Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Day That Went Missing with Richard Beard

On Wednesday, May 3 at 7.30pm, Mark Thornton will be in conversation with author Richard Beard at an event at Mostly Books. They will be discussing his new book 'The Day That Went Missing' and we'd really love you to come along. Why? We'll let Mark tell you about this remarkable and extraordinary book, how he came to read it, and why he thinks you should definitely come along...

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"Towards the end of last year, I was lucky to get an advanced reading copy of ‘The Day That Went Missing’ from our rep at Penguin Random House. He didn't know a great deal about it, but I was chuffed to get one and it went straight to the top of my TBR pile.

You see, we’ve known Richard as a customer for years. But we've also gotten to know him as a writer of bold and often experimental fiction, and in the last few years his books - which he cheerful admits are never going to be 'mainstream' - have started garnering notice and critical acclaim. His most recent novel 'Acts of the Assassins' was shortlisted for the Goldsmith’s Prize and also found its way onto the longlist for the Guardian's 'Not The Booker'.

I really didn’t know anything about the book either – even to the point of whether it was fiction or non-fiction – and so when I sat down to read it at the start of this year, I was totally unprepared for my reaction, and blindsided utterly by what I consider to be a little miracle of a book.

I realise the currency of words like "moving", "shocking" and "awe-inspiring" have been greatly devalued from years of blurb ‘hype’ on book jackets, but please understand that these words absolutely nail it. Shocked by the events that occurred in Richard's life, moved (emotionally knocked for six was how I came to think about it) because of the worthiness of his quest, and in awe of the brilliance of what he's achieved with his writing.

Having rather clumsily and cluelessly tweeted a snap of the book initially with a message of 'Hey Richard, I'm about to read your book!' I was also at a loss of how to then contact him to discuss an event (I knew we would want to do an event, by about page 5). It wasn't a case of saying "I loved your book" it was actually wanting to communicate just what I felt after reading it, with a swirl of emotions, and the idea that you can know someone well yet have not one clue about the sad secrets anyone might have in their past.

Anyway, after weeks of prevaricating, I contacted Richard, shared what I felt after reading it, and asked him to come do an event with us. I’m delighted he agreed – so we’d love you to come along on Wednesday May 3.

I’d rather not say too much about the book itself – I would prefer you to come to it in much the way I did (which is impossible, obvs, after this blog post, but you get my drift).

However, here is the bare bones of the true story that Richard tells.

On an August day in 1978, on a family holiday in Cornwall, Richard and his brother Nicholas went for ‘one last swim’ after a day at the beach. Richard was 11 and Nicky was 9. One moment the boys were fine, the next the tide had swept in and they were out of their depth. Nicky drowned.

What happened next was an almost epic act of denial and family stoicism. This was followed by the kind of hard-baked, emotional repression that you only really get with a specific type of 20th century boarding school education.

Forty years later, Richard – facing problems in his own life – decides to excavate his family’s memories and recollections of the incident, which is anything but straightforward. When your own memory plays tricks on you, how can you trust anyone else’s? With his emotions barely contained, Richard embarks on what amounts to a 'cold case' reconstruction: painfully but meticulously tracking down every personal item, fact and scrap of memory about the day. What emerges – slowly, painfully, unbelievably - is as accurate account of what happened on that day in Cornwall in 1978 as is possible to reconstruct.

The book is told in simple, spare prose, and this style means that his discoveries strike home with unusual and profound force.

Yes, Richard is a local author of whom we can feel extremely proud, and that's reason enough to support him and this book. But 'The Day That Went Missing' is important for other reasons.

I wrote recently about bookshops and loneliness, and grief and loneliness can often be wrapped up in each other. Richard's book – when put together with Cathy Retzenbrink’s ‘The Last Act of Love’ and Max Porter's ‘Grief is the Thing with Feathers’ - form a remarkable troika of titles published in the last couple of years which provide deep truths about the nature of grief (and love) within families. Books (and booksellers) often find themselves on the front line when it comes to dealing with grief, however long ago it happened, and I believe these books offer help in ways that no self-help book or 'grief processing formula' ever can.

