Mother’s Day is around the corner and you’re probably looking for a gift for your mom or for a mom you know. Of course, you could always go the typical route and buy her flowers or a box of chocolates but if your mom’s a reader (or aspires to be one), why not buy her a book instead? As always, we’re here to help. Whether your mom is a fitness enthusiast, a foodie or spiritually-inclined, this list will help you find the perfect book for her. We’ve also got books for single moms, new moms and stylish moms, amongst others. This Mother’s Day, give your mom the gift of reading.
The Food-Loving Mom
If your mom is a whiz in a kitchen and knows and loves her food, she probably has enough cookbooks, so instead buy her a food novel. Like Water For Chocolate is a classic, which not only contains Mexican recipes but also shows how the emotions of a cook are infused in the food they prepare and are then transferred into the hearts and minds of those who eat it. Amit Majmudar’s The Abundance is a powerful story that shows how food and cooking can bring families together and repair relationships. Alternatively, if your mom is a foodie but struggles in the kitchen, buy her Julia Child’s My Life In France, the inspiring story of how Child discovered her passion for cooking and went on to become a successful chef and writer.
The Health-Conscious Mom
Is your mom a fitness freak? Does she spend a lot of time at the gym and/or focuses on eating healthy? If so, the following books would be perfect for her. Rujuta Diwekar’s Women & The Weight Loss Tamasha is a must-read for any woman who thinks fitness goes beyond weight loss and is a celebration of the female body. It’s no secret that yoga is great not just for the body but also for the mind. Payal Gidwani Tiwari’s Body Goddess is perfect for the mom looking to make yoga a part of her daily life. For the busy mom, who wants to get fit or stay fit without spending hours in the gym, The 4-Hour Body is the way to go. This book will help your mom customise a plan that will help her reach her goals while committing less than four hours a week!
The Working Mom
Balancing a career and being a mom can be difficult. Show your mom how much you support her choice by buying her one of these books. Payal Kapadia’s Maidless In Mumbai is a light, funny fictional take on a working mom’s search for the perfect maid. Your mom might find herself a little overwhelmed at times and Stretched Too Thin will give her useful insights on and tools for managing both her professional and personal lives without feeling exhausted. Another good book on a similar topic is I Know How She Does It, which uses data to understand how successful working mothers spend their time and to give other moms a framework on how to ‘thrive at work and life’.
The Globetrotting Mother
If your mom comes alive at the very thought of travelling and you often find her planning her next trip (with or without you), get her a travel journal to help her plan and record her trips. If you and your mom often take trips together, buy her Have Mother, Will Travel, a mother-daughter memoir about a round-the-world trip and how it changed their relationship. Lastly, having a toddler should not mean the end of travel for moms and Bee Rowlatt’s In Search Of Mary is proof of that. In this memoir, Rowlatt (with her toddler in tow) embarks on a quest to learn more about the life and legacy of Mary Wollstonecraft and ends up tracing her footsteps from Norway to Paris.
For the mom who loves books and probably also inculcated the love of reading in you, buy her a book about books. Anne Fadiman’s Ex Libris is an absolute delight and this collection of 18 essays explores readers’ relationship with their books. If your mom credits books with changing her life or with defining her personality, Anna Quindlen’s How Reading Changed My Life is a great choice as she talks about her passion for reading and discusses the books that shaped her life. If your mom can’t go into a bookstore without picking up a book for herself, get her The Man Who Loved Books Too Much, a true story about a man who steals books out of his love for them and the man who was obsessed with catching him.
The Stylish Mom
If your mom is always on-trend and stylish, she’ll love these recommendations. Dress: An Anthology explores style, fashion and clothes through fiction, non-fiction and poetry by contributors like Amitav Ghosh, Jhumpa Lahiri and Meena Kandasamy. Nina Garcia’s The Little Black Book Of Style will help your mom take her style quotient to the next level as she can develop her own signature look using the tips in this book. Contributing editor to the British Vogue, Alexa Chung’s It collects her writing and musings on fashion, selfies, style, and even heartbreak and is a must-read for anyone who loves fashion.
The Feminist Mother
Does your mom identify as a feminist? Even if she doesn’t, but embodies all the qualities of one, buy her a femoir or a book about feminism. Roxane Gay’s collection of essays, Bad Feminist will take your mom on a cultural journey of the last few years and comments on the state of feminism today. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Dear Ijeawale is written as a letter and instructs mothers on how to raise a child with feminist values. Nivedita Menon’s Seeing Like A Feminist is a basic primer on feminism and provides an understanding of the women’s rights narrative in India and will help your mom question existing cultural and social norms in India.
The Single Mom
As if parenting isn’t tough enough, being a single mom is completely different ball-game. Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions is an honest account of her first year as a single mom and how she dealt with the changes in her life. Roxie Gaultier’s The Story is a memoir about her life as a single mother of four and how she set herself on a path to peace and happiness. Kausalya Saptharishi’s Mom In The City is a fictional take on single motherhood and explores the challenges of being a single mother in India through Ira’s story.
The Romantic Mom
For the mom who loves her romantic novels and probably grew up on a steady diet of Mills & Boons, a book about love is the way to go. Elif Shafak’s The Forty Rules Of Love is a delightful read that uses Sufi mysticism to examine love through Ella Rubinstein’s journey of self-discovery. Another great pick is Alain de Botton’s Essays In Love, a novel about two young people who meet on an aeroplane and quickly fall in love. In this book, Botton uses fiction as a medium to analyse love. And if your mom is more likely to enjoy simple but profound love poetry, pick up a copy of Rumi: The Book Of Love which has poems that explore everything from the “grief of a lover’s loss” to the “madness of sudden love”.
The Spiritual Mom
If your mom is spiritually inclined, buy her a book which nurtures her spirituality. The Zen Commandments is an excellent choice as it eschews dogma and focusses on what works to give you ‘spiritual street smarts’ and is written with warmth, humour, clarity and common sense. If your mom is a fan of the Dalai Lama, go with The Dalai Lama’s Little Book Of Inner Peace, which offers powerful advice on how to live a fulfilling and peaceful life and invites you to rediscover fundamental values like love, respect and integrity. Spiritual guru, Deepak Chopra’s The Book Of Secrets will help her find inner peace as she explores topics like the importance of transcending her egocentric self and how evil is not her enemy.
Bonus: The New Mom
There is no rule that only children can give their mothers gifts on mother’s day! If you know a new mom and want to pamper her (and you should), then this is the perfect opportunity to do so. Parenting is a challenge and new moms are often confused about how to raise a happy child. Brain Rules is an excellent book on how to raise a smart and happy child and discusses various concepts, behaviours and activities that can help increase a child’s brain power. For the nervous new mom, Meaghan O’Connell’s honest account of becoming a mother, And Now We Have Everything, is a great pick. In this book, O’Connell talks about the ‘emotional and existential impact of motherhood’ and discusses issues like maternal self-esteem, sex and post-pregnancy body. It is important to create a strong emotional bond with a child and Positive Parenting dispels new-fangled theories and provides a new mom with the tools they need to create such a bond.