Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Books for the Men in Your Life

It's that time of year! Father's Day approacheth, and I have compiled my annual(?) list of reads that might appeal to your reading man. Most of these are non-fiction, I confess, but men love non-fiction, don't they?

1. First off, for those who love history and history of technology, I just finished The Guardian of All Things. This history of memory, both human and artificial, was 90% riveting. Silicon Valley tech journalist Malone covers everything from brain functionality in evolving hominids, to Ciceronian memorization techniques, to the invention of written language, to the Internet, stopping every place in between. In what other book could you find an account of papyrus and parchment production, as well as a discussion of whether machines might one day become so human as to be indistinguishable from the real McCoy? Seriously--from a thousand-year-old vellum MS in the Bodleian to Battlestar Galactica Cylons, all in one book. And, having grown up in the Silicon Valley, I loved Malone's history of it. In a way it was reading my own history. Visiting the "computer room" with its big machines and roaring fans at Digital Equipment Corporation where my mother worked. Touring "Bill and Dave's office" when I worked at Hewlett-Packard. Billboards alongside 101.

I was even almost able to explain how an amplifier worked when my kids asked. Almost. I mean, it made sense when Malone explained it to me, but it failed to take hold in my physics-challenged memory.

Give this book to a man in your life at your own risk. He might bombard you with his learnings, but you'll enjoy them, too. I promise.

2. If disaster and survival is more your guy's thing, try
World War II! Disaster at sea! Sharks! Governmental cover-ups!


Teddy Roosevelt! Lethal heat! New York City!

3. If he needs a good laugh he'll probably enjoy

I'm a Ken Jennings fan. This exploration of the map- and geography-loving world both educates and amuses. Plus, this recommendation is road-tested. I gave it to the dear hub to read, and he has greatly enjoyed it.

4. And, finally, I need at least one fiction suggestion. How about

Yes, I know it's been out forever, and maybe he had to read it in high school. But hey--it's one of the best books ever, appealing both to the idealistic and mid-life crisis stages of a guy's life. Not only that, but you can then get him to see the Leo diCaprio movie with you. Just don't buy him the Gatsby with the movie tie-in cover
Cover not released yet, but it might look a little something like this...

Happy Father's Day to all!

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