Culture

8 stand-out books to gift for Mother's Day

Expert book-lovers on the reads they think you should get your ma.

Expert book-lovers on the reads they think you should get your ma

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Still looking for the perfect Mother's Day present? Flowers, perfume and chocolates are all nice, but for the book lovers in your life, nothing beats the gift of a great read.

Of course, reading preferences can be very personal, especially when it comes to fiction, and you can't just rely on the bestseller lists when making a purchase. For a list of recommendations that are more targeted and detailed, we reached out to booksellers, professional bookworms, and librarians across Canada for their expert suggestions of newer releases that mom (or any avid reader!) will enjoy reading this spring. Here are the eight stand-out reads they recommended.

When All is Said by Anne Griffin 

Lori Cheverie, manager of Bookmark in Charlottetown, P.E.I.:

"The main character Maurice sits alone at a bar and raises a glass to toast five important people in his life. It's a story of love, loss, regrets and memories. Beautifully written, soft and lyrical, it gets you right in the feels!"

You Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld

Justina Elias, bookseller at Munro's Books in Victoria, B.C.:

"A gender studies prof falls into bed with a Trump supporter half her age. A well-meaning volunteer makes an unlikely enemy at an inner city daycare. Breezy, insightful, and frequently hilarious, Sittenfeld's stories prove good literature needn't take itself too seriously. Even readers who think they prefer novels may find themselves reaching for this delightful collection over their lunch break. Almost all the moms on staff read and loved this book."  

Theory by Dionne Brand

Tricia Herman, Outreach Coordinator at A Different Booklist in Toronto, Ont.:

"Aside from being one of the highest-regarded Canadian authors, Dionne Brand expertly weaves a story that cuts across not only myriad aspects of love and relationships, but with unnamed and ungendered protagonists, she calls into question tendencies of socially-constructed ideals of relationships and genders and the rubrics that have been set that do not take into account the fluidity of gender and sexuality. This book is a stellar read from beginning to end."

The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

Sarah Weaver, Adult Collection Development Librarian at Halifax Public Libraries:

"The sixth novel by Australian author, Kate Morton, The Clockmaker's Daughter is one of her best yet. An atmospheric historical fiction, this novel features beautiful old manors, family secrets, and mysteries that slowly reveal themselves. The Clockmaker's Daughter has numerous timelines that are intricately woven together into one delicious read. As soon as I finished this book, I had the urge to read it again! This is a must read for moms who enjoy the mystery genre."

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

Moti, bookseller at Librairie Argo Bookshop in Montreal, Que.:

"Amusing and poignant, this story of former stray cat Nana and his life with owner Satoru delighted our Japan Book Club members. [A] rare book that actually got both laughter and tears out of me! Get a feline point of view on humanity and our relationships, get a ride in a van across the Japanese countryside, and be drawn into this warm tale of friends, family, and pets."

Go Ask Fannie by Elisabeth Hyde

Sarah Pietroski, owner of A Novel Spot Bookshop in Etobicoke, Ont.:

"The book we, the staff of A Novel Spot Bookshop, would like to recommend is Go Ask Fannie by Elisabeth Hyde. If you love stories with family drama, this book is for you. Three siblings are invited by their father for a long weekend get together. The location is the new farmhouse he has just moved into. What could possibly go wrong? Lots! Emotions run high as the siblings uncover clues to their mother's life in notes written in the margins of an old Fannie Farmer cookbook."  

Circe by Madeline Miller

Michele Melady, Collection Development & Membership Services Manager at Toronto Public Library:

"For Mother's Day reading, we recommend Circe, Madeline Miller's re-imagining of The Odyssey from the witch's point of view. Circe is both a page-turning fantasy novel and a feminist re-telling of [the] Greek myth. Mothers may find it reassuring that even a powerful witch who is the daughter of Helios, the sun god, finds it difficult to cope with a mortal baby that won't stop crying."

The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani

Rosemary Griebel, Service Design Lead for Readers at Calgary Public Library:

"Based on a true case, this thriller preys on the fears and realities of mothering in a world where the potential for disaster is everywhere, particularly in the home. While not for the faint of heart, this Goncourt prize-winning novel has much to say about the loneliness of motherhood and the issues of control and delegation."


Truc Nguyen is a Toronto-based writer, editor and stylist. Follow her at @trucnguyen.

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