Friday, 20 April 2018

Compass Points 257


How fab to hear Crown House authors, Bradley Busch and Edward Watson discussing revision strategies and tips from their book Release Your Inner Drive: Everything You Need to Know About How to Get Good at Stuff (978 1785831997, £9.99, pb) on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show this week on BBC Radio 2 – this is AMAZING publicity for this book – and you can listen to it again here. This no-nonsense, visual guide condenses wisdom from the fields of psychology and neuroscience into infographics and clear explanations of everything you need to know to give you or your child the best possible chance of success. It shows you how to take control, concentrate better, find your motivation, fail better, make revision stick, perform under pressure, ace those exams, put down that phone when you re meant to be revising, get over FOMO, stop procrastinating, get a good night’s sleep, take care of yourself and your mental health, learn from sporting champions and grow your mindset to get ahead. Phew, is that all?! Chris Evans really gave these authors a huge big up on his show, and Paralympic medallist Jordanne Whiley, MBE said “I worked with Bradley during the most stressful time of my life, competing in a Paralympic Games. By using a lot of the techniques in this book I have become a more successful person, not only in my career but also outside of it. I have changed the way I view failure and this is what has helped me the most. The techniques are simple but they have had a massive impact, it’s almost hard to believe. This book teaches us how to get big rewards from simply changing the way we view and handle what life throws at us. For anyone looking to better themselves in some way, no matter how big or small, this is the book for you.”

A really wonderful piece in the New Statesman on Enitharmon which you can read here entitled: The poets’ home: how one small, heroic publisher shaped modern poetry. It celebrates the publication of The Heart's Granary: Poetry and Prose from 50 Years of Enitharmon Press (£30, hb, 978 1911253280) “Beautifully produced, with poetry and prose bursting the seams of its 380-odd pages, it’s an anthology designed not to prove a theory or establish a canon, but to celebrate the work of one of our most remarkable small publishers. Enitharmon is well-known for its wide-ranging poetry list, but there’s plenty of prose here too. I particularly enjoyed this section of The Heart’s Granary, a tight-focused, characterful set of extracts from, among others, Sebastian Barry, Edward Thomas and Edmund White. There’s also extraordinary artwork. Peter Blake, Gilbert & George, David Hockney, RB Kitaj and Paula Rego have all worked with Enitharmon’s editor Stephen Stuart-Smith and are represented in here alongside recouped treasures from David Jones and Gwen Raverat. Also among the colour plates are stunning cover designs from the press’s half century. This book is an unusually beautiful object.” Edited by Lawrence Sail, this really is a gorgeous book which would appeal to very many readers; as the New Stateman article says: “The work collected richly here adds up to a joyous read that should be on everyone’s bedside table.”

The Authors’ Club announced the shortlist for its 2018 Best First Novel Award and hurrah, Dark Chapter by Winnie M. Li (978 1785079061, £8.99, pb) published by Legend Press is on it. You can see all six shortlisted titles on their website here. There’s a Shortlisted Authors event at Waterstones Gower Street on Thursday 7 June and then the winner will be announced by AL Kennedy, this year’s guest adjudicator, at a dinner at the National Liberal Club on Friday 22 June. Dark Chapter was the winner of The Guardian Not The Booker Prize 2017 and had great coverage in YOU Magazine, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, The Times, Metro, The Weekender, the Irish Sun, the Scotsman, and The Stylist, who called it “complex and rewarding… an important book”. Highly Commended for the CWA Debut Dagger, it is an astonishing and unique novel inspired by the author’s own story.

A super review this week for The History of England’s Cathedrals by Nicholas Orme (pb, £20, 978 1907605925) calling it a “beautifully written account that marshals an overwhelmingly vast, fragmentary, and tangled corpus of material with skill. Despite its sweeping scale there is real substance to the text, which will both engage and please a range of readers. My final word of praise is that this book is eminently suited to its primary purpose: indeed, I have already used it in my own teaching where it has been favourably received. I heartily recommend others follow suit.” Nicholas is a noted religious historian, and this is his pioneer history of the subject. Although much has been written about the architecture of cathedrals, no one has ever told the whole of their story from Roman times to the present day, and this 200-page engaging and informative book is clear, accessible, and superbly illustrated. It’s published by Impress.

