May 8 2013
This month, the Kveller Book Club read the new novel The Mothers by Jennifer Gilmore (just in time for Mother’s Day, no less). Below, some Kveller contributing editors chat about the book, about the harrowing process of adoption, the essence of “motherness,” and cleaning up baby vomit.
Reminder: Be sure to join us for our Twitter chat with Jennifer Gilmore (@Jenwgilmore) TODAY from 12-1 p.m. EST. Follow along with #KvellerLit.
Adina: Hi, all. Since this book is called The Mothers, it makes sense to start with that totally loaded word. Early in the novel, the main character, Jesse, who desperately wants a baby and is struggling her way through the adoption process, begins musing on what a mother “does.” She says, “…[a mother] fixes the past from the future. If you cannot be a mother, how do you fix the way in which you were mothered…”
The thing is, I don’t think I’ve ever considered my role as a mother as being related to “fixing the past,” at least not consciously. However, I am constantly aware that with each passing day I am becoming more and more like my own mother without even trying. Maybe that’s what a mother does: she edits herself until she becomes a version of her own mother that she’s comfortable with. Read the rest of this entry →
May 7 2013
This month, the Kveller Book Club read the novel The Mothers by Jennifer Gilmore.
The story centers on a couple’s distressing journey through the adoption process. In the novel, Gilmore tackles the concept of motherhood and takes a hard look at marriage, too. What’s more, Jennifer and her husband were experiencing the adoption process while she wrote the novel and she has written extensively about their own journey. The result is that this book is vividly felt, hugely informative, and ultimately relatable to anyone who has wanted something so much its threatened to consume them.
We were lucky that she found some time between promoting her book and caring for her baby to chat with us about The Mothers. And what’s more, tomorrow from 12-1 p.m. EST, we’ll be hosting a live Twitter chat with Jennifer Gilmore. Be sure to join us by using the hashtag #kvellerlit at tweeting questions to @jenwgilmore.
In an essay titled, “What is Motherness,” for The Huffington Post you talk about how when a baby is adopted, the parents are “the same.” Can you talk more about that? Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 30 2013
One week from tomorrow, on May 8th, the Kveller Book Club will be chatting about the new novel The Mothers by Jennifer Gilmore right here on the blog. And then we’ll be chatting with Gilmore herself on Twitter (#kvellerlit, people!).
The novel, all about the extremely difficult and emotional process of adopting a child, is an honest and enlightening story based largely off Gilmore’s personal experience with adoption. To learn more about the book, check out Jordana Horn’s take on it here.
Or, if you’d prefer to get your book advice from child stars of the 80s, here’s Molly Ringwald’s review in The New York Times.
We’d love to have as many of you join us in our conversation as possible, so if you haven’t yet, grab a copy today and get reading! It’s available here on Kindle and in hardcover, and we promise it’s a quick and entertaining read.
Apr 17 2013
This month, the Kveller Book Club is reading The Mothers by Jennifer Gilmore. Learn more about the book below and then enter our giveaway to win a copy.
Jennifer Gilmore’s book The Mothers is not a memoir. Yes, Gilmore herself did go through the excruciating journey into attempted adoption covered by the novel, but this is not her story. The story she has written, however a fictional account, is deep, resonant, and powerfully real.
I’m a big reader, but it is rare, for me, that a book can so thoroughly sink me into the world of someone else’s circumstances and mind as The Mothers did. Gilmore is terrific at making her characters palpably real, warts and all. Jessie, a woman looking to adopt a child with her husband, Ramon, after a prolonged fertility struggle, is “prickly,” to be charitable. At times, she can be a bitch on wheels, whether to her husband, her parents, her friends, or to herself. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 9 2013
We’re very excited to announce the next pick for the Kveller Book Club: The Mothers by Jennifer Gilmore. As if the title alone didn’t cue you in as to why we chose it, the subject matter of this brand new book is very close to Kveller’s heart. The novel centers around Jesse and Ramon, who, after years spent unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant, turn to adoption.
