I’ll avoid this becoming a commentary on the anti-intellectual nature of our society, but I wanted to make it known that I was deeply disappointed to get an email from Indigo.Chapters (the bookstore) providing me with suggestions for books that are “great reads for dads” — presumably just in time for father’s day shopping. This dismayed me not because it was an unsolicited email (which it was not, since I am willingly on their mailing list) but instead because all but one book on their list-fit-for-dads fell into one (or more) of the following categories:
- non-fiction books about sports
- non-fiction books about sports media
- non-fiction books about alcohol
- non-fiction books written by stand up comedians
- non-fiction books written by quasi-celebrities
- non-fiction books about food
- fiction books about James Bond
- fiction book parodies of real children’s storybooks
I have often bought, read, and enjoyed reading material that fits into one or more of these categories. In fact I read comics, cheesy science fiction, bathroom readers, recipe books, and the ramblings of all sorts of famous people. But it is sad that this categorization is how fathers are intellectually defined in our society — at least by the marketing department of somewhere one would presume is promoting knowledge, reading, and thoughts deeper than beer, sports, and joke books. I’m not saying these don’t have a place on the list, but how about rounding it out with some popular science reads, works of deeper and more meaningful fiction, travel books, collections of essays on philosophy or history, or — yes — some junior novels that dads could ( *gasps* ) read aloud to their kids.
Just saying… because there weren’t many books on that list I’d be ecstatic about getting. And I’m a dad.