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

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Literary Mamas share what they are reading this summer. Take your pick!

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

Caroline Grant, Editor-in-Chief and Columnist, shares, "I just finished Frances Itani's wonderful novel, Remembering The Bones, about a woman who is on her way to the airport when her car careens off the side of the road and plummets to the bottom of the ravine. She is flung from the car and the novel traces her progress as she tries to inch her way back to honk the horn and be rescued. That's the actual action of the book; the real story and heart of the book come from Georgie's thoughts as she lies there trying to maintain consciousness. A one-time student of anatomy, she reviews what she learned (thus the title), but she also thinks back over her life: her long marriage (she was widowed a couple years before the accident); her relationship with her grown daughter, a theater director; and her relationships with her elderly mother, her late aunt, and her late grandmother, a midwife she called Grand Dan. Itani's writing is quiet and gorgeous, reminiscent of Marilynne Robinson's, and the characters, especially Georgie, are all so compelling I have not stopped thinking about their story."

Literary Reflections Editorial Assistant, Katie de Iongh, says, "I read Lift in one, short sitting and then again a few days later while my kids were running around in the sprinkler. Kelly Corrigan's short and sweet inspirational book was written as a letter to her two young daughters to let them know how their lives together began. She writes as if she is a friend chatting with you over coffee -- honest, humorous, witty and raw. Readers can feel the love she has for her family as she recounts her daughter's scare with menengitis, her nephew's death and her cancer (to read more about her victorious battle with breast cancer, check out her memoir The Middle Place). The title Lift originates from Corrigan's fascination with hang gliding and the life or death necessity of achieving lift after a jump; she uses that as a metaphor for parenthood -- sometimes you just have to jump and hope for lift."

Suzanne Kamata, Fiction Co-Editor, writes, "During my staycation I'm traveling to Southeast Asia via Currency, Zoe Zolbrod's debut novel about Piv, a good-natured Thai hustler and Robin, an American backpacker who fall in love. Their affair is jeopardized when they run out of money and Robin's credit card is denied. Desperate to stay together, they get mixed up with wild animal traffickers and international intrique ensues. Zolbrod's prose is as lush as the jungle, and her characters are extremely likable in spite of their flaws."

Literary Reflections Co-Editor, Kate Hopper, shares, "I just finished Debra Gwartney's wonderful memoir, Live Through This: A Mother's Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love. After a contentious divorce, Gwartney moves with her four daughters across the country to Eugene, Oregon. But the upheaval is too much for her older daughters, Amanda and Stephanie, who begin to rebel, skipping school and staying out all night. Then, when Stephanie is fourteen and Amanda is sixteen, the girls hop on a freight train and leave home for good. Though this memoir is heartbreaking and terrifying in parts, it's beautifully written -- a testament to the power of love and forgiveness."

Rhena Tantisunthorn Refsland, Creative Nonfiction Editorial Assistant, says, "I'm only six short chapters into The Quickening and I already believe the characters are real. Michelle Hoover's beautiful and bold debut novel is told, in turns, by Enidina (Eddie) Current and Mary Morrow, two farming neighbors in early 20th century Iowa. In spite of their seemingly similar situations, the two women struggle to understand each other in the face of opposing points of view: Eddie knows only the dirt in front of her while Mary dreams of a world beyond the farmhouse. The strong, clear voices of the two women have quickly entangled me in their tragic lives. Even though I know more tragedy will come, I can't help but read on in spite of myself."

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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I'm so happy to see my book mentioned here in such good company, and to discover this site. I have a two-year old and a nine-year old, and I'm always looking for places that bring together the parenting and the writing parts of my life.
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