Thursday 25 October 2018

Compass Points 280

Many congratulations to Edinburgh University Press, Historic Environment Scotland, Saqi and Birlinn, who all feature on the shortlists for the 2018 Saltire Literary Awards which were revealed at an event hosted at Waterstones in Edinburgh on Monday evening. The winners of all the awards will be formally announced on 30th November. You can find out more and see the full shortlists on the Saltire website here. Leila Aboulela's wonderful Elsewhere, Home; published by Saqi, a collection of short stories that draws the reader into the lives of immigrants at home and abroad as they forge new identities and reshape old ones is up for the Scottish Fiction Book of the Year while two Birlinn titles are up for Scottish Non-Fiction Book of the Year. Alan Taylor's Appointment in Arezzo, a memoir of encounters and letter exchanges with Muriel Spark, published to celebrate the 100th anniversary of her birth; and Angus Roxburgh's Moscow Calling which is a memoir from the former correspondent and media consultant to Putin's Kremlin. Up for the Scottish Research Book of the Year Award is Early Cinema in Scotland, a fascinating collection of essays by John Caughie, Trevor Griffiths and María A. Vélez-Serna, published by Edinburgh University Press. Cairns Craig's The Wealth of the Nation: Scotland, Culture and Independence (Edinburgh University Press), a study of how Scottish culture defined itself within the British Empire and Les Wilson's The Drowned and the Saved (Birlinn), telling of two ships carrying American soldiers were sunk off the coast of Islay in 1918, are both up for the Scottish History Book of the Year. And finally – best of luck to Birlinn, and Historic Environment Scotland who are both up for Scottish Publisher of the Year Birlinn being the reigning champions of course!

Compass Points was off to the Science Museum this week for the supersonic launch of Mission Moon 3-D (hb, £30, 978 1999667405). Brian May and David Eicher blasted off this hardback in great style with a riveting presentation of the astonishing 3D pics from the book, some stellar moon cocktails and a Skype interview with Apollo 16 Moonwalker Charlie Duke (who’s written the foreword) from his home in the US. I think everyone found the Q&A with him very exciting, and indeed moving. For those of us not fortunate enough to have been to the moon (and only twelve have, only four are still alive) he confirmed that the 3D pics “are amazing and give a good approximation of what it’s really like to be there.” Earlier the same day I had heard Brian May and David Eicher give a barnstorming promotion for the book to Craig Charles on the Big Show on Radio 2. This show has eight million listeners – and I defy anyone who heard Brian and Craig talking enthusiastically about it “the book is fascinating, it’s brilliant, it’s so well produced” not to have immediately wanted to rush out and buy it! You can listen to that interview here, it’s 2hrs 26 mins in.

I caught Alastair Campbell talking on the Jeremy Vine programme about the latest volume of his diaries - very interesting! His story has now reached one those memorable moments that many of us remember very well! Having succeeded Tony Blair as Prime Minister, Gordon Brown wants Campbell at his side, but Campbell resists 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. Who remembers “bigot-gate” – you can remind yourselves here! Campbell is all over the airwaves at the moment, championing the People’s vote – which shouldn’t do the sales of Volume 7: From Crash to Defeat, 2007 – 2010 (£25, hb, 978 1785900853) just out from Biteback any harm at all!

A very moving piece in the Mail here about some heart-wrenching letters sent to the grieving parents of three brothers killed in the First World War which have just been sold at auction to the National Trust for £1,200.This reminds me to tell you about Having a Go at the Kaiser: A Welsh Family at War (£14.99, pb, 978 1786833471) by Gethin Matthews which is published in November by University of Wales Press. This book is based on more than a hundred letters sent home by three Swansea soldier brothers during 1916–18. Richard, Gabriel and Ivor’s letters written to different members of their family allow us to build an extraordinary picture of what the brothers thought on a range of different issues and of how their beliefs and ideas evolved. Full of sibling rivalry and affection, and dealing with such issues as identity, masculinity and duty, this is a detailed and fascinating collection.

I think we can all agree that we live in highly uncertain times at present – and for those in business, the future looks especially undefined. The book they need is Leading Through Uncertainty: Emotional Resilience and Human Connection in a Performance-Driven World (£17.99, pb, 978 1788600194), of which Professional Manager magazine has just declared “If you only read one management book in the near future, let this be it.” The rapid advancement of technology has fuelled fast-paced change in business, creating a high-performance culture that requires leaders to be resilient and agile. But the increased level of insecurity and an ever-expanding workload often create stress and fear. Leadership expert Jude Jennison overcame her fear of horses six months before she bought her first one and the process of overcoming those fears and the lesson she learned about leadership are the subject of this refreshing management book. This is a call to return to the core of humanity to find the natural human characteristics of communication, connection, compassion and community. As Professional Manager went on to say “Jennison’s work is a tribute to partnership…let your eyes be opened and see if you can overcome your own fears.” It’s out now from Practical Inspiration.

