Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Essential Reading: Desiring Motherhood

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This month Literary Mamas focus on Desiring Motherhood; here are some of our current and past favorites.

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

Kristina Riggle, Fiction Co-Editor, shares,"Digging to America by Anne Tyler is about two sharply different families connected by a unique circumstance: they both adopt Korean babies on the very same day, meeting in the airport as they await their new children. The Yazdans are of Iranian heritage and content with assimilating their daughter into their Iranian-American lives, the Donaldsons are white-bread American and try to hold onto their new daughter's cultural roots. The two families are joined by circumstance, and feel obligated to stay in touch -- gathering every year on the girls' adoption anniversary -- but their contrasts make for conflict along the way. The story of each family, plus the two families together, is rich in complexity and messy human emotion in the classic Tyler vein. My favorite of her recent novels."

Caroline Grant, Editor-in-Chief and Columnist recommends, Bonnie Rough's memoir, Carrier: Untangling the Danger in My DNA. "When Rough discovers she is a carrier for HED, a non-fatal but difficult genetic disorder that has affected other members of her family, she wrestles with the question of whether to try to become pregnant, and whether to undergo prenatal genetic testing if she does. As she tells her own story, she also uses alternating first-person narratives to tell her mother's and grandfather's stories of struggling with the disease. Rough's prose is beautiful and her love story to her family -- both past and future -- is a page-turner."

Ezine Co-Editor Jessica DeVoe Riley, shares, "I read the blog-turned-memoir, Rockabye: From Wild to Child, by Rebecca Woolf, blogess behind Girl's Gone Child. It's about a young woman living it up in LA who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. Her reflections on her youth, her pregnancy, and her first year as a parent are poignant and humorous. The book offers a great example of how much motherhood can change one's life."

Literary Reflections Editor, Christina Marie Speed recommends Dr. Daniel Siegel's Parenting from the Inside Out. "While the book assumes you currently have children, it can still be enjoyed by an expecting or future parent. The text takes the reader through scientific explanations of self and into the psychological ones, with practical ways to integrate a new, more informed parenting style. From communicating with your child to developing a deeper relationship, this book has sections to help anyone connect with their inner parent. By understanding and processing who we are as adults, and how we got there, we can be better parents for our children today."

Reviews Editor Rebecca Kaminsky says "I'm reading Mama, PhD, which is a compelling collection of essays exploring two competing desires: to be a mother and to be an academician. Do these desires have to be at odds? Is the world of academia living up to standards of equality in scholarship only and not in the less lofty world of everyday employment? Read and find out."

Amy S. Mercer, Blog Editor, adds "Elizabeth McCracken has written a memoir about losing a child called An Exact Replica of A Figment Of My Imagination. The New York Times Book Review notes, 'If a book's merits were measured in subway stops accidentally bypassed while being read, the novelist Elizabeth McCracken's memoir about having a stillborn baby would rank high.' We learn from the very beginning of the story that this is a book about loss and the struggle to move forward, to grieve for the child that is lost and to hope for motherhood again.

McCracken talks of the language of motherhood, 'When I was pregnant both times and people referred to me and Edward as the three of you or me as the two of you, it always felt wrong. Three of us was the goal, and eventually the mostly forgone conclusion both times. But any photograph would clearly show: there were still only two of us. For the rest of my life, I think, plurals will confuse me. How many children do I have? How many are there of me?'"

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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