It used to be said (back before mobile phones gave the world the gift of free long distance) that the day the most long distance phone calls were made each year was Mother’s Day and the day the most collect calls were made was Father’s Day. Sure everyone loves both Mom and Dad, but if Dad wants to hear it then sometimes he might have to add a couple bucks to his phone bill. We’re fortunate though that in today’s world of stay-at-home dads, hipster dad bloggers, and all-around more enlightened and responsible parenting, gone are the days when dad’s role was to sit in the waiting room and break out the cigars the minute he becomes a father, and spend the rest of the time letting mom do all of the bonding and raising the kids.
I know that a lot of people have had interesting, tumultuous, or even non-existent relationships with their fathers. Not everyone is as lucky as I am to have a dad that was there to teach them how to change a tire when they were twelve, or to show them the simple joys in life like the magic that is a bowl of peanut butter and pancake syrup as a snack. I’m one of the lucky ones that had a dad that was always there for me to show me those things, and to teach me important life lessons like the value of hard work and caring about things in the world like doing a good job no matter what you’re doing. It’s things like that, that made me realize that my dad is my hero, and I’d like to dedicate this month’s virtual book display to my father.
This Father’s Day, those of us that are lucky enough to have a great dad (or uncle, or grandfather, or any other father figure) that was there for us to teach us important lessons that have made us who we are today, should take the time to tell our dads that we love them, that they are our heroes, that they have made us into the people we are.
So let’s give a shout out to all the hard-working dads out there and say thanks for being there, and maybe pick up a good book about some other dads.
Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon
In a rare foray into non-fiction, Pulitzer Prize-winner Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay) gives his thoughts on attempting to navigate his way through life being a good husband, being a good father to his four children, and being a man. The book is made up of several essays dealing with the author’s own childhood as well as his relationships with other important men in his life like his first father-in-law and his brother, and being a father and husband himself. Fans of Chabon’s writing style will enjoy the eloquent prose with which he narrates the story of his life.
Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
Looking for a funny perspective on fatherhood? Look no further than comedian Jim Gaffigan’s Dad is Fat. Gaffigan, himself a father of five children, regales the reader with tales of family road trips, journeys to McDonald’s, and the difficulty of attempting to give rational explanations to toddlers about how the world works. Fans of Gaffigan’s stand-up comedy routines will also be delighted to know that the author reads the audiobook version of Dad is Fat, although if you’re like my wife and can’t stand that voice he does (and if you’ve seen his stand up you know exactly what I’m talking about), you might be better off just checking out the paper version.
Founders as Fathers: the Private Lives and Politics of the American Revolutionaries by Lorri Glover
Fans of the soundtrack to the hit musical Hamilton may already know all the words to the songs, but do you know what Alexander Hamilton and his fellow founding fathers were like as actual fathers? Founders as Fathers explores the family lives of some of the most famous and influential men in American history as they attempted to raise both families and an America in its infancy. Did you know that not only is George Washington referred to as the father of our country, but he was also godfather to General Lafayette’s son, himself named George Washington Lafayette? For more facts about founding fathers’ families check out Founders as Fathers for yourself!
Burning Bridges: Life with my Father Glen Campbell by Debby Campbell & Mark Bego
Not all stories of fathers and children are as happy as others, but sometimes those with the toughest stories can come out on top. Such is the story of Debby Campbell and her father, country music superstar Glen Campbell. The absentee father of 8 children, Glen Campbell led the life of a music star down to the last cliche (drugs, drinking, women, you know, everything). That is, until his daughter Debby decided that it was time for a relationship with the man that was her father. Eventually becoming Glen Campbell’s duet singer and the person to whom he was the closest, Debby tells the story of her life with her father as no one else knew him.
Along the Way: The Journey of a Father and Son by Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez
Told in alternating chapters between father and son, Along the Way is the story of actor Martin Sheen (Badlands, Apocalypse Now) and his oldest son Emilio Estevez (Breakfast Club, The Mighty Ducks). From Sheen’s first days as a new father and struggling actor to working with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars and most acclaimed directors, Along the Way tells a very unique story of a father and son as they find fame, fortune, and family in one another and around them.
Geek Dad Book for Aspiring Mad Scientists by Ken Denmead
Finally, if you’re just looking for something fun to do with your kids check out this gem from Ken Denmead, author of the Geek Dad blog. Full of fun (if not sometimes odd or gross sounding) experiments, The Geek Dad Book for Aspiring Mad Scientists will show you how to do all kinds of weird stuff like learn how to extract your own DNA or split molecules for energy. And let’s face it, who really wants another silly tie for Father’s Day when they can get a MacGuyver style radio!