Reading list

Mother's Day reads for every mum

From humorous and not-so-guilty pleasures to classics and fine literature, our Mother’s Day list celebrates every kind of mum. Click here for more Mother's Day gift ideas.

Me. You. A Diary

Dawn French

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 Dawn, 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

Elizabeth Strout

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: A Memoir of Childhood Reading

Lucy Mangan

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

Alison Maloney

Woman’s Hour is an institution. Believe it or not, the show has been entertaining the nation for seventy 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

Samantha Harvey

Samantha Harvey’s star is on the rise. In her latest novel, The Western Wind, she expertly studies the aftermath of a mysterious death in a fifteenth-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

Katie Fforde

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

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

Alexandra Heminsley

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.
 

Wide Sargasso Sea

Jean Rhys

In Wide Sargasso Sea, the story of Jane Eyre inspires a twentieth-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 on the fiftieth anniversary of first publication.
 

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