Here's the tough thing about recommending books "for dads." Unlike third-grade teachers, jockeys, emergency-room nurses, and giant Pacific octopus researchers, dads don't necessarily have a common set of interests. There are as many different kinds of dads as there are, well, people. So while your dad may be into Tom Clancy and fly fishing, someone else's may be all about hula-hooping and Eileen Myles. And both of those are just swell by us.
We here at Silent Reading Party don't dig stereotypes. We read widely and weirdly, and we like to encourage others to do so too. Reading a book is the cheapest, fastest way we can think of to blow the doors off your mind and experience the world in a new way. (Especially if it's a library book.)
So here's our most-eclectic-EVER list of "Books for Dads," just in time for Father's Day...on Pride weekend...with Juneteenth right around the corner. Some of these are our favorite books, others are books we want to read as soon as we get our grubby little hands on them. We hope you like them, and maybe you know a dad who might like them too.
See you Thursday for our next round of book recommendations with Multnomah County Library...and see you Sunday at Beech Street Parlor for our next Silent Reading Party!!!
Norwood by Charles Portis
A deadpan-funny, picaresque novel about the hapless Norwood Pratt falling in with grifters, little people, college-educated chickens, and Grady Fring the Kredit King, all while trying to track down the man who owes him seventy bucks. Portis also wrote True Grit, and if you haven't read it or just think of it as "that John Wayne western about outlaws and...roosters?" now's the time to pick it up. It's amaaaaaaaaazing.
China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh
Literary science fiction that spans a slightly dystopic future from Baffin Island to Mars. The through-line is chaos theory and the butterfly effect, connecting a cast of characters from an extra-planetary beekeeper to a competitive body-kite pilot. In the future, like today, most people are ordinary and just trying to get by. But somehow McHugh makes it all so incredibly interesting.
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
What it says on the tin. Solnit wrote the title essay in this short book after enduring (yet another) conversation in which a man assumed he knew more than she did. In fact, he interrupted what she was saying to tell her that she should read a very important book about early photographer Eadweard Muybridge, without realizing that Solnit actually wrote that book. You can read the title essay online, but the collection comes with extras and is handy for whacking mansplainers.
The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter by Kia Corthron
Two white brothers from Alabama cross paths with two black brothers from Maryland in Corthron's first novel, set during the years from 1941 to the present. It all plays out on America's complicated chessboard of racism, civil rights, labor, war, disability, and sexual identity. It's nearly 800 pages and according to The New York Times, "it makes you give a damn."
Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro
Take Atwood's dystopian feminist novel The Handmaid's Tale and mash it up with two parts Tarantino's grindhouse revenge flick Death Proof, one part current-day National Football League, and a dash of Imperator Furiosa. You've got Bitch Planet, a no-holds-barred graphic novel chock full of adult themes and images, delivered through an anti-racist, feminist lens. In other words, our new favorite read.