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Brainworm
Mar 23, 2007

...one of these--
As he hath spices of them all, not all,
For I dare so far free him--made him fear'd...


Nap Ghost

Once upon a time, behind the water heater in my dad's workshop, I found a shelf full of weathered paperbacks. Dad Books. Think The Hunt for Red October, A Time to Kill, The Pillars of the Earth, The Frontiersmen, Shogun. Exactly what you'd expect from a suburban insurance salesman and father of two in or around 1987.

I read them. Most were fine. A few were straight-up bangers.

My favorite one, even today, is John D. MacDonald's One Monday We Killed Them All. It was this edition:



John MacDonald wrote detective stories, and is best known for his Travis McGee novels and for The Executioners, which was adapted as both versions of the movie Cape Fear. But One Monday is a flat-out ripper, written like Steinbeck finally got the stick out of his butt.

One Monday posted:

Brook City is in the middle of dying country. It’s just dying a little slower than the hill country around it. They came a long time ago and pulled the guts up out of the earth and took what they wanted and went away, leaving the slag and the tipples and the sidings that are rusting away. There’s nothing left in the hills but the scrabbly farms and the empty faces and the hard violent ways of living.

So post your favorite Dad Book. Tell us why it's you favorite. We all know that Stephen King is the American Charles Dickens but you can tell us to read Carrie anyway.

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Carnival of Shrews
Mar 27, 2013


For me it was Star of Ill-Omen, by Dennis Wheatley. His most famous book today is probably The Devil Rides Out, because of its film adaptation of the same name, and TBH The Devil Rides Out is a far better read than Star of Ill-Omen - but SoI-O was the book of his I found first.



There are a lot of things to like about Dennis Wheatley. For a start, he gives value for money. A short-story dilettante like Somerset Maugham might devote a whole novel to the theme of Satanic worship, or an author of limited scope, like John Steinbeck, focus wholly on the effects of totalitarianism. Mr. Wheatley frequently boldly combines the two: for example in They Used Dark Forces, a bit of Satanic Nazi weirdness from which I have yet to fully recover. In Star of Ill-Omen, the twin themes are Martians and espionage. That's value.

Wheatley is severely workmanlike as a writer, but as a plotter, he's...actually pretty solid? In SoI-O, someone asassinates someone else by pointing a lead tube with a chunk of radium in it at them, over many weeks, as they sleep. Rather horribly, the Russian Mafia among others have actually used almost this very method, but I bet Wheatley thought of it first.

So: Star of Ill-Omen. I was fourteen and very naive. My grandparents moved house and among the things they chucked out was a dog-eared copy of this book. The most subversive thing I'd read was probably Gray's Anatomy, which completely satisfied all the curiosity I'd had about sex, and then some. All my life I'd been on a sort of reading trajectory; I was good at reading and there was always something slightly harder and worthier (and approved) to move on to. I knew that there that there were books considered by most adults to be very hard, and other books so hard that very few people read them at all. I had thought that you simply carried on reading trickier and trickier books, until eventually you knew the mind of God, or died, or possibly both at once. Having read SoI-O, I experienced a blinding revelation that this wasn't actually the case: people read crap. For fun. And sometimes , the crap is good.

Dennis Wheatley, I salute you. May your velvet smoking-jacket never fade.

Carnival of Shrews has a new favorite as of 22:11 on Mar 5, 2021

some plague rats
Jun 5, 2012



Dad books is a pretty vague genre, but the first things that comes to mind when I think of books from my dad is a Nathanael West collection he had that I read when I was young for the simple reason that the blurb on the back went impossibly hard. I took it with me when I left the country and this inspired me to dig it out and read it again



That's the essence of dad book, right there, though it's going to be real hard to beat "One Monday We Killed Them All" for a title

Brainworm
Mar 23, 2007

...one of these--
As he hath spices of them all, not all,
For I dare so far free him--made him fear'd...


Nap Ghost

some plague rats posted:

Dad books is a pretty vague genre[...]

Yeah. When my students brought up Dad Rock last year their examples of it ranged from CCR to Snoop Dogg(!) to LCD Soundsystem(!!).

some plague rats posted:

[...] but the first things that comes to mind when I think of books from my dad is a Nathanael West collection he had that I read when I was young for the simple reason that the blurb on the back went impossibly hard. I took it with me when I left the country and this inspired me to dig it out and read it again

Locust is actually pretty funny and I think the origin of the name "Homer Simpson." It's also where I learned about cockfighting.

Last I checked, the only place to find it was in that two-novel collection and the four-novel L of A edition I bought maybe twenty years ago. Looks like there's a paperback reissue from New Directions, though. Maybe it's having a moment.

Brainworm
Mar 23, 2007

...one of these--
As he hath spices of them all, not all,
For I dare so far free him--made him fear'd...


