father's day 2017

The 15 Best Books to Give for Father’s Day, According to Our Book Critic

Your dad might be the kind of guy who says he doesn’t want anything for Father’s Day — not a grill or a watch or a pair of headphones — but what he’s really saying is, he doesn’t want to put you out. If there’s one gift that’s not prohibitively expensive, though, it’s a book. We asked our book critic Christian Lorentzen for the 15 best books to gift for Father’s Day, whether your dad’s a history buff or Updike fanatic.

Roth’s memoir of his father in old age is perhaps the novelist’s most moving book.

It turns out that the German army was largely high on speed, and that by the end of the war the daily injections of vitamins administered to Hitler by his doctor had turned into speedballs.

This “fictional memoir” tracks the author’s progress through school, marriage, and mental asylums, parallel to the career of his hero, Giants quarterback Frank Gifford.

Beatty’s slapstick tour de force about the return of slavery to Southern California last year became the first novel by an American to win the Booker Prize.

Updike by Adam Begley

John Updike was postwar America’s most prolific prose stylist, and his life tells the story of the generation born in the Depression, married in the 1960s, divorced in the 1970s, and rich and sated by the 1980s.

SPQR by Mary Beard

Gibbon told of Rome’s decline and fall; Beard, one of England’s national treasures, explains its rise.


Told in the form of a father’s letter to his son, this novel unfolds several generations of history in the Midwest.


Do dominant states get their way on a wide scale by using force, or through their allies’ consent? This global history traces the history of the question from Athens to Moscow to Beijing to Washington.

A family reunion and a wild slapstick farce on the nature of family, masculinity, and all of Western literature.

Mark Twain meets James Joyce in this comedy on the Tennessee River, said to be McCarthy’s semi-autobiographical treatment of his Nashville drinking days.

A postmodern master’s surreal journey through word play, irony, and the meaning of fatherhood toward somewhere like redemption.

Why is populist rage breaking out all over the planet? Mishra examines the phenomenon of global ressentiment, where it came from, and what lies in store for societies that promise equality, but deliver large divides between the rich and the poor and the powerful and the wretched.

These linked stories about fictional fascists of the Western Hemisphere are an ideal introduction to the Chilean master whose masterpieces are The Savage Detectives and 2666.

The Nobel laureate’s cruel yet touching fictional portrait of his own father, an Indian living in Trinidad and making his way as a local journalist, delivers Dickens to the Caribbean.

Winner of last year’s National Book Award, Kendi’s study traces the shifting and insidious development of the intellectual framework of our national disgrace.

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The Best Books for Father’s Day According to Our Book Critic