Your shopping may be done by now, but I did not want to end the Holiday Giving series on #13 – that just feels like asking for bad luck! So, one (or two) more before we move on.
Today, dad is on my list. Not a made-up dad, but my dad. He didn’t read a lot as a young man, but since he turned 50, he’s more than made up for lost time. He reads a few good books every month, and I always give him books for his birthday and Christmas. When he unwraps his packages this year (no shaking allowed!), this is what he will find:
The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig (“Doig writes about a vanished way of life on the Western plains with the kind of irony-free nostalgia that seems downright courageous in these ironic times. A celebration tinged with sadness, his new novel, The Whistling Season, tells a story twice removed from us: It’s the late 1950s, and that little Soviet satellite has startled the United States into an educational panic. Paul Milliron, the narrator, is superintendent of the Montana schools, and he’s come to Great Falls to make a sad announcement to the superintendents, teachers and school boards of Montana’s 56 counties: In pursuit of greater efficiency and rigor, the state has decided to close all its one-room schoolhouses. “What is being asked, no, demanded of me,” Paul laments, “is not only the forced extinction of the little schools. It will also slowly kill those rural neighborhoods, the ones that have struggled from homestead days on to adapt to dryland Montana.” As the burden of making that speech weighs on him, Paul remembers his own experience in a one-room school 43 years earlier, and that reverie forms the body of this charming novel.”) The Washington Post
Jim the Boy by Tony Earley (I read this earlier in the year, wrote about it a few posts back, and thought about my dad on every page.)
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart (When I read reviews that compared this book to those by Cormac McCarthy, one of my dad’s favorite authors, it was added to the list.)
If pressed, I know he would say that one of his favorite books of the past few years was The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan. He mentions that book whenever he opens the new ones so I think that’s a pretty strong endorsement!