I'm not alone. In the Spectator, Nicholas Shakespeare says "'The Day That Went Missing' is a wonderful memoir...the language does exist to make sense of grief. His book deserves to stand on the same shelf as William Fiennes’s 'The Music Room', as a remarkable homage to a lost brother."

Brian Viner in the Daily Mail describes it as "a captivating book, both heartrending and jaw-dropping, [unfolding] like a detective story" and Tom Holland describes it as "a brilliant piece of writing: a book that is as mordantly and often brutally funny as it is moving. Beard’s exploration of how we used to cope with grief, and of how we cope with it now, is compassionate, unsparing and unforgettable.".

Ultimately Nicky’s death – and 'erasure' from history – created a void that exerted a real gravitational pull on Richard’s life, like some distant ‘Planet X’ tugged imperceptibly but constantly over forty years to tilt Richard’s own orbit until the point when he could no longer ignore its effects and had to go back and recover the truth.

That gravitational pull has also resulted in his appearing at Mostly Books on Wednesday May 3. We really you can come along and share Richard's story. Tickets are £4, redeemable off the price of the book and includes a glass of wine. Email us to reserve a ticket.

Even if you can't join us, please do consider buying and reading the book - and discover more about Richard's writing here.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Water, water everywhere: murky, black yet filled with wonder - Easter Reading from Mostly Books

With the Easter Holidays looming or well underway (depending on where you live) this is a great excuse to showcase some of our favourite holiday reads fresh into the shop. Last week we shared some favourite activity books (for young and young-a-heart) and with the Bailey's shortlist recently announced, and a slew of books new out in paperback, we've got some great books to recommend for reading as the weather dramatically improves...

We're big fans of Louise Doughty in the shop, and following the huge hit of 'Apple Tree Yard' Louise has followed it up with 'Black Water' and masterful, slow-motion suspense tale of skulduggery, murky state-sponsored murder and some of the biggest events of the 20th century.

The incessant drumming of the rain stands as a great metaphor for both the erasure of the past and the drip-drip of tension as chickens come home to roost for John Harper - intelligence operative with some very bad things on his conscious.

Doughty once again pulls off a remarkable feat: a thought-provoking, morally ambiguous tale written with page-turning skill that will have wide appeal.

'Rush Oh!' by Shirley Barrett is a completely different kettle of fish - or rather, whale blubber. Many people might be put off with the subject matter (a coming-of-age story set against a whaling community in New South Wales in 1908) but that would be a huge mistake - this is one of those novels that transports you utterly and completely to another place and time that is hard to believe ever exists.

Mary Davidson cares for her ailing father, his motley crew (literally) of vagabonds, chancers and loyal acolytes that work with the killer whales (yes, they have this amazing symbiotic relationship, one of the treats of the book) to hunt and land whales for their own survival. Into this mix walks John Beck, a man with a murky past, who threatens to knock both the boat and the domestic set-up completely off-balance. But there are bigger changes happening in the wider world, and the whales seem to be coming more elusive.

With both timeless and contemporary themes (including ones of community and environmental stewardship) this is a favourite debut of the past year new out in paperback.

A sultry summer, two bored schoolgirls and a disappearance of Mrs Creasy, one of the neighbours, means Grace and Tilly are determined to turn it into a mystery to solve...

'The Trouble with Goats and Sheep' is another impressive debut, this time from Joanna Cannon and set in the 1970s. There’s a definite love for the period that comes through in this quirky story where two schoolgirls find excuses to chat to the whole of their small community and are treated to generous amounts of coveted penguin biscuits along with the gossip.

The narrative weaves among a group of uptight individuals, a group of unchanging residents, who have lived close together for too long and know each other just a little too well. The suspicions also ring true: of anyone who doesn’t fit in, or worse, measure up to the ambitions of the lower middle-class. It’s a story of the small tragedies of ordinary life.

