Dad's Favorite Books

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See Bottom of this Page for Online inks to Some of My Favorite Stories

Secrets of Life:   Shaving and Shaving Cream
BIC disposable razors and a bar of soap.

Newspaper Comics That I read everyday until College, when I no longer had the time.

BCWizard of ID
Blondie and Dagwood
Prince Valiant
Grin and Bear It
Hagar the Horrible
Funky Winkerbean

Note:  The above is a sampling of what I read, for I read everything with few exceptions like Mary Worth. 

Favorites Newspaper Comics

The Far Side
Calvin and Hobbes
Note:  Nothing as Ingenious before or after.

Comic books filled my life as a boy and were the first books I ever read.  Favorite characters were the following:

Thor
The Avengers
Captain America
The league of Super Heroes including Superboy, The Karate Kid, Lighting Lad, Lighting Lass, etc.  Note:  These were futuristic teens versions of the day's adult version heroes. 
Although I would read everything printed by DC or Marvel comics I found I preferred Marvel to DC.  Except for the League of Super Heroes who were my favorite DC comic.

Greek Mythology

Hercules, Theseus, Ulysses - First non children books I ever read and introduced by my sister.  Read at age 10.

Instant Replay - Jerry Kramer - Story of the Vince Lombardi Green Bay Packers and the first Super Bowl and the first use of instant replays in television.  In the beginning umpires did not use instant replay to overturn a bad call on the field.  And for years only the TV audience had the benefit of reviewing plays.  This was the first or second year of term, and the perfect name for Kramer's reflection on his team's championship season.  Also, when first introduced, Super Bowl was considered a preposterous name and often referred to as The Toilet Bowl'.  I had friend's that referred to the first Super Bowl as the 'Toilet Bowl'.  Traditional football fans couldn't buy into it.  This book is about the first Super Bowl and told in autobiographical format by starting offensive right guard Jerry Kramer.  Every man should read this book.  Note that Kramer also wrote a sequel called 'Distant Replay' which I didn't like.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine l'Engle - Read at the age of maybe 10 or 11.

All of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Mystery - Read late teens.

‘Two Years Before the Mast’ - Dana - One of my favorite books of all time.  Huge adventure story about early California and my favorite subject, ocean sailing.  Read in my teens.

All of the books of ‘Jack London’ but especially ‘Smoke Bellow’, but also ‘White Fang’ and ‘Call of the Wild’.  London was my Father's favorite author and also mine.  London was raised in Oakland.  The Oakland harbor is called the ‘Jack London Square’.  As a child we visited London's home in Martinez, California, which still stands, and his forest retreat which burned down.  I believe this was called the ‘Wolf House’.  I really can’t recommend ‘Smoke Bellow’ enough or any of the Jack London books like White Fang.  (* Read in my teens. *)

‘Hunters of The Red Moon’ - Marion Zimmer Bradley.  One of my favorite Sci - Fi books with a great ending.  Read in my 20's.

Some of The Aubrey/Maturin Series ‘Patrick O’Brien’, the first three or four I recall were very good but then they got too tedious.  I couldn't get into the sixth book and gave up for awhile before finally finishing the series in 2005.  This series is often compared to C.S Forester's Horatio Hornblower series.  They both are stories about the Napoleonic wars, and how  England ruled the oceans.  (* Read in my 30's. *)

The Musketeer Trilogy’ and ‘The Count of Montecristo’ - Dumas.  Absolute classic adventure tales.  And far, far better then any movie of the same.  The Musketeer movies starring ‘Michael York’ and ‘Raquel Welch’ were the most accurate to the story but, unappealing for some reason.  Michael is probably miscast in this movie.

Roger Zelazny - 'The Twelve Amber books' in 2 series of 6 totaling 12 books in all - Fantasy universe where bullets don’t work and swordplay is still the superior weapon for the immortals.  Eight out of ten.  - Read around 30.

The ‘Crystal Cave’ series - Mary Stewart? - First Merlin the Magician books.  10 out of 10.  The first of the repetitive and often rehashed Arthurian books.  Absolutely must read.  (* Read in 20's.  *)

The paraphrased New Testament book, “Good News for Modern Man”.  First time I ever read the bible from beginning to end.  I mean let's face, the Bible, King James or Catholic, or Coptic, or whatever version, all I attempted to read from age 8 or so, are very wordy, abstract and hard to follow.  Read in 20's.

‘Lost Books of the Bible’ - Author ( I’ve forgotten ) - Printing of books censored by the Catholic church for one reason or another.  Includes books about the Garden of Eden for example.  (* Read in late 20's. *)

Books by Charles Dickens - Some Anyway.  Great Expectations for instance.  Others like A Tale of Two Cities I struggled to read for two decades before giving up, as it is just too wordy and boring.  For example, Dickens writes pages of fifteen line sentences holding 20 or more commas and seven or eight associated thoughts that snake around in some sort of genius association that I never was blessed enough to visualize.  Shame.  For a Tale of Two Cities has been cited as having the  “Best Opening Line of any Book in Literature", as well as "The Best Ending Line of any Book in Literature".  This is that opening line: 
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it ws the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way."
.” 
This is the Ending Line:
It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known." 
Read in early 30's.
Note:  The opening line is one sentence and typical of Dicken's writing style.  I wish you the best of luck in reading this.

