Thursday 19 December 2019

Compass Points 331

A very Happy Christmas to all you lovely booksellers – we hope you have a prosperous and peaceful festive period and a thoroughly jolly new Year! Lots of silly merriment for you this week along with 2019’s final round-up of latest publicity and PR 

The Portico Prize Shortlist has been announced and hurrah, Glen James Brown’s Ironopolis (pb, £9.99, 978 1912681099) published by Parthian is on it! The six books explore Northern lives and landscape across fiction and non-fiction and Simon Savidge, chair of judges, commented: ‘This list defies the rumour that it’s grim up North. Yes, it can be gritty up North; yes, it can be gothic up North; but more than anything it’s glorious and great up North.’ Once described as ‘the Booker of the North’, The Portico Prize awards £10,000 to the winner, which will be announced on 23rd January. You can see the full shortlist and find out more here.

Nothing screams Christmas like burglars and booby-traps, so here are the top ten moments from Home Alone!

We are delighted to share the news with you that The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2019 is to be awarded to Lorna Goodison, poet laureate of Jamaica. Collected Poems (9781784106386, pb, £19.99) is of course published by Carcanet. Derek Walcott said of her poetry, ‘What is the rare quality that has gone out of poetry that these marvellous poems restore? Joy’ and I think we could all do with a bit of that right now – especially at this time of year! and you can find out more on the Carcanet website here.

This letter that Iain Dale, presenter and former publisher at Biteback put onto Twitter recently, headed ‘Fan Mail’ really made me laugh!

I’m very much looking forward to another of the titles in Comma’s City Lit anthology series The Book of Newcastle (£8.99, pb, 978 1905583102) which is out in January and you can read an interview with its editor, award-winning author Angela Readman in this month's Northern Fiction Alliance column in The State of the Arts here.

We do love a seasonal silly story – and they don’t get much dafter than the news that California’s beaches have been piled high with penises! Read all about it here.

Two great pieces on First Aid for Your Child’s Mind (978 1788601177, £12.99, pb) have just been published in the Sunday Times magazine and the Christmas double issue of Women’s Weekly.

As our Account Manager Sophie pointed out, any mention of Women’s Weekly immediately brings to mind the fabulous Victoria Wood sketch – so here it is!

So pleased to see our good friend Michael Schmidt included in The Bookseller 150 last Friday, where Tom Tivnan wrote: ‘In the long-overdue department is Carcanet’s Michael Schmidt, who in 2019 celebrated 50 years as being arguably Britain’s most important poetry publisher’ You can see all 150 people on this annual list of the most influential people in UK publishing here. And we were also very pleased indeed to see the big half page article a couple of weeks ago in the Telegraph, headlined ‘Meet Michael Schmidt: the quirkiest man in publishing who reads every submission and rejected Leonard Cohen’. It went on to talk glowingly about both Michael and our friends at Carcanet saying ‘Punching above its weight for a tiny firm that employs just five full-time staff, Carcanet should be famous as one of the jewels of British publishing.’ You can find that article here. And of course, the feature was also great promotion for Fifty Fifty: Carcanet’s Jubilee in Letters (£14.99, 978 1784108786, pb) which has just been published. This is a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a small, ambitious press over a period of radical transformation in publishing. Each of Carcanet's fifty years is marked by an exchange of letters, beginning in 1969 with the response to an invitation to subscribe to Carcanet for two guineas, and the book traces the publisher’s progress with the relationship of author, editor and reader at its heart.

I loved this story about the first recorded evidence of a British child’s letter to Santa Claus, showing that the Post Office was able to “communicate” with Father Christmas in 1895 on behalf of a little girl who had asked for a box of paints.

Excited to see an article in the Bookseller last week with the news that Kogan Page will be publishing a book in April 2020 by entrepreneur and public intellectual Julia Hobsbawm on how to keep things simple in a complex world. The Simplicity Principle: Six Steps Towards Clarity in a Complex World (£14.99, hb, 978 1789663556), shows you that it's easy to streamline and simplify both your professional and personal lives with lessons based on the natural world. It challenges the assumption that all things that are complex must stay that way. You can read that article here.

Floods, flyovers and a photobombing dolphin all feature in selection of best news pictures from 2019, which you can see here.

