I rave about children’s picture books all the time, but the fact is that I love reading too. There is nothing better than a few quiet minutes with a good book. So that you can give dad the gift of an excellent read this Christmas, I have compiled the 2018 Dad’s Christmas Gift Guide Book Supplement. There is something for every dad in here!
Less – Andrew Sean Greer
Can you think of a better way to get this gift guide started than with the winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction? I didn’t think so.
What lengths would you go to, to avoid attending the wedding of your former partner of nine years? For Arthur Less, the thought of attending his ex-boyfriend’s wedding is enough to spark a global adventure through half-baked literary events. Through Arthur’s travels, he almost falls in love, almost falls to his death, and puts miles between him and the plight he refuses to face. Arthur travels from France to India, Germany to Japan, and through it all comes a novel about mishaps, misunderstandings and the depths of the human heart.
Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear – Kim Brooks
Being a parent is a tough gig. Especially when you are the parent of a toddler and that toddler is beginning to develop their own thoughts and wants.
Most of us dads will know the look that their toddler has just before they are about to throw an almighty wobbly. Kim Brooks certainly knew that look in her own son’s eyes. So when she had to make a split-second decision between starting the tantrum or leaving her son happily playing in the back of the car while she ducked into the shops, she chose the easier option. That easier option would go on to consume several years of her life as she was pursued through the US court system.
Kim Brooks doesn’t try to justify her choice through Small Animals. Instead, she seeks to pose questions that she felt were not being asked with the frequency or urgency they deserved. Brooks writes with refreshing honesty about her experience, and from that honesty comes a thought-provoking portrait of what it is like to raise a child in the hyper-vigilant world we live in.
Brief Answers to the Big Questions – Stephen Hawking
This year the world mourned the loss of one of its greatest thinkers – Professor Stephen Hawking. Throughout his extraordinary career, Stephen Hawking expanded our understanding of the universe and unravelled some of its greatest mysteries.
In his final book (released posthumously} Stephen Hawking turns his attention to the most urgent issues for humankind: Is there a God? How did it all begin? Can we predict the future? Is there other intelligent life in the universe? and Will artificial intelligence outsmart us? are just some of the topics that Hawking tackles in his final book.
Brief Answers to the Big Questions is a must-have book for the thinking dads this Christmas.
The Crappiest Refugee – Hung Le
“Came by boat, ends up entertaining on cruise ships.”
The Crappiest Refugee is the hilarious and honest memoir of Hung Le. Hung tells the stories of his life, from being a young boy in 1970s Saigon, to escaping in a leaky boat, to four months in Guam, to choosing to resettle in Australia over France and Canada because there were less French people.
Life in The Lucky Country isn’t always easy, and Hung’s story is full of battles to make ends meet. Perhaps that has something to do with his choice of career as a comedic violinist… perhaps.
You can find The Crappiest Refugee here.
The Great Australian Bucket List: One-of-a-kind Travel Experiences – Robin Esrock
It is a pretty obvious statement to say that Australia is an incredible place. This wide, brown land is full of glorious landmarks that are famous the world over – Uluru, The Sydney Opera House, The Great Barrier Reef. But there are many, many less-well-known attractions that are well worth a visit. The Great Australian Bucket List is your key to unlocking the best this country has to offer. Over 339 pages, you are provided with information and beautiful photos from brilliant places in every State and Rerritory of Australia.
For the dad who is keen on travel, this book is a valuable guide for planning the next big family adventure!
Black Snake: The Real Story of Ned Kelly – Leo Kennedy
Ned Kelly is one of those strange characters in Australian history. He was an outlaw who somehow came to be admired and even revered by modern Australian society. However, the romantic notion of Ned Kelly as an Australian hero is challenged when the voices of those who opposed him are allowed be heard. And few perspectives are more telling than that of the Kennedy family – the descendants of Sergeant Michael Kennedy, the police sergeant slain and robbed by the outlaw 140 years ago.
Black Snake: The Real Story of Ned Kelly gives voice to the victims of the merciless Kelly Gang. It is a captivating story gleaned from meticulous research and family history. It would be a great book for any dad who has an interest in Australian history, and who knows there are always two sides to the story.
The World’s Best Whiskies – Dominic Roskrow
It is quite possible that Dominic Roskrow has the best job on earth. After all, he has travelled the world, sampling the finest whiskies on offer, in order to compile this definitive guide to my absolute favourite alcoholic beverage.
The World’s Best Whiskies is a comprehensive guide to 750 of the finest whiskies that a dad could ever hope to enjoy. It is the second edition (the first was published ten years ago), and it has been completely revised and updated to reflect the rapidly changing world of whisky. While the description of each whisky presented is interesting and informative, the detailed stories about locations and histories are just as captivating. Thanks to The World’s Best Whiskies, I now have a much greater appreciation for the work that goes into creating my favourite drops.
The world’s Best Whiskies is a must-have for any dads with discerning tastes this Christmas.
Something For Nothing – Any Muir
“Stay low, stay out of trouble and keep my past to myself.” That was the approach of Lachie Munro as he tried to start fresh in Newcastle. But that is hard to do when you fish a giant haul of heroin out of your favourite abalone poaching spot, then find a dismembered torso on Nobby’s beach the very next day. It’s pretty obvious to Lachie that he is in over his head, but the opportunity to get ahead of the game is too good to pass up. Can he pull it off? Can Lachie Munro get something for nothing?
