PaperBackSwap Blog

My Father, My Grandfather and Our Love of Books

By Mary S. (kilchurn)



I think my love of reading started with my father and grandfather.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen either of them without a book (or two) in progress. 


If you walk into my Papa’s house, one of the first things you’ll notice is bookshelves; lots and lots of bookshelves.  Each shelf is overflowing with thick memoirs of World War II, leather-bound tomes documenting the “War of Northern Aggression”, biographies of some of the world’s most influential political figures and a few fiction novels just for fun.  Papa has read them all; every single one-most more than once.  At 86, he can quote his favorite lines, rattle off battle statistics and talk about military strategy like a four star general.  The man still reads several newspapers every day. 



I remember Papa telling stories at the breakfast table.  More often than not, I ended up with a cold breakfast because I was so focused on the stories.  I loved hearing about Ringo and Sambo and their adventures with the Poopampareno.   Later I found that some of Papa’s stories were adapted from “A Treasury of Southern Folklore” by B.A. Botkin.  Papa gave Dad a copy for Christmas in 1982, his own copy had been a gift in 1951 – it sits on my keeper shelf.


Cross the creek and head to my dad’s house and the first thing you encounter when you walk in the door is an overflowing bookshelf in the foyer.  It is full of stories of cowboys, lawmen, and big game hunters. 



My dad has always had a love of the outdoors and all things nature (except for snakes).  Death in the Long Grass by Peter H. Capstick stared out at me from our bookshelf as a child.  The title alone scared me.  Our copy had a pair of eyes peering out through tall grass.  I used to think the book was watching me.  As an adult, the book became a primer on African animals.  I bet you didn’t know that the deadliest animal in Africa is a hippo.  I remember sneaking and reading Man-Eaters of Tsavo by Lt. Colonel J. H. Patterson and loving it, despite its rather gruesome contents.  Later, I don’t know who was more surprised; me or Dad when we watched Ghost in the Darkness together and he realized I had read the story from which the movie was adapted. 


As I’ve grown older, one of the greatest joys for me has been giving them books that I know they will love.  I have to admit that it has become quite a challenge to find a book that they haven’t already read. 


Maybe your dad would love a new book for Father’s Day, I’m sure mine will!





Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply