THE BLOG

The Fathermucker Holiday Shopping Guide: Best Gift Books for Dads, Part 1: Novels

11/29/2011 03:19 pm ET | Updated Jan 29, 2012

So you want to buy the dad in your life a book, but you're not sure what to get him, because he's already finished the Dragon Tattoo series and he thinks Game of Thrones is for pimple-faced middle schoolers?

Fear not; I've got you covered.

Here are my recs for best gift books for (and about) dads:

About a Boy, Nick Hornby

It's not about a boy; it's about a millionaire playboy who becomes a father, without actually becoming a father. (High Fidelity would work here, too. Or Songbook. Anything by Hornby, really.)

Bad Marie, Marcy Dermansky

The père in this novel is not exactly a model papa. Good fathers, after all, do not abscond to Paris in the middle of the night with a sexy nanny, their toddling daughter in tow. But Marie, bad in all the right ways, would tempt even the World's Greatest Dad.

Domestic Violets, Matthew Norman

In which envy has a color: the color purple. A funny, funny debut from a funny, funny guy.

Fathermucker, Greg Olear

Full disclosure: this is my book. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be on the list. Fathermucker is a day in the life of a stay-at-home dad. If the man in your life is a SAHD, and this doesn't make him laugh, then you are probably married to that creepy Prohibition agent from Boardwalk Empire.

The Financial Lives of the Poets, Jess Walter

One of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors, concerning a recently laid-off, recently cuckolded father of two who has perhaps watched a few too many episodes of Weeds. Insightful, beautifully written, and funny as all get-out.

Holy Water, James P. Othmer

As Othmer himself -- one of the funnier writers going -- puts it, "Give the gift of failed dreams, falsified vasectomies and suburban malaise!" Now in paperback.

Little Children, Tom Perrotta

In which a stay-at-home dad and a stay-at-home mom get it on. Includes a great riff on the brilliance of Raffi.

Playdate, Thelma Adams

Like Little Children, but in San Diego. And with more sex. And without the creepy sex offender subplot. Adams calls the emerging genre "dick-lit."

This Is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper

Only Tropper can find just the right balance of humor and pathos when writing a scene in which a guy catches his wife in bed with his boss and proceeds to jam a birthday cake up his (the boss's) ass. Read it before the movie comes out!

This One Is Mine, Maria Semple

Don't let the cupcake on the cover fool you; this is not a "chick lit" title. "Chick lit" titles don't include jokes about Allen Iverson, anal sex, and becoming pregnant during groupie sex with Def Leppard's one-armed drummer. This is LLOL funny (the second "L" stands for "literally"), and I wept like a baby at the end.

You Can Make Him Like You, Ben Tanzer

Tanzer's protagonist, Keith, is sort of the target audience for the beer commercials they run during football games. But in the end, Tanzer does make us like him. This one is told in short, pop culture-rich passages that makes for perfect bathroom reading.

Continue to Vol. 2 here.