We’re always very pleased to welcome new publishers into the Compass family – so I’m looking forward in the coming months to telling you more about De Coubertin who are a sports publisher based in Liverpool. You can find out more about them on their website here. They currently have two titles on the longlisted for the Cross Sports Book Awards in the Best Football Book category: Faith of our Families: Everton An Oral History 1878-2018 (hb, £25, 978 1909245648) and From Delhi to the Den: the Story of Football’s Most Travelled Coach (£12.99, pb, 978 1909245471).

Who feels they spend way too much time dodging those pesky energy vampires? In her new book which has just been published by Hay House, Christiane Northrup draws on the latest research in this exciting new field, along with stories from her global community and her own life, to explore the phenomenon of energy vampires and show us how we can spot them, repel their tactics and take back our own energy. An extract from Dodging Energy Vampires (9781401954772, £20, hb) will be in Kindred Spirit (Circ. 100,000) and Christiane will also be writing articles for Natural Health and Yoga magazines.

Some brilliant local publicity for the paperback publication of The Girl on the Beach by Morton S. Gray (978 1781894194, pb, £7.99) who won a Choc Lit competition to ‘Search for a Star’. The book, which follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s headteacher, saw off entries from across the UK to win a publishing contract in 2016. Lyn Vernham, Choc Lit's MD said: “Morton's success is down to the simple fact that she is an excellent writer and can create great suspense stories with strong compelling characters. We could see her potential when she entered the competition. We are delighted but not at all surprised by the success of The Girl on the Beach.” There’s a lovely piece here in the Worcester News about the many coffee shops she has frequented in order to write her novels!

The Northern Fiction Alliance have written an open letter “to the London-centric publishing industry” which begins “The book world is changing. And despite being notoriously slow-moving, the last few years have seen the industry take a long, hard look at itself, and question how it can better reflect its readers and society.” You can read the whole thing in full in the Bookseller here.

Congratulations to Charlie Craggs and Elly Barnes, two Jessica Kingsley authors who have been nominated for the 2018 DIVA Awards. Voted for by the public, the DIVAs are split into eighteen categories, paying tribute to the lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer people making a difference in all walks of life. Winners will be named at the awards ceremony on Friday 8th June with plenty of glitz, glamour and celebrity guests! You can find out more and to cast your own votes here. How to Transform Your School into an LGBT+ Friendly Place by Elly Barnes (pb, 978 1785923494, £14.99) and To My Trans Sisters by Charlie Craggs (£12.99, pb, 978 1785923432) are two very different titles – but equally essential for any bookshop!

Apparently, kindness is replacing mindfulness as the buzzword for how we should live. Have a look at this recent article in the Guardian which wonders if that means we are all becoming more compassionate? Or is it just a marketing gimmick? Either way, it’s a very good opportunity to remind you about Raje Airey’s insightful book Practical Kindness: Discover the Power of Compassion for Health and Happiness (£8.99, pb, 978 0754833130) which distils centuries of wisdom into a handy guide to experiencing more kindness every day. It’s divided into three sections, each forming part of a 'tree of kindness' that can grow from small beginnings and shelter us from the storms of life. Throughout the book there are plenty of practical ideas and compassion-based exercises, for bringing more compassion and gentleness into your everyday life. Give it a try people, it’s a thing. It’s published by Lorenz.

It’s exciting to hear that Comma are partnering with the Bristol Festival of Ideas to bring two of the wonderful writers –  Zviad Kvaratskhelia and Bacho Kvirtia – from their short-story collection The Book of Tbilisi over to the UK next month for an event. Who knew that Bristol and Tbilisi have been twinned cities for thirty years? Certainly not me! In the 26 years since Georgia declared independence from the Soviet Union, the country and its capital have endured unimaginable hardships: one coup d’état, two wars with Russia, the curse of organised crime, and prolonged periods of economic depression. Now, as Tbilisi has begun to flourish again drawing hordes of tourists with its eclectic architecture and famous, welcoming spirit it can seem difficult to reconcile the recent past with this glamorous and exotic present. But with wit, warmth, heartbreaking realism, and a distinctly Georgian sense of neighbourliness, these ten stories in this book do just that. You can find out more about that event at Waterstone’s on 22 May here.

