Let’s face it; it can be hard to shop for men. “I don’t need anything” is the usual answer to “What do you want?” So, here are some terrific books for Father’s Day this year.
Richard White is a noted historian, and winner of a MacArthur award. This original thinker blows the lid off the American myth of what it meant for our country to be RAILROADED from coast to coast. Corporate greed, corrupt politicians, and racial discrimination all played a large part in driving the Golden Spike. White also manages to inject wit into this eye opening saga.
PACIFIC AIR (David Sears) also deals with transportation and myth. During World War II, the war in the Pacific might well have been lost without the courage and skill of the American pilots who fought in the sky. The Japanese fleet, once thought invincible, was defeated largely because of U.S. naval aviators.
On a whole different note, KABOOM is Matt Gallagher’s take on his experience in the Iraq War. Irreverent, terrifying, and very humorous, Gallagher’s book will make some people angry, and will validate the suppositions of others. There’s a reason his controversial blog was shut down in 2008 by the U.S. Army.
Demetri Martin actually is a professional comedian. THIS IS A BOOK contains drawings, one-liners, essays, and short stories, all from the fertile imagination of this Comedy Central star. Easy, breezy, and fun.
Every time we stroll through Central Park, we owe a debt of gratitude to Frederick Law Olmstead. GENUIS OF PLACE (Justin Martin) reveals him not only as a brilliant landscape architect, but also as a dedicated Abolitionist, indulgent father, and fervent conservationist. We might not have National Parks today had it not been for the efforts of Olmstead, and his vision for the outdoors changed the face of our country.
Lawrence Block is a master of the detective novel genre; this is readily apparent in his latest page turner, A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF. Protagonist Matthew Scudder is rough and tough and good at solving mysteries. When his boyhood friend from the Bronx is murdered, Scudder must face his own demons in trying to solve the crime. Pure escapism; should most certainly be gifted with a “get out of doing anything but relaxing” card for maximum enjoyment.
But when that sojourn is over, we all expect some pretty fancy GRILLING to take place. This Good Housekeeping offering features plenty of savory recipes, and useful sidebars like “Porterhouse versus T-Bone.” Also available for each dish is a calorie count, as well as gram weights of protein, fat, and carbs. The pictures look good enough to eat, too.
While we’re at it, STEAK (Mark Schatzker) is a fun book to throw in, too. This lighthearted look at our meat eating culture follows a quest that includes four continents and thousands of miles. Is there such a thing as the perfect steak? And if so, where can we find it?
The Finger Lakes area of upstate New York turned out to be Nirvana for Evan Dawson. SUMMER IN A GLASS chronicles this fastest growing wine region in the country. Anything but dry, this is the story of passion, secret societies, disappointments, and the dedication it takes to nurture the grape into fine wine.
THE ULTIMATE WINE COMPANION is for the dedicated oenophile and also those of us who just appreciate a lovely glass of red, white, or rose. Edited by the master himself, Kevin Zraly, the book includes advice from noted experts in the field. Can be read cover-to-cover, or used as a resource book.
Cosmopolitan Magazine provides us with 105 drinks with which dad can dazzle friends and neighbors in COSMO’S OFFICIAL COCKTAIL BOOK. Cleverly set up in spiral notebook format, flip through and you will begin to wonder how we ever did without the Passion Fruit Caipiroska and the Sake Julep. Lip smacking.
Buy one, buy all, and most importantly, tell the man in your life how much you appreciate him when you say “Happy Father’s Day”!
To purchase any of the featured books on amazon.com click on the title in RED.
Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle. www.michalljeffers.com