What results is an honest and powerful portrayal of adoption, with all of its complexities and complications, from a woman who’s been through it herself. Inspired by her and her husband’s own long adoption process, Gilmore based a large part of The Mothers on her own experience. For a glimpse into Jennifer’s world, check out this piece by her that we published today, about what it was like to find out her sister was pregnant, amidst her own struggles.
We’ll be hosting a book discussion with the Kveller editors on the blog on Wednesday, May 8th, as well as an interview with Jennifer Gilmore. Purchase the book at Amazon and a portion of the proceeds will help support Kveller and the book club. We hope you can join us this month as we read this wonderful book!
Feb 27 2013
Welcome to another installment of the Kveller Book Club. This month, we read Joshua Henkin’s novel The World Without You.
Reminder: Be sure to join us for our Twitter chat with Joshua Henkin (@JoshuaHenkin) tomorrow from 12-1 p.m. EST. Follow along with #KvellerLit.
The book explores the aftermath of a son’s death–and how his parents, wife, and sisters are handling life a year later as they gather for a memorial at their summer home in the Berkshires. The book also tackles topics including death, modern Orthodoxy, the challenges of being a parent, a child, and a sibling, not to mention, female (all of the novel’s main characters are women). Needless to say, this book provides lots of material for a Kveller chat, and we want to hear from you! Please add your thoughts to the discussion by leaving a comment below! Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 21 2013
Hello Kveller readers! Here’s a friendly reminder that our upcoming book club chat will happen right here on the blog next Wednesday, February 27.
This month we’re reading The World Without You by novelist Joshua Henkin. Just a teaser: this book explores the aftermath of a son’s death–and how his parents, wife, and sisters are handling life a year later. We’re especially excited for this month’s chat because Henkin’s novel offers us a chance to talk about many issues close to the Kveller reader’s heart, including parenting, Judaism, infertility, and dealing with loss. What’s more–while this month’s featured author is male, The World Without You is written from multiple female perspectives and we think you’ll find there’s lots of literary territory to mine here. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 4 2013
Hello, Kveller readers and would-be readers! Fresh off of our book club chat about Katie Roiphe’s In Praise of Messy Lives comes our announcement for next month’s book club pick: we’ll be delving back into literary fiction and reading The World Without You, by novelist Joshua Henkin.
Yes, yes, we know what you’re thinking: the only rule of the Kveller Book Club was that we only read books by Jewish women, and as you may have guessed, Joshua Henkin is not, in fact, a woman. But, The World Without You is heavily female focused–starring three sisters, a widow, a mother, and a grandmother. And, well, what are rules if not meant to be broken?
Set over Fourth of July weekend in 2005, the novel witnesses a family gathering in the Berkshires to remember Leo, a son and brother who was killed one year before in Iraq. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 31 2013
This month, the Kveller Book Club read In Praise of Messy Lives by Katie Roiphe. Yesterday, a group of our contributing editors chatted about the book, and today we present this interview with Roiphe herself. Read below to hear her thoughts on the sacrifices we make as parents, children as mirrors, and moms who wear yoga pants.
In your introduction to In Praise of Messy Lives you write, “I am drawn to subjects or ways of looking at things that make people, and sometimes even me, uncomfortable.” Is there an essay in this book–or a subject tackled in this book–that made you particularly uncomfortable to write?
I actually found all of the essays fun to write. When I say that sometimes even I am uncomfortable, what I mean is that I feel myself thinking about things that are difficult or unsettling, that I am pushing my argument farther than the easy or comfortable place. An example of this would be the “child is king” essay when I talk about how children release us from certain desires and ambitions. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 30 2013
Welcome to another installment of the Kveller Book Club! This month, we read Katie Roiphe’s essay collection In Praise of Messy Lives.
In addition to being a successful journalist, Roiphe is what some might call a “love her or hate her” writer, a “provocateur,” and, devastatingly honest, which some people just can’t stand. She even cops to her complicated relationship with the reading public in the introduction to her book where she quotes a piece of hate mail in which her writing is faulted for “the destruction of our civilization.” Whatever you think about Roiphe, though, she tackles topics close to all of us–including divorce, competition amongst parents, narrow-mindedness, and feminism. Here’s what some of our contributing editors thought of the book, and we’d love to hear from you, too. Please chime in! Read the rest of this entry →