Father’s Day Book Picks
“My father’s opinion of me does me the greatest honor; and I should be miserable to forfeit it.” Elizabeth Bennet, in Pride and Prejudice
Real Fathers Read Books! Here are our Father’s Day selections of books that incorporate themes of fathers and fathering.
THE KNOW-IT-ALL, by A.J. Jacobs. Editor and journalist Jacobs’ memoir of setting out to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica – something his father attempted to do years before – and of his relationship with his own father, and the infertility issues that threaten to keep him from becoming a father.
OUR MUTUAL FRIEND, by Charles Dickens. When John Harmon, son of the wealthy and recently deceased Old Mr. Harmon, is presumed dead, the question of ‘who gets the money’ has far-reaching repercussions. There is an interesting contrast between the father-daughter relationships of the river scavengers Gaffer and Lizzie Hexam, and the ambitious Bella Wilfer and her long-suffering father, Reginald.
CONSENT TO KILL, by Vince Flynn. Flynn’s master spy Mitch Rapp is about to settle down with his expectant wife when an assignment – faking the death of a terrorist – leads the terrorist’s father to put a $20 million dollar bounty on Rapp’s head. Warning: this one gets violent.
BIG TROUBLE, by Dave Barry. Eliot Arnold is a journalist-turned-ad-man and single father tries to cope with his teenage son’s unrelenting disdain, in this multi-character crime comedy about non-too-bright explosives dealers. Suspenseful and hilarious.
THE BURNT HOUSE, by Faye Kellerman. (Or any of Kellerman’s Decker/Lazarus novels). Peter Decker is both a father and a detective, and while the novels focus on the crime, they always incorporate his marriage to Orthodox Jewish Rina Lazarus and their home life.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, by Harper Lee. This Depression era tale of a righteous attorney/father who takes on a racially charged case is a modern classic.
FINN, by Jon Clinch. Clinch’s stunning debut novel creates a dark and controversial tale of “Pap” Finn, his complex relationship with his lover, his father and his son, Huck Finn.
THE CHOSEN, by Chaim Potok. Set in 1940s Brooklyn, this is the tale of two Jewish teens, one the son of a Hasidic rabbi, one the son of a Zionist professor, and the influence that their fathers have on their friendship and their futures.
DEATH BE NOT PROUD, by John Gunther. Gunther, a renowned journalist known for his “Inside” books on world culture and politics, is best remembered for this poignant memoir of his brilliant son Johnny, who died of a brain tumor at age 17.
PEREZ FAMILY, by Christine Bell. Juan Raul Perez was imprisoned in Cuba while his wife and infant daughter make their way to Miami. Now, twenty years later, he is freed and becomes part of the Marielito exodus, facilitating his emigration to Florida by uniting with three strangers named ‘Perez’ and presenting themselves as a family.