Mumsnet Bookshelf 2015

Stumped on your next book choice? Have a look at our Mumsnet Bookshelves and be inspired by our archive of Mumsnet Book of the Month choices. There's a wealth of wonderful novels. 

January: Elizabeth is Missing - Emma Healey

"This is the sort of book you join book clubs for - I probably wouldn't have picked it up if it hadn't been on the list, but once I started reading I couldn't put it down. There's an underlying logic to Maud's actions which no one, not even herself, is ever fully aware of." - Sapeke

"In my experience, most loved ones have tried to imagine what it might be like to have dementia themselves, and this is a similar thought experiment." - Emma Healey

The Miniaturist - Jessie Burton

"I read this book over half term and I've never so looked forward to getting into bed! Jessie's writing about Amsterdam in the 1600s was, I felt, an amazing feat. I felt like I'd been transported there myself, the detail was so intricate. The characters' personalities are so rich, they come to life on the page." - Holliegolightly

"I thought Amsterdam was a very interesting city - a real mix of the old still alive in the new - and I was completely fascinated to read about late 17th century merchant life. Their preoccupations and their fears struck a perfect chord in the symbol of this dolls-house, and it went from there. It was a perfect city to explore a secretive world." - Jessie Burton

March: The Buried Giant - Kazuo Ishiguro

"Ogres and dragons are not my usual fare, but I found this book unputdownable. I think the reason why I like Ishiguro's books so much is that he manages to write a story which is full of pathos and intrigue, whilst at the same time opening up other worlds." - atrociouscook

"I myself was often put off by books featuring ogres, but ever since I had to bring such creatures into my own story to make it work, I've come to recognize my ogre aversion as sheer prejudice. That's to say, just because one comes across a book one didn't like with an ogre in it, one shouldn't then conclude ogres only inhabit bad books." - Kazuo Ishiguro

April: H is for Hawk - Helen Macdonald

"I absolutely loved this book - it is so beautifully written, very moving in the exploration of grief and loss, and also full of fascinating information about landscape and wildlife. I felt I learned so much, which for me is always a sign of a good book." - Frogletsmum

"I felt this story was important because it is about how terrible early experiences can mark people their whole lives, and how they affect all the relationships they later have - even ones with hawks." - Helen Macdonald

May: The Children Act - Ian McEwan

"I especially enjoyed the way in which he uses the setting of Gray's Inn Road. A handful of streets in a single area of London is portrayed as a distinctive - even unique - world, set apart from the bustling city around it." - Toothlessoldhag

"London was there right from the start of The Children Act. I was thinking of that special quality of a huge city in continuous summer rain - the air of disappointment, the unnatural cleanness of the streets, the endless summer's dusk under leaden skies, the brief moments of beauty of the light. All this suited the mood tone of this novel." - Ian McEwan

June: Funny Girl - Nick Hornby

"The characters were very well written and believable. I got swept away by the plot and the characters, and for the first time in ages found a female character written by a male author sounding believable. It didn't sound like a man writing what he thought a woman would say." - AnneEyhtMeyer

"I'm in a real run of female protagonists - I have written six movies, TV series or books in the last few years, all in a row, that have a young woman at the centre. That's where I'm at, and I'm not sure why, but I really enjoy doing it. Maybe the problems of young women are inherently more dramatic, because the obstacles they have to overcome are more pronounced." - Nick Hornby

July: Fallout - Sadie Jones

"I loved the period detail - Luke's typewriter, having to go outside to use phone boxes, people smoking everywhere, the casual drug-taking. It gives you a real feeling of being there." - Aginghippy

"I set each book in the decade or century that feels right for the story. Hitchcock said that the setting of a story should be one of the main characters, and that's how I approach era, as well." - Sadie Jones

August: The Paying Guests - Sarah Waters

"The Paying Guests is, for me, the perfect book. I'll say that again: perfect. A literary page-turner, written with such warmth, and love, and historical accuracy; I was totally submerged in it. Perfect." - TheCommoner

"It's extraordinarily flattering to know that some people have enjoyed my books so much that they are waiting for more; the thought can really lift my spirits when I've strayed into a writing swamp or tangle and am feeling a bit fed up." - Sarah Waters

September: Purity - Jonathan Franzen

"My head is full of Purity. Anabel is the most instantly recognisable, and most guilt-making yet murderable character I've met since about 1870 - you've created a new stock character for our times. Such a relief when writers articulate ourselves and our circles for us, you know, thanks." - Corygal

"The sad fact is that happiness is seldom dramatic, and so what is the novelist to do with it? There's a reason that fairy tells end, rather than begin, 'and they lived happily ever after.'" - Jonathan Franzen

October: The Heart Goes Last - Margaret Atwood

"The Heart Goes Last made me reflect on how fast we fall - from love, from civilisation, from thinking of others as flesh and blood creatures to turning them into the 'other'. In Charmaine and Stand's world, there's hardly a principle in sight, just the necessity of expedience." - chrystabelle

"We can't expect perfect behaviour from characters in books. Just plausible behaviour." - Margaret Atwood

November: Lila - Marilynne Robinson

"I found Lila a really calming read. There is a strength of belief in the writing which made it very soothing to read, though also sad and evocative at times." - Fifinella

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Last updated: over 2 years ago