Father's Day Reading List

Great book picks for dad.


Just in time for Father's Day, the Book Babes have found plenty of excellent recent novels and nonfiction books for dads. Some explore the father/son relationship. Others deal with the stuff of life — things such as poker and economics — but turned on their head. So here are the Babes' picks of the lot, starting with the novel that won the fiction prize from the Pulitzer and the National Book Critics Circle. Surely one of these books will make the perfect gift for Pop on his special day.

1. Gilead: A Novel, by Marilynne Robinson. A dying minister who lives in the Midwest during the 1950s writes a letter to his young son, explaining his life and faith, in this meditative and prize-worthy novel. Robinson captures the sense of mid-20th-century culture and America's Protestant past through the voice of a wise and gentle character who will leave behind little money but a powerful legacy.

2. A Sense of Duty: My Father, My American Journey, by Quang X Pham. A Vietnamese refugee who became a U.S. Marine writes about reconnecting with his father, whom the family left behind in Vietnam.

3. Big Russ & Me: Father and Son: Lessons of Life, by Tim Russert. The host of NBC's Meet the Press offers a moving tribute to his down-to-earth father. Clearly, the words of "Big Russ" still echo in his grown son's ears.

4. Fishing with My Father, edited by Peter Kaminsky. What's more classic than a son bonding with his father on a fishing pier? Sportswriter Peter Kaminsky has gathered great pieces celebrating that moment (some, by the way, involve fathers bonding with daughters at the fishing hole). Among the contributors are Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through It), Thomas McGuane, Jack Hemingway and Howell Raines. The collection includes previously published work, original essays and poetry.

5. Responsible Men, by Edward Schwarzschild. This new, poignant and funny father-son reconciliation story involves a con man, his son's bar mitzvah and a troop of kosher Boy Scouts.

6. Ozark Odyssey: The Journey of a Father and Son, by William Childress. A columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Childress tells the story of his hardscrabble childhood and the prickly stepfather he grew to love.

7. The Treehouse: Eccentric Wisdom from My Father on How to Live, Love, and See, by Naomi Wolf. The feminist, political adviser and author of The Beauty Myth tells the 12 lessons for becoming an artist, which she learned from her poet father, Leonard Wolf, after he helped her build a treehouse for her daughter.

8. Champions for Life: The Healing Power of a Father's Blessing, by Bill Glass with Terry Pluto. The former professional football player and founder of the Champions for Life ministry talks about how children flourish when their dads give them hugs and verbal affirmations.

9. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. This book won't teach Pop how to make a million in the stock market, but it does show how economists reveal the way the world works, even when the truth is obscure or counterintuitive.

10. Poker as Life: 101 Lessons from the World's Greatest Game, by Lee Robert Schreiber. Okay, so it's not truly a father/son book, but dads will enjoy seeing how a noted card shark applies the lessons he has learned from a game that rewards players with a good head for math and a keen eye for human behavior.

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