Friday, December 20, 2013

3 4 Friday - Fabulous and Festive - Happy Christmas from Mostly Books

This will be our last 3 4 Friday - and it's three books we've particularly enjoyed having in the shop - and showing customers - over the last few weeks. They also represent three books with genuinely stunning covers and artwork, all for different reasons.

The Invisible Kingdom by Rob Ryan is a big book by all measures, and for those who love Ryan's papercut creations it's a must-have.

It's a story about a little Prince, and the kindness shown to him by one man, who gives him a pen with invisible ink, and a special torch that allows him to create a world only he can see.

A wonderful tale in its own right, a story that celebrates imagination, mystery and learning to know yourself.
Dragonology, Alienology and Wizardology - and now the latest from the Templar Team who bought you all this and more - Dinosaurology.

Written from the recently discovered writings of Percy Fawcett, friend of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the truth behind his book The Lost World, this is the until-now untold story of the hidden plateau in South America where dinosaurs still roam.

Finally, we're all big Harry Potter fans in the shop (particularly one staff member, who has a strong claim to be the world's biggest HP fan) and the revised and expanded version of Harry Potter Film Wizardry is a joy to read for those who are.

A wonderful, interactive celebration of the tricks, effects and gadgets behind the films, it's another high-quality production by the team behind the films. 

We'll be open until 3pm on Christmas Eve (including this Sunday) - and again from Friday 27 December. From all of us at Mostly Books, we wish you and your family a peaceful and relaxing Christmas.

We receive such amazing support from everyone at the shop all year round - thank you so much. We hope you manage to enjoy a good book (or two!) over the holidays.

(P.S. We have some recommendations on today's Book Are My Bag Advent Calendar - see what we recommended...)

Friday, December 13, 2013

3 4 Friday - Christmas crafting, but not what you think: Minecraft, McGough and Stopmotion Movies

If you are buying for children this Christmas, it’s fair to say that books face a lot of competition on Christmas morning. How can a book possibly compete with exciting toys and the latest gadgets, especially for a child who isn’t a keen reader?

Well, for today's 3-4-Friday #FridayReads here are three suggestions in which the book becomes the starting point of something special and creative – we hope it gives you a few ideas.
If you are a parent, you may already know far too much about Minecraft, but if you don't, it can best be described as part game, part online Lego set. Whether on PC, console or tablet, it’s a word-of-mouth phenomenon which allows kids to craft their own world, literally digging the raw materials out of the ground and shaping them into increasingly complex materials to make buildings and objects.

Egmont have joined forces with Mojang (the people behind Minecraft) to produce three fantastic books. There is a Beginner’s Handbook and a Minecraft Annual. But our pick for more experienced Minecrafters is ‘The Redstone Handbook’. Redstone is the ‘power and wiring’ in Minecraft that allows kids to build electrical circuits, mechanical devices and is jam-packed with gadgets, tips and traps. All three of these books are currently going through a hasty re-print, but we have a few copies of each of these books in the shop, so let us know if we can reserve one for you...

(If you want to know more about Minecraft from a parent's perspective, here's what Mark Ward the BBC's technical correspondent had to say a couple of months ago.)


Do you know a budding film director? Armed with a digital camera, kids can transform themselves into stop-motion movie experts with the brilliant Animation Studio by filmmaker Helen Piercy. She gives you tips and tricks to make stop-motion videos like a professional, including techniques with puppets, clay-modelling, morphing and pixilation. At £12.99, it contains a mini stage-set, props and a 32-page director's handbook.


Finally, books that can be shared with the whole family make particularly special gifts, and we can thoroughly recommend the treasure trove of favourite verse that is Poetry Please. It’s a collection of the most-requested poems taken from the archive of Radio 4's Poetry Please, since its inception in 1979. Curated by presenter Roger McGough, it’s perfect for dipping into and sharing your own favourites with young and old alike.

Mostly Books is open every day from now until 3pm on Christmas Eve (including Sundays from 11am - 2.30pm) – so do come in and ask for our advice and help...

P.S. Want to know what Mostly Books looks like in Minecraft? Take a tour with a young minecrafter...

Friday, December 06, 2013

3 4 Friday - Small Shop Saturday Surprises

At this time of the year, everyone at Mostly Books is fully 'prepped' to offer advice for any tricky gift-buying challenges you may have. Without pandering to naff gender sterotypes, it's fair to say that some people can be tricky to buy for. When we talk to customers, buying for men can sometimes be a challenge. Particularly if they enjoy reading, but don't have a great deal of time to read...

You want to get it right, don't you?

So today's 3-4-Friday #FridayReads are three books that we think might give you inspiration - but please, please do come in and set us the challenge if you have anyone tricky to buy for, male or female, young or old. We're definitely here to help.

First up is the Encyclopedia Paranoiaca by Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf. It's an authoritative, disturbingly comprehensive, and utterly debilitating inventory of things poised to harm, maim, or kill you - all based on actual research about the perils of everyday life. Drinking straws, flip-flops and flossing - all pose deadly threats and you'd do well to mug up. Easy to read all the way through, or can be dipped in at times of stress or anxiety. This is very funny, and cheaper than going on a health and safety course.

Signed copies always make a great book just that little bit more special, and at the moment we have books by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Mo Farah, Pam Ayres and others signed and on the shelves. But today we've gone for As Luck Would Have It by acting legend Sir Derek Jacobi. This is everything you might expect from one of our most loved actors. Jacobi tells his story in a funny and warm-hearted way, from simple childhood in the East End to the height of fame on stage and screen - including becoming a founding member of Laurence Olivier's National Theatre. We have a small number of signed copies in stock, and they are perfect for fans.

(Talking of signed copies, the fabulous Tom Moorhouse paid us a surprise visit today - so we have signed copies of his book The River Singers - read a fabulous review of his book here)

Finally, we can definitely recommend The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III by Michael Jones and Philippa Langley. For anyone who watched spellbound during the Leicester news conference earlier this year, this book is the entire and definitive background story, and captures perfectly the mounting excitement and breakthrough discoveries of the Channel 4 documentary 'The King Under The Car Park'. Told in alternating chapters alongside Richard III's life and last days, this is as gripping as a spy thriller. Highly recommended.

If you want other recommends, catch Mark talking books in a silly hat on BBC Radio Oxford this week - or simply pop into the shop (no silly hat required) and ask.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Letters of Note, Bookish Cures and a Santa Hat - the BBC Radio Oxford Afternoon Bookclub

The BBC Radio Oxford Afternoon Bookclub is always a lot of fun, but today's was more fun than usual. Perhaps it was the distinctly festive air (this is the last show we'll do this year after all), perhaps it was the selection of books, but it could have just been the general pantomime atmosphere...and a santa hat or two:

Together with Kat and Nigel of Coles Bookstore, you can might have spotted 'The Goldfinch' there (easily one of our favourite books of the year), and also 'Maps' by the wonderful Aleksandra and Daniel MizieliƄski. But we also discussed Shaun Usher's sublime collection of 'Letters of Note', guitar-strumming astronaut-hero Chris Hadfield's 'An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth', and some 'Ant and Bee'.

But we kicked off with Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin's 'A Novel Cure'. This is a masterfully put together list of bookish cures for a whole range of ailments. From being 'too busy' to suffering from man-flu, listen in to what therapeutic reading the authors have on offer...

The BBC Radio Oxford Afternoon Bookclub - fast-forward to 1 hour 9 minutes for bookish inspiration for Christmas...