Dads recommend last-minute reads for dads (and everyone else)

Our next Silent Reading Party is Sunday, June 19th-- Father's Day!

Growing up, we at SRP were parented by serious readers on both sides-- we both had dads who could often be found occupying the coziest chair in the basement, covered in cats, cheaters perched hazardously on the bridges of their noses, stacks of dogeared paperbacks occupying their laps. There's something special about sharing a love of reading with your dad; I (Amanda) have mine to thank for my love of John Kennedy Toole and Charles Portis-- masters of the charming knucklehead protagonist. Karen inherited from her dad a weakness for mass-market mysteries, golf memoirs (!), and Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole books.

In honor of Father's Day, we asked some of our favorite dads what they've been reading lately-- and got a surprisingly rich and far-ranging set of picks in response. So this year, before you crank up the grill and turn on the White Sox-Indians game (or before you join us at Beech Street Parlor for Silent Reading Party!), check out these dad-approved book recommendations.

Martin:  Last book I read/loved; The Liminal War by Ayize Jama-Everett.  So I was already invested in this one because this novel is a sequel to another great story from 2012 called The Liminal People.  Think superheroes with cultural and ethnic significance.  This book is a thriller that happens to have the expansiveness of a science-fiction/fantasy world.  However, this is not one I would read to my kids just yet.  We're currently “family reading” the entire Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series in nightly installments.  Nothing like dry British humor/weirdness to pull a family together!

LoganThe Habit of Rivers by Ted Leeson.  Okay, it's another book about fly fishing, but Leeson’s take on Oregon rivers, water in general, fish and thinking about the natural systems is not sappy, with enough creative insight and humor to make it an enjoyable, leisurely read.

Ben:  I'd love to stay local and make a recommend for Arthur Bradford's book Turtleface and Beyond: Stories. There's not a better book that I can think of that deals with the tender and awkward caring for small animals, which I suppose is what fatherhood is all about. 

Craig:  For myself, I have found that since becomes a dad time for reading is scarce. But when I am able to make it through a book, it’s usually breezy nonfiction, informative but able to move at a good clip. The two most recent ones I remember reading are At Home: A Short History of Private Life, by Bill Bryson, and So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, by Jon Ronson. At Home... is a brief history of western civilization framed as a trip as a trip through a traditional, if particularly well-appointed, single-family house. It touches on some big historical ideas, but manages to encapsulate a lot of information in a succinct and digestible package. So You’ve… is a pop-anthropology case study analysis of people whose lives have been trampled by the culture of casual outrage nourished by social media, and an examination of why that might have happened, and whether it will keep happening.  So we’re representing the two dadly tropes of the History Channel-watching homebody, and the progress-loathing technophobe, both quite true to form. Take your pick.

Jon:  I recently read TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (I also read The Dancer but didn’t like it as much.)  It revolves around strong female characters connected through history, and I loved the expanse of the story across generations and continents.  I’m not Irish but this would be even more interesting to those with an Ireland connection.  Also The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  An easy fun read that is also a bit romantic candy (but a little too “woowoo love” at times).  And a real difficult read as a father of a young child: Ian McEwan's The Child in Time.

Scott:  I’ll pick up the thread with Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly EverythingAlso The Demon in the Freezer by Richard PrestonAnd How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention and Discovery, by Kevin Ashton. 

Daniel: Rock-a-Bye Romp, by Linda Ashman.  It's short.  And it rhymes.