Dec 2011
Winner "New Bookshop of the Year 2008", British Book Industry Awards
Regional Finalist for "Independent Bookseller of the Year 2010, 2011 ", Bookseller Industry Awards

We’d like to sincerely thank you for your support of the shop throughout this year, and, as has become traditional, here is our Christmas newsletter with all the staff picks which we feel will make wonderful gifts for friends and families. We will of course be on hand in the shop for any special recommendations, so we hope to see you soon (and there’s a little early gift attached to the end of this newsletter).

We wish you and your family the very best for the festive season.

 -  Mark, Nicki & everyone at Mostly Books

---- Special Gift Ideas ----

Wild Flowers

Sarah Raven’s Wild Flowers –
Sarah Raven - £50 our price £40

An utterly gorgeous gift book that has everything – from stunning photography, beautiful description and Sarah Raven’s trademark attention to detail. A wonderful gift for anyone who enjoys nature and photography. - Mark

Death Comes To Pemberley – PD James £18.99 – our price £14.99
What a treat – twin British traditions – a murder mystery in a Regency setting as PD James takes up the Pemberley Pen and promptly kills off one of the characters! Inspired by a lifelong passion for the work of Jane Austen, PD James masterfully recreates the world of Pride and Prejudice and combines it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly-crafted crime story. Limited signed copies available £18.99

House of Silk – Anthony Horowitz£18.99 our price £15.99
We were very privileged earlier this year to meet Anthony Horowitz and hear him read exclusively from chapter one of this brand new Sherlock Holmes mystery. Horowitz delivers a first-rate, hugely suspenseful mystery which is both respectful of the originals, but written to thrill a modern audience. – Mark

House Of Silk

Mother, Brother, Lover – Jarvis Cocker – £14.99
Here for the first time is a selection of 66 lyrics presented with commentary and an introduction by the man himself. It includes lyrics for such classic songs as ‘Common People’, ‘Disco 2000’, ‘This is Hardcore’ and ‘Do You Remember the First Time?’. The selection reveals to Pulp fans the rare bookish wit that Cocker brought to the pop charts. We also have copies of a signed, limited edition version, in a slipcase (with photos of Jarvis himself). Only 100 in existence, and very collectable. Ask for details!

Wildlife Photographer 2011

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011 – £25
Taken by professional and amateur photographers, these images are stunning – displaying creativity and innovative photography, the photos themselves have been on display at the Natural History Museum. From breathtaking landscapes to scenes of animal behaviour and pictures of urban wildlife, they portray the splendour and variety of life on Earth and pay homage to the skill and patience of the photographers. A delightful book for keen photographers or anyone who enjoys books with lots of beautiful pictures of the natural world. A real wow factor!

History’s Daybook – Peter Furtado£25 our price £20
A fascinating dip-in history of the world. You can move from 15 March 44BC when Julius Caesar falls victim to the thrusting daggers of Brutus and his co-conspirators to 1 May 1851 and a visit to London’s Great Exhibition by Charlotte Bronte. Both an engrossing anthology and informative overview of world history, ‘History's Daybook’ offers the reader entertainment and instruction in equal measure: it is the ideal gift book for the history buff.

Traveller’s Daybook – Fergus Fleming £25 our price £20
Whether undertaken on foot, on horseback, by sail or by dog-sled, or across arid desert, rugged mountain, stormy sea, or polar wasteland, these 366 journeys will spur the reader's wanderlust and tempt him or her to explore further the work of the writers quoted: the delight of the seventeenth-century diarist John Evelyn at the spring mildness of Naples in February; the stoic courage of Captain Scott facing death at forty degrees below zero on to Wilfred Thesiger's wanderings in Arabia's 'empty quarter' in the 1940s.

Moleskine Notebook – Star Wars Limited Edition
£11.99 and £14.99

We love these cool notebooks. Coming in both plain and ruled, pocket or large size, these limited edition notebooks are the traditional black Moleskine cover bearing designs and imagery from the original 1977 Star Wars films. (Mark got very excited when these showed up in the shop – and for good reason). With Moleskine’s usual attention to sublime design, they make a great gift for any Star Wars fans – and very useful to boot!

(Our Moleskine range continues to expand. We have Moleskine pens, gift sets – and extremely cool USB-charging Moleskine booklights…)

Moleskine Star Wars

All Things Gruffalo
The Gruffalo continues to take the world by storm, and with an animation of ‘The Gruffalo’s Child’ this Christmas, we have a quality range of Gruffalo gifts in the shop. From a lovable puppet (and soft toys of the mouse, owl, fox and snake) to a selection of stationery sets and diaries and some fabulous bookends – ideal for anyone who can’t resist knobbly knees and turned-out toes...

Hugless Douglas

Hugless Douglas – Book and Soft Toy – £10.99
Abingdon’s very own David Melling has created a simply adorable brown bear in the shape of ‘Hugless Douglas’, and he’s been immortalised in this cute and cuddly soft toy and book set. You cannot fail to be won over by Hugless, either by his large brown nose or sticky-up scarf, and this makes a very special – and local – Christmas present. Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Douglas . . .