Nap Ghost

Carnival of Shrews posted:


[...]In Star of Ill-Omen, the twin themes are Martians and espionage. That's value.


My small-town public library, which had to request The Haunting of Hill House from across the state, apparently has both this book and Willard and His Bowling Trophies on the shelf. Therein hangs a tale.

some plague rats
Jun 5, 2012



Brainworm posted:


Locust is actually pretty funny and I think the origin of the name "Homer Simpson." It's also where I learned about cockfighting.

Last I checked, the only place to find it was in that two-novel collection and the four-novel L of A edition I bought maybe twenty years ago. Looks like there's a paperback reissue from New Directions, though. Maybe it's having a moment.

It's absolutely criminal how totally he's been left out of the canon, his work is way funnier and lighter to read than the ballistic blurb makes it sound. Lonelyhearts is bleak as hell but never leaden and more importantly never in a way that sucks to read

Alhazred
Feb 16, 2011






Brainworm posted:

Yeah. When my students brought up Dad Rock last year their examples of it ranged from CCR to Snoop Dogg(!) to LCD Soundsystem(!!).

Snoop Dogg is an actual grandfather. His music is 100% dad music.

Brainworm
Mar 23, 2007

...one of these--
As he hath spices of them all, not all,
For I dare so far free him--made him fear'd...


Nap Ghost

Alhazred posted:

Snoop Dogg is an actual grandfather. His music is 100% dad music.

Rock, though?

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



I equate comedy books to Dad books.

George Carlin is a revolutionary and a pretty funny dude, but your Dad was the one who bought "Brain Droppings." Your Dad also thought Tim Allen was funny enough to buy "Don't Stand Too Close to a Naked Man." Your Dad has Dave Barry books. They're over on that little shelf next to his recliner or, if he's a next level Dad, he has them in his bathroom. That's where Dad goes for 30 minutes to get away from everyone.

Your Dad bought a Jeff Foxworthy book. If there's a copy of "Sein Language" in your parents' house, you know who bought it, right? Your Dad.

If he was a Dad from the decade before Allen's and Foxworthy's peaks, there might be a Lewis Grizzard book in there. Bonus points if it's the golf one.

Quad
Dec 31, 2007

I've seen pogs you people wouldn't believe

RC and Moon Pie posted:

I equate comedy books to Dad books.

George Carlin is a revolutionary and a pretty funny dude, but your Dad was the one who bought "Brain Droppings." Your Dad also thought Tim Allen was funny enough to buy "Don't Stand Too Close to a Naked Man." Your Dad has Dave Barry books. They're over on that little shelf next to his recliner or, if he's a next level Dad, he has them in his bathroom. That's where Dad goes for 30 minutes to get away from everyone.

Your Dad bought a Jeff Foxworthy book. If there's a copy of "Sein Language" in your parents' house, you know who bought it, right? Your Dad.

If he was a Dad from the decade before Allen's and Foxworthy's peaks, there might be a Lewis Grizzard book in there. Bonus points if it's the golf one.

Add in Howard Stern and Dennis Miller, too. 88-94 were great years for bad comedy making it in bookstores.

Brainworm
Mar 23, 2007

...one of these--
As he hath spices of them all, not all,
For I dare so far free him--made him fear'd...


Nap Ghost

RC and Moon Pie posted:

I equate comedy books to Dad books.

George Carlin is a revolutionary and a pretty funny dude, but your Dad was the one who bought "Brain Droppings." Your Dad also thought Tim Allen was funny enough to buy "Don't Stand Too Close to a Naked Man." Your Dad has Dave Barry books. They're over on that little shelf next to his recliner or, if he's a next level Dad, he has them in his bathroom. That's where Dad goes for 30 minutes to get away from everyone.

Your Dad bought a Jeff Foxworthy book. If there's a copy of "Sein Language" in your parents' house, you know who bought it, right? Your Dad.

If he was a Dad from the decade before Allen's and Foxworthy's peaks, there might be a Lewis Grizzard book in there. Bonus points if it's the golf one.

My childhood friend's dad, a true Next Level Dad, had a basket of these books in the guest bathroom and in easy reach of the toilet. But the crown jewel was this bad boy:



This was, like, an order of magnitude better than Dave Barry repeatedly observing that a "two-by-four isn't two anythings by four anythings."

What was your favorite one of these? Or which one was least bad?

Disco Pope
Dec 6, 2004

Spoiled Victorian Goon.


My Dad only ever read one book and it was "Interview with the Vampire", which is kind of a bop. My Mum doesn't understand how anyone could enjoy reading. I got a degree in English literature to spite them.

Endjinneer
Aug 17, 2005


Fallen Rib

This is the most memorable book from my childhood spent strip-mining the bookcases. Sat alongside sensible books in a cover meant to grab your attention across a departure lounge was this crime against decency.

