Friday, 24 March 2017

Compass Points 207

Darkness over Germany: A Warning from History by E. Amy Buller was originally published in 1943 and delivers a stark warning from history of how a man with little political experience rose up as a voice of the people, a voice for the disenfranchised who were suffering the injustices of social inequality and unemployment. In this powerful book, a pioneering young woman, Amy Buller, recounts the hopes and fears of Germans engulfed in the rise of fascism during the 1930s. During the years leading up to the outbreak of war, Buller defied her critics and social norms by leading delegations of British intelligentsia to Germany to learn about and confront the appeal of the Nazis. A new edition of this title is published in May by Arcadia which is going to attract a great deal of publicity. Lord Ramsbotham said recently “Many people are comparing the current turmoil in the world with what went on in the 1930s.  In the interest of the future, I hope that influential people will mark and inwardly digest the warning signs that Amy Buller so clearly identified in Darkness over Germany” and Salley Vickers called it “A book for our times. We can learn much needed lessons from Amy Buller's wisdom.” The book is being launched at St. Paul’s Cathedral on May 16th with a panel discussion cathedral floor including Rowan Williams and Baroness Helena Kennedy. The panel will be chaired by Ed Newell, the Principal of Cumberland Lodge and author of the book's afterword, and Kurt Barling, author of the book’s foreword, will also speak. Windsor Festival have confirmed an event in September with Ed Newell and Kurt Barling, and Chalke Valley History Festival and Hay Festival have also expressed strong interest. Liverpool University have confirmed a large event for the 17th May as has the Culture Bite festival in October. Tate Liverpool are also looking to organise an event alongside their exhibition on the 1930s. At Cumberland Lodge itself there is a dedicated Darkness over Germany Conference on 5-6 June and a scheduled Darkness Over Germany panel event with Theodore Zeldin on 14 July. Ed and Kurt will also be appearing on Talk Radio in May to discuss this timely reminder of how a message of hate once fuelled a nation to unite; and there will be additional radio appearances on Radio 4 and others to follow. The Mail on Sunday, The Economist, The Times, The Sunday Times and Guardian are all interested in this title – it’s going to be much talked about. Darkness Over Germany: A Warning from History (pb, £15.00, 978 1911350194) is available as a reading copy for any bookseller interested in hosting an event with Ed Newell and Kurt Barling. Please email Nuala at if you’d like one.
Staying with WWII for a moment, there is lots of great publicity for The Single Soldier (pb, £8.99, 978 1911331209) – the emotive debut novel from actor George Costigan – best known for his work in Rita, Sue and Bob Too and Happy Valley. Set in rural France, following the devastation of the war; history, secrets and painful truths collide in what renowned playwright Willy Russell has called “a magnificent, big beast of a book.” You can hear George talking about the book on BBC Radio York (2hrs 17mins into the link) here;  on BBC Radio Scotland here; on BBC West Midland (39 mins into this link) here; on BBC Tees (2hrs 5mins into this link) here; on BBC Radio Leeds (1hr 10mins into this link)  here; on The Business Desk here, and at the Middlesbrough Lit event here. There will also be interviews on BBC Stoke and BBC Berkshire and there have been features in Yorkshire Life magazine and the Halifax CourierThe Single Soldier is published on Thursday by Urbane.
Here's  an interesting article from the TLS that you may enjoy – about how prisoners are escaping from prison  – via the pages of a really good book.
Readers who love the classic, well-crafted detective fiction of Conrad, Buchan, Dickens, Conan Doyle and Dorothy L. Sayers, will absolutely adore An Unlikely Agent (pb, £8.99, 978 1846973802) which is the debut novel of Jane Menczer and is published by Polygon in May. This evocative and intriguing debut historical mystery is set in the foggy backstreets of Edwardian London and begins in 1905 with our hero Margaret Trant who lives with her ailing, irascible mother in a dreary boarding house in St John’s Wood. When a stranger on the tram hands her a newspaper open at the recruitment page, Margaret spots an advertisement that promises to ‘open new horizons beyond your wildest dreams’ and after a gruelling interview, she finds herself in a new position as a secretary in a dingy backstreet shop. But all is not as it seems; she is in fact working for a highly secret branch of the intelligence service, Bureau 8, whose mission is to track down and neutralise a ruthless band of anarchists known as The Scorpions. Margaret’s guilty love of detective fiction scarcely prepares her for the reality of true criminality, and her journey of self-discovery forms the heart of this remarkable novel, as she discovers in herself resourcefulness, courage, independence and the first stirrings of love. Jane Menczer is an excellent performer and has already done readings in performed in Foyles Charing Cross and Waterstone’s Piccadilly. If you’d like a reading copy of this atmospheric page-turning thriller, then please email Nuala at
And talking of Polygon/Birlinn, how excited were we to see Birlinn and Compass director Hugh Andrew featured in the latest edition of Country Life in a feature on small publishers! We love this fetching picture of him taken by the magazine with his dog Millie – and thousands of books!

