Books

20 books you could give your mom on Mother's Day

Whether your mom loves history, music or food, CBC Books has a gift idea for you! Give your mother the gift of reading this year.

Whether your mom loves history, music or food, CBC Books has a gift idea for you! Give your mother the gift of reading this year.

If your mom likes romance, try The Matchmaker's List by Sonya Lalli

The Matchmaker's List is a novel by Sonya Lalli. (Penguin Random House Canada, Ning Joanis)

Caving to family pressure, Raina Anand has reluctantly consented to let her grandmother play matchmaker. Anand endures a series of terrible blind dates with "suitable" bachelors, all the while hatching a plan to thwart her tight-knit family's plans. The Matchmaker's List is a charming modern romantic comedy.

If your mom likes Margaret Atwood, try The Handmaid's Tale graphic novel

The graphic novel adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale was done by Renee Nault. (Liam Sharpe, McClelland & Stewart, Submitted by Renee Nault)

Published to great acclaim in 1985, Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale continues to resonate with audiences around the world. Adapted for television, film, ballet, opera and more, the classic dystopian novel is now being turned into a graphic novel by Victoria-based artist Renee Nault. The book tells the story of a Handmaid known as Offred who is trapped in a society where her only purpose is to conceive and bear the child of a powerful man. The original novel won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction.

If your mom is into having open conversations about motherhood or mental health, try Dear Scarlet by Teresa Wong

Dear Scarlet is a graphic memoir by Teresa Wong. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Ken Hurd)

Teresa Wong pens an honest and emotional letter to her daughter in the graphic memoir Dear Scarlet. The Calgary writer describes her experience with postpartum depression — how feelings of sadness, loss and guilt consumed her — and her many attempts at healing. 

If your mom is into Game of Thrones, try Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a novel by Marlon James. (Bond Street Books, Jeffrey Skemp)

Tracker, a well-respected hunter who always works alone, is hired to find a boy who has been missing for three years. He ends up joining a band of unusual characters, including a 'shape-shifting man-animal' called Leopard, all engaged in the hunt. As they traverse ancient cities and forests and face deadly beasts, Tracker wonders why this boy is so special and finds himself caught in a web of lies. Marlon James previously won the Man Booker Prize for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings.

If your mom runs, try 26 Marathons by Meb Keflezighi

Meb Keflezighi is an American long-distance runner and four-time Olympian. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, Rodale Books)

Meb Keflezighi is one of the greatest American distance runners of all time. He's the only person to have won an Olympic medal, the New York City marathon and the Boston marathon — an emotional victory in 2014, one year after the bombings at the finish line. In 26 Marathons, co-written with Scott Douglas, Keflezighi reflects on his 26 professional races and offers up the lessons he's learned from each one, which can inspire any runner, from aspiring Olympians to back-of-the-pack runners.

If your mom likes trendy YA, try On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

On the Come Up is a YA novel by Angie Thomas. (Anissa Hidouk, Balzer + Bray )

As the daughter of an underground hip hop icon who died too young, 16-year-old Bri has aspirations to become the greatest rap artist of all time. But at school, she's considered a "hoodlum" and when her mom loses her job, Bri hits a breaking point. She releases a track that goes viral — but not in the way Bri might have hoped. On the Come Up is writer Angie Thomas's second novel after the runaway success of The Hate U Give.

If your mom likes music, try Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid is the author of Daisy Jones & The Six. (Doubleday Canada)

Told in a series of transcribed interviews, Daisy Jones & The Six tells the story of a legendary 1970s rock group that mysteriously broke up at the height of their fame. The two central characters of the book are Billy Dunne, the leader of The Six who has a drug problem, and Daisy Jones, a singer with a soulful voice and a gift for songwriting. Daisy Jones and The Six make it big together, but a power struggle over creative control creates tension in the group. Film and television rights for Daisy Jones & The Six have been acquired by Reese Witherspoon, who is producing a 13-episode adaptation for Amazon.

If your mom likes buzzy literary books, try Normal People by Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney's second novel, "Normal People," was released April 16, 2019. (Jonny L. Davies/Knopf Canada)

Normal People follows the lives of Connell Waldron, a popular football star from a poor family, and Marianne Sheridan, a teenage outcast from a wealthy background. Despite being opposites in many ways, Connell and Marianne form a lifelong friendship, straying in and out of romance along the way. Irish writer Sally Rooney's sophomore novel won the 2018 Costa Novel Award and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

If your mom likes quirky books, try My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Oyinkan Braithwaite is the author of My Sister, The Serial Killer. (Penguin Random House, Studio 24)

Oyinkan Braithwaite's debut novel My Sister, The Serial Killer is about a woman named Korede and her younger sister Ayoola, who has an unfortunate habit of murdering her boyfriends. Every time Ayoola takes another life, Korede is there to clean things up. As dark as it is funny, Braithwaite's novel has been optioned for a film by the producers of Baby Driver.

If your mom likes historical fiction, try The Quintland Sisters by Shelley Wood

The Quintland Sisters is a novel by Shelley Wood. (HarperCollins, shelleywood.ca)

The Dionne quintuplets were five identical sisters born in Callander, Ont., in 1934 and became international sensations. The Quintland Sisters is a fictionalized look at their early life, following a reluctant 17-year-old midwife, Emma Trimpany, who comes to care for the girls after they are taken from their parents, and is swept up in the maelstrom of their lives.