It's a fish out of water story except our fish is pure-strain British aristocracy and with the brute righteousness instinctive to that class, simply raises up the sea. There's no room for sympathy as the cast succumb in one thumping setpiece after another, each one a familiar character whose flaws are savagely laid bare in their gruesome demise.
From the gold-digger denied her inheritance by the taxidermised corpse of her husband to the eligible bachelor cheese-grating a bleach filled condom off his chap, this is a book that'll make you laugh until you squirt coffee out of your nose at the terrified man in the window seat.
What I like about this one over Tom Sharpe's more famous Wilt and Porterhouse stories is the way it doesn't so much snipe at British society as cut loose with a bren gun. 14 year old me was nowhere near equipped to deal with this massacre of middle England authority figures and I can only think that I was given it to read by my tired parents in a momentary lapse of judgement.
Anything to keep the kids quiet.

FightingMongoose
Oct 19, 2006


The Throwback was honestly one of the most vile books I've ever read. I could maybe, maybe excuse the horrible things that happen if it was terrible people getting their comeuppance. But the man has bleach poured onto his penis for the crime of sleeping with a prostitute while the man who rapes and impregnates his daughter dies in his bed at the age of 90. So its just horrible for the sake of horrible.

Brainworm
Mar 23, 2007

...one of these--
As he hath spices of them all, not all,
For I dare so far free him--made him fear'd...


Nap Ghost

FightingMongoose posted:

The Throwback was honestly one of the most vile books I've ever read. I could maybe, maybe excuse the horrible things that happen if it was terrible people getting their comeuppance. But the man has bleach poured onto his penis for the crime of sleeping with a prostitute while the man who rapes and impregnates his daughter dies in his bed at the age of 90. So its just horrible for the sake of horrible.

I'ma submit this as proof that no book -- no matter its origin, subject matter, obscurity, or limited print run -- has been read by only one Goon. Bring up Bear, Willard and His Bowling Trophies, Stoner, City of Miscegenation, or whatever, and readers crawl out of the woodwork.

Gabriel-Ernest
Jun 3, 2011

Such dreadful things should not be said even in fun.

I agree that comedy books feel like dad books. Anyone described as a "humorist" is dad-adjacent.

When I was a kid I became obsessed with my dad's Calvin Trillin essay compilations. I didn't understand the political essays, but I liked the ones about food, and I liked how Trillin always achieved the trick of writing a last line that was neatly but unexpectedly tied to something he'd brought up earlier. It's hard to give examples of that -- you kind of have to read a whole essay to see what I mean.

Also, I witnessed a dad book spat a couple of years ago: my uncle wrote an email referencing Stranger in a Strange Land, I can't remember in what context, and my dad sent back a curt one-sentence reply saying he'd always hated that book because it's so sexist.

DemonDarkhorse
Nov 5, 2011

It's probably not tobacco. You just need to start wiping front-to-back from now on.

i dont think my dad's got a single tom clancy book on his shelf. its primarily filled with civil war poo poo and packers bios. hes got a well-worn copy of helter skelter, and alive by piers paul read, which he told 10 year old me to read, because "its about penguins."

Eason the Fifth
Apr 9, 2020


Back when he was kicking, my old man's shelves were Tom Clancy, W.E.B Griffin, Stephen Ambrose, and Clive Cussler, with a few John LeCarres and Frederick Forsyths tossed in. So while this isn't a recommendation for a specific book, I feel like the run of work from these authors pretty well represents the "military fiction & non-fiction/spy/action adventure" Dad Library spread, and while tastes and politics may vary, you could probably do a lot worse.

Though maybe those are Grandpa Books now. I'm of dad age (but not one myself) and over here it's Stephen King, Elmore Leonard, some old Foxfire books, and some textbooks I haven't opened in fifteen years that weren't worth selling back to the student bookstore, but which I can't force myself to throw away. And Project Management for Dummies, which might very well be the lamest dad book there ever was.

Pocket Billiards
Aug 29, 2007
.

My father buys books by the kilogram. He just goes to a charity shop, buys every bit of fiction he hasn't read before that's got cowboy, spy, aeroplane, Dan Brown, etc poo poo on the cover then donates it back and moves onto the next place.

The Frederick Forsyth books are good I thought, bit of casual racism aside.

Twitch
Apr 15, 2003

The Jellicle Moon is shining bright


I don't share all of my dad's tastes, but he was into Hunter Thompson, Dune, and Lord of the Rings, which are all pretty solid, if pretty standard "nerd in the 60s/70s" faire.

He got really into James Fenimore Cooper a couple years ago. I think he just likes books that are long as poo poo.

Caedus
Sep 11, 2007

It's good to have a sense of scale.





