christmas present, too.” There will also be a review shortly in Country Life. It’s published by Safe Haven.

I have very much been enjoying listening to the shortlisted stories for the BBC National Short Story Award which have been read on BBC Radio 4 and are available on the BBC Radio iPlayer here. And of course, you can find them all in Comma’s The BBC National Short Story Award Anthology (978 1910974414, £7.99, pb). The winner will be announced during a live ceremony broadcast on Radio 4, on the 2nd October. The award is one of the most prestigious awards for a single short story, with the winning author receiving £15,000, and four further shortlisted authors £600 each. This year sees an all-female shortlist and the stories in this year’s anthology pivot around the theme of loss, and the different ways that individuals, and communities, respond to it. From the son caring for his estranged father, to the widow going out for her first meal alone, the characters in these stories are trying to find ways to repair themselves, looking ahead to a time when their grief will eventually soften and sooth. Above all, these stories explore the importance of human connection, and the salutary effect of companionship and friendship.

Great news! Andy Grant’s book, You’ll Never Walk (£15.99, hb, 978 1909245709) has been long listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award! The prize is now in its 30th year, and is dedicated to rewarding excellence in sports writing, with the winner receiving £30,000. When Andy Grant's eyes blinked open from a 10-day coma in February 2009, he was alone in a hospital bed in Birmingham. He had a broken sternum, a broken leg, a broken elbow and shrapnel lodged in both forearms. He had a severed femoral artery, nerve damage to his hands and feet as well as deep gaping wounds in both of his cheeks. He had been blown up during a routine foot patrol in Afghanistan. Within days of coming to his senses, a doctor told Andy that because of the blast he would no longer be able to have children. You'll Never Walk is his story, and it’s published by De Coubertin. The shortlist will be announced on 27th October and you can find out more about this year’s award here.  

Government ministers announced a massive increase to the badger cull last week. An estimated 41,000 badgers will be shot in the English countryside in the next few weeks, but according to the Wildlife Trust, it costs £496.52 to kill a badger compared to £82 to vaccinate one against bovine TB. Badgered to Death: The People and Politics of the Badger Cull by Dominic Dyer and Chris Packham (£8.99, pb, 978 0993040757) and published by Canbury Press is the only book on Britain's biggest wildlife controversy. It argues that the cull is scientifically foolish and a giant waste of money.

A major art exhibition has just opened at the Courtauld Gallery in London; Impressionists: From Manet to C├ęzanne. It’s been much reviewed and runs until January, so it’s worth reminding you about the many Lorenz titles which reference these artists. You can see the top three here. Manet: His Life and Work in 500 Images by Nigel Rodgers (978 0754828945, £16.99, hb), Degas His Life and Works in 500 Images by Jon Kear (978 0754823889, £16.99, hb) and Cezanne His Life and Work in 500 Images by Susie Hodge (978 0754823131, £16.99, hb) are all comprehensive and well-written accounts of these artists, and feature a wealth of wonderful illustrations of their greatest work.

Advice That Sticks: How to Give Financial Advice that People will Follow by Moira Summers guides those who give financial advice for a living in learning how to close the gap between good intentions and actions. It is written by an expert in the field of financial psychology and delivers humility, humour and wisdom, and has recently had some excellent publicity. There was an interview with the author on Moneywise Interactive Investor, which is the UK’s number one investment programme; it was included in Michael Kitces (who is the most influential financial blogger in the USA with a reach of over 250,000 followers) Top Picks for Financial Advisors 2018 – you can see that here and there was also an interview on Ember TV here.  Advice That Sticks is published by Practical Inspiration

We’re thrilled that Phoebe Power’s Shrines of Upper Austria (£9.99, pb, 978 1784105341) has won the 2018 Forward Prize for Best First Collection! This is the first full debut from this promising young poet (2009 Foyle Young Poet of the Year, winner of a 2012 Eric Gregory Award and a 2014 Northern Writers’ Award) and is a celebration of creativity in unlikely places. A young woman searching for love and understanding in 21st century Britain finds herself in rural Austria, where she observes and records a landscape of mountains, folk culture and uneasy histories. It’s published by Carcanet and there are more details about the prize here.

Staying Power (pb, £16.99, 978 0745338309) is a panoramic history of black Britons. Stretching back to the Roman conquest, encompassing the court of Henry VIII, and following a host of characters from Mary Seacole to the abolitionist Olaudah Equiano, Peter Fryer paints a picture of two thousand years of Black presence in Britain. First published in the 80s, amidst race riots and police brutality, Fryer's history performed a deeply political act; revealing how Africans, Asians and their descendants had long been erased from British history. By rewriting black Britons into the British story, showing where they influenced political traditions, social institutions and cultural life, was – and is – a deeply effective counter to a racist and nationalist agenda. Pluto have just published a new edition of this seminal title, which includes the classic introduction by Paul Gilroy, author of There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack, in addition to a brand-new foreword by Guardian journalist Gary Younge, which examines the book's continued significance today as we face Brexit and a revival of right-wing nationalism.

