Forget the golf-themed tie, the barbecue tool kit or that old standby soap-on-a-rope (sorry for all of those, Dad). This year, get the dad in your life a heartwarming book that he can tote out to the hammock for his afternoon of relaxation.
“Big Russ & Me Father and Son: Lessons of Life” by Tim Russert. Luke Russert wrote a new preface for the 10th-anniversary reissue of his father’s book. Author Tim Russert, who died in 2008, writes about growing up in the 1950s and recalls the example his father set for him while working two jobs. In the preface, Luke Russert talks about his relationship with Tim (“he was my best friend”) and why he touched so many people’s lives. He also recalls his grandfather, Big Russ, and what he learned from both men. Luke writes that he refers often to the book when he needs advice from his father, who died in 2008. The reissue is worth reading for Luke’s tribute to the man who would refuse extra interview time on the Today show because he had to take his son to school.
“Confessions of the World’s Best Father” by Dave Engledow. Engledow’s collection of digitally manipulated photos of himself and his daughter, Alice Bee, is a humorous look at what not to do as a parent. Photos of Alice Bee lighting fireworks, getting dunked in a sudsy washing machine and cooking breakfast in bed for her father (really, cooking in bed) are accompanied by humorous and self-deprecating “diary entries” about life with a baby. Each photo incorporates a “World’s Best Father” mug in Engledow’s attempt to poke fun at himself. His ineptitude at diverting his attention from his beloved sports section to, you know, parent, is all in good fun. The book is a spinoff of Engledow’s “World’s Best Father” Tumblr and Facebook page.
“Letters to My Son: A Father’s Wisdom on Manhood, Life and Love” by Kent Nerburn. This 20th-anniversary re-issue is updated with sections on sexual identity and the difficulty of moving on from everything from relationships to homes. Nerburn wrote the book for his son, Nik, to help guide him through life’s big moments. Chapters cover everything from possessions to drug and alcohol use to marriage. “I can offer a vision of manhood that is both aware of our human condition and alive to our human potential,” Nerburn wrote in the introduction to the book when it was first published in the 1990s. The book is, ultimately, his attempt to share the lessons he’s learned with his son. Also new to this edition is a chapter at the end that attempts to put the journey through life into perspective.
“Special Heart: A Journey of Faith, Hope, Courage and Love” by Bret Baier with Jim Mills. Baier, a Fox News anchor, writes about his experience as the parent of a child with a serious illness. Shortly after his first child, Paul, was born, Baier and wife Amy learned that Paul had life-threatening heart complications. He shares what their lives have been like through multiple surgeries and angioplasties. He writes that being a father to Paul, who is now 6, has been more rewarding than any of the jobs he’s held in the broadcast industry. There is a Q&A with Paul’s heart surgeon at the end of the book, about pediatric heart disease.
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