50 great book club suggestions from British mum bloggers

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The best  book club recommendations come from those that write and read, a lot. I asked the British Mummy Bloggers social network for their best reads  … and they sent me more than 50 recommendations! This list has a summer slant, but all look like good picks. I’ve given credit to the contributor after each entry. Enjoy!

1. The Boy With the TopKnot: A Memoir of  Love, Secrets and Lies in Wolverhampton by Sathnam Sanghera. Growing up as a punjabi in Wolverhampton in the eighties. (Living with Kids)

2. Are you Experienced by William Sutcliffe. A funny novel about back packing in India. (Living with Kids)

3. Wish you were here by Mike Gayle. A heartwarming story about friends and growing up. (Living with Kids)

4. Like Bees to Honey by Caroline Smailes. A story of loss, redemption and ghosts. It is a magical tale that will live with you long after you finish reading. “I’m reading it now, and it’s excellent.” (notSupermum)

 5. The Secret History by Donna Tartt. A first novel, the reflection years later about a murder that happened in a group of college friends. (Babyrambles)

6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Nominated for the 1986 Booker Prize, The Handmaid’s Tale is a feminist novel and work of speculative fiction that explores the darker interconnections between politics and sex. (Babyrambles)

7. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. A story of an English family struggling to live in a decaying castle in the 1930s. (Babyrambles).

8. Therese Raquin by Emile Zola. “I couldn’t put it down. Quite dark but very compelling.” (The First Year)

 9. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis is hilarious. (The First Year)

10. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. “For the umpteenth time!” (The First Year)

11. “F.Scott Fitzgerald”s The Beautiful and Damned is brilliant, as is Tender is the Night.” (The First Year)

12. What Mothers Do Especially When It Looks Like Nothing by Naomi Stadlin. “I swear it should come in your Bounty pack and be prescribed by GPs – so not a novel or anything, but one of the best things I’ve ever spent my time on!” (Diary of a First Child)

 13. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. “Romantic, weepy, moving, all about the power of faith and love to help people do amazing things. I am not generally soppy in the slightest, but this book made me long for my husband and boys when I was away for five days. For the first time EVER.” (My Shorter Stories)

14. ‘Wicked” by Gregory McGuire is sharp and witty. The sequel’s not as good. It is the witch’s POV on Dorothy and the whole Oz thing. (My Shorter Stories)

15. ‘Millennium Trilogy’ by Stieg Larssen (aka The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series). Violent but good escapist stuff, and how many heroins with Asperger’s Syndrome are there out there? (My Shorter Stories)

16. Garth Nix does good escapist fantasy in the Abhorsen books (Sabriel, Lirael, etc.) (My Shorter Stories)

 17. ‘Necropolis‘ by Catharine Arnold. Strange but true stories about being death in London through the centuries. (My Shorter Stories)

18. I’m just starting ‘The Help’ (Kathryn Stockett) and Umberto Eco’s books ‘On Beauty’ and ‘On Ugliness’. (My Shorter Stories)

19. Dom DeLillo’s books. Any of. My favourite is The Names. Grimly comic and dark and haunting; his work is worth the effort. (My Shorter Stories)

20. Grace Paley for amazing short stories about the most ordinary of things: she writes about her ex and current husbands meeting over breakfast, and calls one Livid and one Pallid. (My Shorter Stories)

21. Looking back to previous year’s reads I’d say The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson and The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom for something that’s from bestsellers’ lists. (Glowstars)

 22. I know a lot of people read young adult novels, and would thoroughly recommend Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (and the sequels Ink Exchange and Fragile Eternity). (Glowstars)

23. The Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris is a big hit (otherwise known as the True Blood novels and far better than the TV series). If you want to delve further into urban fantasy I’d thoroughly recommend Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. I’ve just finished reading the latest, Bullet, and it packs the most amazing punch ever. (Glowstars)

24. The other love of my life is the writing of Ian Mortimer (well, someone out there might be interested in the fourteenth century.) Grit’s Day

25. ‘The Help ‘by Kathryn Stockett. A wonderful read and highly recommended. (Hot Cross Mum)

26. ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ by Mary Ann Schafer. “Brilliant, brilliant”. (Hot Cross Mum)

 27. I resisted for a long time but just read Eat Pray Love which was great. (Jenography)

28. Zoe William’s new book is out: Bring It On Baby. Very funny. (Jenography)

29. Dear Baby has a listed her favourite books here.

30. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. (The Contented? Maybe)

31. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenedies. (The Contented? Maybe)

 32. Black Swan Green by David Mitchell. The follow-up to the uber successful Cloud Atlas. (The Contented? Maybe)

33. One Day by David Nicholls. Quasi-romantic friends meet every year on 15 July. (The Contented? Maybe)

34. The Northern Clemencyby Philip Hensher. An epic novel in the Thatcherite era. (The Contented? Maybe)

35. Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan. “Unlike anything else I’ve read recently, this is a beautifully told adult fairytale, complete with dysfunctional families and the most appalling mother-in-law.” (Domesticalli)

36. I recommend the new novel by my friend Rebecca Frayn. It’s called Deceptions and is a quiet desperate thriller based on a newspaper clipping she once read, about a child that went missing. Kate Morris

37. I don’t usually get time to respond to these but thought I just had to for this one, because I have just finished an unputdownable book! The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie OFarrell was a brilliant read with a fantastic story line, she also conveyed well, I thought, how it feels to be a first time mum with a new born. (Moments from Suburbia)

