Friday 30 November 2018

Compass Points 285

As predicted in last week’s Compass Points, the appearance of 96-year-old war veteran John Martin talking about A Raid Over Berlin (pb, £7.99, 978 1912681198) on the One Show last week had an absolutely electrifying effect on sales, shooting this title straight into the Amazon bestseller lists. This miraculous true-life Second World War survival story of the brave airman who cheated death in the sky, only to face interrogation by the Gestapo, and months of hardship as a prisoner of war; is poignant and thrilling and you can watch the emotional moment when John is given a copy of the book on The One Show here  – it’s at 29 minutes in, just after an interview with Mick Hucknall! It’s published by Parthian – put it on display with a Pick of the Week card referencing The One Show and it will sell – let’s not let Amazon get all those sales in the run up to Christmas!

I’m so looking forward to hearing Brian May on Johnnie Walker’s Sounds of the 70s this Sunday at 3pm on Radio 2 discussing his two latest London Stereoscopic ventures Mission Moon 3D (£30, hb, 978 1999667405) and Queen in 3D (£30, hb, 978 1999667429). You’ll be able to listen again here if you miss Sunday’s show. All the promotion Brian has done so far has given the sale of these books a HUGE boost – so please do make sure they’re on display ready for Sunday!

And talking of radio shows giving a boost to sales; listen out for Nige Tassel author of Butch Wilkins and the Sundance Kid (pb, £9.99, 978 1909715615) on BBC Radio 5 Adrian Chiles show next Friday, 7th December. Nige is terrific on the radio and last time he was on Talk Radio and TalkSport we got a big spike in sales. Charting similar waters to Nick Hornby's classic Fever Pitch, Butch Wilkins and the Sundance Kid chronicles the author's decade-long obsession with televised sport during his teenage years in the 1980s. It is memoir intertwined with nostalgia, combining humour, insight and poignancy to vividly depict the way sport can transcend the television screen to impact on wider life, hopes and ambitions. It’s published by Arena Sport.

Many of you are already doing extremely well with Canbury’s Under the Wig by William Clegg. There is a new review of it in the December edition of Counsel magazine, the house magazine for barristers which goes to 23,000 legal professionals in England and Wales.  It describes the book as "utterly compelling", "direct", "clear", and with chapters that should be absorbed "with joy" and "cherished" — and concludes: "My independent verdict is that I have never read a more accurate portrayal of our profession. Buy it."

It's Friday – who fancies a curry? Definitely me – and what I also fancy is watching this  classic clip from Gavin and Stacey. While we’re on the subject, this is a good time to tell you that South East Asian Curries (hb, £8.00, 978 0754834298) by Mridula Baljekar has just won a prestigious Gourmand World Cookbooks Award for best single subject cookbook in the UK and so is going forward to represent the UK in the best of the world in this category in Macau in July 2019. Some of the world's most exciting cuisines are found in the south-eastern corner of Asia. Each country has its own traditional cooking style, but all share a passion for fragrant dishes made with exotic spices and the very freshest of ingredients. This great little book published by Lorenz offers signature curries from Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

In the winter of 2009 Mac Macartney walked from his birthplace in England across Wales to the island of Anglesey, once the spiritual epicentre of Iron Age Britain, navigating by the sun and the stars, with no map, compass, stove or tent, and in the coldest winter for many years. The Children’s Fire records that journey, and seeks to understand sacredness as it applies to everything ordinary that brings joy to the human heart. There’s a thought-provoking interview with Mac in the latest issue of JUNO magazine talking about climate change and saying “We’re all keen to talk about plastic pollution, which is certainly a serious issue, but we don’t want to admit that it pales in comparison to the reality of climate change. We need a habitable planet to live on, yet we are destroying it. We describe ourselves as rational beings, but evidence suggests we are entirely the opposite. For all our cleverness, wisdom seems beyond our reach.” The Children’s Fire (£12.99, pb 978 1788600453) is published by Practical Inspiration and forges a trail into Britain’s wild and ancient Celtic past, locating the fragments of a story that still has resonance today; the pulse and surge of an older wisdom that is surfacing all around the world.

