Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
March, 2010

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This month, Literary Mamas are reading about personal life, family life, and mama life. Each title here will lead you on a distinct journey all its own. Take your pick!

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

Cassie Premo Steele, Columnist, shares, "The Bird Catcher by Laura Jacobs is a beautiful new novel -- lyrical, poignant, and intimate. It reminded me of a contemporary New York version of Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway. But don't let the urban setting fool you -- it is, like Woolf, about nature and art and the wild landscape of a sensitive mind."

Kristina Riggle, Fiction Co-Editor, says, "I'm reading Stardust, by Joseph Kanon, a period mystery set in post-WWII Hollywood. The setting is lush, the writing crisp, and the snappy dialogue runs for pages without losing one speck of momentum or interest. I've only just begun, but already there are hints of darkness behind the silvery glamour of the movie industry. I can barely put it down."

Literary Reflections Co-Editor, Christina Marie Speed, shares, "I am finishing Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting. This is a difficult book to sum up in words. Each evening, upon finishing a chapter, I set the book down on my night table and breathe. I consider my secondary roles as a daughter and granddaughter and my primary ones as wife and mother. My parenting style is drawn from a combination of all of these. Yet, as time passes, my mothering philosophy and identity evolves. This presents me with a lot of hard questions. Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting offers timeless, sensitive guidance. Here is a quote from the inside cover: 'As parents, we are often caught up in moving so quickly and so automatically that we may have trouble seeing our children fully in each moment, particularly when things are not occurring as we'd like them to. As a result, it can be difficult for us to give our children the greatest possible gift a parent can give -- one's own nonjudgmental, conscious, fully accepting presence.' And it is to this I say, amen."

Ezine Co-Editor Jessica DeVoe Riley, writes, "I've been reading One Bird, One Stone: 108 American Zen Stories by Sean Murphy. I've read it before but it's one of those books that is wonderful to reread. My favorite thing about it is that you don't have to read it straight through. I generally just pick it up at the end of the night, open to a random page, read, and reflect. It brings me inner peace."

Literary Reflections Co-Editor Kate Hopper, writes, "I'm reading Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the classic novel about Francie, a girl living in Brooklyn's slums during the early 1900s. It's a story about family, poverty and growing up. Smith's characterization is stunning, and the richness of her details drew me in immediately. This is the kind of book that makes me wish I could curl up and read all day."

Blog Editor Amy Mercer shares, "With an eleven week old baby, my reading before bed ritual is struggling -- sometimes I can only make it through a page or two -- but every night I can't wait to get back into Mary Karr's latest memoir, Lit. After recounting her 'hardscrabble' Texan childhood in The Liar's Club and her adolescence in Cherry, Karr continues the story of her life and battle with alcoholism in Lit. One of my favorite writers, Karr explains the motivation behind telling her story to her son in the prologue: 'Maybe by telling you my story, you can better tell yours, which is the only way to get home, by which I mean to get free of us.'"

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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