We also love this pic of a very dapper Lee Morgan, who had to spend the whole of London Book Fair wearing his prescription sunglasses after misplacing his regular pair!
Hands up if you know what a bothy is? Well if you’re north of the border you certainly will – and The Scottish Bothy Bible (pb, £16.99, 978 1910636107) which has just been published by Wild Things has been selling like hot Forfar bridies! These remote shelters in the wilderness where walkers can spend the night free of charge have long been one of Scotland's best-kept secrets and this first ever guide to the Scottish bothies reveals the evocative, unique and often hidden network of cabins and mountain huts, crofts and farmsteads. This title is packed with stunning photography of some of Scotland’s most beautiful landscapes and is highly engaging travel writing which documents the fascinating history of each bothy and the adventurers who use them. You can see some of the gorgeous photos on the BBC website here and can hear its author Geoff Allan talking on BBC Scotland about the book here.
The Wild Guide to Scotland: a new compendium of adventures, from the best-selling Wild Guide series is out on 1 May. This paperback will guide you to 750 secret places, including wild swims, ancient forests, lost ruins, hidden beaches, secret islands, tiny glens, amazing wildlife, as well as artisanal whisky distilleries, microbreweries, and quirky places to stay. It’s full of mesmerising photography by some of Glasgow’s most young photographers – ideal reading for those seeking the ultimate weekend escape without having to leave the UK! The Wild Guide to Scotland (pb, £16.99, 978 1910636121) is by Kimberley Grant, Richard Gaston and David Cooper who are some of Glasgow’s most trend-setting young photographers and travel bloggers – you can see some of their stunning work here.
There seems to be a bit of an adventurous theme to today’s Compass Points; next up is The Mercury Travel Club which Helen Lederer described as “a joyfully warm and witty read.” After twenty-four years and eleven months of marriage, Angie Shepherd is divorced, dejected and facing a future of cardigans and cats. Best friend Patty is having none of it, and channelling her inner Richard Branson, Angie invests her divorce settlement into The Mercury Travel Club, a travel agency with a twist. But as the club gets going, things don’t quite go according to plan, and in this digital age, a little chaos brings the recognition Angie has been looking for. Witty, entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, this feel-good novel shows that it’s never too late for a second chance. The Mercury Travel Club (pb, £8.99, 978 1910453285) is by Helen Bridgett and is getting rave reviews on the book blogs as a “light-hearted, entertaining, and a genuinely lovely read.” and “uplifting, amusing chick lit for the mature reader.” It has just been published by Red Door.
So, what do we think are the best ever books and movies about travelling? See if you agree with the top twenty travel books as listed in the Telegraph here, and the Top Ten travel movies here!
Continuing with the exploratory spirit of today, comes Freedom Seeker by Beth Kempton (pb, £10.99 978 1781808054) published in April by Hay House. Beth Kempton went from being a life-loving, risk-taking adventurer to a grown-up, settled-down mother, wife and business owner, before realizing the life she had built was suffocating her. She set out on a journey to find personal freedom, and along the way encountered many others who were also feeling trapped - by their circumstances, relationships, finances, beliefs, doubts and fears. Full of profound lessons, powerful exercises and inspiring tales, this honest and courageous book will help you to live more, worry less and find a way to do what you love, every day. Beth is writing articles for the May issues of Yoga Magazine, Wilding Online, Prima and Your Fitness and lifestyle features on the book will also appear in Soul & Spirit, Your Healthy Living, Kindred Spirit and the Daily Echo.
You can watch a short video from Beth Kempton talking about her book here.
Congratulations to Carcanet poet Lorna Goodison who has just been announced as the new Poet Laureate of Jamaica, succeeding fellow Carcanet poet Mervyn Morris. The news was announced in the Jamaica Observer which you can read here.  Lorna Goodison is a poet alive to places, from Jamaica where she began and started a family, to the United States and Canada where she has made her teaching career, but always re-connecting with her Caribbean roots. She has an ear alert to histories and voice; how differently English sounds in the tropics and in colder lands, at seaside in sunlight and on prairies, mountains and in cities. She covers a wide range of subjects and themes and her instinct is to celebrate being alive in a world that is rich but in peril. “And what is the rare quality that has gone out of poetry that these marvellous poems restore?” asks Derek Walcott. “Joy.” Collected Poems by Lorna Goodison (pb, £14.99, 978 1784104665) is published in April by Carcanet and you can see her performing at the 2014 Manchester Literary Festival here.
Vintage Vegan: Recipes from Inside the World's First Vegan Restaurant by Mrs Vera Richter continues to get some great publicity, it is featured in the latest edition of Vegan Food and Living – a popular vegan magazine that reaches over 120,000 consumers each month. You can see this feature which includes recipes from the book below. There was also recently an article on Vera Richter in LA Weekly, which referred several times to the book which you can read here. Vintage Vegan (£12.99, hb, 978 0859655446) was published in December by Plexus.

What if we meat eaters talked about food the way our vegan chums do? Would it sound like this?!