Congratulations to author Guy Ware who won the London Short Story Prize 2018 this week. Comma know how to spot a winner and they published Guy's debut short story collection You Have 24 Hours to Love Us (£7.99, pb, 978 1905583263) back in in 2013. The Guardian described it as an "intellectual romp … the best debut I have read in years" while Time Out praised Guy Ware as a “remarkably successful short story writer, the best I've read for a long, long time.”

The Flag (£20, hb, 978 1612004471) is Book of the Month in Britain at War magazine and it has also posted a large and passionate review calling it “poigant, honest, humane and deeply respectful, The Flag is a tribute to the memory of David Railton MC MA who served valiantly as a chaplain during the First World War. Written beautifully be former Household Cavalry officer Andrew Richards, if there’s one book that should be read about the 1914-1918 conflict then this is it. The Flag is a memoir full of hope and inspiration. It offers up a lesson to us all. It’s a must-read and, once and for all, ensures the life and times of Padré Railton will never be forgotten”. It’s published by Casemate.

Yes, yes we know that you may well be up to your ears in Brexit books, but a new title from Emerald provides a compelling insight in a uniquely historical context. Looking at previous 'Brexits' the book tackles five specific themes relating to the Brexit result - competition in the global innovation economy, the generational split, the 'left behind' aspirational working and middle classes, the impact on international relations, and popularism in the internet age. Tales of Brexits Past and Present: Understanding the Choices, Threats and Opportunities In Our Separation from the EU (pb, 978 1787694385, £12.99) by Nigel Culkin and Richard Simmons is published next week, and Richard will be appearing on the All Out Politics show on Sky, hosted by Adam Boulton, to talk about it on the 6th, 10th or 11th December. The book explains that far from entirely unprecedented, that there have been similarly disruptive experiences in Britain, and in England in particular. The book is part history lesson, part stakeholder manual and in part a stepping stone to help wider public debate.

I’m pleased to say that Oxbow have not just one, but two title in the 2019 Archaeology Book of the Year Award which is announced in March. Winchester: Swithun's City of Happiness and Good Fortune: An Archaeological Assessment (hb, £40, 978 1785704499) by Patrick Ottaway which is the first published comprehensive review and critical assessment of the archaeology of the historic city of Winchester and its immediate environs from earliest times to the present day. Britannia Romana: Roman Inscriptions and Roman Britain by RSO Tomlin (hb, £48.00, 978 1785707001) is based on the author’s forty years’ experience of the epigraphy of Roman Britain and collects 487 inscriptions (mostly on stone, but also on metal, wood, tile and ceramic), to illustrate the history and character of Roman Britain.

Some lovely pieces about Gaia Holmes' Comma poetry collection Where the Road Runs Out (978 1910974452, pb, £9.99) this week. Michael Stewart joined Gaia for a walk through the Dean of Luddenden (where Gaia was born) to discover the hidden depths behind her third collection, he wrote about the experience here. Also John Foggin gave the collection a stellar review on his blog, saying "What I want now is for this collection to be given the recognition it deserves, I want it to win prizes, and I finally want to be able to tell poets about Gaia Holmes and not need to explain who she is." You can see that one, together with some excerpts here.

Good to see How to Propagate 375 Plants: A Practical Guide to Propagating Your Own Flowers, Foliage Plants, Trees, Shrubs, Climbers, Wet-loving Plants, Bog and Water Plants, Vegetables and Herbs (978 0754834410, hb, £15) by Richard Rosenfeld make the shortlist of five for the prestigious Garden Media Guild Practical Book of the Year 2018 Award. This new 2018 edition is beautifully illustrated with over 1,100 clear and informative photographs and illustrations and as with all Lorenz titles, it’s well -priced, authoritative, comprehensive and practical.

Who said “Once we have understood housework, we will understand the economy”? You can find out by reading Wages for Housework: A History of an International Feminist Movement, 1972-77 by Louise Toupin (£19.99, 978-0745338675, pb) published by Pluto which has just had a great review in the Morning Star  which you can read here. Wages for Housework was a key movement in “second-wave” feminism. Totally original in its philosophy, it threw light on the unrecognised and invisible forms of labour performed mainly by women. The Morning Star calls this book “essential”.

