Anthem Recommends Books for Fathers
Father’s Day was first created by Sonora Smart Dodd whose father, war veteran, William Jackson Smart was a single dad that raised six children on his own. After Dodd heard a sermon regarding Mother’s Day, Dodd encouraged her pastor that a day honoring fathers should also be established. The idea soon turned into reality.
Dodd initially wanted Father’s Day to fall on her father Smart’s birthday which was on June 5, but after much discussion the date was changed to the third Sunday in June. The first Father’s Day celebration was officially held in Spokane, Washington and continues to be celebrated today.
This Sunday will be no different. Children across America are currently searching for a good Father’s Day gift for a day set aside to honor fathers everywhere. Well, there is no better gift than a book. Below are a few good books that shed light on the beautiful, complex relationship between fathers and sons. The lists below are of books and short stories that I have actually read and that I found to be interesting father and son stories. I hope you enjoy. And if you are a father, have a wonderful Father’s Day!
Being a Dad Is Weird: Lessons in Fatherhood From My Family to Yours-by Ben Falcone. Falcone is funny-woman Melissa McCarthy’s husband. So, of course it is funny and full of inappropriate memories that Falcone so eagerly shares with the world about his unconventional father. There are great loving parts to the book that just warm the heart. Definitely a book both father and son will get a good laugh out of.
Memoir- Written by Stars
Not My Father's Son: A Memoir -by Alan Cumming . A heartbreaking story of an abusive father and polarizing figure that changes the course of his children’s lives.
Like Father, Like Son: How Knowing God as Father Changes Men – by Pete Alwinson This is a Christian themed book written by Pastor Alwinson. This book is really for those that did not have a strong father role in their lives and for those raised with a father that was absent and less affectionate. Alwinson does his best to help boys/men deal with filling that void by embarking on a relationship with the heavenly father, God.
Memoir Family History
Dear Father, Dear Son: Two Lives... Eight Hours – by Larry Elder. Dear Father, Dear Son is a beautiful story of Elder who since the age of 15 ended his relationship with his father. For years, Elder did not speak with him and thought he never would. On his deathbed, Elder and his father have a conversation that as you read each page, you will wish never ends. Dear Father, Dear Son, is a beautiful memoir of forgiveness and understanding and the bond between father and son that remains unbreakable.
The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between-by Hisham Matar. A horrifying look at what it was like living under the Qaddafi regime. Matar writes of his father, his disappearance and the events that occurred during the revolt in Libya. Matar also delves into the lives of others and how they were affected by this war and revolt. There are stories so hard to fully grasp, so full of horror that the book is difficult to read at time. But Matar’s honesty and sentences structured so beautiful and rich in history makes this book well worth the read. I have not finished reading it, but should soon. I warn you be prepared to be shaken. There is a story in the book about a man burying his son under the kitchen floor that actually made me lose sleep. The Return won the Pulitzer Prize and Man Booker Award and is deserving of every prize received.
Moving Target, A Memoir- by Ron Arias. Arias is a journalist and writes as such. The book is easy and utterly interesting to read. Arias begins with the history of his parents that is filled with beauty and horror. Arias’s father was a Korean POW that remains a mystery for much of the book. Arias, as a skilled journalist does his best to get to know a man that has remained a mystery to him for much of his life. He doesn’t find the answers to all his questions but there is clearly redemption found by the end of the book. A great informative book about how we really never know who and what our parents were before they became ours.
It Calls You Back: An Odyssey through love, addictions and healing by Luis J. Rodriguez. I love this book. Rodriguez also wrote Always Running a truthful memoir about his life in gangs and prison. It Calls You Back takes place during the second phase of his life. Rodriguez has already transformed his life and has become a pillar and activist in his community. However, the life of his past rears its ugly face toward his children. Rodriguez writes an honest book of what it feels like as a father dealing with the difficulty and helplessness he endures, as he watches his son make the same mistakes he had in his youth. Rodriguez is so brutally honest that it is beautiful, he takes no prisoners, and he brushes off no responsibility. Rodriguez boldly admits his shortcomings and through this a beautiful tale between father and son evolves. This is a must read for anyone in the midst of change, of wanting more, the first steps come from within.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, as well as my heart. I quote this book often. I’ve read it over five or six times. It is absolutely gorgeous. At what seems like the end of civilization, a father does his best to care, protect and continually teach his son to be good, “to carry the fire”. There are so many scenes in the novel that are heartbreaking and teeming with death, but the unconditional love of a father and faith in his only son gives the book hope and life. Every father should read this book, every human.
Tiny And Ray by Kate Krautkramer. This short story was published in The Normal School’s Issue 13. It is a heartbreaking story of how a father shouldn’t raise his son. It is the complete opposite of McCarthy’s The Road but remains a beautiful, seemingly truthful account of a father that is just as lost as his son. A definite must read. I really enjoyed this short story. It lingered with me long after I closed the magazine.
Written by Francine