Father's Day is fast approaching, and although the holiday honoring dads everywhere is usually a Sunday put aside for sunshine and barbecues, there's more than one way to spent the day together. Instead of the same-old-same-old, grab a couple of these books to read with your dad and get ready for some serious literary debates, because there's no better way to spend Father's Day together than discussing a good book over a smoking grill.
Reading with someone you love, whether it's a friend, partner, or parent, helps bring you closer together. If you can remember how excited you were as a child when your dad would read with you, then you know the feeling of sharing a good book with your dear old dad. You might be too old for bedtime story, but that doesn't mean you can't still read books together. In fact, now that you are older, it means there are even more books you and your dad can read together, and, even better, discuss after the fact.
While sweet stories of father-daughter relationships make great books to share with your dad, that shouldn't limit the kind of novel you pick out together. From tragedies family sagas to inspiring true stories to heartwarming tales of doting dads and delightful daughters, there's no limit to the kind of book you and your dad can enjoy. And in case you need inspiration, here are 11 books you and your dad can not only read together, but can spend hours discussing after the fact. The father and daughter that reads together, sticks together.
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Father and daughter relationships don't get much better than the one between the noble Atticus and his free spirited daughter, Scout, in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. A moving and sentimental story, this classic is perfect for reading with your father, whether or not you both read it already. It's the kind of book that's worth revisiting, especially if its with someone special.
2. A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley by Jane Smiley
While King Lear may not have been the best father, the story of him and his three daughters is as told in Jane Smiley's modern adaptation is a wonderful, engrossing family saga best read with someone else, like your dear old dad. Narrated by the oldest of three sisters bickering over what to do with their father's farm when he dies, A Thousand Acres is a tragic story punctuated with moments of truth, love, and a profound sense of humanity. You and your dad may not find a shining example of what your relationship should be like in Smiley's bestseller, but you will find plenty of family drama to discuss on your next father-daughter date.
3. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
What better way to have some bookish bonding time with your dad than to start a series together? The first in Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie , brilliant 11-year-old armature sleuth Flavia spends her time doing chemistry experiments and playing pranks on her sisters. That is, until the day she finds a dead body in her father's cucumber garden, and signs start to point towards her dad's guilt. An engrossing page-turner, this is a great pick for dads and daughters who love a little mystery.
4. Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe
A touching story about a father trying to make up for his past mistakes, Dear Fang, with Love is a remarkable new novel from acclaimed author Rufi Thorpe that will have both you and your dad feeling all the feels. Vera doesn't know her father Lucas very well, so when he decides to take her away for a summer of travel in Europe, she's hesitant about his sudden involvement in her life. But daughter and father may be more alike than Vera realizes, and as the pair dive into the history of their ancestor's homeland, they also begin discover the truths about their own pasts. A beautifully intertwined story of history, family, mental illness, and love, Dear Fang, With Love is the perfect book to share with your dad.
5. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
While no father or daughter wants to think about dying, Helen Macdonald's tender and emotional memoir about the grief over her own dad's death and the falcon she was inspired to train after is a gut-wrenching account well worth reading. At once poignant and humorous, H is for Hawk truly gets to the heart of a daughter's love for her father. If you and your own dad decide to read it together, make sure to have a box of tissues by your side.
6. Sunday's On the Phone to Monday by Christine Reilly
In her debut novel, Sunday's on the Phone to Monday , Christine Reilly weaves a unique story about one family's unyielding love and persevering connection to one another. The Simone family — Claudio and Mathilde, the parents, and Natasha, Lucy, and Carly, their three daughters — are a tight-knit family, but when tragedy strikes, they must learn to work through their grief, reconnect as a family, and help each other heal. An elegant and lyrical novel, Sunday's on the Phone to Monday is a compelling novel that will tug a the heartstrings of you and your father.
7. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
If you want to see undying familial love, look no further than Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones , a heart-wrenching story about a young girl's death and her father's never ending search for the truth and her murderer. Though the subject matter may be dark and depressing, the special love between the family is anything but. An emotionally stirring novel about loss, love, and healing, The Lovely Bones is a touching novel that will make you and your dad want to hold onto each other a little bit tighter.
8. Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
No family is perfect, but eleven-year-old Eliza Naumann's has problems of her own. While she generally felt ignored for most of her childhood, she finally gained the affection of her father when she decided to attempt to win the national spelling bee, but what was meant to be a new beginning was actually the beginning of the end. A delicately woven story about a young girl's coming of age and a family's tragic breakdown, Bee Season is a thought-provoking book for fathers and daughters alike.
9. Home by Marilynne Robinson
In her follow up to Gilead , Marilynne Robinson bring readers back into the lives of the Boughton family, specifically the lives of Glory and her brother Jack, the dying Reverend Robert's two children who return home to Iowa to take care of him. The two siblings try and cope with not only the eminent loss of their father, but they must also figure out how to reconcile the past with the present in order to move onto the future. An affecting novel about love, loss, and family, Home is a breathtaking novel any reader, including your dad, will love.
10. Emma by Jane Austen
No father in Jane Austen's work is perfect, but Mr. Woodhouse from Emma has his moments. A loving, caring, and doting father, Mr. Woodhouse may not want his daughter to leave the house — does any father want that? — his love for her is obvious. Since every father should understand his daughter's inevitable love for Jane Austen, get your dad to read Emma with you. He just may love it as much as you do.
11. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
A truly moving story of one girl's tireless fight for equal education, I Am Malala is a thought-provoking nonfiction novel that both you and your dad will find yourself inspired by. After speaking out in defense of a girl's right to an education, Malala was shot by the Taliban and nearly died, but even after her miraculous recovery, Malala still refused to be silenced. Instead, she and her father, a champion of equal education himself, traveled from Pakistan to the United Nations to the United States speaking up for girls around the world who deserve a right to an education. An inspiring story of courage and perseverance, I Am Malala is the perfect father-daughter story to read with your dad this father's day.
Images: Universal Pictures