Books My Father Reads
When my father calls, which isn't very often, he likes to talk about the books he's reading. He called again tonight because he didn't catch me last week and could only leave a message on my voice mail. I'm not very good about returning calls. For some reason, I feel like I have to have something to talk about when I call him. But I don't. Dad will always have things to talk about.
"Remember the book you gave me by Mark Spragg? Where Rivers Change Direction?"
I'd forgotten, but yes, it sounded vaguely familiar.
"I read his novel Unfinished Life. He's a really good writer."
(Made note to myself to ask Dr. Bell if he's read any Spragg. Might be a nice fit for his 20th Century American Lit class.)
He's reading Laura Schlessinger's The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands and tells me if I'm ever dating anyone seriously I should read it.
"Oh, it's a good one. I have read it," I assured him.
"Oh yes. But I should read it again. It's been a while."
He's reading Robert D. Richardson Jr.'s biography of Henry David Thoreau and tells me he will send me a copy of Walden to replace the one that was damaged or destroyed in our house fire.
He's sending along Wendy Lesser's book Nothing Remains the Same: Rereading and Remembering with Grandma, which includes an essay, reflections (?) about Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle. I've loved Smith's book for years. It's a story about a girl suffering the growing pangs common to writers while trying to understand why her writer father hasn't written anything worthwhile in years.
I don't understand my own father very well, but I love him. I love him! Perhaps I understand him the best out of the three of his children. Or perhaps I am just the most like him. I had never thought about it before tonight, but someday, my father will be gone. And I will miss our conversations about books and ideas.