Friday 31 January 2020

Compass Points 335

The mental health of our children is a vitally important topic and much in the news at present as you can see in this Guardian feature raising concerns that many are still failing to get vital support at an early stage. This article in the TES talks about how schools can boost the mental wellbeing of their pupils and Critical have an excellent series edited by Jonathan Glazzard on tackling mental health in schoolchildren. There are three books each entitled Meeting the Mental Health of Learners, for 0-5 Years (978 1912508891), 4-11 years (978 1912508082) and 11-18 Years (978 1912508129). There is also Jonathan’s brilliant book Social Media and Mental Health in Schools (978 1912508167) which helps teachers tackle this tricky issue with a range of practical solutions, discussing both the problems and benefits that social media presents and helping children to develop their digital resilience. Critical is a featured a Bertram’s Publisher of the Month in February, offering an extra 5% on all orders so this really is a great time to order these titles! And if you want to find out more about Critical have a look here, they also have a terrific study skills series that is for various careers, including education, nursing, social work, and policing.

Hanoch Levin, by almost general consent, is Israel’s greatest playwright. Born in Tel Aviv in 1943, he composed over sixty plays, garnering numerous awards and huge critical acclaim in his lifetime. Published now for the first time in English translation, his Selected Plays Volumes One (978 1786829139) Two (978 1786829146,) and Three (978 1786829122) translated by Evan Fallenberg, Jessica Cohen and Naaman Tamuz will be published by Oberon in March. These three volumes enable access to work that has been highly regarded in Israel and Europe for years and provide a fascinating addition to the canon of world drama. The Guardian said of his writing: ‘Like Pinter, Levin could delve deep into a family's dysfunctionality; like Stoppard, he could take form and make it the essence of the play; and like Ayckbourne, he used comic routines to portray a black and sinister tale.’ We have five proof copies of Levin’s Selected Plays Volume One, to give away, if you’d like one then please email Cara Thompson Their publication will be marked by an exciting National Theatre Platform Event on 3 March featuring a panel of directors including David Lan and Ari Folman and performances by high profile UK actors; the details are here. If any bookseller would be interested in attending this event then please email Cara, as above.

We’re loving this great list of 57 books to watch out for in 2020 – all from independent publishers that featured in the Irish Times this week. Two books are on it from Comma: The Book of Newcastle (978 1905583102) and Europa28 (978 1912697298); two from New Island: A Quiet Tide (978 1848407541) and The True Story of the Making of Ryan’s Daughter and two from Parthian: Riverwise (978 1912109289 ) and Hello Friend We Missed You (978 1912681495). Have a read – there are loads really exciting reads for 2020 here!

Mina Gorji’s debut collection for Carcanet, The Art of Escape (978 1784108823, £9.99, pb) is the Poetry Book of the Month in the Telegraph you can see that here. This colourful and vivid first collection continues the course of Gorji's meticulous explorations of 'the strange and sometimes darker side of nature' and the different forms and meanings of escape: dandelions crossing the ocean, the journey of a gall wasp from Aleppo to England, the transformation of an armadillo into music. These poems shift by degrees until new patterns and sounds emerge, transforming the familiar into unexpected configurations. There’s a launch event for it on 18 February at Heffers in Cambridge which you can find out more about here.

Two more great reviews for Ian Shircore’s witty and warm book So Brightly at the Last: Clive James and the Passion for Poetry (£18.99, hb, 978 1913062071) this week, first in The Spectator and secondly in Standpoint. It’s available from Red Door.

Reviews in the Times, Guardian and Scotsman for Trump and the Puritans (978 1785905087, £20, hb) which has just been published by Biteback. The year 2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower Pilgrims to the New World and their establishment of a godly colony in (what was for them) the 'American wilderness'. But it is also the year of the next Presidential election, one where the current occupant is expected to stand for re-election. Many millions of Americans will not see this as a random juxtaposition of events, since for them the unlikely person of Donald Trump is the one chosen by God to implement a twenty-first-century programme of godly rule and Trump and the Puritans argues that while Donald Trump is certainly no Puritan, the long-term influence of these 17th century radicals has played a major part in delivering political power to Trump.

This is fun, Waterstone’s have brought together the modern greats from the past twenty years; those books that have flown off their shelves and kept readers turning the pages. Have a look at their selection, and see if you agree with their choices of what’s been important in the last two decades!

OK, it’s not Monday, it’s Friday, but if you’re looking for a way to make yourself more productive, then The Monday Revolution (pb, £12.99, 9781788601481) by David Mansfield is the book for you. Coming in March from Practical Inspiration it shows how directors, managers and business owners can get more done, more quickly. David’s advice is widely sought from start-ups to established organisations. All are looking for help to solve those tricky everyday problems and there isn’t much he hasn’t seen. His early career in the commercial operations of the advertising and media industries exposed him to the best and worst excesses of the business world.

We all know that Brian May is absolutely tireless in his promotion of London Stereo’s fabulous 3D publishing programme, and so it was great to see these pics of him in Tokyo making dreams come true today signing books for his ecstatic fans! Queen in 3D has shot up Japan's charts to position No1 in Rock Books!

Policy Press/Bristol University Press is also a featured publisher of the month in February with Bertram’s and there’s lots to like about their Big Ideas titles which present critical thought and evidence in a succinct and readable way to help to untangle contemporary social issues. These books aim to surprise, disrupt and change the way we think, addressing cross-cutting issues such as class, race, gender, politics and social inequality. One such title is The Class Ceiling (978 1447336105) which is new in paperback. This important book takes readers behind the closed doors of elite employers to reveal how class affects who gets to the top. Two more key titles are Too Hot to Handle: The Democratic Challenge of Climate Change (978 1529206029, £12.99, pb) and The Shame Game: Overturning the Toxic Poverty Narrative (978 1447349266). And look out too for The Research Journal (978 1447352785 which is coming in March and Enemies of the People (978 1529204506) coming in April.

Lots of publicity for And What Do You Do? What the Royal Family Don’t Want You To Know by Norman Baker (978 1785904912, £20, hb) which came out in the autumn from Biteback. The way the royals seem to be behaving at the moment this book is likely to run and run! There have been interviews with Norman on Sky, Radio 4, BBC, Talk Radio and LBC and features in the Mail, Sun and Times. What makes this book so unusual is that Baker is himself a member of the Privy Council, the body that officially advises the monarch. By turns irreverent and uncompromising, And What Do You Do? asks important questions about the future of the world's most famous royal family. You can watch an illuminating interview with Norman talking about the book on YouTube here.

And in this week’s Hot Topics, I’m not going anywhere near the B word, so let’s find out instead which author favours which font? According to this great piece in the Guardian, for many it’s Times New Roman all the way – who knew?!

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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