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

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