The London Socialist Historians Group have strongly defended radical historian David Rosenberg after the Daily Mail ran a smear story about him on 5th April, which in typical Mail style did not include any evidence that Mr Rosenberg was associated with anti-Semitic views but made much of the fact that he sat next to Jeremy Corbyn at a recent event and was not an enthusiast for the current Israeli government. The historians point out that Mr Rosenberg is a well-known Jewish socialist historian with an impressive record of recovering the working-class history of the radical East End of London, much of which is detailed in his excellent Pluto book Rebel Footprints: A Guide to Uncovering London’s Radical History (£9.99, pb, 978 0745334097). You can read the Guardian review of this excellent and informative walking guide here.

Good are happening with the newly formed Independent Bookshop Alliance, and the latest exciting idea is that you indies out there can choose which books you’d like to have as exclusive editions. Sounds good doesn’t it! The BA have come up with a list of the potential titles on SurveyMonkey and independent bookshops can now (anonymously) highlight the titles on the list that they think would make a great Indie Exclusive Edition. Then the Alliance can see if there are any particular titles that are favoured by a lot of shops, which in their own words will then “give us the opportunity to go to the publishers and say Hello publishers, there are 90 bookshops who have expressed an interest in have book x as an Indie Exclusive Edition. Sort it please. The publishers really want to make this happen, but obviously, they need some kind of assurance that the indies want to get behind the books that they'll be doing for us. SOMETHING IS HAPPENING PEOPLE. Please read/share and shout loud." If you are not yet signed up to the Alliance, but would like to get involved with this survey, then please email indiebookshops@gmail.com, and they will send it to you.

This weather certainly inspires an urge to get up and go off for an adventure, and for all of those about to set off on one, the perfect read to take with you is A Van of One's Own (£8.99, pb, 978 1910901991) by Biddy Wells. Propelled by a thirst for peace and quiet, and, perhaps, for freedom, Biddy left for Portugal on her own, with only her old campervan, Myfanwy, and her GPS, Tanya, for company. As she meets wise and not-so-wise people, members of the campervan community and friendly locals, her outlook on life begins to shift, and a chance meeting in a bar leads to the person who will put her on the right track. But will she go back home, to Wales? And what is the meaning of ‘home?’ You can read more about this delightful road-trip memoir on the Parthian website here.  

The book bloggers are really loving The Man on the Middle Floor (£8.99, pb, 978 1910453544) by Elizabeth S. Moore; as is ES Magazine who called it “visceral and tender”. “Lionel Shriver meets Mark Haddon in this break-out debut… Thought-provoking and thrilling, The Man on the Middle Floor will leave readers talking” says one fan. Despite living in the same three-flat house in the suburbs of London, the residents are strangers to one another. The bottom floor is home to Tam, a recent ex-cop who spends his days drowning his sorrows in whisky. On the middle floor is Nick, a young man with Asperger’s who likes to stick to his schedules and routines. The top floor belongs to Karen, a doctor and researcher who has spent her life trying to understand the rising rates of autism. They have lived their lives separately, until now, when an unsolved murder and the man on the middle floor connect them all together. Told from three points of view, The Man on the Middle Floor is about disconnection in all its forms; sexual, physical, parental and emotional. It questions whether society is meeting the needs of the fast-growing autistic section of society, or maybe exacerbating it. Go to the Red Door Twitter Feed to read all the other ace reviews on the blog tour!

We love this piece in the Guardian praising the wonderful Five Leaves Books in Nottingham in with a terrific recommendation – “intelligent, engrossing” – for Alicia Kopf's Brother in Ice, published by And Other Stories. Kopf will be at Five Leaves for an event in June too!

I told you last week that there may well be a piece about Alt-Right: From 4chan to the White House (pb, £12.99, 978 0745337456) by Mike Wendling  coming up shortly in your super soaraway Sun – and sure enough here it is! Absolutely ace publicity for the book, which is published by Pluto this week.

