Get your Mom a Book for Mother’s Day

Mother and daughter kiss while mother holds a book-sized gift

Five Books Your Mother Will Love

Look, I don’t know your mom. My mom’s a former postal worker, a tenacious crafter, a hippie and a hardcore rock n roller (Hi mom! Thanks for life on earth!). Though she’s a terrific gardener, she does not want me to give her a gift book with a bunch of photos of flowers. She doesn’t want to receive heartwarming tales that are metaphorical soup for your soul. My point is not every mom wants to receive a book that’s whole purpose is to be a Mother’s Day gift book. Better to get a smart book that anyone would love, who happens to be a mother. My suggestions below.

Just Kids

by Patti Smith

Just Kids book coverI begin with the last book I bought for my mother. Though this memoir by rock musician Patti Smith chronicles the relationship she had with photographer Robert Maplethorpe, mom doesn’t need to be a fan of either to enjoy Just Kids. Part of Patti Smith’s appeal as a musician is her gift with words, so it’s no surprise this celebrated memoir won the National Book Award. Smith artfully describes the Bohemian scene in 1970s New York, from their days as struggling artists to mingling and mishaps with the likes of William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Johnny Winter. If your mom is a baby boomer like mine, this chronicle that begins in the Summer of Love and is set in the famous Chelsea hotel may be the perfect gift.

Bossypants book coverBossypants

by Tina Fey

I was tempted to recommend the books of David Sedaris, because goodness me that man is funny, but then I remembered Tina Fey’s Bossypants. It’s as quick and fun to read as her hit TV shows are to watch.  Tina Fey is one of the funniest writers on TV right now, and I’m happy to tell you she is able to bring that skill to print. This book is all over the place. Yes, she writes about everything from coming to work on Saturday Night Live to dealing with curly hair (never brush it out!).  But some of the strongest parts chronicle the hilarious headaches of motherhood. I endorse this book for any mom who needs a good laugh—which I suspect is all of them.

Cat Lady Chic

by Diane Lovejoy

Cat Lady Chic book coverIf I’m going to stereotype your mother, it’s with the assumption that she loves cats. Because who doesn’t love cats? If your mom’s Facebook stream is riddled with felines practicing all manner of intrigues, Cat Lady Chic is the book you seek. Cat Lady Chic is a beautiful coffee table book set to counter the trope of the sad, lonely cat lady. Every page features an accomplished woman and the cat who owns her. Chic cat ladies on these pages include Audrey Hepburn, Georgia O’Keeffe, Diana Ross, Marilyn Monroe, Zelda Fitzgerald, Lana Del Rey, Lauren Bacall, Joan Jett, Elizabeth Taylor, and Grace Kelly.

book cover of Physiognomy coffee table bookPhysiognomy: The Mark Seliger Photographs

by Mark Seliger

I’m not the type who follows the cult of celebrity, yet Mark Seliger’s portraits of famous people is among my favorite coffee table books. Mark Seliger has shot more than 130 covers for Rolling Stone, GQ and Vanity Fair. This huge (too tall to fit upright on most bookcase shelves), colorful book of celebrity portraits seems to capture the magic of the person. Sometimes they are simple, like the black and white photomontage of Phil Hartman’s various facial expressions. Other times they are elaborately staged, like the ironic portrait of lifelong New Yorker Billy Joel watering a suburban lawn. In Physiognomy Brad Pitt is at his sexiest in an ill-fitting prom dress and Bill Murray uses a live elephant as a prop. If your mother enjoys People or Us Weekly magazines, this is a gift book she’s sure to love.

(A similar book he’s written since goes by the title Fotografie.)

I Don't Know How She Does It book coverI Don’t Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother

by Allison Pearson

Allison Pearson’s best-selling debut is hailed the “The national anthem for working mothers.” I Don’t Know How She Does It is the tale of a hedge fund manager balancing career with two young children. Pearson faces the struggle of trying to have it all with humor.  “A mother of a one-year-old son is a movie star in a world without critics,” the protagonist says. For its diary-structure and frequent humor, the book is often compared to Bridget Jones’s Diary. However Allison Pearson’s novel delves deeper, using wit to tackle social issues like the gender double standard.

Grab Your Mom’s Gift Today

If you don’t see a book on this list that will appeal to your own mom, consider the books that have meant the most to you over the years. Books can change our lives, and impact our way of viewing the world. If you can get a book for your mother that has had this kind of meaning in your life, she can come to better understand the adult you’ve grown into. That’s the best gift of all.

To ensure that mom gets her gift by Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 10th), consider expediting your shipping. And remember to always choose a seller near you. On any of the books linked to above, you can see the city where sellers are located under their star rankings.  Always consider location when loading your shopping cart. Not only are you saving fuel and supporting a local bookseller, you’ll get your books faster.
Know of a book that makes the perfect Mother’s Day gift? Let me know in the comments.

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