Books

20 books you could give your dad on Father's Day

Whether your dad loves music, food or fantasy, CBC Books has a gift idea for you!

Whether your dad loves music, food or fantasy, CBC Books has a gift idea for you! Give your dad the gift of reading this year.

If your dad loves sports, try Searching for Terry Punchout by Tyler Hellard

Searching for Terry Punchout is a novel by Tyler Hellard. (Monique St. Croix, Invisible Publishing)

This debut novel from Calgary writer Tyler Hellard follows a struggling sportswriter who travels to a small maritime town to interview his estranged father — a reclusive and notorious hockey player — as a last-ditch effort to save his career. The book was a finalist for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award.

If your dad likes to cook, try Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse by Frédéric Morin, David McMillan & Meredith Erickson

Surviving the Apocalypse collects 150 new recipes from Montreal restaurateurs Frederic Morin and David MacMillan, with writer Meredith Erickson. (Jennifer May)

Frédéric Morin and David McMillan are the chefs behind Montreal's famous Joe Beef restaurant. With writer Meredith Erickson, they've collected 150 recipes that will have you apocalypse-ready, including canned bread, deer beer belly and pickled pork butt. Their book is a 2019 Taste Canada Awards finalist.

If your dad likes true stories that are stranger than fiction, try The Woo-Woo by Lindsay Wong

Lindsay Wong's memoir The Woo-Woo was defended on Canada Reads 2019 by Joe Zee. (CBC)

The Woo-Woo is a dark, witty and touching memoir by Vancouver-based writer Lindsay Wong, who gives an honest account of the impact of mental illness on her family. Wong delivers a raw and emotional look at whispered secrets, dysfunctional relationships — and how her grandmother, mother, aunt and even herself initially blamed the mythical "woo-woo," Chinese spirits that plague the living, for their mental health issues.

If your dad could use a laugh, try Moccasin Square Gardens by Richard Van Camp

Moccasin Square Gardens is a short story collection by Richard Van Camp. (Douglas & McIntyre, Laughing Dog Photography)

Moccasin Square Gardens is a collection of humorous short fiction set in Denendeh, the land of the people north of the 60th parallel. Richard Van Camp's stories involve extraterrestrials, illegal wrestling moves and the legendary Wheetago, human-eating monsters who have come to punish the greed of humanity. Van Camp is a prolific novelist, comic writer and children's book writer whose work includes The Lesser BlessedA Blanket of Butterflies and Little You.

If your dad misses Game of Thrones, try Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a novel by Marlon James. (Bond Street Books, Jeffrey Skemp)

Tracker, a well-respected hunter who always works alone, is hired to find a boy who has been missing for three years. He ends up joining a band of unusual characters, including a 'shape-shifting man-animal' called Leopard, all engaged in the hunt. As they traverse ancient cities and forests and face deadly beasts, Tracker wonders why this boy is so special and finds himself caught in a web of lies. Marlon James previously won the Man Booker Prize for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings.

If your dad loves the funny pages, try Bogart Creek by Derek Evernden

Bogart Creek is a collection of comics by Derek Evernden. (Derek Evernden, Renegade Arts Entertainment)

Bogart Creek is for the dad who loves a good dad joke. Filled with punny, absurdist and cheeky humour, the book collects Derek Evernden's single-panel comics from Instagram. The comic creator lives in Milo, Alta.

If your dad is larger than life, try Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead

Jonny Appleseed is a novel by Joshua Whitehead. (Joshua Whitehead, Arsenal Pulp Press)

Jonny Appleseed is about a Two-Spirit Indigiqueer young man who has left the reserve and becomes a cybersex worker in the city to make ends meet. Jonny reckons with his past when he returns home to attend his stepfather's funeral. Jonny Appleseed won the Lambda Literary Award for gay fiction, was shortlisted for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award and was longlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

If your dad is a tech junkie, try Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan

Machines Like Me is a novel by Ian McEwan. (Knopf Canada, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert.)

Machines Like Me takes place in an alternate version of London of the 1980s, where the first synthetic humans have been created and are available for a significant price. Charlie, a lazy young man who is in love with a troubled woman named Miranda, purchases a synthetic being called Adam and tweaks his personality. Both Charlie and Miranda become enamoured of Adam, creating a complicated love triangle. Ian McEwan is the author of nearly 20 books, including Atonement and Amsterdam, for which he received the National Book Critics Circle Award and Booker Prize, respectively.

If your dad looks like his cat, try My Cat Looks Like My Dad by Thao Lam

My Cat Looks Like My Dad is a picture book by Thao Lam. (Submitted by Thao Lam)

A narrator, whose surprising identity is revealed at the end of the picture book, describes the ways in which their cat and dad are similar: they both have orange hair, love to nap and are occasionally brave. Thao Lam is also the author of the picture book Wallpaper.

If your dad is into true crime, try I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

I'll Be Gone in the Dark is a nonfiction book about the Golden State Killer by journalist Michelle McNamara, who died in 2016. (HarperCollins)

Investigative journalist Michelle McNamara pored over decades-old police reports and spoke to survivors and online true crime communities in effort to unmask the Golden State Killer. Operating over 10 years in the 1970s and 1980s, the Golden State Killer was responsible for over 50 sexual assaults and 12 murders. McNamara died suddenly in 2016 while working on this book. It was finished by her husband Patton Oswalt and reporter Bill Jensen. While the book did not directly lead police to their 2018 arrest of former policeman Joseph James DeAngelo, Jensen credits McNamara with keeping the case alive.

