The Best Books to Get Your Dad This Year
Dads can be hard to shop for. (We can only buy so many ties.) That’s why we often fall back on an old classic: a book. Here are 12 new-ish titles for every type of dad, from the history buff to the sports nerd.
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
This is not your typical historical novel: It imagines Abraham Lincoln in the aftermath of the death of his 11-year-old son and is as strange (there are ghosts) as it is gripping. Plus, it just won the Man Booker Prize, so you know it’s good.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
A look at pre-Civil War era South, The Underground Railroad follows a slave in Georgia who escapes and flees through what Whitehead reimagines as a literal network of underground railroad tracks.
Coach Wooden and Me by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
A moving tribute to the subtle but profound influence that Coach John Wooden had on Abdul-Jabbar as a player and person, Coach Wooden and Me is a must-read for any dad who still thinks back fondly on his sports-playing days.
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Long inspired by ancient mythology, Gaiman’s latest is his version of the great Norse myths, following Odin, Thor and Loki. Think of this as the high-brow version of those Marvel movies Dad can’t get enough of.
Theft By Finding by David Sedaris
Sedaris is as good as ever in his newest offering, which pulls from more than 25 years’ worth of personal diaries and covers everything from his stint as a Macy's Christmas elf to even more on the mean French teacher we first met in Me Talk Pretty One Day.
Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss
Following his parents’ deaths, his divorce from his wife of 30 years and his retirement from a high-powered job, 68-year-old Jules gives away much of his wealth and heads to Israel. Basically, it’ll make his own midlife crisis seem super tame.
Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Ella Morton, and Dylan Thuras
An in-depth look at more than 600 of the most fascinating places, objects and phenomena in the world (including an island full of cats and a baobab tree in South Africa that's so large it has a pub inside and Spain's Baby Jumping Festival), Atlas Obscura is essential reading for any dad who has considered trying out for Jeopardy.
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
A gifted storyteller, The Boss is honest and insightful on a variety of subjects, from his rise as a musician to his personal demons. Born to Run is an entertaining read, whether your dad’s a diehard Springsteen fan or just a general music buff.
Moving Kings by Joshua Cohen
This provocative novel interweaves the housing crisis in America’s poor black and Hispanic neighborhoods with the world's oldest conflict in the Middle East. The New Yorker called it “a Jewish Sopranos,” if that’s something your pops would be into.
The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell by W. Kamau Bell
Socio-political comedian Bell is super funny on a wide range of issues including race relations, fatherhood, comedians and superheroes…and how he was a black nerd way before that became a cool thing to be.
Grant by Ron Chernow
Calling all history buffs: Chernow’s biography of Grant gets inside the head of the often misunderstood general and president whose fortunes rose and fell quickly as he he resigned from the army in disgrace, soared through the ranks of the Union army and won a two-term presidency that was plagued by corruption scandals.
American War by Omar el Akkad
Set in 2074 at the advent of the second American Civil War, el Akkad’s powerful debut novel asks what would happen if the U.S. turned its most devastating policies and deadly weapons on itself. Vaguely terrifying but gripping nonetheless.