Friday, June 28, 2013

3 4 Friday special - Independent Booksellers Week

On the Mostly Books blog, we often tell you about exciting things happening here in Abingdon. Today's post is no exception - but it's a bit bigger than that. That's because next week is Independent Booksellers Week – the week when bookshops across the country work hard to give everyone a reason to call into an independent bookshop.
Inspired by Record Store Day, it's an initiative supported by publishers, authors - and allows us to showcase some of the special magic that happens inside indie bookshops every day throughout the year.

So, here are some of the reasons why we think you should make a special trip to Mostly Books in the next seven days:

Saturday 29 June - why not make a contribution to our Independent Booksellers Week window? We’ll be asking every customer who comes in if they want to leave a message, draw us a picture – or even make a paper doll of themselves as part of a national Guinness World Record attempt to make the longest ever chain of paper dolls. To celebrate Julia Donaldson’s latest book ‘The Paper Dolls’ all the paper dolls we make will eventually be sent to the publisher to join with all the other paper dolls from all the other bookshops across the UK.

Try a book for £2.99 - we’ve a selection of great reads for just £2.99. Try a new author, a new title – or even a whole new genre. Too tempting to miss, with authors such as David Mitchell among the fab selection...


Written Word Prints - exclusively available to indie bookshops for IBW.  Just 200 signed limited edition prints of five handwritten works by five leading indie authors are available EXCLUSIVELY through independent bookshops during IBW this year. Publishers have asked five authors to hand write a section of their work or poem and have reproduced these as A4 sized frame-able prints. If you would like one of these for your wall or as a gift we have a very limited selection of Yann Martel , Robert, Mark Forsyth, Ruth Ozeki and Simon Armitage.

The Bookshop Strikes Back - for those of you who already know author Ann Patchett’s story, you are going to be as thrilled as we are to hear about the IBW Collectible being produced for us by Bloomsbury. ‘The Bookshop Strikes Back’ is Ann Patchett’s charming story of how she came to set up her own bookshop in Nashville, Tennessee.  Special offer price is £1.99 – or free to any customer spending more than £20 in IBW.


Saturday 6 July – we’ve challenged three authors to have a go at becoming booksellers for the day and three authors from publisher Nosy Crow have taken up the challenge. If you want a book recommendation you’ll be able to get one directly from an author, as Fleur Hitchcock, Paula Harrison and Helen Peters will be serving at the till and baking cakes for the occasion. And they’ll also be on hand for anyone who wants to come along and interview them, or bring in a piece of creative writing for a one-to-one session with an author. They will having morning coffee and afternoon tea and ask you to come and join them. If you want to take part it will help if you book a slot ahead of time as we think this is going to be really popular.


Thursday 11 July – the sensational Salley Vickers will be joining us for an evening discussing her wonderful books – the most famous of which is Miss Garnet’s Angel. Don’t miss this chance to come and hear this renowned author in Abingdon's historic Guildhall.

Of course we would like to think we have something special to offer you all year round and feel proud to be a well-supported independent bookshop in a thriving community-minded town.

There has been research recently into how valuable bookshops are – particularly to new authors, helping them to find an audience to get off the ground, and particularly for encouraging children’s reading. Without independent bookshops the world of publishing and authors would be much changed, which is why publishers and authors go all out this week to make sure everyone remembers to support their local bookshops.

We really hope you will find time to call in and celebrate with us this week – and to leave your mark in our window!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Strictly Come Bookselling: Nosy Crow authors take-over Mostly Books!

On Saturday, July 6, Mostly Books will be handing over the shop keys to three amazing authors from fabulous children's publisher Nosy Crow. They will be running the shop, serving at the till, recommending their own favourite books and giving out writing advice, interviews, and doing story times. There will also be a chance to have afternoon tea with them.

We will be putting our feet up, drinking coffee and eating cake (OK, we might be on hand to give advice occasionally...).