A good review for That Summer Feeling by Mark Hodkinson (pb, £9.99, 978 1904590323), in The Crack magazine here “I like books that ramble on, that are like someone talking to you or you’re hearing thoughts. When I meet someone or just see them around I always think: what are you like? What’s happened to you?” That’s the 20-something hero of Mark Hodkinson’s latest explaining to the tutor of his creative writing course what sort of books he likes. It would be a fitting description for this 2004-set novel, although any rambling on is done in the most amiable way.” It goes on to compare Mark’s novel to Billy Liar“engaging” and “sharply intelligent”.

Super to see Happy By Design (978 1859468784, £20, pb) by Ben Channon included in a promotion by the Welcome Trust entitled Living With Buildings. This is a fantastic little book exploring the links between happiness and architecture. Given that we spend over 80% of our time in buildings, shouldn't we have a better understanding of how they make us feel? This book explores the ways in which buildings, spaces and cities affect our moods and reveals how architecture and design can make us happy and support mental health, and explains how poor design can have the opposite effect. Presented through a series of easy-to-understand design tips and accompanied by beautiful diagrams and illustrations, Happy by Design is a great resource for architects, designers and students, or for anybody who would like to better understand the relationship between buildings and joy. It’s just been published by RIBA.

The Flag: The Story of Revd David Railton MC and the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior (hb, £20, 978 1612004471) is set to be the Book of the Month in December for the magazine Britain at War. Reverend Railton served as a chaplain on the Western Front during World War. He supported the soldiers in their worst moments, he buried the fallen, comforted the wounded, wrote to the families of the missing and killed, and helped the survivors. He also received the Military Cross for rescuing an officer and two men under heavy fire on the Somme. It was Railton’s idea to bring home the body of an unidentified fallen comrade from the battlefields to be buried in Westminster Abbey, and on Armistice Day 1920, his flag covered the coffin as the Unknown Warrior was laid to rest with full honours. This is the first book to explore David Railton’s life and war, drawing on his letters and unpublished papers. It’s published by Casemate.

There was a great, big, really enthusiastic review from Bel Mooney of What a Hazard a Letter Is (£14.99, hb, 978 0993291173) in the Daily Mail this week! Caroline Atkins delves through history and literature to uncover a series of unsent letters written by notable individuals including Virginia Woolf, Beethoven and John F. Kennedy … Unsent letters provide essential devices in fiction, as well as being part of the tragedy of life … a gloriously varied collection…fascinating…intriguing.” You can read the whole piece here, it really is a superb bit of publicity for this book which has just been published by Safe Haven.

A lovely review in Sunday Express for Under The Wig ((hb, £16.99, 978 1912454082); "an eloquent and riveting memoir by one of this country's leading murder case defence lawyers. William Clegg revisits some of his most notions cases, from the acquittal of Colin Stagg for the murder of Rachel Nickell to his defence of the first Nazi war criminal to be tried in Britain, and the burglar given a life sentence because of an ear print." Canbury Press have already sold out of the first print run of this title and its only just been published! The reprint has just arrived and I suggest you order it pronto, as all the reviews have been terrific (“Gripping” The Times, “Fascinating” The Secret Barrister) and it’s the ideal Christmas crime read!

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 October 2018

Compass Points 279

Who saw Brian May on Lorraine this week – you can watch it here. She opens the interview by picking up Mission Moon (hb, £30, 978 1999667405) and saying “this is a cracker” – then goes on to wave around Queen in 3D (hb, £30, 978 1999667429) to the cameras saying “this is a remarkable book!” Please, oh please can all book publicity be as targeted and fabulous as this! With blockbuster films First Man and Bohemian Rhapsody both out this autumn (and remember Queen in 3D has been updated to include scenes from the making of the film photographed on set in 3D by Brian May) both of these titles are really set up now to be HUGE bestsellers!

I love this tweet from author and blogger Laura Pearson. She’s right – which bookshop needs more categories than these!  She writes:
Publishing: My 4 year-old has listed all book genres. You’re welcome.
PJ Masks
Nursery rhymes
Inside people

In a cottage in Normandy, Lina Rose is writing to the daughter she abandoned as a baby. Now a successful author, she is determined to trace her family’s history through the two world wars that shaped her life. But Lina can no longer bear to carry her secrets alone, and once the truth is out, can she ever be forgiven? Clar Ni Chonghaile weaves a complex narrative in The Reckoning (£8.99, pb, 978 1787198142) which has just been published by Legend, covering conflict, secrets, judgement and what it takes to sever family ties. There’s a wide-ranging blog tour coming up for this which includes Page Turners Nook, Anne Bonny Book Reviews, Jo’s Book Blog, My Bookish Blogspot, Buttercup Review, Reminders of the Changing Time, Mad Book Love, Novel Delights, Short Book and Scribes,, Varietats, Over the Rainbow Book Blog, Madhouse Family Reviews and Random Things Through My Letterbox.

