Mother’s Day Picks

As you’d expect in a family of librarians and teachers, books are usually the gift of choice for all occasions… and I’ve left finding a Mother’s Day gift to the last minute again.  In case you have too, here’s the list of contenders that I’ve been looking at!

beautyqueen.jpgThe Beauty Queen of Jerusalem by Sarit Yishai-Levi

The story of a woman whose disconnected relationship with her mother moves her to seek a better understanding of this woman so loved and admired by everyone else, by piecing together the stories of the earlier generations in Jerusalem through the first half of the 20th century.



bettyvilleBettyville by George Hodgman

A memoir of a New Yorker who returns to his hometown in Missouri to become a caregiver for his strong-willed, stubborn, aging mother whose relationship with her son has long been stymied by her refusal to acknowledge that her son is gay.  The novel is described as witty, laugh out loud, and heartfelt, and Betty herself an unforgettable character whom, despite her faults, you can’t help but love.


visitgoddessBefore We Visit the Goddess by  Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

From rural India to the American South, a story of three generations of mothers and daughters and the choices and consequences that bind and travel with them through generations and across great distance.



naplesOnly in Naples by Katherine Wilson

Former actress Katherine Wilson moves to Naples, where a surprise romance immerses her in Neopolitan culture – most notably the food – and where, thanks to her new family and her new mother-in-law, she finds a new home.



befrankBe Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

A reclusive writer is forced to accept an assistant to help her deliver her new manuscript on time. That assistant immediately becomes a full time companion to the writer’s eccentric 9-year old, and fully embroiled in the lives of the mother and son. The reviews describe this as having elements of both The Curioius Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Where’d You Go Bernadette, which make this my current top contender!


lightWhere the Light Gets In by Kimberley Paisley-Williams

Actress Kimberley Paisley-Williams tells the story of her mother’s illness; with a rare form of dementia called primary progressive aphasia, her mother slowly lost the ability to recognize members of her own family, walk, or even talk. This memoir explores how Kim and her family learned to cope and to accept the changes that the illness brought, and how the between her family members strengthened as a result.


kevinWe Have to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Schriver

For the mom who prefers the heavier reads, this story is told in letters from a mother to her estranged husband, detailing her experience of the life of their son leading up the horrific, violent act he committed at 15.  It’s a fascinating exploration of parenthood,  the nature of evil, and of the old nature vs. nurture debate. While it’s not for the faint of heart, if your mom likes darker, more psychological thriller-type books give this one a try.


fowlFowl Language: Welcome to Parenting by Brian Gordon

Doing a 180 from the title above, if your mom prefers something more irreverent then try this compilation from the Fowl Language webcomic; it manages to capture the daily aggravation that is parenthood (from what I’ve heard – I’m not nearly brave enough for parenthood) while still balancing the reasons why you love the little jerks angels. So if you’ve got a mom in your life who liked Go the F*** to Sleep, or The Honest Toddler, give this one a shot.


Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there!


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