10 Books for Every Kind of Dad This Father's Day

Happy Friday, everyone! Father's Day is Sunday so let's take a poll: how many of you already got good old Pops a gift? Like 3 I'm guessing. Never fear! A well thought book or two with a loving inscription (and perhaps a nice bottle of Whiskey.. More on that later) is all you need to pull a winning show of love this weekend. Here are 10 utterly fantastic books that would suit any kind of dad out there.



I. All American Dad

1. Gumption - Nick Offerman

  • I can't say enough about this book. I'm listening to it on Audible and Offerman is just a superb writer. I finished Paddle Your Own Canoe last week (see below) and immediately dove into this the next day. Gumption covers Offerman's praise and assessment of his own selection of admirable Americans throughout history, adding in ties to his own life as well as how we can apply such principles to our day to day life. Some you'll recognize, a portion of which you will not, all of whom you'll come to admire in the same way he does. Pick it up immediately.

2. Paddle Your Own Canoe - Nick Offerman

  • This book is delicious. A word you'll find more often in your vocabulary after reading this. Offerman gives his life story here along with commenting on attributes of character we should strive to include in our repertoire if at all possible. Imparting wisdom as often as laughs, the man literally had me cracking up as easily as he then tugged my heart by consistently mentioning his wife with no less than one glowing compliment, always showing his monumental love for her. Bonus: if you get these books through Audible he can hear them read by the author which is fantastic in its own right with Offerman's deep and incredibly masculine voice but also, when Offerman at one point offers up the lyrics to a song he wrote for his wife, audio listeners get to hear him play and sing it! Enjoy!

II. Bookish Dad

1. The Wright Brothers - David McCullough

  • I have not yet read McCullough's latest work nor any of his others but I can offer the heartily positive reviews of several men in my life who are giant fans. McCullough is one of the most winning historical writers we have in our midst these days and The Wright Brothers is no different. It's certainly on my list and any bookish dad or history buff would be a big fan for sure.

2. Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy

  • On the recommendation of my husband, this is a book no man (or woman) should miss out on. McCarthy is succinct but spectacular in his writings. A favorite in our household, our second son bears his namesake though spunkily going by Mac unless he's in trouble. Blood Meridian is believed to be one of McCarthy's great works and any dad would enjoy this or anything else in his canon.

III. Outdoorsy Dad

1. A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson

  • Ah Bryson. I have read and adored several of his books now and he's like an old friend now. A Walk in the Woods is about his trivial decision to through-hike the Appalacian Trail and then his gradual understanding of the depth that decision entails. His descriptions of the trail, honesty about hardships and exhaustion, and general respect for the undertaking that a through-hike is are a beautiful thing. Any of Bryson's works would be amazing as a gift, but this in particular will thrill any fan of the Great Outdoors.

2. The Old Man & the Sea - Ernest Hemingway

  • Who better to gift on Father's Day than Papa Hemingway. One of the fathers of American Literature, Hemingway is a treasure trove of sparsely written glory. His style is often described as an iceberg (little text visible above the water, but oh-so-much meaning below it all under the water) and you just can't beat the man's novels. The Old Man and the Sea is a short novel that is beautiful from start to finish. Anyone who fishes and/or grew up on the water will adore this book and its depiction of the gumption and grit a true fisherman possesses as well as the love for the water that is woven into each page as though the book itself is made of the element somehow. No one should miss out on this gift of literary genius.

IV. Goofy Dad

1. Dad is Fat - Jim Gaffigan

  • Seriously, how could you not want to buy this book for your doofus, jokester dad? Gaffigan is hilarious and this book proves to be a quick and fantastic read full of laughs to the point of tears. I could go on and on but I don't want to spoil any of the jokes you would be exposed to. Suffice to say, Gaffigan is a father to four little girls and while he works to raise them there are plenty of moments that could make a person crack a rib from laughing so much. Pick this up if only to see the look on Daddy-O's face when he reads the title.

2. Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris

  • Sedaris should be considered a standard for anyone who loves to laugh. His sarcasm and deadpan humor are the stuff of legends and his essays are simply brilliant. Any of his books would be a winning choice, but I always say Me Talk Pretty One Day is a great place to start. It covers Sedaris' childhood and is a wonderful introduction to both him as an author and his style. Turn to page one and dive in to a new favorite author.

V. All Business Dad

1. Smarter, Faster, Better - Charles Duhigg

2. Grit - Angela Duckworth

  • Both of these books are currently on my high priority TBR list. I have read multiple reviews of each, listened to interviews, as well as podcasts focused on the authors and their research. For a busy worker-bee of a father, either of these books would not only engross him but also help him become better at what he does both in the workplace and at home. If your dad is a serious guy, these could be the perfect choices for him to sit down with and enjoy.

Now you have a great selection of books to choose from, pair it with a great beer or a sublime Whiskey and you're all set. For some solid ideas, my husband (an Irishman with a serious love of the smooth, brown, manly eloquence of Whisky, Bourbon, and Scotch) would highly recommend John Powers 12 Year, Tin Cup, Knob Creek, Bulleit, or for something special: 36th Vote Barrelled Manhattan by High West Distillery. Have a drink with your dad and salute his glorious impact in and on your life.
*Raise a glass!*