My dad and I have always had a close relationship despite the miles we live apart. We don’t call each other every weekend or even every month to be quite honest. But when we do talk we spend hours on the phone going over the latest happenings in our life and it’s not uncommon for us to spend a good portion of that time talking about the things we’ve ready lately. Books have always been important to us and my dad instilled in us very early on how luck we were to have access to a ready source of them. You see, he wasn’t born in America. He moved here as a youngster, telling me frequent stories of what they never had access to until they’d arrived here from the Netherlands.
My Dad brought me to my first book sale sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), held in the basketball court of the local community center. Acres of books all arranged on tables, sorted by subject, and available for purchase for bargain prices that even my childhood allowance could afford. Some years we spent so much time there that I would crawl under the one of the tables, surrounded by the comfortable smell of old books and take a nap while he explored. When I woke, I’d go searching for him and he’d tell me of his latest find. Frankly, it didn’t matter what the topic was, he always made it sound fascinating even to a small child.
I recently confessed to him of my secret love of foodie autobiographies in the wake of having finally finished Laura Schenone’s The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love during a business trip. And in the spirit of sharing, he confessed to me that he had begun reading romance novels because, well, he wanted to know what all the fuss was about given that I’d started writing for a romance blog. Now admittedly he’s still in the new reader stages of his romance experience and his only author so far has been Catherine Coulter, but…
HOLY CRAP MY DAD READS ROMANCE!
What’s worse, he wants me to help him find more romance to read!
So now I’m sitting here thinking “Egods, what do I recommend to him? I blog about this stuff, for pity’s sake!” What I like to read may not be what he likes. The tropes I find nearly irresistible (hello, secret baby!) will be nothing like what he’d love. I’m terrified! How the hell can I make any recommendations to this man who has guided me through my reading career for most of my life? I mean, this is the man that introduced me to Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and the Boxcar Children. This is the man who handed me my first cookbook, a copy of Eet Smakelijk (a collection of recipes by the Junior Welfare League of Holland, Michigan) when I confessed I wanted to learn to cook the Dutch dishes of my childhood. And this is the same man who handed me an absolutely stunning photography book when it came time to have *that talk* as a teenager and said “This has good pictures. Let me know if you have any questions.”
There’s this responsibility I have now. I have to find him something he’d love. I need to find him great stories that capture his fancy. And it’s downright embarrassing for me to admit that I have no idea what I should offer up by way of suggestion to him. Help, me readers! What do I offer him?