Modesty Blaise at 50: A Celebration

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first publication of Peter O’Donnell’s Modesty Blaise – a series Kingsley Amis called “One of the great partnerships in fiction, bearing comparison with that of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson” – we’ve compiled something very special…

https://social.shorthand.com/SouvenirPress/ugYEPAYkMM/50-years-of-modesty-blaise

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Win an Independent Voices Book Bundle!

To celebrate the launch of the brand new Souvenir Press website (hurrah!), we’re giving one lucky person the chance to win a great prize – an Independent Voices book bundle!

Five of our favourite titles are up for grabs, all published in our acclaimed Independent Voices series.

black-like-me1 SOFT-VENGEANCE-web-jacket warriors And-the-Band-Played-On1 People Who Say Goodbye cover

A little bit about Independent Voices…

The series is dedicated to publishing writers who provide alternative viewpoints and challenge conventional wisdom, making available work that has been unavailable in the UK although it is as relevant today as on its original publication.

You can see all of our other Independent Voices titles on our (brand new!) website at http://www.souvenirpress.co.uk/product-category/independent-voices/.

It’s very easy to enter – all you need to do is one of three things:

  1. Simply retweet one of our tweets about the competition on Twitter (@SouvenirPress)
  2. Like/comment on this blog post
  3. Or email me with the subject heading ‘Independent Voices Competition’

Good luck!

UK only. Deadline for entries is Friday 17th July at 5pm (UK time). One winner will receive a book bundle consisting of Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin, And The Band Played On by Randy Shilts, People Who Say Goodbye by P.Y. Betts, The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter by Albie Sachs and The Warriors by Sol Yurick. One entry per person. Winner will be selected by random draw.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Need some inspiration for Father’s Day this week? Fear not! SP are here to help with some of our favourite titles, so no matter what he’s into, we’ve got it covered.

For sports-mad dads…

The Golf Swing of the Future by Mindy Blake

Golf-Swing_PB

Does your dad still dream of being the next Rory McIlroy? Help him to perfect his swing with Mindy Blake’s Golf Swing of the Future. A bestseller all over the world on its first publication, Mindy Blake’s love of the game shines through as he offers a deeper understanding of what golf is about and how that can be used to improve any golfer’s game.

*we can’t guarantee that your dad will be a professional golfer.

“A revolutionary but completely convincing method… I highly recommend it to all serious students of the game.”
‘Financial Times’

Muhammad Ali: The Birth of a Legend by Flip Schulke and Matt Schudel

Muhammad Ali cover

A collector’s piece for all sporting dads, the photographs in Flip Schulke’s Muhammad Ali: The Birth of a Legend show Ali at the start of his journey. Flip Schulke was more than a silent observer, he was a witness to the transformation of Cassius Clay into Muhammad Ali, and Schulke’s commentary on his photographs provide a penetrating insight into, arguably, the greatest athlete of the century.

“One of those great iconic photos, regardless of whether you’re interested in boxing or Muhammad Ali… One of the top three sporting photographs ever taken.
‘ShortList’

For music fans…

Bowie on Bowie by Sean Egan

Bowie on Bowie cover

In the closest thing to an autobiography that Bowie has come, Sean Egan has compiled Bowie’s most revealing interviews into a riveting commentary on 50 years of personas and styles, tracing each step from Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane to The Thin White Duke and into the elder statesman that Bowie has become.

“Here is the ultimate introduction to Rock’s most distinctive voice.”
Bowie Wonderworld

Meet The Beatles by Tony Barrow

Meet the Beatles front cover

The first book to be published with the Beatles own involvement, Meet The Beatles introduced the Beatles, in their own words, to the world. This special collector’s edition features rare photographs of the Beatles, many of which have not been reproduced elsewhere and was compiled by Tony Barrow, the man who coined the phrase ‘the Fab Four’. Guaranteed to make your dad think of ‘Yesterday’…

“A uniquely first-hand introduction to the Beatles as they were in 1963…A terrific book, crammed with facts and figures and brilliant photographs – nostalgia at its very finest.”
‘Books Monthly’

For Fiction lovers…

Bhowani Junction by John Masters

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Set in the wake of the partition of India, as the British prepare to withdraw from the newly independent country, Bhowani Junction captures the tensions and conflicts that accompanied the birth of modern India. In the last hectic days of the British Raj, Victoria has to choose between marrying a British Army officer or a Sikh, Ranjit, as she struggles to find her place in the new, independent India.

