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What my mother read!

(65 Posts)
tobee Sat 13-Feb-21 02:15:10

My mother has always been a great reader. Since lockdown I've found myself reading books that she would have been given for birthdays and Christmases of my childhood!

If I could choose one author from my childhood that my mum read it would be Beryl Bainbridge and from when I was older Edith Wharton.

Just to add a bit more my nana would read PG Wodehouse and Francis Durbridge. My granny would read Mapp and Lucia and Miss Read.

So, if you were inspired by your mum or your grannies what would you be reading? And would you be enjoying their choices? smile

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MrsTerryPratchett Sat 13-Feb-21 02:24:59

The Russians.

My mum had Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn and all those fun, laugh a minute blokes.

My granny I don't know. A newspaper probably. She was a political woman.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 13-Feb-21 02:27:24

Oh and I love Russian literature so yes I would. Except bastarding, bloody War and Peace. I have tried 5 times. It's the names. Why does everyone have three names, similar to other characters but unrelated to their other names? WHY?

I need someone to rewrite it and call everyone Bob, Fred and Sandra. I'd be able to understand it then.

rc22 Sat 13-Feb-21 08:11:28

I don't know about my granny. She didn't have many books in the house but she did go to the library every week. I remember my mum reading books by Barbara Taylor-Bradford and Maisie Moscow (I think) Family saga type stuff. As I got older l, she started to read what I read and passed on to her.

Pimlicojo Sat 13-Feb-21 08:15:09

My mum read Jean Plaidy and Agatha Christie. And lots of biographies, mostly of old Hollywood movie stars. I remember when I was young (I'm now in my 50s) a copy of The Valley of the Dolls on her bedside table.
Not long before she died I remember her phoning me and telling me about how she'd been sitting up late at night drinking whisky and smoking and reading a great book. It was Bridget Jones' diary!

highlandcoo Sat 13-Feb-21 08:34:42

My mum, who would be in her nineties if she was still alive, read Catherine Cookson, Jean Plaidy and Miss Read. Whereas my dad read history, social science and political biographies.

Their reading tasted divided along what would have been seen as traditional male/female lines back in the day. Neither of them were interested in the sort of books I prefer - classics and modern literary fiction - although at school they had read Dickens and Hardy, and knew many poems off by heart.

Sadik Sat 13-Feb-21 13:49:58

Lots of Trollope. I've actually got my late DM's collection of Trollope novels in paper on my shelves because I can't quite bring myself to get rid of them. I read all the Palliser novels as a teenager, & figure some day I'll re-read them, & read the Barchester ones.

Otherwise, (perhaps unsurprisingly) not so different from my usual tastes - politics / current affairs books, Austen / Gaskell etc. Perhaps more literary fiction and less SFF than I've got on my shelves.

My nan - harder to say because in her later years could only read large print, and given her rate of reading she basically worked her way through the library offerings from A to Z. So from that POV, any non-Mills&Boon romance type fiction in large print, heavy on the crime & family sagas but I think by default only!

StCharlotte Sat 13-Feb-21 14:15:50

The Valley of the Dolls

OMG that was myabsolute favourite book in my late teens! I used to finish it and go straight back to the beginning and read it all over again. And again. And again.

JackieWeaverIsTheAuthority Sat 13-Feb-21 14:22:36

Both my mum and granny read endless books about women who are nurses during the war. Unsurprisingly both my mum and granny were nurses grin

QueenOfLabradors Sat 13-Feb-21 14:27:31

Mum and I tend to discuss who's going to buy which books for Christmas and birthdays. So that we can then swap them over! There are a few authors and genres that one of us likes but not the other but I'd say a good fifty percent of what is on our keeper bookshelves are the same things. And the same with MIL.

giletrouge Sat 13-Feb-21 14:33:55

Judging from that list I'm your mother's generation, so I'll put a plug in for someone who for years and years was one of my favourite writers and who I think is sadly neglected today. Iris Murdoch.

TardisThroughTime Sat 13-Feb-21 14:36:12

My mum read valley of the dolls too and virgin soldiers. I absolutely loved them both!

tobee Sat 13-Feb-21 14:58:42


The Russians.

