In anticipation of Mother’s Day, we’ve collected fifteen powerful memoirs by, for, and about moms. This collection of books celebrates the diversity of mothers and all of the heartwarming, challenging, and character-building lessons they teach.
Love Medicine, Louise Erdrich’s wonderful novel-in-stories, which won her the National Book Critics Circle Award, is possibly my favorite among all her work. My copy of Love Medicine is underlined and dog-eared because of the many times I’ve reread it. I recommend this book often to friends and students because there is much here to enjoy as a reader and learn from as a writer. It was a great influence on me as I wrote my own novel-in-stories, Before We Visit the Goddess.
It’s a rare gift to be able to accessibly present real science to the public. It’s even rarer to find someone who does so with the enthusiasm and humor that Mary Roach brings to the table. We all know that humans have evolved to survive the environment on Earth. In Packing for Mars, Mary Roach asks: What happens when we go into space—a place without air, food, water, or anything else we need? This thought fascinated Roach so much that she spent two years finding out, traveling and interviewing and researching all possible aspects of it.
For Mother’s Day, we’ve collected these beautiful and moving stories of mothers—their delights and their struggles. With memorable and colorful characters, they explore the unique journeys of female characters through life as parents and professionals, lovers and leaders.
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John Williams’s Stoner was originally published in 1965 with limited success. It went out of print a year later, but, fortunately, it was republished in 2003, and now this classic treasure of a novel can speak to another generation of readers.
As a lifelong Anglophile, I have worshipped at the altar of Austen, Brontë, and Dickens ever since I received my first copy of Pride and Prejudice in the fourth grade. But British literature goes far beyond the country manors and moody moors of the nineteenth century. Here are twelve fantastic novels from some of the most exciting contemporary novelists across the pond that every self-respecting Anglophile should read.
“My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call.”
These words made me swoon when I was in my thirties and first read Pat Conroy’s novel The Prince of Tides. My love for his writing grew with each book of his that I read. I caressed the pages, pouring over his words.
Over the past three years, I was told multiple times that I needed to read and watch Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I wasn’t sure I wanted to dedicate my time to a series of five books that are each more than seven hundred pages long, so I continually put it off. Then, with the airdate of the sixth season quickly approaching on April 24, I borrowed the DVDs for a cross-country flight. Two months later, I find myself five seasons and one book into Martin’s incredible creation. The television series definitely enticed me, but I’ve enjoyed the novel much more.
Charlotte Brontë and her autobiographical character Jane Eyre are nothing short of cultural icons. Generations of readers, myself included, have a deep and abiding connection with the plucky governess—an independent, self-made woman, even as she found herself swept up in a gothic romance—and an adoration for the woman who created her. Just this week, Dame Judi Dench, who played Mrs. Fairfax in the 2011 film adaptation of Jane Eyre, was appointed the honorary president of the Brontë Society. On the occasion of Charlotte Brontë’s 200th birthday—which is, in fact, today, April 21—join me in celebrating the author, her works, and the enduring legacies of both. If you are fascinated by all things Brontë, then these are the books for you.
In my bookstore, when I pull The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman off the shelf for a prospective reader, I usually say that it’s my wife’s favorite book ever, which it is, or at least was the last time I badgered her to choose (she doesn’t like declaring favorites as much as I do). But really it’s one of mine, too.