Robert Hughes
Hector Tobar's recommendations
Hector Tobar's recommendations

When my father was 13 his mother kidnapped him from a small town in Guatemala. This bold act liberated my father from a cruel and abusive stepmother — but it also brought an end to his education. My grandmother took her son to Guatemala City, where soon he went to work sweeping floors at a pharmacy. During the school-free years that followed, someone gave my father a book he grew to treasure. "I read it so much, I wore out the pages," he tells me. That book was a history of the Roman Empire. My father is in his 70s now. Today I'm the one who gives him books. Books for his birthday, books for Father's Day. And of course, books for Christmas. Books about...