A great early review for Gaia Holmes' newest poetry collection, Where the Road Runs Out (£9.99, pb, 978 1910974452) on Word Mothers, who said "There’s a meditative quality to Holmes’s work which provides the perfect antidote to the frenzy of modern life;" you can read the full piece  here. Three poems from the collection are also featured on And Other which will give you a good taster of Gaia's fantastic work if you’re not already familiar with it. Gaia's launch event at Book Corner Halifax was a huge success and the collection is their bestseller of the week, and there are more events with Gaia coming up at will be reading at more events in Halifax, Hebden Bridge and Hull. It’s published by Comma.

Rather than being evil doom-laden machines that take our jobs and take over our world, robots may actually create jobs, according to new study released this week. A report for the World Economic Foundation said that although robots would displace jobs doing an estimated 75 million of them in the next decade — they could lead to new ways of working that would add an extra 133 million jobs in the same period. The research chimes with Hallo Robot (£14.99, pb, 978 1912454051) published next month by Canbury Press, which paints a optimistic view of the impact robots will have on our lives. Instead of posing a threat to the human race, Bennie Mols and Nieske Vergunst argue that robots could significantly improve our lives. They can do dull and dangerous tasks, help us walk again after accidents, rescue people from collapsed buildings, and take a starring role in the fight against hunger and pollution. With sixty colour photos, this is realistic and vivid view of our robot future.

So, let’s finish with the Top Ten Good Movie Robots – and also the Top Ten Evil Movie Robots!

Hasta la vista, baby!

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 14 September 2018

Compass Points 274

Thanks very much Waterstones online for all your support for the newly published Butch Wilkins and the Sundance Kid: A Teenage Obsession with TV Sport (£9.99, pb, 978 1788850926); it’s currently the lead title in the Sport Paperback Highlights. It chronicles Nige Tassell’s decade-long obsession with televised sport during his teenage years in the 1980s and is a memoir intertwined with nostalgia, ruminations on the changing face of sport, portraits of its heroes and villains, and reflections on teenagehood and impending adulthood. Sweet, wise and witty, Butch Wilkins and the Sundance Kid combines humour, insight and poignancy to vividly depict the way sport can transcend the television screen to impact on wider life, hopes and ambitions. There’s been plenty of coverage already for this entertaining title, including features on TalkRadio and TalkSport, a great online author article in GQ and a long interview broadcast on BBC Radio Bristol. This title will appeal to fans of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch, Giles Smith’s Midnight In The Garden of Evel Knievel and Martin Kelner’s Sit Down And Cheer. It’s just been published by Arena Sport.

In the GQ piece Nige picks his favourite sporting memories from the 80’s - that golden era of free-to-air TV. Have a read here and see which ones you remember!

Tonight from 7.15pm the shortlist for the BBC National Short Story Award 2018 will be announced on BBC Radio4 's Front Row. We're excited, tune in! The BBC National Short Story Award Anthology (978 1910974414, £7.99, pb) is now in its thirteenth year and is published by Comma shortly. All the shortlisted stories will be in the anthology, and the winner will be announced Tuesday 2nd October live on Radio 4. The book is edited by editor and publisher of the Times Literary Supplement Stig Abell who is chairing the judging panel for the 2018 award.

You should be seeing a fair amount of Alastair Campbell next week, as he promotes Volume 7: From Crash to Defeat (£25.00, hb, 978 1785900853) of his much-acclaimed series of diaries, published by Biteback on Thursday. Look out for his appearances on BBC Politics Live, ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Sky News, as well as interviews on LBC, Talk Radio and TalkSport. Looking further ahead, Alastair will appear on the next Chatham House podcast, hit podcast How to Fail with Elizabeth Day, How to Change the World with Channel 4 News’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy, and BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show. In this volume Alastair Campbell finds himself being torn in several directions caught in the no man's land between being a key figure in Downing Street and the relative anonymity of the world outside politics. Having succeeded Tony Blair as Prime Minister, Gordon Brown wants Campbell at his side. Campbell resists, flooding his reservoir of guilt as a general election looms and Brown's indecision and fluctuating moods suggest the Labour administration is seriously threatened by the Tory posh boy, David Cameron. The intensity of the months leading up to 6 May 2010 is as dramatic as any screenplay, with Campbell chronicling Brown's struggle to win over a disillusioned nation and then his dignified departure from the main stage.

Some brilliant publicity for First Bridge Too Far by Mark Saliger (978 1612006895, £22.50, hb) with big features in both the Mail  and the Sun. This is great PR for this title, publicizing it as an “amazing story told in a new book commemorating the 75th anniversary of a forgotten World War Two offensive” and both tabloids make it sound like a thoroughly riveting read with loads of great pictures and quotes from the book – have a look! This well-researched narrative solely dedicated to one of the bloodiest and hardest fought campaigns of World War Two has just been published by Casemate and is a story that now on the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Primosole Bridge, really deserves to be read in order to honour Britain’s unsung heroes.