During the day you will have the opportunity to:
  • be served at the till by a real, live author!
  • have afternoon tea with an author! (ticketed session – please book your place for this)
  • have one-to-one advice, conduct an interview or get feedback on your writing! (Again, there are only a few slots available - please let us know if you would like us to book you a slot)
  • win giveaways from Nosy Crow all day 
(If you want to book a place - email us with who you would like to meet)

Here is who you can expect to be standing behind the counter with cheery smiles and loads of bookselling advice on Saturday July 6th:

Paula Harrison is the author of the 'Rescue Princesses'. She was born in Bletchley (home of the wartime code-breakers!) and grew up in Bedfordshire. About becoming a writer, Paula says "I always said I wanted to be a writer, but I didn't actually get round to it for quite a long time". She trained to be a primary school teacher and spent many years teaching. It was only after having her own children that she became serious about writing. Then she met lovely publisher Nosy Crow, who liked the Rescue Princesses idea, and the rest is history...

Paula has visited Mostly Books before. As well as the Rescue Princesses, Paula has written 'The Faerie Tribes' for slightly older readers...

Fleur Hitchcock started writing when she was eight when she wrote a story about an alien and a jelly. It was called 'The Alien and the Jelly' and filled four exercise books! She later went on to study English in Wales, and, for the next twenty years, sold Applied Art in the city of Bath. She soon went back to her first love by taking a ‘Writing for Young People’ MA at Bath Spa where she graduated with a distinction. She now lives outside Bath where, as well as writing, she works as a toymaker, looks after other people's gardens and grows vegetables.

Her books include 'The Trouble With Mummies', 'Shrunk!' and 'Dear Scarlett'. She recently visited St Swithun's School, where she proceeded to mummify some of the children...

Helen Peters is the author of 'The Secret Hen House Theatre'. She grew up on an old-fashioned farm in Sussex, surrounded by family, animals and mud. She spent most of her childhood reading stories and putting on plays in a tumbledown shed that she and her friends turned into a theatre. After university, she realised that she needed to find a job where someone would pay her to read stories and put on plays (though maybe not in a tumbledown shed) and so she became an English and Drama teacher.

Several years later, finding herself as a stay-at-home mother of two, she decided to have a go at writing the sort of book she’d so enjoyed as a child. Now that 'Hen House' has been published to such critical acclaim, she can hardly believe that she now gets to call herself a writer...
It's all happening as part of Independent Bookseller's Week - a week to celebrate and support indie booksellers up and down the country. There's loads of events taking place - we hope you'll get involved and come and join us for this exciting event!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tear-stained pages and some good deaths! The Abingdon Carnegie Forum 2013

Today we were involved in one of the most enjoyable events of the year - the annual Abingdon joint-schools Carnegie Shadowing event. This year groups of children from six Abingdon schools took over the Guildhall to discuss, debate, argue, cajole, perform and vote for the eight books on the shortlist ahead of the public announcement tomorrow. 


As has become customary, there were special cakes baked in honour of the occasion. This year all the schools involved were represented on the cake:

The judges had the enjoyable - if intense - task of reading through scores of reviews from the different shadowing groups, picking winners and highly commended entries - and marvelling at the range of responses caused by each of the books. The reviews ranged from the funny and lighthearted, to more passionate and serious responses in which young reviewers pleaded with the reader to 'go read this book' sometimes with 'tear-stained pages' and 'crushingly heart-breaking' storylines.

Here are the judges hard at work in surroundings that had suitable gravitas : 
Children from the six schools were mixed up into different groups and given a book to 'champion' culminating in a three-minute performance in front of everyone to convince them that they should read the book:
Student facilitators from the Oxford Brookes PGCE course were on hand to guide the students and give advice...
 ...and the judges circulated to listen in on the sometimes intense and heartfelt discussions about the type of book it was, and how best to perform it on stage...
 Two groups stages an initial debate to discuss the pros and cons of the book. There were hugely imaginative approaches and it was a privilege to be involved.


Finally, ten groups staged 3-minute performances. They took the form of debates, 'reduced' plays of the books, philosophical skits and 'teasings out' of key elements of the books. Given that this year's books feature quite a bit of characters dying, there were some good stage 'deaths' during the afternoon (and at least one school uniform which got trashed by the looks of things).

The winners - "The Haitians" - staged an imaginative and highly effective 'book event' in which author Nick Lake defended his use of often violent subject matter in 'In Darkness' before Haitian gangsters stormed the stage to explain their position. Totally brilliant and worthy winners: 
Back at the Carnegie Tea earlier this year, the children voted on the book they expected to win before reading commenced. 'In Darkness' was the clear winner then. However, at the end of the event today, all the children voted on the book they would most like to win.