There have been some super displays for our titles round the country this week; below you can see books from Pluto, Gallic, Jessica Kingsley, Biteback, and And Other Stories and in the UK’s leading socialist bookshop Bookmarks; the fabulous Madhatter Bookshop in Burford which celebrated 5 years of trading last Autumn; Foyles; the largest bookshop in Scotland: Waterstone’s Glasgow; Rough Trade in Nottingham; Easons in Ireland; and a lovely spring display at Toppings in Bath! Thanks booksellers!

That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This newsletter is sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Compass Points 206

The London Book Fair was this week of course – and one of the big books at the fair was the first Queen book ever to have been written by a band member: Queen in 3D by Brian May which is published by the London Stereoscopic Company on 25 May you can see Brian here with Compass MD Alan Jessop! The book will reveal the band through May’s eyes and words over the past forty five years in addition to never-previously-seen photos he took of the band on his stereo (3D) camera. Some of the pictures were taken on stage or behind the scenes, including intimate shots on the road and during leisure time that capture lead singer Freddie Mercury “like he has never been seen before”.
It is the first time May has written a book on Queen and the title will explore the culture, politics and atmosphere of the band and includes loads of stories about May, Mercury and the band’s relationship, which he will talk about on record for the first time. The project has taken three years to create, and as May told the Bookseller: “The whole process of writing this new kind of book was almost subconscious; as I looked at the 3-D photos, memories were evoked and the stories poured out. It’s the 3D element that makes it extra evocative. I’m hoping each image will draw readers in deeper, like me, inviting them to immerse themselves in a scene, to share an unseen Queen moment.” The Sunday Times Magazine has secured an interview with Brian May for a front-cover story on the weekend before the book goes on sale, kicking off what promises to be a massive campaign for the book. May will give a 3D presentation at Hay Literary Festival and hold a book signing Waterstone’s Piccadilly, with further signings across the country planned. Queen in 3D by Brian May (978 0957424685, £50, 32 x 240mm) comes in a slipcase which contains a 256-page deluxe hardback and an easily assembled patent 3D viewer known as the OWL, in its own envelope. It’s full colour with over 150 photographs – and it’s going to be HUGE!!

Watch Brian’s promotional video for the book here on YouTube.

To catch up on all the London Book Fair gossip and news you can go to the excellent LBF blog page on their website The Hub – which you can find here – absolutely loads of little films, podcasts and fun photos summarising the week’s events.

Spanish Crossings (978 1911331681, hb, £12.99) by John Simmons is an epic tale of love, politics and conflict, which is publishing to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the battle of Guernica and will be launched in the Foundling Museum in London on 6 April by Urbane. It opens in Spain 1937, with Lorna as she falls in love with Harry, a member of the International Brigade who had been at Guernica when it was bombed. Harry is then killed in the fighting and Lorna fears she might have lost her best chance of happiness. Coming through the war, then the post-war rebuilding, this is a novel of tragic and emotive and redemptive history which will appeal to fans of Sebastian Faulks, Pat Barker and William Trevor. “From the very first words this is a beautifully written novel” said Vesna Goldsworthy, author of Gorsky and professor of creative writing at UEA. Hear John Simmons talking about the ideas behind his novel here.

Most of us cannot think of Guernica without being reminded of Picasso’s incredibly powerful painting – his reaction to the terrible aerial bombing of this town by the Nazis. For a thought provoking and rather beautiful look at this extraordinary picture, you could watch this short film on Youtube here.

Signpost, who have been recommending the UK’s finest hotels since 1935, have just published their 78th edition of what is the definitive UK hotel directory, listing a hundred of the finest hotels in Great Britain. The guide includes luxury country house hotels set in beautiful grounds, small hotels with log fires and cosy bedrooms and smart townhouse hotels with 21st century facilities. They all have that something special – style, comfort, warmth of welcome, fabulous food and plenty to see and do in the area. Every hotel featured in this guide has that something special, making this the guide a must-have for the stylish independent traveller. Signpost 2017 (£10.99, 9780851016092) is available now – and there’s more info at

And if you are wondering just what hotels were like back in the 1930’s when Signpost published their first ever guide, then you may wish to spend an entertaining twenty minutes watching this highly amusing film about railway hotels from 1937. Very evocative indeed!

Laura Glass's life seems perfect. She's beautiful, wealthy, her husband loves her and their teenage kids Leo and Jemima are at good schools. Then one day Laura's happiness is shattered when she sees her husband kissing a young woman in a doorway. Some of Laura's friends tell her to divorce him; others say ignore it. Instead Laura goes off on an adventure of her own with the beautiful young Jed. On their return, seeing that her husband is still continuing his affair, she invites his lover to live in their home. And Jed too, just, for good measure. This is Possibly a Love Story by Olivia Fane (pb, £8.99, 978-1910050965) – a viciously funny satire on the middle classes and middle-class values, but with a huge heart. It’s published by Arcadia and has just had a brilliant review in the Daily Mail. ”A surprising, beautifully written satire on conventional middle-class notions of marriage and romance…at once hilarious, heartbreaking and thought-provoking…I was gripped from the start.”