Publishers tend to have plenty of cracking tales to tell about their famous authors – most of which are usually only heard in the bar after a sales conference. Happily, independent publisher, Jeremy Robson has decided to share the best of his in a marvellous new memoir, Undercover (978 1785904097, hb, £25). In it, he looks back at times spent driving Muhammad Ali around Britain, coping with Michael Winner, joyously laughing with Maureen Lipman and Alan Coren, undertaking an exciting poetry reading tour with Ted Hughes, and lots of stories of life-long friendships with poets and writers; including Spike Milligan, Alan Sillitoe, Laurie Lee and Yevgeny Yevtushenko. The Mail are running a serialisation of this book tomorrow – which promises to be highly entertaining! It is packed full of terrific anecdotes – which sadly I can’t quote to you direct until the Mail extract has happened – but trust me, it’s well worth a read and well worth selling! Matthew Parris said it has “jollity, diversity and colour” as well as telling “another story: the struggle to survive and thrive as a small independent publisher in an age of amalgamations and growing corporate size.” Which is very definitely a story worth shouting about.

We're so pleased to tell you that Phoebe Power has been shortlisted for the 2019 TS Eliot Prize with her brilliant debut collection, Shrines of Upper Austria. The collection was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and also won the Felix Dennis Award for Best First Collection at the Forward Prizes earlier this year - so huge congratulations to Phoebe! The T S Eliot Prize Shortlist Readings are the largest annual poetry event in the UK and will be hosted once again by Ian McMillan on 13 January, in the Royal Festival Hall. You can read more about the prize and see the full shortlist here.

The famous French architect Le Corbusier once said, “I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster and leaves less room for lies.” Le Corbusier would have loved Draw a Better Business: The Essential Visual Thinking Toolkit to Help Your Small Business Work Better (£14.99, pb, 978 1910056639) by Cara Holland which is an illustrated practical guide for freelancers and business people who want to tap into their innate creativity and gain the business benefits. Cara has worked with companies such as TimeWarner, Google and the NHS, and shares empowering tips, tools and insights that will bring the power of working visually to your business. Business leaders are super-enthusiastic about this one, Google’s creative director said “There’s hardly a soul who wouldn’t benefit from the ideas in Cara’s book” and the founder of the Black British Business Awards said it was full of “innovative solutions that will engage your audience and transform your business.” There will be a feature on Cara in the January issue of Diva magazine’s Women on Top section, as well as articles in Mollie Makes, Biz Rocks and the Design Trust. It’s just been published by Practical Inspiration.

“Motherhood” and “childhood” are social and cultural constructions that have their origins in prehistoric times. A new volume in the Childhood in the Past series from Oxbow; Motherhood and Infancies in the Mediterranean and Antiquities (pb, £40, 978 1789250381) explores images of maternity and infancy, and the identification of women and womanhood in prehistoric and classic societies. Aspects such as socialization, the impact of infant death, the figure of the mother queen, the rules on parental rights, the transgressions of traditional motherhood and the emotional aspects of the mother-child relationship are analysed to gain a deeper understanding of the diversity of women’s agency through history. Oxbow ran a social media promotion for this one this week which got a great response with lots of likes, comments and shares and this is an important contribution to a fascinating subject.

An absorbing new biography of George V by historian Alexandra Churchill reveals that Balmoral Castle nearly became home to Tsar Nicholas II after the Russian Revolution. The royal retreat was considered as a possible residence for the Romanovs after they were overthrown by the Bolsheviks in 1917, but King George thought the Highland estate was too chilly and remote for the Russian royal family and the idea was abandoned along with his offer of asylum in Britain. You can read more about this in the Daily Record here and the book, The Eye of the Storm: George V and the Great War (978 1911628262, £25, hb) has just been published by Helion. There will be an interview with Alexandra on Dan Snow's popular history podcast and hopefully a forthcoming article in the Sunday Times. This in-depth biography reveals how George V went from being a largely unknown entity to both his ministers and his people at the outbreak of war in 1914, to the most visible and accessible sovereign in British history by the end of the decade. Pioneering modern public relations, he had not only established the House of Windsor in name, but in the hearts of his people; establishing a blueprint for the modern monarchy that is still followed today. Published to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, the King’s war legacy is examined in full. He played a key role in the introduction of the two-minute silence and the unveiling of the cenotaph and was the chief mourner at the burial of the unknown soldier. He also became the first battlefield tourist when he toured the Western Front in the company of those that won the war. This is a flawless account on the life of a man who has been highly misunderstood and wrongly vilified.