HABA Nativity Sets - £99 (our price £87.99)
We instantly fell in love with the adorable nativity sets from German company HABA. Anyone who has ever visited the German Christmas markets will know what lovely wooden gift items come from this part of the world. There are two gorgeous nativity sets that are gifts to treasure and will last a lifetime. The first has individually modelled sturdy wooden figures priced £87.99. We also have a beautiful set of painted figures for just £39.99. Come take a look and fall in love too!

HABA Nativity

---- Signed Copies – While Stocks Last! ----

Signed copies always make very special gifts and we have a fantastic collection to offer this Christmas, including Sebastian Barry, Jeffery Eugenides, Bernard Cornwell, Philippa Gregory, Conn Iggulden, PD James, Oliver Jeffers, Emily Gravett, David Melling, Adam Nicolson, Korky Paul, Marcus Sedgwick , Rick Stein, Alan Titchmarsh . . . and more besides. Come take a look at our collection...

---- Audio ----

Audio books make brilliant gifts for those with busy lives – whether on the go all the time (aren’t we all?), or for family listening in the evening or in the car. They make great gifts, something a bit different for families, grandparents or armchair travellers.

Our favourite ones out this year are Kate Atkinson’s ‘Case Histories’ – complete and unabridged for £16 this is great value and a real classic for the literary detective fan. Also out is Andy Hamilton’s ‘Old Harry’s Game’ at £9. With hilarious festive episodes included, this is definitely one for the comedy fan in your family.

History of the World in 100 Objects’ is also now available on CD for £35 – a perfect present for anyone who really enjoyed listening to it on the radio and would love to listen to it again – or for someone who missed some episodes.

---- Biography and History ----

Charles Dickens:a life – Claire Tomalin£30 our price £25
It is not just Dickens the novelist that Claire Tomalin (acclaimed biographer of Samuel Pepys, Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen) focuses on in her long-awaited biography.

Despite rising to stardom at an early age Dickens never forgot a childhood beset by creditors, bailiffs, pawnbrokers and the debtors’ prison. In this stunning work, Tomalin examines how he worked tirelessly, not just on his novels, but in campaigning, helping the less fortunate, and often using his wealth and position to improve the lives of children and the working poor.

Becoming Dickens – R Douglas Fairhurst – £20
2012 is the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens, and ‘Becoming Dickens’ focuses on Dickens’ success as a writer. It tells the story of how an ambitious young Londoner became England’s greatest novelist. In focusing on the twists and turns of Charles Dickens’s early career, Robert Douglas Fairhurst examines the remarkable transformation as Dickens not only became a novelist, but reinvented the form of the novel. He shows us the internal process of the writing, revealing the hidden jokes and the words Dickens added to the language.

Dickens’ books formed a direct connection with his readers that few had achieved before – or since.

Georgette Heyer

Georgette Heyer – Jennifer Kloester – £20
Despite the vast popularity of Georgette Heyer’s novels she never gave a single interview. Taking ten years of research and capitalising on unprecedented access into Heyer’s notebooks and private papers, this provides a scrupulous and unique insight into a much-loved novelist.

The Gentry – Adam Nicolson – £25 (signed copies)
A high quality history of our nation from the point of view of the gentry (that distinctive class of minor landowners unique to Britain). It’s a timely telling of the story of the gentry given current interest in all things ‘Downton’. Enjoy six centuries of English rural history, from the Reformation through to the National Trust, observed by Adam Nicolson, himself a journalist and resident of Sissinghurst Castle. An enjoyable and impressive book – and we have limited signed copies available.

A Short History of England – Simon Jenkins
£25 our price £20
A concise, yet definitive, account of our remarkable past, published with the support of the National Trust and beautifully illustrated. Written to entertain as well as inform, Simon Jenkins – one of Britain’s most prominent and well-respected journalists – has written what promises to be a standard work for years to come. Superb.


Life Below Stairs : True Lives of Edwardian Servants –
Alison Maloney – £9.99

A behind-the-scenes look at what happened ‘downstairs’ in Edwardian times. Alison Maloney has researched first-hand accounts and describes the true-life trials and tribulations of the servants in a gripping non-fiction account. This charming and beautifully presented volume is a must-read for anyone interested in the lifestyle and conduct of a bygone era.


Jerusalem – Simon Sebag Montefiore – £14.99
Just out in paperback – and just announced as a major BBC series throughout December – this is a fascinating story of the city of Jerusalem by a brilliant historian. The book particularly comes alive when he discusses more obscure figures of Jerusalem’s history. A great book to read cover to cover or to just dip into.

All Hell Let Loose: The World at War 1939–1945 – Max Hastings - £30 or price £25 (signed copies)
Max Hastings has taken the fruits and insight from a professional life researching and writing on the Second World War to produce this single-volume history of the Second World War. It’s a masterful effort, showing above all the impact of war upon hundreds of millions of people around the world – soldiers, sailors and airmen, housewives, farm workers and children. The human experience of war varied immensely from campaign to campaign, continent to continent. Signed copies available.

