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

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Literary Mamas share what they are are reading right now. Take your pick!

Download the list to bring to your local bookstore or library.

Jenny Hobson, Profiles Co-Editor says, "I just finished The Postmistress by Sarah Blake. It was so completely compelling that I had to read the last pages over breakfast this morning while my family rushed around me, getting ready for the day. The book was a fast-moving meditation (how did she do that?!) on war and storytelling. Set during the year before the U.S. entered the Second World War, there is not a hint of romanticism about the relentlessness of the war's effects on women, their families, and their communities. It was just the right book to read along with A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book, another book that looks at the randomness of war and the way we learn to tell stories about it."

Katherine J. Barrett, Reviews Editor recommends the 1996 National Book Award winner, Ship Fever, a collection of short stories by Andrea Barrett. "Her prose appeals to the writer and the scientist in me. In 'The Behavior of the Hawkweeds', for instance, we watch Gregor Mendel labor over thousands of pea experiments. He knows he's onto something big, but in seeking due recognition is nudged off course by intellectual rivalry and, perhaps, plain spite. Ship Fever doesn't skimp on scientific or historical detail but facts do not make stories. As Barrett shows with great skill, it's quite the other way around: stories, and the fascinating people who live and tell them, create the facts - even the science."

Kate Hopper, Literary Reflections Co-editor shares, "I'm engrossed in Bonnie J. Rough's memoir, Carrier: Untangling the Danger in My DNA, a beautifully-written story about family legacy and the sometimes excruciating choices women and couples must face as they contemplate becoming parents. Reading Carrier feels like embarking on a journey with Rough, who is a carrier of the genetic disorder hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, which her brother has and her grandfather had. She takes us into the past, deep into the haunting life of her grandfather, then propels us into the future, into the possibility of her own children having this disorder. Rough's prose is lyrical and her story is incredibly moving. The book is masterfully crafted, challenging the limits of creative nonfiction and making my teacher-brain work overtime."

Blog Co-Editor, Karna Converse, recommends The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona-Mexico Borderlands by Margaret Regan. "Josseline (pronounced YO-suh-leen) was only 14 years old but responsible for bringing her 10-year-old brother from their home in El Salvador to their mother in Los Angeles. They were only days from their destination when Josseline got too sick to go on. The 'coyote' smuggling immigrants across the international line decided to leave her, to keep the group on schedule. Three weeks later, volunteers from No More Deaths (a Tucson organization dedicated to reducing the number of deaths in the desert wilderness) found her body. Josseline's is only one of many stories Margaret Regan shares in her reporting about how the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector has become 'a killing field.' Readers are introduced to Mexicans and Central Americans, volunteers, environmentalists and Border Patrol officials as the theme of a better life is explored."

Fiction Editor Kristina Riggle says, "I just finished Please Excuse My Daughter by Julie Klam, a memoir about being continually rescued by her loving, doting mother throughout her childhood (the title refers to school-absence excuse notes for shopping trips) and how that left her utterly unequipped for the genuine crises that afflicted her as a young adult trying to find her footing in love and work. In the wrong hands, this story could have been whiny, or bitter, but Klam is hilarious and self-aware, her portrayals of family affectionate and complex. This book made me both laugh and cry, and I love it when that happens."

Katie de Iongh lives in Rye, New Hampshire with her husband and their three young children. She is a community volunteer, freelance writer and college English instructor.

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