The Perfect Books To Get Every Kind Of Mom This Mother's Day

Sure, you could send your mom flowers for Mother's Day on Sunday, May 13. They will light up her room for a few days — and then eventually wilt. But you know what never wilts? You know what stays fresh and interesting forever (so long as you don't accidentally drop it in the bathtub)? A book.
So this Mother's Day, consider gifting your mom — or any of the maternal figures in your life — a book. But not just the first book you find after stumbling into Barnes & Noble on your lunch break. Get her a book that you know she'll like.
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To help you on your quest, we've compiled a list of literary recommendations from every genre. Find groundbreaking new releases brushing shoulders with memoirs and coffee table books. You'll definitely find something she'll like — and maybe get something for yourself, too.
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For the mom who’s embarking on a project:

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (1992)

As Julia Cameron devotees will attest, The Artist's Way is a way of life. Julia Cameron's text has been fostering creativity and self-discovery for 25 years. The book lays out a 12-week guide for getting in touch with your inner creative voice. For the total package, you can also buy the accompanying journal.
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For the mom who always reads the book before seeing the movie:

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (2001)

After reading Bel Canto, you'll be astounded that it took 17 years for the book to be turned into a movie. The novel is remarkably cinematic, in addition to being exquisitely written. At the start of the book, a group of dignitaries, leaders, and public figures gather in the mansion of an unnamed Latin American country to honor Japanese tycoon Mr. Hosokawa. Hosokawa's favorite opera singer, Roxane Coss, has been flown out for the occasion. Then, the gathering is taken hostage. Catch the movie starring Julianne Moore and Ken Watanabe later this year.
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For the mom who always reads the book before seeing the movie, part two:

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (2013)

Kevin Kwan's addictive trilogy, which begins with Crazy Rich Asians, takes place among the super-rich of Singapore and China. In the first novel, econ professor Rachel Chau discovers that her perfect, humble boyfriend, Nick Young, is actually the only scion of a famously wealthy and notoriously secretive Singaporean clan. When they fly (first class!) to Singapore for a wedding, Rachel is exposed to a whole 'nother world. Let's see if she can survive it. A Crazy Rich Asians movie adaptation is hitting theaters in August. Give your mom the gift of reading the book first.
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For the mom who's already read everything:

By the Book edited by Pamela Paul (2014)

If you're looking for book recommendations, look no further than the New York Times Book Review's "By the Book" column. In the weekly column, an author, artist, or public figure is asked about the books that had impact on their lives and careers. By the Book's joys are twofold. First, you can learn so much about a person from what they read. But the book is also teeming with fantastic recommendations. Find out what books are on your role models' bookshelves and get them yourself.
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For the mom who knows well-behaved women rarely make history:

Bad Girls Throughout History by Ann Shen (2016)

Ann Shen's gorgeously illustrated book brings some of history's most interesting women to life, many of whom thrived in a time when women were rarely public figures. Women like the author Aphra Behn, aviator Amelia Earheart, and actress Dorothy Dandridge had to carve a place for themselves — and often did so by breaking every rule and shattering every social norm. To round out the gift, check out the book's accompanying stationary.
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For the mom who inspires you every day:

200 Women (2017)

Each of the 200 women featured in this stunning photo book are asked the same five questions: What really matters to you? What brings you happiness? What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? What would you change if you could? Which single word do you most identify with? The subjects range from journalists in war zones to actresses to women you might not have heard of before — but should.
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For the glamorous mom:

The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983-1992 by Tina Brown (2017)

Tina Brown was hired to be the editor of Vanity Fair while she was on vacation in the Caribbean. Next thing she knew, the 20-something ingenue — who had already revived the British magazine Tattler — was at the Condé Nast offices in New York, ready to work a miracle. This fast-paced memoir is constructed from Brown's meticulous diaries, which she wrote after every hectic workday and glamorous gala. In addition to dishing out the stories you want to hear about — including how she managed to get the Reagan kiss — the memoir delves into Brown's partnership with her husband, and the process of raising an infant son while pioneering an entire publication.
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For the mom who knows the suburbs can be treacherous:

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (2017)

For her second novel, Celeste Ng returned to a familiar setting: Shaker Heights, Ohio, the suburb in which she grew up. Elena Richardson, lifelong Shaker Heights resident, lives the life she'd always imagined: a job as a journalist, a wealthy husband, a sprawling colonial house, and four perfect children. The Richardson family is upended with Mia Warren, a free-spirited artist, moves into their rental home with her daughter, Pearl. Mia and her daughter provide the precise kind of disruption that can force self-reckonings. Watching this intricate network of relationships evolve and build to a dramatic climax will keep you glued to the page.
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For the mom who likes to stop and smell the roses:

Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver (2017)

Mary Oliver's poems are life companions. Oliver's famous poem "The Summer Day" ends with the iconic question, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” You'll hear her poems — all of which pack a similar wallop — echoing in your head for months. Devotions is a collection of her most famous work, and makes for a great nightstand book to wind down with before bed.
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For the mom with an unbelievably big heart:

That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam (2018)

Soon after giving birth to her first son, Rebecca Stone, a poet and the wife of a British ambassador, hires Priscilla Johnson, her nurse from the hospital, as a nanny. During their afternoons together, Rebecca and Priscilla form a friendship – or at least they do in Rebecca's mind. Everything changes when Priscilla dies in childbirth, and Rebecca and her husband adopt Priscilla's infant son as their own. But this is the '80s in D.C., and Rebecca, however well-intentioned, doesn't know about raising a Black son. That Kind of Mother is an exploration of race, class, and power — as well as a fascinating look at the evolution of one woman's mind over decades. Alam is uniquely well-suited to write this story of adoption. Alam, the son of Bangladeshi immigrants, and his white husband are the fathers of two adopted Black sons.
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For the mom whose DVR is always full:

Stealing the Show: How Women Are Revolutionizing Television by Joy Press (2018)

Your mom will read Stealing the Show as quickly as she binged her favorite Netflix show. In this thrilling book, Joy Press weaves the most influential TV shows created by women into a cohesive narrative arc. You'll learn how Murphy Brown and Roseanne paved the way for revolutionary shows like Transparent and Orange is the New Black — and how these shows actually influenced the culture around them. Press also conjures up figures, and the writing room environments, behind the creation of these shows. Through her sharp descriptions, the showrunners become characters as interesting as the protagonists they created for seasons.
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For the mom who's a survivor:

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (2018)

If you read Kristin Hannah's WWII-set mega-hit The Nightingale, you know she's an expert in writing badass women protagonists with as much courage as they have heart. She does it again with The Great Alone, an epic novel set in Alaska. In the book, Ernt Allbright returns home from fighting in Vietnam and decides to relocate his wife and 13-year-old daughter to rural Alaska. Stuck in a cabin, Ernt's already fragile mental state starts to deteriorate. Cora, woefully unprepared for the difficulties of Alaska — from wolf howls to subzero temperatures – must figure it out as she goes along in order to keep her family alive.
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For the mom who loves talking about motherhood:

And Now We Have Everything by Meaghan O'Connell (2018)

Not long after getting engaged to her boyfriend, 28-year-old Meaghan O'Connell discovered she was pregnant. This, to be clear, was not part of O'Connell's life-plan. In this wrenchingly honest and hilariously observant memoir, O'Connell grapples with the realities of pregnancy, the experience of labor, and the tolls of the expectations of motherhood have on her and her relationship with her husband. This is the journey of a woman learning to incorporate "mother" into her sense of self. As O'Connell told Refinery29, this memoir was her "way of making sense of everything."
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For the mom who works tirelessly:

The Language of Kindness: A Nurse's Story by Christie Watson (2018)

Before becoming a novelist, Christie Watson worked as a nurse for 20 years. She revisited the joys and trials of her former career in this memoir, which eventually sparked a massive bidding war between 14 publishers. By being honest about the grislier aspects of her former career, Watson reveals the amount of grit and compassion required to be a nurse. Given the episodic nature of the book, it's no wonder that it is currently being adapted for a TV series.
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For the mom who loves her mother:

The Seasons of My Mother by Marcia Gay Harden (2018)

Growing up, Marcia Gay Harden always knew her mother was special. Beverly, a Dallas native, flourished when her family made a difficult move to Japan for her husband's career in the Navy. She took up ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, and roped her family into countless adventures. Now, Beverly struggles with Alzheimer's disease. Harden, one of America's most celebrated actresses, pays tribute to who her mother was, and the spirit that's still within her.
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For the mom who can't resist a multi-generational epic:

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (2017)

In this stunning feat of a novel, Min Jin Lee traces four generations of a family from their humble beginnings in Korea, to lasting difficulties adapting to life in Japan as ethnic Koreans. Lee's multitude of characters create a chorus of history.
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For the mom who wants to read the next best thing:

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (2018)

Right now, in rooms across America, An American Marriage is starting dialogues. It's impossible not to be drawn into the difficult web of relationships in Tayari Jones' book, and it's impossible not to take sides – though no side is the "right" one. During his first year of marriage, Roy is wrongfully accused of raping a woman and sentenced to prison. While her husband languishes, Celestial's career blossoms, much to her shame and discomfort. What happens when racism and the prison industrial system snaps a young couple's trajectory? Find out in An American Marriage, Oprah's current Book Club pick.
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