Back with Books II

Just like Return of the Sith, another famous Part II, this post is about the father-child relationship.  The father being Dad, who doesn’t read overmuch and is not a fan of fiction, and the child being me who reads A LOT and who counts fiction as her favorite genre.  Not quite Vader-Luke size differences, but still.

Recommended by Dad:

  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream: My first and still my favorite Shakespeare. Dad and I read it together when I was younger and talked through some of the harder phraseology.
  • The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion: Dad’s a big Tolkien fan, can you tell? And thanks to him I am too. We read all of these together. I’m hoping sometime to read The Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle Earth.
  • The Odyssey: Dad recommended this one so I got to finish it years before it started being assigned in classes. I love the motifs and metaphors, favorites being “the rosy-fingered dawn” and “the sea’s broad back.”
  • Shadows on the Rock: Cheating here. I don’t think Dad ever read this but another person recommended it to him as a book for me and then I never listened but eventually read it and felt very guilty for not having read it before. Didn’t even realize it was Willa Cather until I read My Antonia and eventually O Pioneers years later.
  • The Plague: Okay, I hated The Stranger. I didn’t like The Fall very much. But Dad loves The Plague and when I finally read it I could see why. It’s beautiful and bleak but ultimately very hopeful. Very human. A favorite.

Read by Dad from my Recommendations:
The rare times that he does listen to me I think it goes well…

  • Provence books: The ones by Peter Mayle. Dad and I are both heavy francophiles, and these anecdotal nonfiction compendiums seemed like a kind of perfect melding of our two sensibilities.  He’s read A Year in Provence and is in the middle of Toujours Provence and plans to read Encore Provence after. So I think he likes them?
  • The Wind in the Willows: You can’t get much more fictional than this but it’s so good and one of my favorite books ever. I think Dad has a special connection here given that one time he almost lost his leg on Disneyland’s Mister Toad’s Wild Ride.
  • A Moveable Feast: I seem to have a system. Francophile. Check. Nonfiction. Check-ish (You have to wonder when novelists write nonfiction).  Hemingway tells of his glory years among the lost generation’s Paris. Visits from extra Pound, Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and Ford Maddox Ford.
  • The Death of Ivan Ilyich: Tolstoy is my man.  The Death of Ivan Ilyich falls into a Plague-like territory.  It’s a short story about the last days of a man’s life, his thoughts and realizations. Proud to say I also wrote an essay on this one in high school that convinced my professor- I guess we called them teachers then- to read it.
  • Age of Innocence: I didn’t remember that I had gotten Dad to read this one until he mentioned it to me last night when I was doing ‘research’ for this post. He said he really liked it. I’m kind of surprised.

Outstanding Recommendations:
Dear Dad, read these next.

  • The Man Who Was Thursday: This is a very weird satirical thing with anarchy (of which Dad is a fan). A very strange and mysterious farce of a play that I think he would enjoy.
  • Under Milk Wood: So we read as a family A Child’s Christmas in Wales last year and I didn’t like it nearly as much as I loved Under Milk Wood. But Dad really enjoyed it so I think he should read this which is the ocean to the pond that is Child’s Christmas in Wales.  It’s gorgeous and lyrical and dark and strange.

Again, if anyone has any more recommendations for either of us, comment!

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