Magnificent Obsession – Helen Rappaport – £20
Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, died in December 1861 – a catastrophe for queen and country. The Queen was left with a feckless heir, a family of nine children and had lost her chief adviser. Helen Rappaport’s book examines the circumstances leading to Albert’s death and the consequences – from an explosion in mourning ephemera to the Queen's single-handed mission to memorialise and commemorate her husband in a range of artistic and cultural monuments that would transform the British landscape.
(Helen is speaking at a Victoria Gala Evening in Kennington on Nov 26th - more information about this event can be found here)

Magnificent Obsession

Indigo: In Search of the Colour that Seduced the World – Catherine E McKinley – £16.99
‘Indigo’ is a memoir of Catherine McKinley’s journey from bustling markets in Nigeria to camel rides in Niger to a funeral ceremony in Ghana. Her expertise is apparent, her personal discoveries resonate, and her unique experiences provide a vivid snapshot of the cultures she encountered in Africa. Just as indigo dye leaves a lasting stain on fabric, it has left a durable mark on the life of Catherine McKinley. – Nicki

Secret Life of Bletchley Park – Sinclair McKay – £8.99
As first-hand experiences of the Second World War begin to pass out of human memory, books which capture those memories and accounts become ever more important. Amongst the collection of books that pay tribute to Bletchley Park, Sinclair McKay's is perhaps the most eloquent and human, telling the stories of the ordinary - yet extraordinary - individuals who cracked the Axis codes and shortened the war.

Pam Ayres

The Necessary Aptitude: A Memoir – Pam Ayres – £20.00
This heartfelt and unexpectedly poignant memoir will be on the Christmas list of her legions of fans, but as a record of growing up in post-war rural England (a way of life that has largely disappeared) it deserves far wider appeal. Matter-of-fact about the imperfections of her family, the lack of opportunities that led her to join the Woman's Royal Air Force, and her rise to fame (via *that* appearance on Opportunity Knocks, described here in excruciatingly painful and funny detail) this is delightful, quirky and lovable - rather like Pam herself. – Mark

Celebrating Abingdon’s History – £7.99
Local historian Mieneke Cox died three days before Christmas Day, 2009. The following year historians, politicians and people from all walks of Abingdon life packed out St Helen's Church to celebrate her life, and ‘Celebrating Abingdon's History’ is the collection of essays and reflections about her commissioned especially for the service. A lovely gift for anyone interested in Abingdon’s remarkable history. – Mark

---- Science and Natural History ----


Survivors – Richard Fortey – £25.00
Homo sapiens emerged as a species in the last few hundred thousand years, but some species have lasted for millions – sometimes hundreds of millions – of years. Fossil expert and natural history writer Richard Fortey looks at the species that have achieved perfection or are just nature’s best ‘survivors’ in this excellent and engaging book which looks at ‘living fossils’ across the globe.

The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci’s Arithmetic Revolution – Keith Devlin£18.99 our price £16.99
'Leonardo of Pisa', the son of a wealthy trader, took the the Hindu-Arabic number system (invented 700 years earlier in India), packaged it up for Italian merchants, and started a mathematical revolution that transformed trade, banking – and ultimately the world. You'll know him as Fibonacci (courtesy of a nickname coined in the 1800s), and in this stunning little book by Stanford maths guru Keith Devlin, he is cleverly - and cannily - presented as a pre-Renaissance Steve Jobs. Devlin is a gifted storyteller and this is a fabulous gift for the science buff in your family. – Mark

Solar System 

The Solar System – Marcus Chown - £25
It is difficult to overstate how wonderful this book is – you have to see it. A true visual exploration of the solar system, with bang-up-to-date imagery from Galileo, Cassini and the Mars missions, this is a dazzling, inpirational visual guide. My son will be getting this for Christmas and he’ll have to fight me for it Christmas morning. – Mark

Through the Language Glass – Guy Deutscher - £7.99
A delightful amalgam of cultural history and popular science, this book explores some of the most fascinating and controversial questions about language, culture and the human mind as Guy Deutscher explores how much language affects us – even to the way we think. Does language reflect the culture of a society? Is our mother-tongue a lens through which we perceive the world?

The Magic of Reality – Richard Dawkins – £20.00
This book takes us on an enthralling journey through scientific reality showing that it has an awe-inspiring beauty and thrilling magic which far exceed those of the ancient myths. Explanations of space, time, evolution and more, Richard Dawkins answers questions in stunning words and pictures.

Magic Of Reality

How to Save the World with Salad Dressing – Thomas Byrne – £7.99
Featuring a cast of odd-ball characters and a laugh-out-loud storyline, Byrne and Cassidy explain the basic principles of modern science and guide the reader in working out the rest. With thirty stimulating mindbenders of varying difficulty, including detailed clues and answers for each problem it’s a gift for anyone with an interest in science or mathematics.

---- Travel, Sport and Photography ----

The Lost Photographs of Captain Cook – David M Wilson – £30
Scott set off in late 1910 on the greatest quest of the Heroic Age of Polar Exploration - to reach the South Pole in Antarctica. The Terra Nova expedition was to become one of the most famous tales of heroic adventure from any age, with success and achievement overshadowed by failure and tragedy. Scott perished with four of his fellow explorers on their return in March 1912.

During the final, fateful months the principal visual record was provided by Scott rather than the professional photographer who accompanied him. Scott achieved a series of iconic images – breathtaking panoramas and action photographs which were lost for over half a century. For the first time they are resurrected and are a humbling testament to the men whose graves still lie unmarked in the vastness of the Great Alone.