Lola Ridge's Manhattan is the Poem of the Week in The Guardian this week. I encourage you to have a read – there is also wonderful analysis of it by Carol Rumens. An intensely dynamic vision of New York in the early 20th century, Manhattan captures the excitement of a dynamic modern city as well as raising questions about its gilded allure. The poem is taken from her 1918 first collection, The Ghetto and Other Poems, which you can read online. To the Many: Collected Early Works by Lola Ridge has just been published by Little Island Press (pb, £14, 978 0993505645) and there’s a great review of it here saying “It is to be hoped that this publication will hasten the process of recovery and re-evaluation of her work and her place in the interweaving stories of modernism, leftist political poetry and poetry by women.”

Some terrific reviews for Kathy Page's Dear Evelyn (£10, pb, 978 1911508281), as well as successful appearances by Kathy on her recent UK tour (Battersea Library, Birmingham Literature Festival and Nottingham's Five Leaves Bookshop.) Kathy has also just been shortlisted for the prestigious Writers Trust Awards in Canada and the winner of this $50,000 prize will be announced 7 November. The Guardian Review last weekend described Dear Evelyn as “a love story, a coming-of-age story, and a brilliantly evocative sketch of Britain in the 20th century”; the Times Literary Supplement called it “disconcerting, profoundly convincing” with “the tautness of a thriller” and the Daily Mail praised it as “quietly devastating.”

A super launch event and display from Waterstones Deansgate (thanks guys!) for Manchester: Mapping the City (£30, hb, 978 1780275307) by Terry Wyke, Brian Robson and Martin Dodge which has just been published by Birlinn. Manchester is one the world's most iconic cities and this this sumptuously illustrated cartographic history uses historic maps and unpublished and original plans to chart its dramatic growth and transformation  from the late 18th century, through periods of boom and bust in the Victorian period, and its post-industrial transformation in the 20th century. As Waterstones said; this is “an endlessly fascinating and truly beautiful book”.

Well – like it or not, the dreaded C word is on its way – and the festive suggestion here from Microwave Mug Cakes (978 0754831365, £9.99, hb) was included in Homestyle Magazine this month. This irresistible book will transform the way you bake, showing you that all you need is a microwave and a mug! The results are remarkably moist and delicious and you can have a lemon drizzle, a carrot, salted caramel, chocolate or the Christmas Pudding cake featured here, all in a matter of moments! It’s published by Lorenz.

Revolutionary feminism is resurging across the world. But what were its origins? In the early 1970s, the International Feminist Collective began to organise around the call for recognition of the different forms of labour performed by women which paved the way for an influential and controversial feminist campaign. A new Pluto title, Wages for Housework: A History of an International Feminist Movement 1972-77 (£19.99, pb, 978 0745338675) by Louise Toupin looks at the history of this movement, drawing on extensive archival research and highlighting the power and originality of the campaign which encompassed rich theoretical traditions, including autonomism, anti-colonialism and feminism, whilst also challenging the mainstream women's movement.

We started with Queen, we’ll finish with Queen. We in the book trade all know and love Michael Rosen. But until recently I had no idea that he had an entire fan-base among today’s teenagers for his hilarious rap memes – of which this (rather rude) version of Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the finest!

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 12 October 2018

Compass Points 278

Here comes Halloween – so if you haven’t already sorted out your display, then don’t forget about these three from Lorenz. Halloween (hb, £4,99, 978 0754828396) The Pumpkin Carving Book (£6.99, hb, 978 0754825296) and Wizards and Witches (£7.99, hb, 978 1861477316) Have a look at the fantastic spreads from The Pumpkin Carving Book here – there are some brilliant ideas! And wow, look at these prices!

BBC Woman’s Hour provided a fascinating insight this week into The Honourable Ladies (£30, hb, 978 1785902444) which is just out from Biteback; the lives and achievements of the women who served as Members of Parliament You can listen to that interview here. . Containing profiles of every woman MP from 1918 to 1996, and with female contributors from Mary Beard to Caroline Lucas, Ruth Davidson to Yvette Cooper and Margaret Beckett to Ann Widdecombe, The Honourable Ladies is an indispensable and illuminating testament to the stories and achievements of some remarkable women.

From those women who’ve earned their place in history to those who’ve just been born into it; it was Princess Eugenie’s wedding today – what do you mean you weren’t invited? You clearly don’t have the right friends – have a look here at this quiz to tell you which famous friends you should have – and who you’ll get to marry as a result. And if you just want to look at pictures of famous people looking gorgeous – then this is one for you! I also very much like this list from book blogger Girl with her Head in a Book of the Top Ten Fictional Princesses.

