Father’s Day is right around the corner, and there’s no better gift for dad than a new book. From real-life political intrigue and the hottest new thriller to a laugh-out-loud book by two comedic geniuses, the unique narratives below are sure to delight dad this Father’s Day.
15 Books That Make the Perfect Father’s Day Gift
Dad will love these captivating reads.
You Have to Be Prepared to Die Before You Can Begin to Live: Ten Weeks in Birmingham That Changed America
By Paul Kix
For the dad who is a history buff
If Dad relishes a history deep dive, he’ll love Paul Kix’s brand-new historical narrative, You Have to Be Prepared to Die Before You Can Begin to Live. In it, the journalist and author documents a pivotal moment in American history that has never been fully told — until now. The narrative nonfiction book centers on Project C, the 10-week campaign in 1963 to end segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, led by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Project C changed the trajectory of the Civil Rights Movement and ultimately cleared the way for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Kix’s deeply researched account not only provides a propulsive behind-the-scenes chronicle of the campaign but also offers a peek inside the minds of the campaign’s iconic leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., Wyatt Walker, Fred Shuttlesworth, and James Bevel.
Number One Is Walking: My Life in the Movies and Other Diversions
By Steve Martin, artwork by Harry Bliss
For the dad who’s one wild and crazy guy
For the dad who already owns the first collaboration by cartoonist Harry Bliss and acclaimed actor Steve Martin, A Wealth of Pigeons, we’ve got the perfect Father’s Day gift: Number One Is Walking. Their uproarious second book is an illustrated funny memoir that chronicles Martin’s career in showbiz. Throughout, the legendary comedian shares stories from the sets of films like Father of the Bride and The Jerk and details his Hollywood misadventures with Paul McCartney, Diane Keaton, Robin Williams, and more. Bliss brings these anecdotes to life with his sidesplitting illustrations, producing a hysterical work that will delight Dad, this Father’s Day and beyond.
Bad City: Peril and Power in the City of Angels
By Paul Pringle
For the dad who loved the movie Spotlight
Bad City reads like a gripping L.A. noir novel — and yet, everything within this “whopper of a true-crime story” (The New York Journal of Books) is true. Written by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Paul Pringle, Bad City unfurls a shocking case of criminality in the City of Angels. In 2016, Pringle was working at the L.A. Times when he received a tip about Dr. Carmen Puliafito, the head of the medical school at the University of Southern California. It seemed Puliafito had been involved in a drug overdose at a nearby fancy hotel. Pringle figured the tip would take a few weeks to suss out. But as the journalist began to dig, he unearthed a much larger story, packed with twists, turns, and corruption that stretched from L.A.’s elite power centers to Pringle’s own doorstep. We promise that Dad won’t be able to put down this electrifying work of investigative journalism.
Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases
By Paul Holes
For the dad who listens to true crime podcasts
You can’t go wrong gifting this New York Times bestseller on Father’s Day, especially if Dad is a fan of true crime books like Robert Kolker’s Lost Girls or an avid listener of true crime podcasts. Yet the best thing about Unmasked is that it’s not just an investigative deep dive into true-life crimes, it’s an eye-opening memoir of the person behind the badge who’s dedicated his life to solving cases. Paul Holes, who famously tracked down the Golden State Killer, offers a fascinating first-person chronicle of his storied career in criminal justice. The investigator has helped crack some of America’s most difficult cases, from the murder of Laci Peterson and the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard to the aforementioned hunt for the Golden State Killer. Alongside his successes, Holes candidly relates how his job required sacrifice, including in his family life and his mental and physical well-being.
Brothers on Three: A True Story of Family, Resistance, and Hope on a Reservation in Montana
By Abe Streep
For the dad who loves an inspirational sports tale
Dad will surely cheer for Abe Streep’s award-winning Brothers on Three, as it combines an exhilarating sports story with bighearted coming-of-age drama. The book follows young Phillip Malatare and Will Mesteth, Jr., star players on the Arlee Warriors, a high school basketball team that won the Montana State Championship title in 2017. This victory transforms the boys into local heroes on the Flathead Indian Reservation where they live, and the book follows the pair during their senior year as they navigate the present while contemplating their futures. Amid the pressures of inspiring hope in their community, the boys must also find their own paths forward in this truly moving story.
