A Portrait of My Father, the Reader, in Books

John Kobler, Capone
My dad read the newspaper everyday. The San Francisco Chronicle and The Pacifica Tribune. He always had one book he was reading. But he worked full time and likes to build things so he did not have too much time to read. Since he retired, his reading has increased exponentially. I wish I would have thought to chronicle the books he’s read before now.

While my dad loves reading, he does not believe that he needs to keep the book after reading it. In his mind, once he has read the book it has served its purpose and is now just taking up space. While I do not agree with him, I see the value and respect his opinion. Ideally one would read a book and remember everything about it, never needing to look at it again. Alas, my memory is poor and so I keep my books. My dad oftentimes gives his books to a relative, friend, or donates them. So these are just the books we had in the house when I decided to start documenting his books.

He likes to read non-fiction. Maybe 1% of his books are fiction. Whenever father’s day, Christmas, or his birthday come around I go to the bookstore and spend close to an hour searching for the right books. He loves history, biography, cultural affairs, and crime novels. Our interests are similar: most books I buy him I would like to read but choose not to only out of lack of time. And what’s great is he always is excited about the books I’ve bought him.

Poor Dad, he made a bookcase for himself that ended up in my old room; which I slowly started to take over even though I no longer live there.

While we never read books side by side on vacation or at home, he always promoted my love for reading. I knew that he considered reading a luxury and that it was a wonderful thing to have the time to read.


Note: some books that are missing are his many books on the Vietnam War. He was drafted when he was 18 and was a mechanic on planes. Those books he tends to give to his brother after reading them.

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