Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12, and the GeekMoms are recommending books that they just flat out love, from journals to fiction to comics to non-fiction to comics. Hope you find something for yourself or your mom her. And if you’re looking for something made by our GeekMoms, check out the Created by GeekMom! Gift Guide from last December.
By the founding editors of GeekMom.com:
GeekMom: Projects, Tips and Adventures for Moms and Their 21st Century Families.
What’s it about? Well, it’s full of projects and activities but, mostly, it’s a guide to putting the geeky to use in everyday life.
The sections are divided into six chapters: Secret Identities, Elementary, My Dear Watson, Resistance is Futile, Inquiring Minds Want to Know, Food Wizardry and Make it Sew! It includes projects on making costumes, essays on Julie Child and Ada Lovelace, but, most of all, how to approach the world with a geeky, curious eye.
I really want to be the kind of mom that puts together lavish scrapbooks documenting my child’s existence. But, as life would have it, I’m the kind of mom that sometimes can’t remember if I brushed my teeth this morning. So I am LOVING this low stress memory book from Chronicle. One line a day? I can do that.
With so much technical reading at work, I like to relax with a deeply engrossing, take-me-away story. High on my Glom List is a book yet to be named or published: the third book in Robin LaFevers’ His Fair Assassin trilogy. In Grave Mercy , I became committed to Ismae, who overcame her dark beginnings to find faith and trust in unexpected places. In the second book, Dark Triumph,which I just finished, Sybella has to relearn everything she knows about herself, her past and her family, before she can learn to act safely in the world. They are immersed in a complex, rich, dangerous world full of historical facts and small historical backdrops.
More “take me away” reading: old-time comics. I just discovered that the Prince Valiant comics from the Sunday funny pages of my childhood are being republished by Fantagraphics as large-format books. PV gave me superior, colorful artwork each Sunday and the long-running story arcs and recurring characters took place in medieval settings with Arthurian complications. This mom has surely been good enough for all of them through volume six, and plans to be good enough for the scheduled volumes–the comic has been in the Sunday papers since 1937, so these volumes will just keep on coming.
I’ve recently found the Rocketeer comics, and there are some fun issues published by new writers and artists giving a new spin to the old ideas, tech, and characters. They’ve been getting great reviews and some awards and I want to read more: Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom is written by Mark Waid and art by Chris Samnee: one of the best duos in the biz; Rocketeer Adventures Volume 1 is an anthology riffing off of the original comics by Dave Stevens–lots of different writers and artists, including Mark Waid again, Michael Allred, Kurt Busiek, Gene Ha, Darwyn Cooke, and many others. A great smorgasbord of writing and art, in a likeable series. A sure-fire gift!
While I kind of hate to say it after all of the ups and downs I’ve heard about it, I’m finally curious to read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, though I hope to spend Mother’s Day leaning out.
Falling Angels follows the story of two girls coming of age in England at the beginning of the 20th century. The girls are different in just about every way, as are their mothers: one girl is wild and dramatic, the other is well-mannered and proper, one mother is active in the suffragist movement but always absent, the other thinks a woman’s place is submissive and in the home. I read this book long before having kids, but it had a deep impact on how I view my role as a woman and a mother.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Set in rural Texas at the end of the 19th century, this book as about a girl who fights the social norms pushed on her by her mother, in favor of learning about science and evolution by her naturalist grandfather. It is a simple story and a quick read, but what made such an impact on me was how her grandfather approached teaching Calpurnia. His attitude can best be described by this quote from Robert A. Heinlein, “don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.”
Bujold is the rare author whose books I always enjoy, although I love some more than others. Her Vorkosigan series is my favorite, and Cordelia’s Honor my favorite of those, but this book felt like a special gift from a beloved friend. I literally hugged it when I was done.
The Vorkosigan series roughly is about the inhabitants of a colonized planet that was cut off from the rest of the galaxy for a long enough period of time to lose most technology and go native. When the universe finally returns, in full force, the result is a technologically forward society whose social mores are far behind the rest of the galaxy, meaning that women are still viewed as second class citizens but things are starting to change.
This book is centered on one Ivan Vorpatril, a supporting character in most of the series who’s usually dismissed as “that idiot Ivan,” by the main characters. But Ivan isn’t an idiot. He’s more of an imbodiment of Robert Heinlein’s lazy man: do all the work in as little time and with as little effort as possible. Ivan’s incredibly smart but wary of getting involved in causes and fights. Until, though a slightly comical series of events, he makes a marriage of convenience with an off-worlder he adores. And then things get more complicated. And funnier. This can be read as a stand-alone but long-time readers of the series will love it too.
Laura Grace Weldon:
If you haven’t heard of the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley, you’re missing out. Young Flavia is a prodigy with an extensive vocabulary, a penchant for chemistry, and a passion for mystery. These eccentric books are written for adult readers, but are perfect to share with kids not only because they’re free of sex and overt violence, but because they’re so wickedly funny. The first in the series is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Five books so far, another in the works, and the books have been options by Sam Mendes for TV.
Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle brims with 65 clever drink recipes paired with classic books. Of course you want to try “Paradise Sauced,” “A Farewell to Amaretto,” or “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margarita.” The witty text is delicious enough but the book also includes drinking games, handy guides, and whimsical illustrations.
What can animal health tell us about human health? Until recently, doctors have overlooked the similarities veterinarians have long noticed. Cardiologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz shares species-spanning insights across a whole range of conditions including infertility, addiction, eating disorders, and sexual dysfunction in Zoobiquity. Fascinating for anyone who enjoys animals, health, or science.