Reading list

10 books on motherhood

On reproductive labour, family abolition, and estrangement!

Verso Books10 March 2024

10 books on motherhood

This Mother’s Day, give the gift of acknowledging the massive amount of essential unpaid labour women do in the home and fight for a better world.

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“The work of caring for people is an essential but disavowed and devalued aspect of capitalist societies. Without the labour of ensuring that most people feel well enough to keep going to work, capitalism could not function.”

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"Your communism is more felt than thought. About your mother’s suffering, you could do nothing; about the suffering of labor, that need not be as inevitable as death."

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“Is it that I don’t take Mum’s suffering seriously, but only my own? We are closest to our own suffering. But I suspect that mine is deeply linked to hers, which was so secret, I’ve always had a strong sense of it.”

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"Many a Black mother has come under attack of the police when she rose in defence of her children."

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"We are still demanding that mothers perform the impossible, that they rescue us from all our personal and political weaknesses, and then we blame them for failing at this hopeless task."

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"For more than fifty years, Miss Major has played the crucial role of surrogate mother and grandmother to countless trans and queer people around the world."

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“Worldwide, mothers (but not fathers) experience income loss as a result of having children, and the lack of affordable childcare is often a reason why mothers are not engaged in paid employment.”

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"When we speak of housework we are not speaking of a job as other jobs, but we are speaking of one of the most pervasive manipulations that capitalism has perpetrated against any section of the working class." (Wages Against Housework, 1974)

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“Perhaps, when you were very young, you quietly noticed the oppressiveness of the function assigned to the mother in your home. You sensed her loneliness. You felt a twinge of solidarity. Children often “get” this better than most.”

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“We all have the capacity to care, not just mothers and not just women, and all our lives are improved when we care and are cared for, and when we care together.”

They Call It Love
They Call It Love investigates the work that makes a haven in a heartless world, examining who performs this labour, how it is organised, and how it might change. Drawing on the thought of the femi...
Is Mother Dead

Is Mother Dead

**Longlisted for The International Booker Prize 2023**'To mother is to murder, or close enough', thinks Johanna, as she looks at the spelling of the two words in Norwegian. She's recently widowed a...
The Care Crisis
Every one of us will need care at some point in life: social care, healthcare, childcare, eldercare. In the shadow of COVID-19, care has become the most urgent topic of our times. But our care syst...
Burn It Down!
Burn It Down! is a testament to what is possible when women are driven to the edge. Collecting over seventy-five manifestos from around the world, Burn It Down! is a rallying cry and a call to acti...
Abolish the Family
What if we could do better than the family?We need to talk about the family. For those who are lucky, families can be filled with love and care, but for many they are sites of pain: from abandonmen...
The Care Manifesto
The Care Manifesto puts care at the heart of the debates of our current crisis: from intimate care—childcare, healthcare, elder care—to care for the natural world. We live in a world where careless...
Love and Money, Sex and Death
After a successful career, a twenty-year marriage, and two kids, McKenzie Wark has an acute midlife crisis: coming out as a trans woman. Changing both social role and bodily form recasts her relati...
Speak Out!

Speak Out!

"We came to Britain in search of better opportunities or to get some of the wealth which had been misappropriated from the Caribbean, but what in reality did we find?"Speak Out brings together the ...
Lean on Me
Have you ever relied on the kindness of strangers? What brings people together to find hope and solidarity? What do we owe each other as citizens and comrades?Questions of care, intimacy, educatio...
Miss Major Speaks
Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is a veteran of the infamous Stonewall Riots, a former sex worker, and a transgender elder and activist who has survived Bellevue psychiatric hospital, Attica Prison, the H...

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