Thursday 25 July 2019

Compass Points 314

How to get your kids off their screens is right up there as most parents’ number one concern. In The Board Game Family: Reclaim Your Children from the Screen, educationist Ellie Dix offers a roadmap to integrating board gaming into family life and presents inspiring ways to engage even the trickiest of teenagers and manage game nights with flair. The benefits of board gaming are far-reaching: playing games develops interpersonal skills, boosts confidence, memory formation and cognitive ability, and refines problem-solving and decision-making skills. Ellie shares a wealth of top tips and stealthy strategies that parents can draw upon to unleash the potential of those dusty game boxes at the back of the cupboard and this is ideal for all parents of 8 18-year-olds who want to breathe new life into their family time. What a great idea for a book! The Board Game Family (978 1785834332, pb, £12.99) is published by Crown House next week and we have three copies to give away. If you’d like one, then email with your name and shop address and Board Game in the subject line. 

Top Ten board games anyone?

Carcanet are 50 this year! There’s lots of stuff already on social media; you can find out on  Facebook about it here, Twitter here , and here is their Instagram post. Please use the hashtag #Carcanet50 to join in! There’s a news item on the website, and also a blog. All of these include links to Michael Schmitt’s interview with The Bookseller, which you can read here. The anniversary events will launch in October 2019, and run until summer 2020 and there will be a series of symposia at key locations around the UK & Ireland, parties and events at literary festivals. There will also be a six-month exhibition on Carcanet from the archives due to open March 2020 at the John Rylands Library, Manchester. Happy Birthday Carcanet!

There are lots of articles on generation rent, the housing crisis and homelessness around right now, for example this in the Guardian. So, it’s a good opportunity to tell you about Home Truths: The UK's Chronic Housing Shortage; How it Happened, Why it Matters and the Way to Solve it (978 1785904691, pb, £12.99) by Liam Halligan which is coming from Biteback in November. Combining analysis with reportage, Home Truths draws on extensive interviews with cabinet ministers, civil servants, planning officials, leading property executives and priced-out homebuyers from across the country. Informed by deep economic research and political access at the highest level, the book is a no-holds-barred critique of the UK's chronic housing shortage, concluding with some eye-catching policy proposals.

Mission Moon 3-D (£30, hb, 978 1999667405) rocketed back into the media limelight last week, with the 50th anniversary of the first moon landings. If you didn’t catch the fantastic Brian May programme on Radio 2 exploring the wonders of 1969 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and the first ever book on the space race in 3-D published half a century later; then you can listen to it here. London Stereoscopic have created a cool new video ad that has just launched on social media plus a video of moonwalker Charlie Duke endorsing the book, that’s here. There was a nice review in Sky at Night magazine last week which you can read here and also one in Amateur Photographer here. And there’s absolutely loads of good stuff about this book on its dedicated website

Radio 4's Saturday Review show will discuss David Constantine's forthcoming collection from Comma; The Dressing-Up Box (£14.99, hb, 978 1912697212) this Saturday 27th July. It’s published in September. The stories all orbit around a moment of personal crisis, a pressure point where the weight of the past or the present becomes unbearable. These crises may be brought on by a bereavement, a personal failure or trauma, or a crisis of identity. But in all cases, what's at stake is a life worth living. Whether set in Paris in the early 19th Century, on the Pennine moors, or amid the defiant multiculturalism of Oxford's Cowley Road, these stories also remind us that even in the darkest of times new germs of hope are quietly taking root. AL Kennedy said of it The Dressing-Up Box does the deepest work of fiction, it tells us strange, hard, beautiful truths for our time.”

Five new Fairlight Moderns are coming in August, you can see them pictured here. You can read more about this new collection of short modern novellas from around the world on the Fairlight website here  where there’s also loads of other interesting stuff – including author interviews, and reading notes for books clubs. The five new titles all shortly be going on a Blogger Tour, including: Jen Campbell, Leena Normington, Jean Menzies, @wordchild, @sparklesoflight, @Vivekisms, @contraryreader,, @katie.lately, @bookishsteph1, @relationsheep, @unashamed_bookhoarder, @askthebookbug, @booxoul,, @books_n_sunshine,, @bookswithjane,, @cenninsbookreview, @excusemyreading,, @being_a_bookishgirl,, @francescareads, @asarahcarter, @teacupbookworld, @emilycocozza and @thecosyreader.