'Wonder' by R.J.Palacio was the clear winner. The reviews from the children for this book had hinted at this. We in the bookshop tend to agree, despite some exceptionally fine books on the Carnegie list this year. 

Whoever wins tomorrow, we all think it's been a golden year for this most august of children's awards - and if you want to learn more about the individual books (and read a plea from Nicki about who should win) go and check out the 'space on the bookshelf' blog here...

Thanks as ever to the incredible hard work and skills of the Abingdon schools librarians, teachers and assistants for making the day so successful. And good luck to all the authors for tomorrow...

Friday, June 14, 2013

3 4 Friday - from tiny islands to outer space, in the past - and far into the future

If you haven't had a chance to take a look at our Mostly Books Father's Day Collection yet - Father's Day is this Sunday. But there's still time to 'buy Dad a real book' - so for today's 3 4 Friday #FridayReads we've another three titles that may just be right up Dad's street...

Anyone who has been watching Prof Ian Mortimer take viewers on a tour around the squalor, danger and unexpected inspiration that is Elizabethan England, then 'The Time-Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England' might just be the perfect gift. As Mortimer says "The past is a foreign country: this is your guidebook". It's a time when your life expectancy was in the early 30s, and the world was changing rapidly, due - as Francis Bacon put it - to "Printing, Gunpowder and the Compass". Everything you think you know about Elizabethan England is wrong...

There's plenty to see in modern-day Britain of course, and what better guide around the British Isles than 'Tiny Campsite' author and journalist Dixe Wills. In 'Tiny Islands' he travels and provides guides to 60 little self-contained 'worlds' just off our remarkable coast - or in lakes, rivers and lochs. Part travelogue, part memoir - this is travel writing at its inspirational best from an author passionate about getting us to appreciate our own country before jetting off to foreign climes.

The ultimate get-away of course might be outer space, and - as you are probably aware - one of the most exciting, groundbreaking, history-changing searches is currently underway to find the first Earth-like planet surrounding a nearby star. Such a discovery would have profound implications for how we see ourselves in the universe - but that discovery may have already been made.

In 'Mirror Earth', Michael Lemonick tells the story of Kepler, the space mission hunting for Earth-like worlds, and the story of the people who made it happen.

More Father's Day recommends here...and find out what happened when we talked books on BBC Radio Oxford on Monday...

Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II by Prit Buttar

Title: Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II
Author: Prit Buttar (Osprey Publishing, HB, 2013)
Price: £20
Collectible status: Abingdon-based author Prit Buttar signed these first edition copies at a special event in the Mostly Books garden on June 6, 2013.

In 2010, Abingdon GP and military history enthusiast Dr Prit Buttar published 'Battleground Prussia'. Stemming from an interview with an elderly patient almost seven years previously, the book was based on years of original research, first-hand interviews and brilliant analysis. It met with significant critical acclaim as one of the most important English-language books to appear on the subject in recent times.


Now, in 'Between Giants', Prit has published 'Between Giants', the story of how the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia fared, caught between the Soviet empire and the Third Reich.


In a special event at Mostly Books on June 6, 2013, Prit discussed how the book came to be written - and told the moving stories he had uncovered about some of the heroes - and villains - who had such a big impact on each of the States. 


The three states were repeatedly occupied—by the Soviet Union in 1939, by Germany in 1941, and again by the Soviet Union in 1944-45. In each case, individuals were forced to choose between supporting the occupying forces or forming partisan units. Hundreds of thousands would perish in such large-scale clashes as the battles for the Courland Bridgehead. And the end of the war saw mass executions of Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians who had fought for Germany, the devastating loss of over 20 percent of the Baltic States’ total population, and the ultimate descent of the iron curtain over the entire region.

Prit spoke movingly of some of the soldiers stories, explained the politics and forces behind what happened - which still impacts significantly on how history is seen today. The writing is difficult to read in places. The chilling brutality of Franz Walter Stahlecker needs to be set against the quietly moving and inspirational figure of Anton Schmid, an Austrian who helped saved many Jews, and whose letter to his family on learning that he was to be executed is as devastating as it is heroic.


On the evening, one of the audience brought two letters written to families, from German soldiers caught up when the Soviets retook the Baltics States. A special moment - the letters had been found unexpectedly in a jumble sale only a few weeks before...