Balfour in the Dock (£16.99, hb, 978 1911072225) by Colin Andersen, has won joint first prize in the academic section of the MEMO Palestine Book Awards. Balfour in the Dock outlines the origins of the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and the betrayal of British promises to Palestine, through a biography of the Daily Mail journalist J.M.N Jeffries and the researches he did which uncovered the truth.  It’s published by Skyscraper.

Ticket to the Moon: Aston Villa: The Rise and Fall of a European Champion (£18.99, pb, 978-1909245761) by Richard Sydenham was extracted recently in the Birmingham Mail  - you can read that here, here and here. Richard also was on Talk Sport 2 talking about it and live on Facebook with BBC Radio Wm here .Aston Villa’s1982 European Cup win in many ways was the most romantic in football history. And yet, set against the backdrop of English dominance in the competition it is widely a forgotten achievement.  By taking readers inside the boardroom, revealing through minutes who said what to whom at key meetings, Richard Sydenham paints a vivid portrayal that covers more than 20-years of turbulent Midland football history. It’s published by De Coubertin

Some strong reviews coming in for Amy Arnold's debut novel Slip of a Fish (978 1911508526, pb, £10), winner of the Northern Book Prize 2018, which has just been published by And Other Stories. The Guardian Review , compared elements of the book to Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse, praising it as “original, ambitious and challenging.”  The White Review called it “strange and dextrous” and The Irish Times “an impressive portrait of motherhood, loss and fragility.” The Sheffield Telegraph said “Arnold’s language is mesmerising; like a literary fugue, phrases are repeated, looped and returned to as we follow Ash’s stream of consciousness” and The Skinny wrote:“Few novels achieve the delicate shimmer Arnold's poetic prose evokes in the mind – a cool-warm, unsettling and very beautiful new voice.”

Congratulations to Thomas Kinsella, one of Ireland’s greatest poets, who will be honoured with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award at the An Post Irish Book Awards 2018, in his 90th year. You can find out more on the Carcanet website here.

Michael Crick’s Biteback biography of the legendary psephologist David Butler, Sultan of Swing (hb, £25, 978 1785904387) has featured recently on Radio 4’s Westminster Hour, BBC Radio London’s Robert Elms Show, the Polling Politics Podcast and BBC Parliament. Following an effusive write-up by Sky News’ Adam Boulton, Sue Cameron gave the book a very favourable review in TotalPolitics, with further coverage expected in The Political Quarterly and FT.

There has been some exceptional coverage of Speaking the Piano: Reflections on Learning and Teaching (978 1783273256, hb, £19.99) by Susan Tomes over the weekend. It made the Financial Times Best Books List 2018, where they said “learning to play the piano well is about more than getting the notes right. Drawing on a career in chamber music and teaching, Susan Tomes casts her eye over everything from classic TV comedy to Japanese cherry blossom in an all-embracing exploration of how to make music come alive.” The Sunday Times have also featured it in their round up of best music books of 2018 writing “Drawing on her long experience, pianist Susan Tomes investigates, with crystalline clarity, some of the interferences that disrupt the flow between players and their music. The text is studded with gems of insight, encapsulating elusive matters that often defy articulation, including difficult topics such as unconscious biases against female teachers, or why some performers ham up their playing for the YouTube generation. A must-read for anyone who plays or loves the piano.” It’s published by Boydell Press.

So, let’s finish with some piano music – here are the “world’s most breathtaking piano pieces ever” courtesy of YouTube – surely 4.5 million listeners can’t be wrong!

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 23 November 2018

Compass Points 284

Let me start by announcing the arrival of our shiny new Compass website! You can find it at Ta-dah! Many of the kind words that all of you lovely booksellers and publishers have said about us are featured on there – as well as lots of information about our history (we’re 20 this year!) a small selection of our bestselling and award-winning titles, our team – and of course the many services we offer. Have a browse; we do hope you like it!