“One of the most unjustly neglected writers… a remarkable and accurate picture of the Empire and its aftermath, as well as magnificent storytelling.”
‘Evening Gazette’

The Neruda Case by Roberto Ampuero

neruda case

In 1970’s Chile, Pablo Neruda, the Nobel-prize winning poet, is close to death and he senses the end of an era in Chilean politics. But there is one final secret he must resolve. He recruits Cayetano Brulé, a young Cuban rogue, as his “own private Maigret” and lends Brulé the novels of Simenon as a crash course in the role of private detective. Brulé must travel across the world, through Neruda’s past and the political faiths he has espoused, retracing the poet’s life from Fidel Castro’s Cuba to Berlin, Mexico City to Bolivia….

A must have for any crime fiction fan.

 “Forget Poirot, Holmes or Marlowe…Ampuero gives his readers some fascinating glimpses of both Neruda and the world he lived in.”
‘The Spectator’

The Warriors by Sol Yurick

warriors

We can pretty much guarantee that your dad will have heard of the cult movie ‘The Warriors’, directed by Walter Hill and released in 1979 (go on, we dare you to ask!). Published in our Independent Voices collection, Sol Yurick’s The Warriors follows the Family, a New York gang who have to fight their way home after being accused of killing Cyrus, the leader of the city’s most powerful gang.

“The best novel of its kind I’ve read. An altogether perfect achievement. I’m sure that to many it will sound like sacrilege but I have to say that I think it a better novel than Lord of the Flies.”
Warren Miller

And finally, something to make him laugh…

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner

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For anyone brought up on sexist, racist, sizeist and ethnocentrist reading matter, James Finn Garner’s stories have been purged of the influence of an insensitive cultural past to become fables for our times. From Snow White’s relationship with seven vertically challenged men, Little Red Riding Hood, her grandma and the cross-dressing wolf who set up an alternative household based on mutual respect and cooperation, to the Emperor who was not naked but was endorsing a clothing-optional lifestyle, at last, here is bedtime reading free from prejudice and discrimination to witches, giants, dwarves, goblins and fairies everywhere.

“Hillary and I have been enjoying (it)… it’s hilarious.”
Bill Clinton

Bum Fodder by Richard Smyth

Bum Fodder by Richard Smyth

And for those dads that enjoy toilet humour (there’s always one!), Richard Smyth’s Bum Fodder charts the absorbing history of the humble toilet roll. From its origins in Medieval China to the invention of the hi-tech Washlet, a combined cleansing and drying system that removes the need for paper altogether, Smyth has delved deep into the annals of literature to chart humanity’s pursuit of gentleness for the behind.

“The ultimate accessory for the loo: Richard Smyth’s fascinating tome about toilet paper that flushes out reams of intriguing facts.”
‘Saga’

Happy Father’s Day to all! For more ideas, visit our website at www.souvenirpress.co.uk.

Humour: the Enemy of Political Correctness?

“You couldn’t make it up” Eric Morecambe’s running gag in the ‘Morecambe and Wise’ TV series would have been seriously challenged last week with the latest media Political Correctness stories. The BBC announced that it was advertising for a weather forecaster who is disabled, which appears to be mirroring the plotline of a recent episode of their hilarious W1A series, thus strengthening the view of many of its employees that the series is not actually a parody of what might go on, but a documentary of what does. An even fiercer media battle arose about Transworld’s decision to tone down the cover of Jilly Cooper’s seminal blockbuster Riders 30 years after it was first published. The cover, ‘which originally had a man’s hand resting intimately on the seat of a woman’s “jodhpurs” (The Times), has now been moved an inch or two higher up to rest on the rider’s “hip”’. Alison Flood’s blog rightly notes that the man’s riding crop has however got bigger in the meantime. These latest examples of the timeless march onwards and upwards of Political Correctness since we first published James Finn Garner’s Politically Correct Bedtime Stories in 1994 cheered us no end as they have just coincided with two more reprints in the 21st year of its publication, confirming that laughter is the best medicine against its creeping invasion of daily life. Of course we were even more chuffed to find Laurie Penny, whose columns in the New Statesman so enliven its content, confessing that in 1994 when she was nine years old and sitting at the table of her small suburban kitchen in Sussex, slopping Frosties into her mouth, she was reading our book, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, having been given it by friends as a joke. At that time, she points out that Politically Correct Bedtime Stories was her favourite book, and you could tell from the milk stains! Already at nine she had the awareness that in these stories

“Cinderella organises against low paid labour. Snow White is an activist for the rights of people of restricted growth. And the wolves are gentle, misunderstood carnivores who sometimes get to win. As I’m nine, I’ve never heard of political correctness before but it sounds good to me.”