Well, it’s happened. Now that BoJo is installed in number 10, perhaps we’re all going to need a copy of A Little Peace of Mind: The Revolutionary Solution for Freedom from Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Stress (978 1788173049, pb, £9.99). Luckily, I have five copies to give away – the first booksellers to email with Peace in the subject line, and their bookshop name and address will receive a copy! This title was published in May by Hay House and is a simple solution to help readers could stop coping and start living. For more than 20 years, Nicola Bird experienced anxiety and panic attacks, sometimes so severe she couldn't leave the house. She tried everything, including medication, psychiatric counselling and yoga. Then she stumbled upon a completely different way of understanding the human mind that changed her relationship with anxiety forever. As one reviewer commented; “this book is a game-changer. It presents a radically different understanding of anxiety and wellbeing.”

Nineteenth-century author Charles Dickens described Paris as “the most extraordinary place in the world”. And the gorgeous images in Amber’s new Visual Explorer Guide: Paris (978 1782748724, £9.99, pb) to the city show that the French capital still is rather splendid. A selection of the stunning 200 pics from Alastair Horne’s terrific new guide were featured on MailOnline Travel last week; you can see them here. Alastair says “From its foundation more than two millennia ago as a small town on the Île de la Cité, to its existence today as one of the world’s most vibrant cities, Paris has retained a charm of its own, fascinating not only Dickens but also a wealth of writers, painters, soldiers and politicians.” Have a look to see the exquisite Pont Alexandre III bridge, the beautiful tree-lined Champs-Élysées avenue, the quirky 13th-century restaurant Vins et Terroirs, and, of course, the majestic Eiffel Tower.

Top ten films set in Paris anyone? 

How to Break into the Elite, the documentary featuring the authors of The Class Ceiling (978 1447336068, £14.99, pb) Sam Friedman and Daniel Laurison will be screened on this Monday 29th July at 9pm on BBC2, you can find out more about that here.  This documentary will be part of a whole season on class, you can watch it once it’s broadcast on the iPlayer here. Mike Savage from the LSE said “Without question this is the outstanding study of social mobility in the UK to have appeared in the past 20 years. Anyone who thinks Britain is a meritocracy needs to ponder the lessons of this wonderful book.”

There’s a terrific PR campaign kicking off for Alicia Eaton’s Stop Bedwetting in Seven Days (978 1788601115, pb, £12.99) There will be a piece in the Daily Telegraph on 16th August: Why is bedwetting on the rise among older kids and how can parents help; a featured article in the Sept issue of Pregnancy and Parenting: 7 big mistakes parents make when dealing with bedwetting; a featured article in Junior magazine: Learn how to stay dry at night in 7 days this summer; an article and competition in Raring2Go; and an article in My Baba: 7 mistakes parents make when dealing with bedwetting; an article in Families magazine: Transitioning your toddler from nappies to no nappies and a review in Country Living magazine. Here's the Netgalley request link for anyone who’d like a better look at this practical, easy to read, clear and effective title. It's published in August by Practical Inspiration

Jorie Graham and Abdellatif Laâbi are both finalists in the Neustadt International Prize for Literature for their Carcanet titles Fast and Beyond the Barbed Wire. Graham is the author of numerous collections of poetry, and Fast was also shortlisted for the Forward Prize. Abdellatif Laâbi is a poet, novelist, playwright, translator and political activist. In the 1960s he was the founding editor of Souffles a widely influential literary review that was banned in 1972, at which point Laâbi was imprisoned for eight and a half years. His most recent accolades include the Prix Goncourt de la Poésie and the Grand Prix de la Francophonie. You can find out more about the prize and the books here.  

De Coubertin have been highly successful in their current kickstarter campaign for a biography entitled Blue Dragon on Roy Vernon who played for Everton, Blackburn Rovers, Stoke and Wales. You can read all about it on here. The project got quite a bit of publicity, including BBC Merseyside,  The Lancashire Telegraph, Toffee TV  and The Liverpoool Echo. Vernon played for Rovers for five seasons scoring 52 goals in 144 appearances before captaining Everton to a league title in 1963. The Welsh international also went on to play for Stoke City before playing for Great Harwood at the end of his career. Noted football historians Rob Sawyer and David France have received plenty of support in bringing this eventful life story to publication later this year, and have been researching and writing Roy’s biography drawing on exclusive interviews, archive material and Roy’s own unpublished memoir notes.

