Inexpensive Gift Ideas for the Literate Dad

Are you floundering over what to buy for dad this year?  I always buy books for my father (my mother too) - and this year is no exception.  Just knowing that I can pick something that fits his taste, and at the same time provides him with much needed relaxation, pleasure and intellectual stimulation is enough incentive for me to keep getting the same type of gift each year.  If you're wondering what to buy, books are great gift ideas and personalising your choice to your dad's taste is really thoughtful. 

If Dad isn't a big reader, then nonfiction is a pretty safe bet. You can buy manuals, guides or coffee-table books on almost any topic.  Biographies of people Dad admires or people from historical periods that Dad is interested in are also good.  If in doubt, go for award winners.  This year's National Book Critic winner for biography was Robert Caro's The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson.  This year's Pulitzer Prize winner The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss.  I think either of those would be a hit with most fathers - even those who don't normally hunker down with a book.   

For fathers who enjoy reading, you could do worse than picking an award winner in whatever genre they like.  for example, I got my own dad, a sci fi fan, the novel 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson.  The book won the 2012 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the plot summary sounds like it's just up his alley (normally I pre-read the books I send him, but haven't read any sci fi this year). Why not tuck in (perhaps instead of a card), a poetry chapbook as well to really stimulate Dad's literary imagination.  Imagining the Future: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions is the book of poetry I co-authored with Carolyn  Howard Johnson and can be either purchased as a super-inexpensive e-greeting card or sent as attractive paperback. To get you in the mood, here's a poem from the collection:

Horizon Scanning

Your eyes squint at glare
wavering between dreams

imaginary lines
or clear delineations

from this point
it’s not possible to judge

take a stand from your degraded platform
speaker’s corner cardboard soapbox

microwave radiation
blocking your ears

you can shout your head off
until everyone gathers

it won’t change reality
or will it?

28 billion light years
one edge to the other

there you are
explorer without a map

scratching your head
the horizon problem flakes those broad shoulders

Atlas in messy hair
and bell bottoms

every mystery you solve
invokes another.


D. Jean Quarles said...

Love the poem. We, too, are a book giving family. Thanks for the suggestions.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Well, naturally I think this is just the perfect post for Writers on the Move, Magdalena! Authors supporting authors! (-:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
PS: Also hope you’ll take a minute to like Magdalena Ball’s and my new fan page for our Sublime Planet, a poetry book. ( If you know of an environment-focused Website or other entity that might be interested in partnering with us, please let us know.

Karen Cioffi said...

Wonderful poem, Maggie, and great idea for Father's Day!

Heidiwriter said...

Books are ALWAYS the perfect gift! Grin.

Shirley Corder said...

Oh yes, books are ideal, but this year's different. Just yesterday we ordered a Kindle for my hubby--so he's getting a gift voucher for Amazon from me to start his collection.

Linda Wilson said...

Great post, Maggie, with lots of good suggestions! Your poem is great and very thought-provoking.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Love the poem Maggie and thanks for suggestions.

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