Friday 28 February 2020

Compass Points 339

Carol Vincent, the author of Tea and the Queen (£40.00, 978 1447351955, hb), was on Thinking Allowed on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday, you can listen to that here. Carol explored the way in which children are being taught about ‘fundamental British values’ such as democracy and tolerance and asks whether this government-imposed requirement too easily results in a celebration of reductionist symbols and stereotypes of Britishness? Drawing on observations of teaching, as well as teachers' views and experiences Carol's book which has just been published by Policy Press analyses how teachers make sense of the mandatory promotion of these values, and what ideas of citizenship and identity they offer to their pupils. This is the first research book to look at this subject in detail and is highly topical, exploring the intersection of counter terrorism/extremism policy and education.

And talking of fundamental values, here are the top ten movies that definitely overdid the Britishness! Cor blimey guvnor, I think you’ll all enjoy these truly painful stereotypes!

The ability to climb cracks is at the core of a climber's craft. Crack Climbing (£26, pb, 978 1911342762) by Pete Whittaker (widely regarded as one of the best crack climbers in the world) provides a single point of reference for all crack climbing techniques, regardless of the grade you climb. Pete is touring throughout March to promote his book which has just been published by Vertebrate. The tour encompasses Horsham, Andover, Exeter, Leamington, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Stirling, Penrith, Brecon, Cheltenham, Malvern, Caernarfon, Chesterfield, Gateshead and Sale and you can find out more about that here.

A really interesting guide to contemporary Arabic literature in translation here in RTE this week. One of the authors talked about is Hassan Blasim, the award-winning short story writer of The Iraqi Christ and The Madman of Freedom Square. His eagerly awaited debut novel, God 99 (978 1905583775, £9.99, pb) is coming from Comma in July.

Terrific article here in the Guardian this week by award-winning journalist and author Mary O Hara, author of The Shame Game arguing that extreme inequality and poverty is caused by political choices, so we need a new narrative to challenge the stereotype that it is caused by personal flaws or bad life decisions. Drawing on a two-year multi-platform initiative, this book by, asks how we can overturn this portrayal once and for all. Crucially, she turns to the real experts to try to find answers the people who live it. The Shame Game (978 1447349266, £19.99, pb) was published this week by Policy Press.

Here’s some literary Friday fun! Prof Kathryn Sutherland, Austen expert and trustee of the Jane Austen House Museum has come up with what BBC Arts claim is ‘the hardest Pride and Prejudice quiz ever.’ You can try it here to see if you know your Bingleys from your Bennets, your Wickhams from your Williams, and indeed Fitzwilliams!

How can we put the ‘human’ back into Human Resources? Combining her own research with twenty years’ experience of leading OD and cultural change, Kath Howard encourages HR leaders to think big and to think personal. Accessible and compelling, People Not Paperclips (978 1788601337, pb, £14.99) is a refreshing blend of practical insights, stories, and tools that will help you create an environment in which people can do their best work. It’s just been published by Practical Inspiration and there are articles in the newsletter of  the Academy of Executive Coaching, the March issue of Business & Management Magazine entitled 'How to move beyond free fruit and table tennis to really engage staff', three pages in The HR Director and a feature on which you can read here.

We mentioned this a few weeks ago, and we now have more information for you! Track Record (pb, £13.99, 978 1902719832) the autobiography of Olympic gold medallist Darren Campbell will be published on 21 May by St David’s Press – how exciting! Darren is one of Britain's most successful and popular athletes, yet despite his prominence as a public figure the true story that lies behind his fame and success has not been made public, until now. Track Record tells Darren’s remarkable story as an athlete, businessman and broadcaster. From painfully humble and deprived beginnings in a father-less home on one of Europe ‘s most notorious inner-city estates, Darren reveals his life growing up on the streets of Moss Side, Manchester and how breaking out of a cycle of misbehaviour and petty crime via his athletic ability transformed his life.