38. Am just reading ‘Girl from the South’ by Joanna Trollope (no, not an aga in sight), and am really enjoying it…. (Potty Mummy)

39. I love this thread, so many books to read when I get the time. I would suggest Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – there’s a film coming out soon as well. (Media Mum)

40. I love anything by Karen Rose. I would definitely recommend her if you haven’t read anything of hers already! (Yummy Mummy Flabby Tummy)

41. I’m currently reading ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’ by Audrey Niffenegger. So far so good. It’s not another ‘Time Travellers Wife’, but it’s beautifully written and eery. By total contrast, but still another ghost story, the last book I read was ‘Twenties Girl’ by Sophie Kinsella. Kinsella is the queen of chick-lit and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Next on my list is Barbara Kingsolver’s ‘Lacuna‘. The best book I’ve read recently is ‘A Kind of Intimacy ‘by my friend, Jenn Ashworth.  (Sandy Calico)

 42. The Given Day by Dennis Lehane. A gripping read, but a LONG one and a departure form Lehane’s usual stuff. (Miss Behaving)

43. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Essays on writing and on life. (Miss Behaving)

44. The Element by Ken Robinson. Non-fiction, finding your passion and how the education system kills our creativity. (Miss Behaving)

45. Travelling Mercies by Anne Lamott. Essays on life and faith. (Miss Behaving)

46. The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb. From Barnes & Noble: “Lamb travels well beyond his earlier work and embodies in his fiction myth, psychology, family history stretching back many generations, and the questions of faith that lie at the heart of everyday life. The result is an extraordinary tour de force, at once a meditation on the human condition and an unflinching yet compassionate evocation of character.” (Miss Behaving)

47. I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb. Oprah Book Club® Selection, June 1998: What if you were a 40-year-old house painter, horrifically abused, emotionally unavailable, and your identical twin was a paranoid schizophrenic who believed in public self-mutilation? (Miss Behaving)

48. She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. The man is not a prolific writer but he is profound. (Miss Behaving)

 49. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Autobiographical, beautifully written, unputdownable. (Miss Behaving)

50. And I just read American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld. A fascinating tale of a woman who eventually becomes a first lady. Based loosely on the life of Laura Bush. (A Modern Mother)

Please leave your reading recommendations below.

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24 Comments

  1. 07/09/2010 / 22:46

    Can’t remember last time I read a book – keep starting and then leave so long I have forgotten what I have read and so to start again…in my life books are for true relaxation and holidays – will look through the list and dream!!!

  2. 27/08/2010 / 23:07

    Am having a dilemma as to read Eat Pray Love or see the movie – can’t help it.. love Julia Roberts!

  3. 26/08/2010 / 20:12

    Great list, thank you. I’d add anything by Barbara Trapido, and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Still some ‘summer’ left in which to read them!

  4. 23/08/2010 / 15:40

    That sounds like a great addition to the list.

  5. Claire
    23/08/2010 / 13:21

    A book I always recommend for mums is The Birth House by Ami McKay, a wonderful novel about a midwife in early 20th century Nova Scotia.

  6. 22/08/2010 / 15:21

    Almost finished with Little Bee and I can confirm itnis a great read, perfect for a short break. V. thought provoking with many surprises.

  7. 22/08/2010 / 05:40

    WOW!!! thanks for putting it together like this, very easy to see. I am just scouting for new reads right now…
    THANKS.

  8. 20/08/2010 / 13:17

    Thanks so much for this list – i am always wondering what to read next. Will be coming back to choose my next book – I’ve decided to start with The boy with the topknot’.

  9. 18/08/2010 / 17:19

    Thanks for your contributions!

  10. 17/08/2010 / 16:02

    Oh wow! Am updating my wish list right away.

  11. 16/08/2010 / 21:23

    I had fun putting it together. Happy reading.

  12. 16/08/2010 / 05:40

    Ooh, a really interesting list. Lots of books I’ve read and loved recently, and in the past…looking forward to checking out some of the suggesitons. Thanks for the list!

  13. 16/08/2010 / 01:24

    It is amazing how much good fiction is available, I want to read it all!

  14. 16/08/2010 / 01:23

    do it!

  15. 16/08/2010 / 00:53

    Super! I’m in the middle of “the thousand autumns of Jacob de zoet” a brilliant historical novel about adutch trading post in Japan at the end of the 18th century, by David Mitchell, who also wrote the close atlas, another amazing novel.

  16. 15/08/2010 / 22:31

    me too!

  17. 15/08/2010 / 22:31

    I’m not sure which one to start with, they all sound good.

  18. 15/08/2010 / 22:07

    I had so much fun putting this together, there is so much good stuff out there.

  19. 15/08/2010 / 21:56

    Wow this is some list, thanks for including my suggestions! I took your suggestion and bought The Help and I’ll be reading it after I’ve finished Wuthering Heights (which I read every couple of years!). I’m going to pick up more ideas from this list!

  20. 15/08/2010 / 21:52

    This is a great list, I’ll be looking for my next couple of reads from this list.

  21. 15/08/2010 / 21:48

    I so wish I could have read Edgar Sawtelle in a book club.

  22. 15/08/2010 / 21:45

    That’s a pretty impressive list! Think I’ll definitely be returning to this next time I’m choosing books for a holiday xxx