Friday 20 September 2019

Compass Points 320

There is a big resurgence of interest in fabric pattern and design, and there are few patterns more evocative and intricate than the seats of a tube train! A charming new book from Safe Haven celebrates all the London Transport patterns and I think this delightful hardback could do extremely well. In the Thirties top artists like Paul Nash and Enid Marx were commissioned to design patterns; nowadays every underground and overground line like gets its own unique, colour-co-ordinated moquette pattern. Seats of London, A Field Guide to London Transport Moquette Patterns (£12.99, pb, 978 1916045316) by Andrew Martin is published in conjunction with the London Transport Museum, which has the definitive archive. There’s just been a great feature on the Londonist website on the book where you can browse through the patterns – that’s here – and I urge you to order this fascinating guide which I think will be an ideal gift book for either nerdy transport fans, or Insta-conscious design-obsessed millennials! 

Beaches, marshes, mangroves, cliffs, deserts, forests, bays, deltas and estuaries; coastlines take many different forms. Now a handsome new book from Amber celebrates the world's most stunning shores, with a series of gorgeous photographs capturing the beauty of remote tropical islands, volcanic peninsulas and windswept beaches with captions explaining the story behind each entry. You can see the photographs here in this terrific article which is just up on the Mail Online. Coast (hb, £19.99, 978 1782748984) by David Ross was published this week by Amber.

And while we’re on the subject of our beautiful world, lots of booksellers and publishers are out protesting for climate action today – have a look for some extraordinary photos of climate strikes around the world.

Rather than being seen as a data-driven machine, a school should be viewed as a place that enables children to develop thoughtful perspectives on the world, through which they can pursue wisdom and be free to join in with the ancient and continuing conversation about what is it to be human. A brilliant new title Athena Versus the Machine by Martin Robinson (978 1785833021, £14.99, pb) examines how we can construct a curriculum that will allow liberal education to flourish. Anti-gimmick and pro-wisdom, the principles that he advocates will make a big difference to teachers and pupils’ lives, and will help to ensure that our young adults are better educated. It’s out on 4 October from Crown.

And talking of ensuring that our young adults are better  educated, here is Kevin the teenager undergoing the school parents evening!

“On an overstretched earth, sustainability is sacred and the elderly are made to feel as if they have overstayed their welcome. Gripping, fast-moving and tightly plotted, Overdrawn imagines a future in which we can no longer afford the luxury of old age.” So said one reviewer of Overdrawn (£8.99, pb, 978 1789550221) by N.J. Crosskey and it had a brilliant review here today in the Daily Mail who said “Crosskey paints a terrifying and profoundly upsetting portrait of a future in which the ‘snowflake’ generation is being culled by euthanasia. This compelling page-turner is so disturbingly real, I can’t stop thinking about it.” There’s a month-long Insta tour – all the details of which you can see below. It’s just out from Legend.

This week sees the publication of Alice JenningsSORTED! Essential Systems for Successful Small Businesses (£14.99, pb, 978 1788600996) and there has been coverage in Female First magazine: Top tips to get your tech working for you, that’s here  and it also featured in the Extraordinary Business Book Club newsletter, in Home Business Magazine, and will be featured on the Home Business podcast. Alice’s mission is to help business owners make informed choices in the systems and tools they use by giving them the information they need to confidently take their business to the next level. Since starting her own small business, she has worked with over 200 business owners sharing simple tips that enable better working as well as helping implement more complex systems to support growth and reduce stress. It’s published by Practical Inspiration.

There was quite a bit of publicity for Lynda Clark, the ex-Waterstone’s bookseller shortlisted for the 2019 BBC National Short Story Award, you can read the piece in the Bookseller here. and she was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row programme. As well as having her short story published in the anthology, Lynda’s debut novel Beyond Kidding (pb, £8.99, 978 1912054848) will be published on 31 October by Fairlight.  When Robert decides to impress at a job interview by making up a son, he discovers that maintaining the lie is far harder than he thought, so he invents a story that `Brodie' has been kidnapped. After all, it's not like they're going to find the fake boy. But a few weeks later, he receives a call to collect his non-existent son from the police station, a boy who looks exactly like the picture he photoshopped... “This is a remarkable debut, written with great warmth and wit. By turns devastating and hilarious, it had me from the very start, and it didn't let me go” wrote Sarah Jackson and I’m sure there will be more praise to come for this dark and quirky debut.

Hannah Pearl won Simon and Schuster’s Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition in 2017 and is now about to have her first novel a warm, light-hearted romance entitled Evie’s Little Black Book, published by Choc Lit. This is a major achievement for anyone, but especially so for Hannah, who suffers from ME, and whose writing has allowed her to escape from the reality of feeling ill all the time. There’s been quite a bit of publicity for this one, with a good article on Female First, some local press coverage with an interview on BBC Cambridge, an article coming in and a review in Heat magazine in October. If any bookseller would like a reading copy, then please email  with Evie in the subject line and your bookshop name and address. 

There are now some more photos of the customers, clients and colleagues at our fabulous party a couple of weeks ago to celebrate Compass’s 21st birthday. Have a look here to see them!

And in this week’s Hot Topics, here's  an interesting report on how although there’s been a welcome increase in BAME characters in children’s books; there has also been an increase in sweeping generalisations, a disproportionately high number of female characters named Jasmine for example. Here's how much Daniel Craig’s teeny tiny James Bond swimming trunks sold for, and here's  an update on what Theresa May is doing these days…
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

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