The Leadership Lab (£14.99, pb, 978 0749483432) was included in the Financial Times Business Books of the Month for October saying, “Drawing on interviews with top executives, it makes a case for thoughtful, inclusive leadership, steering clear of short-termism and distraction.” Bestselling author Chris Lewis and superstar megatrends analyst Dr Pippa Malmgren cover everything from how to build a new type of leadership trust when other spheres of public power have been overturned, to robots overtaking companies and worldwide indebtedness affecting business. This book explains not only why the old rules no longer apply, but also how to blaze a trail in this new world order and be the best leader you can be. It is a must-read for those seeking to develop a real intuition and explains how to build an empathetic, credible, stable and strong leadership path. It’s just been published by Kogan Page.

The finalists have now been announced in the Manchester Culture Awards – and hurrah, both Carcanet and Comma are there! The awards recognise the best of culture in the city over the last year and have been established by the council to recognise the massive contribution culture makes to the city's economy, and in helping make Manchester a vibrant place where people want to live, work, and play. Nearly three hundred nominations were made across twelve different award categories. Comma are shortlisted in the Inspiring Innovation and Carcanet in the Outstanding Contribution category – and the winners in all categories will be announced at a special awards ceremony being held at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday 14 November. The full shortlist is here.  

There is no longer any doubt that the way we think affects our bodies: countless scientific studies have shown this to be true. How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body (978 1788171496, pb, £12.99) is a highly acclaimed bestseller, first published ten years ago which is just out in a new edition from Hay House. In it, Dr David Hamilton explores the effect of visualization, belief and positive thinking on the body, and shows how using our imagination and mental processes can stimulate our own defences and healing systems to combat disease, pain and illness. Dr Hamilton has added four new chapters to discuss the latest cutting-edge information and techniques which include using imagery to stimulate the immune system, using the mind to speed up rehabilitation from strokes and powerful visualization strategies to help facilitate recovery from injury and illness. David will be writing an article on his book for Top Santé (circ. 36,000) and Happiful Magazine. The title will also be featured in November’s What Doctors Don’t Tell You (circ. 30,000). David will also be the expert in Spirit and Destiny’s masterclass feature on being grateful in their January 2019 issue (circ. 30,000) and the book will also be featured in Yoga Magazine (circ. 35,000) and Psychologies (circ. 60,000).

Carcanet have just announced an exciting new imprint, Carcanet Classics, which launches officially on November 26th at the British Library. Through this series they aim to restore game-changing work for contemporary readers, by pairing classic texts and authors with exciting, contemporary scholars and poets. Carcanet Classics aim to give the book back its dynamic power and include new takes on ancient texts, new readings of the Latin classics and young poets advocating the work of their mentors. Some of the books, like the new Beowulf, are vividly annotated. Others are bare and direct, pointed in our direction with a living introduction. One generation’s classics look quite different from another’s, and this new series, which will grow by eight to ten titles a year, is an incomparable resource for literature lovers excited by experiment and keen on our living heritage. Important titles include Gilgamesh Retold by Jenny Lewis (pb, £12.99, 9781784106140) which is the myth retold from a feminist perspective and is out on 26 October. Another key title is a new translation by Jane Draycott of the medieval poem Pearl. You can read a fascinating blog post by Jane on the challenges and joys that “a chance to climb inside another poet’s imagination, their ear, their poetics, and become an apprentice to their art” gave her here. The Carcanet Classics series was featured in Book Brunch today and you can find out more on the Carcanet website here.  

Compelling, twisty, page-turner She Chose Me (£8.99, pb, 978 1787198739) by Tracey Emerson is published by Legend next week, and there’s a major amount of promotion! The book is launched at the fabulous Lighthouse Bookshop in Edinburgh on Wednesday, and there will be a feature on Tracey in the Guardian. You can see the blog tour schedule here, it includes: Crime Reads and Coffee, Literary Elf, Dorset Book Detective, Nicki’s Life of Crime, Anne Bonny Book Reviews, Random Things Through My Letterbox, Varietats, Between the Pages Book Club, Cheeky Pees Reads and Reviews, Chocolate’n’waffles, Novel Delights, Lori’s Reading Corner, Short Book and Scribes, Over the Rainbow and Mad House Family Reviews. She Chose Me is, as Lesley Glaister wrote; “dignified by deft and ingenious plotting, forensically insightful characterisation and impeccable prose, this psychological thriller delivers on all levels”.

