Mother's Day books 2016

Looking for something to give your mum this Mother's Day? Books last much longer than flowers, so give the gift of reading with our fabulous selection of this year's favourites

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The Trouble with Goats and Sheep - Joanna Cannon

It's the summer of '76, and Mrs Creasy has gone missing. As 10-year-old Grace and her best friend Tilly investigate, they begin to uncover the sticky secrets of their quiet cul-de-sac - and the true horror of a decade-old event. Fantastically received by Gransnet, and a great read for those who remember the hot summer of ’76. 

Landskipping - Anna Pavord

Stitching a tapestry of memoir, history and biography, bestselling author Anna Pavord explores the British landscape and its power to move us. She writes about the tastemakers who developed our ideas of the picturesque, the poets who rhapsodised over the Lakes, the struggling farmers who lived on this land, and the artists who strove to capture it all. This is a deeply passionate book with lyrical writing as uplifting as the views it describes. 


Nobody Told Me: Poetry and Parenthood - Hollie McNish

Hollie's collection of poems and short stories about the ups and downs of pregnancy and parenthood has received wonderful reviews. Starting from before her baby was born, Hollie regularly wrote about her experiences and the things she suddenly found she needed to learn. It's a fascinating and honest read, at times heartwarming, and at others heartbreaking, but always beautiful. 

Making It Up As I Go Along - Marian Keyes

In this new memoir, Marian Keyes shares her funny, candid and heartfelt observations on modern life, and her thoughts on the tricky business of being a woman in today's demanding world. Marian recently joined us for a brilliant webchat, which you can read here.


Noonday - Pat Barker

Pat Barker's ability to create a historical atmosphere and superbly rounded characters is legendary, and her new novel is no exception. It focuses on the Blitz and the complex relationships between artist Elinor, now driving an ambulance around London's bomb sites, and her husband and friends. As the city shudders under ever-more-terrifying raids, intense feelings and old obsessions drive the novel towards a shattering climax. As a treat, buy the whole trilogy (Life Class and Toby's Room are the previous two titles, although each one stands alone.) 

The Wolf Border - Sarah Hall

What better present than an introduction to a brilliant writer you've yet to discover? Sarah Hall has already won numerous prizes and been nominated for the Man Booker. Her new novel, set in Cumbria and based around a plan to reintroduce the grey wolf to Britain, is an extraordinarily gripping tale that explores the many borders in our lives: between family members, between town and country, between wilderness and domestication. So good we chose it as our March Book of the Month - find out more and join the discussion.


    Spark Joy - Marie Kondo

    Mumsnetters have been struck by Kondo fever this winter and have ably demonstrated that spring cleaning can be done at any time of year. A follow-up to Kondo's hugely successful The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, Spark Joy adds illustrations to make tidying up even easier! That said, this is one to give to your mum in a 'this book will bring you joy' way, rather than a 'your house is a tip' way...

    Pattern & the Secrets of Lasting Design - Emma Bridgewater

    For fans of the pottery queen, Emma Bridgewater's new book tells the stories behind her well-loved patterns, accompanied by delicious recipes and gorgeous photographs. Emma joined us for a webchat in February to talk about the book. 

    The Mum - A Ladybird Book

    'What I love most', said Lucy Mangan, about the million-copy-selling Ladybird series for grown-ups, 'is that they provide the same enormous satisfaction and warm glow as the ones they pastiche did... immense knowledge being distilled into 56 pages of pure brilliance.' How it Works - The Mum is a pocket jewel, full of nostalgic illustrations, perfect comic timing, and the all-too-recognisable highs and lows of motherhood. Very funny, and sure to become as much a national treasure as the originals.

    War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

    The glorious BBC adaptation is, alas, over - but why not quench yearnings for gold-frogged uniforms, glittering balls and tempestuous romance with the original? Tolstoy's epic is undoubtedly one of the most engrossing novels ever written. Set during Napoleon's invasion of Russia, and focusing on three characters - the illegitimate son of a count, an aristocratic soldier, and the young woman whom they both love - it is also a sweeping overview of Russian society at the time. Once you've read it, you can brag about it for the rest of your life.

    The Forgotten Summer - Carol Drinkwater

    Best known for her best-selling memoir The Olive Farm, actress and author Carol Drinkwater has written an atmospheric tale of family secrets and forbidden passions. Set in a vineyard during a sizzling summer in Provence, The Forgotten Summer is perfect for your mum to devour over a glass of wine.  

    Cockfosters - Helen Simpson

    There is a Helen Simpson book for every stage of adulthood: her collections of wry, witty stories have covered singledom and motherhood, and now she focuses her clear and careful eye on the menopause years. As Julian Barnes recently noted on Mumsnet, she is probably Britain's best short story writer and no one can match her for laugh-out-loud moments of acute perception.

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    Last updated: over 2 years ago