Some good publicity for The Last Blue Mountain (£12.99, pb, 978 1912560424), which is published by Vertebrate next week. There’s a great review on LoveReading which you can read here saying ‘as I reached the end of The Last Blue Mountain and closed the final page I confess I said a silent thanks. It was not just to the late Ralph Barker for writing this excellent book, but to Tony Streather and his fellow climbers, who are the kind of men who inspire us and whose tales of bravery and resilience will continue to enthral for generations to come.’ There’s more information in the Bookseller here.

Tune into Radio 3 tonight at 10pm to hear poet Mina Gorji on The Verb with Ian McMillan as they explores the language of leaving, resettling and exile with songwriter Ana Silvera and poets John McAuliffe, Igor Klikovac, and AndrĂ© Naffis-Sahely. You’ll be able to listen to it here. Mina Gorji’s colourful and vivid first collection, The Art of Escape (pb, £9.99, 9781784108823) continues her meticulous exploration 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. It’s just been published by Carcanet.

And in this week’s Hot Topics, Compass Points is a coronavirus-free zone, so here's the new song from Lady Gaga, here's the UK’s Eurovision entry and here's the latest Taylor Swift video!

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 21 February 2020

Compass Points 338

You are no doubt aware of the BBC4 television series A Very British History which focuses on the many migrant communities who have settled in the UK and the positive contribution they have made to British life. Next week sees the airing of a really interesting documentary examining the migration history, settlement and experiences of the brilliant British Bangladeshi community. A Very British History: British-Bangladeshis goes out on Wednesday 26th February at 9pm on BBC4, presented by Aminul Hoque; you can watch a trailer for it here and here is a BBC press release on the series. It’s already available on the iPlayer here. Aminul Hoque is the author of a book that links in really well to this programme, British-Islamic Identity (978 1858566030, £16.99, pb). By looking at the lives and multifaceted identities of six British-born third-generation Bangladeshis from East London. it examines how it feel to be constructed as the violent, terrorist, un-British ‘other’. It shows how these young people have constructed a new British-Islamic identity for themselves, offering important new insight and understanding of their own stories of identity. Do they see themselves as Bangladeshi, British, Muslim, Londoners, none of these or a fusion of them all? Their stories are powerful, clear and unsettling, charting their journeys from invisibility to visibility and from the periphery to the core of social life. The issues explored in both the documentary and book are so relevant in this current climate of heightened xenophobia and hate towards minority communities; and hopefully both will help to increase understanding and tolerance. British-Islamic Identity is published by Trentham Books.

Congratulations to Carcanet, Comma, Parthian and New Island, who have all made the regional shortlists for Small Press of the Year in the British Book Awards! In total, 40 publishers are shortlisted. Philip Jones, chair of the judges and editor of the Bookseller, said: ‘For a second year, this shortlist shows how publishing is thriving across the regions and countries of the United Kingdom and Ireland. The shortlist shows companies every bit as dedicated to their authors as the bigger publishers and with some notable success stories contained in their submissions. It is our pleasure to platform their hard work once again.’ You can see the lists in full here. The regional and country winners will be announced on 20th March and the overall winner will be announced on 18th May.

And in more British Book Awards news, the Independent Bookshop of the Year Regional Shortlists are in too! Have a look here to see them – it’s terrific to see so many of our favourite customers on the lists – congratulations all! Tom Tivnan, one of the judges, said: ‘There is a new strength and vibrancy of the indie bookshop sector and you can see why with this year's regional finalists, who all meld passion, creativity and innovation to become true hubs of their communities.’ Hear hear!

A nice mention for Waymaking: An Anthology of Women’s Adventure Writing, Poetry and Art by Helen Mort this week in a big travel feature in the Guardian that you can read here entitled ‘From horse marathons to Roman running: 11 great UK adventures’. Winner of the Mountain Literature Award in the Banff Mountain Book Competition 2019, Waymaking (pb, 978 1910240755, £17.99) is a stirring anthology of prose, poetry and artwork by women who are inspired by wild places, adventure and landscape. It’s published by Vertebrate.

