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Lindsay Deutsch, USA TODAY

STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

- Among favorite gifts were books by Anna Quindlen, Jeffrey Eugenides.

- If you're going to buy a book for Lisa Scottoline or Jennifer Weiner, you'd better be quick.

- Debbie Macomber's favorite cookbook holds more than recipes.


Books can be the best, most thoughtful gift someone can receive. Five best-selling authors who also are mothers -- Anne Lamott, Jodi Picoult, Debbie Macomber, Jennifer Weiner and Lisa Scottoline -- tell USA TODAY about the best book they've ever received for Mother's Day.

Jodi Picoult, author of "The Storyteller":

"My birthday is just around the corner from Mother's Day, so often my gifts got combined. Probably the best book I ever got for my Mother's Day/birthday was a signed first edition of 'the Virgin Suicides' by Jeffrey Eugenides - one of my favorite novels ever. My husband gave it to me! The one book that really hit home for me, in terms of being a mom, was 'I Don't Know How She Does It,' by Allison Pearson. When I read that first scene, where a working mom takes store-bought cookies and mashes the edges to make them less perfect before bringing them in for class snack, so that the other moms will think she slaved over a hot kitchen to make them - well, I laughed out loud. ANY mom who's ever balanced a fast-paced career with motherhood would be able to relate to that."

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Debbie Macomber, author of "Starting Now":

"The best book I ever received for Mother's Day came from my own mother. The first year I was a mother, mom gave me a cookbook put together by the Women's Auxiliary of the Veteran of Foreign Wars, of which she was a member. It wasn't so much the spiral-bound book as the message that came with it and the importance of food in the family. Because mom had contributed to the cookbook she was sharing part of herself with me, passing down the heritage of recipes. In her own way this cookbook told me the importance of making meal times family events. It spoke of how often food and the effort that went behind the preparation were a mother's way of expressing love. A packed lunch (often with a note included), after-school snacks, a favorite birthday dinner. I still have that cookbook tucked away in a bookcase with an accumulation of others, but this one from mom and her friends at the VFW will always hold a special place in my heart for the silent message that came with it. Who would ever have thought a cookbook could convey so much?"

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Anne Lamott, author of "Some Assembly Required":

"My son Sam gave me a book when he was 8, called 'The Dream Book,' that was secretly a small box with a lock. You wrote down your dreams and tucked them inside, to give them a chance to come true - and they did, almost all of them. And then some!"

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Jennifer Weiner, author of "The Next Best Thing":

"I'm not sure I've ever gotten a book for Mother's Day (I tend to buy books I want to read the minute the come out, so I'm not the easiest person to get books for). So my favorite Mother's Day book was 'How to Be a Baby By Me, the Big Sister,' by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Sue Heap, which was a gift for my daughter, Lucy. It's a winsome tale about how to be a baby, written from the perspective of the positively ancient (maybe 5 or 6) and ultimately more sophisticated big sister, who, unlike the baby, prefers to ride in cars facing forward, and is not afraid of the ocean, or Grandma's shiny black shoes, or any other not really scary thing. The big sister is perfectly voiced, and I'm usually fighting back tears when the story reaches its final pages, and the sister talks about how they will look back and reminisce and "laugh and point at pictures of you in the olden days when you were a baby."

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Lisa Scottoline, author of "Don't Go":

"People don't give me books for gifts, because I beat them to the punch - if I want to read a book, I buy it right away. For this Mother's Day, I bought myself Anna Quindlen's 'Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake,' and I love it already, because it's such a thoughtful and honest look at the different stages of the woman's life, written in Quindlen's characteristically graceful voice."

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