Nice to hear on Comma author Helen Mort on BBC Woman's Hour last week, discussing the effects that weaning a child can have on a mother, as written about in her story, Weaning in The Book of Sheffield (£9.99, pb, 978 1912697137). You can listen to that here.

Plenty of ongoing promotion recently by the irrepressible and seemingly tireless Brian May for his range of 3D titles – you can find out all the details here.

Lucy Werner’s book Hype Yourself (£14.99, pb, 978 1788601238) which is coming from Practical Inspiration in January 2020, received some brilliant coverage in the latest Stylist magazine where it was included in ’11 books to help kick-start your career in 2020’ roundup, you can see that here. Stylist has a circulation of over 400,000 and is available in six cities – London, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds and Birmingham.

OMG, OMG whose heart wasn’t beating just a little bit faster with the news that Olivia Newton John and John Travolta were back together as Sandy and Danny! You can see some pics and video from their reunion at the fabulously titled ‘Meet n Grease’ event here.

And alright then, who doesn’t want to see the original and possibly best make-over scene ever!

That’s all for 2019 folks, more in the New Year!

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 6 December 2019

Compass Points 330

Last week we talked about the sad death of Clive James, and of course on the same day, theatre and opera director, television presenter, comedian, writer, and neurologist Jonathan Miller also passed away. Oberon publish two great books on him, a biography and a selected writings collection.

One Thing and Another: Selected Writings 1954-2016 (£20.00, pb, 9781783197453) is a fully-authorized comprehensive collection of Miller’s best-known writing. It contains previously lost and undiscovered material, with extensive meditations on the arts, philosophy, medicine, technology, opera, Shakespeare and the philosophy of science and contains interviews with Richard Dawkins, Arthur Miller, Dick Cavett and Susan Sontag. In keeping with Miller’s grasshopper mind, One Thing and Another leaps from discussions of human behaviour, atheism, satire, cinema and television, to analysis of the work of M. R. James, Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens and Truman Capote, by way of reflections on directing Shakespeare, Chekhov, Olivier and opera.

In Two Minds by Kate Bassett (£12.99, pb, 9781783190898) is a bestselling biography which was critically-acclaimed, received blanket review coverage and was shortlisted for the Theatre Book Prize, the Sheridan Morley Prize for Theatre Biography and the HW Fisher Prize for Best First Biography. The Telegraph called it ‘a remarkable portrait of a complex and Coleridgean figure’ Descended from immigrants who fled Tsarist anti‐Semitism to become shopkeepers in Ireland and London’s East End, Miller was born into an intellectual milieu, between Bloomsbury and Harley Street – the son of a novelist and a leading child psychiatrist. Miller trained as a doctor but then forged a career as a stellar comedian and as a world‐renowned theatre and opera director. He was without doubt one of post‐war Britain’s most intriguing polymaths.

Really great to see that Lorenz have FOUR winners in the just-announced and very prestigious Gourmand International Cookbook Awards 2020. All have been chosen as best in UK in their categories which means they are all now shortlisted for the best in the world which will be judged next June! My Bangladesh Kitchen by Saira Hamilton (£20, hb, 978 0754834502) won Best Asian Cookbook, Fermentation by Asa Simonsson (£15, hb, 978 0754834649) won Best Fermentation Cookbook, Ramen by Heather Whinney (978 0754834366) won Best Japanese Cookbook and The Perfect Afternoon Tea Recipe Book by Antony Wild and Carol Pastor (£15, hb, 978 0754834519) won Best Pastry and Desserts Cookbook. You can see all the details here.

Duncan Hamilton has won the 31st William Hill Sports Book of the Year, making him the only author in the award’s history to have won three times. The Great Romantic: Cricket and the Golden Age of Neville Cardus is published by Hodder & Stoughton, but this is undoubtably a good opportunity to promote the ideal companion volume of Cardus's writings on cricket; Safe Haven's A Field of Tents and Waving Colours (£14.99, hb, 978 1916045309) This is the perfect Christmas present for any for every lover of fine writing on cricket and this handsome volume includes Cardus on Don Bradman, Denis Compton and Richie Benaud, as well as new talents like Garry Sobers and Clive Lloyd, at the arcadian cricket festival at Dover beneath Shakespeare Cliff, seeing the Australians defeated at Eastbourne, and of course at the home of cricket, Lord's. In The Great Romantic, Duncan Hamilton demonstrates how Cardus changed sports journalism for ever and in A Field of Tents and Waving Colours, readers can see how! As the Guardian said, it ‘nicely complements’ the biography.

