Father’s Day Reading List
From crows and hawks to dystopian thrillers, we celebrate Dads with our Father’s Day Reading List
Where the Wild Dads Went by Katie Blackburn
In this hilarious, touching homage to Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, a tired and emotional dad finds himself drifting off to the place where the Wild Dads went. ‘Now PARTYYYYYYYYYY!’ he said. In a riot of headbanging, air guitar and table football he finds himself at the centre of a great escape, but pretty soon he begins to miss the place he left behind . . . Lovingly illustrated by the award-winning Sholto Walker, this little book is the perfect gift for new dads – or any parent who’s ever wanted to run away from it all.
Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother’s sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness. In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow – antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This sentimental bird is drawn to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. This extraordinary debut, full of unexpected humour and emotional truth, marked the arrival of a thrilling and significant new talent.
Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
Meet Justin Halpern and his dad. Almost one million people follow Mr Halpern’s philosophical musings every day on Twitter, and in this book, his son weaves a brilliantly funny, touching coming-of-age memoir around the best of his sayings. What emerges is a chaotic, hilarious, true portrait of a father and son relationship from a major new comic voice. As Justin says at one point, his dad is ‘like Socrates, but angrier, and with worse hair’; and this is the sort of sh*t he says…
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Some unnamed catastrophe has scourged the world to a burnt-out cinder, inhabited by the last remnants of mankind and a very few surviving dogs and fungi. The sky is perpetually shrouded by dust and toxic particulates; the seasons are merely varied intensities of cold and dampness. Bands of cannibals roam the roads and inhabit what few dwellings remain intact in the woods. Through this nightmarish residue of America a haggard father and his young son attempt to flee the oncoming Appalachian winter and head towards the southern coast along carefully chosen back roads.
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames’s life, he begins a letter to his young son, a kind of last testament to his remarkable forebears. In the luminous and unforgettable voice of Congregationalist minister Ames, Gilead reveals the human condition and the often unbearable beauty of an ordinary life.
The Invention of Solitude by Paul Auster
So begins Paul Auster’s moving and personal meditation on fatherhood, The Invention of Solitude. The first section, ‘Portrait of an Invisible Man’, reveals Auster’s memories and feelings after the death of his father. In ‘The Book of Memory’ the perspective shifts to Auster’s role as a father. The narrator, ‘A.’, contemplates his separation from his son, his dying grandfather and the solitary nature of writing and story-telling. With all the keen literary intelligence familiar from The New York Trilogy or Sunset Park, Paul Auster crafts an intensely intimate work from a ground-breaking combination of introspection, meditation and biography.
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
As a child, Helen Macdonald was determined to become a falconer, learning the arcane terminology and reading all the classic books. Years later, when her father died and she was struck deeply by grief, she became obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk. She bought Mabel for £800 on a Scottish quayside and took her home to Cambridge, ready to embark on the long, strange business of trying to train this wildest of animals. H is for Hawk is an unflinchingly honest account of Macdonald’s struggle with grief during the difficult process of the hawk’s taming and her own untaming. This is a book about memory, nature and nation, and how it might be possible to reconcile death with life and love.
Fathers and Daughters: A Novel by Benjamin Markovits
Benjamin Markovits unlocks the souls of three teachers and a student at a wealthy private school in Riverdale, New York. For all of them, fathers and fatherhood exert a gravitational pull. Biology teacher Amy Bostick has always adored her all- American dad, but now she pulls away as she falls in love with a rich alum. Another biology teacher, Howard Peasbody, finds fatherhood thrust upon him when he discovers that a fling seventeen years before has produced a daughter. English teacher Stuart Englander yearns powerfully for the children his marriage won’t deliver him, leading him into awkward intimacy with his student Rachel Kranz. Shockingly beautiful and melancholy by turns, this novel is a triumph-full of satisfactions of the kind that only great literary fiction can provide.
The Distant Land of my Father by Bo Caldwell
Joseph Schoene had made his fortune living on his wits. He was in love with Shanghai, with China, with the idea of taking risks. Completely devoted to his daughter, he imbued her with the same love of China’s turbulent city that he had. To Anna, it seemed that the idyll would last forever. But when the Japanese army invaded, when war finally came, even Anna knew that the dream was over. Joseph, however, refused to leave. Their story, ultimately, is one of love and forgiveness – and of the great gifts that a parent can give a child – The Distant Land of My Father is a moving, engaging and triumphant novel of discovery and rediscovery.