As publishers, we’re naturally not unbiased on the subject of books as gifts – but hear us out. What other item can educate and entertain, frighten and thrill, move us to laughter or to tears, make us wonder or reassess, make the ordinary extraordinary or the strange familiar? Books are portable and self-powered, they can be used multiple times without losing performance, and no two people experience them in exactly the same way.
To paraphrase the prime minister, on something everyone seems to agree on for once: how good are books?
And if sending your sainted mother such a gift isn’t incentive enough, you could also be contributing to the fight against Covid-19. We’re giving $1 to the Royal Melbourne Hospital Foundation for every Text book bought until the end of May. Just send us your receipt, as outlined here.
Here’s what some of the Texters are going to be sending their mothers for the second Sunday in May:
Publicist Jamila Khodja: ‘For some scintillating history and stories of great Australian writers, pick up Friends & Rivals by the eminent scholar Brenda Niall. Piecing together the writing lives, camaraderie and competition of Henry Handel Richardson, Nettie Palmer, Barbara Baynton and Ethel Turner, Niall gives us a never-before-read insight into a unique time in Australia’s literary history.’
Design director Imogen Stubbs: ‘A gripping thriller with a psychological edge – I think my mum will enjoy The Long Shadow by Anne Buist, as she used to work as a midwife, so will find the detail and knowledge brought by Buist to be equally as fascinating as the story. A great page-turner to take her mind off the current world. And then for something comforting to dip in and out of, Helen Garner’s latest, The Yellow Notebook, for vignettes about life seen through the wonderful lens of Garner.’
Marketing coordinator Kate Lloyd: ‘I’m gifting my mum a copy of the one-of-a-kind anthology Grandmothers, featuring compelling essays from twenty-six Australian writers. I know this is the perfect book for Mum, who loves reading stories from diverse perspectives and who is a fantastic and loving grandmother herself.’
Nikki Boltz, our export and inventory co-ordinator: ‘Norah hears a warning: On February 11, you will kill a man of your own free will! She tries to ignore it, but there’s something about that date…With a hook that sharp, the clear Mother’s Day gift for my thriller-loving mum is Melanie Raabe’s The Shadow. A reality-bending, genre-twisting good time, this’ll be perfect for us to unravel over a hot Milo (extra scoops).’
Shalini Kunahlan, marketing manager: ‘If my mum was able to receive international post in time, or rather if I was organised enough to get things sorted earlier, I would be getting her a copy of Robbie Arnott’s The Rain Heron (June). Yes, I’m a smug early accessor of books. Robbie’s first novel, Flames, remains a favourite fiction recommendation, but The Rain Heron is a tour-de-force, a sign of a confident writer in power-expansion mode. It’s a dramatic adventure novel about the tussle between man and nature, featuring cold, brutal Lieutenant Zoe Harker (think Villanelle); forest hermit Ren, who is forced to leave iso to save the world; and a beguiling, shape-shifting rain heron that brings out the best and worst in every human in the story. Enjoyable as. Pre-order this for your mum, and you’re her favourite offspring.’
Editor Alaina Gougoulis: ‘In one of the many interviews about her Booker-shortlisted, Goldsmiths-winning novel Ducks, Newburyport, Lucy Ellmann said, “Mothers are the centre of the universe and deserve more attention than they usually get.” SING IT. Among everything else – and there’s a lot of everything else that can fit in 1,000-odd pages – Ducks, Newburyport is a book about motherhood: its realities, its sacrifices, its all-consuming love. What better way to show your mother your appreciation than to buy her a book that will not only keep her amused and engaged for an extremely long time – very valuable in the quarantine age – but also turn out to be one of the best things she’s ever read?’
Quite a list, isn’t it? And there are many more excellent candidates for Mother’s Day gifting to be found among our list of books – too many to mention here – so we’ve collated them in a Mother’s Day list. You’ll recognise perennial favourites such as Madeleine St John’s The Women in Black (also available in a lovely hardback gift edition), Sarah Krasnostein’s multi-award-winning The Trauma Cleaner and Graeme Simsion’s bestselling Rosie trilogy (The Rosie Project, The Rosie Effect and The Rosie Result), as well as great new books such as Kevin Wilson’s bestselling Nothing to See Here, the transformative Sand Talk by Tyson Yunkaporta and Ada Calhoun’s New York Times bestseller Why We Can’t Sleep.