The girls end up uncovering more secrets than they bargained for and find some sad stories about what is really going on behind those starched net curtains and tidily-mown lawns. A little gem.

Sometimes a children's book comes in that's so good, you end up wanting to recommend it to adults as well - and that's definitely the case with Scarlett Thomas' 'Dragon's Green'. Scarlett has already had an impressive writing career with books such as 'The End of Mr Y' and 'The Seed Collectors', and this - her first for children - is one of those books that feels instantly like an absolute treat to settle down with.

Firstly, it features a really important library, which turns out to be magical, and just when you thought it couldn’t get any better it has the best contest with a dragon ever...

Effie Truelove is determined to save her grandfather’s library when he is suddenly attacked and a sinister book-buyer is desperately keen to get his hands on the collection. When Effie realises the books are magical she is plunged into an entire parallel world where she must learn how to defeat the book eaters and save the precious library that was her grandfather’s life’s work.

Wonderful world-building, an exciting race to the finish and the gathering together of an unlikely assortment of friends, means there is tremendous enjoyment to be had in this smart, bold, imaginative and adventurous story of magic and books.

This is the first in a planned trilogy and we have signed copies in stock. Something tells us it might be worth getting your hands on this and being amongst the first to discover us to reserve a copy.

Over the last few years we've loved championing SF author Chris Beckett in the shop, and his 'Dark Eden' series - even to the point of having our bookgroups read the original in the series. 

The third book in the series is now out in paperback, and 'Daughter of Eden' follow in the footsteps of the original colonists of Eden - and a deadly war between the people of New Earth and Mainground. Unashamedly solid SF themes, but just powerful, timeless storytelling - and definitely continues to be a classic series in the making.

It's always good to take a risk with a book, and we're asking you to to take a risk with 'Mirror, Shoulder, Signal' - Pushkin Press' translation of Danish author Dorthe Nors angst-ridden tale of loneliness, first-world problems and culture in translation.

The book itself defies genre, but there are plenty of hints: the main protagonist is Sonja (non-conformist, fish-out-of-water) is a translator of violent crime fiction (think Stieg Larsson or any black scandi-noir), and when she finds herself single after being dumped by another translator, Paul, she's determined to get her life back on track - but has no clue on where to start. Through her attempts at learning to drive, abortive meditation classes and other endeavours (from well-meaning but equally clueless acquaintances) Sonja recovers the events of her child which have led her to her current impasse. We reckon this would make a great bookgroup read - but also a chance to discover a totally new voice in European fiction.

If something lighter - but nevertheless enjoyable - is more up your street, 'One-in-a-million Boy' by Monica Wood definitely fits the bill. It's incredibly moving, and yes - you'll shed a few tears.

But great books shouldn't solely by measured by how much salty water leaks from the eyeballs - and we heartily recommend the story of 104-year old Ona, and the mystery disappearance of the 11-year-old boy who has been helping her out.

The Bailey's shortlist was out this week - which many people still know as the Orange Prize for woman's fiction, and will again have a new name again next year (as Bailey's have decided this isn't a good match for their corporate goals).

But whatever globalised alcoholic beverage you choose to wash down your reading with, we reckon this year's list is both imaginative and a great mix of genres, styles and stories. Frankly we could have recommended any of them - and we've been recommending Margaret Atwood's 'Hag-Seed' and Madeleine Thien's 'Do Not Say We Have Nothing' for months. But we're plumping for 'The Power' by Naomi Alderman which has been a described as an instant classic - and it's a science fiction thriller which should wide appeal.

All across the world, teenage women are discovering that they suddenly - and thrillingly - have the power to inflict pain and even kill with the touch of their hands. Male domination seems to be at an end - and initially it seems a good thing with sex-traffickers and rapists getting their comeuppance, and revolutions around the world in all the world's patriarchal societies. But be careful what you wish for: As power balances are upset, things get out of hand, what's the end-game for this deadly battle of the sexes.

