Happy Mother’s Day Weekend! Consider this a Public Service Warning that you now have 48 hours to get it together and honor your Mom. Being a mom is not easy work. The hours are long, the pay stinks, you grow half a shoe size with each child and if that weren’t grim enough, some of us do that dance all alone without any support from the other piece of the parenting puzzle. Couple that with it’s the only job that only ends when you do. And who knows? Maybe not even then. It doesn’t matter how old your children get, they are still the cause of fret and worry. In the words of the wise and wonderful Priscilla S (her real name), “You are only as happy as your most unhappy child.” I loved the New Yorker cover this week. What mother on the planet hasn’t had that moment? I know for myself as the mother of two active boys it was a frequent occurrence and I considered the day a triumph if I did not hear the word ‘incident’ come from a teacher’s mouth. (An aside to you new Moms out there; no good ever comes from an educator using the word incident. Trust me on this one.) My cousins and I lost our mothers when they were relatively young and not a day goes by that we don’t miss them. So call your mom! Shower her with flowers and prettily wrapped gifts, pour her a big glass of whatever makes her happy, make her put her feet up and do her bidding. If, you are like me and the cousins and that’s not possible, do something in her honor that would make her proud. She would like that very much. Do we have The Playlist? Of course we do! It’s a Friday. This week we have a young writer, some moms, Rhode Island, journalists, London, sisters, criminal activites and some anxiety.
Let us begin!
Abby is reading The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair due out on May 27th. “One thing that attracts me to a book is when it doesn't remind me of anything else I've read. Even if I don't absolutely love the book, I have tremendous respect for originality. This is where I find myself with The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker. Already an award winner and bestseller in Europe, it is a dense and original work that is an absorbing mix of romance, mystery, and literary fiction. Bouncing between the present and the mid-1970's, Dicker tells the story of Marcus Goldman, a young writer who becomes the toast of the town following the debut of his first novel, but then gets hit by a crushing bout of writer's block. Under pressure from a demanding public and an impatient publisher, Marcus reaches out to his college mentor Harry Quebert to help him break it. But when details about Harry's past emerge, Marcus is determined to stand by Harry and clear his name. This book is an interesting mix of Harry's writing, small town life, fame, loyalty, and the very nature of love.
Pat T is celebrating Mother’s Day in a literary way. “This Mother’s Day I would like to bring to your attention Anna Quindlen, since the subject of her many novels touch on motherhood and family. In her book, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, she looks back on the days when she ‘lived everyday devoted to the welfare of three exuberant, emotionally exhausting children and had no clue about how these three children would change everything’. In Still Life with Breadcrumbs, Rebecca Winters, is a daughter, wife and mother whose life has been upended but she faces the challenges with a renewed energy. In Black and Blue, and Every Last One, the mothers deal with challenges and tragedies with honesty, strength and courage. I wish all you Moms a relaxing, carefree day, reading a good book!”
Sue S had reached completion! “I finished On the Rocks by Erin Duffy. When Abby is dumped by her fiancé via Facebook, she uses the summer in Rhode Island to find herself. It was a good story with its funny points but it ultimately left me wanting in terms a good well rounded ending.”
Laura has two things this week that have made her happy. “I am on the edge of my seat reading A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett. It gives a great insight into the dare-devil world of freelance journalism. I am only half way through and I can't wait to sit down to read more. I have also been enjoying the TV series Call the Midwife. I binge watched what I had on TiVo. I love the characters and the London East Side stories that tear at your heart. I am curious to read the actual diaries of these nurses from the book by Jennifer Worth.”
Pat S has just finished Dear Abigail: The Intimate Lives and Revolutionary Ideas of Abigail Adams and Her Two Remarkable Sisters by Diane Jacobs. “I chose this book because I am a huge fan of the epistolary format and this volume didn't disappoint. Using the letters and journals of Abigail Adams and her sisters Mary Cranach and Elizabeth Peabody, Jacobs weaves a riveting narrative of the life and times of women in revolutionary times. While the lives of Abigail and John Adams take center stage, the women discuss everything from the day to day quotidian tasks of housekeeping and childrearing to the larger issues of gender inequality and the fast changing political landscape of the era. While the sisters were unusual at the time for their level of education, it makes this portrayal of women’s' lives no less fascinating.”
Steph has an announcement. Listen up, People! “Attention Denise Mina fans: she’s back, and she’s still in great form! The Red Road is the latest in the Alex Morrow series, and it’s just as tense and well-written as the rest. Morrow once again finds herself accidentally immersed in a messy case, as well as dealing with her half-brother’s criminal activities constantly ricocheting into her day job. And the center of it all is the sad Scottish foster care system, and one violent night that has had consequences all the way into the present day. Mina continues to set the bar high for all other crime fiction writers. I am already looking forward to her next book.”
Here is DJ Jazzy Patty’s take on the weekend festivities! And of course The Playlist. “What do rappers and boy bands have in common you ask? They love their mommas and they wrote a song about it. I could talk about cards and flowers and brunch, but I think I’ll leave that to others. This Sunday is Mother’s Day and in the past, it was a day I worked. In the restaurant biz it was a day to be dreaded; rookies on parade. This year that is not the case, and for that I am grateful. I am grateful to be able to spend the day with my family. Nowadays being a mother is very complex as is the execution of that role. That is one of life’s great paradoxes. Parenting books abound and some offer good solid, no nonsense advice while others can leave you confused, massively insecure and curled up on the floor in a ball of anxiety. I’m only in chapter two of Jennifer Senior’s, All Joy And No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood but it’s good. It’s not a book about parenting per se but about parents and specifically written for middle class moms and dads. The book’s underpinnings of research, philosophy, psychology, her insights and observations make it a compelling read in the age of anxious parenting. As parents, we are given the profound gift of raising another human being and our lives and relationships are forever changed by it. So this Mother’s Day take some time off from anxiety and be kind to yourself and in the words of Mark Wahlberg,’ Say hi to your mother for me’”