If your dad enjoys poetry, try Cluster by Souvankham Thammavongsa

Souvankham Thammavongsa is an award-winning poet based in Toronto. (Jennifer Rowsom, McClelland & Stewart)
 

Toronto-based poet Souvankham Thammavongsa's fourth poetry collection examines the nature of meaning and the ways in which it arrives, resonates and dissipates. This wide-ranging collection includes ruminations on nature, family and politics written in Thammavongsa's celebrated minimalist style. Thammavongsa previously won the Trillium Book Award for the book Light and the ReLit Award for Small Arguments.

If your dad doesn't get poetry, try How A Poem Moves by Adam Sol

Adam Sol's new collection of essays gives readers a guide to enjoying poetry. (CBC)

Adam Sol is an award winning Canadian-American poet and scholar. He understands that reading a poem can be an intimidating process so he's written a collection of short essays, How a Poem Moves, as a guide to poetry appreciation. 

If your dad likes science, try The Reality Bubble by Ziya Tong 

The Reality Bubble is a nonfiction book by Ziya Tong. (Penguin Random House Canada, CBC)

Science journalist Ziya Tong reminds readers that the human eye pales in comparison to what animals with infrared, ultraviolet and 360-degree vision can see. She looks into 10 of humanity's biggest blind spots, including where our food and energy comes from and where our waste goes. Tong was the anchor of the Discovery Channel's science program Daily Planet. She won Canada Reads 2019 defending Max Eisen's memoir By Chance Alone.

If your dad likes medical thrillers, try We All Fall Down by Daniel Kalla

We All Fall Down is the tenth novel by writer and doctor Daniel Kalla. (Kathryn, Simon & Schuster)

Daniel Kalla is an emergency room doctor based in Vancouver, B.C., and the international bestselling author of 10 books. His latest, We All Fall Down, is a thriller about the black death. Set both in the past and present, Kalla explores the plague caused in the medieval period, and how its effects would be felt if it were to break out today.

If your dad believes leadership is an important quality, try The Unexpected Cop by Ernie Louttit

The Unexpected Cop is a book by Ernie Louttit. (Bill Hamilton, University of Regina Press)

Ernie Louttit is a bestselling author, veteran and retired police officer from Sask. Louttit was one of the first Indigenous police officers hired by the Saskatoon Police and has written about his experiences within the force in The Unexpected Cop. His previous books include Indian Ernie and More Indian Ernie.

If your dad is fascinated by genius, try Mind and Matter by John Urschel

Mind and Matter is a memoir by John Urschel. (John Urschel/Penguin Random House Canada)

John Urschel tells his story of excelling in two separate streams of life: football and math. As a 13-year-old, Urschel was taking college-level calculus courses, while playing on his high school football team. He went on to become an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens and a PhD candidate at MIT. Mind and Matter, co-written by Louisa Thomas, is Urschel's first book.

If your dad loves music, try Go Ahead in the Rain by Hanif Abdurraqib

Hanif Abdurraqib is an American critic, poet and author. (Getty, University of Texas Press)

American poet, essayist and culture critic Hanif Abdurraqib applies his incisive observational skills to look at the visionary, award-winning hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. Abdurraqib pays homage to the seminal group and outlines what they mean to hip-hop and music as a whole.

If your dad likes conspiracy theories, try The Kingfisher Secret by anonymous

The Kingfisher Secret is a thriller by an anonymous author. (McClelland & Stewart, CBC)

The Kingfisher Secret revolves around a beautiful Czech expat who's a longtime Russian spy. Her mission is to seduce wealthy and powerful men and learn their secrets. Her next target is an egotistical man running for president of the United States. Many of the details of this fictional story parallel facts that are known about Donald Trump and his first wife, Ivana Trump, and the publisher of the book says that the author has chosen to remain anonymous to protect his sources.

If your dad appreciates thoughtful discussions on pressing issues, try A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott

Alicia Elliott is the author of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground. (Doubleday Canada, Ayelet Tsabari)

Alicia Elliott explores the systemic oppression faced by Indigenous peoples across Canada through the lens of her own experiences as a Tuscarora writer from Six Nations of the Grand River. Elliott examines how colonial violence, including the loss of language, seeps into the present day lives of Indigenous people, often in the form of mental illness. Elliott, who lives in Brantford, Ont., won gold at the National Magazine Awards in 2017 for the essay this book is based on.

If your dad loves an epic quest, try A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay

A Brightness Long Ago is a novel by Guy Gavriel Kay. (CBC, Viking Canada)

As the son of a humble tailor, Danio Cerra rose through the ranks of society with his incredible intelligence. He's unhappily employed at the court of a count whose nickname is 'the Beast,' but fate throws him a bone in the form of Adria Ripoli, an assassin who traded her family's wealth for freedom. Guy Gavriel Kay is a bestselling sci-fi and fantasy novelist, whose work includes Tigana and Children of Earth and Sky.

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