6 Beloved Books We Cherish Because of Our Mothers

May 6 2021
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With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we’re thinking of mom and all the reasons we love her. Our mothers taught us many things, but perhaps the most important lessons imparted to us bookworms are how to love books—and the best books to love. For that we’re extra thankful, and we’re sharing just a few of those books that we love because of her, whether they’re timeless classics or recent releases that mom just can’t stop talking about.

Piece of My Heart
by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

Allie’s Pick: For as long as I can remember, my mother's bookshelf was always made up primarily of Mary Higgins Clark books. She loved crime fiction of all sorts, but Mary Higgins Clark was her auto-buy author. To me, there's nothing quite like the comfort of a bookshelf full of cracked MHC spines. I will always have a special place on my shelf for PIECE OF MY HEART. It was a full circle moment to work on the Canadian marketing for Mary Higgins Clark and to be able to gift my mother one of her favorite authors.

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Piece of My Heart
Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

In the latest thrilling collaboration from #1 New York Times bestselling author and “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke, television producer Laurie Moran must solve the kidnapping of her fiancée’s nephew—just days before her wedding.

Television producer Laurie Moran and her fiancée, Alex Buckley, the former host of her investigative television show, are just days away from their mid-summer wedding, when things take a dark turn. Alex’s seven-year-old nephew, Johnny, vanishes from the beach. A search party begins and witnesses recall Johnny playing in the water and collecting shells behind the beach shack, but no one remembers seeing him after the morning. As the sun sets, Johnny’s skim board washes up to shore, and everyone realizes that he could be anywhere, even under water.

A ticking clock, a sinister stalker, and fresh romance combine in this exhilarating follow up to the bestselling You Don’t Own Me—another riveting page-turner from the “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark and her dazzling partner-in-crime Alafair Burke.

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MENTIONED IN:

6 Beloved Books We Cherish Because of Our Mothers

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 6, 2021

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Vera
by Carol Edgarian

Emily’s Pick #1: Sometimes my mom gets so fixated on a new book coming out that she sends me photos of every book review or ad where she sees it, as if she’s the book’s publicist. And VERA is my mom’s current fixation. She loves a good heartbreaking historical fiction mixed with a coming-of-age tale and this novel that takes place during the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake is the perfect fit for her. Plus, that cover is so gorgeous; I’ll never get tired of seeing the publicity hits—so keep 'em coming mom!

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Vera
Carol Edgarian

New York Times bestselling author Carol Edgarian delivers an astonishing feat of imagination, a grand adventure set in 1906 San Francisco—a city leveled by quake and fire—featuring an indomitable heroine coming of age in the aftermath of catastrophe and her quest for love and reinvention.

Meet Vera Johnson, the uncommonly resourceful fifteen-year-old illegitimate daughter of Rose, notorious proprietor of San Francisco’s most legendary bordello and ally to the city’s corrupt politicians. Vera has grown up straddling two worlds—the madam’s alluring sphere, replete with tickets to the opera, surly henchmen, and scant morality, and the violent, debt ridden domestic life of the family paid to raise her.

On the morning of the great quake, Vera’s worlds collide. As the shattered city burns and looters vie with the injured, orphaned, and starving, Vera and her guileless sister, Pie, are cast adrift. Vera disregards societal norms and prejudices and begins to imagine a new kind of life. She collaborates with Tan, her former rival, and forges an unlikely family of survivors. Together they navigate their way beyond disaster.

In Vera, Carol Edgarian creates a cinematic, deeply entertaining world, in which honor and fates are tested; notions of sex, class, and justice are turned upside down; and love is hard-won. A ravishing, heartbreaking, and profound affirmation of youth and tenacity, Vera’s story brings to life legendary characters—tenor Enrico Caruso, indicted mayor Eugene Schmitz and boss Abe Ruef, tabloid celebrity Alma Spreckels—as well as an unforgettable cast that includes Vera’s young lover, Bobby, protector of the city’s tribe of orphans, and three generations of a Chinese family competing and conspiring with Vera.

This richly imagined, timely tale of improbable outcomes and alliances takes hold from the first page, gifting readers with remarkable scenes of devastation, renewal, and joy. Told with unflinching candor and wit, Vera celebrates the audacious fortitude of its young heroine and marks a stunning achievement by an inventive and generous writer.

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The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Kerry’s Pick: We all go through intense phases as teenagers and my mom was no different—except hers was a Fitzgerald phase. She shared this phase with me when I was still a preteen, but I quickly adopted it and, with her encouragement, read THE GREAT GATSBY probably far too young. Several rereads later, THE GREATY GATSBY is still, in my opinion, the most perfect novel I’ve ever read and one that has informed my reading career ever since. I’ve received countless wonderful gifts from my mom but her love of Fitzgerald is a particular favorite.

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The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Some consider it “the great American novel.” The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his powerful love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan is an exquisitely crafted tale that has been essential reading since it was published.

