Skip to main content

Best Books for Dad 2021

Father's Day

Best Books for Dad 2021

Father’s Day is a time to celebrate the men in our lives who have raised and loved us. Why not show him your appreciation by inspiring him with a great book? We have 12 titles that are perfect gift-giving suggestions for Dad, keeping him busy through the rest of the year.


Congratulations to the five winners of our 16th Annual Father’s Day Contest! Each winner received a prize package that includes all of the titles in this year’s feature.

This year's prize books are:

  • A BETTER MAN: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son, by Michael Ian Black
  • BUBBLEBALL: Inside the NBA's Fight to Save a Season, by Ben Golliver
  • ELECTRIC CITY: The Lost History of Ford and Edison’s American Utopia, by Thomas Hager
  • FIND YOU FIRST by Linwood Barclay
  • A GAMBLING MAN by David Baldacci
  • THE HERO CODE: Lessons Learned from Lives Well Lived, by Admiral William H. McRaven (U.S. Navy Retired)
  • THE KOBALT DOSSIER: An Evan Ryder Novel, by Eric Van Lustbader
  • THE LAST GREEN VALLEY by Mark Sullivan
  • NO ONE SUCCEEDS ALONE: Learn Everything You Can from Everyone You Can, by Robert Reffkin
  • TALKING TO GOATs: The Moments You Remember and the Stories You Never Heard, by Jim Gray
  • WHY PEACOCKS?: An Unlikely Search for Meaning in the World's Most Magnificent Bird, by Sean Flynn
  • WIN by Harlan Coben


David B. from Santa Rosa, CA
Katherine H. from Rhinelander, WI
Leann A. from Columbia, SC
Tabitha E. from Griffin, GA
Vicki V. from Skipperville, AL


A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son by Michael Ian Black - Parenting/Memoir

In a world in which the word masculinity now often goes hand in hand with toxic, comedian, actor and father Michael Ian Black offers up a way forward for boys, men and anyone who loves them. Part memoir, part advice book, and written as a heartfelt letter to his college-bound son, A BETTER MAN reveals Black’s own complicated relationship with his father, explores the damage and rising violence caused by the expectations placed on boys to “man up,” and searches for the best way to help young men be part of the solution, not the problem. “If we cannot allow ourselves vulnerability,” he writes, “how are we supposed to experience wonder, fear, tenderness?”

Bubbleball: Inside the NBA's Fight to Save a Season by Ben Golliver - Sports

When NBA player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 in March 2020, the league shut down immediately. As the pandemic raged, it looked as if it might be the first year in league history with no champion. But four months later, after meticulous planning, 22 teams resumed play in a "bub­ble" at Disney World --- a restricted, single-site locale cut off from the outside world. Due to health concerns, the league invited only a handful of reporters, who were required to sacrifice medical privacy, live in a hotel room for more than three months, and submit to daily coronavirus test­ing in hopes of keeping the bubble from bursting. Ben Golliver, the national NBA writer for the The Washington Post, was one of those allowed access. BUBBLEBALL is his account of the season and life inside.

Electric City: The Lost History of Ford and Edison’s American Utopia by Thomas Hager - History

During the Roaring Twenties, two of the most revered and influential men in American business proposed to transform one of the country’s poorest regions into a dream technological metropolis. Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s “Detroit of the South” would be 10 times the size of Manhattan, powered by renewable energy and free of air pollution. And it would reshape American society, introducing mass commuting by car, use a new kind of currency called “energy dollars,” and have the added benefit (from Ford and Edison's view) of crippling the growth of socialism. The whole audacious scheme almost came off. But while some saw it as a way to conjure the future and reinvent the South, others saw it as one of the biggest land swindles of all time. They were all true.

Find You First by Linwood Barclay - Psychological Thriller

Tech millionaire Miles Cookson recently has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and there is a 50 percent chance that it can be passed on to the next generation. Two decades ago, a young, struggling Miles was a sperm donor. Somewhere out there, he has nine kids, and they might be about to inherit both the good and the bad from him. Aspiring film documentarian Chloe Swanson embarks on a quest to find her biological father, armed with the knowledge that 22 years ago, her mother used a New York sperm bank to become pregnant. When Miles and Chloe eventually connect, their excitement at finding each other is overshadowed by a series of mysterious and terrifying events. One by one, Miles’ other potential heirs are vanishing --- every trace of them wiped, like they never existed at all.

A Gambling Man by David Baldacci - Historical Thriller

In dire need of a fresh start, Aloysius Archer arrives in Bay Town, California. His first stop is a P.I. office where he is hoping to apprentice with a legendary private eye and former FBI agent named Willie Dash. He lands the job and immediately finds himself in the thick of a potential scandal: a blackmail case involving a wealthy well-connected politician running for mayor that soon spins into something even more sinister. As bodies begin falling, Archer and Dash must infiltrate the world of brothels, gambling dens, drug operations and long-hidden secrets, descending into the rotten bones of a corrupt town that is selling itself as the promised land --- but might actually be the road to perdition, and Archer’s final resting place.

