For those of you who are not parents and therefore have not had the chance to experience this firsthand, it’s a well-known fact among mothers that the day you welcome your first child into the world is the day you say goodbye to your memory. I like to think that in reality my memory is as good as it always was, I’m just overburdened by the exponentially increased demands motherhood has placed on it. It’s no longer enough to remember where I’ve left things, what I have to do, where I have to be, and when. I now need to do this x3. That's my excuse, anyway.
The thing is, I used to have an exceptionally good memory. If I heard it, read it, or saw it, I remembered it, and I was insufferably proud of it too. I pitied people who couldn’t remember the plots of the books they had read, friends who had to pull all-nighters to study for exams, and most of all I pitied the list makers, those poor souls who actually had to write down the things they had to do or what they needed at the store. So sad.
Then, through the miracle of childbirth, I became one of them, and discovered the freedom of living without a long term memory: the exhilaration of finally discovering where I put those keys, the simple joy to be had from the vague familiarity of reading a book for the first time, again, and yesterday, the thrill of discovering that I’d answered the “15 Books that will Always Stick with You” question twice.
Of the 15, there were six books I chose both times. Here they are, in no particular order:
• The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, a must-read about the state of agriculture and eating in our society
• The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, Alexander McCall Smith, guaranteed to cheer you up no matter how bad you’re feeling
• Rootabaga Stories, my favourite children’s book, by Carl Sandburg
• Samaki, because my father wrote it
• Suite Francaise, a must read for everyone about the beauty of humanity in the face of the ugliness of humanity, by Irene Nemirovsky
• and To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, no explanation needed