And if you need a bit of light relief from the antics of Alt Right – and all the other grim political news in the world today- then how about the trailer here for the new Incredibles film which is out in June – yippee!


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 nuala@compass-ips.london



Friday, 13 April 2018

Compass Points 256


Alt-Right – the white nationalist, anti-feminist, far-right movement that rose to prominence during Donald Trump's successful election campaign appears to have burst out of nowhere, but Mike Wendling has been tracking it for years. In Alt-Right: From 4chan to the White House (pb, £12.99, 978 0745337456) which has just been published by Pluto, he reveals the role of technology, reactionaries, bulletin boards, bloggers, vloggers and tweeters, along with the extreme ideas which underpin the movement's thought. This title has just been reviewed very positively in the New York Times and will shortly be featured in the Observer. Excitingly, The Sun has also been in touch, to see if Mike can write a piece about it for them – watch this space! Including exclusive interviews with members of the movement and evidence linking extremists with terror attacks and hate crimes; this book is, as one reviewer said: “an urgently needed dose of clarity for anyone hoping to understand the twists and turns of far-right politics”.

Little Island Press are very excited to be publishing What Happened To Us, the third novel from by acclaimed Zimbabwean author Ian Holding. Holding’s writing has won much praise: Maggie Gee in the Times wrote that “much modern fiction is glossy but empty, but Ian Holding comes from another world. He has courage and wide sympathies” and Michael Ondaatje described this new book as “stunning and original, almost Blakean in its vision.” What Happened To Us (978 1999854904, hb, £14.99) is a portrait of life under Mugabe, a mesmerising coming-of-age tale of guilt and responsibility set within the fault-lines of modern Africa. His lean, lyrical prose is reminiscent of the work of J.M. Coetzee and Cormac McCarthy and this gripping story set in the fiery environment of an election season, with tensions stoked by an unrelenting heatwave, is a dazzling read. There is a feature including a review and author interview coming on BookBlast today – which I will share with you next week and Ian is recording a Literary Postcard for BBC’s Open Book programme which will be aired around publication date on 17 May. Ian will be in the UK to promote his novel between 1– 10 May and if any bookshops would like to host a reading or other event, please do email Andrew Latimer for more information. Andrew@littleislandpress.co.uk

We’re so pleased to announce that Istanbul Istanbul by Burhan Sönmez (978 1846592058, £8.99, pb) translated by Ümit Hussein and published by Telegram Books has won the EBRD Literature Prize 2018. The €20,000 award will be split between the author and the translator. Rosie Goldsmith, chair of the judging panel called it “a life-affirming novel of profound humanity and exquisite writing. Yes, it’s set in a prison cell, yes it’s set in Turkey, but at no point does it condemn or take a position, it’s our story too. The author and translator have created a prize-winning novel of great passion and poetry”. Congratulations Burhan, Ümit and all at Telegram!

An interesting feature in the Guardian here this week, about the mass exodus expected from the teaching profession this year. As the deadline looms for staff to hand in their notice before the next school year; around 80% of classroom teachers are seriously considering leaving the profession because of their workload. If they are wondering what to do next, then the title they must read is What Else Can a Teacher Do? Review Your Career, Reduce Stress and Gain Control of your Life (pb, £12.99, 978 1785830150) by David Hodgson which came out last November from Crown House. This practical handbook surveys and suggests a diverse range of alternative career options suited to teachers’ transferable skill sets. David combines expert guidance with a carefully compiled list of over one hundred job profiles in order to help teachers find clarity on their career path and presents numerous case studies of education professionals who have already successfully done so. This is a highly topical subject – and this book is essential reading for teachers who are stuck in a rut and want to explore other options.

There have been some excellent reviews for Magical Folk: British and Irish Fairies: 500 AD to the Present by Simon Young and Ceri Houlbrook (hb, 978 1783341016, £16.99). The Mail on Sunday called it “enchanting” and the Sunday Telegraph “engaging and authoritative… British fairies, it turns out, are classic eccentrics.” The Literary Review praised its “detail on local mythology… sparkling” and the Glasgow Herald said it gave “a big insight into the lives of little people… provocative.” Fortean Magazine called it “Perfect… vital and exciting.” British and Irish fairies have been around since 500 AD but ever since the Cottingley Fairy Hoax of 1917 they have been in decline. However, thanks in part to our enthusiasm for The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, British fairies are regaining their old lustre. The digitalisation of local parish records has unlocked a hoard of folklore and fairy citings not previously available, and acclaimed historian Simon Young has gathered together all the latest learning on this fascinating topic in this highly informative illustrated hardback – published by Gibson Square.

