If your dad is like mine, he’s hard to shop for. He knows what he wants and buys it for himself. The way to surprise him this Father’s Day, June 21? Go old-school with a book. Make it a release on a topic he’ll love, like one of the selections below, and skip the card—instead write him a note on the book’s title page, to make for a truly meaningful and personal gift.
For the sports fan
Molina: The Story of the Father Who Raised an Unlikely Baseball Dynasty by Bengie Molina
The true account of a Puerto Rican dad who believed his three boys could achieve baseball greatness. They did—Bengie, José, and Yadier Molina have six World Series championships among them, and a dynasty only the DiMaggios can rival.
Men in Green by Michael Bamberger
A nostalgic look back to golf’s greatest generation. Michael Bamberger digs into heated stories like Arnold Palmer’s controversial Masters victory in 1958 and meets lesser-known golf legends like Dolphus “Golf Ball” Hull, a tour caddie from Jackson, Mississippi, who was known for reading greens better than anyone.
The Domino Diaries: My Decade Boxing with Olympic Champions and Chasing Hemingway’s Ghost in the Last Days of Castro’s Cuba by Brin-Jonathan Butler
While seeking to understand fiercely nationalistic Cuban boxers, the author rumbles through Havana and into the countryside, where he fakes press credentials, bets his life savings on a match, and even has a romantic fling with Fidel Castro’s granddaughter.
For the history buff
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
On a cold day in 1903, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Wilbur and Orville Wright achieved flight. Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning writer David McCullough shares the story for anyone curious about history, engineering, or dramatic true tales.
For the fisherman
The American Angler’s Book: Embracing the Natural History of Sporting Fish, and the Art of Taking Them by Thaddeus Norris
A Virginia fisherman wrote one of sport fishing’s treasured classics. Recently re-released more than a century and a half after its original publication, this volume is a fascinating peek into nineteenth-century tackle, species behavior, and fishing theories and methods. Plus, it comes printed with original illustrations.
For the storyteller
Minnow by James E. McTeer II
A debut novel from a writer born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina. McTeer based this Sea-Islands saga on stories about his grandfather, a Lowcountry sheriff and local witch doctor.
For the musical man
Dreams to Remember: Otis Redding, Stax Records, and the Transformation of Southern Soul by Mark Ribowsky
This is the story of one Georgia-born man who became a soul icon in his short twenty-six years on earth. Ribowsky’s reporting shows how Otis Redding’s croon and character made him an important figure in the Civil Rights era.
It’s a Long Story: My Life by Willie Nelson
An autobiography that ought to be on any Southern music lover’s shelf—this is Willie in his own authentic voice, sharing memories of his Texas upbringing.
For the grillmaster
Grill Nation: 200 Surefire Recipes, Tips, and Techniques to Grill Like a Pro by David Guas
Washington D.C.-based chef David Guas brings both his Cuban and Crescent City heritage to bear on the recipes in this impressive tome dedicated to backyard cooking. Share it with dad, and then see how his grill skills shine in recipes like peach-glazed pork chops, creole-rubbed bone-in rib eye, or grilled head-on New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp.
Man Food: Good Food for a Good Time by Billy Law
The introduction to this book from blogger and photographer Billy Law ponders if all food can be made better with bacon. One of Law’s examples: bacon and stout chocolate cheesecake with hot fudge sauce. He shares that recipe and easy, hearty comfort foods like bourbon caramel popcorn and lobster mac ‘n’ cheese.
>Advice from Southern Fathers