Books·Mother's Day

15 books to get your mom on Mother's Day

Does your mother like to read? Then give her a gift she's guaranteed to love: a good book.

Does your mother love to read? Then give her a gift she's guaranteed to love: a good book.

Here are 15 books to check out — no matter what your mother's taste in titles may be.

If your mom likes unpredictable page-turning thrillers:

Elisabeth de Mariaffi is the author of thriller novel Hysteria. (Ayelet Tsabari/HarperCollins Canada)

Hysteria, a psychological thriller by Elisabeth de Mariaffi, follows a young German woman, Heike Lerner, who escapes Dresden and the perils of the Second World War and finds herself in the 1950s living in Upstate New York with a husband and four-year-old son. But the eeriness of her idyllic life becomes hard to ignore when a mysterious little girl appears one afternoon at the pond and vanishes just as quickly — and things take a turn for the worse when her son disappears.

If your mom likes poetic books with beautiful writing:

Kim Thúy is a Vietnamese-born Canadian author. (Penguin Random House/Benoit Levac)

The titular narrator of Kim Thúy's novel Vi tells the story of her once-prosperous family's escape from the Vietnam War to establishing new roots in Quebec. As the youngest and only girl, Vi is tenderly cared for by her mother, three elder brothers and her mother's friend Ha, and quietly grows into an independent woman — sometimes attracting the ire of the traditional Vietnamese community in Quebec.

If your mom likes Jann Arden or stories about making sacrifices for your family:

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden's book is about taking care of her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's. (Alkan Emin/Random House Canada)

Platinum-selling recording artist Jann Arden lives in rural Alberta where she takes care of her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's. On Facebook and Instagram, Arden has kept a honest record of what it's been like to become her mother's primary parent, bringing comfort to thousands of fans who care for their elderly loved ones — and this record is now a moving book, Feeding My Mother.

If your mom likes reading heavyweight CanLit:

Michael Ondaatje is the celebrated author of works such as The English Patient and In the Skin of a Lion. (McClelland & Stewart)

Michael Ondaatje, the author of acclaimed novels such as The English Patient and Anil's Ghost, is once again writing about the Second World War. Set in London in 1945, Warlight is about two young siblings who have been separated from their parents in the aftermath of the Nazi bombings.

If your mom is interested in health care or believes in the importance of kindness:

Dr. Brian Goldman is a physician and the author of White Coat, Black Art. (HarperCollins/CBC)

Dr. Brian Goldman, the host of CBC Radio's White Coat, Black Art, questions his own empathy as a veteran ER physician in The Power of Kindness. He takes readers on a search for kindness inside his own brain circuits and goes on a journey around the world to meet the most empathic people on the planet, including those who are putting empathy into robot companions. 

If your mom likes to laugh or ever volunteered for your school:

Laurie Gelman is a former journalist and the author of the comic novel Class Mom. (Michael Gelman/St. Martin's Press)

Laurie Gelman's comedic novel Class Mom follows a year in the life of a mother who has to navigate tricky school politics along with special requests to bring brownies to curriculum night. It was inspired by Gelman's own experiences volunteering in her children's classrooms. 

If your mom likes uplifting memoirs that tell it like it is:

Opera star Measha Brueggergosman has documented her life story in Something Is Always On Fire. (Craig Cooper/CBC/HarperCollins)

Opera singer Measha Brueggergosman has led a remarkable life. Her Grammy-nominated voice was heard by more than three billion viewers at the opening of the Olympic Games in 2010 and she has soloed in prestigious concert halls all over the world. Her memoir, Something Is Always On Fire, gives a candid account of the highs and lows of her life and career. 

If your mom likes crime fiction with impressive credentials behind it:

Beverley McLachlin is the author of the legal thriller Full Disclosure. (Jean-Marc Carisse, Simon & Schuster Canada)

Full Disclosure, by Canada's former chief of justice Beverley McLachlin, traces a high-profile murder trial in British Columbia, through the eyes of an astute defence attorney named Jilly Truit. Jill is a composite of lawyers McLachlin has known through her career, with perhaps some of her own personality traits tossed into the mix.

If your mom likes reading untold stories:

​Maia Caron is the author of Song of Batoche. (Maia Caron/Ronsdale Press)

If you read history books about the 1885 North-West Rebellion, chances are that all of the people you'll learn about will be men. On one side, there's Louis Riel and on the other side is Sir John A. Macdonald. Where do women fit into the story? That's a question Maia Caron decided to answer in her novel Song of Batoche, which was partially inspired by the true story of Caron's great-great grandmother.

If your mom likes fables or love stories:

Ahmad Danny Ramadan is the author of the novel The Clothesline Swing. (, Nightwood Editions)

In Ahmad Danny Ramadan's moving debut novel, The Clothesline Swing, Hakawati, a storyteller, prolongs the life of his dying partner by telling story after story about his childhood in Damascus. Death joins the couple, eavesdropping on the series of cruel events that have brought Hakawati to love and to Vancouver. 

If your mom likes memoirs about following your dreams:

Jackie Kai Ellis is the founder of Vancouver’s Beaucoup Bakery and author of the memoir The Measure of My Powers. (Penguin Random House Canada/Samantha Lauren)

In her late 20s, Jackie Kai Ellis was living the dream. But she was miserable. She found solace in the kitchen and decided to give up everything she knew and loved to pursue this passion. This journey takes her to France, Italy and the Congo, but more importantly, gives her a path to a new, fulfilling life. She chronicles this transformation in the beautiful memoir The Measure of My Powers.

If your mother likes powerful memoirs about personal healing:

Terese Marie Mailhot is a writer from Seabird Island, B.C. (Penguin Random House Canada/Isiah Mailhot)

Heart Berries is a memoir about Terese Marie Mailhot's coming of age on Seabird Island in British Columbia, growing up with an activist mother and an abusive and alcoholic father and coming to terms with her own mental illness.

If your mom likes traveling or eating with her family:

Jan Wong's Apron Strings describes her trip to discover more about home cooking in France, Italy and China. (George Whiteside/Goose Lane Editions)

In Apron Strings, Jan Wong and her son Sam embark on a tour of homecooking in France, Italy and China. While learning to cook dishes like spaghetti carbonara and scallion pancakes, Wong comes to terms with her son's growing independence and explores the unique bond between mother and son. 

If your mom likes stories that can't possibly be true — but are:

Former CBC journalist Pauline Dakin tells a gripping story of a childhood spent on the run with incredible twists in her memoir, Run, Hide, Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood. (Viking)

Pauline Dakin spent her childhood living on the run with no explanation. Twice, without any notice, her mother moved her and her brother across the country, wrenching them from their daily lives. One day, Dakin finally learned why: they were running from the Mafia and had been since Dakin was little. But years later, Dakin learned another startling secret: that wasn't true at all and her entire childhood was built on a lie. Dakin chronicles this unbelievable story in her memoir Run, Hide, Repeat.

If your mom thinks The Bachelor is must-see TV:

Suzannah Showler is a Canadian poet and the author of Most Dramatic Ever. (ECW Press,

The Bachelor is one of the most popular — and scoffed at — reality shows of all time. But when so many gimmicky shows come and go, The Bachelor has remained consistently popular, on air three times a year. In Most Dramatic Ever, Suzannah Showler explores how and why this show has not only stood the test of time, but continues to challenge our notions of popular culture and television and surprise fans and critics alike.