Books for dad on Father’s Day? Great idea. I’m an avid reader, and I appreciate books as gifts for any occasion. However, now that I’m in my 80s, I’ve told everyone who considers giving me a book to make it on audio tape, CD or DVD. If your old dad is anything like this ancient one, he is sure to have shelves full of books already, and may not be thrilled with another big fat, printed one. My daughter in previous years always marked Father’s Day by giving me a book on my favorite subject: history.
Of course, I appreciated those enormous story and picture books of the Civil War, the signers of the Declaration of Independence, early North American tribes and World War II battles. Because I served in the Pacific during WWII as a teenager, she always thought a big book about something like the invasion of Iwo Jima would be look great on my coffee table. And, bless her, she was right!
Of course, her presents were appreciated, and I perused them with pleasure when they arrived. Then, after two days or so, they’d join all the others on the bookshelves gathering dust, and were rarely ever taken down again. My suggestion here, and in recent years, my kids have complied, is to get old dad books on tape, CD or, if visual, DVD. I welcome them, especially the sound recordings of books, because I hike every morning and can take good pals Ernie Hemingway, Will Shakespeare, Eddie Allen Poe, Norm Mailer or Patty Cornwell along with me.
Another benefit of hearing books is that my old eyes aren’t nearly as sharp nor resilient as they once were, and lately my comfy habit of reading in bed has become tiring and bothersome. However, with a book on tape or CD, I can rest my tired eyes at night while reading with my ears. My kids also give me DVDs of favorite Broadway shows that have been made into movies. Tonight, I’ll be watching the film version of “Sweeney Todd”, and I expect to be even more grossed out than when I saw it on stage live several years ago. If my eyes won’t let me watch such productions, my recent audio tape gifts from my daughter of the sound tracks of “Les Miserables” and “Phantom of the Opera” will share my pillow with me. Or I might take them on hikes with me on my early morning forays. I like the march music from “Les Miz”, and often step along to the beat. It is enjoyable, even when I get strange looks from other hikers.
Here is my list of just a few favorite books I’ve never read or have read just once or twice. I intend to read them again as soon as someone gets any for me for Father’s Day or for any other occasion, or no occasion at all. But, please, my shelves are full and bursting, so never again send me actual printed books! I prefer reading them on audio tape or CDs, so that I can snuggle up to them in bed and take them along on my morning hikes.
“The Bridges of Toko Ri” by James Michener
“Go Tell It On The Mountain” by James Baldwin
“The Sun Also Rises” by Hemingway
“Hamlet” by Shakespeare
“The Plot Against America” by Philip Roth
“To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
“A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens
“Book of the Dead” by Patricia Cornwell
“The Guns of August” by Barbara Tuchman
“Playing for Pizza” by John Grisham
“My Grandfather’s Son” by Justice Clarence Thomas