Friday, September 7, 2012

Remember that song in 1994 by Des'ree, titled "You gotta be"? They played it over and over again ad nauseum, but one of the best lyrics is "Read the books your father read."

On my dad's 70th birthday, I wanted to see what my dad would say are his favorite books of all time. (Keep in mind, I called him in the middle of the work day and said that I needed his top 5 favorite books right now so I can have something to blog about since I didn't keep up with my reading very well this week.) So, although he may rethink this list later on, here are some of his favorites.

#1 Trinity by Leon Uris

I started this book back when my dad say that this is his favorite book of all time, but I was a teenager then and couldn't get through the first chapter. This is next on my to-read list. My father is an Irishman. No, he wasn't born in Ireland but he might as well have been. His pride in being Irish has led to a proud and loud Irish clan with me, my mother, my sister, my brother and 6 grandchildren. Erin go bragh!

#2 Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo by Ted Lawson

I hadn't heard of this one so I had to look it up. It's a first-person account of the American raid ("Doolitle Raid") over Tokyo in April 1942. My father would have been just born around the time of these events but I can imagine his fascination as he read this as a teenager (and perhaps that factored in to his decision to join the Air Force years later).

#3 Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Okay, this one I have read and I agree that it should be in the top 5 books of all time! A powerful love story set during the French revolution, this book ends in the ultimate sacrifice. I can say, in all honesty, that my dad knows something about sacrifice. Sacrificing everything for his family, he has raised three kids, put them through college, helped us when we were in trouble, counseled us, make us feel safe and, most of all, loved. Plus, he somehow managed to attend college and get his Ph.D., while working extremely hard to provide for his family.

#4 The New Testament

I've read some of the New Testament (I know, I know - I should have read it all by now). My dad definitely wanted this added, but wanted it to be clear that it's not the whole Bible that he loved...only the New Testament. Who can blame him? That Jesus really spiced things up. Raised Baptist, my dad wanted to be a minister at one time. That changed but he kept us kids settled in the Lutheran church growing up, taking me to church every Sunday, dropping me off at vacation bible school, picking me up from lock-ins and teaching all of us how to be good people and help others. I imagine he would have made a great minister - - well, apart from the Irish temper.

#5 Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett

As describes it, "...suspense, intrique, and the dangerous machinations of the human heart." Sounds like a good one, Dad! I'll put that on the to-read list too.

These are all great choices but, for me, there is only one book that will always remind me of Dad.  Growing up in suburban Midlothian, VA , after spending the day at school or at the pool or roller-skating in the basement, I would be ready for bed and my dad would tuck me in and read me this:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, "GEORGE"! You are not a cow or a hen or a dog or a plane or a SNORT! You are a daddy and you are my father! I love you.

**Just a few hours after I published this, my dad sent an email with some others: Exodus, War & Peace, Nicholas & Alexandria, IKE, Lonesome Dove and The Killer Angels.

~ Wooter


Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books said...

I have not read a single one of these books. Except maybe Are You My Mother? I would like to think I read this as a child.

I did make an attempt to read A Tale of Two Cities when I was like 12, but even then I knew I would never be a big fan of the "classics."

I think it's awesome that your dad is a reader :)

Kate@Midnight Book Girl said...

I love this post, Katie! My da was a voracious reader, and an Irishman with a fiery temper to boot!. He liked every kind of genre, and often read non-fiction too- unlike me. But I never thought to ask him what his top 5 or top 10 books were, and now I really wish I had. I'm so glad he passed on his love for reading, that he thought nothing of taking books with him when we went out to dinner, that he introduced me to audio books on long car trips, and that he left Fire-Starter by Stephen King in the extra bathroom upstairs for me to find when I was just a little kid.

I think maybe we should make Trinity one of our book club selections! ;) Happy Birthday to your dad, he sounds like an amazing man!