It's no tie: books win

June 20, 1998|By Laura Lippman

Judging by a spate of recent ads and bookstore promotions, the book is mounting a serious challenge to the tie for Father's Day primacy.

Here's the tale of the tape:

It has the weight advantage.

It has the price advantage (at least if you buy the deeply discounted New York Times best-sellers).

It has the no-dry cleaning advantage.

But what kind of books do publishers and booksellers recommend for celebrating that special bond between you and pater tomorrow? Well, how about something with a really high body count?

Yes, sandwiched between the expected books on sports (Jim McKay, Jon Miller, the latest golf book) and books on raising children and barbecuing are big, beefy, testosterone-laden thrillers. Curious, we asked Eric Olsen, inventory manager at Border's Books and Music in Towson, if this was a growing trend in book-selling.

"Oh, absolutely," Olsen says. "Tom Clancy, the action genre. Men buy a lot of those, so we're pushing them for Father's Day. We've always tried to push the Hallmark holidays, but the last two years, we've had this 'Moms, Dads and Grads' promotion."

Publishers also spotlight thrillers and action novels for Dad, a striking difference to the books peddled just a month ago for Mom, which broke down into roughly two categories:

1) Books about mothers.

2) Books about Cokie Roberts' mother.

Little, Brown and Co. even breaks shopping for fathers down into convenient categories:

Outdoorsman -- "Stokes Field Guide to Birds."

Sportsman -- "A Good Walk Spoiled."

Mystery Man -- "Blood Work."

Dirty Old Man -- "The Edge of the Bed: How Dirty Pictures Changed My Life."

May we counter with a split decision? The truly perfect book for Father's Day is, obviously, a book about ... ties. Internet bookseller comes up with 14 recommendations on the subject, including 1997's "The Ties That Blind: Neckties 1945-1975," by Michael Jay Goldberg.

One problem, though: It takes two to three days to ship.

Pub Date: 6/20/98

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