It’s Frankfurt Book Fair this week of course – and here are Comma’s Becca Parkinson and co-editor Gvantsa Jobava talking on a Frankfurt panel about The Book of Tbilsi (£9.99, pb, 978 1910974315). The newest title in this brilliant series is The Book of Birmingham (£9.99, pb, 978 1910974377), which launched at Birmingham Lit Fest last week. There was a funny and positive review for it in Outside Left which you can read here. Few cities have undergone such a radical transformation over the last few decades as this one. Culturally and architecturally, Birminghamhas been in a state of perpetual flux and regeneration, with new communities moving in, then out, and iconic post-war landmarks making way for brighter-coloured, 21st century flourishes. Much like the city itself, the characters in the stories gathered here are often living through moments of profound change. Set against key moments of history – from Malcolm X’s visit to Smethwick in 1965, to the Handsworth riots two decades later, from the demise of the city’s manufacturing in the 70s and 80s, to the on-going tensions between communities in recent years – these stories celebrate the cultural dynamism that makes this complex, ‘second city’ far more than just the sum of its parts.

In 2015, students at the University of Cape Town demanded the removal of a statue of Cecil Rhodes, from their campus. The battle cry #RhodesMustFall sparked an international movement calling for the decolonisation of the world's universities. Today, as this movement grows, how will it radically transform the terms upon which universities exist? In Decolonizing the University (£16.99, hb, 978 0745338200), students, activists and scholars discuss the possibilities and the pitfalls of this, and provide the tools for radical pedagogical, disciplinary and institutional change. Subverting curricula, enforcing diversity, and destroying old boundaries, this is a radical call for a new era of education. The title is currently Number 2 in one of London's longest running and best radical bookshop Housman’s and really is a crucial read. It’s just been published by Pluto Press.

A great article here in the Guardian about the grim reality of being a bookseller – which argues that it may well be the most over-romanticised job in the world, and that booksellers are in fact dealing with bodily fluids, insufferable know-it-alls and shoplifters on a daily basis. It’s certainly true that whenever you see a bookshop in a film it does look pretty peachy, as in this scene with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant from Notting Hill or this with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire in Funny Face – I think the Guardian may be onto something!

There’s a continuing buzz on social media for the heart-wrenching and heart-warming Pieces of Me (£8.99, pb, 978 1787198036) by Natalie Hart including enthusiasm from notable authors such as Ali Land (Richard and Judy Sunday Times bestselling author) and Sarah Perry (author of The Essex Serpent). The novel was a Trending Book of the Week on the Kobo homepage and Nina Pottell (Prima Magazine Books editor and Costa Book Prize judge) has been tweeting about the book all month and is currently running a giveaway for the book on her account.

And finally, sometimes we all need a bit of help in life. A new title just published by Hay House from world-renowned ascension expert Diana Cooper, suggests that possibly the assistants we need most are dragons. Diana believes that dragons have been serving our planet since its inception and work with the angels in service for the highest good and her new titles Dragons: Your Celestial Guardians (978 1788171618, £12.99, pb) she shares incredibly detailed and practical knowledge about the dragons and how they can support us. You'll discover the history of dragons on earth, how they came to be here and their mission for humanity as well as how to meet your own personal dragon guide. This book will feature in December’s Spirit and Destiny (circ. 30,000) and there will also be an extract of this book in February’s Kindred Spirit (circ. 150,000).

Top Ten fictional and film dragons anyone?

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 5 October 2018

Compass Points 277

If there’s one thing we love to champion at Compass, it’s a really good novel from a small independent publisher. These are the ones that can massively struggle to find a space up against the might of the industry “big boys” but given the right enthusiasm from the book trade, can really soar. So, we’re very pleased to promote That Summer Feeling by Mark Hodkinson author and founder of small publisher Pomona, who has written an excellent piece in BookBrunch this week entitled “The book industry needs a shake-up and a wake-up” which you can read here.  That Summer Feeling (£9.99, pb, 978 1904590323) is published on 15 October – and there was a superb review of it in the Spalding Gazette this week calling it “beautifully written … a gorgeous read … funny at times and oh-so-true … truly stunning. 202 pages and not a word wasted”. You can read the whole piece here. The book has also been featured in the Keighley News  and the Bradford Telegraph and Argus. I really urge you to give this one a try – it has a beautiful evocative cover, and all who have read it here at Compass have loved it.

Lots and lots of great PR coming up for Mission Moon 3-D: Reliving the Great Space Race by David J. Eicher and Brian May (£30, hb, 978 1999667405). There’s a press launch at the Science Museum on 22 October where key UK national media will be present. Then Sky News will interview Brian and BBC Future are also running two online video interviews with him about the book and his passion for stereo photography. The UK's leading tech magazine Wired will feature it as will BBC Sky at Night magazine, Astronomy Now, Nature and New Scientist. There will be reviews and features in the nationals, including the Guardian and Mail Online and the photography magazines Amateur Photographer, Black, WhitePhotography Magazine and Lomography will also feature the book. And Brian will be doing a day of radio interviews including Radio 2, Radio 4 Front Row, Absolute, Magic, LBC and Heart. It's published by London Stereoscopic.