Wowee – fabulous news that Pieces of Me by Natalie Hart published by Legend is shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award with the judges calling it “a beautiful and heartfelt debut about identity and belonging.” The shortlist was announced on BBC Radio 4 Front Row yesterday evening and you can see the full shortlist on the Costa website here. Loads of media coverage for this popular prize of course – you can see pieces here in the Guardian, Independent, Evening Standard, The Bookseller – the winner of the prize will be announced on 7th January. Pieces of Me (£8.99, pb, 978 1787198036) is, as Tor Udall said “An important and timely story that explores the ongoing impact of war and how it’s often left to the women to pick up the pieces. The way Hart has made a mosaic of different women’s experiences, be they British, American or Iraqi, is profoundly moving. Pieces of Me 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.”

Trapped inside a burning Lancaster bomber, 20,000 feet above Berlin, rookie airman John Martin consigned himself to his fate and turned his thoughts to his fiancée back home receiving news of his death. In a miraculous turn of events, however, the 21-year-old was thrown clear of his disintegrating aeroplane but, as he found himself parachuting into the heart of Nazi Germany, he knew that his problems were only just beginning. His awe-inspiring story, A Raid Over Berlin (pb, £7.99, 978 1912681198) is out this autumn and John (who is 96 and still happily married to wife Adelaide (95) and living in Wales) will be taking about it on The One Show on BBC1 next Wednesday (28 November). This miraculous true-life Second World War survival story of the brave airman who cheated death in the sky, only to face interrogation, the prospect of being shot by the Gestapo, and months of hardship as a prisoner of war; is a poignant reminder of what our veterans endured to secure the freedom we enjoy today. A Raid Over Berlin has been secretly published by Parthian and will be handed to John live on The One Show – this is sure to be a moving and thrilling interview – and of course is absolutely superb publicity for this terrific book!

A fab review for What A Hazard a Letter Is (hb, £14.99, 978 0993291173) in last weekend’s Sunday Times Books section. It called it “A curious, astute and entertaining collection of famous unsent, unreceived (and a few unwritten) letters in history and literature. Some of the most heartbreaking are imaginary... But others still, wild and dashed-off as they might seem, are literature of the highest order … This utterly original compilation takes in Saul Bellow's manic letter-writer Moses Herzog, television's The Young Ones and the wily response of John F Kennedy to a letter from Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis... It's a charming book, witty, original and wise.”. It’s published by Safe Haven.

Anyone thinking of getting themselves a literary tattoo for Christmas? A bit of Shakespeare is always a good place to start – here are forty of the best!

Well, we all know what a successful bit of publishing the Michelle Obama book has been this year, but listed right alongside it on the Washington Post's Top 50 Non-fiction Books of the Year is Because We Are Bad by Lily Bailey which it describes as “A powerful memoir depicts obsessive-compulsive disorder not as the almost-charming hang-up seen in popular culture but as a hellscape of tortured routines, phobias and guilt.” You can see the full list here. Because we Are Bad (£7.99, pb, 978 0993040740) is published by Canbury Press.

Some very interesting news regarding the Allen Carr Easyway method – a fully independent Randomised Control Trial (RCT) conducted on behalf of the Irish Government has just found that it is TWICE as effective as the smoking cessation techniques currently offered by the Irish Health Service (which include nicotine patches and gum)! The trial results were reported in the British Medical Journal here. This is a real result for the Easyway method – and the books which are all available from Arcturus. With another RCT currently underway in London, it is genuinely feasible that Easyway may be made available via the Irish Health Service and the NHS. You can read more on Easyway’s own website here and all the titles are listed on the Arcturus website here.

Yasmin Alibhai Brown this week appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week discussing her latest Provocation title from Biteback, In Defence of Political Correctness (£10, hb, 978 1785904141). In this powerful new book, Yasmin puts forth a spirited defence of political correctness, forcefully arguing that, in spite of many failures, this movement has led to a more civilised, equal and tolerant world. By tracing the history and definition of the term, Alibhai-Brown looks to clarify the very nature of PC, which is ultimately grounded in human decency, understanding and compassion all of which are essential for a safer and kinder world.
Nice one Comma, who were included this week in a list of 10 Innovative Small Publishers to Watch in 2018 on OZY: A News Site You’ll Actually Love because they’re doing "exciting stuff" and publishing "highly relevant and engaging short story collections on war, protest, the refugee crisis and more" You can read the whole piece here.