Prit has kindly signed first editions of 'Between Giants' which we have at Mostly Books... 
The book can be ordered for £20 - with free delivery anywhere in the UK (please add £5 for outside the UK). To have a copy of this book sent to you please order using our secure PayPal ordering page below - or alternatively pop into Mostly Books, or contact 01235 525880 to provide payment over the phone.
To order safely and securely through PayPal:


Thursday, June 13, 2013

The KnowHow Book of Children’s Publishing - 40 Years of Usborne

It’s actually really hard to think back to a time when educational books for children to buy and read and enjoy at home didn’t even exist.
You are in a time machine and you are going backwards. How far back do you have to go? Now you are in 1973 and Peter Usborne, who had helped to found ‘Private Eye’ is full of ideas. He has just been given some money by his boss at the educational publishing company he is working for so he can go and set up on his own company.

The first book to be published was ‘The KnowHow Book of Spycraft’. Its floppy, almost comic-book style format is aimed to appeal to children who are perhaps being lured by alternative entertainment – the television or comic books (some things never change).

Its fun presentation is innovative for the time and from these roots Usborne will go on to grow into a world-renowned publishing company, its books translated into over 100 languages.

We like to think we make a little difference at Mostly Books. And one of the areas we do think we make a difference is by being able to recommend the right books to keep children reading and enthusiastic about books. But for this you do really need fantastic innovative writers and publishers who produce books that children love and will learn from. They are the tools of our trade.

And it’s no secret that we love our Usborne books at Mostly Books. Often imitated, but seldom bettered – they still have fantastic non-fiction books, those ‘That’s Not My’ books – perfect as a first book for toddlers. And sticker books. How popular is ‘Sticker Dolly Dressing’? A whole generation of children have grown up on ‘Farmyard Tales’ and ‘find the yellow duck’. We love those little card with activities you can use and then wipe off and use all over again. Genius.
So we were really honoured to be invited to Usborne’s 40th birthday party celebrations this week. With waiting staff featuring lots of black hats and moustaches following the disguise guidelines in the ‘KnowHow Book of Spycraft’.
But you couldn’t disguise the real enthusiasm Peter Usborne still has for reaching out to more and more children across the world and bringing them fantastic books. 'Hear, hear' for his ambition to ‘never die and never retire’.
Thanks to Usborne for involving us in their celebrations and also for the lightning tour of Kensington Palace and a British history lesson in the Georges as a break from all the cocktails.

We were really pleased to meet up with some old friends in the form of Usborne authors we know and love:
and meet fellow children's booksellers from Oxfordshire (*waves to Blackwell's wonderful children's bookshop*) and beyond:
The ‘KnowHow Book of Spycraft’ is in our ‘3 for 2’ offer – along with our biggest ever selection of inspired Usborne books – while stocks last!
Come in and join the celebration!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Spies, spaceships and stiff upper lips - the BBC Oxford Afternoon Bookclub Father's Day Special

Abingdon businesses took over BBC Radio Oxford's Afternoon Show yesterday - Fabulous Flowers for the first hour, and then Mostly Books - together with Coles Bookstore - for the second half. Some great Father's Day books discussed - including The English - A Field Guide by Matt Rudd, as well as a 20th anniversary edition of a genuinely genre-creating book...

We recommended Father's Day books from this year's Father's Day Collection - but you can listen to us having a great deal of fun with broadcasting legend Sybil Ruscoe on iPlayer until 17 June - fast forward to 1 hour and 8 minutes...

Friday, June 07, 2013

'Buy Dad a Real Book' - The Mostly Books 2013 Father's Day Collection!

For the last few years, we have worked extremely hard to pick out a dozen top Father's Day recommends as part of our 'Buy Dad A Real Book' campaign. We still heartily recommend the benefits of telling Dad to turn off the gadgets, step away from any screen - and drop off the grid for a bit - and indulge instead in some very special reading.

As you know, we are always delighted to help with special recommends in the shop - but to get the ball rolling, here is the Mostly Books 2013 Father's Day Collection....


A Delicate Truth - John Le Carré (HB, £18.99, Viking)
A sophisticated story portraying the moral choice of one man, Toby Bell. Working his way up in the Foreign Office, he suspects scandal, but is it really worth sacrificing his career to expose the sordid details of a disastrous counter-terrorist operation?

Ruthless and riveting in its portrayal of the elusive, corrupt undercurrent of politics, you find yourself wondering what you would do in Toby’s situation...


