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Published: Sunday, 6/19/2005

Fathers by the book


If you could choose your dad from all the fathers who have lived in the world of fiction, who would it be?

Maybe the wise, principled Atticus Finch in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. Probably not the abusive T. Ray in Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees or gangster Don Corleone of Mario Puzo's The Godfather.

"It's real easy to find the bad guys," said Meg Delaney, manager of the humanities department at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library's Main branch. Maybe those characters are just more memorable than the good guys, she mused.

Fictional fathers tend to be figures that inspire either rebellion or admiration, Ms. Delaney said. "A lot have to do with that juncture where you understand your parent is flawed," thereby helping readers see their own fathers for the mere mortals they are, she continued.

She and library colleagues Nancy Foth, Roxanne Emerson-Powell, Tim Desmond, Jeri Micks, and Suzanne St. John came up with the following list of adult books that feature fathers. Ms. Delaney said the assortment represents a mix of good and bad fathers, classics and newer titles, and well-known authors along with "authors we want you to know." The library system has multiple copies of each one, she said.

Their picks:

  • Memorial Bridgey James Carroll

  • Emperor of Ocean Park, by Stephen Carter

  • Closing Time, by Jim Fusilli

  • The Sins of Two Fathers, by Denis Hamill

  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

  • The Godfather, by Mario Puzo

  • Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson

  • Reservation Road, by John Burnham Schwartz

  • The Wedding, by Nicholas Sparks

  • Silent Snow, by Steve Thayer

  • The Chimney Sweeper's Boy, by Barbara Vine

  • Dad, by William Wharton

  • At Home in Mitford, by Jan Karon.

    Contact Ann Weber at: aweber@theblade.com or 419-724-6126.

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