Lost Photos of Scott

W G Grace’s Birthday Party – David Kynaston – £9.99
David Kynaston tells the story of one of the most thrilling matches in cricketing history, as well as the colourful and sometimes tragically moving lives of the members of both teams. Using the Gentlemen vs Players contest as a lens through which to examine the hierarchy and tensions endemic in cricket at the beginning of the modern era, he presents a lively, moving, richly detailed and entertaining portrait of late-Victorian society.

Ride A Stage

Ride a Stage of the Tour de France – Kristian Bauer - £16.99
A perfect present for keen cyclists who enjoy the Tour de France – perhaps with ambitions to ride bits of it themselves?? It’s beautifully presented and laid out in an easy to understand way with great photos to inspire. If they’re not already thinking of riding it, they might well be after getting this book! - Ellie

Inflight Science – Brian Clegg – £12.99
This is one of those 'cor, I wish I had written that' books, a deceptively simple concept brilliantly executed. This marvellous little book tells you about the sights, sounds and experiences (not to mention rock-hard engineering) going on from your vantage point in your aircraft seat. Packed with facts and figures it sets out to restore some childlike excitement to air travel. – Mark

How to Avoid Being Killed in a War Zone – Rosie Garthwaite – £12.99
A practical manual peppered with anecdotes and advice from journalists and reporters, the book helps you build useful intuition for anyone who travels a lot. Advice on coping with the heat and stress relief provides some more light hearted – but nevertheless extremely useful – gems which are as relevant in Tenerife as they are in Tripoli. Plenty of great tips for women travelling too. – Mark

On Your Bike Oxfordshire – £8.99
Oxfordshire is great for cycling and this book has 20 routes, varying in length from 6 ½ to 29 miles, visiting a wide variety of interesting and historic sites. Inspiring you to explore Oxfordshire on your bike, this book is great for families or cyclists.

---- Humour and Gift Books----

The Etymologicon – Mark Forsyth - £12.99
A witty and erudite guided tour of the secret labyrinth that lurks beneath the English language, taking in monks and monkeys, film buffs and buffaloes, and explaining precisely what the Rolling Stones have to do with gardening. A Radio 4 ‘book of the week’.

Brideshead Abbreviated

Brideshead Abbreviated – John Crace – £8.99
Razor-sharp literary assassination from the Guardian column. John Crace turns his critical eye on the classics, offering bite-sized pastiches of everything from ‘Mrs Dalloway’ to ‘Trainspotting’. The essence of books distilled into a handful of paragraphs. Those who have never really enjoyed ‘Lord of the Flies’ will be pleased to find it hilariously parodied in an easily swallowable 982 words.

A Twitter Year – Kate Bussmann – £10.00
The first of its kind, ‘A Twitter Year’ distils a year of conversation, argument, revelation and revolution into a 'review of the year' as written by the Twitter community. With profiles of top users and fascinating stats, it captures the biggest events in current affairs, culture and sport - from the death of Osama bin Laden to the demise of the News of the World, the panic at the London Riots to the excitement of the Royal Wedding.

Tweeting the Universe: Tiny Explanations of Very Big Ideas –
Marcus Chown – £12.99

Not a word is wasted in these 140 explanations of the biggest questions in physics in the form of 10 or so tweets per page. Entertaining and brilliantly informative – some of the more precise, economical and enlightening science writing.

The Gloomster – Axel Scheffler – £9.99
Axel Scheffler, Julia Donaldson’s collaborator on ‘The Gruffalo’, has penned a wry, witty new translation of the original German. The result is a triumph of negativity, in the macabre yet merry spirit of the late, great Edward Gorey. Superbly miserable, brilliantly curmudgeonly and oddly cheering, gloominess has never been so appealing.

The Worst Football Kits of All Time – Dave Moor – £9.99
Take it from me, this is several cuts above the usual ‘funny’ sports books, simply because it has been so well written by someone who appreciates both football, and the commercial pressures that lead to hideous football kits. Wryly observed, this will bring back painful memories for some football fans. – Mark

Worst Football Kits

School Fail – Anna Tripp – £7.99
Mistakes and misunderstandings that kids have boldly come out with in their school work: from the innocent mispronunciations of younger children, to the facetious, inventive, or just downright stupid remarks of older students who should know better. Celebrates the unique - and usually entirely unintentional – humour of students everywhere.

---- Home and Garden ----

Birthday Cake

The Birthday Cake Book – Fiona Cairns - £18.99
Just absolutely fabulous, what more can be said? Some delicious recipes and fantastic pictures to inspire any baker for the perfect birthday cake; from simple Cheshire cat cupcakes and chocolates, to elaborate cakes inspired by Damien Hirst’s ‘For the Love of God’ sculpture (the crystal skull). I personally recommend the lemon meringue cake, which looks impressive and is scrumptious! You’ll find yourself working your way through the recipes for all birthdays and special occasions. – Ellie

Spices – Sophie Grigson – £20.00  
A fantastic addition to any cookery-lover’s collection. It’s jam-packed with information and the recipes are brought to life with stunning photographs. Each spice has its own chapter and is assigned to various categories – hot, sweet, aromatic etc. What is particularly nice is the wealth of information provided on each spice. In short, it has all you need to know about common spices in today’s kitchen and makes a wonderful gift for the cook in your family.