I absolutely LOVE this – some fabulous pictures showing what happens when bookstore employees have too much free time on their hands and start posing for book jacket selfies! From the Librairie Mollat, a bookshop in France which has over 30,000 followers for this fun and games on their Instagram account – great stuff!

I am certainly looking forward to the fuss and furore which is certain to surround Katie Hopkins book Rude when it is published by Biteback in October! Part memoir, part handbook for modern women; it’s sure to be many things but dull won’t be one of them! Iain Dale, Biteback MD said: "I’m really pleased to be publishing Katie. I realise she is a marmite character for some, with her robust opinions about a broad range of issues, but this book takes us behind the controversy to see the real Katie. I think a lot of people will be surprised!" You can find out a bit more about this memoir from the controversial columnist and broadcaster in the Bookseller here.

And I think we can all enjoy eight minutes of Katie Hopkins’ bitchiest moments here!

From bitch to witch – there’s no doubt that that books dealing with the whole issue of female empowerment are big at the moment – but Lisa Lister has a slightly different angle! Witch: Unleashed. Untamed. Unapologetic. (£10.99, pb, 978 1781807545) comes from Hay House in May. A witch is a traditionally a wise woman and a healer, but for many years the word has had very negative connotations. In this book, third generation hereditary witch Lisa Lister explains the history behind witchcraft and why the witch is reawakening in women across the world today. This is ancient wisdom made relevant for modern witches: and includes tools to enhance your intuition, including oracle cards and dowsing, as well as ideas on how to work with herbs, crystals, power animals and the elements so that you have both support in your work, and a deep connection with the world around you. In addition, Lisa teaches personal, hands-on rituals and spells from her family lineage of gypsy witch magic to help you heal, manifest and rediscover your powers. Crowned “the defender of female awesomeness” by Cooler magazine, Lisa Lister is all about being fierce and feminine – and there will be a double page feature on Witch in Soul and Spirit as well as an article in Kindred Spirit magazine.

Top Ten movie sorceresses anyone? You just know you want to watch the witches!

To finish, a bit of music news. Firstly, congratulations to Young Soul Rebels: A Personal History of Northern Soul by Stuart Cosgrove (pb, £14.99, 978 1846973338) from Polygon which has just been shortlisted for the Penderyn Music Prize. You can find out more about the titles vying for the £1,000 award in the Guardian here. Young Soul Rebels sweeps across fifty years of British life and places the northern soul scene in a social context: the rise of amphetamine culture, the policing of youth culture, the north-south divide, the decline of coastal Britain, the Yorkshire Ripper inquiry, the rise of Thatcherism, the miners’ strike, the rave scene and music in the era of the internet. Books have been written about northern soul before but never with the same erudition and passion. Young Soul Rebels nails a scene that is as popular today as it was in its heyday in the 1970s. As said; “it’s sheer poetry . . . truly a personal history, but it weaves its way through our own history as well. Buy the book, you won't regret it.”

And secondly, I’ve really enjoyed hearing listening to Dave Randall talking about his new book from Pluto Press which is out next week; Sound System: The Political Power of Music (£12.99, pb, 978 0745399300). Tom Robinson said on BBC 6 MusicThis engaging, hugely readable book should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in the state of the world – and in the essential, life-affirming role music can play in changing it for the better” and Mark Radcliffe of Radio 2 called it “Fascinating… A deeply intelligent look at music and society and in particular pop’s tempestuous relationship with commerce. Thought provoking, readable and clever stuff.” Musicians have often wanted to change the world and from underground grime artists to pop icons, many have believed in the political power of music. Rulers recognise it too. Music has been used to unsettle the most fundamental political and social conventions – and to prop up the status-quo. Sound System is the story of one musician’s journey to discover what makes music so powerful. Years of touring, playing guitar with Faithless, Dido, Sinead O’Connor and many others, have given activist and musician Dave Randall a unique insider’s view of the music industry, enabling him to shed light on the secrets of celebrity, commodification and culture. He finds remarkable examples of music as a force of social change as well as something that has been used to keep people in their place throughout history. You can hear Dave talking about this inventive and thrilling title on a SoundCloud podcast on Rough Trade Radio here and I would really urge you to order this title; it is published next week and there are sure to be more great reviews to come.

Dave Randall is at the terrific Book and Kitchen in London talking about the book next Wednesday – you can find out more about that event here.

And if we’re talking politics and music, let’s finish with the Top Ten Protest songs on YouTube here!

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from the London Book Fair this week …

Jon Slack‏ @JonSlack Exciting times ahead as the Baltic states officially become the next market focus for @LondonBookFair. Let the fun begin...

Isobel Doster‏ @IsobelDoster Listening to #MichaelMorpurgo read from his new book today at #LBF17 was wonderful, magical and made me feel 10 years old again.