Welcome to Constitution Street, Edinburgh. The street, like the world at large, is in a moment of flux. Part memoir, part social history and a call to action, Constitution Street (£12.99, 978 1912489206) is an antidote to an age of personal and political anxiety, where the real-life stories shared with Jemma Neville and framed by her own, reveal the courage, perseverance and capacity for love within us all. It’s published in September by 404Ink and has racked up some great quotes from fellow authors with Helen Sedgwick saying “Jemma Neville’s important debut is both personal and political, insightful but never judgemental and, above all, compassionate. An essential read for anyone who wants to move forward, with hope.” Gavin Francis called it “a love letter to Scotland – its past, present and future – and an exhilarating portrait of the power of community in a time of change. Transformative and inspirational.” It will be Scottish Book of the Month at Blackwell’s South Bridge branch, thanks guys!

And in this week’s Hot Topics; here's the new song from Tay Tay, here's Boris’s leadership bid via Cassetteboy and here's the trailer for the new 2020 Top Gun movie!

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 July 2019

Compass Points 313

I love this terrific 15-minute film from Pluto, celebrating their 50th birthday. A good opportunity to remind you that there’s plenty of 50th birthday POS material available so if you want to run a Pluto promo in your shop then see your Compass Area Sales Manager for details! Pluto have a new series called Outspoken launching this September, and if you’d like a sneak preview, then they have some booklets available with twenty pages from the two launch books Behind Closed Doors: Sex Education Transformed (£9.99, pb, 978 0745338736) and Mask Off: Masculinity Redefined (978 0745338743, £9.99, pb). If you’d like them, then please email with Outspoken in the subject line and your name and bookshop address.

We’re very excited to hear that Andy Grant, author of De Coubertin’s You'll Never Walk (pb, £8.99, 978 1909245815) is going to be on the BBC’s Celebrity MasterChef this autumn! This inspirational memoir of the young soldier blown up during a routine foot patrol in Afghanistan is a story of courage, grit, determination and never giving up, and when MasterChef airs there is bound to be lots more interest in it. There’s been loads of coverage in the nationals about this – you can find out all about it here.

How often do you find a leadership book from someone who admits they’re not always that good at it? When asked to describe his own leadership style, teacher and advisor Steve Munby uses the word imperfect. This is not something he apologises for. Too often, he feels we are given examples of leaders who are put on some kind of pedestal, lauded as superheroes who have it all worked out and are so good at what they do that nobody else can come close. Imperfect Leadership: A Book For Leaders Who Know They Don't Know It All (hb, £20, 978 1785834110) is the antidote to that flawed perception. At the heart of the book are edited highlights of the twelve keynote speeches delivered to increasingly large audiences of school leaders between 2005 and 2017. These speeches, delivered at the Seizing Success and Inspiring Leadership conferences, form the structure around which Steve's story and insights are wrapped. Richard Gerver, educator, and author said “Steve’s humility, humanity and intellect – and ability to make the complex simple – shine through in this remarkable and deeply insightful book.” It’s just been published by Crown House, and if you’d like to try before you buy, then we have three copies available for the first booksellers to email with Leadership Please in the subject line, and your name and bookshop address.

Well, we can’t mention imperfect leadership without a masterclass from that expert in the field, David Brent, musing here on his leadership style to a very young Olivia Coleman!

We're over the moon to share the news that Ned Denny has won the Seamus Heaney Prize for his Carcanet debut Unearthly Toys: Poems & Masks (£12.99, pb, 978 1784105389). Professor Nick Laird, chair of the judging panel said: “Ned Denny’s book is a terrific and complex hybrid of the ancient and modern, shot through with flashes of surrealism and wit. It’s also deeply felt, earnest, and concerned with the large questions of being alive, of loving, of trying to exist in a secular world separated from nature. It’s imaginative work – allusive, elusive, dense in its diction and music: Denny is immersed in the canon, and one can see Ezra Pound, Robert Herrick, even Seamus Heaney himself, contribute to his voice.” You can read more about the award here.

