books for Mother's Day
In search of a Mother's Day gift this weekend, readers may find themselves prowling shops like the Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

No two readers are alike. No two mothers are alike. And the only way to really find out what might be a good book to get your mother for Mother’s Day is to ask her what she likes to read.
My own mother’s reading habits have always been a bit of a mystery to me. I don’t remember her reading many books when I was growing up in L.A. as the son of Guatemalan immigrants. She was a single mom, working a series of clerical jobs and raising an only son, and she never had much free time.
So I got on the phone and called Guatemala — my mother retired and moved back to Latin America two decades ago — and asked her: “¿Cuáles son sus libros favoritos?
My mother is perfectly bilingual and her reading habits, it turns out, reflect her journey across borders, from the world of Spanish to English, from Guatemala to the United States, and back. In a sense, her life story is in the list of books she gave me.