Mark Hodkinson, publisher at Pomona and author of That Summer Feeling, ponders the nature of our personal book collections, why and how we gather books, what it says about us, and how we ever expect to find time to read them all, on a super little documentary on Radio 4 on Thursday last week which you can listen to here. I would highly recommend it – there’s been lots discussions about it on Twitter etc. That Summer Feeling, which one reviewer described as ‘an absolute belter of a book’ will appeal to fans of Nick Hornby or Tony Parsons (although, as the reviewer says, it’s much better!) Mark’s radio programme, So Many Books, So Little Time, is repeated on Saturday 28 December at 2pm.

The River of Angry Dogs (£16.99, pb, 978 0745340296) by Mira Hamermesh, has been adapted for a Radio 4 dramatization that will be broadcast next week. This is, as Elaine Feinstein said 'the story of a teenager crossing Hitler's Europe with only her own courage and luck to sustain her. ... Stunning.' It has just been published by Pluto in paperback and I think there will be a lot of interest following the Radio 4 drama – so do order it! Mira Hamermesh is an award-winning film maker, painter and writer, and the theme of political conflict, so often explored in her films, is brought to life here in an intimate account that will live long in the memory. As a young Jewish teenager she escaped the horrors of German occupied Poland and was spared the experience of the ghetto and the concentration camp that claimed most of her family. The journey led her across Europe and eventually to Palestine in 1941; her account of that region, before the establishment of Israel, provides a fascinating insight into the historical setting for today's conflict. Having settled in London where she studied art and married, she then won a place at the celebrated Polish Film School in Lodz. At the height of the Cold War Mira Hamermesh commuted across the Iron Curtain and her experience of a divided Europe offers many insights into the political factors that affected people's everyday lives. The 45-minute play, will be broadcast on Monday 9 December at 2:15pm and will remain available on BBC Sounds for 30 days after the broadcast.

An interesting article here where the editor of The Book of Sheffield (pb, £9.99, 978-1912697137) Catherine Taylor, spoke to the website in Minor Literatures about her influences, putting together the collection and the vibrant literary scene in the city. The Book of Sheffield is part of Comma’s popular Reading the City series and from the aspirations of young creatives, ultimately driven to leave, to the more immediate demands of refugees, scrap metal collectors, and student radicals, these stories offer ten different look-out points from which to gaze down on the ever-changing face of the 'Steel City'.

‘No Regrets’ was the name given to Welsh rugby's three-year masterplan to give the national team the best possible chance of success at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. In No Regrets: Welsh Rugby's Plan to Conquer the World (£13.99, pb, 978 1902719818) acclaimed rugby correspondent Matthew Southcombe reveals how the masterplan led to the 2017 tour success in Argentina, a clean sweep in the 2018 autumn internationals and, in 2019, a Six Nations Grand Slam, a record 14-game unbeaten run and a World Rugby #1 ranking. Hopes were high, amongst the squad and the nation, as the team headed to Japan with a genuine expectation winning the tournament. Essential reading for all Welsh rugby supporters, Southcombe also recalls the highs and lows of Wales at the previous eight World Cups and asks what is required for this rugby-obsessed nation to reach the World Cup final, and finally lift the Webb Ellis Trophy. It’s published on 20 December by St David’s Press.

Great to see Comma’s Europa 20: Women on the Future of Europe (£12.99, pb, 978-1912697298) was previewed in today’s Bookseller under Literary Short Stories for March. With so many flare-ups of nationalism and isolationism in recent years, there is a sense that Europe needs to be fixed, or, at the very least, profoundly reconfigured; whether it is to address the grievances of those feeling disenfranchised from it, or to improve social cohesion. Bringing together 28 acclaimed women writers, artists, scientists and entrepreneurs from across Europe, this powerful and timely anthology looks at an ever-changing Europe from a variety of different perspectives and offers hope and insight into how we might begin to rebuild.