October is Black History Month, and Oberon have just published a new compilation; Hear Me Now: Audition Monologues for Actors of Colour (pb, £14.99, 978 1786824615). This is a unique collection of over eighty original audition pieces, which are ideal for actors of colour searching for speeches for auditions or training, writers, teachers, and theatre-makers who are passionate about improving diversity. From a cross-dressing Imam, to the first black Prime Minister, the British Indian girl with dreams of becoming a country music star, or the young black boy who loves baking as much as football – Hear Me Now provides varied, nuanced stories that expand beyond the range of existing material available; and is an essential tool for actors of colour to showcase their range. It seeks to inspire, empower, and create a legacy for generations to come.

Green issues are never far from the news, and a new Pluto title has been getting some great publicity. Simon Pirani, author of Burning Up: A Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption (978 0745335612, £18.99, pb) currently has articles in History Today and The Ecologist both of which refer to his book, which is a major contribution to understanding the greatest crisis of our time. Pirani shows how fossil fuels are consumed through technological, social and economic systems, and argues that these systems must change.

Author and leading defence barrister William Clegg is in the Times again this week, the paper has already given Under the Wig (£16.99, hb, 978 1912454082) a fab review saying “Countless veteran lawyers have produced page-tuners based in the fictional world of law, but in Under the Wig William Clegg, QC, has distilled his extraordinary life in the criminal courtroom into a yarn equally as gripping” and there’s a piece coming up in the Sunday Express this weekend. William was on Steve Wright’s afternoon show on Radio 2 which you can listen to here and there’s an event at Waterstones’s Piccadilly on 17th October. It is currently A Foyles Recommends title – and there will be more publicity to come! It’s just been published by Canbury Press.

This eye-catching feature in the Guardian entitled: Bruce Grobbelaar: How Many People Did I Kill? I Couldn’t Tell You is bound to increase interest in his autobiography Life in a Jungle (hb, £20, 978 1909245570). Have a read, it is strong stuff; on the former Liverpool goalkeeper’s traumatic experiences in Zimbabwe’s war of independence, Heysel and Hillsborough, and the match-fixing trials which tainted his reputation. Bruce has also been on ITV Granada, Radio City Talk, in the Evening Standard  and the Liverpool Echo talking about the book which is published by de Coubertin.

Our lives today are oppressed by the demand that we live, feel and experience with ever greater intensity. We are enticed to try exotic flavours and smells; urged to enjoy a wide range of sexual experiences; pushed to engage in extreme sports and recreational drugs; all in the pursuit of some new, unheard-of intensity. Tristan Garcia argues that such intensity rarely lives up to its promise and always comes at a price. The Life Intense: A Modern Obsession by Tristan Garcia (£14.99, pb, 978 1474437127) was reviewed here in The Observer last week and has just been published by Edinburgh University Press.

Hurrah for Carcanet and And Other Stories, who have both been shortlisted as Northern Publisher of the Year in this year's Northern Soul Awards! The awards, now in their second year, celebrate outstanding contributions to culture, arts and enterprise in the North and will take place at Manchester Cathedral on 15th November. Northern Soul, champions the work of organisations big and small, that excite and influence Northern audiences, capture and promote Northern identity, and place the region in the national and international spotlight. You can find out more about the awards and see the full shortlist here.

The BBC have just announced that they are repeating their landmark series Scotland from the Sky on three consecutive Saturdays; October 13th, 20th and 27th, on BBC2 Scotland at 7pm. Each programme will also be on the iPlayer UK-wide for 30 days (so taking the last programme almost into December). There will be quite a bit of promotion for this, which of course is terrific publicity for the tie-in hardback, Scotland from the Sky (978 1849172523, £25, hb) which was published this year by Historic Environment Scotland.  This lavishly illustrated book draws on a vast collection of aerial photography, starting in the years around the First World War and moving all the way up to the present day. Historian and series presenter James Crawford opens an extraordinary window into our past to tell the remarkable story of a nation from above, showing how our great cities have dramatically altered with the ebb and flow of history. The book shows how aerial imagery can reveal treasures from the ancient past, uncovering secrets buried right beneath our feet. This is a fascinating (and little known) story of war, innovation, adventure, cities, landscapes and people.

Here’s some of the stunning footage from the series to whet your appetite for the book; Glen Coe,  Mallaig and Iona.  