There was a really fascinating interview with Inua Ellams talking to Jon Snow on the Channel 4 News on Monday evening about his bold new retelling at the National Theatre of Chekhov's classic play, Three Sisters. The iconic characters are relocated to Owerri, 1967, on the brink of the Biafran Civil War, where Lolo, Nne Chukwu and Udo are grieving the loss of their father. Months before, two ruthless military coups plunged the country into chaos. Fuelled by foreign intervention, the conflict encroaches on their provincial village, and the sisters long to return to their former home in Lagos. You can see the Channel 4 interview here and this new edition of Three Sisters (978 1786829665, pb, £9.99) is published by Oberon.

Exciting news this week that Possum has been shortlisted for the CAMEO Awards 2020 in the Book to Film category! Huge congrats to Mathew Holness who adapted his short story of the same name from Comma’s The New Uncanny, (£7.99, pb, 978 1905583188) into this terrifying film. You can watch a trailer here.

Things went flat for two burglars who broke into London bookshop Gay’s the Word, after police caught them quaffing prosecco in the shop’s basement! You can read the full story in the Guardian here. The thieves took money from the box on the counter where they had been collecting for the LGBT+ youth charity Mosaic, but as bookseller Uli Lenart explained, ‘We were sad about the money for charity but we’ve received so many donations we’ve got far more money for Mosaic now than we had before. The positive community response has been wonderful. Customers turning up with bunches of flowers, people dropping off bottles of prosecco, publishers sending us free books and boxes of chocolates. We’ve felt really held and supported, and we’ve found that deeply touching.’

An extremely interesting piece in the Guardian last weekend which you can read here about life Britain’s uni campuses. It reveals that far from being hotbeds of political correctness as the media might have you believe, universities are ignoring victims of sexual harassment, racism and bullying. The author of Pluto’s next title in their Outspoken series, Lola Olufemi was quoted at length. Her title Feminism Interrupted: Disrupting Power (£9.99, pb,978 0745340067) is published along with Split: Class Divides Uncovered (978 0745340210, £9.99, pb) on 20th March.

Two Red Door titles have been shortlisted for the NZ Booklovers Award for Best Adult Fiction Book 2020. They are The Claim (£9.99, pb, 978 1910453735) and The Fell. The Claim is a gripping novel about love, loss and companionship, set during one claustrophobic summer, against the remote and beautiful backdrop of New Zealand's southern Alps which was also longlisted for the Michael Gifkins Prize. The Fell (pb, £9.99, 978-1910453742) is a debut novel set in an unspecified time and location, with an unnamed boy who is sent to a boarding house for dysfunctional youths. As one reviewer said ‘clever, funny, sad, disturbing and uplifting – entirely absorbing.’

A special event is coming up for Lorna Goodison who will be awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry at a ceremony in March. To celebrate, Carcanet are holding an event at the London Review Bookshop with Lorna and Linton Kwesi Johnson which you can find out more about here.

Does all the good stuff only happen at weekends? Have Sunday evenings become depressing, as the working days ahead come into view? Has your week been reduced to pointless meetings, over-complicated tasks and disillusioned colleagues? David Mansfield is convinced there’s a better way, and his new book The Monday Revolution is getting lots of PR including a Recommended Read by We Are the City, numerous speaking events, Q&A sessions and presentations and interviews on the Right Angles and  James Ashton podcasts. The Monday Revolution (978-1788601481, pb, £12.99) has also had some major endorsements , with the chairman of Burberry saying ‘I know from experience David doesn’t do waffle and I wish he’d written this no-nonsense and no-jargon book years ago’ and the CEO of ITV writing: ‘David Mansfield was always known as a tough operator from his earliest days in TV. He is also known for building strong teams who share a unified vision and have a lot of fun. His range of experience written in his inimitable, no-nonsense, dry style will make this a very useful and readable book.’ It’s published on 19 March by Practical Inspiration.

The Last Blue Mountain (pb, £14.95, 978 1912560424) by Ralph Barker is one of the great mountaineering classics. It tells the harrowing true story of the 1957 expedition to Pakistan’s Mount Haramosh when two of a team of four climbers were avalanched into a snow basin at 20,000 feet, only for the rescue attempt by their teammates to result in the plight of all four climbers as they tried to liberate themselves from an icy grave. Irish Mountain Log said the book is ‘Equalling, if not excelling, Touching the Void’ and the Daily Telegraph commented, ‘the last part of the book is merciless to the feelings of the reader.’ It has long been out of print with second-hand copies fetching large prices, but on 5 March Vertebrate are publishing a new edition. With reports of stricken climbers rarely out of national media, there was some nice publicity in My with the announcement here that Vertebrate is donating £5 to Mountain Rescue England and Wales for every copy sold. 