Lots of Carcanet titles have featured on the Books of the Year lists we’re pleased to see! The Telegraph included In Nearby Bushes by Kei Miller, Significant Other by Isabel Galleymore and Skin Can Hold by Vahni Capildeo that’s here, and Significant Other was also on their list of the best new poetry books to buy for Christmas, that’s here. Fifty Fifty, edited by Robyn Marsack was chosen as the best of 2019 poetry in the Morning Star that’s here and the Times Literary Supplement included Blazons by Marilyn Hacker, Douglas Crase’s The Revisionist and The Astropastorals: Collected Poems in their Books of the Year, that’s here. And finally, the Sunday Times chose Mimi Khalvati’s Afterwardness and that’s here.

As the festive food and drink begin to take their toll on the nation, don’t forget to display plenty of copies of Liver Rescue (£26, hb, 978 1401954406). It’s been a big bestseller this year for Hay House and in it Anthony William, the Medical Medium, shares unparalleled insights into undiscovered functions of our life-saving livers. Learn how to sleep well, balance blood sugar, lower blood pressure, lose weight, and look and feel younger. A healthy liver is the ultimate de-stressor, anti-aging ally, and safeguard against a threatening world, if we give it the right support.

Overdrawn (£8.99, pb, 978 1789550221) has been featured in WI Life magazine (220k circulation) where it is listed as the Best Contemporary Fiction novel in their Christmas Edition Book Gift Guide calling it ‘a powerful and tender book, with even more emotional punch than Crosskey’s debut.' This is a gripping and highly topical novel, inspired by the rise of racism and nationalism, which will appeal to all fans of dystopian fiction and political thrillers. The Daily Mail said 'This compelling page-turner is so disturbingly real; I can't stop thinking about it.'

Following Clive James’s death last week, there there’s been huge media interest in his work, especially in his poetry, so do make sure you keep So Brightly at the Last (£18.99, hb, 978 1913062071) which Clive read and called ‘energetic, informal and beautifully written’, on the tables with his last  book, Somewhere Becoming Rain, his recent volumes of poetry (Sentenced to Life and Injury Time) and his perennial bestsellers, such as Unreliable Memoirs and Cultural Amnesia. There has been tremendous press and broadcast coverage and a vast amount of praise and discussion about Clive and his poetry on social media and there will be more to come. The BBC News Channel interviewed Ian Shircore on 27 November as did Iain Dale on LBC. Reviews and/or coverage for the book are now confirmed in the Times, the New Statesman, the Spectator and Prospect and there will be more to come.

Known as The Singing Winger (hb, £20, 9781909245952) for his ability both out wide on a football field and centre stage at a concert hall, Colin Grainger had the privilege of sharing a changing room with Duncan Edwards and Stanley Matthews and a bill with The Beatles. Starting out in 1950, Grainger’s professional football career spanned sixteen years, taking in all four divisions, and after Nat Lofthouse persuaded him to perform while on England duty, a successful singing career was born. Grainger continued to marry his passions in the years to come, and this tale tells the story of life on the road as a professional in two industries and the joy of forging friendships with icons of a bygone era. This book is perfect Christmas present material for dads and grandpas methinks, and it was reviewed on Football last week who said it was ‘an intriguing look at a unique career that simply wouldn’t be possible in the modern era.’ You can read that here. It’s new from De Coubertin.

The next #Carcanet50 symposium and evening reading is on Saturday 25th January at the National Centre for Writing in Norwich. There’s lots more information about it on Facebook here and tickets are available from the National Centre for Writing’s website – for the full day here and just the evening here. The day promises to be a fantastic occasion, with presentations, discussions and poetry readings, designed to explore the relationship between publisher and poet over the years, the development of an indie poetry press that has survived half a century, and the state of indie poetry publishing today. Speakers include Caroline Bird, Mimi Khalvati, Peter Scupham, Neil Astley, Jane Commane and Anthony Anaxagorou. Poets include: Laura Scott, Mimi Khalvati, Caroline Bird, Alison Brackenbury, Philip Terry, Rory Waterman, Peter Scupham, Sasha Dugdale, Julia Blackburn, Sophie Hannah and Miles Burrows. This is an essential day of events for anyone interested in poetry and publishing.

