Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Reading List: What do LM editors like to read?


Every so often, I get an email from a reader asking me what I like to read when I'm not writing. Right now I'm in the midst of reading submissions for It's a Girl and getting the Literary Mama anthology ready to go, so I'm not doing much reading for pleasure at the moment. But I have read some great books recently, and I thought I'd list them here. Hopefully some other LM editors will chime in with some recent favorite books, too. Here are some of my favorites from the past six months of reading:

I'd love to hear what others are reading, so, please, feel free to share with the class!

Andrea J. Buchanan is a writer living in Philadelphia. In addition to her latest book, The Double-Daring Book For Girls (HarperCollins), she is the author of the New York Times bestselling The Daring Book For Girls, The Pocket Daring Book For Girls: Things To Do, and The Pocket Daring Book For Girls: Wisdom and Wonder along with Miriam Peskowitz. She is also the author of Mother Shock: Loving Every (Other) Minute of It (Seal Press) and the editor of three anthologies: It’s a Boy: Women Writers on Raising Sons; Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined; and It’s a Girl: Women Writers on Raising Daughters (all from Seal Press). Before becoming a writer, Andi was a classical pianist; she studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music, where she earned her bachelor of music degree, and continued her graduate studies at the San Francisco Conservatory, earning a master’s degree in piano performance. Her last recital was at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. She is the mother of a daughter and a son, both of whom are equally daring.

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I've been going back to my childhood recently -- particularly, upper elementary school. I snagged a box of forty or fifty books from eBay, all of them used and all of them Newbury Award winners or honorable mentions. So I've been hiding out in the museum with Claudia and learning to fly on the back of the Goose Prince with Georgie and taking care of my siblings with Dicey. Bridge to Terabithia; The Westing Game; It's Like This, Cat; Caddie Woodlawn -- I keep knocking them back and picturing the day my own daughter's (and son's) eyes will be hidden behind their splayed covers. I attempted to read Wolfe's "I Am Charlotte Simmons" but as a mom of two under three, the Newbury books slide down easily. They also travel well.
Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman is just gorgeous. She writes interlocking stories over 200 years in a lush, bittersweet voice. I jumped from that to We Thought You Would Be Prettier by Laurie Notaro - the latest in nonfiction essays (at times very, very funny)and I'm Not The New Me, by Wendy McClure. McClure is best known as an early bogger who had a huge following as she shared her struggles with her weight and self-acceptance. Waiting to be read next is the new Harry Potter (I know! but I have to!) and The Alphabet Sisters: A Novel by Monica Mcinerney.
This feels so nerdy, like maybe more of a fall, back-to-school, smartypants kind of book. But I just read "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell. Most interesting for me was the last anecdote, about a trumpet-playing woman who wasn't noticed until she performed behind a screen. That's the only way the powers-that-be at the orchestra where she'd been temping heard how good she was. I think it's a nice metaphor for women, and especially women artists and writers. At any rate, it definitely made me want to keep blowing my horn.
To continue the childhood favorites theme, I just bought the boxed E.B. White set for my daughter (she has some time yet, to grow into them, at five months!) and I've been reading "The Trumpet of the Swan" to my partner. It was my very first favorite book. I read it seven times in a row in the third grade. I also just started a book club blog at this address; We're reading "In the River Sweet" by Patricia Henley. It's a lovely novel about a middle aged woman who has a number of major bombs fall all at once in her life: her daughter comes out, and converts to Buddhism, her doctor tells her she's at risk for a serious illness, and the birthson she has kept secret from her husband and daughter finds her and asks to meet her.
I've been doing some rereading-- first some Jane Austen, namely "Mansfield Park," "Persuasion," "Sense and Sensibility." Then I made a drastic swing to nonfiction with Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's "Random Family," a ten-year study of an extended family in the Bronx. Not light reading, but interesting!
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