The Booksellers Association have joined with more than fifty major retailers including Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons, calling on the government to take the first steps towards fundamental business rates reform in the upcoming budget. BA MD Meryl Halls said: ‘The BA has been lobbying on business rates reform for many years. Bookshops of course play an exceptional role on those high streets lucky enough to have one, and we know the added benefit that bookshops bring to their communities, their local cultures and to their customers, over and above the commercial drivers they represent.’ You can read more on that story in the Bookseller here.

And in this week’s Hot Topics here's Donald Trump asking 'What was that all about?' as he mocks Oscars winner Parasite, here’s Dave live at The Brits and here are some really cool Book Nook Shelf Inserts – 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

Friday 14 February 2020

Compass Points 337

Happy Valentine’s Day! We do have a love poem for you – taken from Carcanet’s new collection by Peter Gizi which the Guardian said was ‘a new love song … a remarkable fusion of sound and vision, realism and fanciful flight.’ Read on to find out more!

Compass are very pleased to welcome CAMRA to our ever-growing list of client publishers! The Good Beer Guide 2020 (£15.99, pb, 978 1852493585), now in its 47th edition is fully revised and updated, with detailed entries recommending 4,500 of the UK’s best real-ale pubs in rural and urban areas. All entries are selected by CAMRA members and it includes a unique breweries section along with hundreds of CAMRA tasting notes. The full-colour introduction includes a foreword by eminent physicist Professor Brian Cox, who fresh from working alongside Manchester brewers J.W.Lees to brew a beer aptly named Cosmic Brew, gives us his personal story of the importance of beer and brewing. British Guild of Beer Writers’ Beer Writer of the year Emma Inch writes about how diversity enriches the beer world while licensee and former model Jodie Kidd writes about the importance of preserving the local, drawing upon her experiences as the licensee of the Half Moon in Kirdford. As well as the Guide, CAMRA have loads of other delectable titles – have a look here for more information!

Do judges use the power of the state for the good of the nation? Or do they create new laws in line with their personal views? When newspapers reported a court ruling on Brexit, senior judges were shocked to see themselves condemned as enemies of the people. But that did not stop them ruling that an order made by the Queen on the advice of her prime minister was just a blank piece of paper. Enemies of the People? How Judges Shape Society (£14.99, pb, 978 1529204506) by Joshua Rozenberg, asks how the judges can maintain public confidence while making hard choices. Joshua Rozenberg is Britain’s best-known commentator on the law and the only journalist to be made an honorary QC. There have already been high-profile testimonials for this title from professionals and lawyers including Lord Pannick, Dinah Rose QC, Baroness Ruth Deech and Lord Dyson, calling it ‘informed and entertaining’ and ‘clear and entertaining’. The author will be heavily promoting the book via his own Twitter (@JoshuaRozenburg, 82.1K followers) and Facebook pages and there are a whole array of promotional events including:
  • ·         8th March Jewish Book Week event with Blackwell’s
  • ·         High profile panel launch event at Gray’s Inn 21st April. Confirmed speakers: Dominic Grieve QC, Lord Pannick, Professor Alison Young
  • ·         Blackwell’s High Holborn launch 29 April
  • ·         Bristol Festival of Ideas at We the Curious in Bristol 5th May
  • ·         Hay Festival 25 May
  • ·         Blairgowrie Literary Festival 14 June
  • ·         Mishcon de Reya client evening 23 June
  • ·         Edinburgh Book Festival August
  • ·         Society of Legal Scholars conference September (TBC)
  • ·         Bar Conference November (TBC)

There will be lots of media coverage including a Law Society Gazette article which you can read here, a feature in the Jewish Chronicle, a slot on the Better Human podcast: in April and an extract in Booklaunch magazine. We also expect plenty of reviews in the broadsheets and tabloids, on the regional news stations and the BBC. Enemies of the People is published on 21 April by Bristol University Press.

