Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and everyone should be thinking of ways to make the lady that gave birth to them smile. We’ve already given you a heads up on some last-minute Mother’s Day gifts that don’t suck, but if what your Mommy dearest really craves is a good book, well, we’ve got you covered there as well. We’ve limited ourselves to recommending books that have come out since last Mother’s Day (since we’re sure last year you picked the perfect book), so click through to see our picks of what books to give every kind of mom this weekend. And we know, we know — your mom probably fits into a number of these categories. Looks like you’ll just have to pick her up a whole pile of books, then. She’s worth it.
If you inherited your wicked sense of humor from your mom:
The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine , Alina Bronsky
Though Rosa, the outrageous, terrifying and seriously abrasive narrator of The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine, is (hopefully) nothing like your mom, we think she might get a kick out of the wild irreverence of Rosa’s attitude in this hilarious novel. Plus, you never know, Rosa might just be voicing some of your own mother’s secret thoughts.
If you have the sneaking suspicion that your mother was once (or is currently) a great artist’s muse:
Mr. Fox , Helen Oyeyemi
Whether your mother is an artist, an artist’s muse, an artist’s wife, or just a lover of finely crafted fairy tales with a slightly sinister bent, this book will make her Mother’s Day just a little more magical.
If you found a dog-eared copy of Twilight hidden under your parents’ bed, and the “family’s” Harry Potter books have seen better days:
The Night Circus , Erin Morgenstern
Heralded everywhere as the “next Harry Potter,” we think Morgenstern’s fantasy is a little subtler than that — a dreamlike tale of two magicians fighting to the death in a whimsical, fantastical black and white circus only open after dark. Of course, they also fall in love.
If your mom focused on the first third of Eat, Pray, Love:
At Home on the Range , Margaret Yardley Potter
Written in 1947 by Elizabeth Gilbert’s great-grandmother, Margaret Yardley Potter, this cookbook is filled with delectable, “proto-foodie” recipes and wry stories. Plus, proceeds from the new McSweeney’s edition go to 826 National and their scholarship program ScholarMatch, so you and your mom can both feel good about that.
If no one ever wants to hang out without your mom:
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) , Mindy Kaling & Bossypants , Tina Fey
If your mom is the life of the party (or just the TV room), she’ll definitely be into this double feature of hilarious TV ladies telling stories from their lives. And since we bet she has at least one story to top theirs, this is a present for you, as well — just make sure to wheedle it out of her after she’s read a few chapters.
If your mom absolutely kills it in the kitchen:
Blood, Bones & Butter , by Gabrielle Hamilton
If the publicists can be believed, Moms love memoirs, and they also love cooking — but your mom doesn’t have to be particularly fond of either to love this book. Hamilton’s story, of growing up with a French mother who cooked “tails, claws, and marrow-filled bones” in spotless high heels, then bumping around the restaurant circuit and the MFA grind before landing on her feet with an East Village eatery, will charm even fiction-diehards who can’t cook an egg.
If every once in a while you can glimpse the hippie chick that your mom once was:
Arcadia , Lauren Groff
Bring back some memories with Arcadia, a dark and affecting tale of life on a commune in the late ’60s. Meant to be a utopia, the community flails, leaving at least one of its members, the purposefully silent child Little Bit, in emotional and physical peril. Split between his time in utopia and his adult life in the real world, the book is a haunting meditation on humanity and time. Also, it will probably make your mother thank her lucky stars she didn’t run away with her hippie friends that one time.
If your mom keeps binoculars under her bed — or just dreams of another world:
State of Wonder , Ann Patchett
This book is a page-turner if we’ve ever seen one — researcher Marina Singh is sent off to the deepest reaches of the Amazon jungle to investigate the death of her colleague, a man who disappeared after being sent to check up on rogue scientist Annick Swenson. But as Marina succumbs to the jungle herself, she will discover much more than what she’s meant to.
If your mom is always talking about “getting some fresh air”:
Wild , Cheryl Strayed
It’s no secret that we’re fans of this book here at Flavorpill, but that doesn’t make it any less appropriate for a Mother’s Day gift. We suggest wrapping this epic tale of emotional, physical and spiritual survival with a nice box of tissues.
If your mom always, always goes the extra mile (or 238,857 miles):
Because your mom would totally steal part of the moon for you — and you’d do the same for her.