Books by Literary Mama Editors & Columnists
Download the list and take it to your favorite local bookstore.
By Nicole Stellon O’Donnell
Boreal Books, 2012
Steam Laundry is a novel in poems that tells the story of Sarah Ellen Gibson, the sixth woman to arrive in Fairbanks in the gold rush of 1903. With her two children, she followed her husband to Dawson City, Yukon Territory in 1898. As their relationship faltered and her business opportunities dried up, she fled to Fairbanks with hopes of opening her own hotel. The book weaves persona with poems in the voices of many characters, lyric poems, and historical photographs and documents to trace her path.
The Edge of Maybe
By Ericka Lutz
Last Light Studio, 2012
Adam and Kira Glazer are quirky, Northern California liberals, entering middle age with politically correct values, an obsession with gourmet organic food, and no idea what has happened to their punk rock, adventurous youth. When a shocking reminder of the past lands on their doorstep, they are forced to confront their disappointments – in each other and in themselves. Adam, Kira, and their tween daughter Polly take on freeways and yoga classes, explore truths and secrets, and ultimately go for broke in The Edge of Maybe, a novel of possibilities. Award-winning author Ericka Lutz takes readers on a satirical and wild road trip, with a story that is witty and entertaining and characters who are visceral, sexy, and real.
Things We Didn’t Say
By Kristina Riggle
A fragile new family is in crisis when the teenpage son doesn’t show up at school, and young Casey must decide if her love for Michael is enough to carry them through as they search for Dylan, while the volatile ex-wife Mallory appears on the scene, and the eldest daughter, Angel seethes with anger. Casey had thought her past was behind her forever and she could start anew, but then Angel reads her diary and discovers her would-be stepmother’s difficult past.
The Beautiful One Has Come: Stories
By Suzanne Kamata
Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2011
A short story collection featuring expatriates in various countries.
The Life You’ve Imagined
By Kristina Riggle
Three friends and a mother are connected by a dying family business in this novel exploring the roads not taken. Anna Geneva returns to her hometown after losing a cherished friend and finds herself watching over her mother, Maeve, who has never gotten over the abandonment of her husband twenty years ago, and hopes he will someday return to her. Cami, once Anna’s close friend, finds herself back in their small town as well, forced by circumstance to move in with her alcoholic father, where she will discover a dark family secret. And Amy, newly thin after spending her youth as the fat girl thought she wanted … but is it enough to make her truly happy?
Call Me Okaasan: Adventures in Multicultural Mothering
Edited by Suzanne Kamata
Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2009
A collection of essays on the joys and challenges of raising a child across two or more cultures by women writers around the world.
This Lovely Life: A Memoir of Premature Motherhood
by Vicki Forman
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009
This Lovely Life tells, with brilliant intensity, what became of the Forman family after the birth of her premature twins — the harrowing medical interventions and ethical considerations involving the sanctity of life and death. In the end, the longdelayed first steps of a five-year-old child will seem like the fist-pumping stuff of a triumph narrative. Forman’s intelligent voice gives a sensitive, nuanced rendering of her guilt, her anger, and her eventual acceptance in this portrait of a mother’s fierce love for her children.
Mother in the Middle: A Biologist’s Story of Caring for Parent and Child
by Sybil Lockhart
Sybil Lockhart was a neuroscientist pregnant with her second child when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. As her children began life, her mother descended into dementia, and Sybil entered the world of caregiving. All the while as a scientist, she was acutely conscious of the neurobiological back-story: the structures deep within her baby’s brain that lit up with activity as the earliest memories were stored, while in her mother’s brain neuronal fibers tangled and clotted and one memory after another was lost. Lockhart uses plain language to fuse her family’s deeply personal experience with the underlying narrative of cellular neurobiology.
Real Life and Liars
by Kristina Riggle
Avon Books, 2009
As a wilted flower child, Mira Zielinski has never been one to follow orders. Not from her husband, not from her boss – not even from her oncologist. Mira has her own idea about handling her newly diagnosed breast cancer, and it does not involve hopping up on the operating table. Her grown children will no doubt object — when she gets around to telling them.
by Suzanne Kamata
Leapfrog Press, 2008
Jill Parker is an American painter living in Japan who must choose between freedom and abandoning her child. Told with tenderness, humor, and an insider’s knowledge of Japanese family life; an exceptional expatriate voice.
Love You To Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs
Edited by Suzanne Kamata
Beacon Press, 2008
The first collection of literary writing on raising a child with special needs, Love You to Pieces features families coping with autism, deafness, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome and more. Here, poets, memoirists, and fiction writers paint beautiful, wrenchingly honest portraits of caring for their children, laying bare the moments of rage, disappointment, and guilt that can color their relationships. Parent-child communication can be a challenge at the best of times, but in this collection we witness the struggles and triumphs of those who speak their own language — or don’t speak at all — and those who love them deeply.
Mama, PhD: Women Write About Motherhood & Academic Life
Edited by Elrena Evans and Caroline Grant
Rutgers University Press, 2008
A literary anthology of deeply-felt personal narratives by women both in and out of the academy, writing about their experiences attempting to reconcile bodies with brains. These essays voice stories of academic women choosing to have, not have, or delay children, and make recommendations on how to make the academy a more family-friendly workplace. Candid, provocative, and with a wry sense of humor, these essays speak to and offer support for any woman attempting to combine work and family.
The Maternal Is Political: Women Writers at the Intersection of Motherhood and Social Change
edited by Shari MacDonald Strong
Seal Press, 2008
Exploring the vital connection between motherhood and social change, The Maternal Is Political features forty-four powerful, hard-hitting literary essays by women who are striving to make the world a better place for children and families — both their own and other women’s — in this country and globally.
Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined
Edited by Amy Hudock and Andrea J. Buchanan
Seal Press, 2005
This unique collection features the best of Literary Mama. It celebrates the voices of the maternally inclined, paves the way for other writer mamas, and honors the difficult and rewarding work women do as they move into motherhood.
Peeking Under My Skirt
by Stephanie Hunt
BookSurge Publishing, 2002
From intimate peeks at marriage to ruminations on candlelight, to an expose of the mayhem surrounding the annual extended family beach trip, Peeking is both lyrical and light-hearted.
by Sharon Kraus
University Press of Florida, 2002
Chronicling the life of a woman embarking on marriage and contemplating motherhood, these poems wrestle with the narrator’s violent childhood and work to reconcile her past with the course of her future.
by Sharon Kraus
Alice James Books, 2002
Generation maps the survival of a traumatic childhood. Kraus masters the toxic fall-out of abusive experiences by rendering them fiercely meaningful, almost as a dance or a biblical drama.
A Ghost at Heart’s Edge: Stories and Poems of Adoption
Edited by Susan Ito
North Atlantic Books, 1999
Fifty short stories and poems reveal the sometimes heartbreaking, often affirming tales of adoption, written by birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees.
The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan
Edited by Suzanne Kamata
Stone Bridge Press, 1997
This collection of short stories is an absorbing look at the Outsider in a nation that does not absorb foreigners easily.