May 16, 2017

Mother's Day Special

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic is a Mom-Related Freebie. So I decided to list books I could give my mom. She's a reader, and she isn't picky about what she reads. She likes a lot of books. This might be cheating because it's so easy, but I'm gonna do it anyway.

I'm going to start with The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty. This takes place in my grandmother's era and Louise Brooks is a major character. As much as Mom likes family history and the fact that my grandma was a flapper, I think Mom would enjoy this very much. The story is told from the perspective of the woman who is hired to be a chaperone for Louise Brooks as she goes to New York City to pursue her dream of being a dancer. The story is really about the woman and her history, and it is really interesting.

I think Mom would like The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. It takes place mostly on an island off the coast of Australia around the turn of the twentieth century. It is an excellent family drama, of sorts. The main character is a war veteran who takes a job as a lighthouse operator on this island, where he is alone for most of the year. He can take a break for a week twice a year to go back to the mainland. He brings a wife back, but they can't have children. One day a boat washed up on shore with the body of a man and a tiny baby. Your heart kind of breaks for both the man and his wife throughout this story, but it's beautifully told.

Mom doesn't read a lot of non-fiction, but I think she would appreciate The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Some parts of it a heavy on the science, but it's okay to skim those chapters without missing out too much. Mom is known for being a bit color-blind, but I think she would really feel for Henrietta and her family.

I think Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks would be interesting to Mom. She likes historical fiction. This one is about early American history and an island off the coast of Massachusetts that was inhabited by Native Americans and Europeans. Caleb is a Native American who was a student of the local pastor, who aspired to attend college. Again, it is beautifully written.

I love Diane Stterfield's The Thirteenth Tale and I think Mom would really dig it, too. It is told in a lot of flashbacks to the mid twentieth century, which is her time. The story is that a young woman is asked to write a biography of England's most famous, and most reclusive, author. The author invites her to her home in the country and tells her the story of her life which includes a set of feral twins and the people who live around them.

I read A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler for book club last year, and I think Mom would like it, too. It's about a dysfunctional family of sorts. This kind of book would reassure her about the sanity of our own family. Some of the people are easy to identify with and some of them are kind of horrible.

My One Square Inch of Alaska by Sharon Short was also a book club book. It is set in the 50's and is about a high school girl who's mother is gone and her father is falling apart. Her brother has Leukemia and wants to visit the inch of Alaska that he saved up to purchase. It is about this girl learning about relationships and love and death while growing up without a mom.

Mom would probably love the slow pace and comforting tone of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. The story is so quiet and peaceful, that when something crazy happens, it's told so quietly that you don't even realize it was important for a second or two. This is one of those happy ending stories that takes some heartache to get to. A.J. Fikry is the owner of a bookstore on an island in Maine that can only be accessed by ferry at certain times of the day and year. A book rep for a publisher makes it her mission to make friends with the lonely man. The story takes off from there with all the people in town taking part.

My book club read another one I think Mom would like called The Pecan Man by Cassie Dandridge Selleck. It is about a society lady in a small southern town whose husband has recently died. She realizes she doesn't really want to be a society lady. She was only doing it because she was expected to because of her husband's political position. Now she starts doing things the way she wants to, and is confronted by the racism in her town and even inside herself. The pecan man is a homeless man that lives in a field near downtown. He picks up pecans and sells them for money. She hires him to work on her lawn and garden, much to the consternation of the society ladies in town.

My last pick for Mom is A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. Like most of these picks, this one is historical fiction. This one is about Count Rostov who makes the mistake of returning to Moscow during the Revolution. In 1922 he is spared being shot by a firing squad because he wrote a poem that is beloved of the proletariat. Instead, he is sentenced to house arrest in a large hotel in the center of Moscow. But not in his large suite. He is moved to a tiny attic room to serve his house arrest. Luckily, the hotel has a couple of restaurants, a bar, a seamstress, and a barber. The book is about the next 50 years of his life in this fancy hotel. I loved it, and I think Mom would, too.

So there are my top ten picks for books for Mom. What would you add to the list?