Mother's Day Books: Girls Reading

This column originally ran in the May 1, 2012 edition of Shelf Awareness for Readers. Reprinted here with permission. If you haven't already, sign up here for a bi-weekly dose of readerly goodness in your inbox.

The most iconic Mother's Day gifts are flowers and brunch, but why not celebrate the mothers in your life this year with one of these books that celebrates books themselves and the girls who love to read them?

Maureen Corrigan, book critic on NPR's Fresh Air, hit the nail on the head with the title of her memoir: Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books. Corrigan explores the formative power of books in shaping her life, from her first recognition of people who don't understand the power of reading to her career as a professional book reviewer. She also details her love of books in three genres she "created" (female extreme adventure novels, hard-boiled detective stories and tales of Catholic saints and martyrs), leaving readers a history of a life dedicated to books and a powerful list of titles to add to the ever-growing to-be-read stack.

Jo Walton's Among Others takes a more fantastical approach to the subject of the formative power of reading, but is still, at heart, an ode to the power of books to mold us into the people we become. As a child, Morwenna and her twin sister played in the industrial ruins near their home in Wales, where they befriended the spirits who lived among the ruins. When an accident claims the life of her twin and Morwenna is sent away to boarding school, she turns to books of science fiction and fantasy to keep her company. Through these books, she reconnects with the world, with other readers and with herself. Walton's delicate combination of classic Welsh mythology with the science fiction and fantasy titles of the 1980s is a powerful one, and like Corrigan's memoirs, will leave readers with a long list of titles to explore.

Katie Ward's debut novel, Girl, Reading, is in fact a series of self-contained, intertwined stories, each centering on the creation of a portrait of a girl, reading. The book begins in the 14th century and moves to the year 2060, with tales threaded together by the commonality of the creation of the portraits and persistent allusions to art and literature. The result is a novel that celebrates the intimate, delicate bond between women and their books--a subject no reading mother will want to miss.


  1. Thanks for giving me a few more titles to add to my Goodreads wishlist. :D

  2. That Corrigan book sounds great. I'll have to check that out.

    On another note, I have nominated you and your blog for a Liebster blog award. Check out my post about it here. Don't feel any pressure to do anything, but I do enjoy your blog!

    1. Thanks, Julie! I'm way behind on my poor little blog, but I am going to check it out now...


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