By Mike Hayes
For the dad who loved Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by Admiral William H. McRaven
When you see “Navy SEAL” on a résumé, you know the person can teach you a thing or two about leadership. In Never Enough, Mike Hayes, the former Commanding Officer of SEAL Team TWO, distills a lifetime of on-the-ground experience into personal and professional lessons that everyone can use. In the field, Hayes realized that being a leader required more than just giving orders: He had to be willing to learn, to work beside his fellow soldiers, and always to put the team first. Later, as the Director of Defense Policy and Strategy at the National Security Council and then as the Chief Digital Transformation Officer at VMware, Hayes saw that the same strategies for success applied to the boardroom. Part military adventure, part memoir, and part leadership advice, Never Enough offers something for everyone.
The Genome Odyssey
By Dr. Euan Ashley
For the dad who loved The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson…
In 2003, after more than a decade of research, the Genome Project presented the first-ever complete and accurate human genome sequence. Seven years later, Stanford professor of medicine and genetics Dr. Euan Ashley led the team that carried out the first medical interpretation of a complete human genome. Procedures previously thought impossible — from diagnosing ultra-rare conditions to preventing diseases before they begin — are now within reach. In The Genome Odyssey, Dr. Ashley invites you on a mind-expanding journey into the past, present, and future of precision medicine, guiding you through real-life genetic mysteries and introducing you to scientists who mine the human genome for its life-saving treasures.
Undaunted: My Fight Against America’s Enemies, at Home and Abroad
By John O. Brennan
For the dad who loved A Promised Land by Barack Obama…
John O. Brennan has dedicated his life to civil service. He joined the CIA in 1980, rising up the ranks from analyst to chief of staff until 2013, when President Obama tapped him to be the CIA director. He’s advised presidents from Reagan to Trump, guided by the values he first learned from his Irish immigrant father. In Undaunted, Brennan unpacks his wins and losses while leading us through the halls of the CIA during some of the most pivotal moments in modern political history. From the invasion of Iraq and the killing of Osama bin Laden to the Russian election interference of 2016, Brennan offers an insider’s account of domestic affairs and international relations. His parting words on the future of the United States and its place in the world are powerful and timely.
By Mikel Jollett
For the dad who loved This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff…
Mikel Jollett was born into the Church of Synanon, a drug rehabilitation program turned abusive cult that practiced family separation as a means of control. He spent the first years of his life trapped inside before breaking free with his mother and older brother. Though they escaped, life outside the cult was far from easy: Poverty, emotional abuse, and addiction plagued the family. And yet, in the face of heartbreak, Jollett persevered, reconnecting with his estranged father, graduating from Stanford University, and starting his band The Airborne Toxic Event. Hollywood Park is Jollett’s moving memoir. It serves as a narrative of recovery — from a cult, from addiction, from a traumatic childhood — and a testament to the power of forgiveness.
A Wealth of Pigeons
By Steve Martin and illustrated by Harry Bliss
For the dad who loved The Far Side by Gary Larson…
Combine Steve Martin’s comedic brilliance with New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss’s vivid and witty artwork, and you have A Wealth of Pigeons. It’s essentially an illustrated master class in silliness, with Bliss transforming Martin’s ideas into comic strips and panels – no easy task. Included are heartwarming and hilarious anecdotes about how Martin and Bliss began working together and found their creative flow.
By Stephen Amidon
For the dad who loved Mystic River by Dennis Lehane
In Locust Lane, Stephen Amidon expertly explores the psychological depths of family and the dark heart of suburbia, delivering a brilliant mystery drama that is “as perceptive as it is compulsively readable” (The Washington Post). The acclaimed new novel is set in Emerson, Massachusetts, an affluent New England suburb that’s shaken to its core by the murder of a young woman named Eden Perry. Police zero in on the three teenagers who partied with Eden on her last night alive: sweet but unstable Hannah, popular but mean Jack, and outsider Christopher. All three have plenty to hide, as do their parents — and as the investigation intensifies, the parents will do whatever it takes to protect their children.