Congratulations to all the booksellers scooping up a new bursary from James Patterson, who has awarded twenty of them the Young Bookseller Special Achievement Award in recognition of their "outstanding" work; you can read more about that in the Bookseller here. The bestselling author wants to bring attention to bookshops and to encourage young people into the industry. The winners, all booksellers aged 25 and under, have worked in a bookshop for at least 12 months and were nominated by their managers or colleagues. They will each receive a prize of £500 each. Tom McKnight, one of the recipients of the award from The Haslemere Bookshop, said: "This award means a massive amount to me as it offers a hopeful future for bookshops all over the UK and Ireland. I know reading will continue to inspire young minds as it always has thanks to awards like this." This award is the latest of Patterson's numerous financial donations to support bookshops. In the past five years, Patterson has donated £500,000 to independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland to encourage children to read. This has funded projects ranging from refurbishment and expansion of children's sections to organising a bedtime reading project.

This week, Jane Hardy discussed Pink Slippers: Mum, Dementia and Me: A Story of Hope (pb, 978 1788600880, £9.99) on Talk Radio Europe and her feature in the Female section of the Daily Mail was published last week, entitled I Reversed Mum’s Dementia Just By Moving Her In With Me, you can read that here. There’s more coverage coming up for this upbeat and informative book in Woman, 50+ magazine and Simply You as well as a spot on Just Women Brooklands Radio. It’s just been published by Practical Inspiration.

Great publicity for Anne Boden and her new Kogan Page title, The Money Revolution (£14.99, pb, 978 1789660616) she’s on the cover of Future Banking magazine and there’s a three-page interview inside. The Money Revolution is a jargon-free guide which will transform the way you think about finance. Busting commonly-held myths and misconceptions on saving, spending, clearing debt and investing, it will help you develop a healthier relationship with money and transform your bank balance in the process. Anne Boden has thirty years of banking experience, and shares many insider tips as well as suggesting solutions to everyday issues such as savings and investments to pensions, bill payments and currency when abroad.

With tensions escalating between Britain and Iran, Jack Straw is much in demand by the media at present, talking about his new Biteback book The English Job: Understanding Iran and Why It Distrusts Britain (978 1785903991, £20, hb). There was a superb review in the Sunday Times last week with Justin Marozzi writing “clear sighted and lucid … this turbulent history is essential reading”  and there’s lots more publicity coming up including a serialisation in The New European, interviews on Channel 4 News, BBC Radio 5Live, The Emma Barnett Show, Sky News Adam Boulton Show, BBC World News and LBC Iain Dale Show as well as features in the Daily Mail, My Haven and the Sunday Telegraph.

Well done to Phoebe Power, who is on the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize longlist with Shrines of Upper Austria (£9.99, pb, 978 1784105341) This is the fifth year for this biennial prize of £1,000 for a distinctive first volume of poetry in English published in Britain or Ireland. The shortlist will be announced on July 9th, and the winner will be announced on National Poetry Day on 4 October. To learn more about the prize and see the full longlist, you can visit the website here.

Loads of publicity for My Life in 37 Therapies (pb, £20, 978 1910453773) the frank, funny, moving and ultimately uplifting story of one woman's pursuit of happiness and inner peace. which was published by Red Door this week. Kay Hutchison has taken part in a lot of BBC radio interviews, with more to come and there will be large features in the Express this Sunday and in the Daily Mail's Femail next week. There has also been coverage in some of the biggest national Scottish media too; the Scotsman, the Sunday Post and BBC Radio Scotland.

I enjoyed the minor kerfuffle in the Commons when the Shadow Chancellor paid tribute to his Tory opponent’s “dry sense of humour” as he handed Mr Hammond a copy of David Rosenberg’s Rebel Footprints (pb, £12.99, 978 0745338552), described by Pluto as a “truly radical response to conservative heritage tours and banal day trips”. The move echoed the 2015 moment when Mr McDonnell handed Mr Hammond’s predecessor George Osborne a copy of the Little Red Book, by Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong. Mr Hammond quipped: “I much prefer this Little Red Book to the one that he gave to my predecessor, although I have to say I haven’t read this one and I have read the other one.” The story was covered in the Mail,  the Express, The New European, and Politics Home,  Rebel Footprints is now published in its second edition and is no longer red but bright and multicoloured! To celebrate, Pluto are offering five copies to the first booksellers to email with Rebel Please in the subject line and their name and bookshop address.

