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

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Begin your summer reading with one of these interesting titles, hand picked by Literary Mamas. Enjoy!

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

Jenny Hobson, Profiles Co-Editor shares, "I'm reading Donna Leon's latest mystery, A Question of Belief: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery about Venetian police inspector Brunetti. I've just started it, but already it's hitting some of the themes that make this series a great read for this time of the year. As interesting as the crimes and mysteries are, Brunetti's family life makes even more pleasurable reading. Unlike the typical detective fiction sleuth, Brunetti is a dedicated family man married to a feminist professor of English literature. The family's mealtime discussions of morality, politics, and the ethics of police and family life keep me reading."

Irena Smith, Columns Department Editorial Assistant, says, "Kitty Burns Florey's Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences offers something for everyone (OK, mostly for the grammar police and diehard English majors) in spite of the potentially daunting title. As a student in a strict Catholic school, Florey was fascinated by diagramming sentences and by the way diagramming laid bare the underlying architectonics of language and the ways we make meaning -- and, unlike just about everyone else, found the process fun. Her enthusiasm is infectious: she diagrams endless sentences by Henry James, grammatically unsound sentences by James Fenimore Cooper, and even some goofy sentences by Groucho Marx, she provides fascinating historical tidbits about how generations of grammarians have tried to impose order on the exuberant linguistic chaos that is the English language, and she even throws some solid tips about how to write clearly and well into the mix."

Caroline Grant, Editor-in-Chief and Columnist writes, "I just finished Husband & Wife, by Leah Stewart. The protagonist, Sarah, is a poet who has published well and won awards, but stopped writing poetry when she had kids, so she wonders if she can still call herself a poet; she supports her family working an office job. Her husband's a semi-successful novelist who's hoping for a breakthrough with his new book, titled Infidelity. On the eve of its publication, he admits to Sarah that it's not entirely fictional. Stewart takes what could be a fairly conventional plot and makes it fresh; the novel's conversations about writing and parenting are wonderfully honest, and the book comes to a satisfying, realistic conclusion."

Suzanne Kamata, Fiction Co- Editor, says, "I'm reading -- and loving -- Home, Away, Jeff Gillenkirk's fresh and beautifully written debut novel about family and baseball. The main character Jason Thibodeaux, a.k.a. 'Heat' for his sizzling fastball, takes a year off during his college career to be a stay-at-home father to his toddler son, while his wife finishes her Stanford law degree. When the marriage doesn't work out, Jason is denied custody of their child. He struggles to find a way to balance the demands of professional baseball with the needs of his increasingly troubled son."

Blog Co-Editor, Karna Converse, shares "I had to stop halfway through Hanna's Daughters by Marianne Fredriksson because my 13-year-old daughter said "Mom, you HAVE to read this one." She read Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter in about six hours. It's a memoir that details her nine years in 14 different foster homes. Set in the late 1980s/early 1990s, Rhodes-Courter paints a vivid picture that could only be written be one who's truly experienced the foster care system. .She wrote the book after winning a high school writing contest that was sponsored by the New York Times Magazine. The book will make you cry and shake your head in disbelief, yet cheer for Ashley to succeed."

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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