Ask the Editors: Expectant Mother Seeks Rocking-Chair Reading

Sarah Harrison Smith on January 23, 2018
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85607102_l.jpgLooking for a great book? Ask the editors! In this edition, a mother-to-be wants just the right thing to read during maternity leave.

If you have a question of your own, we'd love to hear from you at AskTheEditors@Amazon.com.


I am less than seven weeks away from maternity leave and am looking to load up my Paperwhite with some great reads. Do you have any suggestions for some light mysteries or fun chick lit to read during late night hours?

Bridgette


First of all, congratulations on your baby-on-the-way! We have some great suggestions for late night, rocking-chair reading – nothing too dark or dismal, and with enough momentum to keep you from nodding off. Check back in with us when you are ready to start reading to your baby: we love children’s books too!

Before we get started with suggestions for light mysteries and fun chick lit, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention a couple of classics written about those precious early months with a child. These three books have been around for a while, but they are very special and worth adding to your list. 

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The first is Nicholson Baker’s Room Temperature, in which the author charts the wandering of a young father’s mind while he feeds his 6-month-old daughter, nicknamed “the Bug,” a bottle. Time passes differently with an infant, and the intense, detailed quality of Baker's attention is particularly well-suited to his subject. This is a sweet, unexpected, meandering book full of baby love.

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The second is Catherine Newman’s memoir, Waiting for Birdy: A Year of Frantic Tedium, Neurotic Angst and the Wild Magic of Growing a Family. Newman, a blogger and Real Simple columnist, wrote this charming, funny, and poignant book about somewhat unexpectedly expecting her second child while mothering her first, who was then three years old. “Until it happened to us, Newman writes, I didn’t understand that having a baby would feel like falling in love, but falling in love on a bad acid trip.”

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Lastly, Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year, is a perennial new-parent favorite. Lamott, hilarious and heartfelt in everything she writes, gave birth to her son Sam in 1989, and, raised him in a close, loving community in Northern California.  One Amazon reviewer (“Scholarmom”) wrote about the book, “For me, a mom, this book is amazing. I feel like I get a chance to see myself for who I really am when I read Lamott. She shows herself broken, unsure, insecure, enraged, scared and therefore allows me to feel ok about being those things too. She shows herself brave, persistent, in awe of life, a mom in love - and I somehow feel truly honored to know her.”

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But to get back to your request: The Cafe by the Sea, by Jenny Colgan, is one of my favorite chick lit novels from 2017, and readers on Goodreads agree. Flora, a paralegal in her 20s, returns to the remote Scottish island where she grew up. She’s avoided home since her beloved mother died, but once she’s there, things start to fall into place for her. There’s a very satisfying romance here, as well as a family story about reconciliation, the escapist pleasures of the blustery, beautiful setting, and some delicious recipes. Colgan has written lots of books, so if you enjoy this one, you can just keep going – or mix it up with some Emily Griffin (Something Borrowed) or Elin Hilderbrand (The Identicals).

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As for light mysteries, Adrian Liang, an Amazon Books Editor who is an expert in that area recommends Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. If you haven’t read her before, you could start with One for the Money, in which Plum, a tough gal from Trenton, New Jersey, leaves behind a failed career as a lingerie buyer and finds her calling as a bounty hunter. Readers tend to binge read these books, and there are plenty to enjoy once you get going. If you like a more literary approach, try Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair (knowledge of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre is not required), or Alan Bradley’s very British Flavia de Luce series, which began with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. He has a new one out this week, The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place, so there's lots to dig into.

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And looking ahead, we’re hearing great things about Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions, the first in a new series from Mario Giordano. Auntie Poldi, an energetic, life loving 60-year-old, retires to Sicily and becomes an amateur sleuth when her handyman turns up dead. You don’t have to wait for long to enjoy this: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is publishing Auntie Poldi in early March, so the timing might fit your nesting schedule. Enjoy!


Which books would you recommend for this reader? We’d love to hear your suggestions. And if you have your own question about what to read next, please write to us at AskTheEditors@Amazon.com.


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