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May book recommendations for mothers and those who love them

Mother’s Day is May 14th. Book recommendations this month feature the complexities of being a woman and mothers in all their fierce imperfections; in short, the women who are role models for us all.

Know the Mother by Desiree Cooper is a collection of fictional vignettes that “explore the complex archetype of the mother in all of her incarnations… While a mother can be defined as a creator, a nurturer, a protector – at the center of each mother is an individual who is attempting to manage her own fears, desires and responsibilities in different and sometimes unexpected ways,” reads the book description.

The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan is a debut novel that “puts mothers under surveillance and into parenting rehab,” declares The New York Times book review. Frieda’s life is falling apart, and the only good thing left is her daughter, Harriet. Until the government steps in. This is a story about “the perils of ‘perfect’ upper-middle class parenting; the violence enacted upon women by both the state, and at times, one another; the systems that separate families; and the boundlessness of love,” states publisher Simon & Schuster.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman is a 2002 book is a winner of several awards, including the 2003 Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella, and the 2002 Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers. It was made into a stop-action movie in 2009 voiced by Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher. In this children’s dark fantasy story, Coraline unlocks the door to a parallel world where she must battle the evil Other Mother to save “other lost children, her ordinary life, and herself,” states the plot recap.
There are Girls like Lions: Poems about Being a Woman. This collection features 30 poems in “celebration of womanhood in all its dimensions, including love, beauty, friendship, motherhood, work, aging and much more,” reads the description.

The Goodbye Diaries: A Mother-Daughter Memoir by Marisa Bardach Ramel and Sally Bardach. “One diagnosis. Two Voices. Alternating chapters, a mother and teenage daughter offer a touching glimpse into both sides of a terminal illness – the one who will leave, and the one who will be left behind,” states the book’s website. It is an intimate glimpse at unconditional love in heartbreaking tragedy.

Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik. This novel is inspired by the life and work of Iranian poetess Forugh Farrokhzad, who pushed cultural boundaries at great personal expense. “This haunting novel uses the lens of fiction to capture the tenacity, spirit, and conflicting desires of a brave woman who represents the birth of feminism in Iran, and who continues to inspire generations of women around the world,” declares the book description.

Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan was nominated for Goodreads Best Memoir and Autobiography 2018. Using her own life as backdrop, Corrigan writes essays around the phrases that create connection. This is a “moving and meaningful take on the power of the right words at the right moments to change everything,” states the back blurb.

Listen to your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now, edited by Ann Imig, is a collection of essays that “showcases the experiences of ordinary people of all racial, gender and age backgrounds from every corner of the country. This collection celebrates and validates what it means to be a mother today, with honesty and candor. These are the collective voices of mothers among us,” reads the book description.
Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple was made into a movie starting Cate Blanchett in 2019, and winner of several literary awards, this novel “is an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are and the power of a daughter’s love for her mother,” states the back cover.

By Celeste McNeil




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