My mum had Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn and all those fun, laugh a minute blokes.

My granny I don't know. A newspaper probably. She was a political woman.

That made me laugh loudly!

These are great answers.


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PenCreed Sat 13-Feb-21 15:57:58

I'm going to have to ask my mum what my granny would have read - I have no idea! I know my grandfather was a big fan of Dickens, but I don't know about Granny. Mum has quite similar tastes to me, and I have nicked a lot of books from her over the years. She's responsible for my love of Georgette Heyer and Dorothy Dunnett, as well as my first tastes of Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and Dorothy Sayers, but also for a lot of literary fiction as well. Like MrsTerryPratchett's mother, mine also likes the Russians!

lovablequalities Sat 13-Feb-21 16:03:31

My granny only ever read the bible. She thought other kinds of reading (particularly novels) was frivolous at best and most likely immoral. I remember her telling me off for reading Anne of Green Gables.

My mum and I swap books all the time and have similar taste. She never ever reads trashy books though and is horrified if she catches me with a Penny Vincenzi or anything like that.

Clawdy Sat 13-Feb-21 18:06:21

Catherine Cookson and Nora Lofts for my mum, and the Whiteoak saga. But she also loved books of short horror stories, the more gruesome the better! grin

SJaneS49 Sat 13-Feb-21 19:59:44

My Mum is really well read, far more critical than me as I love a bit of absolute crap in the mix which she is snooty and purist about!

She does read quite a lot of female authors and going back that would include the likes of Marina Warner, Joanna Trollope, Barbara Pym, Molly Keane etc. She also loves travel books which we both love so she definitely inspired me there with the likes of passed on Paul Therouxs and Colin Thubrons. So if I was inspired by her, that’s what I’d be reading now. We do read quite a few of the same books - we’ve both just finished Hamnet and loved it.

My Grandmother read Georgette Heyers as well and other really similar stuff (Anya someone?) - inspirational probably isn’t the word but if I had a spare afternoon and a big slice of cake and they were lying around then yeah. I’d read them!

SJaneS49 Sat 13-Feb-21 20:19:46

Anya Seaton! Just came to me.

tobee Sun 14-Feb-21 03:35:52

Oh I just remembered! If you asked my mum what books she likes she'd say books that were "a slice of life"! smile

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tobee Sun 14-Feb-21 03:36:29

I'm enjoying people's replies!

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Hemlock2013 Sun 14-Feb-21 07:06:43

My mum and I both read georgette heyer. We recently got into it and now buy and swap books. Mum reads trashy stuff and I like to think my tastes are more refined but on georgette heyer we’ve reached a happy meeting point. She also read anya seton @SJaneS49, a historical romance called Katherine. Is that what you remember?

Pluas Sun 14-Feb-21 07:11:26


Judging from that list I'm your mother's generation, so I'll put a plug in for someone who for years and years was one of my favourite writers and who I think is sadly neglected today. Iris Murdoch.

I adored IM in my teens, and read all her novels, but the ones I’ve reencountered as an adult with a few exceptions read more like philosophical treatises carried out in fiction.

I envy those of you with reading grandmothers and mothers! Neither of mine would dream of reading for pleasure and I grew up with the idea that reading was ‘lazy’.

SJaneS49 Sun 14-Feb-21 08:35:00

@Hemlock2013 t’s so long ago (I’m 50), I just can’t remember! Historical fiction definitely - I don’t think as slushy as the Georgette Heyers. My Mum was pretty intellectually snooty about my Granny’s taste - no way would we be reading Georgette Heyer’s together now .. which is a shame as I’d enjoy it!

@Pluas, completely the opposite here, my mother was/is pretty judgy about people who didn’t read as well as what they read. I remember her hiding a Jilly Cooper of mine before a friend of hers came round in case horror of horrors, her friend thought the Cooper was hers!

BuddhaAtSea Sun 14-Feb-21 08:48:47

Oh, my mum’s favourite book ever is Middlemarch by George Elliot. Go figure.
She also loved Forsythe Saga.

SJaneS49 Sun 14-Feb-21 09:09:53

Er, I really like Middlemarch!

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