Mother’s Day Books

mothers dayHappy Mother’s Day! It’s a bit late, but you’ve been out with your mom or your children all day anyway, right? But if you’re still feeling the glow of a wonderful day, and want to extend it by reading a novel or two about mothers, I’ve got your list.

Room by Emma Donoghue. 2015 Oscar winning mother. An intimate, thrilling, painfully true book about the bond between a mother and child. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/room-reality-v-fiction/

Consequences by Penelope Lively. Booker Prize-winning novelist Lively gives the reader a historical tour de force of mothers and daughters and the consequences of their relationships. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/mothers-and-daughters-three-generations-of-consequences/

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The Lake House by Kate Morton. What happens to a mother and a marriage when a child goes missing? A wonderful, atmospheric, historical novel. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2016/01/17/family-secrets-the-lake-house-by-kate-morton/

Reunion by Hannah Pittard. Family fallout after the death of their father. Kentucky author Hannah Pittard’s widely-acclaimed novel. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/10/17/we-are-family-reunion-by-hannah-pittard/

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. Complex, interesting characters, an intricate plot told in reverse, a racially mixed marriage. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/10/17/we-are-family-reunion-by-hannah-pittard/

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Stunning, futuristic (I hope), misanthropic, and heart-breaking. Read it just the same.

Books sort of about mothers/more about family: retro_mothers_day_greeting_card-rdfc07e9db80c422098a3b6b38c07e695_xvuat_8byvr_324

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. What would P&P be without Mrs. Bennett? https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/thankful-for-pride-prejudice-by-jane-austen/

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. Another mother-of-the year candidate who inspires her children to untold heights of sibling rivalry. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/the-nest-by-cynthia-daprix-sweeney/

Fates & Furies by Lauren Groff. The seldom-seen hand of the mother who rocks the hip, swinging, NYC apartment from seclusion in Florida. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/fates-furies-by-lauren-groff-2/

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi. Mirror Mirror on the Wall. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/mirror-mirror-boy-snow-bird-by-helen-oyeyemi/

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. A Kennedyesque family with a secret, or two. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/08/10/kennedyesque-we-were-liars-by-e-lockhart/

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. A truly unique mothering experience. https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/monkeying-around-we-are-all-completely-beside-ourselves-by-karen-joy-fowler/ 

Happy Mother’s Day & Happy Reading!

 

 

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2014 In Review

Here’s my year in review.  I haven’t listed all the books I read last year, just my favorites.  Most are already featured in a separate blog, which you can search on my homepage.  Some will be featured in a blog shortly.  I hope you’ve enjoyed some of the same books and I’d love to hear from you.  Happy 2015 and Happy Reading!

My favorite novels published in 2014:

All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerrf_doerr_allthelight_f

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, Leslye Waltonava

The Hundred Year House, Rebecca Makkai

The Vacationers, Emma Straub jpbook-master180

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, David Shaferth_ffb7925b6ca65c589e11ac4dbf13773b_1383769922_magicfields_book_thumbnail_1_1

The Bone Clocks, David Mitchellboneclocks

The Paying Guests, Sara Waters

Station Eleven, Emily St.-John Mandelstation eleven

The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd78755964

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler 0609-bks-KINGSOLVER-cover-popup

 

My favorite reads of 2014:

All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr

The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein  dog_driving_car

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, Leslye Walton

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., Adelle Waldman

The Round House, Louise Erdrich round house cover

 

Monkeying Around: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler

monkey_on_bicycle_vintage

Vintage Photo

     Karen Joy Fowler is an author with range.  The Jane Austen Book Club.  Sarah Canary (Pacific Northwest, 1873).  Sister Noon (Gilded Age, spinster and charity work in San Francisco).  Now, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, a novel about a family who raises a chimp as a child.

     Unfortunately, by telling you the premise of the book, I give nothing away.  The flap copy, the back jacket tell you this.  And it’s a mistake.  Because if you just picked up the book and began reading, it would take you until you were about 1/3 of the way through before you realized you were reading about a chimp.

     In her New York Times review of the book, Barbara Kingsolver expresses the same frustration.

To experience this novel exactly as the author intended, a reader should avoid the flap copy and everything else written about it. Including this review. The last writers to be unscathed by spoilers were probably the Victorians, who pounded out the likes of “Great Expectations” in weekly, serialized installments. No reviewer could blow the surprise of a convict benefactor or Miss Havisham’s cobwebby cake when these were yet unwritten. But in modern times, literary fiction presents a conundrum: The more craftily constructed its suspense, the more it tempts its advocates — in the interest of airtime — to reach into a serious tale and pull out something resembling a tabloid headline. Such as: “Girl and Chimp Twinned at Birth in Psychological Experiment.” That’s the big reveal in Karen Joy Fowler’s “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves,” a novel so readably juicy and surreptitiously smart, it deserves all the attention it can get.

0609-bks-KINGSOLVER-cover-popupMatt Dorfman for the New York Times

     In the 1970s, Indiana University Professor Cooke and his wife bring two new members into their family simultaneously:  Rosemary and Fern. Rosemary is their biological daughter.  Fern is adopted; she was the child of a chimpanzee slaughtered by poachers in Africa.  Rosemary narrates the story, beginning in the middle.    Along the way, Rosemary and author Fowler raise hugely disturbing questions about the ethical treatment of non-human animals in our society.  Rosemary remembers being sent away by her family at age five; when she returned, Fern was gone.  Where she went and why is the puzzle at the heart of Rosemary’s story and Fowler’s novel.

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IU Sample Gates.  GO  HOOSIERS

     Ultimately, it’s a novel about the truths we tell ourselves.  The issues we believe in more than self-preservation.  Memory, family, transformation, joy and grief.

     We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves won the Pen/Faulkner Award for 2014, and was recently short-listed for the Man Booker Prize.  It will be the topic of discussion at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning’s Brown Bag Book Club the weeks of October 30 and November 6.  By the way, The Carnegie Center is the recipient of this year’s Kentucky Governor’s Award for the Arts.  Here’s a very interesting article with Ms. Fowler about her father’s career as an animal behavioralist and some of her thoughts on the novel:  http://karenjoyfowler.com/books/we-are-all-completely-beside-ourselves-qa/

MENU:

I would have a lot of fun with this book for book club night and for the menu, there is no question I would go as vegan as possible.

Golden Raisins mixed with peanuts

Peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches.  Grilled.  Yummy.

Plantain chips

Banana Cream Pie

MUSIC

You know where I’m going don’t you?

Oh yeah:  http://www.monkees.com/listen  monkees-logo

MOVIE CASTING

Rosemary:   Elle Fanning  Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences' 2nd Annual Governors Awards

Dr. Cooke:   Alexander SkarsgardAlexanderSkarsgard_900-600-05-14-12

Mrs. Cooke:  Drew BarrymoreDrew Barrymore

Lowell:  Joseph Gordon-Levittjoseph-gordon-levitt-feminist

Harlow:  AnnaSophia RobbAnna

Happy Reading!