Quite a bit of publicity coming up for Toshack's Way: My Journey Through Football (£20, hb, 978 1909245716) by John Toshack which has just been published by De Coubertin. The International Wales said: “Ultimately Toshack’s Way is much like the man himself; utterly fascinating, funny, flawed and often frustrating”! John will be interviewed shortly on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Merseyside, ITV Granada, BBC NW Tonight, the BBC World Service, the Liverpool Echo, the Western Mail, the Daily Mail and FourFourTwo so there should be plenty of buzz around for this entertaining read which tells the story in full for the first time of John’s decade at the top as a player in one of football’s most famous institutions; and his unprecedented success as a manager.

Three Carcanet titles are listed in the TLS’s Books for the Year – hurrah! Martina Evans, Now We Can Talk Openly About Men (£9.99, pb, 978 1784105785), Dick Davis, Love in Another Language (£20, pb, 978 1784105075) and Frederic Raphael, Against the Stream (£19.99, pb, 978 1784104368) are all selected. And Jenny Lewis’s Gilgamesh Retold (£12.99, pb, 978 1784106140) is also a Book of the Year in the New Statesman with Gavin Francis writing “This year the books that have made the deepest impression are new translations of two classics. Gilgamesh Retold by Jenny Lewis reworks the ancient epic – it’s innovative, graceful, erudite and utterly unputdownable.” You can see all of the New Statesmen Books of the Year choices here.

Biteback titles have also made a good showing in the Books of the Year round-ups. Caroline Slocock’s People Like Us (£20, hb, 978 1785902246) was deemed “a unique, unwarty political portrait” in The Spectator’s Books of the Year 2018, and The Telegraph Christmas Books 2018 round-up suggests you try Slocock’s book “for a fresh look at a much-mythologised woman”. People Like Us is especially relevant at the moment, with Caroline’s account of Thatcher’s final weeks in power drawing obvious parallels with the current precarious position of No. 10’s present occupant. Indeed, Caroline spent much of Friday talking about her own experiences in Downing Street and the book’s wider themes looking at women in power on BBC Radio 4’s, Today Programme, LBC’s Shelagh Fogarty Show and BBC News 24.

Ayesha Hazarika and Tom Hamilton’s illuminating Punch and Judy Politics (£20, hb, 978 1785901843) was also named as one of The Telegraph’s Best Books of 2018, where it was hailed as “a splendid insider account of the regular punch-up that is Prime Minister's Questions, packed with entertaining anecdotes”. Punch and Judy Politics will be included in the Guardian’s forthcoming yearly round-up, and has recently been reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement and Literary Review, after great reviews elsewhere: “Zippy and insightful”, Cap X; “Invaluable” The Guardian; “Unashamedly makes an argument that PMQs do indeed matter, with expertise, charm and humour”, Medium; and “One of the year's best books on politics” by Total Politics.

The Society of Authors and a number of writers have criticised YouTube for emailing its users saying Article 13 (part of the EU's proposed copyright directive) would prevent them from uploading videos. YouTube emailed a letter to all its users this week encouraging them to protest against saying: “Imagine an internet where your videos can no longer be seen. Imagine an internet without your favourite creators. Imagine an internet where new artists are never discovered. It could happen in Europe.” But Tim Gallagher, public affairs manager at the Society of Authors, said YouTube is being “disingenuous” to claim that Article 13 harms creators. “The fact is that YouTube and similar organisations don’t like Article 13 because it will finally force them to take action to protect creators and tackle copyright infringement on their sites. This is welcome progress for creators and users alike.”  You can read more on this story in today’s Bookseller here.

Kamila Shamsie, who wrote a story about the refugee experience based on her meeting with a former immigration detainee for the Comma anthology, Refugee Tales: Volume II (£9.99, pb, 978 1910974308) wrote a piece for the Guardian this week about Britain's “hostile environment” – you can read that here.