Good to see South Atlantic Requiem (£14.99, hb, 978 1911350316) by Edward Wilson at number three in London’s Bestsellers list in the Standard this week. This stunning new spy thriller brilliantly evokes the intricate world of high-stakes espionage – the Tribune said the Catesby novels were “on a par with John Le Carre – it’s that good.” In this new title, set in 1982 both the UK Prime Minister and the Argentine President are both clinging to power. From Patagonia to Paris, from Chevening to the White House, Catesby plays a deadly game of diplomatic cat and mouse determined to avert the loss of life. The clock is ticking as diplomats and statesmen race for a last-minute settlement while the weapons of war are primed and aimed. Published by Arcadia.

Fab to see outstanding Carcanet poet Mary O’Malley named as joint winner of the €4,000 Michael Hartnett Poetry Award 2018, (together with Macdara Woods) which is awarded annually in Co Limerick. The judges in their citation described Mary O’Malley’s Playing the Octopus (978 1784102807, £9.99, pb) as “a beautiful collection of rare gems that sparkle and seduce. Through the finely wrought, delicately woven poems, Mary has created a world that sustains us, that we recognise and can inhabit. This is a collection that balances beauty and harmony, the poems are restrained but deeply felt, the voice assured, meaning is revealed slowly like an uncovering of essence, something essential and elemental. There is a playfulness and joy in language that at times produces a magical quality: light bounces and refracts; musical intonations interweave with the lyric voice. What is achieved is a virtuoso performance.”

A great piece here on the Arts Council North's latest blog on how the North has become a dynamo of independent publishing, with lots to read about the success of our fab friends at Comma, And Other Stories and the Northern Fiction Alliance. It says: “The Arts Council believes that the North should be a place where artists can live and work without feeling that they need to move elsewhere in the country to gain success. The strength and diversity of the work by talented writers published by Northern organisations is testament to this belief.” We couldn’t agree more!

Would the four Yorkshiremen in 1948 here ever have believed the powerhouse that the North has now become? We doubt it!


Hurrah! Stuart Cosgrove has won the Penderyn Music Prize with Memphis 1968: The Tragedy of Southern Soul which is published by Polygon. You can find out all about it here. Lots of great publicity for this one – so do make sure you have plenty of copies on display - all remaining stock will be stickered with the prize – and if you’d like some stickers to use on the stock you already have, then please email laura@birlinn.co.uk! It’s headline news in the Bookseller and there was also coverage in the Guardian and The Times here. As Clash Magazine said; this is “a heartbreaking but essential read – and remarkably timely.”

Here’s a good idea – a Virginia judge handed down an unusual sentence recently after five teenage vandals defaced a historic black schoolhouse with swastikas and the words “white power” and “black power.” Instead of spending time in community service, Judge Avelina Jacob decided that the youths should read a book. But not just any book. They had to choose from a list covering some of history’s most divisive and tragic periods. You can read more about what one of them learned from the experience here in the New York Times.

A very interesting interview in last weekend’s Observer here with Patrick McCabe, author of the newly released Heartland (978 1848406605, pb, £12.99) which is published by New Island. As referendum day on abortion nears (25th May), Patrick says that the Dublin media liberals could pay for snobbery towards rural Ireland. McCabe, twice nominated for the Booker prize, said parts of the Dublin media should never ignore the importance of the mid-west and western parts of Ireland where Heartland –  a dark tale of murder and mayhem largely set in an Irish mid-west bar – is set. Scotland on Sunday said of Patrick “McCabe can make you howl at the darkest antics ... He never sets a foot - or syllable - wrong.”