Brilliant, thought-provoking and a rip-roaring read, this feels like an end-game in itself: a fully-fledged grown-up novel sprung from the YA revolution.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Full of the joys of reading - Spring and Easter at Mostly Books

The recent warm weather has put a literal spring in our step, and we're all about getting everyone outdoors to enjoy the arrival of Spring (and because we know these things never last in the UK!).

So here is a few recommendations taken from our 'get outdoors' displays on the front table and in the children's room.

'The Nature Explorer's Scrapbook' is described as both an album and a handbook for exploration and adventure from Caz Buckingham and Andrea Pinnington. It encourages children to observe the changes in weather and season, pick up feathers and shells, take pictures, study bugs - and change the way we perceive the nature around us, even in the middle of a town.

Also, check out our bug-friendly bug-hunting kit, and a a young person's guide to British Birds...

At the end of May, on BBC4, Clare Balding embarks on a pedal-powered odyssey across Britain to rediscover the magical world of 1950s cycling. 

It's inspired by Jane Eastoe's 'Britain By Bike' and to celebrate, Batsford have published a new edition with a hugely enjoyable collection of cycle routes, advice and local history to get you exploring on two wheels.

(And discover more about the upcoming TV series here)

The Ridgeway is one of the oldest trackways in Britain, originally running from Salisbury Plain to East Anglia. Walking it today is a journey not just across breathtaking countryside - but back through time and Cicerone Press have recently updated their 'Walking The Ridgeway' National Trail Guide.

It's pocket-sized, waterproof, and skillfully put together to be packed with information and totally practical. And if you want to know more about this ancient way, take a look at the National Trail guide. 

It's the 90th anniversary of the National Garden Scheme, and the annual 'Garden Visitor's Handbook' for 2017 has just been published.

Having raised over £50 million for nursing charities since its inception, there is a record number of gardens in this year's handbook - several of which are local, many within a short car (or bike) ride. Look for the yellow cover on the table.

For Easter, we are running a 'guess the eggs in the jar' competition - but also we have a selection of Easter activity books for children.

Nosy Crow have again produced some imaginative and interactive titles for very young children, including 'Press Out and Colour Easter Eggs' which comes with 20 beautiful Easter decorations. It's a gorgeous book as well as inspiring lots of Easter activities.

Come in and take a look at our selection - and as with everything, ask us for some special recommmends!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

We need YOU to become an astronaut!

When Tim Peake blasted off to the International Space Station last year, his mission captured our imaginations and showed us what living and working in space was really lie.

Between dangerous spacewalks, running a marathon, delivering lettuce seeds and speaking to schoolchildren from orbit, he ignited a passion and curiosity about space - and then got everyone excited again with the news that he's going back for another mission.

Around the world, space is booming. And Abingdon sits smack bang in the centre of some of the most exciting space science - and talented scientists - on the planet.

Still wondering what to be when you grow up? Our advice is to become an astronaut. But where do you start?

On March 26 at the Amey Theatre, as part of Abingdon's ATOM Festival of Science, Louie Stowell - children's author and UK Space Agency expert - will explain "How To Become An Astronaut" in an exciting, out-of-this-world event for the whole family.

Together with Usborne Books, Louie will explain just what it takes to become an astronaut and go on a mission to the International Space Station.

Being an astronaut is not about having the “right stuff” any more. You have to be a scientist, engineer, gardener, YouTuber, coder...not to mention toilet scrubber.

Louie will talk through the training process, and there will be a crash course (not literally!) on what it takes to travel into space. She will answer all the big questions from “How do rockets work?” and “What do astronauts do all day?” to “How do you go to the toilet on a spaceship?” 

On the way you'll learn about the technology that astronauts use, from space suits (surprisingly heavy) to Soyuz spacecraft (surprisingly old), and the scientific experiments that Tim Peake and his colleagues carried out on the International Space Station.

Louie Stowell is author of the Usborne Official Astronaut’s Handbook, which answers all the questions you need to know about being an astronaut (and contains a special message from Tim Peake!). 