Great to see The Wisdom of Love in the Song of Songs (£25, hb, 978 0995647824) by Stefan Gillow Reynolds selected as one of the Tablet’s Books of the Year this week saying “The merging of the different forms of love yields new insight into the divine and human affair.” The Wisdom of Love in the Song of Songs brings cohesion and context to the many mystical, academic and secular interpretations of one of the greatest love poems of all time. It deserves to be read by all who are willing to have their hearts and minds stretched and enlarged. It’s published by Hikari.

Any northern booksellers out there with novels or story collections written and ready to publish? It’s time to get submitting them then to The Northern Book Prize as the closing date is 18th December! This is an annual prize awarded to an unpublished book-length work of ambitious literary fiction either written by a writer living in the North of England or by a writer who has a strong connection to the North. When And Other Stories relocated its main office to the city of Sheffield, they conceived this prize as part of their commitment to Northern writers. Each year, the winner of the Northern Book Prize receives an advance (currently worth £5,000), creative editorial support from And Other Stories and a contract for the book’s worldwide publication, distribution and representation .You can find out more and submit your work here.

And if your book isn’t quite ready yet, then maybe you should have a look at The Book You Were Born to Write: Everything You Need to (Finally) Get Your Wisdom onto the Page and into the World (hb, 978 1401955601, £19.99) which is out from Hay House this month. This book offers a simple, step-by-step path for turning your transformational idea or story into a finished book as quickly as possible. With humour, encouragement, and common sense, book industry veteran Kelly Notaras demystifies the publishing process so you can get started and keep writing, and successfully share your message with the world! An article written by Kelly will be featured in an early 2019 issue of the Writing Magazine and on their website.

Let’s finish with some music! Have you got the Xmas toons blasting out in your bookshops yet? If not, maybe these Top Ten British Christmas Songs will give you some inspiration! Alternatively, if you are mourning our imminent (allegedly) departure from our more cultured neighbours, then these Medieval Carols from Europe may be more to your taste,

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 16 November 2018

Compass Points 283

In amongst the Brexit bollocks there’s plenty of serious news – including a lot of talk of poverty. This piece in the Guardian and this on the BBC News make sobering reading. Invisible Britain: Portraits of Hope and Resilience by Paul Sng (£20, pb, 978-1447344117) reveals untold stories from people who have been left out of the media narrative and left behind by government policy. Featuring new work from award-winning and accomplished documentary photographers the book presents people speaking in their own words to create a narrative that illustrates how an unprecedented world of austerity, deindustrialisation and social upheaval is affecting us all. With a foreword by actor and activist Michael Sheen, this is an incredibly moving and important book. Aditya Chakrabortty writing in the Guardian said: "This is Britain in the decade of cuts – but these aren't portraits of despair. They're stories of defiance, of fight and of faith that a better country awaits us all. These are your friends, neighbours, family – and they've got stuff to tell you." It’s just been published by Policy Press.

Boyd Clack is a Welsh actor and writer – you may know him from his work on High Hopes, the classic cult Welsh sitcom written by him and Kirsten Jones. If you don’t, give it a go – lots of episodes are on the iPlayer here . Now he has written a book; Head in the Clouds: Memories and Reflections based on years of observing the common beauty found in people, animals and trees; it’s something of a work set to defy genres. One hundred blog posts blend prose with poetry to share tales from the stage and screen and Boyd’s thoughts on growing up in the Welsh valleys. High-profile Welsh actors, directors and playwrights are queuing up to say nice things about it – so this could be a bit of a winner I feel! Rhys Ifans said “Boyd is a brilliant actor and writer, truly unique, a genius by any definition of the word. Head In The Clouds is a work of profundity and sparkling wit. You’d be crazy not to buy it” while Rob Brydon said “I love Boyd’s unique take on life. A wonderful, thoughtful and rewarding read” and film director Kevin Allen wrote “Whilst most commentators of Wales and the wider world about them keep their heads firmly lodged up their asses these days, Boyd effortlessly manages to buck the trend. This book is a must read.” It’s out from Parthian on 5 December.

Ooh we publishing types love an obscure word – and even more when it comes from an even more obscure literary novel! Have a look here at these fifteen words that came from classic literature and see if you a) know what they mean and b) have read the books they came from!

