25 Books Almost as Rad as Your Dad

dad is rad

For the man who who sat patiently by your side as you sounded out that Dr. Seuss book for the 37th time, the guy who taught you to drive, the man you’ve had your differences with but still visit at least once a year, the grandfather who sneaked you candy before dinner, the stepdad who made your family complete, and the father figure, uncle, best friend, or mentor — here are a few can’t-go-wrong gifts for Father’s Day.

(Book descriptions by the publishers, with a bit of our own commentary thrown in.)

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About dads, by their grown children:

Bill Geist is the beloved, longtime special correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning, whose debut Little League Confidential was a New York Times bestseller. Willie Geist is host of the Today Show and author of the best-selling American Freak Show. This book makes you want to call your dad and start lobbing jokes back and forth. (Even better: The Geists will join us on Friday, June 13, at 6:30 PM — so bring Dad with you, get a book signed, then take him out to dinner!)


Duane Allman was one of the most influential and sought-after musicians of his time. Just a few short years into his remarkable career, he was killed in a motorcycle accident at the age of 24. His daughter was two years old. This is her deeply personal portrait of her father, based on stories she gathered from family, fellow musicians, and friends. (Note: We currently have autographed copies of this book in stock. If ordering online, make sure to put “SIGNED” in the comments section at checkout.)


To, Dad. Love, Dog

Based on the runaway hit website, Dog Shaming features the most hilarious, most shameful, and never-before-seen doggie misdeeds. It’s hard to believe these cuties pulled off their crimes, but the photographic evidence proves it.


Because real men know how to whip up a fabulous meal with a tasty cocktail on the side:

This unique collection gathers the very best New York Times articles on barbecuing and grilling, along with mouthwatering recipes from some of the most famous chefs of our time. Opie, our store manager (well, dog of our store manager, but whatever) highly recommends this delicious volume.
Discerning drinkers will savor this, the only guide devoted solely to US-made whiskey, rye, and bourbon. How cool would this book be alongside a set a highball glasses or a funny package of cocktail napkins? Very cool indeed.


For daddies with expensive hobbies:

Pulitzer Prize finalist Colson Whitehead was given a $10,000 stake and an assignment from the online magazine Grantland to see how far he could get in the World Series of Poker. Spoiler alert: He didn’t win millions of dollars. He did, however, produce some fantastic humor writing. You don’t have to know much (or anything, really) about poker to enjoy it.


Merging a Norman Rockwell aesthetic with a darkly comic sensibility, these funny images are the antidote to too-much-cute, while still being pretty darn cute themselves.
He listened to vinyl before you did. He had a mustache before you did. Admit it: your dad was a hipster before you were. Based on the blog phenomenon of the same name, this book celebrates that particular style which — contrary to what you might think — did not actually originate in the coffee shops of Nashville.
Stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan is best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald’s. Here, he expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children. Reminiscent of Bill Cosby’s Fatherhood, this is an excellent choice for the dad who appreciates good, clean humor.
Speaking of clean humor… this is not that. Profane and insanely hilarious, this book proves why Rob Delaney was named “Funniest Person on Twitter” by Comedy Central. It’s not all dirty jokes, though. Delaney, a father of two, has battled depression and addiction, and he writes with self-effacing candor about those experiences here.


Fatherhood in fabulous fiction:

From this award-winning author comes an amazing novel about two people whose lives collide: Marie-Laure, a French girl, and Werner, a gadget-obsessed German boy. Both are trying to survive the devastation of World War II in occupied France. Get this: When Marie-Laure goes blind at age 6, her father builds a perfect miniature of their Paris neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. Wow.
Best-selling author of The Dog Stars, Heller is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure, and a regular contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek. This novel deals with anger, creativity, love — and a father’s grief. BONUS: Come to Parnassus Books at 6:30 PM on Thursday, June 12, when Heller joins us to discuss the book, and get Dad an AUTOGRAPHED copy! (Members of our First Editions Club, this is the next signed selection you’ll receive.)


Simultaneously mourning the demise of his father (who has recently passed away) and his marriage (which has just imploded due to his wife’s affair with his boss), Judd Foxman joins his dysfunctional family as they reluctantly sit shiva for his dad and spend seven days and nights under the same roof. Hilarity ensues. The movie adaptation — due out in September with a cast including Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, and Connie Britton — is sure to be a hit, but the book is definitely worth reading first.


Manly mysteries:

Paris. 1895. A young Jewish officer has just been convicted of treason. This is the story of the infamous Dreyfus affair told as a chillingly dark, hard-edged novel of conspiracy and espionage. Harris is the author of 8 best-selling novels, including The Ghost Writer, which was adapted into the film directed by Roman Polanski.
The author of the best-selling Harry Hole series now gives us an electrifying stand-alone novel set inside Oslo’s maze of high-level corruption. Sonny Lofthus has been in prison for a dozen years, nearly half his life. When he learns a stunning, long-hidden secret concerning his father, he makes a brilliantly executed escape and begins hunting down those responsible for the crimes against him.
Sophie Kohl is living her worst nightmare. Minutes after she confesses to her husband, a mid-level diplomat at the American embassy in Hungary, that she had an affair while they were in Cairo, he is shot in the head and killed. Stan Bertolli, a Cairo-based CIA agent, picks up the phone to hear the voice of the only woman he ever truly loved, calling to ask why her husband has been assassinated. Those are just two of the characters who converge in this dangerous world of political games. For dads who love action and intrigue.


Dear Dad: You’re a nerd, and I love you. Here, have a book.

A mesmerizing, behind-the-scenes business thriller that chronicles how Sega, a small, scrappy gaming company led by an unlikely visionary and a team of rebels, took on the juggernaut Nintendo and revolutionized the video game industry. Now in development as a feature film from Sony Pictures — let Dad read it before he watches it.
The authors of Freakonomics have written their most revolutionary book yet. With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, they take us inside their thought process and teach us all to think a bit more productively, more creatively, more rationally — to think, that is, like a Freak.
This book is bound to come up in any conversation about Wall Street from here on out. The small group of Wall Street guys at the center of the book investigate big Wall Street banks, the world’s stock exchanges, and high-frequency trading firms as they have never been investigated before, exposing the many strange new ways that Wall Street generates profits.


Because sports books are almost always a safe bet:

Sports journalist John Feinstein explores the colorful and mysterious world of minor-league baseball — a gateway through which all major-league players pass in their careers . . . hoping never to return.
The question, “Does Pete Rose belong in the Hall of Fame?” has evolved into perhaps the most provocative in sports, a layered, slippery and ever-relevant moral conundrum. How do we evaluate the Hit King now, at a time when steroid cheats appear on the Hall of Fame ballot even as Rose is denied?
Mariano Rivera, the man who intimidated thousands of batters merely by opening a bullpen door, began his incredible journey as the son of a poor Panamanian fisherman. When first scouted by the Yankees, he didn’t even have his own glove — but he could throw a baseball exactly where he wanted to, every time.
Includes essays by Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, George Brett, Orlando Cepeda, Carlton Fisk, Tommy Lasorda, Joe Morgan, Jim Rice, Cal Ripken Jr., Nolan Ryan, and Robin Yount.
Out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds — the improbable, intimate account of how 9 boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.

Have a dad with super-specific hobbies or one who’s difficult to shop for? We love a challenge. Stop by or give us a call: 615.953.2243. Or let us know, and we’ll make him up a nice little book-themed package... a mug, a shirt, and a gift certificate to select whatever HE wants to read.

Happy Fathers Day, dads everywhere. We heart you.

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Check back in later this week, when Musing will feature another can’t-miss list: Gifts for Grads