Louie has also written books on Coding for Beginners Using Python, so expect tips on what software is needed for a successful trip into space.

Around the world, space is booming. Reusable rockets, daring exploration, international collaborations, awe-inspiring science and even trips round the Moon. We think becoming an astronaut might just be the best career move you could make...

So come along, have fun, be inspired - your training starts here!

Tickets are £4 for adults, £2 for children - or free with an ATOM Festival Pass. Buy tickets from the official ATOM Festival Website - or from Mostly Books.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Do Something Booky for #WorldBookDay20 - share the love of children's books and reading!

It can bring the most organised and crafty parent out in cold sweats, suddenly having to put together a costume at 11pm the night before ("Where did we put those Where's Wally socks?").

But we prefer to think of World Book Day as a time to share the joy and love of children's books - and take a full part in one of the UK's biggest book celebrations.

This year is extra special as it's the 20th anniversary of World Book Day. That's two awesome decades of dressing up, and literally millions of £1 vouchers and free books for children.

As well as exchanging their vouchers for the WBD books themselves (and you can take a look at this year's selection here) they can be used as £1 off any book in the shop.

World Book Day asks 'Do Something Booky' and we say 'Read A Book!'. So for today's #FridayReads, and in the interests of sharing the joy of reading for #WorldBookDay20, here are our pick of brilliant new children's books that have come into the shop in the last few weeks.

All of these are out on our two display tables front and back, so you won't be able to miss them when you walk into the shop!

'Also an Octopus' by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Benji davies
One of Imogen's favourite picture books of the year so far, this bonkers tale of how a story gets told features purple spaceships, an incredibly cute bunny...and also an octopus. Illustrated by Benji Davies ('The Storm Whale') this is bold, funny, imaginative and guaranteed to become a firm family favourite.

'Opposite Surprise' by Agnese Baruzzi
We love books that generate surprise and laughter amongst very little ones, and 'Opposite Surprise' by Italian illustrator Agnese Baruzzi is a wonderful board book, where each page concertinas open to totally transform the picture to great delight.

Minedition is a fantastic German publisher, who gather international authors and illustrators to publish some of the most original books, so come take a look at the others that they publish.

'Detective Dog' by Julia Donaldson and Sara Ogilvie
This week, the shortlist for the Oxfordshire Book Awards was published, and amongst some of our favourite Oxfordshire-based authors being on the list (yay!) there was also 'Detective Dog' by Julia Donaldson - one of this year's £1 book authors.

Peter's Dog Nell has an incredible sense of smell, which means he's first on the case if there's a mystery to solve. But Nell also goes to school and listens to the children reading, so when they arrive one morning to find all the school books have disappeared - this is tailor-made for our snigging canine sleuth. It's a fast-paced celebration of books, reading, libraries, and the relationship between a little boy and his rather special dog.

'Butterfly Dance' by Suzanne Barton
Published next week, local author and illustrator Suzanne Barton - who transformed out window a few years back with artwork from her brilliant debut 'Robin's Winter Song' - Butterfly Dance is another sublimely beautiful mixture of art and story.

Caterpillars Dotty and Stripe do everything together. They play, they eat leaves and do all sorts of caterpiller-y things, and then one day, after spinning themselves into snuggly cocoons, they wake up as beautiful butterflies! But soon they realise that, for the first time ever, they look different. Should Dotty only play with butterflies that look like her? And Stripe only play with butterflies that look like him? It's a stunningly illustrated story about friendship and and being happy with who you are,

'The Goblin Princess: The Grand Goblin Ball' by Jenny O'Connor and Kate Willis-Crowley
We loved Jenny O'Connor's first story of Matty, the Goblin Princess, a fun, delightful story illustrated by Kate Willis-Crowley. In this follow-up, there is to be a grand Goblin Ball at the Goblin Castle and when the fairy twins Teasel and Tansy get lost in the woods, they end up at hobgoblin mountain and overhear the hobgoblins planning to invade the Goblin castle and CLEAN IT!!! Will Teasel and Tansy be able to get to the castle in time to warn Princess Matty or will the Hobgoblins carry out their fiendish plan?