We’re so impressed by these before and after pictures from The Bookcase in Hebden this week. Great to hear that their flood resilience methods have made such a difference to their ability to recover. Fingers crossed that storm Dennis doesn’t cause any damage this weekend. If it’s not too close to the bone, you may enjoy this little five minute film from Inside Cinema of storms in movies!

The poem of the Week in the Guardian this week is Song (£14.99, 978 1784108229, pb) by Peter Gizzi taken from Sky Burial: New and Selected Poems which is out from Carcanet this month. Gathered from over thirty years of work, the poems in this generous selection strike a dynamic balance of honesty, emotion, intellectual depth and otherworldly resonance. Haunted, vibrant and saturated with luminous detail, Gizzi enlists the American vernacular in a magical and complex music. The Guardian said Song was ‘alive with thought-in-action’, and you can read it here

‘Shame is how they get away with it. Shame is the weapon they use. Shame is the weapon you use on yourself that makes you feel so useless. And those who are shamed most often and most deeply, made to feel ashamed for so much of their life, are the poorest among us. Shame beats you down. Shame is an ancient form of control. Shame is the mechanism used to control behaviour.’ You can read more of Danny Dorling's powerful foreword to The Shame Game (pb, £12.99, 978 1447349266) here. In this book, Mary O’Hara shows why the ‘shame game’ being played out against poorer people in the US and the UK is so destructive and effective and dissects how it works to help keep the poor, poor. It’s published by Policy Press this month.

How To Explain Absolutely Anything to Absolutely Anyone: The Art and Science of Teacher Explanation has just had a great review on UK Ed Chat saying ‘In just seven chapters Andy Tharby has written a stunningly helpful and clear guide to explanation.  I suppose given the title of the book it would be horribly ironic if he was not able to explain things clearly – but this is clearly a man who can put his theory into practice.’ This is a book packed with helpful ideas, some to challenge the reader to think, some to inspire the reader to improve their practice and some to help remind us about our core beliefs about teaching.’ This wise and compelling exploration of curriculum, knowledge, memory, human psychology, is new from Crown House.

You can hear Resist (£12.99, pb, 978 1912697311) editor Ra Page on the Versus History podcast this week discussing the anthology, that’s here. The paperback is out from Comma on 21 May.

We’re very much looking forward to the autobiography of Olympic gold and silver medallist Darren Campbell – the popular athlete now turned coach and pundit, written with
Trystan Bevan which is coming from St David’s Press in May 2020. Watch this space for more details! Here he is in action!

Isabel Galleymore has been shortlisted for the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize for Significant Other (pb, £9.99, 978 1784107116). This debut collection exploring ecology, extinction and climate change was a Telegraph Book of the Year for 2019, and has already been shortlisted for the Forward Prize. The John Pollard Poetry Prize is awarded annually for an outstanding debut English language poetry collection. It is an international award which places no restriction on place of publication and is distinguished by its global reach. You can find out more and see who else is shortlisted on the Carcanet website here.

Lucy Werner was announced a Top 100 Female Entrepreneur by the F:Entrepreneur campaign this week, that story is here and Hype Yourself (£14.99, pb, 978 1788601238)is selling really well! Other recent coverage includes Just Entrepreneurs Top 4 Reads for Startups, a review in The Homeworker, a double page feature and cover in Startups Magazine, a review in GoWrite magazine a piece in Support Local magazine and a guest slot on The Future is Female podcast. It’s published by Practical Inspiration.

Super little piece on It’s Nice That – a website championing creativity – on Seats of London (£12.99, 978 1916045316), entitled What’s Under Your Bum? The Importance of Moquette Design on the London Underground. You can read that one here. It’s published by Safe Haven.

