Nonfiction: May 2009 Archives

Last-minute Mother's Day gift ideas

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Reichl Bittersweet True Married Love


From the Book Room ... a stack of mother-related books that might say a little more than your average Hallmark card:

Not Becoming My Mother (Penguin, 112 pages, $19.95) by Ruth Reichl. Former restaurant critic Reichl set out to learn more about her mother after her death, and through reading old letters and diaries finds out she never really knew her at all. Publisher's Weekly, which gave the book a starred review, had this to say: "The slender size of Reichl's memoir of her late mother's life belies a powerful tale... Reichl has created a masterful portrait of a mother-daughter relationship that will resonate with readers across generations."

Bittersweet: Lessons From My Mother's Kitchen (Random House, 214 pages, $25) by Matt McAllester. The author, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who left home and traveled the world after years of dealing with his once loving and quick-witted mother's mental illness, went on a culinary adventure via his mother's cookbooks after she died.

True Mom Confessions: Real Moms Get Real (Berkley, 266 pages, $14) by Romi Lassally and the creators of TrueMomConfessions.com. Anonymous confessions pour in daily to this Web site and now the author has pooled the best (worst?) and put it in book form. Some are sad, some happy, some poignant, and many are laugh-out-loud hilarious. Example: "Last night my son threw his pacifier. I was tired and frustrated and said, 'We don't throw things!' And then I threw it at him."

OK, here's another one: "Before I moved into a new area I had a tummy tuck and breast implants. All my new friends think I look this good because I work out! I've never told them my secret because I know they'll talk behind my back!"

OK, one more: "I never thought I'd say... Don't pee on your brother in the living room ... We don't lick bricks, honey... Stop pulling your brother's penis... One day you'll LIKE having testicles."

When I Married My Mother: A Daughter's Search for What Really Matters -- and How She Found It Caring for Mama Jo (Da Capo, 292 pages, $25) by Jo Maeder. The author, a former New York City disc jockey, left her fast-paced city life and headed south to care for her ailing, estranged mother. Maeder's memoir recounts the challenging transition and the following years spent pulling together her fractured family.

Love, Mom: Poignant, Goofy, Brilliant Messages From Home (Hyperion, 247 pages, $17.99) by Doree Shafrir and Jessica Cross. If you have a techno-challenged mom or one who thinks she's savvy but is kidding herself, you can both have a laugh reading these e-mails, texts and IMs from moms everywhere, collected here in this square-shaped volume by the creators of PostcardsFromYoMomma.com.