and that’s just the start of a two-page essay that gives a very prescient account of the dangers and benefits of political awareness as practiced today, some of which are not funny at all! Her comments made us recall the difficult birth of book. In the USA where it originated, it was rescued from the slush pile of Macmillan by a young editor who not surprisingly has since become a powerful publisher and by now has sold 1 million copies there (we’re up to 400,000 with ours). Macmillan at the time were bought out by Simon & Schuster and in the changeover it was decided that book was a children’s book since the words ‘Bedtime Stories’ figured in the title. Though we don’t do children’s books, I couldn’t stop laughing reading it, and bought it immediately for our list. Though very popular with school kids, it is of course an adult book that is timeless. On its first publication, though it had some sniffy reviews from people such as David Baddiel and the ex-MP Austin Mitchell, who didn’t find it funny, but once Libby Purves headlined, ‘Witches have human feelings too’ for a long feature on it in The Times, commended it as

“…One of those works which cleave an author instantly to your heart…It is beautiful. It demolishes, in few but elegant words, a dozen kinds of silliness. It is better than I can possibly convey.”

it found its very large and receptive audience, which continues to grow as Political Correctness does. At the 20th anniversary of the publication the author added a new story about the ugly duckling that was judged on its personal merits and not physical appearance and at the present rate he will probably have to add another couple to the book on its 25th anniversary now that so many more will have qualified for Eric Morecambe’s immortal words.

from Souvenir’s Ernest Hecht

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2014 cover of James Finn Garner’s Politically Correct Bedtime Stories (ISBN:9780285640412).

“Stockings and Suspenders!”: Sepp Blatter in a ‘tight’ spot

He’s resigned from FIFA, so what is Sepp Blatter going to do with all that free time?

He could take up his old position as the president of the World Society of Friends of Suspenders (who still have a Facebook page). With Mr Blatter at the helm, the all-male group lobbied for women to wear stockings and suspenders instead of tights.

In the meantime, Souvenir Press can provide some consolation to Mr Blatter on a subject that’s obviously dear to his heart; some illustrations from fashion historian Rosemary Hawthorne’s brilliantly entertaining Stockings and Suspenders (ISBN 9780285631434)

First, a portrait of the man in question.

henry

Only kidding.

They do have some things in common though, i.e a penchant for stockings…

“Since former times it was men – not women – who persistently revealed their hose-clad legs.”

“The prevailing fashionable ‘image’ for upper-crust men of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries was very macho: an important, puffed-up torso, slim waist and strong hips tapering down to his sleek legs with pronounced calves and neat ankles.”

We like to think that maybe, just maybe, Mr Blatter has a pair of these in his drawers *sorry*.

men

So what is it exactly that Mr Blatter wanted women to wear?

suspenders

Not tights, a.k.a THE ENEMY. 

“Footless tights and leggings (more defectors from the dance studios), worn with baggy tunics and often replacing jeans, have gained enormous popularity with women”, much to the dismay of the World Society of Friends of Suspenders.

boots and tights

Well, at least we know where we can find Mr Blatter…

can can

All illustrations and quotes taken from Stockings and Suspenders by Rosemary Hawthorne (ISBN 9780285631434).

To buy a copy of the book, click here.

Happy #NationalRunningDay folks!

Did you know that over 2.2 million of us run at least once a week?

People run for many reasons – to keep fit, to have some ‘me time’, to enjoy their natural surroundings….

Me? I just love cake, and figure that if I run, I don’t feel as guilty gorging into that scrummy piece of freshly-baked-melt-in-the-mouth carrot cake on the table.

*ahem*

Well, runners everywhere rejoice! For it is #NationalRunningDay and we have the perfect book for you.

Whether you’re a casual jogger, a beginner looking to train seriously for the first time or an experienced runner hoping to improve your time, there is a better way to train than relentlessly pounding the miles.

Build Your Running Body features over 150 workouts, from weight-training to resistance work and plyometrics that can be tailored to suit runners of any level, training for any distance.

There’s also exercises to prevent injury and the best methods to rehabilitate common problems, nutrition guidance, almost 400 photos to make following the programme as easy as possible, interviews and tips from leading runners and coaches that explain how elite runners train and race strategy for the weeks leading up to a race.

“This is the best running book ever” – Bob Anderson, founder of Runner’s World

So, see you at next year’s London Marathon?

Build Your Running Body cover

Want to know more? You can read an exclusive extract on Outdoor Fitness Magazine’s website!

Get your copy of Build Your Running Body here.