Le Carré really is a phenomenon and ‘A Delicate Truth’ is genuinely up there with the best of his novels. His writing represents an unparalleled output of consistent quality, but what links this to all his stories is an unflinching examination of how power operates – and the consequences for the rest of us.

Sit Down and Cheer - Martin Kelner (PB, £8.99, Bloomsbury)
A fabulously entertaining look at the history of sport - seen through the all-seeing lens comfortably in the corner of your room (or recently, down the pub). After all, most triumphant sporting experiences we have experienced have been viewed and enjoyed in this way - via the marvel of the collective medium of television. As author Martin Kelner says at the start of this hugely entertaining book - the trouble with most sporting histories is that they were 'written by people who were there'.

Kelner takes you on a walk down memory lane, and - with some wonderful obscure nuggets of information and a lot humour - he takes the reader through from when sports were first viewed on black and white television through to HD and 3D. He also muses on what the future might hold - a delightful Father's Day choice!


Sweet Tooth - Ian McEwan (PB, £7.99, Vintage)
Set in 1972, Ian McEwan tells the story of Serena Frome, a student studying maths at Cambridge, but with a secret and real passion for literature. Burying herself in books, and dreaming of romance, she has a short, but passionate affair with a Don who grooms her to join the British Intelligence service.

After earning a junior position in MI5, Serena is avid to prove herself. And so, through her knowledge of literature, she is assigned to look after an anti-communist writer, Tom Haley. But when they become infatuated with one another, the lines between Serena and her secret life start to become blurred. And in doing so, she breaks the one rule of espionage: Trust no one.

Written - extremely deftly - in the voice of the main character, Serena is now a woman in her 60s, but tells the story looking back to the dramatic times of her late teens and early 20s. Ian McEwan does this exceptionally well, wrapping the secrets of the story within the enigma of Serena herself.

Back Story - David Mitchell (PB, HarperCollins, £7.99)
David Mitchell's 'celebrity memoir' is the proverbial breath of fresh air. No mutual backslapping, airbrushed versions of history and stories of a difficult childhood. Aside from a truly awful prep school experience, David had a happy childhood with loving parents who sacrificed much. He went to school here in Abingdon, then onto Cambridge where he became president of Footlights, and proceeded to doggedly carve out a career in TV comedy despite plenty of knock-backs.

It’s the painful self-examination and simple honesty that make this so refreshing. Add in some wry humour, a few trademark rants and a some wonderful nuggets of wisdom - and this is what makes the book really come alive.

Ultimately you are left thinking that David would be a nice bloke to go down the pub with - as long as the chair wasn't too uncomfortable...

Where There's Tea, There's Hope (Mug, £9.99)
As an alternative to going down the pub, what could be better than sitting back on the sofa with a good book...accompanied by the perfect brew? And we can't find think of a better mug to drink it out of  than one of our splendid range of mugs from UrbanGraphics with some funky good advice on them.

We like "Where There's Tea, There's Hope" not least as it's a nice alternative to the ubiquitous 'Keep Calm...' messages. There are plenty of other designs available (including Julia's favourite: "In my house I'm the boss, my wife is just the decision maker")

We can heartily recommend a 'book + mug combo' - so ask us if we can put one together for you when you pop in next!


The Old Ways - Robert MacFarlane (PB, Penguin, £9.99)
Robert MacFarlane is arguably our finest living writer when it comes to our relatinship with nature and the outdoors. Author of one of favourite books 'The Wild Places', in his latest book 'The Old Ways' Robert follows the tracks, holloways (a 'sunken lane' in case you didn't know) and sea-paths that form part of a vast ancient network of routes criss-crossing the British Isles and beyond.

As he discovers this lost world, Robert's beautiful and poetic language creates a landscape in the mind of the reader that is irrisistable. MacFarlane has breathed new life into nature writing and makes it impossible to ever take an unremarkable walk again.

Lost Lanes - Jack Thurston (PB, £14.99, Wild Things Publishing)
If biking is more Dad's thing, you may already know that we are very proud of our cycling section, but this book is one of our current favourites. Author Jack Thurston invites you to discover the hidden corners of Southern England, travelling along its ancient network of quiet lanes and byways.

'Lost Lanes' takes you on 36 meandering tours of the most beautiful and hidden destinations in southern England. Including overviews, maps and overnight stops - and even GPS info, and details about mobile apps and downloads - this is an inspiring part-guidebook, part-travelogue to get the whole family out on the bike.


