Motherhood has never been easy. Even in the best of times, moms face internet know-it-alls, scary statistics, never-ending to-do lists, peer pressure—oh, and their little angels demanding their attention 24/7. Sometimes the only medicine that will save mom from a meltdown is a reminder that she’s not in it alone.
From incredible new insight into maternal anxieties to guidance on handling developmental challenges, advice about social media, and heartwarming and hilarious true stories of motherly success and survival, these nonfiction reads are just what mom needs to mentally restock her arsenal of wisdom, reconnect with the mothering community, and remember that, no matter what, she’s rocking it.
“Searing. . . . Menkedick is a skilled storyteller and her accounts of women from varied socioeconomic and racial backgrounds drive home how little society has to offer mothers.” –The New York Times Book Review
Anxiety among mothers is a growing but largely unrecognized crisis. In the transition to motherhood and the years that follow, countless women suffer from overwhelming feelings of fear, grief, and obsession that do not fit neatly within the outmoded category of “postpartum depression.” These women soon discover that there is precious little support or time for their care, even as expectations about what mothers should do and be continue to rise. Writing with profound empathy, visceral honesty, and deep understanding, Menkedick makes clear how critically we need to expand our awareness of, compassion for, and care for women’s lives.
Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level by Sally Shaywitz, M.D. and Jonathan Shaywitz, M.D.
“Fascinating. . . . Shaywitz has illuminated the inner workings of dyslexic minds.” —Time
Dyslexia is the most common learning disorder on the planet, affecting about one in five individuals, regardless of age or gender. Now a world-renowned expert gives us a substantially updated and augmented edition of her classic work: drawing on an additional fifteen years of cutting-edge research, offering new information on all aspects of dyslexia and reading problems and providing the tools that parents, teachers, and all dyslexic individuals need.
American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales
“Forces us to face a disturbing new reality. . . . should be required reading.”—San Francisco Chronicle
Award-winning Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales crisscrossed the country talking to more than two hundred girls between the ages of thirteen and nineteen about their experiences online and off. They are coming of age online in a hypersexualized culture that has normalized extreme behavior, from pornography to the casual exchange of nude photographs. Provocative, explosive, and urgent, American Girls will ignite much-needed conversation about how we can help our daughters and sons negotiate the new social and sexual norms that govern their lives.
Misconceptions: Truth, Lies, and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood by Naomi Wolf
“Combines intimate experience and expose reporting. . . . Everyone who is giving birth or getting health care should read this book.” —Gloria Steinem
In Misconceptions, bestselling author Naomi Wolf demythologizes motherhood and reveals the dangers of making assumptions about childbirth. The weeks after her first daughter’s birth taught her how society, employers, and even husbands can manipulate new mothers. She had bewildering postpartum depression, but learned that a surprisingly high percentage of women experience it. Wolf’s courageous willingness to talk about the unexpected difficulties of childbirth will help every woman become a more knowledgeable planner of her pregnancy and better prepare her for the challenges of balancing a career, freedom, and a growing family.
The Fifth Trimester by Lauren Smith Brody
“[Brody] is a passionate advocate. . . . She provides tangible tips and helpful advice from women who have been there and who more than survived, they thrived.” —CNN.com
The first three trimesters (and the fourth—those blurry newborn days) are for the baby, but the Fifth Trimester is when the working mom is born. A funny, tells-it-like-it-is guide for new mothers coping with the demands of returning to the real world after giving birth, The Fifth Trimester is packed with honest, funny, and comforting advice from eight hundred moms.
Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldman
“Hilarious, heartbreaking, and edgy.” —Newsweek
In our mothers’ day there were good mothers, indifferent mothers, and, occasionally, great mothers. Today we have only Bad Mothers: If you work, you’re neglectful; if you stay home, you’re smothering. Is it any wonder so many women refer to themselves at one time or another as a “bad mother”? Writing with remarkable candor, and dispensing much hilarious and helpful advice along the way—Ayelet Waldman says it’s time for women to get over it and get on with it in this wry, unflinchingly honest, and always insightful memoir on modern motherhood.
Mama’s Boy by Dustin Lance Black
“A memoir of an enduring mother-son bond that transcends even the deepest ideological divides. . . . [A] heartfelt tribute.” —USA Today, “5 Books Not to Miss”
Dustin Lance Black wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for Milk and helped overturn California’s anti–gay marriage Proposition 8, but as an LGBTQ activist he has unlikely origins. He was raised by a single mother in a conservative, Mormon household outside of San Antonio, Texas. It may seem like theirs was a house destined to be divided—and at times it was. But in the end, they did not let their differences define them or their relationship. One of Book Riot’s best books of the year, this heartfelt, deeply personal memoir explores how a mother and son built bridges across great cultural divides—and how our stories hold the power to heal.
Nobody Will Tell You This But Me by Bess Kalb
“When I stop crying, I’m calling my mother immediately and making her read it.” —Jodi Picoult, author of My Sister’s Keeper
Bess Kalb, Emmy-nominated TV writer and New Yorker contributor, saved every voicemail her grandmother Bobby Bell ever left her. Bobby doted on Bess; Bess adored Bobby. Then, at ninety, Bobby died. But in this debut memoir, Bobby is speaking to Bess once more, in a voice as passionate as it ever was in life. Recounting both family lore and family secrets, Bobby brings us four generations of indomitable women and the men who loved them. In Nobody Will Tell You This But Me, Bobby reminds Bess of the experiences they shared, and she delivers—in phone calls, texts, and unforgettable heart-to-hearts brought vividly to the page—her signature wisdom.
The Best Cook in the World by Rick Bragg
“Seriously good. . . . I read it with pencil in hand, underlining ideas I wanted to hold onto, or even memorize.” -—Dona Matthews, Psychology Today
In Tom Boyce’s extraordinary new book, he explores the “dandelion” child (hardy, resilient, healthy), able to survive and flourish under most circumstances, and the “orchid” child (sensitive, susceptible, fragile), who, given the right support, can thrive as much as, if not more than, other children. He shows us how to understand these children for their unique sensibilities, their considerable challenges, their remarkable gifts. The Orchid and the Dandelion offers hope and a pathway to success for parents, teachers, psychologists, and child development experts coping with difficult children.
The Orchid and the Dandelion by W. Thomas Boyce, M.D.
“Charming. . . . Glamorous. . . . Rakoff does a marvelous job of capturing a cultural moment.” —The Boston Globe
After leaving graduate school to pursue her dream of becoming a poet, Joanna Rakoff takes a job as assistant to the storied literary agent for J. D. Salinger. Precariously balanced between poverty and glamour, she spends her days in a plush, wood-paneled office—where Dictaphones and typewriters still reign and agents doze after three-martini lunches—and then goes home to her threadbare Brooklyn apartment and her socialist boyfriend. Rakoff is tasked with processing Salinger’s voluminous fan mail, but as she reads the heart-wrenching letters from around the world, she becomes reluctant to send the agency’s form response and impulsively begins writing back. The results are both humorous and moving, as Rakoff, while acting as the great writer’s voice, begins to discover her own.