Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
September, 2009

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This month, Literary Mamas are finding out about writing, joining the kids for storytime, searching for understanding, and definitely having fun. Enjoy!

Download the list to find it fast at your local bookstore or library.

Literary Reflections Assistant Editor, Christina Marie Speed laughs and says, "I am reading Toy Dance Party by Emily Jenkins to my six- and four-year-old sons. I think I am as excited as they are to find out what happens next among an odd assortment of toys after the people are out of sight. My kids wiggle and giggle out loud (and how often does that happen during bedtime stories--really?) at the crisp, fresh way Ms. Jenkins weaves her tale. She is a master at her craft, and the book is a pleasure to read aloud. You and your kids will happily linger longer at bedtime while reading her book. (Be sure to savor the first book, Toys Go Out, too!)"

Kristina Riggle, Fiction Co-Editor, says, "I'm reading Self Storage by Gayle Brandeis, which I won in an auction to support the Afghan Womens's Writing Project. The heroine is compelling and quirky, as she navigates parenthood and marriage to her grad student husband -- who seems to be studying soap operas, mostly -- while yearning for her own studies. To pass the time and earn money, the protagonist, Flan, attends auctions for storage units whose owners quit paying. Then she sells off what she finds inside at yard sales. This is interesting enough already, but a thread of foreboding runs through the tale, involving her neighbor, an Afghan woman in a burqa. A fascinating read."

Merle Huerta, Literary Reflections Editorial Assistant, shares, "I'm reading Adair Lara's newest book Naked, Drunk, and Writing. Lara has been a writing coach, columnist, essayist, and novelist for over twenty years, and packs this writers' guide with a wealth of personal anecdotes and simple, yet straight-forward wisdom. I've read many memoirs by established authors share their twisted paths into writing. But, Lara offers the kind of guidance a wise Shaman might offer. My only regret is that I live too far away to take one of her workshops."

Suzanne Kamata, Fiction Co-Editor, is reading Hapa Girl by May Lee-Chai. "This is a memoir about coming of age in South Dakota as the daughter of a Chinese scholar father and Irish-American artist mother. At times humorous, at others harrowing, this book is also a testament to her parents' love. I started reading this for insight into my son's experience as a hapa in rural Japan, but I'm enjoying it as a story as well."

Caroline Grant, Editor-in-Chief and Columnist, writes, "I really enjoyed Melanie Gideon's The Slippery Year: A Meditation on Happily Ever After. It's a memoir with no big dramas -- her husband buys a van; she spends a lot of time in the carpool line -- but her writing is funny and thoughtful about what happens when you get what you wanted, and find that it's good, and still wonder if that's all there is. Read it and look for the cameo appearance by LM's own Joanne Hartman!"

Christina Marie Speed writes poetry and creative nonfiction. Her work has appeared in a variety of online and print publications, including Caper Journal, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune Online, and The View From Here. She lives with her husband and two sons in a sunny fourth-floor walkup in Brooklyn, New York.

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