Masters of Mayhem: Lawrence of Arabia and the British Military Mission to the Hejaz (£19.99, hb, 978 1612005744) by James Stejskal has recently been featured in the Express. This book has a large potential audience, as interest in Lawrence of Arabia remains high, and this interest should continue with the WWI and Arab Revolt centenaries. T. E. Lawrence was one of the earliest practitioners of modern unconventional warfare. These tactics and strategies include striking where the enemy is weakest and melting away into the darkness before he can react and never confronting a stronger force directly, but using audacity and surprise to confound and demoralize an opponent. They have since been were used by men like Mao and Giap in their wars of liberation. The book looks at the creation of the HEDGEHOG force, the formation of armoured car sections and other units, and focuses on the men who took Lawrence's idea and used it against the Ottoman Turkish army to achieve victory in 1918. It includes never before published images from the operations, particularly of the armoured cars and has just been published by Casemate.

Quit Smoking Boot Camp (£8.99, pb, 978 1784288815) has featured heavily in this week’s Woman’s Own, both on the cover with a picture and in a feature. This title is a revolutionary version of the world-famous Easyway method, delivered in short, punchy segments to help you quit with the minimum of fuss, with minimal effort, in a super- speedy way! Choose your start date and four days later it promises that you can be free from smoking, vaping, or using nicotine in any form. The Allen Carr Easyway method is world famous, with Anjelica Huston calling it “nothing short of a miracle" and Sir Anthony Hopkins saying “It was such a revelation that instantly I was freed from my addiction." This title was published this summer by Arcturus and is already selling very well – which can only get better during Stop-tober and as we head towards the traditional New Year New You promotions!

A super review for Birdwatching London: All the Best Places to See Birds in the Capital (£12.99, pb, 978 0993291159) by David Darrell-Lambert on one of the biggest birders' websites, Surfbirds which you can see here.  Published in association with the London Wildlife Trust, Birdwatching London reveals the amazing variety of birdlife in the capital, and offers wonderful ideas for a day out among nature. Illustrated throughout with stunning colour photographs, it was published this summer by Safe Haven. 

John Arner Riise used social media to great effect this week as his autobiography Running Man (£20, hb, 978 1909245693) which has just been published by de Coubertin was delivered to him. He Instagrammed the pic you see here and tweeted “Got the first copy of my book today I’m excited and nervous about opening up and telling my story. Hopefully it will relate to others and that it can help others in similar situations” which in total got over 15,000 likes – let’s hope they all buy a copy! Riise was regarded as one of the most buccaneering left-sided players in European football but beneath the veneer of the famous and successful footballer, his ascent masked the huge challenges he had had to overcome on the way to the top: bullying, a broken home, uncertainty, loneliness. Running Man is a perceptive and opinionated autobiography which provides a candid insight into the life of a modern footballer.

A good plug for Loose Canon: The Extraordinary Songs of Clive James and Pete Atkin (pb, £9.99, 978 1910453650 ) by Ian Shircore in the Oldie this week, which you can see here. This Red Door title explores the sparkling lyrics and brilliantly memorable tunes that have won Clive and Pete a fanatical cult following but still managed to remain the British music industry’s best-kept secret. For fifty years, Clive James has been writing witty, moving, sometimes satirical, often thrillingly poetic songs with his musical partner, Pete Atkin. They've written more than two hundred together, releasing the first album of their work in 1970 and the last in 2015. John Peel loved them. So did Kenny Everett. Stephen Fry is a huge fan. And Clive himself believes these songs are the best things he's ever done.

You can hear some of the songs here.  

Ingrid Persaud was announced as the 2018 winner of the BBC National Short Story Award, for her story The Sweet Sop all about a father and son reconnecting over their love of chocolate. The story and an interview with Ingrid are available on the Radio 4 Front Row podcast, as are all of the other shortlisted stories. The BBC National Short Story Award Anthology (978 1910974414, £7.99, pb) is published by Comma

We’re very pleased to tell you that The Cemetery in Barnes (£9.99, pb, 978-1784105464) by Gabriel Josipovici is on the shortlist of six for the 2018 Goldsmiths Prize! The prize was established in 2013 to celebrate the qualities of creative daring associated with the College and to reward fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form. The annual award of £10,000 is given to a book which embodies the spirit of invention that characterizes the genre at its best. The Cemetery in Barnes is a short, intense novel that opens in elegiac mode, advances quietly towards something dark and disturbing, before ending with an eerie calm. Its three plots, relationships and time-scales are tightly woven into a single story; three voices provide the soundtrack, enhanced by a chorus of friends and acquaintances. The ending at once confirms and suspends the reader’s darkest intuitions. It is published by Carcanet. You can see the full shortlist and find out more here.

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