Sunday, April 5, 2015

‘Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed’

Book cover: 'Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed' by Meghan Daum. Cover image consists of the book's title, in yellow, against a pale pink or lavender background. Over it, the book's subtitle is printed in purple: 'Sixteen Writers on the Decision NOT to Have Kids.'
In response to the question, “Why don’t you have children?,” author/editor Meghan Daum recommends this answer: “Parenting is probably one of the hardest things you could do. It’s an important job, so why should somebody who doesn’t really want to do that job, do it?”

That’s according to columnist Zosia Bielski for the Globe and Mail, who highlights a social contradiction: “Although we pat ourselves on the backs for tolerating all kinds of familial configurations in this country, we continue to reserve puzzlement, pity and judgment for adults who really don’t want to have children, ever.”

Daum’s book, Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids, was released in March. It’s the subject of my latest “Suggest a Title” recommendation to Jackson County Library Services.

From publisher’s copy: “The idea that some women and men prefer not to have children is often met with sharp criticism and incredulity by the public and mainstream media.”

Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed features contributions by Kate Christensen, Geoff Dyer, Danielle Henderson, Courtney Hodell, Anna Holmes, Elliott Holt, Pam Houston, Michelle Huneven, Laura Kipnis, Tim Kreider, Paul Lisicky, M.G. Lord, Rosemary Mahoney, Sigrid Nunez, Jeanne Safer and Lionel Shriver.

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