Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
February, 2008

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We asked our editors and columnists to look in their book bags and on their night stands to tell us what they're currently reading. We hope our readers find titles to add to their own "Now Reading" lists!

Spread the joy! Download the list here and bring it to your favorite mama-friendly bookstore!

Nonfiction co-editor, Susan Ito, writes, "I'm now reading Opa Nobody, an engrossing and beautifully crafted memoir by our own Sonya Huber! It intertwines her own life as a young activist with the imagined memory of her grandfather whose life she has pieced together through fragments of conversation and others' impressions of him. I'm really savoring it."

Suzanne Kamata, Fiction Co-editor, writes "I'm reading
The Writing Circle
by Rozena Maart, which is about a group of five women who meet to talk about their writing in Cape Town, South Africa, and what happens when one of them is brutally raped and then accidentally kills her assailant. It's a compelling friendship novel with a twist toward social justice."

Nicole Stellon O’Donnell, Columns Co-editor, passes on praise for
Native Guard
, the Pulitzer Prize winning book of poems by Natasha Trethewey. Her poems offer a rare clarity and a vision of history as a web rather than a line. They're beautiful and tough."

Alissa McElreath, Columns Co-editor, is re-reading Simon Wiesenthal's book The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness. "Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor, recounts an incident in which he was summoned to the bedside of a dying SS officer. The young man wishes to unburden himself to a Jew--any Jew will do. Wiesenthal is unable to offer the SS officer the forgiveness he seeks and, instead, turns and walks out of the room in silence. What would you have done? Wiesenthal asks his readers. Was it my place to forgive? Can one even offer forgiveness for murder? The second half of the book consists of responses by political and religious leaders, and historians who thoughtfully weigh in on the issues of collective guilt, collective responsibility, the presence of evil in the world, and the recurring and ongoing epidemic of genocide. While not light reading by any means, this is one book that you just won't be able to forget."

Elrena Evans, Columnist and Marketing and Publicity Manager, writes "I'm reading
The Souls of Poor Folk
by Charles Lattimore Howard. In this essay collection, Howard (an Associate Chaplain of the University of Pennsylvania) seeks to craft a book in the tradition of W.E.B. Du Bois' The Souls of Black Folk. The result is an unforgettable meditation on the myriad roots of poverty, as well as a call to action for readers. Beyond just the text, it’s also a multimedia initiative which, in the words of the website, "invites readers, listeners, and viewers to journey beneath the veil that hangs over the face of our nation (and indeed the entire world) and hides the scars and blemishes of poverty." Scholars, social service providers, social commentators, and artists have joined together to create a companion CD and DVD, which they hope will "engage listeners, viewers, and readers with thoughtful and challenging perspectives on the various aspects of poverty."

Lisa Moskowitz Sadikman, Profiles editor, just finished reading The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan. "It's a wonderful, engaging, sometimes hilarious memoir about what it's like to still need to be, feel and act like someone's child but also be on your way to accepting your own adulthood. Corrigan was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at the age of 36. Her daughters were 1 and 3 at the time and the first thing she did was call home. A few months later, her father, an incredibly vivid character in the book was also diagnosed with cancer -- but this is not a weepy cancer story! It's more of a love story: the love story we have with our parents, with our spouses, with our children and what it all means as we live in that middle place between our childhood and our adulthood."

Literary Reflections Co-Editor, Violeta Garcia-Mendoza, recently finished
, by Joshua Henkin. She writes, "It’s a beautifully-written story of the great and small ghosts of a marriage-- of family, friendships, tragedies, ambitions, disappointments…--all those things that shape the course of the life two people make together."

Violeta Garcia-Mendoza’s poetry and fiction have recently appeared in Kestrel, Coal Hill Review, and Cicada. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and two daughters.

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