Twenty Years of TalkSPORT (pb, £12,99, 978 0956328410) is selling at the speed of MbappĂ© – if you haven’t got it front of store then you’re missing out! Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the launch of the UK's favourite sports radio station, it gives us an amazing behind the scenes, warts and all, look at the station and its presenters capturing the funniest stories from the early days right through the World Cups and European Championships to its move into plush new studios in 2019. It is a hilarious and highly entertaining read.

And in this week’s Hot Topics, here's YouTube’s five minute take on what we watched most in 2019, here's the trailer for No Time To Die, and the here's the brand new Taylor Swift Christmas single!

That’s all 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 29 November 2019

Compass Points 329

We were so sad this week to hear of the death of the popular critic and broadcaster, bestselling author and much-loved poet, Clive James. Ian Shircore’s So Brightly at the Last (£18.99, hb, 978 1913062071) the first poetic biography of Clive, has been brought forward and was published yesterday by Red Door Press. So Brightly at the Last is a fond and revealing account of James’s 60-year poetic career, from early successes like The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered to recent internet hits like Japanese Maple and Sentenced to Life. In the book, James talks for the first time about his nightmare experience of being locked up in a mental hospital for two months. He also explains why he turned his back on his lucrative TV career and how his ten-year battle against leukaemia, emphysema and several other life-threatening conditions led him to focus his energy on the poems that have established him as ‘a major minor poet’. Oxford Professor John Carey has called So Brightly ‘terrific’ and said he ‘read it with astonishment and learnt a huge amount’. Clive himself was able to read a pre-publication copy in the days before his final illness and called it ‘a wonderful book, energetic, informal and beautifully written’ and said he was ‘thrilled and delighted’ with its exploration of his work. I think this will do extremely well – order it today and it will be in your shops by Monday!

And here is Clive, reading what has been described as his ‘farewell poem’, and from which the lines ‘So brightly at the last’ are taken; Japanese Maple.

An absolutely ace review in The Irish Catholic for A Matter of Interpretation (£12.99, hb, 978 1912054701) which has just been published by Fairlight. You can read the whole thing here but the highlights are: ‘Elizabeth MacDonald’s absorbing novel is built up around the character of the celebrated Michael Scot and his relations with the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Hohenstaufen II and various other players in the Middle Ages, the Church, the Arabs, the Jews and the plotting and conniving that was all so important an aspect of ecclesiastical and academic life. Very powerful indeed …this is a book which anyone interested in the development of Europe will want to read … this is a book filled with interest … very thought provoking …those who read will long keep it in mind. Here one suspects is something very close to the truth, and the truth is always interesting, and often astonishing.’ There has also been a review this week in the RTE Christmas Guide.

Great to see as Isabel Galleymore’s Harvest as Poem of the Week this week in The Guardian! You can read it here. It’s from Significant Other (£9.99, pb, 978 1784107116) which is published by Carcanet. The Guardian writes ‘Significant Other observes a range of fauna and flora with a 19th-century collector’s loving alertness. Galleymore’s reach extends to the Amazon rainforest, but there’s a particularly intense focus on marine life (the slipper limpet, the goose barnacle, the spiny cockle). These studies, sometimes interwoven with wry reports on human specimens emphasise the strangeness and uniqueness of some of our less noticed housemates on Earth. Harvest thoroughly deserves its place among the exhibits.’

William Roache was a ‘big guest’ on Steve Wright in the Afternoon on Radio 2 this week, talking about Life and Soul: How to Live a Long and Happy Life (pb, £12.99, 978 1788173537) which is new in paperback from Hay House. You can listen again to that here. Steve Wright has a massive listenership of 8.1 million listeners, so this really is a fantastic promotion for the paperback of this bestselling book and Roache talked very engagingly, sharing his strategies for keeping fit and healthy, maintaining his youthful looks and coping with life's most challenging times. He spoke about the power of love, kindness and positive thinking and said his top bit of advice is ‘life is to be enjoyed.’ Hear hear Bill!

A super review in the Irish Times this week for Nayrouz Qarmout's The Sea Cloak (£9.99, PB, 978 1905583782). Brian Maye said of the collection, 'These stories give insights into life in Gaza, without melodrama or exaggeration, and in language that is clear and rich.' You can read the full review here.