The Hero Code: Lessons Learned from Lives Well Lived by Admiral William H. McRaven - Self-Help/Personal Growth

THE HERO CODE is Admiral William H. McRaven's ringing tribute to the real, everyday heroes he's met over the years, from battlefields to hospitals to college campuses, who are doing their part to save the world. When Bill McRaven was a young boy growing up in Texas, he dreamed of being a superhero. He longed to put on a cape and use his superpowers to save the earth from destruction. But as he grew older and traveled the world, he found real heroes everywhere he went --- and none of them had superpowers. None of them wore capes or cowls. But they all possessed qualities that gave them the power to help others, to make a difference, to save the world: courage, both physical and moral; humility; a willingness to sacrifice; and a deep sense of integrity.

The Kobalt Dossier: An Evan Ryder Novel by Eric Van Lustbader - Thriller/Adventure

After thwarting the violent, international, fascist syndicate known as Nemesis, Evan Ryder returns to Washington, D.C., to find her secret division of the DOD shut down and her deceased sister’s children missing. Now the target of a cabal of American billionaires who were among Nemesis’s supporters, Evan and her former boss, Ben Butler, must learn to work together as partners --- and navigate their intricate past. Their search will take them from Istanbul to Odessa to an ancient church deep within the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. And all along the way, an unimaginable enemy stalks in the shadows, an adversary whose secretive past will upend Evan’s entire world and everything she holds dear.

The Last Green Valley by Mark Sullivan - Historical Fiction

In late March 1944, as Stalin’s forces push into Ukraine, young Emil and Adeline Martel must make a terrible decision: Do they wait for the Soviet bear’s intrusion and risk being sent to Siberia? Or do they reluctantly follow the wolves --- murderous Nazi officers who have pledged to protect “pure-blood” Germans? The Martels are one of many families of German heritage whose ancestors have farmed in Ukraine for more than a century. But after already living under Stalin’s horrifying regime, Emil and Adeline decide they must run in retreat from their land with the wolves they despise to escape the Soviets and go in search of freedom.

No One Succeeds Alone: Learn Everything You Can from Everyone You Can by Robert Reffkin - Self-Help/Personal Growth

No one expected a 15-year-old Black kid with dreadlocks who cared more about his DJ business than his homework to become the youngest-ever White House fellow, run 50 marathons and cofound a multibillion-dollar company. But Robert Reffkin, raised by an Israeli immigrant single mother after his father abandoned him and his maternal grandparents disowned him, has always defied the odds. As CEO of Compass, America’s largest independent real estate brokerage, Reffkin distills the wisdom he’s gathered from his mother and his 100+ mentors throughout his journey. Each chapter offers a part of his life story and an actionable lesson, such as: “Love your customers more than your ideas.” “Dream out your future on paper --- then tear the paper up.” And “Adapt like water and you’ll be unstoppable.”

Talking to GOATs: The Moments You Remember and the Stories You Never Heard by Jim Gray - Memoir

In TALKING TO GOATs, award-winning broadcaster Jim Gray looks back at his four decades of sports reporting from the unparalleled perspective of one of the world’s most respected and skilled interviewers. The book features numerous world-class athletes, including Muhammad Ali, Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Floyd Mayweather, Michael Phelps, Mike Tyson and Tiger Woods, and world leaders George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Mikhail Gorbachev and many more. On each page, Jim gives the reader a coveted all-access pass as he reviews the best interviews, the best athletes and the best games in modern sports history. It’s like a personal introduction to the characters and careers of these heroes and villains we’ve known since childhood.

Why Peacocks?: An Unlikely Search for Meaning in the World's Most Magnificent Bird by Sean Flynn - Nature/Memoir

When Sean Flynn’s neighbor in North Carolina texted “Any chance you guys want a peacock? No kidding!” he stared bewilderedly at his phone. He had never considered if he wanted a peacock. But as an award-winning magazine writer, this kind of mystery intrigued him. So he, his wife and their two young sons became the owners of not one but three charming yet fickle birds: Carl, Ethel and Mr. Pickle. In WHY PEACOCKS?, Flynn chronicles his hilarious and heartwarming first year as a peacock owner, from struggling to build a pen to assisting the local bird doctor in surgery to triumphantly watching a peahen lay her first egg.

Win by Harlan Coben - Mystery/Thriller

Over 20 years ago, the heiress Patricia Lockwood was abducted during a robbery of her family's estate, then locked inside an isolated cabin for months. Patricia escaped, but so did her captors --- and the items stolen from her family were never recovered. Until now. On the Upper West Side, a recluse is found murdered in his penthouse apartment, alongside two objects of note: a stolen Vermeer painting and a leather suitcase bearing the initials WHL3. For the first time in years, the authorities have a lead --- not only on Patricia's kidnapping, but also on another FBI cold case --- with the suitcase and painting both pointing them toward one man: Windsor Horne Lockwood III…or Win, as his few friends call him.