A recent feature in the Guardian entitled ‘Forget wellness. Marmalade is the key to a long, healthy life’, noted how much correspondence they’d had recently on their readers’ marmalade-making habits with reflections on its powers for longevity. Marmalade by Maggie Mayhew (978 0754830450, £4.99, hb) is a great little hardback, and a fab introduction to this classic preserve. There are recipes such such as Oxford Marmalade, St Clement's Marmalade and Lemon and Ginger Marmalade, as well as more unusual combinations like tangerine and lemongrass and peach and kumquat. It also features lots of recipes that include marmalade and the beautiful photographs are sure to inspire and the easy-to-follow instructions guarantee successful results every time. It’s published by Lorenz.

And in this week’s Hot Topics, here's the verdict on the new James Bond theme from Billie Eilish with a fascinating piece here in the Guardian about whether these sultry anthems, usually sung by women, are actually subverting 007. Here's the man that got himself a Valentine’s date by putting up a billboard and in case you need something to pep you up here's Shakira and J. Lo's Super Bowl show from missed it last week! And OMG, a trailer for Stranger Things 4 was just released!

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 7 February 2020

Compass Points 336

Based in Sheffield, on the doorstep of the Peak District, Vertebrate have access to world-class hillwalking, running, mountain biking and climbing and this provides the ongoing inspiration for their ever-expanding award-winning range of books. They’re driven by their own passion for exploration and the natural world and aim to inspire everyone to get out there. In the picture you can see Vertebrate owner Jon Barton climbing at Curbar Edge. Their mission is to connect readers – young and old – with the outdoors and the positive impact it can have on well-being. I’ll be telling you lots more about their titles in the coming months, in the meantime have a look here at their website and forthcoming publishing programme.

Who’s watching Sex Education? Isn’t it brilliant? The UK government has introduced new guidelines for sex and relationship education in schools and this legislation has been hitting headlines here in the Independent and here in the Welsh Metro. Luckily, Critical have two essential titles tackling sex education provision at both primary and secondary age which are coming out in June. There’s Relationships Education for Primary Schools (978 1913063610, £15.99, pb) and Relationships and Sex Education for Secondary Schools (978 1913063658, £15.99, pb). These practical toolkits provide clear and practical advice for teaching the topics of the new framework, including controversial issues such as parental right to withdraw and how to tackle relationships and sex education in faith schools. There is an emphasis throughout on pupil well-being and on the importance of partnerships with parents. And for a wider readership, there’s also What Every Parent Should Know About Education (978 1913063139, £14.99, pb) also out in June. This book takes the reader through all the most important issues in education, comparing commonly-held beliefs with simple summaries of the evidence, providing you with clear, jargon-free information. It covers topics including school choice, testing and assessment, homework and revision, primary- and secondary-specific topics, stress and mental health, and special needs.

As American Dirt zooms to number one in the bestseller lists, at the same time as polarizing opinion for reportedly perpetuating stereotypes about Mexicans, the phrase ‘writing my Latino novel’ has started trending on Twitter. Here are some of the funniest…

It’s the season when students are starting to crank up their revision in earnest, so may I draw your attention to the excellent Connell Guides. In 2010 Jolyon Connell, founder of popular current affairs magazines The Week tried to help his daughter Flora with her A-level English and was astonished by the lack of accessible, up-to-date guides that would help them understand the finer points of the play. Jolyon commissioned experts in various literary fields to write guide books to the great novels, poems and plays on the main English syllabuses. There are now 57 books on English texts and 27 on history topics (which were launched in 2016). These books are more than just study guides; they are brilliant reads in themselves, scholarly, yet approachable and entertaining. Have a look at the website to find out a bit more. They’ve had plenty of celeb support, ‘What fantastic guides these are – I wish I’d had them when I was eighteen’ said Emma Thompson while Julian Fellows enthused ‘Connell Guides should be required reading in every school in the country.’ Rupert Everett said ‘if you want to understand great literature, these guides are perfect’ and Phillip Pullman called them ‘subtle and intelligent.’ Here's a 50 second film of the fabulous Helena Bonham Carter talking about why she loves them!

Talking of celebs, who watched the Baftas on Sunday? Rebel Wilson was undoubtedly the star and as she badmouths her own film, I very much enjoyed this short history of felines on film!