Biteback author Vladimir Yakunin was part of a heated debate, involving his new book The Treacherous Path: An Insider’s Account of Modern Russia (hb, £20, 978 1785903014) on Newsnight this week. You can see the full interview here. He’s also been on BBC World Service, Newshour. Following a piece in the Sunday Times, further reviews are expected in the Times and Observer. The Treacherous Path is Yakunin's account of his own experiences on the front line of Russia's implosion and eventual resurgence, and of a career – as an intelligence officer, a government minister and for ten years the CEO of Russia's largest company – that has taken him from the furthest corners of this incomprehensibly vast and complex nation to the Kremlin's corridors. Tackling topics as diverse as terrorism, government intrigue and the reality of doing business in Russia, and offering unparalleled insights into the post-Soviet mindset, this is the first time that a figure with Yakunin's background has talked so openly and frankly about his country.

Mental health is such a hot topic at present, and Amy Molloy’s book The World is a Nice Place: How to Overcome Adversity, Joyfully which has just been published by Hay House is getting some terrific publicity. She has written a big piece for the Observer magazine entitled I Never Took My Mental Health for Granted – Now I’m Reaping the Rewards which you can read here and also an article for the Stylist – which has a circulation of 400,000 readers.

Author Claudio Macor is at Waterstone’s Blackheath on 23 April, reading and answering questions about two of his plays – from which there will also be performances of some of the scenes – this sounds like a really terrific event! The Tailor-Made Man (pb, £9.99, 978 1786823120) is the incredible story of the openly gay and hugely popular silent screen movie star William 'Billy' Haines, whose refusal to give up his lifelong partner Jimmie Shields saw MGM studio attempt to remove his work completely from movie history. Savage (£10.99, pb, 978 1783197798) uncovers the powerful true story of Nazi Dr Carl Vaernet's experimental cures for homosexuality in the 1940's. The plays are both published by Oberon.

There is a brilliant 2-minute piece about Billy Haines on the LGBT Snapshots series here and you can see him in action in 1928’s Show People here.  


That’s all for now 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 nuala@compass-ips.london


Thursday, 29 March 2018

Compass Points 255


“The digital world is littered with a baffling array of jargon and acronyms.” Ain’t that the truth. But it doesn’t need to be that way as Digital Darwinism: Survival of the Fittest in the Age of Business Disruption (£14.99, pb, 978 0749482282) demonstrates. Tom Goodwin is a prominent digital expert and a writer for the New York Times, Guardian, Economist, GQ, Wired, TechCrunch, Forbes and many others. He has appeared on TV and radio and was voted a top 10 marketing voice on LinkedIn, a top 30 person to follow on Twitter by Business Insider and a must follow by Fast Company. This title has already won much praise: “Goodwin cuts through the gobbledygook to offer down-to-earth, practical advice for transforming your business. Digital Darwinism reassures you that futurizing your company doesn't mean you need to be the next Uber or Amazon” said Head of Digital Media Adam Najberg; and Rory Sutherland, TED speaker and Vice Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather wrote “This finally answered many questions about innovation which have long haunted me – not least why most large companies are typically so bad at it. It's one of those rare books that is worth reading twice.” Dylan Jones at GQ endorsed this saying it was “A fascinating dip into a disruptive future.” There’s lots more coverage to come, including an article on Entrepreneur.com, a review in Marketing Week, and interviews with Tom in Campaign, Marketing Tech and Raconteur magazines and on NewsTalk Radio. Tom believes every assumption the business world has made about digital is wrong - and he’s starting his own revolution to set things right! This provocative book dispels everything you thought you knew and offers a new guide for a surviving and thriving in a new era. It has just been published by Kogan Page.

Happy 10th Birthday to the London Stereoscopic Company! Queen in 3-D (hb, £50, 978 0957424685) was one of the big success stories of 2017 – and there is loads more exciting publishing to come this year from this exciting and innovative team. Head over to Twitter here  to see a special Happy Birthday message from the great Brian May himself!

