Thursday, July 26, 2007
Suggestions Needed

I'm hoping you guys can help me out with something.

It turns out that this weekend my mother and I are going to visit my grandfather, who's just turned 82 (I think.) I'm the official Pappy-present-selector for this branch of the family, since I've had a good track record of getting him what he likes. And that pretty much means books.

In the past I've had hits with this one and this one among others, and the last couple were this one and this one. The point is, he's an old dude, but he still leads a fairly active intellectual life, and he enjoys being exposed to big, new ideas. Popular history and science are good bets, and philosophy or any reasonably in-depth nonfiction would probably be good, too. Probably best to stay away from politics, though, and maybe religion as well, just to be safe. I don't think he does a lot of fiction. The point is to get him something he can re-read a few times and really chew on. That's always been my guiding principle, and it's always worked well.

My problem is that this time I have only today and tomorrow to get him something, and I'm drawing a complete blank. So I'm hoping y'all could drop a few suggestions on me.

I love to give people presents, but I have to say, my grandfather is one of my very favorite people to buy gifts for. I have a long history of giving new people gifts of books -- it's my quiet little test of their character. Do they understand that books are the most awesome gift ever? Are they insightful enough to understand why I give them a particular book over all others? How do they respond? A negative response is a bad thing and predicts problems down the line; a neutral one is fine, though I'm always a little disappointed; a positive response is an undeniable sign of a kindred spirit. And my grandfather, bless him, loves getting books. And he's a cool old guy, so I always love to give him some more. I hope when I'm 82 I have someone who brings me books now and then.

I always have to fight off the temptation to give him some Hunter S. Thompson, or maybe some Bukoswki. I mean, come on, they were old guys who liked beer, too -- he might really be able to relate. But then I think of what my mother would say, and think better of it. Probably wisest just to stick to sober nonfiction.
12:08 PM ::
Amy :: permalink