It’s Mother’s Day! So it’s time to get some flowers! Or chocolates! Or perfume! Or all the other things that every mum in the world likes! Because women like flowers and men like football and there’s no room for anybody in between. But, on the million to one chance that your mother, or any other woman in your life, has an interest in history or politics or music or all those other topics that everybody knows only interest men, we’ve put together a selection of possible presents for your mum. N.B. The above statement may contain irony.
Renowned classicist and columnist Mary Beard has published her collected reviews in Confronting the Classics, a broad and varied look at history. Eric Hobsbawm’s Fractured Times is a fairly all-encompassing history of the Twentieth Century. It seems weird to point out that history is so much more than a club for men to sit around and talk about the past. If your mum likes history then buy her a history book? It’ll last so much longer than flowers.
If only comics and detectives stories weren’t just for boys. No, despite all the evidence to the contrary (like this list of female World War II heroes), every single woman ever hates adventure. A shame really as these two books are fantastic. Alan Moore’s Nemo: Roses of Berlin takes The League of Extraordinary Gentleman story to 1940s Berlin where crazed dictator Adenoid Hynkel rules. The Black Eyed Blonde, a brand new Philip Marlowe novel written by Booker Prize winner John Banville (under his alias of Benjamin Black) is arguably the most successful of the recent trend of bringing back classic characters under new authors.
Liz Kershaw has been a constant voice at BBC Radio for over thirty years. One of the longest serving radio DJs in the UK, she’s met almost everyone that there is to meet in music. Tracey Thorn, singer and songwriter for Everything but the Girl, has written one of the best pop music autobiographies of recent years. Both have succeeded hugely in a traditionally male-dominated world. Sadly, even though the end of this sentence is obviously ludicrous, women hate music unless it’s by Westlife or possibly Take That.
And then the rest. For the mum that’s interested in politics, there’s HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton. The life and career of the most famous woman in American politics and possible first female President of the United States.
Does your mum already run? Is she thinking of starting running? If so, Running Like a Girl could be the book for her. Alexandra Heminsley’s memoir of going outside and putting your body through the pain of running is a great motivator for anyone with an interest in the sport.
Austin and Howard Mutti-Mewse first met the stars about twenty-five years after their peak and their meetings have been gathered together in I Used to be in Pictures for a fairly comprehensive run-down of the highs and lows of the Hollywood’s ‘golden age’. Perfect for a mum with an interest in cinema.
And because your mother might hate politics and history and sport. Maybe she does love gardening. Maybe she loves cooking. Maybe things aren’t quite so simple as men like this and women like that. For cookery there’s The Edible Atlas, a look at why people across the world eat as they do. A bit of history, a bit of travel and loads of brilliant recipes.
Vita Sackville West’s Sissinghurst is a brilliant account of the creation of one of the best gardens in the world. Of course your mum likes flowers, your dad probably likes flowers too. Everybody likes flowers. Flowers are top.
The point is, anybody can like anything. For Father’s Day this might be nothing but ‘chick lit’ and books about sewing.