Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Father's Day

Yes father’s day is still 12 days away, but when you live in another state, and your birthday gift to him was pitiful (i.e. non-existent) planning ahead is essential. A book is a good gift and easy to mail so I decided I would discover the perfect book to send him. I would not pigeon hole my father with a gift concerning golf, beer or yet another unused tie. I wanted to get a book that he would find interesting, worthy of reading yet but not be epic in length. He loved the last book I got him which was “Q & A” by Vikas Swarup. The book was the basis of the movie Slumdog Millionaire and consequently caused him to be the only person I know that did not like the movie. Optimistically I began to go through my endless mental list of possibilities.

The Soloist by Steve Lopez?
An unusual story that is both heartfelt and true. However another book made into a movie can only result in another rant from my dad about Hollywood ruining a perfectly good story.

Obama’s Blackberry by Kasper Hauser?
A book filled with such gems as…
Text Message from:
Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State

HBomb: r u still mad about the primary?

BarackO: no, why?

HBomb: why am i flying coach class to zimbabwe?

BarackO: have fun eating pretzels and watching “marley and me” J

As entertaining as this book is, it lacks complete sentences and often complete words so I don’t know if my dad would be able to read it.

Boomsday by Christopher Buckley?
A funny political satire by the author of, “Thank You for Smoking.” Then again, maybe I shouldn’t get a darkly humorous book about what to do with aging baby boomers to a man over 60.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith?
It may sound like a ridiculous suggestion for my father, but NPR interviewed the author and it has been getting good reviews. On the other hand the cover depicting Elizabeth Bennet’s blood red eyes and torn face is sure to make my dad never open the book.

This went on for awhile. For every good book I thought of I could also think of a flaw that would make the book a horrible gift for my father. I often make book suggestions to customers, many who I have only known for less than 5 minutes. Shouldn’t it be easier to pick out a book for a person I lived with for eighteen years? Apparently not. In the end I decided on “White Tiger” by Adiga Aravind. For all I thought through the flaws of the other books, I picked this book for three reasons;

1. It’s a bestseller with good reviews
2. It is the debut novel of an Indian author (like Q & A)
3. A vague feeling of it being the right book (through osmosis because I have not yet read the book)

I’ll have to wait and see if my dad likes it. As arbitrary as my reasons for picking this book were, I think keeping it simple is best. And my dad can’t say I didn’t put thought into his gift!

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