Another great review this week for The Flying Boat That Fell to Earth (pb, £9.99, 978 0993291166) in Flypast magazine, which means that all three of the main newsstand magazines about aviation have given it the thumbs up. This titles has already had much praise from writers as varied as William Boyd: “A fascinating and strangely inspiring story” and Jeremy Clarkson who wrote “The extraordinary story of the Corsair is a good yarn, and yarns are as hard to come by in commercial flying these days as leather upholstery and hulls rubbed with beeswax.” The Evening Standard said “Part history, part travelogue, part essay, it is a hybrid like the machines it celebrates, and like them, it gets triumphantly airborne. . . Some of the best reflective writing about nostalgia that I have ever read. Graham Coster wishes he’d been born in time to catch the last flying boat. When you finish his witty and earnest book you will feel that he has caught it on all our behalves.” It’s published by Safe Haven.

A terrific extract of 20 photographs and captions from Amber’s Abandoned Sacred Places (£19.99, hb, 978 1782747697 ) has just gone live on MailOnline which you can see here.  It contains haunting, yet fascinating, images of once-holy sites left to crumble, and tells their intriguing stories; from a crumbling church in Indiana, Mayan pyramids in Mexico, to forgotten Hindu temples in India, a Gothic abbey in Yorkshire and more. Author Lawrence Joffe writes “images like these are bound to make us wonder. Who built these places? What were their beliefs? And how did such beautiful edifices fall into ruin?”

Great review of Empty Words by Mario Levrero (pb, £8.99, 978 1911508502) in the Observer last week, which you can read here, saying it “reveals an eccentric talent with a penchant for the absurd … relishing the mundane comedy of household dynamics as much as more cosmic jokes of existence. As a calling card for Levrero’s talent, it’s certainly enticing.” It’s just been published by And Other Stories and you can read a fascinating piece by Levrero’s translator Annie McDermott here on the And Other Stories blog, about her trip to Uruguay, where she learned more about Mario Levrero’s lasting impact, including a school of writing and socks.

For four decades, Dr Linda Lancaster's healing knowledge has been available only to her star-studded client list, including Amanda Seyfried. In Harmonic Healing, her first book, she shares her lifetime of knowledge and introduces readers to what she likes to call 'The Invisible Within the Visible', the energetic roots of ill health caused by toxins, radiations, shock and stress. Dr Lancaster's six-week programme is based on natural ingredients and non-chemical processes, requiring no expensive supplements. Readers will learn how to remove energetic interferences and reclaim their health through positive lifestyle changes, including cleansing foods, detoxifying baths and homeopathic remedies. Harmonic Healing (978 1788172011, £11.99, pb) is out now from Hay House and if you’d like to see a copy then we have five to give away! Please email with Harmonic Healing in the subject line and your name and bookshop address.

Palestine +100 poses a question to twelve Palestinian writers: what might your country look like in the year 2048 a century after the tragedies and trauma of what has come to be called the Nakba? This is the first anthology of contemporary SF from Palestine, and is a bold, brilliant and inspiring sign of boundless imagination and fierce creation even in circumstances of oppression, denial, silencing and constriction. It’s out on 25 July from Comma, and if you’d like a preview copy, there are two freebies for the first booksellers to email Becca Parkinson  with Palestine +100 in the subject line and your name and bookshop address.

Sandra Ireland is fast becoming an exciting new voice in the psychological thriller genre. Her third novel, The Unmaking of Ellie Rook is a darkly gothic tale in which folklore and legend play an important part as in Ireland’s previous book, Bone Deep. LoveReading said “Sandra Ireland's novels speak to me, darkly mesmerising with throbbing attitude and heart, they are also just that little bit different”. It’s just been published by Birlinn, and if you’d like to read it before you order lots for your shop then there are proofs available – just email with Unmaking Ellie in the subject line and your name and bookshop address.

As a former Ambassador to the United States, Robin Renwick has been in much demand by the media, and this week was interviewed by the Guardian, CNN, ITV and Channel 5 News. He also of course found opportunities to talk about his Biteback book Not Quite a Diplomat (£20, hb, 978 1785904592)

Well, I haven’t got any book-related music stories to finish with this week, so let’s have a quick round-up of three completely irrelevant but nonetheless vitally important hot topics of the week instead. This is the new Billie Eilish/Justin Bieber song; this  is six minutes of highlights from the England vs Australia cricket World Cup match and this is what Curtis’s family think of Maura. 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