Since I posted recommendations for the literary Mormon mommy, I thought I’d put up a few books that I think will appeal to the men in our lives. Of course, most of the contributors and many of the commenters here are male so I assume most of you will have stuff to add to the list.
1. The Conversion of Jeff Williams by Doug Thayer. I loved this book so much that I *almost* wish I were a man so that I could get it for Father’s Day. I haven’t always been Thayer’s biggest fan and the narrator, Jeff Williams, a laid-back California surfer teen who tends to be self-involved and see everyone else at a distance, was hard for me to read at first. But as his return to Provo and his relationship with his sickly, pre-mission cousin changed his worldview Thayer wielded that point of view like a scalpel. Slowly, bit by bit, Jeff’s voice fumbles and falters and changes until, by the end of the book, he is new. He is still himself (short, choppy sentences; monosyllabic dialogue interspersed between Hamelt-esque inner monologues) but he is changed. Stronger. Wiser. Much more of man than a boy. This bildungsroman is probably the best homage to the young LDS male experience to date.
2. Angel of the Danube by Alan Rex Mitchell. If Jeff Williams is the best homage to young LDS males, then Angel of the Danube is the ultimate in missionary novels. With a distinct narrative voice, Angel presents the missionary experience with humor, gratitude, frustration, and depth. Because the characters in the book want to be faithful and are unable to take themselves too seriously it ends up being a little more light-hearted than Fires of the Mind but no less thought-provoking. This book represents some of the best of Mormon fiction.
3. Benediction by Neal Chandler is another humorous title. I’ve mentioned it before as a good example of humor in Mormon Fiction and I think it’s worth mentioning again. If your dad is the kind of guy who could never bring himself to sell Amway or try to use the commitment pattern on business associates then this is the book for him. (Warning: This book also contains some sex-type material-mostly the funny kind and never raunchy or dirty, but it might make conservative readers blush. I’ll admit that I did!)
Also, don’t forget our AMV t-shirts. They are always a classy option. The people around him might not get the joke but you’re dad will know he’s part of an elite group of bookworms!
You might end up paying a little extra for the shipping but any of these books (or shirts!) is waaaay better than the usual. (Photo credit)