Mother's Day rolls around again next Sunday, and families will get together to honor moms and the bonds of maternalism in general.
Looking for a foolproof way to celebrate? You could give her a card and flowers, and take her to brunch, where you surprise her with a book maybe one of these.
"What I Love About You, Mom" by Kate and David Marshall (Plume, $14, 80 pages): The DIY "guided journal" allows you to write your own words to Mom by filling in the blanks under various headings, such as, "Now that I'm a parent myself, I have a whole new appreciation for " and, "Here are the top five life's lessons I've learned from you "
"The Shared Wisdom of Mothers and Daughters" by Alexandra Stoddard (William Morrow, $21.99, 176 pages): The sequel to "Things I Want My Daughters to Know" explores the life lessons and insights Stoddard has taught her two daughters, and in turn has learned from them.
"Machiavelli for Moms" by Suzanne Evans (Touchstone, $24, 256 pages): At her wits' end with her four uncontrollable children, a mom turns for advice to of all places the philosophical wisdom in the 1532 book "The Prince" by Niccolò Machiavelli.
Toward the end of the yearlong "experiment," she had to face "the ultimate Machiavellian question: Is it better to be feared than loved?"
"The Motherhood Diaries" by ReShonda Tate Billingsley (Strebor, $15, 224 pages): Mothering in the new millennium can often be more frustrating than rewarding, the mother of three discovered. To help her cope, she kept a diary detailing the "candid imperfections of a mother trying to balance it all."
"What My Mother Gave Me," edited by Elizabeth Benedict (Algonquin, $15.95, 304 pages): Thirty-one prominent women recall the most meaningful and moving gifts their mothers gave them a family photo, a book, a piece of hard-won wisdom, an heirloom, a memory, a secret. Contributors include Joyce Carol Oates, Lisa See, Susan Stamberg and Rita Dove.
"Carrie and Me" by Carol Burnett (Simon & Schuster, $24.99, 224 pages): With humor and poignancy, the celebrated comedian remembers her vivacious and sometimes troubled daughter, Carrie Hamilton, who died at age 38.
"My Foot is Too Big for the Glass Slipper" by Gabrielle Reece (Scribner, $25, 224 pages): What happens when a volleyball star/fashion model marries a professional surfer in a fairy tale wedding? Answer: A tumultuous union that nearly went bust after four years but went on to thrive. Reece offers her unique perspective on motherhood and parenting, and bitingly honest strategies for keeping families together.
"Eight Weeks to Everlasting" by Amy Laurent (St. Martin's, $15.99, 240 pages): This one's a calculated step-by-step for single women out to "get the guy you want" and become mothers themselves. What will the children eventually say? Professional matchmaker Laurent co-stars in the reality show "Miss Advised" on the Bravo network.
Also worth reading
Moving from motherhood to mixed bag, try this list:
"My Father's Garden" by Karen Levy (Homebound, $17.95, 248 pages): Growing up with parents who regularly shuttled between different continents, Levy recalls in this memoir, her "home" was divided between her native Israel and California. As internal questions of identity and loyalties intensified over the years, she realized she had to make hard choices. Levy teaches English at California State University, Sacramento.
"Dirt" by David Vann (Harper, $25.99, 272 pages): The young and manic Galen and his clinging mother live in suburban Sacramento, subsisting on a trust fund other relatives are intent on taking. Galen's mental deterioration culminates during a trip to a remote cabin at Lake Tahoe, where matters become dark and intense.
Vann has won 14 literary prizes, including a California Book Award. His 2011 novel "Caribou Island" was a surprise best-seller.
"Paper" by Ian Sansom (William Morrow, $24.99, 256 pages): In this personal elegy to a material both "ephemeral and everlasting," Sansom details the history, uses and global cultural relevance of paper in all its manifestations.
"Over the past 500 years," he writes, "paper has helped create and define landscapes, peoples and nations."
Also to inform as in the paper you now hold in your hands.
"Rooster" by D.C. Murphy (AuthorHouse, $17.99, 306 pages): Former Bay Area lawman Murphy sets his memoir in 1970s Mill Valley, where he's out to clean up the cocaine traffic. The conflict is his heart is a desire to become a country music singer. Will it be the badge or the guitar? Murphy lives in Petaluma.
"Apocalypse of Angels: Seeing Angels" by Harmony Lawson (Freedom of Speech, $15, 356 pages): A teen girl who has seen angels all her life witnesses a battle between an angel and "a dark winged creature," a scene that alters her life.
Avid Reader at Tower has two events (1600 Broadway, Sacramento; 916-441-4400):
Today: Kathleen L. Asay for "Flint House," 2 p.m.
May 19: Richard Turner for "I Can't Always See My Path ... But I Keep on Walking," 2 p.m.
May 16: Cynthia Kaufman for "Getting Past Capitalism," 7 p.m., 2574 21st St., Sacramento; (916) 369-5510.
Time Tested Books:
May 23: Christian Kiefer for "The Infinite Tides," 7 p.m., 1114 21st St., Sacramento; (916) 447-5696.
Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128.