Shopping for Mother’s Day gifts can be a challenge. Beyond brunch and a cute card, there’s just not much my mom expects, but when I do get her a gift I want it to be something that just won’t just quickly be forgotten or just add to clutter. So, when struggling to find the perfect Mother’s Day gift, I fall back on something reliable: books.
Moms are all different, though, and so I’ve rounded up an eclectic mix of books to suit many different types of readers.
If your mom is a regular reader who enjoys literary fiction…
My Name Is Lucy Barton: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout
This novel that begins as a simple story of a mother visiting her daughter in the hospital definitely falls into that category. With smart, simple prose, Strout weaves a tale of a complex relationship steeped with irony and emotion.
If your mom is an occasional reader who is a bit sentimental…
The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty
Really, you can’t go wrong with any of Laura Moriarty’s books, but I chose this because it’s my favorite. It’s all about a young girl’s complicated relationship with her mom as she grows up in a small town. The plot isn’t earth-shattering, but the introspective narrator and everyday struggles that are so easy to relate to make it an engrossing read.
If your mom has a sense of humor and loves a good laugh…
American Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellis
I love slyly funny short story collections like The Bed Moved: Stories by Rebecca Schiff and Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes, but those aren’t exactly the best picks for most moms. (I mean, moms may enjoy them, I’m just not sure they’d be the best as gifts?). But this one is a perfect satire of womanhood and domesticity, almost like a modern Flannery O’Connor. It’s a great collection for anyone who appreciates dark humor.
If your mom loves a page-turning mystery…
Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel by Kimberly McCreight
Was Gone Girl or Girl on a Train the last book your mom read? If so, I’d recommend this mystery about a mother who is told her overachieving daughter committed suicide by jumping out of the school’s window after being suspended, but things just don’t add up. Equal parts crime story and relationship drama with plenty of suspense.
If your mom reads historical fiction and loves period costume dramas…
The Fortune Hunter: A Novel by Daisy Goodwin
Who can resist Victorian glamour? This story of a somewhat love triangle between an Austrian princess, an American heiress, and an impoverished horseman is rich and lush and full of longing. With fully-formed characters and witty dialogue, this is an immersive reading experience.
If your mom is a bit punk rock and still collects records…
Just Kids by Patti Smith
My mom actually prefers nonfiction, and she loves memoirs. This National book Award winning memoir from Patti Smith is engrossing story of the early lives of two influential artists. Smith’s devotion and respect for her longtime friend Robert Mapplethorpe is evident. Smith and Mapplethorpe weren’t always famous and confident, and the story of journey is inspiring.
If your mom isn’t a big reader but would appreciate some insight and inspiration…
Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed
I think most “gift” books are lame. But this isn’t just a corny list of aphorisms, it’s the wit and wisdom of Cheryl Strayed in bite-size pieces (with no BS).
If your mom loves to cook…
The Love and Lemons Cookbook by Jeanine Dohofrio and Jack Mathews
My mom loves to cook. She’s always whipping up the best homecooked favorites, like pot roast or ribs or chicken and dumplings. Which is great for Mister BS, who often says that the best thing he got out of marrying me was a mother-in-law who loves to fix his favorite dishes. Not so great for vegetarian me! If anything could inspire my mom to explore fresh, vegetarian cooking, it’s this beautiful cookbook from one of my favorite blogs, Love and Lemons.
So, skip the flowers for your Mother’s Day gifts and choose a book that says “I love you mom, and I get you.” Hopefully one of these hits the mark!