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June 13, 2011

The Joyland 250 Books By Women All Men Should Read list has been picked up by the blog for Father’s Day!

I can’t say how thrilled I am about this. In my early twenties, I was heavily involved in organizing and helping publicize women’s events and issues–yet nothing has given me more pleasure or made me feel more empowered than to help with this list and watch it find its audience. This was more a matter of posing a question and letting others answer it, and I am so grateful for those answers. I have read many of these titles but I, too, have a whole new catalogue of books to read now.

If I were honestly shopping for my father from this list, which books would I select for him? The classics, certainly. Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein, and any of the Virginia Woolf. But as a retired English teacher, my dad has not only read these books but taught them. So I would choose Harper Lee for him–except that he gave me this book the spring I turned thirteen, and I read it many times. So…I would choose the more contemporary books: Flannery O’Connor for her ability to weave a brutal short narrative, Lydia Davis for her emotional precision, Joy Williams because her stories are mysteries without crimes. I would choose any Barbara Gowdy for the same reason–she knows how to use suspense from the first line through to the last. And I would choose Annabel Lyon’s The Golden Mean because years ago I gave my dad a copy of her short fiction, Oxygen, and he loved it.

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