18 Great Books for Mom for Mother’s Day
It’s no secret that sometimes the hardest person to shop for is also one of the most special: your mom. That’s why whenever we’re in doubt or can’t find that perfect gift for her birthday or Mother’s Day, we look to books. (They’re good for much more than inspiring Mother’s Day quotes.) Whether your mom has only a few precious minutes a week to read, she devotes time every day to devour the latest bestseller, or you’re constantly exchanging mother-daughter books, there are plenty of thoughtful options for books for mom this Mother’s Day.
RELATED: Mother’s Day Gift Ideas
From cookbooks to historical fiction novels, we’ve got book ideas for moms of all tastes on our list of the best books for moms. When trying to choose a book, remember that being a mom is a lot of hard work: Treat her to some uninterrupted me-time to put up her feet and dive into a new read. If you’re lucky, she’ll let you read her new novel or hilarious autobiography once she’s finished.
RELATED: Mother’s Day Poems
There are Girls like Lions: Poems about Being a Woman
Poetry collections make great gifts for moms—and especially those who might feel like they haven't had time to read. We love this small, gorgeously illustrated collection of 30 poems from the likes of the late Mary Oliver and poet laureate Tracy K. Smith about being a woman. It's the perfect book for mom to read in one sitting or pick up as she pleases.
Why Don't You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?, by Patricia Marx and Roz Chast
Is your mom the queen of wit? Does she have the best zingers? Then she'll love Why Don't You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It? Author Marx collected her opinionated mother's best one-liners into a little book that's illustrated by New Yorker cartoonist Chast. Gems like "Humming is hostile" will have you both rolling on the floor laughing.
The Goodbye Diaries, by Marisa Bardach Ramel and Sally Bardach
In this deeply moving memoir, tight-knit mother-daughter duo Marisa Bardach Ramel and the late Sally Bardach share their experiences of coping with Sally's terminal cancer diagnosis in the last months of her life. Though it's a memoir about grief and loss, it's also as much a tribute to the unbreakable bonds between mothers and daughters.
The Island of Sea Women, by Lisa See
If your mom loves to lose herself in big, epic novels along the lines of The Queen of the Night or Pachinko that she can lose herself in, she'll love See's latest, The Island of Sea Women, about two friends working in their Korean village's all-female diving collective. Their bond is tested as they come of age against a backdrop of war, social change, and technological advancements. What's even cooler: See based her novel on a real place, Jeju, where men take care of children while women work as divers. This is a novel about women who are strong as your own mom.
Women in Sunlight, by Frances Mayes
If your mom loved Under the Tuscan Sun (or the delightful movie adaptation starring Diane Lane), she’ll love reading this new title from Mayes. In this story, Kit Raine is an American writer living in Tuscany, when three recently retired American women move into the mansion next door. This warm novel follow Kit and the trio as they spend a year together on an Italian adventure, exploring the rich culture around them and becoming closer as friends.
Song of a Captive Bird, by Jasmin Darznik
This gorgeous debut novel was inspired by the life of Forugh Farrokhzad, a famous Iranian poet and feminist. After Farrokhzad’s father forces her into a marriage, she finds herself a prisoner in her own home. Despite objections from those around her, she begins to fight back against the traditional society she lives in and her husband by writing and publishing feminist poetry. Moms that love historical fiction will be captivated by this fascinating woman and moved by her inspiring search for independence.
Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
If your mom has been dreaming of a Parisian adventure, she’ll love joining Leah Eady on her captivating search to find her husband. When Robert Eady, an eccentric novelist, vanishes, his wife and daughters soon discover a clue he left behind: plane tickets to Paris for the three of them. Once they arrive in Paris, the trio moves into an apartment above a bookshop, where they try to reinvent their lives while also searching the city for their missing patriarch.
Mr. Boddington's Etiquette: Charm and Civility for Every Occasion
If your mom is always reminding you to mind your Ps and Qs, she’ll love this funny guide to modern politeness from Mr. Boddington’s Studio. Between pages of adorable illustrations, she’ll find advice on acing every interaction—from being a hostess to navigating a wedding.
