Thursday, March 03, 2016

Elementary, In Trouble - and Off The Leash: Our Mother's Day Book Selection 2016

At Mostly Books, we try to resist stereotypes, and let's face it, 'Mother's Day' can be full of them: cue lots of images of immaculately dressed elegance, 1950s throwbacks and Von Trapp-style children. But where's the frazzled, barely holding-things-together, 'technically-it's-not-drinking-alone-if-the-kids-are-in-the-house' reality?

Still, we reckon that buying Mum a book is a good bet whatever the reality.

Buying a book as a gift conjures up the promise of unplugging from the world (at least for a while) and opening a door onto a wider world. These things go down extremely well (along with the flowers, chocolates, cups of tea and inexpertly-made breakfasts in bed of course). And reading is officially very good for you.

We're here to help you give Mum the day she deserves - so here is this year's Mostly Books Mother's Day recommends from everyone at the shop (several of whom are mothers themselves, and hence know about these sort of things).

'How It Works: The Mum' is another brilliantly-written, subversive spoof Ladybird title from the team behind 'How It Works: The Wife' and 'How It Works: The Husband'.

With the genius combination of nostalgic original artwork from the genuine Ladybird books, and sardonic observations on modern life that worked in earlier titles, this is definitely going to generate a laugh or two on Mother's Day, and will tide you over until the eagerly-awaited 'How It Works: The Student' is published this Autumn...

Continuing on the subversive, satirical theme, 'The Trouble with Women' by Jacky Fleming is an illustrated gem of a book that tells an alternative history of the ‘women history wrote out’. From 'Fallen Woman' (those that strayed outside their Domestic Bubble) to the men who have proved womens ‘puny’ intelligence, this is subversive, genuinely eye-opening, and very funny with plenty of historically-significant mothers (many with tell-tale ‘genius hair’...).

There's loads of new fiction out at the moment, and here are a few of our favourites which we think make extra-special Mother's Day choices.

One of Nicki's favourite children's authors, Meg Rosoff, has written her first book for adults - 'Jonathan Unleashed' - and it's a total joy.

New Yorker Jonathan has got a job, an apartment, a girlfriend - what more could he want? But when suddenly he also has two dogs, his life starts to painfully and hilariously unravel. Jonathan starts to see his life differently and feels perhaps there should be more...

A smart, funny book and beautifully written book about modern relationships (and dogs). For anyone who loved the quirky humour of 'The Rosie Project', it's a book that will surprise and go straight to the heart.

Mrs Hudson’s role in the Sherlock Holmes books was always being the woman whose main role in life was bringing Sherlock Holmes tea. Well, what if she is secretly covering up another brilliant mind, listening in to all Sherlock’s cases and longing to be a detective herself? That's the premise behind 'The House At Baker Street' by Michelle Birkby.

When Holmes dismisses a case of blackmail, Mrs Hudson, with the help of Mary Watson leaps in, determined to finally fulfil her dream and solve a case of her own. There is plenty of Sherlock-inspired fiction at the moment, but this is a triumph of imagination, exciting and thoroughly satisfying as a mystery in its own right.

Like Meg Rosoff, Lissa Evans made the leap from children's to adult books, although she was already an accomplished television director and producer. 'Crooked Heart' is a delightfully quirky story about the relationship between a struggling wartime widow and the evacuee she doesn't really want.

Vee reckons everyone is doing well out of the War, but she just keeps getting caught out. She takes in evacuee Noel, feeling there are opportunities to exploit his limp. They form a deep and touching relationship that survives both treachery and bombings in this heart-warming drama infused with both charm and moments of laugh-out-loud comedy.

In 'A Year of Marvellous Ways', 89 year old Marvellous Ways is waiting. She’s not entirely sure what she’s waiting for - but she knows it’s coming. Then Francis Drake arrives, a soldier fresh from war, and she sets out to use the power of stories to help him heal his past. Sarah Winman's tale is full of magical realism which gives the book a hint of ‘fairytaleness’. All in all it’s a book that will definitely whisk the reader away.

A good book cries out for a associated beverage, and if it's a lovely cup of tea then why not consider one of our range of mugs? Our bookish range from Scribbelicious have books on one side and quotes on the other.

It’s the perfect way to sink into a drink. And a book.

Some people may not agree with them being relaxing, but we have a collection of jigsaws at the moment (see 'Mother and Child' at left). What better to make, either alone, or with the ‘help’ of a son or daughter?

And do take a look at our pop-up 'flower' cards - the perfect way to send flowers through the post when you can't send flowers through the post!

A perfect present from a child? Try the following:

In 'My Mum is a Supermum' a wonderful, imaginative story celebrates mothers everywhere, written by Angela McAllister and illustrated by 'Claude' author and illustrator Alex T Smith

Does your mother have eyes in the back of her head? How about X-ray vision? Milo’s definitely does, since how else would she always know what he was doing?

There’s also 'Just Like My Mum' (now available in a board book as well as paperback). It's an extremely cute story all about a little lion cub and how he wants to be just like her - all drawn with the warmth and charm of Hugless Douglas creator David Melling.

Whoever you are buying for, just come into the shop and let us find the perfect gift!

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