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Father’s day is here and we want to help you pick the best books for Dad!

We have assembled a list of books based on different interests a dad may have. From history to cookbooks, we have selections that dads will love! 

*CCPL Staff picks are chosen by CCPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We’d love to hear your ideas too, so write to us and tell us what you’d recommend!*

For the Dad Who Likes Comedy: 

Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman.

(From Overdrive)Disarmed of falsehood, he was left only with the awful truth: John Hodgman is an older white male monster with bad facial hair, wandering like a privileged Sasquatch through three wildernesses: the hills of Western Massachusetts where he spent much of his youth; the painful beaches of Maine that want to kill him (and someday will); and the metaphoric haunted forest of middle age that connects them. Vacationland collects these real life wanderings, and through them you learn of the horror of freshwater clams, the evolutionary purpose of the mustache, and which animals to keep as pets and which to kill with traps and poison. There is also some advice on how to react when the people of coastal Maine try to sacrifice you to their strange god.

Though wildly, Hodgmaniacally funny as usual, it is also a poignant and sincere account of one human facing his forties, those years when men in particular must stop pretending to be the children of bright potential they were and settle into the failing bodies of the wiser, weird dads that they are.

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

(From Overdrive) Who says you can’t run away from your problems? You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can’t say yes—it would be too awkward—and you can’t say no—it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world.

QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town?

ANSWER: You accept them all.

What would possibly go wrong? Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. Through it all, there is his first love. And there is his last.

Because, despite all these mishaps, missteps, misunderstandings and mistakes, Less is, above all, a love story.

A scintillating satire of the American abroad, a rumination on time and the human heart, a bittersweet romance of chances lost, by an author The New York Times has hailed as “inspired, lyrical,” “elegiac,” “ingenious,” as well as “too sappy by half,” Less shows a writer at the peak of his talents raising the curtain on our shared human comedy.

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

(From Overdrive) Though he grew up in a large Irish-Catholic family, Jim was satisfied with the nomadic, nocturnal life of a standup comedian, and was content to be “that weird uncle who lives in an apartment by himself in New York that everyone in the family speculates about.” But all that changed when he married and found out his wife, Jeannie “is someone who gets pregnant looking at babies.”

Five kids later, the comedian whose riffs on everything from Hot Pockets to Jesus have scored millions of hits on YouTube, started to tweet about the mistakes and victories of his life as a dad. Those tweets struck such a chord that he soon passed the million followers mark. But it turns out 140 characters are not enough to express all the joys and horrors of life with five kids, so he’s now sharing it all in Dad Is Fat.

From new parents to empty nesters to Jim’s twenty-something fans, everyone will recognize their own families in these hilarious takes on everything from cousins (“celebrities for little kids”) to growing up in a big family (“I always assumed my father had six children so he could have a sufficient lawn crew”) to changing diapers in the middle of the night (“like The Hurt Locker but much more dangerous”) to bedtime (aka “Negotiating with Terrorists”).

Dad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.

For the Dad That Likes History and WWII:

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson

(From Overdrive) THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER ‘There are countless books about World War II, but there’s only one Erik Larson. The book reads like a novel, and even though everyone (hopefully) knows how the war ultimately ended, he keeps the reader turning the pages with his gripping prose’ NPR A startling, gripping portrait of what it was like to be alive in Britain during the Blitz, and what it was like to be around Churchill. On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, the Nazis would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons and destroying two million homes. In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson gives a new and brilliantly cinematic account of how Britain’s most iconic leader set about unifying the nation at its most vulnerable moment, and teaching ‘the art of being fearless.’ Drawing on once-secret intelligence reports and diaries, #1 bestselling author Larson takes readers from the shelled streets of London to Churchill’s own chambers, giving a vivid vision of true leadership, when – in the face of unrelenting horror – a leader of eloquence, strategic brilliance and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell

(From Overdrive) In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: “She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her.”

The target in their sights was Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who talked her way into Special Operations Executive, the spy organization dubbed Winston Churchill’s “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.” She became the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines and—despite her prosthetic leg—helped to light the flame of the French Resistance, revolutionizing secret warfare as we know it. Virginia established vast spy networks throughout France, called weapons and explosives down from the skies, and became a linchpin for the Resistance. Even as her face covered wanted posters and a bounty was placed on her head, Virginia refused order after order to evacuate. She finally escaped through a death-defying hike over the Pyrenees into Spain, her cover blown. But she plunged back in, adamant that she had more lives to save, and led a victorious guerilla campaign, liberating swathes of France from the Nazis after D-Day. Based on new and extensive research, Sonia Purnell has for the first time uncovered the full secret life of Virginia Hall—an astounding and inspiring story of heroism, spycraft, resistance, and personal triumph over shocking adversity. A Woman of No Importance is the breathtaking story of how one woman’s fierce persistence helped win the war.

For Dads Interested in Civil Rights:

How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

(From Overdrive) Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism—and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. At its core, racism is a powerful system that creates false hierarchies of human value; its warped logic extends beyond race, from the way we regard people of different ethnicities or skin colors to the way we treat people of different sexes, gender identities, and body types. Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.

Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.

It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood; Adapted for Young Readers by Trevor Noah.

(From Overdrive) Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.From the Hardcover edition.

