Treat Yourself: A Savvy Book List for Moms

Amy Rees
April 30, 2009

It goes without saying that it doesn't happen often, surely not often enough. But it does happen -- and when it does, we feel fantastic.

Stealing a moment to read a book just for the joy of it. A grown-up book. Not parenting advice (much as we treasure our gurus in the field). Not a bedtime story or even a chapter book with our children, much as we cherish those reads, too. But a real book, read just for fun, just for us. Maybe a beach read, maybe a winter's companion, maybe just a paragraph or three before we drop it as fall, jarringly, to sleep ourselves.

Here's a secret: 20 minutes of reading makes every day feel a bit like the sweet luxury of Mother's Day.

So, in honor of the season, and in the hope of making its delights a bit more frequently found, we bring you a Savvy book list.

It's not exhaustive -- it's truly just what's on the tip of our tongues, the top of our nightstands. It's a list of books that if you asked your Savvy friends for a book to borrow right this minute, we would press one of these into your hands and say, "Oooh, you should read this!"


She's one of us -- Kelly Corrigan's The Middle Place is where we have to start, because she is the best friend, sister, next-door neighbor you haven't met yet. We could say more, but trust us -- just start reading. 

Friends, marriages, parents, children, passing time -- Wallace Stegner's Crossing to Safety is a classic for all the right reasons, and when you read it as a parent yourself, looking around at your circle of friends, the resonance shakes the floor.

Okay, technically about parenting, but deliciously and irreverently so -- Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions (suggested by Being Savvy West LA) is the laugh you desperately needed when your first baby arrived. Better late than never. And Sleep Is for the Weak edited by Rita Arens is a collection of great stories by parents who lived to tell the tales (on their blogs).

Women, strong for one another -- These wonderful stories -- The Birth House by Ami McKay (suggested by Being Savvy Chicago), and The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (suggested by Being Savvy Atlanta) -- are gems.

Mothers' tales, all kinds welcome -- All that's shared and all that's different (sometimes radically so) come together to compel in these great books -- Losing Kei by Suzanne Kamata (suggested by Being Savvy Halifax), Rockabye: From Wild to Child by Rebecca Woolf (suggested by Being Savvy Newark), Shattered Dreams by Irene Spencer (suggested by Being Savvy Boston), Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Center (suggested by Being Savvy Houston)

Memoirs: the truth, the laughs, the tears -- Dry by Augusten Burroughts picks up where the dark wit of Running with Scissors left off, and it's a great escape from your own (different-but-hey-struggles-are) struggles (suggested by Being Savvy Cincinnati).  Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris is his best collection yet, also dark, witty, true, brilliant (suggested by Being Savvy San Fernando Valley). Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas, replete with great pop culture references and universally funny cringe-at-your-parents moments.

Beachy, if young adult vampire lit can be beachy -- If you're missing Twilight, perhaps it's time to sink your teeth into City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. 

Distilled to the basics, still funny -- Haiku Mama by Kari Ann Roy (suggested by Being Savvy Austin) because, in fact, "17 syllables is all you have time to read."

Just the top of our nightstands, remember? So, tell us, what did we forget? What's on your list?

From the Parents

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