Heston Blumenthal at Home – Heston Blumenthal – £30.00
Another wonderful and magical cookbook from Heston, demonstrating his imaginative inventiveness, but with simpler recipes that are attainable for any cook at home. It is a superb collection of easy to follow recipes to inspire some wonderful meals and have fun in the making!

Food of the Grand Trunk Road – Anirudh Arora and Hardeep Singh Kohli - £19.99
Too many cookbooks focus on the 'cook', and forget about the 'book': they should be readable, delightful, inspiring and something to treasure. ‘Food of the Grand Trunk Road’ is exactly that, taking as its inspiration the 2,500km long, 16th century trunk route linking Calcutta to Afghanistan, described by Rudyard Kipling as 'The River of Life'. Gorgeous photography complements recipes from the roadside. This is real Indian life celebrated with real Indian food. Enjoy! – Mark

Food of the Grand Trunk Road

Le Snob: Whisky – John D Lamond – £8.99
I was inducted into the world of whisky at a new year's party in my teens. An elderly neighbour trawled the close in which we lived for every whisky he could lay his hands on and set up an impromptu tasting. I've been mad on it ever since. But however you were introduced to ‘the water of life’, John Lamond's scholarly guide to whisky unashamedly exhorts you to become a 'snob', improving your enjoyment and in doing so aiming to taste perfection. The notebook-style format cries out for scribbled tasting notes, and makes a wonderful gift. – Mark

The Sweat Shop Book – Martena Duss – £19.99
A craft book overflowing with French style, inspired by the sheer joie de vivre of this celebrated establishment. Driven by the ‘stop shopping and start making’ philosophy of its authors, it offers a structured course based on those taught in the cafe, and so much more. Enjoy an eclectic mix of sewing, knitting, and crocheted projects, plus everything from restyling to revamping, from recipes to Paris shopping tips.

Liberty Home Sewing

The Liberty Book of Home Sewing - £20.00
This cloth covered sewing book is a visual delight and something rather special to give at Christmas to that creative person. The projects are split into three categories, Essential, Organisation and Luxury and they vary from simple and traditional craft ideas to original and slightly harder ones. With easy to follow instructions, what makes this book particularly gorgeous are the pictures, which show all the projects made up in stunning Liberty fabrics – they’re enough to inspire anyone to get creative!

The Curious Gardener – Anna Pavord - £9.99
The humour and lightness with which Anna Pavord shares her passion for gardens (not just her own, but those she visits throughout the year), means you don’t always realise what a useful monthly gardening lesson you are getting along the way. In a chapter for each month of the year, Anna shares how to get the best from flowers, plants, herbs, fruit and vegetables, through reflections on the weather, soil, the English landscape and favourite old gardening clothes. And, on days when the weather keeps the most courageous gardener indoors, this is the perfect book to curl up with beside the fire.

Great Gardens of Britain – Alex Ramsay - £16.99
The dazzling photography reveals the finest of the nation’s gardens. Description and a history of each garden covers a rich selection of sites all over England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, ranging from famous eighteenth-century landscapes such as Stourhead to quirky modern gardens such as Charles Jencks' Garden of Cosmic Speculation in the Scottish borders.

Great Gardens

---- Fiction ----

Elegance of the Hedgehog Gift Edition – Muriel Barbery£12.99 our price £9.99
Renée, a concierge, lives with only her cat for company, looking after an apartment block and secretly enjoying books, art, music and culture – a more fulfilled life than the outwardly successful residents she sees daily. Renée is the only one to connect with twelve-year-old Paloma Josse, who lives in fear of an emotionally void life and a pampered and vacuous future. Unknown to them both, the sudden death of one of their privileged neighbours will dramatically alter their lives forever. By turns moving and hilarious, this unusual novel became the top-selling book in France in 2007. A special hardback gift version has been produced in time for Christmas.

The Quantum Thief – Hannu Rajaniemi – £7.99
The Quantum Thief is a dazzling SF novel set in the solar system of the far future - a heist novel peopled by bizarre post-humans but powered by very human motives of betrayal, revenge and jealousy. It is a stunning debut. Jean le Flambeur is a great creation: post-human criminal, mind burglar, confidence artist and trickster. – Mark

Quantum Thief

Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch - £7.99
When PC Grant interviews a witness to a brutal murder he stumbles upon testimony that the supernatural is real. As any good copper would, he takes this in his stride and a pint of beer, but the evidence soon racks up that things aren't quite as they should be. Eminently readable, hilarious and brilliantly barbed, a couple of chapters in you'll realise this is no ordinary crime novel, but a frivolous antic, set in and around London, with an urban fantasy backdrop and featuring a brilliant cast of characters. So fun and different, I heartily recommend it. – Ellie

The Marriage Plot

The Marriage Plot – Jeffery Eugenides – £20 (signed copies)
Madeleine, Leonard and Mitchell, three college students in 1980s America, are trying to find their way to their future lives while still enjoying their last few years of freedom. With loving precision, Eugenides creates the period and the uncertainties. Mitchell travels in India, Madeleine’s unfashionable interest is in English Victorian literature in a time when everyone else is into Derrida and Nietzsche. And at the heart of the novel is her affair with golden-boy Leonard and the damaging secret to his brilliance and inventive qualities: Leonard, whose goal in life is to be an adjective (Faulknerian, Kafkaesque, Checkovian) but who is already sowing the seeds of his own downfall. - Nicki

