Posted by: Lisa Hill | April 12, 2017

Vale to the man who taught me to love books

My dear old dad died today.  He almost made it to his 92nd birthday.

It was my dad who nurtured my love of books.  He read stories to me when I was little.  Wherever we lived in the world, he took me to the local library.  He gave me books for Christmas and birthdays.  He introduced me to the great writers of the 20th century.

We spent a lifetime talking about books together and he was still talking about the books we loved just last week.  If ever you’ve enjoyed chatting about books here on this blog, then please raise a toast to the wonderful man who was the catalyst behind every word I’ve ever written here.

He taught me to be stoic too, so the show goes on….


  1. Lisa, I’m so, so sorry. I know how you loved him.

  2. Ah Lisa – I’m sorry to hear this. I know you were very close to him and how nice you were able to have him physically close to you in Melbourne for the last few months. My sincere sympathies to you, Kate xx

  3. So sorry to hear of your loss. I’m sure you’ll have many good memories of your dad to comfort you.

  4. Oh Lisa, I’m so sorry. He’s left his legacy in your love for books- and we’re all richer for it.

  5. Dear Lisa, so very sorry for your significant loss.I might not comment often, but I always read your wonderful posts. So, it’s your father whose the great man behind the great writer. Thinking of you. Be kind to yourself, now and in the future. Marlish x

  6. What a wonderful legacy your father gave you over the years. Loving him, and loving books..what could be better? My heart goes out to you at this fragile and tender time, when a hole has been left in your heart.

  7. Oh dear Lisa, my heart aches for you. I know how much you have been dreading this time. What wonderful spirit he has left in you. We thank him for that. I will raise a glass to him tonight and to you and I hope you will feel the love and strength being sent your way.

  8. Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  9. Lisa, I’m sorry to hear this, hope you are bearing up ok. It sounded as though until quite recently at least that he still had lots of go in him. You paid him in spades for the love of books. Hope someone reads to me every day, when I’m on the way out!

  10. I’m so sorry to hear this, Lisa. My sincere condolences. x

  11. So sad for your loss, Lisa. We were both lucky to have the dads we did. Mine brought books home for me as treats. He read to me, taught me a poem by heart or made up a wonderful story for me every night of my chlldhood. He died when I was only 41 so I’ve been missing him for a long time but the memories are very special. I will raise a toast today to my dad and yours and all others like them who nurture readers and writers.

  12. My thoughts are with you, Lisa. Although my father was not the easiest man to be close to, he was responsible for my love of books. He often bought me books, always classic literature, from the time I was young. Your dad gave you a wonderful gift, may you cherish it with his memory.

  13. How wonderful is your tribute. How fortunate to have such a father.

  14. I’m sorry to hear of your loss, Lisa. I’m glad to know the posts are going to keep coming our way. All the best.

  15. what a lovely way to be remembered.

    whatever comes next, I’m sure it has a library – how could it not?

  16. I’m so sorry, Lisa. Take good care of yourself. Sending love and hugs from across the oceans xx

  17. Lisa, I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my book reading dad 2yrs ago. His last book was a reread of War and Peace which he claimed was the best book ever written. I am so grateful for his gift which I now share with his grandchildren. I have all his favourites on my shelf and remember him so fondly whenever I read something he would have loved. I wish you peace and strength at this hard time and the fondest of book memories moving forward.

  18. My sincere condolences Lisa.

  19. He gave you a gift that keeps on giving to all of us through your support of Australian books. Thank you and thank you Lisa’s dad.

  20. So sorry to hear this Lisa, you often mentioned your dad in your blogs. Take care and all the best.

  21. My thoughts with you Lisa and I’ll raise a glass to your dad

  22. I’m raising a glass to your Dad tonight. So sorry for your loss Lisa, but how wonderful to have shared such a long and loving relationship with your Dad. He may no longer be here, but he will always be with you. Some things are never really lost. Take care.

  23. I’ll definitely raise a glass to him, Lisa. He’s given you a great gift which we all share in. Thank you. John

  24. Oh Lisa

    I’m sure you were looking forward to more time with your father, but if he went peacefully this morning I’m sure that is what you would have wanted. I won’t ring now; I’m almost too tired to talk, but do be sure I’m thinking of you and will speak with you soon


  25. Half way around the globe I raise a virtual glass to your father and my father and all the good fathers who nurtured us and who taught us to love books. They taught by precept but even more by example and from the heart.

  26. Dear Lisa
    I’m so sorry for loss but it sounds like you have a lifetime of beautiful memories. Every book you read; every review you write, your father will be there beside you. Thinking of you Bron xo

  27. I join the virtual toast to your father and this site is a fitting testimony to his abiding influence. Best wishes

  28. You are all so very kind, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. My son and his wife have just gone home now, and I’m suddenly exhausted, so I’m going to dig out my copy of Marcus Aurelius for consolation, and have an early night.
    Take care, all of you, and don’t forget to tell your loved ones how much you love them.

  29. Dear Lisa, What can I possibly say that everyone else hasn’t already said. I’ve been where you are now and believe our fathers and mothers who have shaped us never really leave – the relationship seems to grow stronger not diminish at all! Your dad (and mum) will continue to be proud of you – always. With much love, Solly’s Girl.