The Woman Before Me by Ruth Dugdale (£8.99, pb, 978 1787198586) is getting great feedback from the book bloggers on its current blog tour! “The creepiest opening chapter award goes to Ruth Dugdall” – you can read a review of this gripping and clever thriller on The Book Magnet here. This novel won the CWA Dagger Debut Award with the judges calling it “dark, disturbing and authentic" and Sophie Hannah said “Ruth Dugdall's novels are intelligent and gripping, with a sophisticated psychological sensibility. She is a huge talent.” Rose Wilks' life is shattered when her newborn baby Joel is admitted to intensive care. Emma Hatcher has all that Rose lacks. Beauty. A loving husband. A healthy son. Until tragedy strikes and Rose is the only suspect. Now, having spent nearly five years behind bars, Rose is just weeks away from freedom. Her probation officer Cate must decide whether Rose is remorseful for Luke's death, or whether she remains a threat to society. Ruth Dugdall worked as a prison Probation Officer for almost a decade, working with numerous high-risk criminals and this novel was informed by her experiences, giving her writing authenticity and credibility. It has just been published (in a paperback edition which includes new exclusive content) by Legend.

Caroline Slocock author of People Like Us: Margaret Thatcher and Me (978 1785902246, hb, £20) will be on Radio 4’s Start the Week programme on the 9th April. As a young civil servant, Caroline Slocock went to work at No. 10 Downing Street during the last eighteen months of Margaret Thatcher’s prime ministership. As a left-leaning English Literature graduate, she was against much of what Thatcher stood for, but as she worked for her she became fascinated by the challenges Thatcher faced as a powerful woman, and the way that she was demonised. Based on diaries Slocock kept at the time, this extraordinary book examines how although Margaret Thatcher is considered by many to be the ultimate anti-role model for feminists, she had to fight hard to change the status quo and fulfil her ambitions, a feature common to all successful and aspirational women. There is highly likely to be a serialisation of this book in with the Mail or the Mail on Sunday, around its publication by Biteback on 19 April.

And for those booksellers too young to really remember exactly how Thatcher was demonised – you could do a lot worse that have a watch here  of some of the classic Thatcher Spitting Image sketches!

Feeling sad is, unfortunately, a part of everyone's life, and there's not always an easy fix. Children suffer with mental health issues too, and many struggle to express their emotions – especially when they are very young. Sometimes I Feel Sad (£9.99, hb, 978 1785924934) was published this week by Jessica Kingsley and helps explain to children aged 5+ that they're not alone in feeling this way. It has been much praised, one librarian called it "Simple but elegant. A great way to explain to kids that being sad is okay. This book could be helpful to a kid who has depression or a friend trying to understand." A teacher said "I loved this book for the direct and simple way it tackled a potentially tricky subject matter...The real positive to having illustrations like these is that you could have children replicate them to draw their own emotions, or how they want things to be." Another educator called it “A small gem. Elegant. Accurate. Evocative.” which I think describes it perfectly. You can find out a bit more about it and see some of the spreads on Tom’s own website here.

Deserving winner of multiple awards upon its Catalan and Spanish publication; Brother in Ice by Alicia Kopf (978 1911508205, £10.00, pb) is a richly rewarding journey into the unknown. Published on April 23rd by And Other Stories, its editor describes this genre-defying book as “an astonishing semi-autobiographical novel that uses a history of polar exploration to explore the experience of growing up with an autistic brother in the challenging world of post-crash Catalonia. Kopf is also a visual artist and the book is a culmination of a series of visual work which comes out in the photos and drawings.”

A lively launch party this week for the new edition of Managing Cybersecurity Risk: Cases Studies and Solutions by Jonathan Reuvid (£39, 978 1787198913, pb) which is published by Legend Business. Many organisations are still not yet paying sufficient attention to cybersecurity, possibly not appreciating the scale or severity of the potential permanent risk to their businesses. The book is for them; and is a vital wake-up call, offering advice on the resources available to build defences and the selection of tools and services which can achieve enhanced security at an acceptable cost. The first edition of this title was a significant success and this new edition has even more detailed information about the cybersecurity environment and specific threats.