A summary of all the great publicity for Alicia Eaton’s First Aid for Your Child’s Mind (978 1788601177, pb, £12.99) is available to view here. Highlights include a feature in Raring 2 Go, 'Keeping Kids Calm and Happy in an Age of Anxiety' , a piece in Daily Telegraph 'How taking risks in sport is good for kids mental wellbeing and why?' and interview feature in Women's Weekly and a ‘How to Support a Worried Child' feature in Families nationwide magazine. It was published last month by Practical Inspiration and is packed  full of practical suggestions and common sense for all those parents who want to encourage their children to be well-rounded, independent thinkers.

The year is 2013, and Crumlin-born mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor is sitting in McDonald's as he enjoys his weekly coffee, a treat in the eyes of a dedicated fighter. He’s not yet cashed his £60,000 prize money after his maiden UFC victory, but he savours the win, since only recently had he found himself in the social welfare queue. Five years on and McGregor is late for his own press conference before eventually launching into a diatribe against his opponent, which turns into a sales pitch for his own brand whiskey. Somewhere along the line, the fighter has become a stranger to his art. But what is McGregor? Dedicated athlete? Cultural phenomenon? Troubled soul? Narcissist? Arrogant thug? Or sporting icon? In Chaos is a Friend of Mine: The Life and Crimes of Conor McGregor (£14.99, hb, 978 1909245907), former Irish Sportswriter of the Year, Ewan MacKenna examines McGregor's journey, from his upbringing in the Irish capital, to his early days as a prodigiously talented martial arts obsessive, to his recent antics outside the ring which have seem him grow bigger than the sport itself, but threaten to spiral out of control. The Independent called it ‘a supremely written book, that touches topics way beyond the character at the centre of it all’ and it’s just been published by De Coubertin.

A fantastic spread in the Express for Night Sky by Robert Harvey (hb, £19.99, 978 1782749189) showing off just a selection of the two hundred outstanding colour photographs of stunning nocturnal vistas, in this this amazing book of astronomical wonders It’s published by Amber.

And in this week’s Hot Topics, here's  ET coming home for Sky, here's  the Rise of Skywalker and  here's  Artist of the Year Taylor Swift performing live at the American Music Awards and here's  Elton John talking about what its like to be bald!

That’s all 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 22 November 2019

Compass Points 328

It’s full-on Christmas advert season now, and how interesting to see that John Lewis is being challenged as to where exactly they get their ideas from. Guess what, they nick them from books! This piece in the Guardian names Oliver Jeffers, Chris Riddell and now Jen Campbell, Danielle Smurthwaite and Fay Evans as the authors feeling thoroughly pissed off that the retailer is pinching their stories! As the article asks, ‘are John Lewis plagiarism claims now a Christmas tradition?’

Deborah O’Donoghue was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour this morning (22 November) talking about her debut novel Sea of Bones (pb, £8.99, 978 1789550023) and you can listen to that here, it was trailed intriguingly as ‘does crime writing make you a bad feminist?’ This atmospheric psychological thriller with a compelling female lead tackles very big questions while totally enthralling the reader. Matthew Spangler, (the author of The Kite Runner stage play) said of it ‘Sea of Bones is an addictively readable, all around terrific novel. It unwinds like an elaborately layered ball of yarn, perfectly paced, revealing its secrets at just the right moment. Part Jane Austen, part Raymond Chandler, part House of Cards, this book is for anyone who likes a gripping read from the first page to the last.’ It’s published by Legend.

Who’s enjoying I’m A Celebrity? What a great time for Emerald to be publishing Reality Television: The TV Phenomenon that Changed the World (978 1839090240, pb, £16.99) which is out on Monday. This book provides an overview of key theories and debates in the study of reality television and asks why it has become such a huge phenomenon, and what is its future in an age of streaming and social media? Reality TV has not just changed television, but every other area of the media too and media and communications expert Ruth Deller investigates the phenomenon right from its documentary roots to where it is now, featuring people from all walks of life and covering everything from romance to religion. There are plenty of interviews with participants and analyses of key programmes, and Deller also examines why people take part in reality TV, how they are represented and impact this has on their lives.