Read the full review here.

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The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls

Sharon’s Pick: For as long as I can remember, my mom and my grandma have bonded over their mutual love for Jeannette Walls’s THE GLASS CASTLE. Walls’s description of her vibrant yet dysfunctional family is what drew both of them in, and to this day they still bring up anecdotes from the book, such as when three-year old Jeannette cooks hot dogs for herself on the stovetop and her dress catches fire. The continued love that my mom and grandma have for a book they read about a decade ago made me love it before I’d even read it!

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The Glass Castle
Jeannette Walls

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose stubborn nonconformity was both their curse and their salvation. In this astonishing memoir—the basis of the forthcoming film starring Brie Larson—Walls recounts how her family’s dysfunction left her and her siblings to fend for themselves, weather their parents’ betrayals, and finally find the resources and will to leave home.

Read a review of THE GLASS CASTLE here.

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Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte

Emily’s Pick #2: My mom loves Jane Eyre so much that she named me after Charlotte’s sister Emily Brontë (she liked the name Emily better). So, of course, JANE EYRE was one of the very first classics I ever read. I’ll always remember that first time reading from the dusty pages of my mother’s old copy of JANE EYRE. My heart ached for Jane and I was so impressed by her strength and resilience. Now it’s always fun to hear people discussing the book and to chime in about my namesake.

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Jane Eyre
Charlotte Bronte

The FLAME TREE COLLECTABLE CLASSICS are chosen to create a delightful and timeless home library. Each stunning edition features deluxe cover treatments, ribbon markers, luxury endpapers and gilded edges. The unabridged text is accompanied by a Glossary of Victorian and Literary terms produced for the modern reader.

Perhaps one of the most well-known books in the world, Jane Eyre follows the life of its eponymous orphaned protagonist. From her early life Jane is strong-willed, passionate and kind but comes up against a lot of struggles. She lives with her aunt and uncle during early childhood, where she suffers under her aunt’s strict discipline before transferring to Lowood Institution. The story follows her life – through heartbreaks and joys, exploring women’s rights, social criticism, madness and morality. Charlotte Brontë created a powerful and emotionally evocative novel that has lost none of its power since it’s publication over 150 years ago.

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Horse Crazy
by Sarah Maslin Nir

Heather’s Pick: My mom practically grew up on horseback, graduating from casual rides in neighborhood pastures to barrel races in county competitions. But whereas her childhood was rural, mine was decidedly suburban, the result being that I haven’t spent nearly as much time with these majestic animals as she did. In the past few years, though, it’s become our thing to take mother-daughter trips out West, where we always make it a priority to ride, and I love it. So, journalist and equestrian Sarah Maslin Nir’s new book, HORSE CRAZY, is a book I know I’m sure to love. Part memoir about how the author’s obsession with horses has shaped her life, part in-depth profile of fascinating characters in the riding world (and in the author’s own life), HORSE CRAZY attempts to answer the question: What is it about these graceful animals that has inspired endless devotion across time and space?

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Horse Crazy
Sarah Maslin Nir

ONE OF USA TODAY'S “20 SUMMER BOOKS YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS”

In the bestselling tradition of works by such authors as Susan Orlean and Mary Roach, a New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize finalist explores why so many people—including herself—are obsessed with horses.

It may surprise you to learn that there are over seven million horses in America—even more than when they were the only means of transportation—and nearly two million horse owners. Acclaimed journalist and avid equestrian Sarah Maslin Nir is one of them; she began riding horses when she was just two years old and hasn’t stopped since. Horse Crazy is a fascinating, funny, and moving love letter to these graceful animals and the people who—like her—are obsessed with them. It is also a coming-of-age story of Nir growing up an outsider within the world’s most elite inner circles, and finding her true north in horses.

Nir takes readers into the lesser-known corners of the riding world and profiles some of its most captivating figures. We meet Monty Roberts, the California trainer whose prowess earned him the nickname “the man who listens to horses,” and his pet deer; George and Ann Blair, who at their riding academy on a tiny island in Manhattan’s Harlem River seek to resurrect the erased legacy of the African American cowboy; and Francesca Kelly, whose love for an Indian nobleman shaped her life’s mission: to protect an endangered Indian breed of horse and bring them to America.

Woven into these compelling character studies, Nir shares her own moving personal narrative. She details her father’s harrowing tale of surviving the Holocaust, and describes an enchanted but deeply lonely upbringing in Manhattan, where horses became her family. She found them even in the middle of the city, in a stable disguised in an old townhouse and in Central Park, when she chased down truants as an auxiliary mounted patrol officer. And she speaks candidly of how horses have helped her overcome heartbreak and loss.

Infused with heart and wit, and with each chapter named after a horse Nir has loved, Horse Crazy is an unforgettable blend of beautifully written memoir and first-rate reporting.

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Photo credit: Scribner Books

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