100 Places You Will Never Visit - Daniel Smith (PB, £14.99, Quercus)
Speaking as a Dad, occasionally you get a feeling of ennui, of wanderlust, perhaps recapturing travel you may have done in your youth - or just intimidated by having been bought one of those '10,000 places to visit before you die' books. Anyway, '100 Places You Will Never Visit' is the perfect antidote - whereas MacFarlane gets you up out of your chair and walking locally, and Thurston gets you on your bike, this book might satisfy any larger, unrealistic ambitions.

Basically, these are all places that, even if you wanted to visit, you can't.

Ever wondered what it takes to get into Fort Knox? Would you dare to visit Three Mile Island? The world is full of secret places we don't know about, or couldn't visit even if we wanted to. Now Dad can have a glimpse of them in this fascinating guide book to 100 places around the world that are hard to reach, closely guarded, or secret. My personal favourite is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault - cut-away diagrams leave little to the imagination...


Between Giants - Prit Buttar (HB, £20, Osprey Publishing)
A casual conversation with a patient nearly ten years ago led Prit Buttar - Abingdon GP and ex-army doctor - on an amazing journey of discovery,  uncovering hidden stories about the end of the second world war on the Eastern Front. His book 'Battleground Prussia' was a critical success, and Prit has now followed up with a brilliant new history of the Baltic States: 'Between Giants'.

During World War II, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia found themselves trapped between the giants of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Over the course of the war these states were repeatedly occupied by different forces, and local government organizations and individuals were forced to choose between supporting the occupying forces or forming partisan units to resist their occupation. Devastated during the German invasion, these states then became the site of some of the most vicious fighting during the Soviet counter-attack and push towards Berlin.

This is a must-read for anyone interested in 20th century history, shedding new light on episodes of the Second World War largely unknown over here, but revealing new heroes who stood up against huge forces on both sides - saving countless lives in the process and providing shining examples of humanity.

We have signed first editions of the book here at Mostly Books - and would of course make a superb Father's Day gift.


How To Parachute Into a Moving Car (BBC Books, £9.99)
We debated about putting this on the list - after all, Top Gear is everywhere and Hammond, Clarkson and May hardly needs any support from independent bookshops to get into the top ten. But, oh dear, we've had to put a stop on reading this in the shop because it's so funny.

Full of 'Vital Survival Tips for the Modern Man' the book claims to 'Solve Literally Everything'. From Buying Trousers, Driving to Birmingham, how to do a handbrake turn - our favourite is 'How To Buy Flowers'. Step 1 - check that you are not in a petrol station. Comic genius...



Black Feathers - Joseph D'Lacey (PB, £8.99, Angry Robot)
Some excellent SF and Fantasy titles have been hitting the shelves this month - but our pick for Father's Day is this fantastic adventure from Joseph D'Lacey: 'Black Feathers'. It's an intertwined, two-part story about two children. Gordon lives in a possible present time where everyone is ruled by a totalitarian government called 'The Ward'  and life as they know it is falling apart due to natural disasters, famine and disease.

Megan lives a more simple life in the distant future in a farming community. Plagued by strange visions, Megan turns to Mr Keeper, a kind of village holy man. Little does she know that she has been chosen by the Crowman to be the first female keeper, the next keeper and the 'last keeper'...

With a compelling narrative and an amazing adventure this is dark fantasy with a conscience, images of a bleak and savage world which D'Lacey uses to explore relevant issues affecting our world today. And of course, as it's Angry Robot, the eBook comes as standard thanks to the 'Clonefile' initiative. Come in and take a peek...


Cities are Good For You - Leo Hollis (HB, £16.99, Bloomsbury)
Something inspirational to finish with. 'Cities Are Good For You' is an inspiring look at just why cities are indeed good for you - and for mankind in general. Chock full of examples from London to New York, Shanghai to Mumbai, this constantly surprising look at arguably human's greatest achievement will make you look again at how we might house, feed and keep a burgeoning population healthy - particularly now that half of humanity live in cities.

So - there you have it - the Mostly Books Father's Day Collection 2013. Still need some inspiration? Take a look at our selections from 2012 and 2011 - and if that doesn't inspire you, drop in and talk to us (or any other good independent) for a special recommend!