Deborah Binner suffered the unimaginable pain of losing her precious daughter Chloe to bone cancer when she was just eighteen years old. Still blinded by grief, just eighteen months later, she then received the devastating blow that her beloved husband Simon had motor neurone disease. Simon refused to allow the disease to take him and instead opted for an assisted suicide in a Swiss clinic, leaving Deborah bereaved once more. Many people would have sunk into despair but Deborah who had another daughter and two grandchildren to think of, knew she couldn't afford to succumb to her heartbreak and instead set about carving an altered future for herself and small family. In Yet Here I Am she talks candidly of the crippling pain she suffered and how she learned to live with such cruel loss and find a form of happiness once more. The Mail ran an extract of this heart-rending story last week which you can read here which was picked up by other tabloids such as the Mirror here and Deborah was on Victoria Derbyshire’s BBC2 show talking about the book this morning. Yet Here I Am has just been published by Splendid Books.

Some excellent reviews for The Remainder (978 1911508328, £10, pb) by Alia Trabucco Zerán, translated by Sophie Hughes, which was published last month by And Other Stories. The Spectator called it a “darkly comic road trip” in which “her spring-heeled prose moves lightly from lyrical to demotic, bawdy to elegiac” while the TLS said it was “intelligent, immersive and elegiac” The Irish Times wrote: “In a notable translation by Sophie Hughes, Zerán’s lyricism and eye for detail shine on the page ...There is plenty to commend in the book’s intentions, and in its elegiac ambitions” while The Big Issue called it a novel which “tells us ... everything about what it is like to grow up in the shadow of other people’s unhappiness.”

If there’s one thing we can all relate to in these frazzled times, it’s the concept of less rather than more. The Year of Less by Cait Flanders (pb, 978 1781808597, £11.99) is out in paperback from Hay House in January and Cait is writing a multi-page feature for Marie Claire’s January issue. Cait will also be interviewed on In the Moment podcast, there will be an interview with Cait in February’s Yoga magazine and Psychologies will also mention it in one of their early 2019 issues. The Year of Less documents Cait's life for twelve months during which she bought only consumables: groceries, toiletries and petrol for her car. Along the way, she challenged herself to consume less of many other things. She got rid of 70 percent of her belongings; learned how to fix things rather than throw them away and completed a television ban. At every stage, she learned that the less she consumed, the more fulfilled she felt. The Year of Less will leave readers questioning what they’re holding onto and, quite possibly, lead them find their own path of less.

If a review begins with the sentence “Right, straight off the bat – this collection is insanely f***ing good!” followed by “this collection is so good that it has quite literally jumped into my top books I’ve ever read!” then you definitely want to buy it right? This quote comes from a review in Storgy magazine of the Comma anthology The New Uncanny: Tales of Unease (pb, £9.99, 978 1905583188); you can read the full review here here.

Legend Press are delighted to announce an exciting two-book deal with Australian journalist and author Holly Wainwright. The Mummy Bloggers will be published on 3rd June 2019, followed by How to Be Perfect in November 2019. The Mummy Bloggers offers a sharp and funny look into the brave new world of mummy blogging, the power of social media and the women behind the likes, shares and filters. Wainwright shines a mirror on the lives we create for ourselves – and the vortex of lies we can fall into when living life through the filter of social media. Holly Wainwright (who originally hailed from Manchester) has been described as “the freshest, funniest new voice in fiction since Liane Moriarty” so this is definitely something to look forward to!

Many congratulations to the one and only Vivian Archer from the Newham Bookshop, who won the Outstanding Contribution to Bookselling award at the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards this week. Described as “total legend, absolute hero, rock-solid human,” she was a popular and a well-deserving winner!

Critics, booksellers, newspaper editors and all esteemed workers in the literary field, do let know if you’d like to have a proof/galley copy of Lina Wolff's The Polyglot Lovers (£9.99, 978 1911508441, pb, translated by Saskia Vogel) which is published next May by And Other Stories! Irreverent and smart, not least on #metoo issues this is a brilliant read! You can find out more and read an excerpt on the And Other Stories website here. Both of Lina’s two novels (this one and Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs) have both been awarded PEN Translates Awards in recognition of their importance and the excellence of the translations.