Angela Mills Wade‏ @epc_angela Long live authors, their publishers, books in all shapes and formats and the joy of reading!

Alastair Horne‏ @pressfuturist I’ve just come out of a chat feeling enormously inspired and optimistic about the future of this industry.

The London Book Fair‏ @LondonBookFair "People disengaged with reading will engage if they see it as a social norm" - the role of libraries extends well outside their buildings.

Matthew at Urbane‏ @urbanepub Best pitch this week at #LBF17 ? 'You're the soon-to-be grateful publisher I've selected to invest in my mega-selling self-published book'

Rosina Robson‏ @RosinaRobson Great to be part of #LBF17 in panel debate about #Brexit & supporting #creative industries.

Choc Lit‏ @ChocLituk Amazing time at #LBF17 this year! Thank you to everyone who stopped by the stand :) x

Matthew at Urbane‏ @urbanepub Over 300 FREE Urbane books given to new readers this week...

Kara Rennie‏ @karajrennie How to stop time: - Go to the pub - Sit in a fancy chair - Read a book. #LBF17.

That’s all for now folks! More next week!

This newsletter is sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Compass Points 205

2016 marked the dawn of the post-truth era. The year’s two shock election results, highlighted many of the same issues; but, more than anything they heralded an unprecedented rise of bullshit. Of course, sophistry and spin have been part of politics forever, but the modern era has taken it to a whole new level. Millions were fed false reports that Hillary Clinton ordered 30,000 guillotines to use on her opponents following her victory, while Trump claimed he “never said that” about speeches recorded on video. In the UK, the Leave campaign's divisive claims about £350 million extra funding for the NHS and “swarms” of new EU immigrants from Turkey proved pivotal to the referendum result. Post-truth is bigger than fake news and bigger than social media. It's about the slow rise of a political, media and online infrastructure that has devalued truth. Post Truth: How Bullshit Took Over the World (pb, £9.99, 978 1785902147) is published by Biteback in May and delves into the reality of exactly why this nonsense gets you noticed and makes you rich. It’s by James Ball, an author who really knows his shit – he’s currently special correspondent at BuzzFeed UK and was previously special projects editor at the Guardian, playing a key role in the Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden, as well as well as also working in investigative journalism at the Washington Post.
Well, I think what we need is  this  –  Karl Pilkington’s Bullshit Superman – that would put a stop to it!

Literary historical fiction based on true stories is definitely having a bit of a “moment” – and those readers who loved titles such as Burial Rites will probably enjoy Unspeakable – the brilliant third novel by acclaimed author, Dilys Rose which has just been published by Freight. This is a fictional account of the true story of Thomas Aikenhead, the last man in the British Isles to be tried for blasphemy, who was executed in Edinburgh in 1697. You can read an interview with Dilys Rose about this fascinating historical novel here . This is a beautifully written and thought provoking evocation of Edinburgh in the late 17th century; a centre of religious authoritarianism, intolerance and fear where the flames of the city's famous Enlightenment are yet to burn.

We mentioned the fun new podcast A Hitchhikers Guide to Scottish Literature last week, and the February edition discusses Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain – her reflection on her experiences walking in the Cairngorm mountains. you can listen to it here.  It feels like Nan Shepherd has been a bit of a cult classic for too long, and with her addition to the Royal Bank of Scotland five-pound note, as well as several beautiful new editions of her three novels now making their way into bookshops, she is having a much-deserved resurgence. Hill-walking was her great love; and her single collection of poetry In the Cairngorms (978 1903385333, £9.99, pb), which she wrote in 1934 is published by Galileo.  They are poems written with the perception of one who has climbed the mountains, truly knows them and express an intensity of deep kinship with nature.  As Robert Macfarlane wrote: “most works of mountain literature are written by men, and most of them focus on the goal of the summit. Nan Shepherd's aimless, sensual exploration of the Cairngorms is bracingly different." In this atmospheric collection, rocks, burns, wildlife and plants are given real presence and by allowing herself to be absorbed into the totality of the mountain Shepherd discovers her true essence. In addition to the hill poetry, In the Cairngorms includes some intensely felt love poems and is illustrated by some lovely line drawings. It has a foreword by Robert Macfarlane.
This is  fun –  Harry Potter as if written by other authors. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young wizard in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wand.” From those merry funsters over at Buzzfeed!

Part murder ballad, part ghost story, part true crime, All The Places I've Ever Lived takes you on a gripping journey from the small-town murder of a teenage girl in the 1970s to the recent real-life shootings in Whitehaven, West Cumbria. Are the crimes linked? Fifteen-year-old Barry Dyer may have the answers, but when events impact so horrifically on a town and its people, it always pays to tread carefully when revealing the truth... Quirky, disturbing, and haunting, All The Places I've Ever Lived is a moving and tender exploration of a teenage outsider in a small community, as well as being a finely wrought portrayal of neglected industrial settlements, where nuclear plants, thermometer factories and chemical works contrast vividly with the desolate beauty of the Lake District. David Peace meets Murakami in award-winning writer David Gaffney's compelling mash up of Twin Peaks weirdness and peri-urban noir.
You can see it here nestling up against Michelle Tea’s fabulous Black Wave (from And Other Stories) in a Captivating Reads Promotion in Blackwell’s Oxford. David Gaffney has been praised by the Observer for his “ruthless eye and pitch-black humour” and All The Places I've Ever Lived (pb, £8.99, 978 1911331063) has just been published by Urbane.