For Dads Who Love Cooking:

Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin

(From Overdrive) Throughout her career, Toni Tipton-Martin has shed new light on the history, breadth, and depth of African American cuisine. She’s introduced us to black cooks, some long forgotten, who established much of what’s considered to be our national cuisine. After all, if Thomas Jefferson introduced French haute cuisine to this country, who do you think actually cooked it?

  In Jubilee, Tipton-Martin brings these masters into our kitchens. Through recipes and stories, we cook along with these pioneering figures, from enslaved chefs
 to middle- and upper-class writers and entrepreneurs. With more than 100 recipes, from classics such as Sweet Potato Biscuits, Seafood Gumbo, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, and Pecan Pie with Bourbon to lesser-known but even more decadent dishes like Bourbon & Apple Hot Toddies, Spoon Bread, and Baked Ham Glazed with Champagne, Jubilee presents techniques, ingredients, and dishes that show the roots of African American cooking—deeply beautiful, culturally diverse, fit for celebration.

Praise for Jubilee

Life is a Party: Deliciously Doable Recipes to Make Every Day a Celebration by David Burtka with Adeena Sussman

(From Overdrive) Chef, actor, and entertaining authority David Burtka knows that every day can be a party. Over a lifetime of throwing epic gatherings, the Cordon Bleu-trained Burtka has perfected the formula for creating easy and perfect get-togethers at home. Now, in the pages of his debut cookbook, he’s sharing all of his secrets and an intimate look into the lives of one of Hollywood’s favorite families. Everything you need to throw a memorable party, or to make a delicious weeknight meal, can be found right here.

Whether your event and budget are modest or you’re going all-out, and whether the guest list is an intimate crew or it’s a blowout bash, David’s sixteen party themes-from cozy game nights at home to elegant New Year’s fêtes-are built around doable, show-stopping menus that take the guesswork out of high-impact hosting. Complete with endless and fun ways to mix-and-match dishes, create stunning decor, prep ahead, and get guests involved, David helps you put all the elements in place to make every party a success without ever losing your cool.

At the heart of the book are David’s amazing recipes, including delicious twists on comfort classics like Corn Cakes with Bacon Jam, Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas, and Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwich Cake. And you don’t need to wait for a party to try recipes like Ham, Egg, and Cheese Calzones; Mint Pesto Pasta; and Thyme and Gruyère Popovers. Never one to miss the opportunity to toast friends and family, David also shows you how to make delicious cocktails for a crowd: think Mojito Slushies, Charred Peach and Plum Sangria, and Cucumber-Lime Spritzers. So raise a glass and get cooking! Because there’s no better time than now to make your life a party.

For Dads Who Love Golf:

Miracle at St. Andrews: A Novel by James Patterson and Peter de Jonge

(From Overdrive) If golf novels had a leaderboard, Miracle at St. Andrews would be at the top.Though nobody has ever identified a single secret—no universally accepted truth—to the sport, every real player searches for one. Travis McKinley is one such seeker. A former professional golfer who feels like he’s an amateur at the rest of life, he makes a pilgrimage to the mythical greens at St. Andrews. On the course where golf was born, every link, hole, fairway—even the gorse—feels like sacred ground. Ground that can help an ordinary player, an ordinary man, achieve a higher plane.

For The Handyman Dad:

Every Tool’s a Hammer: Life Is What You Make It by Adam Savage

(From Overdrive) Adam Savage is a maker. From Chewbacca’s bandolier to a thousand-shot Nerf gun, he has built thousands of spectacular projects as a special effects artist and the co-host of MythBusters. Adam is also an educator, passionate about instilling the principles of making in the next generation of inventors and inspiring them to turn their curiosity into creation.

In this practical and passionate guide, Adam weaves together vivid personal stories, original sketches and photographs from some of his most memorable projects, and interviews with many of his iconic and visionary friends in the arts and sciences – including Pixar director Andrew Stanton, Nick Offerman, Oscar-winner Guillermo Del Toro and artist Tom Sachs – to demonstrate the many lessons he has picked up from a lifetime of making.

Things like: don’t wait until everything is perfect – in your workshop or in your life – to begin. Plan with pencil and paper. Sweep up every day. Learn from doing. Share your toys. There is an exact tool for every task (Adam probably has four of them in his wondrous shop), but if you need to pound in a nail and all you have handy is a skill saw – hammer away. The most important thing, always, is just that you make something.

For the Dad Who Loves Comic Books:

The Adventures of Barry & Joe: Obama and Biden’s Bromantic Battle for the Soul of America by Adam Reid

(From Overdrive) These are the continuing adventures of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, time traveling superheroes in search of a brighter future for America.

Moments after the inauguration of our 45th President, best friends Barack Obama and Joe Biden were escorted to a secret lab run by the world’s greatest scientists. They were asked to take off all their clothes and hold very still in a fetal position until they felt a painful tingling sensation. Then they vanished. They would awake to find themselves apart, and inside their younger bodies—driven to find each other and change history for the better. Their faithful guide on this journey is Samuel L. Jackson, a brilliant actor from the present who appears in the form of an augmented reality that only they can see and hear. And thus, they find themselves leaping through time, striving to right injustice wherever they find it, looking for a world which they can proudly call home.

This audiobook is a love letter to cheesy science fiction and the two men who can still be counted on to inspire us—an adventure that will melt your snowflake brain and give you hope for humanity at the same time.