'Ned's Circus of Marvels' by Justin Fisher
Ned always thought he was just a normal boy. But on his thirteenth birthday he is thrown into a world he knows nothing about - a world where magic is REAL. When he discovers the truth about who and what he is, secrets held for many years come pouring forth and Ned's life is changed for ever. It turns out that only he can stop the world from being engulfed by monstrous beasts - and all he has to help him is a robot mouse, a girl witch...and the most amazing circus you'll ever read about.

Justin Fisher's day job is designing title sequences for big Hollywood movies (yes, that is an actual job) so those title sequences you see at the start of X-Men and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are probably down to him. And the feedback from young readers in the shop is that this book is awesome!

'Wed Wabbit' by Lissa Evans
We told everyone about 'Wed Wabbit' a few weeks back in the newsletter, but this is still one of our favourite books of the year so far. It's utter genius, extremely funny, and at times genuinely scary.

It's about a children's story book world that gets entangled with the real world, and things go horribly, horribly wrong. Although perfect for 9+, we think plenty of adults will enjoy it immensely - whether you see it as a satire on the modern world or just a brilliantly imaginative tale. A genuine must-read from one of our favourite authors!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Heroic Bookseller's Week - Authors Assemble!

The last full week of January is known as 'Heroic Bookseller's Week'. You didn't know? It's a month after Christmas, we've made it through a grim British January, the news is, well, you know, and the shop is looking a bit bare with all the Christmas books gone, and the shelves cleared to make way for lots of lovely new books heading our way.

But fear not citizens.

Now is the time to turn your face to the unmistakably brightening skies, roll up those sleeves up, and revisit those New Year's resolutions - particularly the ones that promised to spend less time on the Internet, get more sleep, and read more.

Your bookseller stands ready to help, hero like, having made it through the turmoil of a genuinely remarkable 2016. Now is the time to step into a bookshop and ask for our help.

So, with bookselling capes flapping in the cold Winter wind, for your delectation and delight, today we have assembled some truly heroic titles ready to combat the blues, offer alternative worlds for you to visit - and inspire you make a difference.

We are all superheroes - we just need the right book to unleash our superpower...

4321 - Paul Auster
Let's start with The Hulk - or rather, a hulking great near-1000 page magnum opus by Paul Auster. And yes, this is 'Incredible', in every sense of the word. Ostensibly it's the story of Archie Ferguson, born in Newark, New Jersey in 1947, and destined to live his life through what we might until recently, called the most momentous period of American history. Deeply autobiographical (and thus in keeping with much of Auster's other writing) the twist here is that Archie's story fragments into four separate strands, which hinges on an event which plays out in four different ways. Multiverses and multiple lives are in the zeitgeist at the moment (think Kate Atkinson's 'Life After Life', or Iain Pears' 'Arcadia') and what elevates this novel to brilliance is the quality of the writing. Seven years in the writing, this is what Mark has to say:

"I looked at the size of this book and thought 'no way', not with my TBR pile. But then I started reading and I was hooked, I cannot tell you the sheer joy of the writing, the swirl of grand themes and the way in which all four story arcs intertwine in a way that just works. The last book that pulled me in like this was 'Wolf Hall' and I can feel Auster's characters putting down deep roots inside me. The observations of the inner life of a teenage boy are both all-too-familiar and at-times heartbreaking and this book builds empathy in a way I haven't encountered since Mantel's classic. I can't recommend this book highly enough - 'the great American novel' is one of the hoariest of hoary old cliches in the publishing world, but blimey - if there's a line a novel needs to cross to be called it, this is way, way down the asymptote. Joyous, that's all I can say."

The Keeper of Lost Things - Ruth Hogan
This was described by one reviewer as 'the perfect cure for the winter blues' and we have to agree. Not only is this a beautiful book but also an imaginative and amazing story that winds its way through the lives of many people, and with lost items, a ghost and a very special girl.

