"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

7 Father's Day Reads

Father's Day is this Sunday in the United States. Still struggling to find a great gift for Dad? Does he enjoy reading? There are quite a few new and old reads, in a variety of genres, sure to appeal to most of the men in your life. Here are seven books you might consider:

1. If he enjoys science fiction, or loved The Martian or Artemis, then he might enjoy Andy Weir's new release. 

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery—and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone.

Or does he?

2. For the golfing fan, James Patterson's 2019 release might be the right choice. Peter De Jonge joins the famous author in this tale which is more inspiring than Patterson's usual thrillers. This book follows one man's journey back to the birthplace of golf with the intention of finding the secret to the game.

Though nobody has ever identified a single secret—no universally accepted truth—to the sport, every real player searches for one. Travis McKinley is one such seeker. A former professional golfer who feels like he's an amateur at the rest of life, he makes a pilgrimage to the mythical greens at St. Andrews. On the course where golf was born, every link, hole, fairway—even the gorse—feels like sacred ground. Ground that can help an ordinary player, an ordinary man, achieve a higher plane.

There is also a sequel to this book called Miracle at Augusta which focuses on the main character a year after the events in the first book.

3. If he loves to laugh, consider Vacationland because he'll be doing a lot of that while reading this unusual memoir. John Hodgman is known for his appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, his podcast, and humorous other books. Ostensibly about his family's move from Massachusetts to Maine (whose state slogan is Vacationland), Hodgman also offers insights on middle age, mustaches, fatherhood, "weird dad hobbies," Stephen King, rock 'n' roll, and more in this 2017 release.

Disarmed of falsehood, he was left only with the awful truth: John Hodgman is an older white male monster with bad facial hair, wandering like a privileged Sasquatch through three wildernesses: the hills of Western Massachusetts where he spent much of his youth; the painful beaches of Maine that want to kill him (and some day will); and the metaphoric haunted forest of middle age that connects them.
Vacationland collects these real life wanderings, and through them you learn of the horror of freshwater clams, the evolutionary purpose of the mustache, and which animals to keep as pets and which to kill with traps and poison. There is also some advice on how to react when the people of coastal Maine try to sacrifice you to their strange god.
Though wildly, Hodgmaniacally funny as usual, it is also a poignant and sincere account of one human facing his forties, those years when men in particular must stop pretending to be the children of bright potential they were and settle into the failing bodies of the wiser, weird dads that they are.

4. The handyman dad will love this book. Star of the Discovery Channel's Mythbusters, Adam Savage, challenges readers to take a deeper look at what inspires them when it comes to "making and molding, building and breaking" offering his own tips and tricks along the way about his favorite techniques and tools.

Every Tools a Hammer is a chronicle of my life as a maker. It’s an exploration of making, but it’s also a permission slip of sorts from me to you. Permission to grab hold of the things you’re interested in, that fascinate you, and to dive deeper into them to see where they lead you.

Through stories from forty-plus years of making and molding, building and break­ing, along with the lessons I learned along the way, this book is meant to be a toolbox of problem solving, complete with a shop’s worth of notes on the tools, techniques, and materials that I use most often. Things like: In Every Tool There Is a Hammer—don’t wait until everything is perfect to begin a project, and if you don’t have the exact right tool for a task, just use whatever’s handy; Increase Your Loose Tolerance—making is messy and filled with screwups, but that’s okay, as creativity is a path with twists and turns and not a straight line to be found; Use More Cooling Fluid—it prolongs the life of blades and bits, and it prevents tool failure, but beyond that it’s a reminder to slow down and reduce the fric­tion in your work and relationships; Screw Before You Glue—mechanical fasteners allow you to change and modify a project while glue is forever but sometimes you just need the right glue, so I dig into which ones will do the job with the least harm and best effects.

This toolbox also includes lessons from many other incredible makers and creators, including: Jamie Hyneman, Nick Offerman, Pixar director Andrew Stanton, Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro, artist Tom Sachs, and chef Traci Des Jardins. And if everything goes well, we will hopefully save you a few mistakes (and maybe fingers) as well as help you turn your curiosities into creations.

I hope this book serves as “creative rocket fuel” (Ed Helms) to build, make, invent, explore, and—most of all—enjoy the thrills of being a creator.

5. Hair Love is a lovely choice for dads looking to read to their daughters. Inspired by an Academy Award-winning short film, Hair Love follows a father learning to do his daughter's hair for the first time. Heartwarming and critically acclaimed, Hair Love is on its way to becoming an HBO Max TV show, centered on the book's Young family. If you haven't seen the original short film yet, it's available for free on YouTube - I highly recommend this adorable short.

Zuri's hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it's beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he'll do anything to make her -- and her hair -- happy.

Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair -- and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere. 

6. In the wake of his 2016 retirement, the late L.A. Lakers NBA star—who had four daughters of his own—shared the secret to his famed "Mamba mentality" and how he excelled at the game of basketball. This book is an excellent choice for a fan of sportsmanship.

Citing an obligation and an opportunity to teach young players, hardcore fans, and devoted students of the game how to play it “the right way,” The Mamba Mentality takes us inside the mind of one of the most intelligent, analytical, and creative basketball players ever.

In his own words, Bryant reveals his famously detailed approach and the steps he took to prepare mentally and physically to not just succeed at the game, but to excel. Readers will learn how Bryant studied an opponent, how he channeled his passion for the game, how he played through injuries. They’ll also get fascinating granular detail as he breaks down specific plays and match-ups from throughout his career.

Bryant’s detailed accounts are paired with stunning photographs by the Hall of Fame photographer Andrew D. Bernstein. Bernstein, long the Lakers and NBA official photographer, captured Bryant’s very first NBA photo in 1996 and his last in 2016―and hundreds of thousands in between, the record of a unique, twenty-year relationship between one athlete and one photographer.

The combination of Bryant’s narrative and Bernstein’s photos make The Mamba Mentality an unprecedented look behind the curtain at the career of one of the world’s most celebrated and fascinating athletes.

7. Known for writing comprehensive history books so vivid they read like fiction, Erik Larson turned his attention toward one of history's most prominent figures in his latest: Winston Churchill. The Splendid and the Vile focuses on the first year of Germany's air raids against the U.K. during WWII. The book is a multi-faceted look at bravery and resilience, displayed by government officials and ordinary English citizens alike. 

On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold his country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally—and willing to fight to the end.

In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it’s also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime-ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports—some released only recently—Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents’ wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela’s illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the advisers in Churchill’s “Secret Circle,” to whom he turns in the hardest moments.
The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today’s political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when, in the face of unrelenting horror, Churchill’s eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together. 

If you don't feel one of these seven choices is right for your father, check out some of these others:

What are you buying for your Dad? Do you have any recommendations for gifts?


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