A Long Long Sleep – Anna Sheehan - £9.99
A dystopian version of the children’s classic ‘Sleeping Beauty’, creatively retold. What would it have been like for Sleeping Beauty to be awakened to find all those years have passed? Finding herself suddenly in the future, Rose is viewed as either a freak or a threat. As she attempts to adjust to a new life a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence. Rose must face the ghosts of her past as family secrets are slowly revealed - or be left without any future at all. – Julia

Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons – £7.99
This is a glorious collection of stories from the author of ‘Cold Comfort Farm’. The title story tells of a typical Christmas at the farm before the coming of Flora Poste. It is a parody of the worst sort of family Christmas.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor – £14.99
Karou's is a uniquely different and intriguing story, an orphan raised by monsters between two worlds, our world and the world of elsewhere. What happens when she discovers who she really is and what part does she have to play in the war between angels and the chimera? An amazing book with well developed characters, an often lyrical, seamlessly written story that’s sure to please. Great for adults and older teens. – Julia

---- Poetry ----

The Bees – Carol Ann Duffy - £14.99
Carol-Ann's new collection -- her first since ‘Rapture’ and since she was made Poet Laureate -- presented in a beautifully designed gift hardback.

And if you like poetry you will love the collection from Faber of a selection of poetry classics, ranging from W H Auden to Yeats all in gift hardback and attractively priced too at £8.

Bees Duffy

---- Children’s books of the year ----

Bestsellers this Christmas are likely to be among a few long-awaited novels from the big names. We have all of these in stock, but also a few other new titles from authors we have enjoyed reading this year.

There is a new Michael Morpurgo (‘Shadow’), another Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (‘Cabin Fever’), Jacqueline Wilson’s ‘The Longest Whale Song’, Cressida Cowell has written another ‘Hiccup’ tale and even Lauren Child has written her first ever 10+ novel. Please come and talk to us if you need any help with finding the perfect gift book for children this Christmas.

---- Young Adults (13+) ----


Delirium – Lauren Oliver – £6.99
First in a trilogy, ‘Delirium’ is a stunning and unique piece of writing with an intriguing premise: what if ‘Love’ is seen as a disease that has a cure? Clever and engaging with some fantastic characters, it’s an action packed story, perfect for girls who like dystopian futures or romance fiction. Evocative of 'The Chrysalids' by the great John Wyndham ...

Wickedness – Deborah White - £6.99
An emerald casket, spells written in hieroglyphics and two red-haired girls, fourteen years old and living in London, but four hundred years apart. The Egyptian theme and the historical tie-in from an exciting new voice in teenage fiction combines history, fantasy and romance, some strong female characters and a nasty baddie! – Nicki

The Double Shadow – Sally Gardner – £9.99
If you had bad memories would you take refuge in a memory machine that controlled your thoughts? What if you’d lived through the war and couldn’t shake your nightmares of the trenches?

Arnold Ruben has created a memory machine, a utopia housed in a picture palace, where happy memories replay forever, a haven in which he and his precious daughter can shelter from the war-clouds gathering over 1937 Britain. But evil forces now want to use his memory machine. A fascinating novel about the power of memory, families and what binds them and a terrific sci-fi thriller for older teens. – Nicki

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece – Annabel Pitcher – £6.99
This is a tender and moving story from a brilliant new author. Ten year old Jamie Matthews’ life is falling apart after his sister was killed in a terrorist bomb. Through him, Pitcher explores contentious and contemporary issues and her success is down to his authentic and engaging voice. It’s fresh and insightful and whilst it’s gritty and sad, it can be funny and heart-warming too. A brilliant read for teens and an author to watch out for.

VIII – H M Castor – £10.99
VIII tells the story of Henry VIII from a handsome and charming young prince to a cruel and dangerous king. A historical novel for teens showing another side to this famous king who was plagued by demons, it draws you in by introducing you to Hal as a young boy and then as the golden new prince, before he gradually changes before your eyes. A fabulous and exciting first novel with great historical detail. – Ellie


The Fear – Charlie Higson - £12.99
Charlie Higson is gaining a huge following for his terrifying zombie series - where adults infected by a disease that turns them into monsters - are the main baddies. Perfect for the more reluctant readers (who will be hooked!) or anyone looking for a great, gritty, scary read. Charlie Higson is an excellent writer, and this is the third in the series. A few signed copies in stock.

The Truth about Celia Frost – Paula Rawsthorne – £6.99
Celia Frost lives her life in a bubble, unable to join in with normal kids as she has a rare disorder that means the slightest injury will endanger her life. Or has she? Has her mother been lying to her her whole life? A thrilling story of Celia's quest to find out the truth about the rules by which she has lived her life. – Nicki

---- Fluent readers (11+) ----

Haunting Violet – Alyxandra Harvey – £6.99
A gothic murder mystery set in the 1870's sees Violet trying to discover the fate of the ghost in the lake. Involving fraudulent mediums, a murder mystery, some magical twists and a surprise or two, this is a fast paced novel with many threads that weave together at the end. – Julia

