Last month we introduced a new service: the Reading Doctor. Read more about Dr Louise here. And do feel free to request further prescriptions, as needed!
Prescription #6: something for someone who doesn't get around to reading
My Dad doesn’t read much: mostly non-fiction and sometimes a sports biography. Could you recommend something a bit different I could get for him?
There are a number of writers whom I think of as being distinctively masculine voices with masculine concerns, who have a particular (but not exclusive) appeal to a male audience. They are often also strongly colloquial in tone, and speak of a male experience which is firmly located in a specific place and culture: Australians Tim Winton and Richard Flanagan for example, New Zealander Lloyd Jones, British writer Andrew O’Hagan, or William Faulkner of the American South.
While trying to avoid generalisations – of either men or women, of either writers or their readers – I hope there’s something here which will appeal.
·Gardeners will find much of interest in Eucalyptus, by Murray Bail, which mixes science and botany with a fairy tale in a rural Australian setting.
For blokes who like to fish, perhaps Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea would appeal, describing the contest between a fisherman and a giant marlin off the coast of Cuba; Herman Melville’s Moby Dick is another, more substantial, option.
Sports fans will enjoy The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, which tells the story of a shortstop and his college baseball career; or, Machete and the Ghost, by James Griffin and Oscar Kightley, which tells the story of the two greatest All Blacks who never existed.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M Pirsig has little to do with either Zen or motorcycles, but is a fictional autobiography of a father-son road trip dominated by philosophical discussions.
Cooks and carnivores might feel differently about the barbeque after reading My Year of Meat, by Ruth L Ozeki, a cross-cultural precursor to the current batch of television cooking shows.
Outdoorsy blokes might see themselves in Morris Goldberg, the protagonist of Gigi Fenster’s The Intentions Book, a tramper whose daughter is feared lost in the Tararua Ranges as the weather closes in.
The Voyage of the Narwhal, by Andrea Barrett, is one for sailors, describing the attempt to discover what happened to John Franklin’s ill-fated 1845 expedition in search of the Northwest Passage.
Those blokes who prefer to hold a gaming console than a book might be tempted by Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir, a rollicking inter-galactic sci-fi fantasy with gore aplenty.