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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.

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dad book gift guide saunders
Cover: Random House; Background: Twenty20

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.

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dad book gift guide whitehead
Cover: Doubleday; Background: Twenty20

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.

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dad book gift guide abdul jabbar
Cover: Grand Central Publishing; Background: Twenty20

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.

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dad book gift guide gaiman
Cover: W.W. Norton and Company; Background: Twenty20

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.

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dad book gift guide sedaris
Cover: Little, Brown and Company; Background: Twenty20

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.

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dad book gift guide krauss
Cover: Harper; Background: Twenty20

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.

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dad book gift guide atlas
Cover: Workman; Background: Twenty20

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.

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dad book gift guide springsteen
Cover: Simon & Schuster; Background: Twenty20

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.

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dad book gift guide cohen
Cover: Random House; Background: Twenty20

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.

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dad book gift guide bell
Cover: Dutton; Background: Twenty20

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.

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dad book gift guide chernow
Cover: Penguin Press; Background: Twenty20

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.

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dad book gift guide akkad
Cover: Knopf; Background: Twenty20

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.

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