Heist Society

Heist Society – Ally Carter – £6.99
Sassy, smart girl Kat isn’t like a usual teenager, although she has tried to be. Kat is a thief, brought up by a family of thieves – and now her father’s in trouble and it’s up to Kat to save him. Fun and exciting, this is a heist played out across the world, with the bad guys as the heroes. A thrilling, fast-paced story, Ally Carter manages to keep enough details back to keep you on your toes and make for an engaging and clever story with fiery characters – a must read! – Ellie

Six Days – Philip Webb – £6.99
Most of London is empty of life because of bio warfare, and the few remaining people (scavs) are under the rule of Russia (vlads). For over a hundred years they have been forced to tear apart the remains of London searching for a fabled artefact, but someone else is searching for it now and if they don't find it within six days it will mean the end of the Earth. The action in this great sci-fi book carries the story along nicely and gives you a deep connection to the characters. A dystopian world that I hope I can revisit. Sequel please! – Julia

The Search for WondLa – Tony DiTerlizzi – £6.99
Is Eva Nine the only human on the planet? Raised by MUTHR in an underground sanctuary, Eva has never seen the sky or watched the sun rise. An epic adventure sees Eva making new friends and being chased through an alien landscape by a hunter of rare creatures when she is forced to leave the only home she has ever known. With amazing illustrations at each new chapter, this is a great sci-fi adventure story for all ages with a plot that twists and turns until the final page. – Julia


---- Confident readers (9+) ----

Tarzan – Andy Briggs – £6.99 – signed copies
Tarzan was created 100 years ago, and Andy Briggs has 'rebooted' the legendary character in this totally rip-roaring, thrilling (and at times gruesome) tale for the 21st century. Set against a backdrop of illegal logging, civil war and environmental destruction, the story sees Jane - a tough, independent teenager - captured and taken into the forest, pursued by her father, his loggers - and a young man, Robbie, running from his past. Andy Briggs is an electrifying writer of film, TV and comic books - and every copy bought helps to save great apes in the wild! - Mark

Snow Merchant

Snow Merchant – Sam Gayton –£12.99
A quirky debut – cross between ‘James and Giant Peach’ and ‘Northern Lights’ with an element of Rushdie storytelling – about an alchemist who comes calling one night promising to change the life of Lettie Peppercorn forever with his new invention – snow. Original and inventive, this is a lovely wintry read, perfect for snuggling up under the duvet! – Ellie

Pegasus and the Flame – Kate O’Hearn – £5.99
When Pegasus crashes onto Emily’s roof in a storm it is the start of the breaking down of barriers between the human world and Olympus – the land of the gods. Something is wrong with the immortal flame and armies have already vanquished Olympus. It is only Emily’s love for Pegasus that will save not only her own world, but restore the Gods to their rightful places. – Nicki

---- Young readers (7+) ----

Frogspell – C J Busby – £5.99
Frogspell is set in Camelot, where would-be wizard Max creates a wonderful new spell that he hopes will impress his Dad enough not to make him train as a knight. His would-be knight sister, Olivia, is not impressed as the perfect spell is to turn them both into FROGS. Their adventures lead them to take on powerful witch Morgana le Fay in a humorous and imaginative story for younger readers. Nice characterisation and humour (particularly the pets!) will appeal to both boys and girls. – Nicki


Danny Danger and the Cosmic Remote – Adam Frost – £5.99
Danny must be the luckiest boy alive when his uncle gives him a cosmic remote for his birthday. But it’s not just any remote – this one can manipulate time, which is absolutely brilliant for Danny, often getting him out of trouble, but sometimes in trouble too!

Scream Street 13: Flame of the Dragon – Tommy Donbavand – £4.99
Danny must be the luckiest boy alive when his uncle gives him a cosmic remote for his birthday. But it’s not just any remote – this one can manipulate time, which is absolutely brilliant for Danny, often getting him out of trouble, but sometimes in trouble too!

Amazing Esme – Tamara Macfarlane – £9.99
Following the wild adventures of Esme and her cousins in their Scottish castle, this has everything you could want for a fun story – from a circus, a huge castle you can get lost in and a menagerie of exotic animals that jump out from all sorts of corners. It’s lots of fun with beautiful illustrations, silliness and a clever and brave heroine. Children are sure to enjoy this lovely book that we think will become a classic. – Ellie

Olga Da Polga

Olga da Polga – Michael Bond, illustrated by Catherine Rayner – £9.99
Re-issue of Michael Bond’s adorable story about a guinea-pig called Olga da Polga with new, beautiful illustrations by Catherine Rayner.

The Wombles Treasury – Elizabeth Beresford – £14.99
A beautiful gift edition of the first Wombles’ story that introduces many of the favourite characters. Illustrated throughout in full colour by Nick Price and with a CD narrated by Bernard Cribbins.

Jake the Good Bad Dog – Annette Butterworth – £5.99
Jake is a special dog, the best friend you could ever have. These simple, yet fun stories with colour illustrations are perfect first read-alone stories. Ages: 6-8yrs.

---- Picture books ----


Stuck – Oliver Jeffers – £10.99
Small children and parents alike will delight in this slapstick and very funny book about a boy whose kite gets stuck in a tree, and the more he tries to get it down, the more things end up stuck!

