June is such an optimistic month, filled with gorgeous days that announce summer’s official arrival and confirm that it is finally safe to transplant those seedlings and swap out your winter tires. It is also a month filled with celebrations—with Father’s Day right at its center. Traditionally gifted tie and corny “Dad jokes” aside, it is time to show gratitude for the men who have had a significant impact on our lives. That includes our progenitors and partners, of course, but also others who we might wish to honor and appreciate.

In this spirit, I wanted to devote this month’s blog to some books that feature paternal heroes. The following are some recent nonfiction reads that depict men who have inspired writers to relay their stories—contemplating the relationships that helped guide their own trajectories.

The Death of SantiniThe Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son by Pat Conroy

"A memoir by the bestselling author of The Prince of Tides about his father—the inspiration for The Great Santini—and a reaffirmation that love can conquer even the meanest of men."

Between the World and MeBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

"Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences..."

Pops: Fatherhood in PiecesPops: Fatherhood in Pieces by Michael Chabon

"Essays inspired by Chabon's interactions with his four children and his own father illuminate the meaning, magic, and mysteries of fatherhood."

My Seven Black FathersMy Seven Black Fathers by Will Jawando

"Drawing on Will's inspiring personal story and involvement in My Brother's Keeper, President Obama's national initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color,My Seven Black Fathers offers a transformative way for Black men to shape the next generation."

Promise Me, DadPromise Me, Dad by Joe Biden

"From President Joe Biden, Promise Me Dad is his deeply moving memoir about the year that would forever change both a family and a country."

I Went to See My FatherI Went to See My Father by Kyung-Sook Shin

"In the wake of a personal tragedy, a novelist goes back home in the Korean countryside to take care of her gentle father and learns, through the testimonies of his loving family and friends, how his lifelong kindness belies a past wrought in both private and national trauma"

1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows by Ai Weiwei

"In his widely anticipated memoir, Ai Weiwei—one of the world's most famous artists and activists—tells a century-long epic tale of China through the story of his own extraordinary life and the legacy of his father, Ai Qing, the nation's most celebrated poet."

Let Her FlyLet Her Fly: A Father's Journey by Ziauddin Yousafzai

"An intimate family portrait by the father of one of the most remarkable leaders in the world today."

Love That BoyLove That Boy by Ron Fournier

"It's a story about every parent's stratospheric expectations for their children—where and why the dreams are made, how these aspirations distort childhood, and what ways they can be properly channeled."

American ValuesAmerican Values by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

"...intimate stories of RFK Jr.'s own experiences, not just with historical events and the movers who shaped them but also with his mother and father, with his own struggles with addiction, and with the ways he eventually made peace with both his Kennedy legacy and his own demons."

AutumnAutumn (Seasons Quartet #1) by Karl Ove Knausgaard

"Begins with a letter Karl Ove Knausgaard writes to his unborn daughter, showing her what to expect of the world. He writes one short piece per day, describing the material and natural world with the precision and mesmerising intensity that have become his trademark."

Home GameHome Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood by Michael Lewis

"A written record of what actually happened immediately after the birth of each of his three children...most unsparing account of ordinary daily household life ever recorded from the point of view of the man inside."

Walking with SamWalking With Sam: A Father, a Son and Five-Hundred Miles Across Spain by Andrew McCarthy

"Looking to create a more meaningful connection with Sam before he fled the nest, as well as recreate his own life-altering journey decades before, McCarthy decided the two of them should set out on a trek like few others: 500 miles across Spain's Camino de Santiago."

An OdysseyAn Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic by Daniel Adam Mendelsohn

"Presents the story of a father and son's transformative shared journey in reading in the wake of the father's late-in-life enrollment in his son's undergraduate seminar, where the two engaged in debates over how to interpret Homer's classic masterpiece."

Dreams from My FatherDreams From My Father by Barack Obama

"In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American."

The BeneficiaryThe Beneficiary: Fortune, Misfortune, and the Story of My Father by Janny Scott

"Journalist Janny Scott describes the world that shaped her father, Robert Montgomery Scott...and provides a look at the weight of inheritance, the tenacity of addiction, and the power of buried secrets."

InheritanceInheritance: A Memoir of Geneology, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro

"About identity, paternity, and family secrets--a real-time exploration of the staggering discovery she made last year about her father, and her struggle to piece together the hidden the story of her own life."

Father's DayFather's Day: A Journey into the Mind and Heart of My Extraordinary Son by Buzz Bissinger

"As father and son journey from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, they see the best and worst of America and each other."

Small FrySmall Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

"A frank, smart and captivating memoir by the daughter of Apple founder Steve Jobs. Scrappy, wise, and funny, young Lisa is an unforgettable guide through her parents' fascinating and disparate worlds."

Braving ItBraving It: A Father, a Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey into the Alaskan Wild by James Campbell

"The powerful and affirming story of a father's journey with his teenage daughter to the far reaches of Alaska."

Summaries sourced from publishers' marketing materials

June's Featured Reviews

The Whisper ManThe Whisper Man by Alex North
Little EveLittle Eve by Catriona Ward

Hop on the Holds List

1. Trust – Hernan Diaz and Demon Copperhead – Barbara Kingsolver (2023 Pulitzer Prize Winners)

2. All the Sinners Bleed – S.A. Cosby (June)

3. None of This is True – Lisa Jewell (July)

4. Flags on the Bayou – James Lee Burke (July)

5. The Librarianist – Patrick deWitt

Recent Readings

I have recently just finished reading The Salt Grows Heavy by Cassandra Khaw and The Self-Made Widow by Fabian Nicieza. I also just finished listening to Scaredy Cat by Mark Billingham on Hoopla.

Right now, I am reading Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah and The Kind Worth Saving by Peter Swanson. I am also listening to the audiobook version of Shy by Max Porter.

Have any good ideas for activities for Father's Day? Suggestions welcome!: (jnmegan@gpl.org).

Until next time: Be safe, be well and be well-read!


So, who am I, anyway? I am a resident of West Groton, with a husband, 3 children in college (and one at GDRHS) and a Samoyed that keeps my vacuum well-employed. I am currently working part time at the Groton Public Library and in a former life I was a Director or PR/Marketing at a high-tech consulting firm. My BA is in Psychology, but most of my time was spent in college earning a Concentration on the Novel. That is all to say that I make no claims at being an expert of any kind and my thoughts, opinions and mistakes are solely my own. I am just a person whose passion for books has continued to grow from the moment I was first able to grip and gnaw on them. I have been devouring them ever since.

Jun 01, 2023 / Joelle M Egan