An action-packed, authentically Australian tale. Great for dads who love good crime fiction.
Perfect Criminals and Tunnel Vision – Jimmy Thomson
Perfect Criminals and Tunnel Vision are the first and second Danny Clay Capers, by Jimmy Thomson. Danny Clay was an army engineer in Afghanistan, but these days he is a scriptwriter trying to navigate the emotional warzone of TV production. In Perfect Criminals, when Danny and Zan’s (his best mate and editor) writer friends start dying in mysterious circumstances, Danny has to use his old army skills to prevent himself and Zan from becoming the next victims. Tunnel Vision is set in Vietnam, where Danny and Zan have gone to help an old army mate of Danny’s explore a new TV-writing project. Naturally, trouble and mystery soon find the duo.
These first two Danny Clay Capers are hilarious and action packed.
Being John Lennon – Ray Connolly
You would have to have been living under a rock to not know who John Lennon was. After all, the Beatles icon is one of the most mythologised figures in music in the 20th Century. Ray Connolly was a journalist who had a close working relationship with John Lennon (as well as the rest of the Beatles. In this biography he unsparingly reassesses the chameleon nature of the perpetually dissatisfied star who just couldn’t stop reinventing himself.
Being John Lennon is a fascinating gift for any music-loving dads who want to dive deep into the complex, troubled and contradictory life of this incredible man.
Slowhand: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton – Philip Norman
As a young teen, who was just beginning to develop my tastes in music, I was a huge Jimi Hendrix fan. I could sit for hours and marvel at the way he could make a guitar sing – I thought no one could ever come close to matching his unique ability.
Then, one day, my father purchased a CD called White Boy, Black Boy Blues. My ears (and eyes) were opened. I would soon go on to learn that while Hendrix could make his guitar sing, Clapton could make his weep.
Slowhand paints a portrait of a musical genius who is as insecure and pain-racked as he is talented. No life has been more rock ‘n’ roll than Clapton’s in his epic consumption of drugs and alcohol and his insatiable appetite for expensive cars, clothes and women.
A fascinating read about a legend of blues and rock.
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography – Eric Idle
You know you’ve made it as a comedian when the song you wrote becomes the number-one song played at funerals! Eric Idle is known best for his unforgettable roles on Monty Python. In a memoir that had me laughing out loud from the very first page (titled “An Apology”), Idle reflects on the story of “the boy who became me”. On the advice of his lawyer, Idle left out the shameful bits, and on the advice of his wife the filthy bits. He states that “If this isn’t exactly what went down, it’s certainly how it should have happened.”
A wonderfully funny read for any dad who admires the legends of comedy.
You can find Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography here.
Fatherhood: Stories About Being a Dad – William McInnes
The Author’s Note at the beginning of Fatherhood perfectly sums up what this book is all about:
“This book isn’t a manual of how to be a better father, or how to be a father at all. It’s just stories about the strange state that men can find themselves in…”
William McInnes speaks openly and humorously about his memories of his own father. While his experiences were very different to mine, I still found his stories easy to relate to and appreciate. McInnes also tells the stories of his own experiences as a father. He includes a solid dose of self-deprecating humour, but at the same time manages to get right to the heart of fatherhood, and what it means to be a dad.
Fatherhood is a great read for dads, by a dad who had a dad, on being a dad.
Dude Crafts – Mike Warren
Dude Crafts is definitely one for the creative dads. From the hilarious to the whimsical, to the downright dangerous, this book has projects to keep dad busy all summer long. There are even some surprisingly practical ideas, if you look hard enough.
Dude Crafts is perfect for the crafty dad, who doesn’t take his art form too seriously.
Father Figures – Edited by Paul Connolly
“… there has never been more freedom for men to choose what sort of dad they want to be. Or, for that matter, so many opportunities to stuff it up.”
Father Figures is a wonderful collection of powerful, hilarious and touching tales, written by twenty of Australia’s brightest and funniest writers. Each story is entirely different, yet through them all is a common thread – being involved in the raising of a child is incredibly complex and challenging, yet also a great privilege. Through Father Figures, we find stories about dads, about being dads, about being uncles and about reinterpreting the notion of “fatherhood” entirely.
the uncollected plays of Shaun Micallef – Shaun Micallef
Who in this country could possibly be bold enough… talented enough… God-like enough to rewrite the Book of Exodus? Shaun Micallef of course. Naturally, he does a far better job of telling the story.
The uncollected plays of Shaun Micallef is a blatant rip-off of the classic tales from the history of human literature, retold in play form and in the unmistakable style of Australia’s premier comedian (my words, and his). As with most things in life, a little bit of Shaun Micallef makes them so, so much better.
the uncollected plays of Shaun Micallef is a must-have for any dads who appreciate excellent Australian comedy.
Disclosure – these books were provided to Blog of Dad free of charge for inclusion in the 2018 Dad’s Christmas Gift Guide Book Supplement. For further information, please visit my disclosure statement.