Again! – Emily Gravett – £10.99 – Signed copies available
It's nearly Cedric the dragon's bedtime -- there's just time for his mum to read him his favourite book. Unfortunately for her, Cedric likes the story so much that he wants to hear it again . . . and again . . . and again . . . until his mum’s fed up and tired, leading to incendiary consequences! Gorgeous pictures and a really funny end, parents will definitely relate to this story!

Santa’s Sleigh Counting Book– £7.99
It's a busy night in the North Pole as the elves help Santa pack the sleigh, but with every load of goodies, the sleigh becomes heavier and heavier. How many reindeer will be needed to ensure that all the gifts are delivered to all the children on time? Get ready to turn the wheel and count along as more reindeer join in . . . – Nicki

Hubble Bubble Granny Trouble - Tracey Corderoy – £6.99
Not all grannies are the same and if yours is a little different, sometimes things can happen that you don’t expect. So should you try to change her? Or is Granny fun exactly the way she is?

Little White Owl - Tracey Corderoy – £5.99
Little white owl seeks adventure and is amazed to meet lots of colourful owls. They are not impressed with his boring feathers. But he tells them the most colourful stories and they learn that sometimes people can be much more extraordinary on the inside. A beautiful and touching tale and a great favourite this year. – Nicki

Little White Owl

---- Non-fiction ----


Predators – Steve Backshall – £12.99
Full of superb photos and fascinating facts about the deadliest predators encountered by the fearless adventurer Steve Backshall. – Karen

Lego Ideas – £16.99
Packed full of tips from expert LEGO builders, create fantastic fortresses, swing through lush jungles, have fun on the farm and send space shuttles out of this world! This book is divided into six themed chapters - transport, buildings, space, kingdoms, adventure and useful makes – with over 500 models and ideas, from the novice to expert!

Bumper Book of Bob – Simon Bartram – £9.99
This book is brilliant! In the form of a traditional Christmas annual this is a fun, exciting, modern activity book with the original illustrations from ‘Bob’ books. The are plenty of activities to keep children busy for hours with poetry, colouring, word searches, drawing, stickers (!) even recipes . . . the list is endless. We love it. – Ellie

Klutz Guide to the Galaxy – £9.99
This galactic tool kit has everything you need: a build-it-yourself telescope, a night-sight flashlight, star and moon maps, sundial, a mariner's quadrant to steer by the stars, tons of cool intergalactic activities, and more. A great introduction to the stars.

Klutz Galaxy

Utterly Gorgeous Christmas – Natalie Abadzis – 7.99
Fun and easy crafts for Christmas including decorations, cards and even presents. A perfect gift for children of all ages to do on their own or with help from mum. – Simon

Magical Horses

The Marvellous Book of Magical Horses – £9.99
When this book came in, I just knew it was going in our Christmas newsletter. Klutz do these craft things brilliantly, but this book – a glittery, sparkly dress-up-horses-with-shiny-foil-wings kit – is just fab. If you are buying gifts for any little girl and they are, in any way, into horses and fashion, this will make you favourite Aunt/Granny/Parent on Christmas morning . . . – Mark

Pull Back Busy Santa – Fiona Watt – £14.99
Keep your children busy and amused with this pull-back Busy Santa book. Read as Santa whizzes round the world, over cities and the countryside, delivering his presents – even better, place the little Santa in his Sleigh on the tracks and watch as he goes round and round! With things to spot as well, children will absolutely love this book. – Ellie

Noisy Body Book – Jessica Greenwell – £12.99
A fun and simple yet hilarious story about a very noisy family, brought to life by the sound buttons which little hands will love pressing to hear all the funny body sounds. Hear the family sneeze, burp, yawn and snore!

---- Christmas Gift Books ----

Advent Calendar to Colour – £5.99
What a fantastic idea – a delightful gatefold advent calendar with beautiful illustrations of a busy street scene for children to colour in. They can enjoy the run up to Christmas counting down the days with a flap for each day and with plenty to keep them busy too! Children will love this novel and exciting calendar. The pictures are reminiscent of traditional German Christmas Markets. – Ellie


20 Pop-Up Christmas Cards to Colour – £7.99
Why not get this great pack of Christmas cards for your children to send to their friends? They are really beautifully designed pop-up Christmas cards to colour in, with ten festive designs and Christmassy patterned envelopes they make the perfect cards to send to friends and family. The pop-ups come ready assembled and each fun picture to colour has a coloured background making the cards easy for young children to complete.

Books throughout the year

The idea is simple: you let us know a genre and some favourite books for a friend or family member – we will then arrange to send them books directly to anywhere in the world (prices below are for UK), selected especially for them – throughout the year. We will tell them with their first gift how many books will follow. They will be delighted to know that Christmas won’t end on Boxing Day this year.

Some examples of what we can send:

Books people are talking about throughout the Year
Some of the best reads that will make perfect book group choices can be sent regularly to a friend or family member so they can keep up with books people are talking about.
£44 (Four times a year)
                             £66 (Six times a year)

Exciting stories to Keep Children Reading
We can send the latest thrillers or fantasy adventures, gift wrapped and with a message from you.
£36 (four times per year)

You choose the genre, and the number of books. We package up the first book ready for Christmas. Ask at the shop for more details or email


Subscribing to our newsletter

If you would like to receive our newsletter regularly with details of events, recommendations and special offers, please let us know your name and email address, either in the shop or by emailing

A very happy Christmas to you and your family.

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