Snapchat has been much in the news recently – but can we publishers and booksellers harness its power to help us promote books? Have a look here at this thought-provoking report from The Book Machine which suggests that maybe we can…

Born in Paris in 1919, Michel Déon, the author of more than 50 works of fiction and non-fiction which offered a witty, panoramic view of French society and history; died at the end of last year in Ireland aged 97. You can read a piece about him in the New York Times here. I am very much looking forward to the publication of his fictionalised memoir, Your Father’s Room (pb, £8.99, 978 1910477342) which is coming from Gallic in June.  A vivid recreation of the interwar period, this is a touching and very true depiction of boyhood and how our early experiences affect us as Édouard (Michel Déon's real name) looks back on his 1920’s childhood spent in Paris and Monte Carlo. Within a bourgeois yet unconventional upbringing, 'Teddy', an observant and sensitive boy, must deal with not just the universal trials of growing up, but also the sudden tragedy that strikes at the heart of his family.
If 1920’s Paris is something that appeals to you, then you’ll probably enjoy this five-minute collection of highly evocative film clips from the period!

International Women’s Day this week – and I love this idea – Loganberry Books Cleveland in the USA has turned all the books written by men page side-out to illustrate the colossal gender gap in male and female authors. Have a look here at what that looks like – a veritable white-out on the shelves, which delivers a real wallop for anyone shopping at the store!

And if you’re one of our many friends out there running an independent bookshop, do you feel threatened by small, unbranded Waterstones stores “pretending” to be indies? The bookselling giant has opened three unmarked outposts in small towns and while some retailers say anything that puts books on the high street is a good move, others are not convinced. The chain has come under fire for opening three unbranded branches in the past three years – Southwold Books in Suffolk, Harpenden Books in Hertfordshire and The Rye Bookshop in East Sussex where the handwritten signs in the windows are the only overt indication that the three belong to the bookselling behemoth. Southwold shopkeepers told the Telegraph that Waterstones had “crept in” on the quiet, accusing the company of dishonesty. One said that if the shop had a large Waterstones sign on the front, “the whole town would have been up in arms.” You can read more about that story in the Guardian here.
She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur (£10.99, pb, 978-1781807408) by Carrie Green is zooming up the bestseller charts on Amazon – don’t let them get all the sales for this inspirational title which has just been published by Hay House. With a computer and an internet connection you can get your ideas, messages and business out there like never before and Carrie Green knows what it's like to be an ambitious and creative woman with big dreams and huge determination but she also knows the challenges, the fears and blocks that entrepreneurs face. Based on her personal, tried-and-tested experience, she offers valuable guidance and powerful exercises to help readers achieve a clear business vision, understand their audience, create your brand, maintain focus and achieve success! She Means Business provides the honest, realistic and practical tools to bring your vision to life. Carrie Green was named an entrepreneurial rising star by HRH The Duke of York after winning The Change Makers Award and in 2014 won Entrepreneurs’ Champion of the Year Award. She’s been featured on BBC News, and in Glamour and Stylist magazines and her TED Talk, Programming Your Mind For Success, has had nearly three million views! You can watch that here on Youtube. This author has a LOT of fans and She Means Business gets uniformly 5-star reviews on Amazon – comments such as “Having read many books in this genre I can honestly say that this is the greatest business book of our time” are typical – so I would certainly urge you to stock it!!
Never mind the greatest business book of our time – what would you say is the greatest business movie of our time? Have a look here  at the Top Ten films about business – from Jerry Maguire to Wall Street!

That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This newsletter is sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Compass Points 204

