Unconventional Books for Awesome Moms

Awesome moms
Alert, alert! Mother's Day is Sunday, May 14. Here's your chance to wow your mom.

Sure, you could always give Mom a marvelous tearjerker of a novel—and we have two of our favorites listed at the end of this list below. Or you could give your mom (or your wife, if you're buying on your child's behalf) a more unconventional book that reflects what she's passionate about.

Here are 11 excellent books that will let Mom know that you're really and truly thinking about her this year.

Books for the mom who...


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...is passionate about social change
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond - Through both data and personal stories gathered from tenants and landlords in the poorest areas of Milwaukee during 2008 and 2009, Desmond proves that eviction undermines self, family, and community, bearing down disproportionately hard on women with children. In Milwaukee, being behind on rent gives landlords the opening to serve an eviction notice, which leads to a court date. On the face of it, it may seem a no-brainer to side with the landlords—of course tenants should pay their rent. But as Evicted pulls back layer after layer, what’s exposed is a cycle of hurt that all parties—landlord, tenant, city—inflict on one another. Whether readers agree with Desmond’s conclusions for how to break this cycle, it’s obvious by the end of Evicted that there is no easy fix. But it should be just as obvious that we must still try. 

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...is a STEM nerd or wants you to be one
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren - Our editorial team picked Lab Girl as one of our favorite books of 2016. I confess, we were initially skeptical that we'd be interested in a memoir about a geobiologist. (Dirt and bugs, right?) But Hope Jahren won us over within the first few pages with her expressive voice, eye for detail, and emotional clarity. Digging in the dirt is not dull in Jahren’s hands. Just as important is her own journey toward running a university lab, as well as her complicated relationship with Bill, her physically and emotionally damaged lab partner. This will become your mom's next favorite book to recommend to friends.

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...loves to learn obscure history that shouldn't be obscure
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann - In the 1920s, the Osage found themselves in a unique position among Native Americans tribes. As other tribal lands were parceled out in an effort by the government to encourage dissolution and assimilation of both lands and culture, the Osage negotiated to maintain the mineral rights for their corner of Oklahoma, creating a kind of “underground reservation.” It proved a savvy move; soon countless oil rigs punctured the dusty landscape, making the Osage very rich. And that’s when they started dying. Smart and taut, this true story of the greed that prompted J. Edgar Hoover's investigation is most sobering in how it is at once unsurprising and unbelievable, full of the arrogance, audacity, and inhumanity that we as a society still have not managed to shake.

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...will not stand for any more misogyny BS
Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, and Robert Wilson IV - In the (horrible) future, women who are uppity, redundant, and in other ways "non-compliant" to men's expectations are sent to a prison planet. But when a whole bunch of angry women are caged together by the patriarchy...watch out. This satirical graphic novel that riffs off the prison exploitation trope has thousands of devotes and even inspired people to get "NC" tattoos to celebrate their own non-compliance. Volume 2 releases at the beginning of June.

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...dreams of her own space to flourish in
She Sheds by Erika Kotite - Move over, man caves. She sheds have come to town. Rustic or regal, salvaged or brand-new, these shed examples are inspiring glimpses into how a small place designed for one's own sensibilities can easily become a favorite spot on your property. Practical advice about using kit sheds, pro tips from the author's own experiences, and large full-color photographs will make your mom dream of building or renovating her own she shed, hen hut, or lady lair.

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...is a gamer or sci-fi geek
The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley - If Mom was thrilled because Star Wars is putting women at the forefront of their new films, try Hurley's collection of incisive, thoughtful essays that delve into women's experiences and roles in science fiction and speculative fiction. Part theoretical exploration and part personal journey, Hurley's ideas shine a new light on where women have been...and how women can get to where we want to go.

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...loves to craft and has a kinda sick sense of humor
Crochet Taxidermy by Taylor Hart - This fun little paperback contains instructions for crocheting 30, um, dead animals, including super-cute koalas, flamingos, lions, and jelly fish. This gift tells Mom you think she's clever and crafty--and funny, too.

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...is on the lookout for her first - or next - tattoo design
Tattoo Coloring Book by Oliver Munden - As someone who got her first tattoo at age 40, I'm a big believer that it's never too late to get stabbed thousands and thousands of times with a little inky needle as long as you find the design you love. But even if your mom prefers to admire tattoos on someone else's skin, this coloring book's ornate designs will deliver hours of pleasure for the mom who enjoys the calm invoked by coloring intricate art.

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...is all about girl power
Strong Is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves by Kate T. Parker - "Real beauty is about being your authentic self and owning it" is the core of this book.  The 175 photographs by Kate T. Parker show girls captured in moments of independence, kindness, resilience, strength, and joy. "Strong means many things and is revealed in many ways," says Parker, and its her goal to show girls that being who they are is more important than being who society tells them they should be.

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...likes to see the world from other people's points of view
Ginny Moon: A Novel by Benjamin Ludwig - Told from the perspective of a thirteen-year-old autistic girl, this absorbing debut sets at its heart Ginny's obsession with “Baby Doll,” whom she unwillingly abandoned four years ago when she was taken away from her drug-addicted and abusive birth mother. Ginny has been testing and breaking the patience of various foster parents in her attempts to reunite with her mother so that Ginny can again take care of Baby Doll. With a single-mindedness that is as daring as it is alarming, Ginny concocts various plans to get back to her Baby Doll, and Ginny’s unpredictability keeps the pressure high. Benjamin Ludwig, himself the foster parent of an autistic teen, pulls together the action into a tear-provoking finale that will have you cheering for the stubborn, brave, impulsive, and ultimately heroic Ginny Moon.

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...is looking for her next amazing book club read
Beartown: A Novel by Fredrik Backman - How will your mom love Beartown? Let me count the ways. It’s a domestic drama in which a family is pulled apart by an act of violence. It’s a coming-of-age story for a young woman who must choose to speak out or keep silent. (And a young man, too, actually.) It’s a slow-build thriller, opening the story with the statement that one teenager is going to put a shotgun to the head of another and pull the trigger. It’s a cautionary tale of small-town thinking…yet at the same time celebrates how a handful of people can change a tight-knit community. Beartown has so much going on within its enjoyably readable pages that putting it in a literary box is all but impossible—and indeed that is one of the many reasons readers will pass this book amongst one another with a confident “I think you’ll like this.” 


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Comments (2)

This was great! So many awesome books I've never even heard of definitely will be ordering a couple for mom (and myself).

Posted by: Cameron Burke | Thursday May 11, 2017 at 5:46 AM

'Books for Mom'? You've got to be kidding. Who did Amazon hire to put this ridiculous list together? Good grief! If any of my offspring gave me one of these books, I'd disinherit them.

Posted by: GrannyDunc | Saturday May 13, 2017 at 6:47 AM

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