Bad Lies (978 1684016020, hb, £23.00) by high-profile golfer Tony Jacklin is, as the strap line says: a story of lies, slander and professional golf. Its hero is Eddie Bennison, a successful pro golfer whose world is shattered when, at the peak of his success, the golf world’s most popular magazine runs articles that claim Eddie is cheating and doping to get ahead. Weaving in and out of the courtroom, across the offices of the lawyers, the litigants, the sponsors, and through well-known golf courses, Bad Lies is a gripping and entertaining novel which would make a good Christmas gift for any golfer. Jack Nicklaus said of it "I have always said that you can learn more about a person in four hours on a golf course than you can in a day of meetings. Golf exposes how one handles adversity and success and provides a glimpse into someone’s personality and integrity. Simply put, the game of golf often unveils the truth about someone. The same could be said for a courtroom, and much like a golf tournament, there are highs and lows in every legal battle. My long-time friend, Tony Jacklin, and author, Shelby Yastrow, understand these similarities and have managed to wonderfully weave them into a fascinating, fictional page-turner." It’s published by Gazelle.

Fiction and the fairway are a popular mix of course – perhaps most famously here in Goldfinger – and I think you will also enjoy these top ten funny golf scenes from the movies!

There have been some super reviews from the bloggers for The Truth Waits by Susanna Beard (£8.99, pb, 978 1787198012) which is out this month from Legend. Book in the Bag said “Beard does not disappoint in this fast-paced thriller. Be warned, if you are looking for a book that you will be able to put down to go to bed at night, this is not the book for you”, Robin Loves Reading called it “compelling” while Great Leaves and Tea Leaves said “I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves mystery and thrillers or even if you don’t! There’s a bit of everything in here, suspense, relationships, love, money, greed, power, tragedy and corruption.”

Congratulations to Mary O'Malley who has been awarded the 2018-19 Trinity College Dublin Writer Fellowship. Mary’s latest book (and eight collection) from Carcanet is the wonderful Playing the Octopus (pb, £9.99, 978 1784102807) which is a body of writing buoyed by the redemptive power and sustaining joy of music.

Professor Simon Fishel worked with Robert Edwards during his pioneering early IVF research and was part of the team in the world’s first IVF clinic, with all the trials and tribulations that involved at the time, including a writ for murder! As the science developed over the decades so did his career, and the clinic he founded has grown into the largest IVF group in the UK. His book Breakthrough Babies (pb, £14.99, 978 1788600736) which is out from Practical Inspiration in March is a riveting account from the frontline of fertility treatment, giving a unique insight into not only the medical and scientific advances involved but the human cost and rewards behind this life-changing technology. The national media are very interested in this one as it covers three popular areas of interest: infertility, medical science, and parenting. There will be features in Science, Nature, The Guardian, British Medical Journal and Science News – and probably lots more.

Well done to And Other Stories who won Small Business of the Year in the Northern Soul Awards last night, were the Specially Commended in the Publisher category (which Dead Ink won), and were named in their Great Northerners list too! Hurrah! 

During his campaign for President in 2016, Senator Bernie Sanders stated over and over again that the future of the US was dependent upon its willingness to start a political revolution. Real change never occurs from the top down it always happens from the bottom up. That's what he said when he ran for President, and that's what he believes now. Where We Go From Here: Two Years in the Resistance by Bernie Sanders (hb, £20, 978 1785904677) is an important new book in which America's most popular political figure speaks about what he's been doing to oppose the Trump agenda and strengthen the progressive movement, how America can go forward as a nation and the impact that can have on the global stage. It’s published by Biteback on 27th November and the Sunday Times, Guardian and Observer will be reviewing it shortly. Furthermore, Bernie Sanders will be interviewed (from the US) on Newsnight and by Robert Peston on Peston.

Let’s finish with some music – what do we all think of the 2018 John Lewis ad? It’s certainly a very good opportunity to remind you about Captain Fantastic: Elton John's Stellar Trip Through the '70s by Tom Doyle (978 1846973741, £16.99, hb) published by Birlinn, which I think could do rather well on the back of this year’s tribute to the great man and his mum!

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