How hilarious was “the wrong envelope” cock up at the Oscars last Sunday?! It certainly provided us with yet another reason to totally adore Ryan Gosling  look here at his highly-amused reaction when all around him were taking the blunder WAY too seriously!
Yes, there’s no doubt about it; the man is a god, and 100 Reasons to Love Ryan Gosling (£12.99, pb, 978 0859655019) published by Plexus provides plenty of scientifically irrefutable evidence of exactly why he is so damn loveable. Packed with trivia, jokes, and over 100 full-colour photos; you know you need it in your bookshop now. Envelopegate also got me thinking about the many books that have featured a misdelivered message – what about the moment in Tess of the D’Urbervilles where Tess’s letter never reaches Angel – or Juliet’s message that tragically never gets to Romeo?
And what about our very own French Rhapsody by Antoine Laurain (pb, £8.99, 978 1910477380) published last autumn by Gallic Press; where middle-aged doctor Alain Massoulier receives a life-changing letter – thirty-three years too late. Lost in the Paris postal system for decades, the letter offers a recording contract to his younger self in the days when he played lead guitar in a band. Overcome by nostalgia, Alain is tempted to track down the members of the group. But where could his quest possibly take him? Both a modern fairytale and state-of-the-nation novel, French Rhapsody combines Antoine Laurain’s signature charm and whimsy with a searing critique of the state of contemporary France, and had some superb reviews – “Beautifully written, superbly plotted and with a brilliant twist at the end” said the Daily Mail. How about a Letters and Envelopes book or window display?!
The average 8-year-old child spends nearly 10 hours a day on digital media. This makes digital consumption second only to sleep as their leading activity. It’s not news to us that kids are using their digital devices all day, every day. But does this really matter? “Why does my son scream when I try to get him off the computer? Is my daughter honest about her Internet activities? Just how much screen time is too much? What effect is all of this technology having on my child’s learning and behaviour?” are all questions parents ask – a lot. Digital Kids: How to Balance Screen Time and Why It Matters by Martin Kutscher is the first book of its kind to lay out the facts and figures surrounding excessive internet use. Drawing on cutting edge research and expert scientific opinion, Martin pinpoints exactly what effect digital addiction is having on our children’s brains and development – and the reasons why we should be worried about it. Outlining the full range of neurological, psychological and physical implications, from stunted cognitive development and shortening attention spans, to depression, aggression and obesity; Digital Kids highlights the real dangers of too much screen time for the iPad generation. This book is an eye-opening journey through the ins and outs of cyberspace, offering practical strategies on how to maintain a healthy screen-life balance. Digital Kids: How to Balance Screen Time and Why It Matters by Martin Kutscher is now available in paperback from Jessica Kingsley.
So, what better way to get those pesky ankle biters off their screens than by suggesting they get their information from the excellent new My First Encyclopaedia of… series from Armadillo Books. My First Encyclopaedia of Dinosaurs (978 1861478207), My First Encyclopaedia of Animals (978 1861478221) My First Encyclopaedia of Birds (978 1861478214) and My First Encyclopaedia of Bugs (978 1861478238) all by Matt Bugler are paperback, 24 page, giant (400 x 344mm) picture books for 4-8 year olds and are the perfect introduction at a great price (£6.99) for kids keen to find out more. In their supersized lightweight format, the book can be read on the floor, held up by a teacher or parent to show and share with a group, and enjoyed by all children whether alone or with others. Thematic spreads and beautiful large illustrations by expert natural history artists are full of incredible accuracy and detail – thanks for a super display of these My First Encyclopaedia books at the Victoria Bookshop in Haverford West which you can see here!
Staying with children’s books for a moment, Lotte Moore is an 80-year-old writer on a mission. During the war, having been evacuated, and then at school, Lotte often found herself feeling lonely and turned to writing to express her feelings of isolation. Lotte's War tells the story of one 5-year-old girl's experiences living in Britain during the Second World War, a time of hardship, heroism and hope. As a child, Lotte may not have been fully aware of the dangers and struggles around her, but her memories of rationing, evacuation, barrage balloons, bombing, blackouts and bunkers give an incredible insight into life during wartime Britain. Lotte's War shows what children did, how they survived rationing, how they coped as evacuees, and what they felt about the war. Lotte talks about the bravery shown by people and the amazing friendships that she made and shares her memories of an incredible life with today's young generation, so they can experience a unique view of Britain through the eyes of a child in World War II. “A wonderful piece of social history, and memoir, which would be of great interest to children and adults alike. There is a gaiety and lightness of touch which leavens, but does not romanticize, the dark realities of a nation at war. Beautiful drawings and photographs adorn this treasure of a book …  one feels richer for reading it.” said one reviewer. Lotte’s War (£5.99, pb, 978 1911331575) is published by Urbane.
Should a book be “readable” or should it be good? Can it be both? Ben Roth has written a really thought-provoking essay here where he argues that “Readable, like “drinkable,” seems almost an insult: this book isn’t good, but you’ll be able to finish it.  Readable books are full of familiar characters, familiar plots, and most especially familiar sentences.  They are built up out of constituent commonplaces and clichés that one only has to skim in order to process.  A little bit literary, perhaps, but not too literary.  To praise a book as readable is really just to say that you won’t have to add it your shelf with the bookmark having migrated only halfway through its leaves … “Readable” has become the chosen term of praise in our times precisely because so many of us find ourselves unable to concentrate as we once could or still aspire to.” 
Happy Birthday Michael Schmitt, who celebrated his 70th birthday yesterday! Michael is founder and MD of Carcanet as well as also being a poet, scholar, critic and translator, general editor of PN Review and one of our absolutely favourite people! Many happy returns Michael – here is a poem from Richard Wilbur in celebration!
Blow out the candles of your cake.
They will not leave you in the dark,
Who round with grace this dusky arc
Of the grand tour which souls must take.
You who have sounded William Blake,
And the still pool, to Plato's mark,
Blow out the candles of your cake.
They will not leave you in the dark.
Yet, for your friends' benighted sake,
Detain your upward-flying spark;
Get us that wish, though like the lark
You whet your wings till dawn shall break:
Blow out the candles of your cake.
I think we all know, that in truth, we all have far too much stuff. As author Kozo Yamamura writes: “Doubt has already been growing among the public about the wisdom of buying and owning a plethora of possessions that clutter our lives” and he argues persuasively that “what we need is a tax on luxuries to help protect the environment by reducing the use of resources to produce the goods and services, which by most rational standards, are far from necessary.” There has just been a big piece on Yamamura’s new book  Too Much Stuff: Capitalism in Crisis in the Independent, which you can read here. In it, Yamamura argues that “despite widening gaps in income and wealth distribution and rising unemployment, the majority of people seem to enjoy the highest standard of living known in human history.  What is needed in the 21st century is a dynamic systemic change of capitalism. It will be a daunting undertaking but to fail to make it would be a grave folly.”
Very sadly indeed, Kozo Yamamura has just died after being ill for a while – you can read a memoriam for him from the University of Washington here.  Yamamura was a world-class scholar and amazingly prolific, writing or editing more than 20 books and scores of articles on the Japanese economy and its history, and on the nature of capitalism. Too Much Stuff: Capitalism in Crisis (hb, 978 1447335658, £19.99) has just been published by Policy Press.