Just to put you into the reality TV zone, you can watch the Top Ten WTF Love Island Moments here, the ten most shocking exits from I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here here and here's a montage of some of the best bits from the nineteen series of Big Brother!

A terrific review for Chinese Astrology: Understanding Your Horoscope by James Trapp (£14.99, hb, 978 1782747222) and Astrology: Understanding Your Star Sign by Marisa St Clair (£14.99, hb, 978 1782746775) in the current issue of the Astrological Journal which calls them ‘stunningly well produced books … custom-made to be given as gifts … the publisher Amber Books is to be congratulated … each book is illustrated with 85 specially commissioned artworks and beautifully presented on high-quality paper … a bonus from an aesthetic point of view is that both titles are Chinese bound in the traditional style, that is to say, stitched together in red or black lace at the spine … as a starter, this can’t be bettered… a masterclass in simplification without misrepresenting the purpose and detail.’

Lucy Werner’s Hype Yourself: A No-nonsense DIY PR Toolkit for Small Businesses (pb, £14.99, 978 1788601238) which is published by Practical Inspiration on 9th Jan has already reached number one on Amazon’s PR Wish List and two on Hot New Releases In PR, and as you would expect from a writer, speaker, blogger, teacher and podcaster Lucy has a steady flow of speaking events, book reviews, and Instagram coverage throughout November, December and January leading up to the publication of her book. You can read a great interview with he intitled Inspirational Women: Lucy Wern on here.

Congratulations to Andrew Latimer whose clever and engaging design for Kei Miller’s In Nearby Bushes (pb, £9.99, 978 1784108458) which is published by Carcanet, has been shortlisted for the Saltire Society Book Cover Award. The judges called it ‘a conceptually strong and unique work that sees the title and author hiding in a newspaper like text’, adding ‘The use of the strong yellow colour gives a brightness to the overall design.’ The winner of the award will be announced, together with all the Saltire Literary Awards, at a ceremony at the National Museum of Scotland on Saturday 30th November. To see the full shortlist, visit the Saltire Society website here.

This made me laugh a lot – eleven differences between Christmas in the UK and the US!

Written by international barrister Gillian Higgins, and referencing the latest scientific research, Mindfulness at Work and Home (pb, £9.99, 978 1910453803) which is new from Red Door is a down-to-earth beginners’ guide. Gillian has pioneered work in mindfulness amongst her professional peers, rapidly building a reputation as a leader in the field and this book is packed with simple hints, tips, quotes, and answers to frequently asked questions. Whether it’s Brexit, Xmas or work that’s pushing your buttons right now, we’re probably all feeling a little frazzled, so why not try some of Gillian’s practices for yourself? Here is the three-minute breathing space meditation and here is an 9-minute guided mediation that uses the sounds of nature as an anchor to the present moment.

Carcanet have just launched a PN Review collection at the Poetry Archive to celebrate 250 issues. There are some fantastic pieces from the archives available to read and listen to, including some by poets published right back in the first ever issue in 1973, when it began as Poetry Nation, making this a truly publication-spanning retrospective. You can read all about it here and here's  the link to access all the amazing free content! I like this one, Elegy of the Flowing Truth by Christopher Middleton which begins:

Almost anywhere there’s a poem lying around
Waiting for someone to lift it up, dust it off,
For instance, the argument with a neighbour
About a large dog: Was it a German Shepherd
Or a mutt?

Author Livi Michael reviewed David Contantine's new collection The Dressing-Up Box (£14.99, hb, 978 1912697212) for The Manchester Review here saying 'The worlds he creates are heterotopic, yet within each one he generates skilfully, often with minimal brushstrokes, the sense of a whole life, as in the short stories of Raymond Carver.' It’s published by Comma.

And in this week’s Hot Topics, here's that 18 minute interview with Prince Andrew, here's  the trailer for Frozen 2 and here's the winner of the first ever UK edition of Ru Paul’s Drag Race with Michelle Visage saying ‘The audience saw the pure, beautiful, gritty, British ropiness.’ And talking of British ropiness, if you’re not feeling festive yet, then here's the new Little Mix Christmas single, which should sort you out!

That’s all 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