I made a resolution last year to read more books. I’ve always loved to read, but the exhaustion that follows a day with small children means I often find myself sprawled on the couch in front of the television rather than curled up with a good book. I began to miss reading, so I resolved in 2016 to read at least a chapter in a book each night. It sometimes led to me staying awake for a few extra hours, but it was usually worth it!
I love getting recommendations for books from others, so I decided to pass along a few of my favorites. There are many books that I read and loved in the last year, but these are some of the best that looked at themes of family and motherhood:
Having attended Harvard as an undergraduate, Lee may qualify as a local author. In her latest novel, she tells the stories of three American women living in Hong Kong and grappling with what it means to be a mother. At the heart of the novel is a tragedy that is every mother’s nightmare, and it touches each of the characters in different ways.
This novel also centers around a tragedy, as told by the shifting voices of a number of different characters, weaving a beautiful web of connection throughout the entire book. Sad and hopeful with a beautiful ending, this book stayed with me long after I finished the last page.
I really enjoy Liane Moriarty, and this book in particular struck a chord. The characters are so realistic, as are the scenes depicting domestic violence, the “mommy wars,” and parents acting badly. This book is smart and funny and keeps you in suspense until the surprise twist at the end. HBO apparently agrees with me. Big Little Lies is going to be a seven-episode series — with an all-star cast — beginning February 19. I’ll be tuning in!
I didn’t make it all the way through my reading list last year. There are a number of books I’m looking forward to in 2017:
Mele Bart is the single mother of a toddler daughter. Looking for something to do, she joins the San Francisco Mommy Club and enters its cookbook contest as she prepares for the wedding of her ex to another woman. As someone who loves to cook, I look forward to reading about how Mele uses her friends’ stories to inspire her recipes and find comfort.
Nadia Turner is 17 when her mother commits suicide. Shortly after, she finds out she is pregnant with the child of the pastor’s son. The novel tells the tale of what happens to Nadia in the years to come, and how her choices follow her into adulthood. According to Amazon, the novel tackles “what it means to have a mother, to be a mother, and to want a mother… mak(ing) this novel a resoundingly magnetic and essential read.”
Page 1 starts with, “Today will be different. . . . Today I will take pride in my appearance. I’ll shower, get dressed in proper clothes, and change into yoga clothes only for yoga, which today I will actually attend.” There’s more on this page — the number of ways the protagonist, Eleanor Flood, hopes the day will be different. But this passage struck a chord with me and made me laugh. She knows she’s a mess, and this novel tells the story of what happens when she decides to change. I can’t wait to see where the day takes Eleanor and what she learns from it.
Happy reading everyone!