Book covers including Michelle Obama's Becoming and Elizabeth Strout's Anything is Possible on a yellow background.

Image credit: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin

Becoming by Michelle Obama (2018)

Michelle Obama’s bestselling memoir is the perfect companion for mums and mother figures everywhere.

Sure, Obama has had a life that few of us will ever get close to, but before – and after – her time in the White House she’s a daughter, a mother, a wife, and her own woman.

In her memoir, Obama talks about the experiences that have shaped her, from her time growing up on the South Side of Chicago to having to balance the demands of motherhood and work.

The newly-released paperback edition of Becoming features a new introduction by Obama, a letter from the author to her younger self, and a book club guide.

And if you’re looking to inspire young readers, then a specially adapted edition of Becoming for children is also available.

Me. You. A Diary by Dawn French (2017)

If you (or your mum!) have ever made a new-year resolution to keep a diary, then failed miserably halfway through February, then this book is for you. Filled with musings on life, heartfelt letters and ridiculous lists – some from French, some for you to complete – this is a guilt-free diary to be kept as and when you wish. Fill with anything from appointments and birthdays to reminders of who to kill, and when…

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout (2017)

For a tale of family, sisterhood and community, look no further than Elizabeth Strout’s rich and moving novel. Set in Amgash, Illinois, Strout weaves a tapestry of interconnected relationships and small-town lives. Amgash is also home to Lucy Barton, of My Name is Lucy Barton fame, and she also makes an appearance here, seventeen years after we last met her. Perfect for fans of Anne Tyler and deftly told stories of family and friendship.

Bookworm by Lucy Mangan (2018)

In Bookworm, Lucy Mangan presents the stories that shaped her childhood; not only do we revisit Narnia, Wonderland and the secret garden, but we also follow Mangan as she recalls the significance of those stories at a young age, from first kisses, to messy friendships, from fighting injustice to growing independence. Although Mangan is wonderful at evoking those early reading experiences, her life-long passion for reading shines through every page.

Woman's Hour: Words from Wise, Witty and Wonderful Women by Alison Maloney (2017)

Woman’s Hour is an institution. Believe it or not, the show has been entertaining the nation for 70 years, with features, interviews and debates on everything from culture and the arts, to politics, economics and society. This book collects the best bits from, frankly, some of the greatest women on the planet; think Benazir Bhutto, Hilary Clinton, J. K. Rowling, Enid Blyton, Oprah Winfrey and more. And of course, it also features a foreword by Jenni Murray.

The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey (2018)

Samantha Harvey’s star is on the rise. In The Western Wind she expertly studies the aftermath of a mysterious death in a 15th Century Somerset village. The victim is Thomas Newman, a rich and respected villager who is swept away by the local river. The village priest, John Reve, attempts to unravel the mystery in this masterful, medieval tale, rich with detail and suspense.

A Country Escape by Katie Fforde (2018)

With mums being just about the busiest people we know, it’s no surprise that escapism is such a feature of this list. Fran decides to move to the country for a year, to a tumble-down farm in the Cotswolds, to see if she can make a go of it. But running a farm isn’t as easy as it looks and the lady who owns the farm, Fran’s aunt, thinks she’s bitten off more than she can chew. Luckily, there’s a wealthy, available neighbour around to lend a hand…

Stories of Motherhood (2012)

If your mum knows her literature, surprise her with this wonderfully elegant collection of thought-provoking pieces by some of the best writers of our time, including A. S. Byatt, Edith Wharton and Alice Munro. So much more than a gift book, this anthology will be cherished year-round and is filled with humour, heartbreak and, above all, intelligent writing on what motherhood means.

Leap In: A Woman, Some Waves and the Will to Swim by Alexandra Heminsley (2017)

What happens when you combine an aquaphobic woman of iron will with an open water swimming challenge? Well, at first, a lot of coughing and spluttering, but as Alexandra Heminsley confronts her demons, she stills her mind and learns to respect the strength of her body anew. Open water swimming is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK and Heminsley shows us why, as she conquers her fears and demonstrates that we really can do anything we set our minds to. Heminsley's latest book, Some Body to Love, is also a perfect read for mums, examining what it means to have a human body and bringing up a baby in a changing world.

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1966)

In Wide Sargasso Sea, the story of Jane Eyre inspires a 20th Century update as a white Creole heiress, Antoinette Cosway, marries a young Englishman in 1930s’ Jamaica. The union sets the rumour mill turning and it’s not long before Antoinette is driven to confusion and eventual madness, as her husband finds solace elsewhere. One of the great postcolonial works of literature, this novel is presented as a beautiful clothbound edition to treasure.

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