"Dad Books" are books on economic theory and essays about why you shouldn't care about anything to me. Yes my dad is a libertarian how could you tell?

Noted Dad Books I have been sent:

Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Atlas Shrugged
The Wisdom of Insecurity
Awareness


Noted Dad Books I have read:

CommonShore
Jun 6, 2014

A true renaissance man




My dad loves "British mysteries" and he claims to like science fiction but I've never been able to get him to read anything more recent than Asimov.

CapitanGarlic
Feb 29, 2004

Much, much more.

My old man owned the complete works of Louis L'Amour and if that doesn't make for a Dad-rear end library I don't know what does.

Brainworm
Mar 23, 2007

...one of these--
As he hath spices of them all, not all,
For I dare so far free him--made him fear'd...


Nap Ghost

CapitanGarlic posted:

My old man owned the complete works of Louis L'Amour and if that doesn't make for a Dad-rear end library I don't know what does.

My dad had those for sure. In my head, the standard issue Dad library is like 300 westerns, including that series whose titles were just state names with exclamation marks: Idaho! Colorado!. Very Sufjan Stevens.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




Fiction, off the top of my head:

Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck
A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories, by Isaac Bashevis Singer
The Odessa File, by Frederick Forsyth
Run Silent, Run Deep, by Edward L. Beach, Jr.
Flight of the Intruder, by Stephen Coonts
Das Boot, by Lothar-Günther Buchheim (also his favorite movie).

No Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum. He tried to read a Clancy book once (Patriot Games, I think) but had to quit because of how stupid it was.

Danger - Octopus!
Apr 20, 2008




Nap Ghost

Pocket Billiards posted:

My father buys books by the kilogram. He just goes to a charity shop, buys every bit of fiction he hasn't read before that's got cowboy, spy, aeroplane, Dan Brown, etc poo poo on the cover then donates it back and moves onto the next place.

This is pretty common. I've heard it's why they always have big shelves of romance novels, because older women come in, buy as many as they can carry and then donate them back a couple of weeks later.

Sunswipe
Feb 5, 2016

STILL ANGRY ABOUT CHEESE


Sham bam bamina! posted:

Fiction, off the top of my head:

Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck
A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories, by Isaac Bashevis Singer
The Odessa File, by Frederick Forsyth
Run Silent, Run Deep, by Edward L. Beach, Jr.
Flight of the Intruder, by Stephen Coonts
Das Boot, by Lothar-Günther Buchheim (also his favorite movie).

No Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum. He tried to read a Clancy book once (Patriot Games, I think) but had to quit because of how stupid it was.

What could possibly be stupid in a book that culminates in Jack Ryan and Prince Charles commandeering a US Navy vessel to chase terrorists?

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




Thanks for confirming that I remembered the right book; he mentioned that Princess Diana and Prince Charles were in it.

Oxxidation
Jul 22, 2007


my dad had an attic full of drizzt forgotten realms novels and a basement containing the collected works of stephen king

all things considered, i got off easy

Meaty Ore
Dec 17, 2011

My God, it's full of cat pictures!


My list of Dad Books:

Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe
[The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe
Swann's Way, Marcel Proust (and absolutely no other volume of In Search of Lost Time)
The Hunt For Red October, Tom Clancy
The 9/11 Commission Report
M*A*S*H, Richard Hooker
Moby-Dick, Herman Melville
Billy Budd, Herman Meliville
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
The Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper (complete with Dad Joke: "You know, one time this book slipped when I was getting it down from the shelf and I ended up with a Bumppo on the head!" )
Ulysses, James Joyce (unread, but it's one of those books you're supposed to have)
Various DIY/Home Repair books

oldpainless
Oct 30, 2009

This post brought to you by RAID: SHADOW LEGENDS.
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Pretty sure my dad has never read a book in his entire life OP

Visible Stink
Mar 31, 2010

Got a light, handsome?



My dad mostly has books about fighter planes from the 60’s and 70’s. Also a lot of naval history and popular science stuff. I’ve never seen him read a fiction book in my life.

Robert Deadford
Mar 1, 2008


Ultra Carp

My Dad used to collect old books the way he still collects vinyl, with the intent of selling the rare stuff at a huge mark-up. The house was full of random records and Dad books. Most of the books were unread but there were Dad Book classics like James Clavell's Noble House and Tai Pan, Asimov's Foundation Trilogy.

And of course, C S Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels in anthology. I read those and enjoyed them as a teenager but it is to my everlasting shame that my teen habit of reading Tom Clancy transferred to him.

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lifg
Dec 4, 2000
The Young Turks committed the Armenian Genocide.


Muldoon

Here is a scan of a newspaper photo of my dad with a Terry Brooks book next to him. Therefor Terry Brooks is a dad book.

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