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Dad’s Books

November 30, 2015

bday pics0030Five years ago today my Dad passed away. We had a weird, sometimes tempestuous relationship, but we were really close the last year. His illness (cancer) appeared and escalated very, very quickly. He was diagnosed in February and gone by the last day of November. That is simultaneously a blink of an eye and also enough time to really talk, to clear things up, and, even though this sounds terrible, to wait.
park 059We did a lot of waiting that year. There were doctor’s visits, and a couple of hospital stays, and also just days while he was doing chemo that he couldn’t really be up and around. I was really lucky, my job let me have all the time off I needed to go up and be with him. I stayed with him during all but one of his rounds of chemo. But, I’ll be honest, when the person you’re staying with is feeling terrible and mostly wants to sleep, you’ve got a bunch of downtime. In a house with only one tv, which was in Dad’s room.
oil slick 1So, I read. A bunch. I also went a little crazy with the domestic stuff. One trip, I baked something like 5 batches of cookies. Another time I made soaps for everyone in the neighborhood. I canned things on another trip. And I was usually listening to audiobooks while I did all that. I would stay up late, in the almost silent house, with a book in my ear and something quiet to occupy my hands. I folded paper cranes and I made one of my favorite necklaces during that year, inspired by the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

So, why am I telling you all this on a book blog?
Dad wasn’t up for doing a ton of reading, but he always loved beautiful things, including beautiful books, so, since I conveniently work at a bookstore, I got him lots of pretty books. I thought I’d share some of them with you guys.

Queens’ Jewels by Vincent Meylan

This is a large format, beautiful photography book on “royal adornments” of various queens throughout history. It is pretty much focused on European monarchy.




High Jewelry by Cartier by Sophie Marin

Pretty self explanatory. It’s a beautiful, red satin-bound book with hundreds of photographs of recent creations. The photographs are accompanied by design sketches, which are very cool.



Artistic Luxury: Faberge Tiffany Lalique

I love Lalique. And I grew up with Faberge imagery all over the place. Dad was especially fond of Faberge. Speaking of which, funny story:
Back in the 1980’s Dad was taking classes at the local community college and he was doing a paper on Russian history, with a focus on Faberge somehow. There was, of course, no internet and the library was for other people. Dad went straight to the top for information. He called the Soviet embassy to ask for info for his paper. Shortly thereafter, some FBI agents came to town to interview people about Dad. I’m guessing, whoever was tapping the phones that day assumed that some guy from Alabama calling the Soviet Embassy to ask about Faberge eggs was definitely code for something.
As far as I know, he got an A on the paper. barbara

My Passion of Design
by Barbra Streisand

Dad loved Barbra, so when she had a book on the interior design of her home was announced I knew I was going to get it for him. It’s a very pretty design book if you like to look at beautiful home.



Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World by Charles, Prince of Wales

This is Prince Charles’ manifesto on the world; climate change, sustainability, organic farming, and how to come back into balance with the natural world.

And finally: Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff

EVERYONE had this book that year. Which is weird given how dense it actually is. But, apparently Stacy Schiff gives a really great interview and so people dove in regardless of how academic this biography actually is.
It was the must-have book of that holiday season, which I thought was really cool.


So, these are the books I brought up to Tennessee for Dad to flip through while he was resting. We also watched tons of Agatha Christie shows on PBS on his giant tv. Speaking of which, I think I’m going to go watch Murder on the Orient Express.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 30, 2015 8:02 am

    I love this blog post. And I know I’m five years late, but I am still so sorry for your loss. *HUGS*

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