Go-to Dad Day Books

The Father’s day gift is one of those childhood conundrums that few grow out of. The go-to option in my household was golf balls. Or tees (Son, I always need tees). Or, shudder, Y-fronts (Son, a man can never have too many pairs of gruts).

I pretty much ran with golf balls, as did my three siblings. Much to our surprise, my dad was always really happy with them. Unwrapping yet another small, rectangular box, looking up with a smile and exclaiming that it was just what he needed. It was the same on birthdays and Christmas – the boot of his car looked like it was filled with shiny white mushrooms.

When we got older we branched out into a couple of other Fatherly areas: whisky – single malt. But surely there had to more; my Father is a man of depth and feeling who provided a childhood of love, stability and golf tips. Being a bookseller gave me an advantage over my siblings – I could keep an eye out for books that would not only summon the usual appreciative comment, but also, days or weeks later, a follow up statement about how much he was enjoying the book, and had I read it, and did I want to talk about it over a whisky on the front porch (yes I did). I would then tell my siblings that this is why he loved me more.

So each year the quest begins again – a book; something new, something interesting, something that might fail, something that might open a new world in him, challenge or excite him. Wrapped up with some golf balls.

What Sport Tells Us About Lifeby Ed Smith ($30)

Ed Smith was a professional cricketer who has spent a lot of time thinking about sports and what it does to the head. This book is an absolute wonder of insight and observation, casting famous sporting figures and their well known actions into new perspective. If your Dad is into sports, he’ll be into this book.

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen ($29.99)

Recently released in paperback, it is one of the great novels of the last decade, a coda on family, what having one does to your ideals, and how to be free.

How to Live: A life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer by Sarah Bakewell ($29.99)

Born almost 500 years ago, Montaigne was a statesman and essayist committed to understanding the world through the only thing he could trust – his own judgement. His ruminations on how to live remain vital and funny and relevant. Bakewell’s book is a biography of Montaigne told through the questions he asked and the answers he found, it’s brilliantly formulated and endlessly fascinating.

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman ($27)

Does your Dad harbour frustrated ambitions to take over the world? Does he have an evil laugh that he only brings out on special occasions? This novel of superheroes and world domination is a masterpiece of comedy, with a secret core of seriousness that will bring out gut laughs and the antihero in all who dare its pages. Plus, best cover ever.

Children’s books with hidden messages that Dad can read to the young’uns:

Daddy Lost His Head by Quentin Blake & André Bouchard  – Mum &https://vicbooks.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1276&action=edit&message=10 the kids get to make a designer Dad head ($19.99)

The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean ($18.99)

The title gives you the plot basis, but nothing can prepare you for the pure fun this book contains. One of the best Dad/Children’s books of all time.

Quick fire convenience:

Schott’s Quintessential Miscellany, ($36.99) and QI Second Book of General Ignorance ($24.99). Both full of factoids, doodads and weirdnesses.


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