  30. Dear Lisa, I am so sorry for your loss. It is very hard to lose a dad. Isn’t it wonderful you had all those bookish years with him. I don’t think I ever saw my dad read a book. He just didn’t. I would have loved a dad like yours. Take care of yourself and know all of us are thinking of you. All the very best.

  31. Dear Lisa, Such a blessing to have had such a wonderful father and such terrible loss for you. My sincerest sympathies.

  32. So sorry Lisa. I’ve been out all afternoon and most of the evening so am only just catching up with emails and posts now. I hope his passing was as good as it could be. How great that he was there in Melbourne for his last months where you could spend time with him. I’m sure those times were as special for him as for you. Well done. And do take care of yourself.

  33. It’s always too soon. A thousand years would be too soon to lose a loved one. A hundred thousand. I have a secret hope the finest moments of our lives, even if at last words cannot remember them, are remembered by God, and so are immortal, and we will visit them again. But the half-wrought permanece of words hints at what will be achieved … Your father gave you a great gift, and you’ve given it to so many …

    (if I may recommend a story for a time like this, look up Leah Swann’s ‘Lovest Thou Me’ in her collection , Bearings, it’s tremendous) … Best. P

  34. Raising a toast to Lisa’s Dad. I was lucky and my Dad was also a reader so I know the importance of that early influence.

  35. What a loss – you were blessed by a father who shared his love of books. I too miss a father who did that from bedtime stories as a tiny tot to biographies in later years. Cheers –

  36. I’m so sorry for your loss, Lisa. Take care.

  37. So sorry for your loss Lisa, and raising a glass to your Dad. I lost mine a couple of years ago at 84 and it hit me hard – he’d shared a love of reading too. Take care of yourself.

  38. What a lovely testament to your dad. I’m sure he enjoyed those conversations just as much as you did and how wonderful that you could continue to chat right to the end. He would be so proud of what you have achieved….

  39. A beautiful testament to your Dad. I am very sorry fir your loss. I will be thinking of you as you navigate the weeks ahead.

  40. Thinking of you, Lisa. It’s a hard time for you right now.

  41. My condolences to you Lisa and your family.

  42. What a lovely post in memory of your Dad. My sincere condolences.

  43. Beautiful tribute, Lisa, and a beautiful legacy to have inherited from your father. So very sorry for your loss. x

  44. Dear Lisa, I’m so very sorry to hear this. My father also was responsible for my love of reading, and when I was in my teens, he guided me towards books which made me who I am (Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment among them). Even after his death he has always remained with me, has ‘appeared’ in person to smile at me when I was happy, to give me a hug from behind when I needed it, and he is often in my dreams – as well as my memories, of course. May this be the same for you! x

  45. Toast raised Lisa. Sorry for your loss.

  46. I am so sorry for your loss. Thanks for telling all of us about him and his gift to you of reading and talking about books. And yes the show goes on.

  47. Hi Lisa,
    Sorry to hear of your loss. He seems to have done a good job, your dad. Made me think of the last few lines of The Tree of Man. That book seems to sum it all up, and I’m sure your father understood what White was saying. ‘So that in the end, there was no end.’

  48. You are all so very kind, and I especially love reading the stories about other bookish fathers.
    In these days when social media has replaced sympathy cards, I wanted to *keep* all your kind thoughts here. I didn’t want them to be ephemeral…
    I have made a scrapbook about my dad’s last year at Arcare, and it has photos and journaling about the things we did together. (Including the day he beat me at Scrabble. *light-hearted frown* It’s humbling to be beaten at Scrabble by a man with dementia, but as I have often said, if you have a very high IQ, you can lose quite a few brain cells and still have a good vocabulary!)
    Anyway, I have printed out all your lovely thoughts on photo paper, and used them for this scrapbook that I will cherish.
    PS Cunningly, I included two clear ‘envelopes’ as part of the design, so that even though Stephen’s and Marilyn’s came after I’d done the scrapbook, I can still print them out and slide them into the envelopes.

  49. A toast to your dad, who sounds a fine man! I’m so sorry for your loss and hope you’re doing okay.

  50. Bless you Lisa – your book loving dad sounds amazing xx

  51. It was my dad who started reading Around the World in 80 Days to me and put the book and travelling seed in my head too. His loss was acute so I understand your pain. Keep reading to keep his memory alive – bet he’s reading over your shoulder x

    • You can be sure I will keep reading. It’s like breathing!
      How he would love to know about these kind thoughts, he loved the idea of this blog and being able to talk about books in this way…

  52. My sincere condolences Lisa. Your father has certainly left a wonderful legacy: your love of reading and subsequent wonderfully crafted literary reviews are a gift shared with so many.
    I’ll be raising my glass to your Dad this evening.

    • Thank you, Catherine. He was always happy to know that I had bookish friends from far and wide through this blog, and he would be delighted to know about your toast:)

  53. […] of years is the subject of grief.  I’ve had my own mourning to do (because of this, and this) and I certainly haven’t wanted to read about anybody else’s. But Billy Bird by New […]

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