Thursday, May 2, 2013
Being that it really is almost time for Day of Moms, I thought it would be nice to mention a few titles that were on our Mother's Day table. I think I've already brought up Mom and Me and Mom (Random House, coding makes ampersands a pain when blogging, by the way), by Maya Angelou. Though Angelou has chronicled her life in many volumes, this new book focuses on her relationship with her mother, Vivian Baxter. Did you know there is a Vivian Baxter Park in Stockton, California?
Several titles were selected from the ABA's Celebrate Indies Mother's Day promotoin. One is Mom Candy: 1000 Quotes of Inspiration for Mothers (Random House Reference), edited by J. Pincott. In it are gems from Agatha Christie ("A mother's love for her child is like nothing in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path") and music artist Jody Watley* ("Being a parent wasn't just about bearing a child. It was a about bearing witness to its life.") Something for everyone, I guess. I feel this is the gift you give to a mom figure that doesn't quite know how to do the job. "Here's a little help with that mothering stuff," it whispers.
Here's a recommendation I can get behind. It's Jeannette Walls' Half Broke Horses: A True Life Novel (Scribner). Based on Walls's grandmother Lily, this gal could literally do anything. It's this amazing story of overcoming adversity with wry humor and grace. The publisher called it a Laura Ingalls Wilder novel for adults. And you know of course that the new Walls novel, The Silver Star, is coming June 11 and we'll be hosting Jeannette Walls for visit on Thursday, June 20, 7 pm. Why not make your gift a night out together, dinner and an author?
Another novel that I was less familiar with is The House at the End of Hope Street (Pamela Dorman Books), by Menna van Praag. In it, a young grad student suffers "the worst event of her life" and finds herself on the doorstep of 11 Hope Street, where she has 99 days to turn her life around. She learns that past residents have included Dorothy Parker and Virginia Woolf, and the current guests seem to be just as interesting. This is the kind of book where it's hard to get traditional reviews, but it's got lots and lots and lots of blogger reviews. Mandy at Literary R&R said "it's a wonderful read that will be enjoyed by millions." And Jen at Miss Book Lovers wrote "The house was my favorite character in the book. I loved reading about the pictures coming to life and talking. I loved reading about the other famous women who stayed at the house. I wish the house was real so I could visit."
And finally Workman is repromoting the Melissa and Harry H. Harrison books, Mother to Daughter and Mother to Son (Workman), each both subtitled "shared wisdom from the heart." These are also quote books, but they are actually quoted not from famous (or not famous people) but from the authors themselves. So these really are advice books. One page says "explain that if she ever loans money to a friend, she could wind up losing both" and the other offers "make sure he knows that boys can do anything girls can do." So far we've come! Twenty years ago, this would be taken for granted.
If you ask me, I'd still give a book that acknowledges whom you're giving the book to instead of slotting it to the role that person fills. But as I've learned from the past, sometimest the giver knows very, very little about the givee, and that's where these books come in.
*I'm looking for a new love baby, a new love, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Posted by Daniel Goldin at 1:11 PM