Mother’s Day gift guide

Still worrying over how to show your mother you care this May 13? Books make a great token of appreciation! Especially when they’re written by Southern humorist Melinda Rainey Thompson.

I’ve Had It Up to Here with Teenagers

Thompson’s three teenagers bury her under an Everest of laundry. They send her for groceries so often that she once heard a store employee cry, “Incoming!” They leave such a quantity of half-eaten sandwiches around their rooms as to provide a buffet for roaches. They complain for hours about 10-minute chores. They spend their parents’ money like it magically regenerates and hoard their own like it’s the last dose of the elixir of life.

To put it another way, they’re typical teens.

In her inimitable style, Thompson makes I’ve Had It Up to Here with Teenagers both a humorous rant against teens and a celebration of seeing them rise from the ashes of battle to become well-adjusted, responsible humans. “Parental love is fierce and illogical,” she writes. “I think it is the strongest force on earth. It trumps everything, thank God: sleepless nights, hard stadium seats, endless recitals, broken hearts, losing seasons, throw-up viruses, bad grades, poor choices, and everything else life throws at teenagers and their parents.”

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what others had to say:

“I’ve Had It Up to Here with Teenagers is a must-have . . . Thompson, with her trademark Southern charm and saucy down-home lingo, takes a frank look at the moody, fridge-raiding prima donnas for whom she does mounds of laundry, chauffeurs around town and bakes endless pound cake . . . Her tales of life with teens are horrifyingly uproarious.”
Shelf Awareness

“I am not using hyperbole when I say that Melissa Rainey Thompson is a modern-day Erma Bombeck, and so whether you have teens or not, this book is for you.”
5minutesformom.com

“I can’t even describe what a gift reading this book was for me . . . The book made me think about my parenting AND laugh, and that’s a wonderful combination.”
5minutesforbooks.com

“Ms. Thompson focuses her keen eye, sharp pen, and exasperated sense of humor on the more familiar, everyday madness of raising teenagers . . . Ms. Thompson clearly penned these essays to amuse, kvetch, and commiserate with her compatriots in the mother-trenches. . . .”
New York Journal of Books

And for Melinda’s fans, her blogger friend has created a bracelet that matches the cover of the book. She’s selling them for $15 ($5 of which will be donated to charity). It’s a win-win!

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SWAG: Southern Women Aging Gracefully

SWAG started as a lark when Melinda Rainey Thompson began a monthly mailing of her humorous essays about ordinary events from a Southern woman’s perspective. Over several years, her subscription list grew to nearly 5,000 people in 28 states. Ranging from swimsuit shopping to squirrel battling, from magnolia theft to cemetery etiquette, Thompson’s delightful essays and clever lists reflect the everyday peculiarities of life in the South.

Ten Ways to Know if You’re a SWAG

  1. You feel the urge to bake a pound cake after reading the obituaries.
  2. You have had professional photographs made of your children barefoot and dressed in their Sunday clothes.
  3. You’d rather have a fight with your husband than with your best friend.
  4. You have stolen magnolia leaves, or you know someone who has.
  5. You have monogrammed the middle of your shower curtain.
  6. You could live without Yankees who equate your Southern accent with a low IQ.
  7. You know better than to eat the potato salad at a family reunion.
  8. You are socially conditioned to believe that tanned fat looks better than white fat.
  9. Your children hide their Easter baskets and Valentine’s Day candy from you just in case you have a dieting lapse.
  10. You believe that cocktail dresses do not double as church clothes.

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The SWAG Life

Following the success of Melinda Rainey Thompson’s first book, SWAG: Southern Women Aging Gracefully, her newest collection of humorous and touching essays and lists addresses such problems as aging, becoming your mother, raising children who love sports, dealing with the unexpected, and the fate of manners.

Much more than just funny (reason enough to buy this, by the way), this collection captures those “exalted moments of heaven sandwiched right in the minutia of the daily grind.” Thompson shares plenty of SWAG life lessons that she has learned the hard way—through bumbling experience. Included are many of her most embarrassing moments, not only for the belly laughs, but to warn you away from making the same humiliating mistakes. She also has plenty of suggestions for improving society, starting with ten things better left in the past:

  1. Your pre-baby weight
  2. Sordid details of your previous marriages
  3. Your natural hair color
  4. Your prescription medication history
  5. Labor and delivery stories
  6. Your high-school sports career
  7. Your overcoming-addiction stories
  8. Your vacation photographs
  9. Your college fraternity and sorority sportswear
  10. Family feuds

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I Love You–Now Hush

The grass is ablaze, the lawnmower blade dangles from a tree, and your frustrated husband is hiding in the garage. You (a) tell him you’re going shopping, (b) ask him if everything’s okay, or (c) sneak back into the house and pretend you didn’t see him reading the instructions.

Your wife says she’s “fine” after an argument. You (a) assume she’s fine, (b) go back to watching the game, or (c) duck and cover.

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then this book is for you. Two of the South’s funniest voices have come together to write this hilarious, heartfelt collection of essays about the nature of men and women. From keeping house to romance, from yard work to money, their fresh take on these common arguments will make you laugh out loud and maybe even instill a bit of insight when it comes to the opposite sex. Also covered are quite a few not-so-common squabbles, such as proper singing etiquette and hoarding mayonnaise jars.

I Love You—Now Hush was a 2010 ForeWord Reviews’ Book of the Year winner and a 2011 Benjamin Franklin Award finalist, both in the humor category.

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