Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mom ~ A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps: Review and Giveaway

Why hadn't I heard about this before?

Are you familiar with StoryCorps? Prior to reading the introduction to Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps, edited by Dave Isay, published in 2010, I was completely unaware of StoryCorps. Even though I listen to NPR on a fairly regular basis, I didn't recall listening to any StoryCorps interviews on the air.

Launched in 2003 in Grand Central Terminal in NYC, the basic idea of StoryCorps is that pairs of people interview each other and have their stories recorded. Since its inception, StoryCorps has recorded many thousands of interviews with people at recording booths throughout the United States. Participants receive a DVD of the interview, while another copy goes to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. In this manner, Americans across the country tell their stories in interviews that have been recorded for present and future generations--and given some permanence.

When I picked up this book of interviews and started reading it, I discovered two things. The first thing was that I have another book in my bookcase by StoryCorps, Listening Is an Act of Love, waiting to be read (which I would've neglected for a lot longer, most likely, had it not been for "the Mom book").

The second surprise was my unexpected emotional reaction to the interviews and stories in this book. I was extremely affected by them, and many of them brought me to tears. Each interview is unique, and the relationships in this book are varied, which make the book textured and original. The book features interviews such as:

A mother talks to her son
A son interviews his mother
A sister talks to her sister about their mother
A sister talks to her brother about their mother
A daughter interviews her father about his mother
A woman talks to her same sex partner about her mother

I didn't list names here, but the names of the participants--real people--are given in this book. Different people tell different stories. The interviews feel like heart-to-heart talks, and the book goes beyond stereotypes and features Americans from all walks of life, creating a truer, broader picture of motherhood and related relationships. Personally, as a mother I cannot stand being stereotyped, and some of the appeal of this book to me is precisely because it presents a myriad of mothers and relationships.

The focus is on the numerous, dynamic roles of mothers, on capturing some (no longer) fleeting moments, of sharing memories and feelings and stories of "ordinary" American people. Each interview is dated, and includes the city where the interview took place. Interviews are short, just a few pages, and feature a small photo of the participants at the conclusion.

To say that I enjoyed reading Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps would be an understatement. I loved this book, marvel at the concept of StoryCorps, and plan on reading my other StoryCorps book soon.

With Mother's Day quickly approaching, Penguin, the publisher, is graciously offering a giveaway for Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps (U.S./Canada only), in celebration of this holiday!

  • To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment.
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower, or that you subscribe in Google Reader.
  • For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter.
  • For yet another chance, answer this bonus question: If you were to do a StoryCorps interview with someone (not necessarily a mother), who would you choose? Or would you want to be the one interviewed?

Enter by 5PM PDT on Monday, May 16. One winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Tuesday, May 17. Good luck!

Special thanks to Lisa from TLC for sending me this book. For more reviews of it please visit the other stops on TLC's Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps book tour.


  1. I feel inspired to interview my Mom :-)

  2. This does sound like an interesting book.


  3. What an interesting style of book. I do like the sound of this one. I am intrigued by the honest conversations. It must be like being a fly on the wall.

  4. Just this morning I heard a wonderful storycorps story about someone's mom. The whole concept of saving stories is wonderful. I've heard a lot on my local VT and NH NPR.

    I would interview my college friends Susan and Sally (from the 60's). We wrote a book together about our friendship which was published by Avon Books in 1980 and we are still friends at ages 65 ish.

    If they were still alive though I would interview my folks.

    Or maybe--my son who is still around.

  5. I do know about StoryCorps, but I've never read any of their books. This one sounds very emotional.

  6. I had never heard of StoryCorps either, but this sounds like a fantastic book! I would love the chance to be entered in your giveaway, and thanks for hosting it!


  7. Thanks for making me aware of StoryCorps.

  8. What an appropriate book to be reading at this time of the year.The idea of people interviewing each other is novel. Glad you enjoyed the book.

  9. I actually just listened to a Storycorp interview with a Mom yesterday on NPR that brought a tear to my eye. I had no idea there was a book! I definitely need to check this out.

    If I had to interview anyone, it would have been my Great-Grandma Kile. Sadly she passed away four years ago. I love to listen to stories from old people (although as I get older they don't seem so old anymore) about their youth. I would love to interview my Grandparents or my Great-Aunt and Uncles as their stories are fascinating.

    Thank-you for the great giveaway! I am already a follower. My email address is laarlt78(at)hotmail(dot)com.

  10. I love the idea of StoryCorps (it's new to me as well!) and definitely will be seeking out some of the stories now. Sounds like a wonderful read for this Mother's Day weekend.

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  11. What a powerful book! I love interviews with children and their mothers; we each bring our own perspective to any given situation and it helps when we can discuss them openly. I'm sure my own mother would love this collection, as would I. Thanks for posting about it and giving it such high accolades, Suko!

  12. This sounds wonderful Suko. If I were to do a StoryCorps, I'd like to interview my grandmother. She pased away when I was 8, but I can imagine she had plenty of wonderful and moving stories to tell.

    Happy Mother's Day!!

  13. I like this idea of StoryCorps !I'm always sad to think that, when somebody pass away, all a story is gone with him !

  14. I had never heard of the Story Corps either. Sounds interesting...thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  15. I haven't heard of this one, but it sounds so interesting.

    BTW....Thanks so much for the sweet comment on my Mother's Day post. I appreciate it. Hoping your day was special as well.

  16. No need to enter me, though this does sound like a touching book. Just wanted to say that I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!

  17. Mother's Day has become bittersweet for me now that my own mother has passed. I cherish my motherhood now and reflect on how blessed I am to have 5 healthy children that call me "Mom."

    I can't help but consider a possible followup book - reflections on teachers - by teachers, about teachers, for teachers. I'll put that on my growing to-do list. :)

  18. So glad to be back visiting with you, thank you for your kind message.

    I so love a book that has the power to bring about such emotions, this sounds like a wonderful read. Good luck all who enter your giveaway, needless to say I'll be adding it to the comp/giveaway page on my blog.

  19. Ps There are so many people I'd love to interview including the first person to have ever posted a blog post - hmm, I wonder who they were?

  20. Nice article, thanks for the information.

  21. StoryCorps is such a great idea. I still can't believe that I hadn't heard of it before picking up this book! Now I am eager to make up for lost time.

    Many thanks for the comments. More are welcomed of course.

  22. This sounds wonderful.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  23. Please count me in.

    Thank you.


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