With the news this week that an NHS trust has been fined £2m for the deaths of Connor Sparrowhawk and Teresa Colvin; there may well be renewed interest in Justice for Laughing Boy: Connor Sparrowhawk: A Death by Indifference by Sara Ryan (978 1785923487, £12.99, pb) which was published by Jessica Kingsley last year. On July 4th 2013, Connor Sparrowhawk, also known as Laughing Boy, was found dead in a specialist NHS unit. Connor, who had autism and epilepsy, had a seizure while in the bath and no member of staff was on hand to stop him from drowning. As one academic said, “The heart of this story rises above a narrative of private grief and public failure by offering a powerful eulogy to the sheer force of love, especially the personality and character of Connor Sparrowhawk that helped inspire a social movement for truth, justice and accountability. Everyone committed to accountable public services should read this book and learn from it.” Social workers agreed saying “This account of a parent's experience brings to light the vital need to really listen, understand and work alongside people with learning disabilities and their families to ensure that care and support is right for them.” This title has had very very good reviews – many parents of autistic or disabled children have found it both moving and helpful and is deserves to be as widely read as possible.

There was an absolutely joyous and inspiring appearance by Andy Merriman and his daughter Sarah on Loose Women last week, talking about life with Down's syndrome. This was on World Down Syndrome Day and there were lots of mentions of their book A Major Adjustment: How a Remarkable Child Became a Remarkable Adult (pb, £9.99, 978-0993291142) which is published by Safe Haven. You can watch that here.

“Revealed! The passion-filled love letters that show Look Back In Anger writer John Osborne carried on sleeping with his first wife through his next four marriages fuelled by their mutual obsession with silk bloomers!” Yep, that could only be a headline from the ever-salacious Daily Mail, but hopefully it will provoke lots of interest in the book it’s referencing, which is Dearest Squirrel: The Intimate Letters of John Osborne and Pamela Lane (hb, £20, 978 1786823922) edited by Peter Whitebrook and published by Oberon Books on 1 April. The Mail feature is superb publicity for this title which you can read here – it’s already attracting lots of online comments such as “a bit like sexting back in the day!” and “if respect for feelings matched fascination with knickers, a lot more marriages would work out.” Don’t just comment; go and buy the book people, go and buy the book!

The Football Writers’ Association 2018 Book of the Year longlist is announced – and great to see that The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide To Football Glory (978 1785903717, pb, £9.99) by David Bolchover which was published in paperback by Biteback at the start of the year) is on it! You can read all about it in the Bookseller here. The shortlist will be revealed in April and the Sports Book Awards Ceremony, sponsored by Coutts, will take place at Lord’s on 7th June. This remarkable story spans two visions of twentieth-century Europe: a continent ruptured by barbarism and genocide, yet lit up by exhilarating encounters in magnificent cities, where great players would strive to win football’s holy grail. With dark forces rising once again, the story of Béla Guttmann’s life asks the question: which vision of Europe will triumph in our times?

Plenty of publicity for Queer Sex: A Trans and Non-Binary Guide to Intimacy, Pleasure and Relationships by Juno Roche which is published by Jessica Kingsley on 19th April. Frankly discussing desire, sex and how trans people relate to their bodies and relationships, this collection of intimate interviews with leading figures from the trans and non-binary community is a call to arms for how society views gender and sexuality. Cosmopolitan are running a feature for their sex & relationships section on Juno’s experiences and what she learned about sex while writing the book; Dazed & Confused magazine have also interviewed Juno about the book and there will be extracts and reviews in Huck, Refinery29, Bitch, BUST and Gay Star News. There’s a book launch/panel event at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road on the 19th April, and another launch event together with Waterstones Brighton at Brighton Uni on the 25th.

Michael Arditti is receiving some fantastic reviews for Of Men and Angels (£16.99, hb, 978 1911350262). The Observer said he was “a master storyteller who uses his theological literacy sparingly to deliver a challenging but enthralling read” – that’s here. There was also a great review in the Jewish Chronicle saying that “Michael Arditti is an accomplished and fluent writer, with the sensibility of a philosophical mandarin. In his new novel, education and research combine with well-honed narrative skills to produce an epic excursion through millennia of Judaeo-Christian and Islamic history” which you can see here and he was interviewed in the Church Times here. It’s just been published by Arcadia.

Ten Best Biblical novels – what would you suggest? Michael Arditti has made some interesting choices here for the Arts Desk. And what about the Top Ten Biblical Movies? Have a watch here!


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