Every Father’s Day we look for the perfect gift to celebrate our dad’s hard work, weird obsessions, and eye roll-inducing puns. And every Father’s Day, dads everywhere run into the same problems: Another pair of socks? How will I fit this mug in the cabinet? When’s the last time I used the barbeque cleaning set or that set of 100 power drill bits?
Sure, Dad always loves the gifts we come up with, but this year let’s put away those last-minute grabs from the Father’s Day display at Target, and get Dad something besides that #1 Dad fountain pen you’ve been eyeing. We’ve put together a list of ten books that Dad will love, whether he’s into cooking, art, reading, or helping you get into college.
Life is never peaceful in Chris Erskine’s house, what with the four kids, 300-pound beagle, chronically leaky roof, and long-suffering wife, Posh. And that’s exactly the way he likes it, except when he doesn’t. Every week in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and other papers, Erskine distills, mocks, and makes us laugh at the absurdities of modern fatherhood. And now, he’s gathered the very best of these witty and wise essays—and invited his kids (and even Posh) to annotate them with updated commentary, which they promise isn’t too snarky. This handsome book is the perfect gift for the father who would have everything—if he hadn’t already given it all to his kids.
Christopher Noxon’s debut novel Plus One is a comedic take on breadwinning women and caretaking men in contemporary Los Angeles. Alex Sherman-Zicklin is a midlevel marketing executive whose wife’s fourteenth attempt at a TV pilot is produced, ordered to series, and awarded an Emmy. Overnight, she’s sucked into a mad show-business vortex and he’s tasked with managing their new high-profile Hollywood lifestyle. He falls in with a posse of Plus Ones, men who are married to women whose success, income, and public recognition far surpasses their own. What will it take for him to regain the foreground in his own life?
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One of life’s biggest clichés becomes a horrific reality when Douglas Segal’s wife and daughter are hit head-on by a Los Angeles city bus. Following the accident, Segal began sending regular email updates to their circle of friends and family, a list that continued to grow as others heard of the event and were moved by the many emotional and spiritual issues it raised. Alternatingly harrowing, humorous, heartbreaking, and hopeful, Segal’s memoir is an intimate and honest chronicle built around these email updates, and is a profound example of how people show up for one another in times of crisis. It is ultimately uplifting—a tribute to how love, determination, and the compassion of community all hold the power to heal, while also serving as an inspiring testament to the resilience of the human spirit when faced with pain and adversity.
Louie, Take a Look at This!
Huell Howser, the exuberant, hugely popular host of California’s Gold and other California public-television shows, was always exclaiming to the camera, “Louie, take a look at this!” Now, three years after Howser’s death, Louie, aka Luis Fuerte, a five-time Emmy-winning cameraman shares the stories of their adventures exploring California, making great television, and showcasing Howser’s infectious love for the Golden State.
Celebrated painter Kenton Nelson explores the idealistic California of his childhood dreams in this collection of works involving water. Saturated with color and longing, and balancing shadow and light, Water explores California with a powerful, unusual mix of sunny optimism and noir mystery.
Kenton Nelson’s paintings have been featured on several New Yorker covers and shown in galleries and museums from Los Angeles to Stuttgart to Salzburg. Collectors include Diane Keaton, Steve Martin, and the Albertina Contemporary Museum in Vienna. He has been on the faculty of the Otis Parsons Art Institute in Los Angeles and the Academy of Art in San Francisco. He lives and works in Pasadena, California. To learn more, go to www.kentonnelson.com
Odd One Out
Think Jonathan Tropper meets Little Miss Sunshine. When a Minnesota father of three awakens his children late in the night with news that their mother has left him and is bound for California, they set off on a hilarious, emotionally charged cross-country road trip to find her. That trip is just the beginning; it takes another decade for the mystery of what really happened to be revealed; and for the healing to begin. Odd One Out traces this compelling story in three parts, told from three points of view, and unravels the chain of events that forever changes this unconventional, brilliant, damaged, and loving family.
First We Surf, Then We Eat
Jim Kempton has spent his life traveling and surfing the world, along the way learning to cook the world’s best beach-loving dishes. Now he’s sharing his vividly colorful, richly flavorful, and vibrantly healthful collection of more than 90 recipes, along with stories of the best waves, markets, restaurants, adventures, and misadventures that he’s experienced, from Australia to Hawaii, the Basque Country to Indonesia, California to Mexico.
First We Surf, Then We Eat features a foreword by The Surfer’s Journal publisher Steve Pezman, a preface by famed surfer/chef Raphael Lunetta, and photography by Bill Schildge, Jeff Divine, Tom Servais, and Art Brewer.
The Neurotic Parents Guide to College Admissions
Admissions rates of 6 percent? Kids applying to thirty-two colleges? Sixteen-year-olds with more impressive resumes than Fortune 500 CEOs? Has the nation lost its mind? Why yes, it has! J.D. Rothman, the Neurotic Parent of blog fame, takes readers on a hilarious satiric journey through today’s insane college admissions process. The vividly illustrated book takes you from the Itsy-Bitsy Fiske Guide and Junior Kumon Tips for Preschoolers through Rejection Letters from the Heart and Bed Bath & Bye-Bye.
Sammy Kehoe, his sister, Charlotte, and her four-year-old daughter, Maggie, are all each other have left since the car accident that killed the rest of their family. When they visit their beloved old family home on remote Fox Island, Maine, Sammy and Charlotte each have relationship sparks with island locals. But the budding idyll is shattered when Sammy and Maggie’s unexplained abilities to “see things” are put to the test when dangerous ghosts from the past resurface. At first, this novel about an unusual and loving family draws readers in with warmth and intrigue—and then it builds with suspense that makes it impossible to put down.
Mark Twain’s Guide
This collection of Mark Twain quotes presents the best of the curmudgeonly writer’s thoughts on diet, exercise, medicine, smoking, drinking, romance, parenting, old age, fashion, finances, politics, and stress management. Curated by a well-known Twain expert and mining lesser-known texts, speeches, and notebooks, it’s the perfect gift for anyone who’s had enough of Gwyneth’s self-righteous advice and the ramblings of the blogosphere.