Must-read books for 2015
Resolved to read more in 2015? The Mumsnet Book Club is the perfect place to pick up literary recommendations, discuss great fiction and non-fiction with like-minded readers, and put your questions direct to best-selling authors each month.
We've a cracking line-up for 2015, with debut authors and literary giants from all over the world. Have a sneak peak at our Book Club line-up - and browse some of the other books we're eager to thumb through this year.
Book of the month picks for 2015:
Elizabeth Is Missing Emma Healey
2015 is off to a great start for Emma Healey - she's just bagged the Costa First Novel Award for her thrilling debut, Elizabeth Is Missing. Inspired by her grandmother's dementia, the novel tells the story of Maud, an octogenarian who becomes convinced that her friend Elizabeth has gone missing. Interweaving a gripping detective yarn with a haunting and compassionate insight into mental illness - and an unexpected dollop of humour - it's a cracking debut from an author who started writing in her lunch breaks. We'll be hosting a webchat with Emma Healey on 28 January.
The Miniaturist Jessie Burton
Newly-married Nella arrives in Golden Age Amsterdam to a house full of intrigue. Her wealthy older husband is rarely there, her sister-in-law is mercilessly hostile - and the servants seem to know more than they let on. When her husband gives her a cabinet that depicts her home in precise miniature, Nella sets out to furnish it - and becomes embroiled with the mysterioius miniaturist who seems able to predict events in the house before they happen. Come and put your questions to author Jessie Burton on 25 February.
The Buried Giant Kazuo Ishiguro
We're honoured that Remains of the Day author Kazuo Ishiguru will be joining us for a webchat at the end of March to discuss his first novel in a decade, the hotly anticipated The Buried Giant. Lost memories, love, revenge and war are the themes of this savage and moving story set in the Dark Ages. When asked why it had taken him so long to finish this novel, Kazuo revealed: "My wife looked at it and said 'this will not do… there's no way you can carry on with this, you'll have to start again from the beginning." Join us in March to discuss the novel and find out whether the final draft met her expectations.
Boy, Snow, Bird Helen Oyeyemi
Helen Oyeyemi’s fifth novel, Boy Snow Bird, confirms her as one of Britain's best young novelists. Her fascination with myths and legends prevails as she repositions the Snow White fairytale in 1950s New York. Helen says: "It felt like time to retell Snow White with an eye on the 'fairest of them all' statement the mirror makes. I was always a bit incredulous that the mirror was allowed to get away with that one without being at least asked for proof." Helen will be joining us to discuss further at the end of April.
The Children's Act Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan's crisp, unshowy prose is ideally suited to tackle the ethics and conflicts surrounding family law. His 13th novel follows Fiona, a High Court judge, and Adam, a 17-year-old Jehovah's Witness with terminal leukaemia who refuses life-saving blood products. Fiona's ruling will determine whether doctors can go against his wishes. McEwan defty pulls you into the soul-searching and emotional intensity of the case. You can quiz him about this and his other novels in early June.
The Paying Guests Sarah Waters
A superbly smooth page-turner and a thoughtful portrait of social unease and changing attitudes, The Paying Guests is set in a 1920s London still reeling from the brutality and economic cost of war. The drama centres on a formerly well-to-do household who are on their uppers - into the genteel lives of Frances and her mother come lodgers Lilian and her clerk husband Leonard. A passionate affair, a murder and a tightly-wound court case ensue - and we're delighted that Sarah will be joining us for a webchat in September.
Other books on our radar:
Nora Webster Colm Toibin
Like his bestseller Brooklyn, Toibin's deeply moving new novel centres on an Irish heroine trying to adapt to seismic changes in her life. It's the late 1960s; Nora is recently widowed and struggling to find a way to live that will work for her and her children. Nora's thoughts and gradual transformations are filled with moments of quiet epiphany. Nominated for the Booker three times, Toibin is exceptionally adept at creating strong, vivid female characters - and his writing, as ever, is just beautiful.
H is for Hawk Helen Macdonald
Winner of both the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize and the Costa Non-fiction Book of 2014, this elegiac story of training a goshawk is one of the year's most enthralling reads. Helen Macdonald acquired a goshawk after the death of her father, and she writes about the relationship between humans and the natural world with poetic beauty and deep feeling. An inspired account of bereavement that is joyous and fascinating too.
Funny Girl Nick Hornby
Nick Hornby's new novel is set between Blackpool and London in the swinging 60s. It follows the story of Lucille Ball, crowned Miss Blackpool, who moves to London to realise her dream of becoming a TV Star. Funny Girl offers a wonderfully captivating portrait of youthful exuberance and success. Already picked up on the Mumsnet Talk boards, Hackman says: "I loved it… so funny and readable and full of good characters and quite a departure from his earlier novels. Finished it today and now feel quite bereft."
The Girl in the Red Coat Kate Hamer
A bewitching debut novel from Kate Hamer about an eight-year-old girl who becomes separated from her mother at a local children's festival, and is found by a man who claims to be her estranged grandfather. Like Emma Donoghue did in ROOM, Hamer starts off with a premise we think we know - an abducted child - and takes the reader somewhere completely unexpected. This is a beautifully written and highly original story that is gripping, thought-provoking and emotionally tender.
The Bone Clocks David Mitchell
A new book from David Mitchell is always cause for celebration - and this exotically inventive novel from the author of Cloud Atlas has enough literary fire-power (and pages) to keep the most avid bookworm up until the early hours. Attempting to summarise it would be futile - let's just say there are worlds upon worlds of fantasy and imagination that transcend time and place, yet also encompass 1980s England, the Iraq war and the apocalypse.
So You've Been Publicly Shamed Jon Ronson
Have you ever made a joke on Twitter that accidently came out wrong and as a consequence you've been torn apart by a crazy mob? Have you ever been part of a crazy mob tearing someone apart for telling a joke on Twitter that came out wrong? Have you ever committed a workplace transgression and now you've got the terrible feeling that someone is onto you? Jon Ronson has spent the past three years with people who have – documenting the destruction close up. And this is the tale he recounts in So You've Been Publicly Shamed. Simultaneously hilarious and powerful, it's about the troubling renaissance of public shaming, and our own very scary part in it.
In Cold Blood Truman Capote
Mumsnetters have joined forces to set up a Modern Classics Club for 2015, and January sees them delving into Capote's epic In Cold Blood. In this 'non-fiction novel' Capote reconstructs the 1959 murder of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their children, whilst weaving in the tale of his own journalistic investigation which sparked the award-winning movies Infamous and Capote. ClashCityRocker kicks off the reviews, saying: "It was an engaging read and being able to google details of the actual case added another dimension". There's still plenty of time to join the discussion.
We're also excited by new novels later in the year from Jonathan Franzen, Margaret Atwood, Zoe Heller, William Boyd and Judy Blume - so keep an eye out.
Last updated: about 3 years ago