The Best Books to Give for Father’s Day

Humor, fiction, food, sports, and more....our books editor Dawn Raffel selects her top picks for Pop.

By Dawn Raffel

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiassen

This "Triple-F"  tale—fierce, funny, and Floridian—begins, "On the hottest day of July, trolling in dead-calm waters near Key West, a tourist named James Mayberry reeled up a human arm," and goes on to enfold corruption, greed, mayhem, and very funny social satire in the way that only Hiassen does it. Bad Monkey comes out June 11, which gives you just enough time to nab it and wrap it.

Inferno by Dan Brown

Granted, a thriller inspired by Dante's Inferno isn't the biggest heart-tug, but if your dad dug The Da Vinci Code, he'll enjoy Dan Brown's latest blockbuster. This page-turner, which begins "I am the shade" takes you inside the world art, literature, and history. 

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

Dad is hilarious in the new book by the New York comedian with five kids. "I remember looking at people on airplanes and thinking, 'Weird. Why would you do that to yourself?'" Gaffigan writes. His super-short chapters on everything from vacations to suffering through The Smurfs to snitching the kids' candy late at night are instantly relatable.

The DiMaggios by Tom Clavin

Sports fan dad? This bio of Joltin' Joe, Dom, and Vince DiMaggio—three brothers consumed by baseball—is sure to be a home run. A story about sports, it's also about family and a bygone era. It begins, "There were 53 former players on the field at Fenway Park for Old-Timers' Day in May, 1986, but most eyes were on the three men whose last name was DiMaggio."

The Grilling Book: The Definitive Guide from Bon Appetit

Chicken, burgers, and dogs—you get the idea. The 350 recipes in this manly cookbook are accompanied sumptuous photographs and include veggies, pizzas, shellfish, and sides. Wait a sec. Is this a gift for dad....or everyone at the table?

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

Frequent NPR guest David Sedaris' latest funny, poignant, quirky, and often spot-on book looks at everything from family to politics to, well, taxidermy. For the dad who likes things that are indescribably interesting: "His voice had snakes in it. And dystentery. And mangoes."

The Outsider by Jimmy Conners

Here's a no-holds-barred memoir by tennis star Jimmy Connors, the working man's hero and bad boy, that's fascinating and moving: "Those three years of criticism—hearing that I was finished, that the game was passing me by, that other players were pushing me aside—gave me a gift.  They made me understand that I needed tennis. I needed to go out and win." 

Flat Water Tuesday by Ron Irwin

This riveting debut novel, about a man haunted by a tragedy on a school rowing team years earlier, is a story about young men and sports—and midlife and forgiveness. It begins with a letter from an old classmate: "It's been fifteen years since we last saw each other, one month to the day..."

The Kill Room by Jeffery Deaver

When only a heart-thumping thriller will do for Dad, Jeffery Deaver's latest in his series about quadriplegic investigator Lincoln Rhyme is the one to get, where an assassination sets off a chilling battle of wits:  "Last Tuesday, May ninth, a U.S. citizen was murdered in a luxury hotel in the Bahamas." See you in about 450 pages!

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