At My Table, by Nigella Lawson
Your mom already mastered basic kitchen skills with the help of Nigella Lawson's How to Be a Domestic Goddess, and now she can perfect her recipe repertoire with this no-frills guide to simple and delicious cooking. Dishes like Chili Cheese Garlic Bread and Chicken with Red Grapes and Marsala will take foods she knows and loves and elevate them with unexpected flavors. If the titles of the recipes aren't enough to make her mouth water, the 100-plus gorgeous photographs will.
Circe, by Madeline Miller
Mythology-buff moms will love this masterful novel from Miller (The Song of Achilles). The novel tells the little-known Greek myth of Circe, the daughter of Helios, the god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans. When Zeus discovers that she possesses the power of witchcraft, he banishes her to a deserted island. Over her years trapped on the island, Circe meets sailors that come to the land seeking shelter, and eventually finds herself torn between her two identities, mortal and divine, until she must choose between her godly family and the mortals she has come to know.
Tell Me More, by Kelly Corrigan
Are there certain words and phrases that create strong relationships? In this collection of essays from Kelly Corrigan, she reflects on 12 phrases that connect us as humans—from “Tell Me More,” to “I Was Wrong.” Your mom will love Corrigan’s musings on marriage and motherhood, and she will find the essay is poignant, funny, and filled with warmth.
The Art of Discarding, by Nagisa Tatsumi
Before there was The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, there was this book that inspired it all. Published for the first time in English, Nagisa Tatsumi gives easy advice on how to get rid of things that are just cluttering your life, instead of adding value to it. Additionally, she gives guidelines on how to acquire less stuff in the first place, so what she calls “accumulation syndrome” doesn’t return. Tatsumi believes that by changing our attitudes about our possessions we can rid ourselves of all the stuff we don’t actually need, opening the door to find joy in a clutter-free life.
I Love Mom With the Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
For a book that Mom can read and share with her kids, gift her the newest book by Eric Carle. Filled with Carle’s signature colorful illustrations that have made his work famous, this book follows the Very Hungry Caterpillar as he celebrates Mother’s Day and all the incredible parents in the world. Carle brings to life yet another read with adorable illustrations of various animal mom-baby pairs throughout the story, something young children will love to read.
Stop Here, This Is the Place, by Susan Conley and Winky Lewis
This beautiful book is a string of memories between two women. Every day for a year, Lewis sent Conley a photograph of her children, and Conley responded with a story that spoke to the photo. What resulted is a collection of moments and stories that chronicle a child’s growth and a mother’s love for her family
The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
This New York Times bestseller will keep her entertained for hours on the beach, on the couch, or on a plane—wherever her summer travels take her. It follows four grown—albeit slightly dysfunctional—siblings as they look forward to receiving a family inheritance, which they hope will solve their problems. Sweeney’s novel deals with complicated—and sometimes dark—family dynamics in a funny and captivating manner.
First Women, by Kate Andersen Brower
There’s no better time to reflect on past presidents as the country heads into election season. Instead of looking at the Commander in Chief, however, this anthology looks at powerful First Ladies—often-underestimated women who are intelligent, thick-skinned, and as important to this country as their husbands. From Jackie Kennedy to Betty Ford to Michelle Obama, this book reviews their achievements and struggles, and paints a powerful picture of female political leadership.
Diamond Head, by Cecily Wong
Following a horrific tragedy, four generations of women are forced to deal with a long-kept family secret. The wives and daughters of the Leong family are haunted by a Chinese legend that says each person is bound to their beloved with an invisible string, but whenever they make a romantic mistake, that string gathers knots. This knotted string is passed through generations, and ends with Theresa—18 and pregnant—who is burdened with the Leong family secrets. The novel spans years and perspectives—chapters are told by sisters, daughters, and wives—as the women grieve, and eventually rebuild.
Listen to Your Mother, by Ann Imig
This collection of stories was born from a live event asking women to share their stories about motherhood—now the show happens in more than 20 cities across America. This frank, funny, and touching anthology puts many of those stories down on paper, and discusses the complex and diverse array of parenting experiences, from step-motherhood to infertility, and everything in between.