Books I Love is a series where writers talk about the books that inspired them, the books they keep coming back to, and the books they’ll always remember.
More than anything—war, raisins, people who say “supposably”—I hate writing “favorite books” lists. My new book, Because I Said So!, is about the scientific debunking of deathless parental clichés (don’t swim after you eat, swallowed gum sits in your colon for seven years, etc.), and so I sneakily asked Publishers Weekly if I could limit this list to books about parents and kids. How hard could that be? I thought. In children’s books, the parents are always dead. And in classic novels, the iconic parents are all impossibly saintly creations like Atticus Finch and Marmee March that no one really likes much. (Also, they have terrible names like “Atticus” and “Marmee.”) But even that didn’t narrow my list down enough: I found I still had no room for so many favorites: for Toni Morrison’s Beloved or Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book (about a grandmother, not a mother, but still), for any of Jonathan Franzen’s moms or Richard Russo’s dads. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry to all of you.
Click here to read the rest of this story