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Books, Etcetera with Lynn Carey: Best Books for Mother's Day

Lynn picks books your mom will love for her Mother’s Day present.

Mother’s Day is Sunday, and while chocolates and flowers and necklaces made out of painted macaroni are all very wonderful, so are books. In fact, I don’t know any moms who wouldn’t love to be given a fabulous, juicy book on Sunday, with a note instructing the recipient to take said book to a quiet place and just indulge all day.

As always, those clever publishers manage to get out all the mom-appropriate books right about this time. Ayelet Waldman’s newest book came out this week: “Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace.” They are essays “about the perils and joys of trying to be a decent mother in a world intent on making you feel like a bad one.” I think all of us moms can relate to that.

And “Accidentally on Purpose,” Mary Pols memoir about single motherhood and so much more, came out in paperback this week. I asked Mary what book she would like to receive this Mother’s Day, and she mentioned “An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination” by Elizabeth McCracken. It’s a memoir that sounds very sad—about losing her first child in the ninth month of pregnancy—but I’ve heard it is a beautiful, often funny book. (It’s next to my bed, I can’t quite get up the nerve to read it yet, in a “The Lovely Bones”-ish way.)

Here are a few others to consider to give as gifts, or buy for yourself for a relaxing day:  “Because I Love Her: 34 Women Writers Reflect on the Mother-Daughter Bond” with essays from writers such as Karen Joy Fowler, Joyce Maynard, Jacquelyn Mitchard and Susan Wiggs. I’ve heard it’s funny and sometimes sad.

The fabulous Ruth Reichl has a new book: “Not Becoming My Mother: And Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way.” If you read “Tender at the Bone,” you know Ruth’s mom is worth reading about. Ruth remembers her mother as being unhappy, but she delves into her diaries and finds someone she didn’t know at all.

And if you just want your mom to be buried in a plethora of fantastic books, there is this cool new website, www.giftlit.com. Two Bay Area mothers started this because they wanted quality books for their children. They’ve expanded it to include books for all ages. Ten percent of GiftLit’s profits go to libraries, schools and literacy organizations. GiftLit consults with writers, editors, school librarians and people in publishing to come up with high-quality lists.

For example, right now if you ordered three months worth of books for $67.95 for a woman, the books would be “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett, “People of the Book” by Geraldine Brooks, and “The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It” by Tilar J. Mazzeo.

So, no excuses: there are plenty of great book ideas for the mom in your life. My own suggestion would be to get her “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shafer and Annie Barrows if by some strange chance she hasn’t read it yet. It is pure bliss.

For 12 years, Lynn Carey has run the Times Book Club, which now appears in the Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune newspapers. For the past 17 years, she's lived in Lafayette with her husband, Lamorinda Sun columnist Mike Zampa, and their two teenagers.