While we’re on the subject of politics; ever since the Brexit referendum in the UK and Donald Trump’s election in the US, the publishing industries of those and other countries have reacted primarily along the liberal lines common to the literary workplace. This week though, a different voice. MD of Biteback, bookseller and radio show host Iain Dale says, “I can’t stand Donald Trump,’ but that the book business response overlooks something: Controversy is always good for publishing.” Iain feels strongly that “it’s not healthy when left-wing book buyers in bookshops subliminally censor what the book buying public is allowed to read.” Read the whole piece here and see if you agree with his views!
Alternatively; you may well enjoy  this piece from the New York Times; a most interesting article about how bookshops in the US are encouraging resistance to Trump with action, not just words. “A lot of people are saying, ‘We’ve turned our store over to the revolution,” said Hannah Oliver Depp, the operations manager for Word, which has bookstores in New Jersey and New York. “I do think that it is going to fundamentally change bookstores and book selling.”
Talking of bookshops over the pond, we very much enjoy hearing about our authors promoting their books in bookshops far and wide. This month we’ve loved photos of two very different authors touring on opposite sides of the world!
Firstly, that Mexican master of satirical humour Juan Pablo Villalobos has been touring cities in America (NYC, DC, SF, LA – doncha love the way you can turn all these capital cities into capital letters!) to promote I’ll Sell You a Dog (978 1908276742, £10.00, pb) published by And Other Stories.

And secondly, Polygon award-winning Malachy Tallack us currently touring Australia to introduce his gorgeous illustrated title The Un-Discovered Islands: An Archipelago of Myths and Mysteries, Phantoms and Fakes which was the recent winner of the Edward Stanford Illustrated Travel Book of the Year. Malachy was last sighted at the beautiful Berkelouw Mona Vale Bookshop in Sydney – the largest and oldest bookshop in Australia – two days ago! He’s certainly a very long way from his home in Shetland!

And finally – here’s a fun idea! Vikki Reilly and Kristian Kerr have done something a little special as part of Birlinn’s 25th anniversary year celebrations. They’ve created a brilliant 45-minute podcast, entitled A Hitch-hiker’s Guide to Scottish Literature. In each episode, they’ll talk about a particular text, whether a novel, a collection of poetry, a play or classic non-fiction. They chat about its themes, context and their own responses while also interviewing writers, including performances, and there’s always a segment celebrating the Birlinn list, on works that connect with the main subject of the episode. What a great plan! You can listen to the January episode (which celebrates Burns) here  and the February one here which I’ll talk more about next week!

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. This week we bring you some words of wisdom from @JennieBrownBooks at the Society of Young Publishers @SYP_UK who are having a conference in Edinburgh this week.
A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.
After the recession, the book work is now full of optimism. Bookshop figures are looking up.
Network, build connections, move around, talk about books, work in London, work abroad, be persistent, never give up!
Publishers should travel more to meet authors and make an effort to connect. Especially those based in LDN.
Important to remember: you're a debut author only once and bad debut sales can break a career.
Launching a debut with tiny budgets can be done. You need creativity and a clear strategy.
Publishers should involve authors more in the publishing process and to show genuine enthusiasm for their work. 
Our industry is uniquely vibrant. We have almost 50 literary festivals in the UK. The most in the world per country.
Don't leave authors on their own on publication day. Send cards, flowers, etc. Make them feel valued.
Writers, on average earn 12k a year. Less than a publishing salary.
Final plea: never publish a book with the word "the girl" in the title.
That’s all for now folks! More next week!
This blog is taken from a newsletter  which is sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the office on 020 8326 5696.