Books by Robin Hobb.  Both The 'Farseer' and ‘Liveship’ Trilogies are masterpieces.  Hobb’s of English grammar, her phenomenal characterizations are insights into our current culture.  For example, how the cycle of rape is passed on from rapist to victim, and many more.  This trilogy is heavily flavored with interesting women characters.  The Farseer Trilogy.  The first book of this Trilogy, “Assassin's Apprentice” had some of the best sentence statements I’ve ever read.  Some extremely insightful and  contemporary comments.  Inspiring.  Unfortunately, the second and third books are only mediocre but probably worth reading anyway.   Additionally, like many Sci-Fi authors, references of other books are made throughout her newer books.  This is a ploy to get you to go out and by the earlier books.  Best to start in chronological order for purposes of understanding these references when they come up.  And also like most Sci-Fi authors Hobb’s work takes place in the same universe.  - Read at 48.

Books by the Sufi philosopher “Indres Shah”.  Sufism is a part of Islam and written in instructional, stories. There were many.  Read in 20's.

Books by the philosopher “Kahlil Gibran” like "The Prophet".  Read in 20's.

Herman Hesse - ‘Siddhartha’.  Read in 20's.

Note:  After spending a life in search of God, Siddhartha finds God in a river.

All of the books by ‘Isaac Asimov’ but there is one especially about a three gender species on another world called "The Gods Themselves".  Read in mid to late 30's.  Note:  I can't recommend the last books of the ‘Foundation Series’.  See the dictionary meaning of 'anticlimatic'.  And the same with the ‘Robot’ series, which also starts out fantastic but fails to deliver.

The Hot Zone’ - Robert Preston - Non Fiction - Read late 30's early 40's.Note:  I believe the movie 'Outbreak' with Dustin Hoffman and Kevin Spacey is based upon this book.  The explanation of the genesis of AIDS is worth reading.

The Anubis Gates’ - Tim Powers - Read in 40's.  Good 'time travel' an Egyptian Sorcery book.

The Freemasons’ by Jasper Ridley - Non Fiction.  History of the secret society and its ties to Protestant and Catholic religions.  Some occasional interesting chapters, others are tedious statements of fact to be ignored unless writing an research paper.   Discusses the ‘Lutheran’ sect of freemasons known as ‘The Rosicrucian's.  There is a ‘Rosicrucian’ chapter in San Jose, California and a museum that my family and I visited around 1967.

Note:  I like museums, especially the San Francisco Golden Gate park museums and aquarium.  Read in 40's.

‘The Education of Henry Adams’ - Henry Adams - Awarded best nonfiction book of the 20th century every year between 1918 and 1999.  Autobiographical story of the author who was a decedent of two presidents.  Discusses ties with the ‘Steele’ family and other relations who shared much of what the author discusses.  Read in 20's.
Note:  The Steele Family, my family, are traced back to the Governor of the Pilgrim Mayflower Colony through Lucy Bradford, who married a Steele ancestor.

The Caine Mutiny’ - Herman Wouk - One of the best WWII Naval stories.  One of mine and my father’s favorite books.  Read in teens.

Nimitz Class’ - Patrick Robinson - Excellent submarine, carrier, SEAL, novel set circa 1990

‘Hunt for Red October’ - Tom Clancy - Better then the movie starring Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery.  This is the novel that made Clancy famous and I believe is better than much of his later works which became too commercial.  For like many writers, Robert Jordan and the ‘Wheel of Time’ series for example, later books aren’t as well written as earlier.  Most reader’s, like myself, infer this display of the author’s sloppiness to be an example of writing for the sake of selling.  They, or their publisher's get greedy.  Just writing because the famous name sells.  Read in my 30's.

All of the books by ‘Bernard Cornwall’ but especially the ‘Sharpe Series’.  Read in 40's.

All of the books by ‘C. S. Forester’ of the ‘Hornblower’ series.  Forester was a Berkeley citizen as I and my family were.  Dad and his brother, Uncle Wesley, would hike and camp out in the Berkeley hills not far from where Forester lived and wrote.  Read in 30's.

J.R.R Tolkien - The Hobbit - The Fellowship of The Ring.  Read in early teens.  The movies were also quite good.  Modern day epics

The Wheel of Time Series of Books - Robert Jordan

Here are the Online Links that will take you directly to the book.

White Fang by Jack London

Smoke Below by Jack London

The Mexican by Jack London

For A Piece of Steak by Jack London

Two Years Before The Mast by Richard Henry Dana, Jr. - Early Story of California Coast

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

15 Ancient Greek Heros - Theseus by Plutarch