I am loving this super display and tweet from Waterstone’s Braehead for The Relentless Tide (£8.99, pb, 978 1846974120) which is the new DCI Daley thriller from Denzil Meyrick, just published by Polygon. You’ll remember that an article by Denzil featured on the BBC Scotland website recently, and they are so pleased with the response to that (now at 930k hits!) that they are using some more material from their interview and running another feature next week! Denzil is also appearing on BBC Radio Scotland's Off the Ball show, hosted by Stuart Cosgrove, this Saturday, which is one of the UK’s most popular radio shows. The Relentless Tide begins when a team of archaeologists find the remains of three women on a remote Kintyre hillside, a site rumoured to have been the base of a Viking warlord. Their delight soon turns to horror when they realise the women tragically met their end little more than two decades ago and it soon becomes clear that these are the three missing victims of the `Midweek Murderer', a serial killer who was at work in Glasgow in the early 1990s. DCI Jim Daley now has the chance to put things right and to confront a nightmare from his past and solve a crime he failed to as a young detective. Momentum is definitely building for this author – all the reader reviews say this is his best yet – and the publicity should increase his sales still further.

Fungi are vital to life on Earth but little studied. 2,000 new species of fungi were discovered in 2017 alone – which scientists say shows how little is known about the organisms – you can read that fascinating story here  in the Guardian. A good opportunity to remind you about the fabulous Mushroom Cookbook (978 0754832867, £15, hb) which won The Best Mushroom Cookbook Award in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards last year. This lovely guide to edible, wild and cultivated mushrooms contains a whole host of tempting and original recipes to use them through the seasons. It’s fully illustrated throughout and a beautiful and informative portrait gallery of the different mushrooms offers culinary suggestions and ideas for making the most of each one. 

Bruce Grobbelaar is the most decorated goalkeeper in Liverpool FCs 125-year history. And yet, question marks have followed him around; question marks about his goalkeeping suitability after arriving on Merseyside; question marks about his integrity after match fixing allegations were laid against him. In Life in a Jungle (£20, hb, 978-1909245570) which is out from De Coubertin next week, Grobbelaar gives us his side of the story. He takes you to Africa, where nothing is at it seems; he takes you back to an era when Liverpool ruled Europe; he takes you to the benches of the Anfield dressing room, where only the strongest personalities survived. And for the first time, he takes you inside the court room, detailing the draining fight to clear his name. The Mail on Sunday have an interview and serialisation of the book this weekend, and then CNN, Press Association, LFCTV, BBC World Service and BBC Sport all have interviews next week. There will also be a piece in the Guardian, an article in the November issue of FourFourTwo magazine – and lots more to come!
And if you’re not familiar with the Liverpool legend – then have a watch here – five minutes of his best saves!

Claims that schools in the north of England are worse than those in the south are based on myth and bad data, according to a large-scale research project that calls into question the education policies of successive governments. The study also challenges the idea that selective grammar schools or academies are more likely to improve pupil progress overall than community comprehensives – you can read more in the Guardian here. This controversial article was published this week and was written by Stephen Gorard, who strongly believes in the transformative power of education and is on a mission to find evidence of what actually works. However, he is frustrated by policymakers not wanting to listen. “Politicians hear what they want to hear – they adopt or accept evidence that suits their prior beliefs and values,” he says. Gorard’s findings are presented in his new book Education Policy: Evidence of Equity and Effectiveness (pb, £24.99, 978 1447342151) which has just been published by Policy Press. Supported by twenty years of extensive, international research, this approachable text brings invaluable insights into the underlying problems within education policy, and proposes practical solutions for a brighter future.

Vinegar is definitely having a moment at present – there was a long feature about its many benefits in Waitrose Weekend recently. Lorenz have two terrific titles on the subject: Vinegar: 250 Practical Uses in the Home by Bridget Jones (£9.99, pb, 978 1780190112) is a comprehensive and practical book covering health, healing, beauty homecare and cooking. Colour photographs throughout illustrate the versatility and benefits of this magical ingredient. Vinegar (hb, £4.99, 978 0754830634) by Helen Sudell is a fab collection of twenty-five recipes featuring all types of vinegar. Recipes feature varieties for making dressings and chutneys as well as sauces, baking and drinks and with its easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions and photos, this great little cookbook is the perfect introduction to this useful and versatile ingredient.

Interesting news this week that Tesco are about to enter the deep discount territory – you can read that story here on the BBC. Kogan Page have an excellent book on this subject coming on 3 October; Retail Disruptors: The Spectacular Rise and Impact of the Hard Discounters by Jan-Benedict Steenkamp and Laurens Sloot (£19.99, pb, 978 0749483470). This is the first book that explores this upheaval, providing expert insight into the business models of the leading hard discounters, and explaining what mainstream retailers and brand manufacturers can do to remain competitive in the face of disruption. Meticulously researched by two of the leading authorities in this field, it describes the retail strategies and business models behind the likes of Aldi, Lidl and Trader Joe's and provides traditional retailers with the essential tips, strategies and techniques they need to survive.

And so to finish, I think you’ll enjoy this  commercial for Aldi – which strangely, never aired on mainstream TV!

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