Bookfilter: what book(s) would my father love?
October 13, 2008 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Book filter: Getting a head start on Christmas presents - what books would you recommend for my kung fu instructing, deadwood watching, social work teaching freemason father?

The last books my father really enjoyed were The Poisonwood Bible and The Davinci Code. He joined up with the freemasons shortly after he read the D. Code. He is a social work prof with special focus in aboriginal issues and community mental health organizations, has been teaching martial arts since before I was born and runs his own studio, and he and my mother ADORE the show Deadwood and have watched the entire series repeatedly.

I want to buy him a few books for Christmas that he will adore. I do not read up on these subjects and am at a loss. Help!

PS - If a movie/show/gadget/weapon is coming to mind, feel free to throw that suggestion in also. Much appreciated!
posted by Acer_saccharum to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Has he seen No Country for Old Men or There Will Be Blood yet? They're both out on DVD now.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:58 AM on October 13, 2008

Best answer: Some books that are similar to The Da Vinci Code that I have liked are Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, which is quite a bit more complex and dense, and Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason's The Rule of Four. The former is one of my favourite books and, if he liked the secret society stuff in The Da Vinci Code, he might get into it.

I was also going to suggest Cormac McCarthy, though the novels rather than the movie (though the movie is a good suggestion, too). My favourite is Blood Meridian, but I have enjoyed everything of his that I have read (though I have only read a few of his novels). Try The Border Trilogy, as well as No Country and Blood Meridian.
posted by synecdoche at 11:20 AM on October 13, 2008

sounds like the kind of guy who'd love to get a katana
posted by matteo at 11:25 AM on October 13, 2008

My book-reading co-worker suggests Pillars of the Earth. Never read it, but it looks DaVinci-esque.
posted by fiercekitten at 11:45 AM on October 13, 2008

We liked those books at my house too. For pure rip roaring fun, try Blasphemy by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs. These guys have a series of these books, all are good, but this one is by far the best.

I liked a book called The Ghost Writer, by John Harwood. This book scared me enough that I was worried about the doors being locked. Also good: The Little Friend by Donna Tart.

The Rule of Four is good, I loved it but a friend of mine didn't like it, and he liked The DaVinci Code. Elizabeth Kostoya's The Historian.
posted by chocolatetiara at 11:51 AM on October 13, 2008

Dads who like history are often thrilled to receive a Ken Burns DVD set, such as "The West" or "The Civil War". It's not something they could feel justified buying for themselves.
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:00 PM on October 13, 2008

Response by poster: Great suggestions so far, if anyone has any more please throw in! I'm busy researching these on amazon.

fairytale of los angeles - he has seen both of those movies, and enjoyed them tons.

matteo - that was his big gift last year (he ended up with two, one from us and one from his kung fu students) and they are prized possessions of his.
posted by Acer_saccharum at 12:43 PM on October 13, 2008

Best answer: A really great coffee-table/gift book about Masons is American Freemasons by Mark Tabbert. It's affordable, too, only $17 on Amazon!
posted by mattbucher at 12:43 PM on October 13, 2008

Seconding Foucault's Pendulum, and even though it's a bit passé 'round these parts he might really enjoy Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle. One big plus for the latter is that it's in 3 rather thick hardbound volumes or you could get him started on the series with one of the paperbacks (they're broken down into smaller chunks).
posted by carsonb at 12:47 PM on October 13, 2008

I would recommend Far Tortuga by Peter Matthiessen, but its been around for awhile and he's probably allready read it.
posted by Huplescat at 1:30 PM on October 13, 2008

The Rule of Four and Foucault's Pendulum are both awesome.

I'd also recommend The Book of Air and Shadows as another kind of mystery-puzzle-thingum in the same kind of vein.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:41 PM on October 13, 2008

Best answer: What about Deadwood: Stories of the Black Hills, by David Milch himself? Gorgeous book, fascinating and well-written to boot.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:19 PM on October 13, 2008

I think he might enjoy the John Rain books by Barry Eisler (link is to the first in the series). The protagonist is a martial artist (among other things) and the details of such things in the stories are very well researched.
posted by altcountryman at 5:57 PM on October 13, 2008

Best answer: Documentary/TV suggestion: Mind, Body and Kick Ass Moves is a BBC created martial arts series (there are more episodes than mentioned on the wikipedia entry). The best TV show I have ever seen about martial arts, ever. Period. I recommend it to anyone that has even a passing interest in martial arts, especially kung fu, as the presenter spent several years studying in China. The bad news is that a cursory search yields nothing on, but I am sure it's out there somewhere.
posted by saturnine at 6:06 PM on October 13, 2008

Does he like comedy? If he does, I think this Steven Chow movie Kung Fu Hustle is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen in my life. It's absolutely ridiculous, though, so he's got to appreciate that kind of humor.
posted by gt2 at 9:37 PM on October 13, 2008

A really great coffee-table/gift book about Masons is American Freemasons by Mark Tabbert.

Seconding this. I bought this book on Matt's recommendation a couple of months ago and it's really, really nice.
posted by mrbill at 3:52 PM on October 15, 2008

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