Feature

Pepper Schwartz

Pepper Schwartz is the author of Everything You Know About Love and Sex Is Wrong: Twenty-Five Relationship Myths Redefined to Achieve Happiness and Fulfillment in Your Intimate Life (Penguin USA, $24). Here she chooses her six favorite books.

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley (Random House, $17). The most romantic story a 12-year-old can read—and the source of my lifelong love affair with horses. This is one of the few books that was actually made into the movie it deserved.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (Scribner, $26). The fact that Rhett told Scarlett he didn’t “give a damn” anymore shocked me more than anything I had ever read before. Time, I thought, to clean up my act.

Sexual Conduct: The Social Sources of Human Sexuality by John Gagnon with William Simon (Aldine De Gruyter, $38). The book that made me want to study sexuality. This collection of sociological essays showed me that sexuality is cultural and shaped by fantasy, social norms, and during social interaction with others. A career turning point.

Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy (Bantam Books, $8). A beautiful novel that teaches you a lot about masculinity, families, love, and resurrection.

Portrait of a Marriage by Nigel Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West (University of Chicago Press, $18). A most fascinating and revelatory look into an unconventional but adoring upper-class marriage between a gay man and his bisexual wife. The compiled letters between husband and wife are presented by their son, who is well aware of their literary and social value.

Endless Love by Scott Spencer (out of print). A gorgeously written book (never, ever see the movie made from it) that showed me how close madness and passionate love might actually be.

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