One of Julia's favourites his January, she describes it as 'a joy to read, exploring the way lives are interconnected, and how one person can make a profound difference to the stories of others'. Profound and uplifting!

Moonglow - Michael Chabon
This blog is being published on Holocaust Memorial Day, and 'Moonglow' - told as a deathbed confession by an ageing Jewish American engineer - takes in the sweep of world history, from the invasion of Germany to the closing years of the 20th century.

At the heart of this story is the relationship between the protagonist's grandfather and Wernher Von Braun, architect of the Apollo Moonshot, populariser of space exploration - and Nazi war criminal whose background was swept under the carpet during the Cold War. The parallel with Auster are apparent (Chabon is drawing heavily on his own family's history) but the style is utterly different, but the writing is still sublime.

If a big, heft hardback is not your thing, three titles fresh out in paperback might be. Our bookgroup is reading ''The Noise of Time' by Julian Barnes - new out in paperback, is a sympathetic, grimly humorous yet brilliant telling of the story of Shostakovich, specifically his complex relationship with Stalin and the Soviet authorities at the end of the 1930s.

Rose Tremain's 'The Gustav Sonata' is the tale of an intense and deepening friendship between Gustav, a boy growing up in wartime Switzerland, and Anton, an only-child whose parents have big ambitions for him to be a classical pianist. But this is Switzerland in 1942, nothing is as it seems, and as if growing up isn't difficult enough, how do you handle strong feelings when the world seems to be pulling everything apart?

Finally, we loved recommending 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk' by Ben Fountain, a satirical look at the strange period in the noughties when celebrity culture, military prowess and an ability to bring regime change around the globe collide grotesquely during the Superbowl for Billy Lynn, freshly returned from Iraq as a war hero, but about to return to duty. It all feels like a lifetime away, but - with a film about to be released - it's a great opportunity to study what might just have been the seeds of the post-truth modern world?

A Quiet Kind of Thunder - Sara Barnard
It's shaping up to be another great year for YA publishing, but Imogen's gone for this refreshing twist on the opposite's attract theme.

When Rhys starts at school, he is introduced to Steffi because both of them know sign language. Rhys is deaf and Steffi has selective mutism, and this is their journey through new experiences, friendship and love. It's a wonderfully refreshing, well researched book (many of the characters nicely play against type) about two individuals trying to find their way in the world. Brilliantly written, there's an extra bonus of a guide to the basics of British Sign Language (BSL) on the end pages!

Friday, January 06, 2017

Eclipse - Journeys to the Dark Side of the Moon with Professor Frank Close

On 21 August 2017, over 100 million people will gather across a narrow strip of the USA to witness the most watched total solar eclipse in history.

On Thursday, Feb 2 we're delighted to welcome one of the UK's most well-known and respected physicists and science writer Professor Frank Close to discuss the spellbinding allure of this most beautiful of natural phenomena. He will also be discussing his latest book ‘Eclipse - Journeys to the Dark Side of the Moon’, explaining why eclipses happen and revealing their role in history, literature and myth.

He'll also be focusing on 'eclipse chasers', who travel with ecstatic fervour to some of the most inaccessible places on the globe to be present at the moment of totality.

Frank Close lives in Abingdon, and his scientific career and achievements are genuinely outstanding. A professor of physics at the University of Oxford and a former head of the theoretical physics division at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, he is the author of bestselling books Antimatter, Neutrino, The Infinity Puzzle (the story behind the discovery of the Higgs Boson) and 'Half Life' (the true story of Harwell physicist Bruno Pontecorvo).

He has won the Association of British Science Writers award three times, was vice president of the British Association for Advancement of Science and won the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize for Science Communication.

Frank will be at Mostly Books on the evening of Thursday, Feb 2nd at 7.30pm. Tickets are £4, to include a glass of wine, with £3 redeemable against a copy of 'Eclipse' on the night. We expect to be full on the night for this wonderful speaker, so please let us know as soon as you can if we can reserve you a space.

We hope to see you on the night!