Gifts for Mom: Ten Book Ideas to Inspire A Mother’s Day Adventure

Give your mom the Mother’s Day gift she really wants: time with her kids and a good book.  

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My 80-plus-year-old mother and I went sailing last year in Narragansett Bay while doing a Edith Wharton-related trip to Newport, Rhode Island. You can create a lit-trip just about anywhere, a great Mother’s Day gift.

It’s often a challenge to find an interesting way to celebrate Mother’s Day beyond flowers and candy, or maybe breakfast in bed.  But the gift of a good book and a book-based adventure to go with it makes a present any Mom will treasure.

Women love to bond over books. The popularity of book clubs proves that. But Moms and their kids—of any age—can also share the experience of reading a great book together.  Better yet, take reading a step further with a “lit trip,” based on the book. Meaningful time with her kids is the gift every mother wants.

My book, Off The Beaten Page: The Best Trips for Lit Lovers, Book Clubs, and Girls on Getaways offers reading lists and itineraries for three-day “lit trips” to 15 U.S. destinations. But it’s easy to create your own lit trip close to home, no matter where you live. Think “field trip” like the kind you took in school, only without the yellow bus and the sack lunch. Find a book topic that interests both you and your mother (or your kids), then think of place to go where you can experience the subject of the book in person. These don’t have to be high-brow or “girly” outings. We’re not talking reading Keats or Shelley and dancing the gavotte.  Here are a few of my ideas for Mother’s Day lit trips for readers, from young adults to the young at heart:

  1. For those who love horses or horse-racing- Read Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit
    Read Seabiscuit and head for the racetrack
    Read Seabiscuit and head for the racetrack

    and spend an afternoon at the track or visit a horse farm.

  2. For fans of “whodunits” – Read a book about an art heist such as The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser or The Rockwell Heist by Bruce Rubenstein and visit an art museum.
  3. For history buffs – Read Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell (or ask a librarian for tips on great books about your local history) and visit an historical society, battlefield or landmark.
  4. For baseball fans – Read Bernard Malmud’s The Natural or Michael Lewis’s Moneyball and take in a game together.
  5. For animal lovers – Read Temple Grandin’s Animals Make Us Human or Julie Klan’s Love at First Bark: How Saving a Dog Can Sometimes Help You Save Yourself and visit or volunteer at an event at your local humane society or animal rescue group.
  6. For the outdoorsy – Read Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest  Trail and go take a hike.
  7. For music fans– Read an autobiography by a favorite musician or other book about music and take in a concert. Try Cash: The Autobiography; Blues All Around Me by B.B. King; or  Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon and the Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller.
  8. For cooks – Read Animal Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver or My Life in France by Julia Child and visit a farmers’ market or take a cooking class.
  9. For movie goers – Read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby or Therese Anne
    How does the movie compare to the book? Read the Great Gatsby and then take in the movie.  A great outing for Mother's Day.
    How does the movie compare to the book? Read the Great Gatsby and then take in the movie. A great outing for Mother’s Day.

    Fowler’s Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald and see the new Gatsby movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

  10. And, for moms who really do love flowers, read The Language of Flowers: A Novel, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and go on an arboretum or garden tour.

Off The Beaten Page: The Best Trips for Lit Lovers, Book Clubs, and Girls on Getaways, published by Chicago Review Press, is available now in bookstores and online everywhere.

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