Great big double spread the Mail last Saturday, which you can see online here for Keenie Meenie: The British Mercenaries Who Got Away with War Crimes (978 0745340791, £12.99, pb) which has just been published by Pluto. Lots of other publicity too, the author Phil Miller was interviewed on the BBC Asian Networks Big Debate this week and Novara Media's TyskySour too, that’s here. It’s already been in the Observer, that’s here, on two Open Democracy blog posts here and here and Yardstick Films have just released a trailer for the documentary based on the book you can view here. It’s also in Forces Watch, The Daily Maverick, The Week, and there’s likely to be more, including the Times.
Lovely to see  In the Rose Garden by Helen Tookey as Poem of the Week here in the Guardian! It’s taken from City of Departures (978 1784107598, pb, £8.99) which is Helen’s second collection published by Carcanet. It mixes prose and verse, and a multitude of voices and structures mingle on its pages. The poems connect through repeated images, themes and tones, which echo and re-echo; neglected houses and gardens, canals, wrecked boats... liminal worlds where absence has a presence of its own, fertile ground for ghosts, fantasies, memories, and dreams.  

Compass author Katie Hopkins has been back in the news with a bang this week, thanks to entertaining YouTuber Josh Pieters, who managed to fool her into accepting an entirely fake award. Most amusing – you can read the whole hilarious story in the Metro here and watch the prank itself on YouTube here. Rude (£9.99, pb, 978 1785902468), Katie’s book which Biteback describe as ‘part memoir, part handbook for the modern woman’ is available in paperback now.

I’m very much looking forward to reading Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown (978 1789559798, £8.99, pb) which is just out from Legend. This is the number one bestselling novel in Canada this week, was one of She Reads Most Anticipated Books by Women in 2020 and a New York Post Best Book of the Week. In this dual narrative novel, a modern-day woman finds inspiration in hidden notes left by her home’s previous owner, a quintessential 1950s housewife. As she discovers remarkable parallels between this woman’s life and her own, it causes her to question the foundation of her own relationship and what it means to be a wife fighting for her place in a patriarchal society. Reviews have called this a ‘brilliant, brooding, timely novel, fraught with tension, that packs a punch. Brown knows how to keep readers riveted until the very last page.'

A publishing initiative to celebrate Black History Month in the US by putting cartoon black and brown protagonists on the covers of classics written by white people has been scrapped after a backlash saying it was disrespectful, with one author calling it ‘literary blackface.’ Dubbed ‘Diverse Editions’ the covers included Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as a black man with an afro, Dorothy from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz holding a pair of red sneakers instead of ruby slippers and Juliet, from Romeo and Juliet, wearing a hijab. The project was created by Penguin Random House, Barnes and Noble, and an advertising agency; you can read more about that here.

A great review in the New York Journal for a gorgeous new Lorenz cookbook, China: A Cookbook, 300 recipes from Beijing and Canton to Shanghai and Sichuan (978 0754831006, £25, hb) saying  ‘Historically, it’s been a ticklish problem for Chinese food writers to put together comprehensive primers of dishes that Westerners can relate to and want to cook. Tan’s latest effort beautifully meets this challenge. Absorbing, readable, uncomplicated, and delicious, China, A Cookbook, can easily fill the needs of the typical home cook yearning to dabble in Chinese.’ You can read the whole thing here.

Are you getting excited about the footie World Cup yet? A great blog review recently for Simon Hart’s seminal biog of Italia 90, World In Motion which you can read here saying ‘the access he has to the faces of Italia ’90 is astounding. Seemingly every name that resonates from that World Cup, was interviewed for the book which is excellently written; Hart’s prose is often beautifully evocative,' World in Motion (978 1916278431, pb, £12.99) is out in paperback on 20 April from DeCoubertin.

And if you fancy yourself as a bit of an expert on footie trivia, then try this quiz! Can you match the famous footballer to the famous car?!

And in this week’s Hot Topics, here's the latest on Phillip Schofield, here's a short debate on Question Time about the appropriateness or otherwise of off-the-shoulder dressing and here's a five-minute film about the history of dancing teenagers in 80’s films – because why not, it’s Friday! Yaay!

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