The Angel Maker
By Alex North
For the dad who loved The Whisper Man
If your dad enjoyed Alex North’s bestselling supernatural thriller The Whisper Man or his follow-up, The Shadows, then he’ll devour the author’s latest chilling narrative. The Angel Maker is as dark as it is suspenseful, and its nerve-jangling plot is near-impossible to put down. Many years ago, someone brutally attacked young Christopher Shaw. Katie Shaw, Christopher’s older sister, still grapples with guilt and anger over the assault, and she struggles to separate real-life threats from the shadows in her mind. Then she receives word that Chris has disappeared, which ignites a desperate quest to save her missing sibling from further harm. Meanwhile, Detective Laurence Page is investigating the grisly murder of a professor just hours after the victim fired his staff. As the detective follows the clues, he begins to sense a connection between Christopher’s assault and the crimes of an otherworldly serial killer rumored to possess the power to see into the future.
The Woman Inside
By M. T. Edvardsson
For the dad in search of a compelling beach read
We loved the suburban intrigue and shocking plot twists of M. T. Edvardsson’s A Nearly Normal Family. In The Woman Inside, the author once again delivers an enthralling thriller suffused with tension and rich characters — perfect for dads who enjoy suspense with a jolt of domestic drama. The new novel introduces a cast of characters with shadowy pasts and ulterior motives. Karla is a law student and aspiring judge who works as a house cleaner to support her way through school. Bill is a grieving widower who rents a room to Karla to help pay the bills and provide for his little girl. The Rytters are Karla’s newest clients, a wealthy and enigmatic couple who live behind locked doors: The wife suffers from a mysterious malady and rarely leaves her room; the husband is obsessive and craves control and order. But when the Rytters turn up dead, Karla is forced to reckon with her clients’ secrets as well as her own troubled history.
By Jean Hanff Korelitz
For the dad who loved HBO’s The Undoing
Stephen King recommends Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Plot as “insanely readable” — and if it captivated the maestro of horror, we’re sure it’ll be a hit with Dad. Indeed, your father may already be a fan of Korelitz’s work. She’s the bestselling author of the acclaimed family saga The Latecomer and You Should Have Known, which inspired HBO’s Emmy-nominated mystery drama The Undoing, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant. In The Plot, Korelitz presents a wicked literary thriller that’s sure to please. Jacob Finch Bonner is a washed-up author working at a third-rate college. When Evan Parker, Jacob’s most promising and arrogant student, shares his novel-in-progress, Jacob knows it’s a hit. But then Evan turns up dead, so Jacob decides to take his former student’s plot idea and claim it as his own. Sure enough, this new work of fiction revitalizes Jacob’s literary career. He’s thrilled — until he receives a threatening message from someone who knows what he did. As Jacob races to cover up his tracks, he also begins to delve into the origins of the plot itself, which may contain some shocking truths that he’s not prepared to learn.
By Alex Michaelides
For the dad who loved The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides…
At Cambridge University, an all-female secret society called The Maidens is thrown into disarray when a member of the group is killed. Mariana Andros, an alumna of Cambridge and a family friend of the deceased, immediately suspects Edward Fosca, Cambridge’s popular Greek tragedy professor. Not only do the Maidens have an unsettling devotion to Fosca, Fosca’s a bit too obsessed with Persephone, a maiden of Greek myth who travels to the underworld. Andros has a successful career as a therapist, and while Fosca has an alibi, she can’t shake her suspicion that he’s to blame — especially after a second body is discovered. Now Andros is prepared to risk everything to expose the truth about Fosca and stop the killer from striking again. The Maidens is the latest pulse-pounding page-turner from Alex Michaelides, author of 2019’s blockbuster thriller The Silent Patient.