If your mom is into the royal family, try The Gown by Jennifer Robson

Jennifer Robson holds up her historical novel The Gown. (Sinisa Jolic/CBC)

Jennifer Robson's historical novel The Gown offers a fictional take on the making of Queen Elizabeth's wedding dress. The book moves between Canada in 2016, where a young woman looks into her grandmother's mysterious past, to Britain in 1947, where a country struggling in the aftermath of war prepares to celebrate the marriage of Princess Elizabeth.

If your mom worries about the future, try Radicalized by Cory Doctorow

Radicalized is a novel by Cory Doctorow. (Raincoast, Jonathan Worth)

Radicalized is a collection of four novellas that explore the quandaries — social, economic and technological — of contemporary America. Cory Doctorow's characters deal with issues around immigration, corrupt police forces, dark web uprisings and more. Doctorow is a bestselling sci-fi novelist whose past books include Little Brother and Walkaway.

If your mom could use a laugh, try Moccasin Square Gardens by Richard Van Camp

Moccasin Square Gardens is a short story collection by Richard Van Camp. (Douglas & McIntyre, Laughing Dog Photography)

Moccasin Square Gardens is a collection of humorous short fiction set in Denendeh, the land of the people north of the 60th parallel. Richard Van Camp's stories involve extraterrestrials, illegal wrestling moves and the legendary Wheetago, human-eating monsters who have come to punish the greed of humanity. Van Camp is a prolific novelist, comic writer and children's book writer whose work includes The Lesser BlessedA Blanket of Butterflies and Little You.

If your mom is a foodie, try Chop Suey Nation by Ann Hui

Ann Hui is a Toronto-based author and journalist. (CBC)

In Chop Suey NationAnn Hui drives to small towns across Canada and visits the family-run Chinese restaurants that dot the country. She also discovers her own family's secrets of working in the industry. Hui, a journalist with the Globe and Mail, begins her journey as an authenticity snob, but comes to appreciate the determination and enterprise of families across the nation.

If your mom loves discovering the next big thing, try Shut Up, You're Pretty by Téa Mutonji

Shut Up You're Pretty is a book by Téa Mutonji. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Sandro Pehar)

Shut Up, You're Pretty is a short fiction collection that tells stories of young women coming of age in the 21st century. Téa Mutonji's characters include a young woman who shaves her head in an abortion clinic waiting room, a mother and daughter who bond over fish and a teenager seeking happiness with her pack of cigarettes. Shut Up, You're Pretty is Mutonji's first short story collection.

If your mom likes reading about families that stick together, try Homes by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah & Winnie Yeung

Teenage refugee Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and his English teacher Winnie Yeung are behind the memoir Homes. (CBC)

Homes is a memoir of Abu Bakr al Rabeeah's childhood in Iraq and Syria. Just before civil war broke out, the al Rabeeah family left Iraq for safety in Homs, Syria. Al Rabeeah was 10 years old when the violence began in his new home. He remembers attacks on his mosque and school, car bombings and firebombs. Now a high school student in Edmonton, Alta., al Rabeeah shares his story with writer Winnie Yeung in hopes it will bring greater understanding of Syria. 

If your mom likes stories about strong women, try A Good Wife by Samra Zafar

Samra Zafar is the author of A Good Wife. (Sinisa Jolic/CBC)

When Samra Zafar was 15 years old, she was told by her mother that a great match had been found, and she was to be married — to a man who lived in Canada and was 11 years older than her. Despite having her own dreams and goals, she gets married, moves to a new country and starts a family. But when her relationship turns abusive, she knows she must do what it takes to get out, and to build a life for her children. Zafar has written about her experience in a new book called A Good Wife.

If your mom is into poetry, try Hope Matters by Lee Maracle, Columpa Bobb and Tania Carter

Hope Matters is a poetry collection by Lee Maracle, Columpa Bobb and Tania Carter. (Book cover by Book*Hug, all author photos by Columpa Bobb)

This collection of poetry from award-winning author Lee Maracle and her daughters Columpa Bobb and Tania Carter is a look at the journey of Indigenous people from colonial beginnings to reconciliation. The collaborative effort documents the personal mother-daughter connection and also the shared song of hope and reconciliation from all Indigenous communities and perspectives.

If your mom loves Jane Austen, try Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Uzma Jalaluddin is the author of Ayesha At Last. (Andrea Stenson, HarperCollins Canada)

Ayesha At Last, Uzma Jalaluddin's debut novel, tells the story of a young Muslim woman who aspires to be a poet, but must balance what her family expects of her with what she wants for herself. Things get tricky when she falls for Khalid, a young conservative man who is set to marry someone else. It's a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice that's sure to delight readers.

If you have no idea what to get your mom, try Becoming by Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama signs books during an appearance for her book, Becoming, in New York. (Richard Drew/Associated Press)

Michelle Obama, the first African American to serve as first lady of the United States of America, chronicles her life in this new memoir. Obama grew up on the south side of Chicago, led a successful law career and had two daughters before her husband Barack Obama became President. Obama is celebrated for her advocacy work on behalf of girls and woman globally, and, in her role as first lady, worked to raise awareness on healthy lifestyles for families. 

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