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Image / Editorial

Something for dad: Six books he’ll love this Father’s Day


by Jennifer McShane
15th Jun 2019
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Stuck for a very last minute father’s day gift? Try these…


As I get older, I try and put more effort into my father’s day gifts without piping up with my usual “let’s just get him a shirt” comment. This has as much to do with both of us getting older as it does to do with the fact that I’m pretty sure he hates shirts. Either way, over the years, your dad has likely got the short straw when it comes to Father’s Day gifts so if you want to redeem yourself, nothing says I’m thinking of you like giving a book.

Related: IMAGE Picks: Irish-designed Father’s Day gifts

Books are personal. You’ve taken the time to go in and choose a title he’ll enjoy; it’s thoughtful. (Oh and decidedly not like every other samey shirt you disregarded in the last five clothes stores – bonus points right there). Here are six books worth giving him this weekend that he’s bound to love.

Minor Monuments by Ian Maleney

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Minor Monuments by Ian Maleney (Tramp Press, approx. €11.99, out now) is a series of deeply personal essays written after this grandfather, John Joe, passed away. Maleney witnessed first-hand his grandfather’s descent into ill health as Alzheimer’s disease slowly became more potent. In twelve stories he recounts his grandfather and his home in the rural Midlands. His memory loss, his deterioration, his fear, and what’s around him; the landmarks, the sounds and silence all interweave over the course of the collection. There is revealing details in each story: the accidental recording of a conversation, the unblemished skin on John Joe’s shins and calves, “almost the legs of a child” – it’s these moments that give the writing great emotional depth and warmth. There are echoes of Emilie Pine here, but Maleney shines in his own right. Thought-provoking and wonderful.

Lanny by Max Porter 

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 A family are living in a small English village, and parents Robert and Jolie want their young son Lanny to develop his innate artistic abilities so they find him a tutor – a friendly, ageing and famous local artist named Pete. What his parents don’t know is that Lanny is an eccentric boy; he becomes obsessed with the legend of Dead Papa Toothwort. Or is it a legend? Suddenly the child goes missing. As with Porter’s debut, this is more poem than prose but his unique voice makes it truly special (Faber & Faber, approx. €12.99, out now).

My Coney Island Baby by Billy O’Callaghan

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Billy O’Callaghan’s My Coney Island Baby (Jonathan Cape, approx. €14.99, out now) offers a melancholy yet beautiful take on an illicit affair. Michael and Caitlin met by chance. Both married to other people, both unhappy. Their love affair has gone on for 25 years; once a month, Coney Island is their haven. Michael is married to Barbara though the devastating loss of their son young son drives a wedge between them that neither recovers from. Caitlin loves her husband Thomas, but has never felt that she was truly loved by him or needed by anyone, until she met Michael. They are at a crossroads now; with news of a serious illness on one side and a move on the other. After half a lifetime spent in secret, they must make a choice. A tender, slow-burning depiction of love. This is powerful and a must read.

House of Names by Colm Toibin 

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Tóibín, always an enthusiast of classic storytelling, turns his deft hand to Greek mythology in House of Names (Viking, approx. €16.99, out now). Reimagining Aeschylus’ Greek tragedy The Oresteia, the story centres on Clytemnestra after she has carried out the murder of her husband Agamemnon. He sacrificed their daughter to win a war and now there’ll be hell to pay. It’s different from the likes of the beloved Brooklyn, but don’t be fooled; it’s beautifully written and equally brilliant.

A Ladder To The Sky by John Boyne 

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What would you do to grab even one brilliant idea? Maurice Swift deems this his obsession when he realises that for all his good looks, charm and ambition, nothing can be achieved unless a great idea precedes it. A chance encounter with a celebrated novelist sparks a way out of this dilemma: he’ll use the stories of others and pass the work off as his own. Eventually, these stories make him famous but he’s begged, borrowed, stolen – and done much worse to get them. The beloved Irish author puts a fresh spin on the phrase ‘everything’s copy’ – and it makes for a truly fascinating read (Doubleday, approx. €11.99, out now).

Horace Winter Says Goodbye by Conor Bowman 

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Horace Winter is old and has led an unexceptional life. He doesn’t go out much and his only real interest is in butterflies and moths. Suddenly, a minor fall turns out to be not so minor. He soon realises that life is short things must change. What follows is a journey that is both tender and sad, but a joy to witness. An absorbing read (Hachette Books, approx. €15.99, out now).

Main photograph: Unsplash


Read more:  Father’s Day for the fatherless

Read more: Movies to watch with you dad

Read more: Our favourite on-screen dads

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