Mother’s Day came and went, and it was as a success! So congratulations to you as you sit at your computer with your new coffee mug and yoga clothes, picking bits of eggshell out of your teeth from the omelet your kids made you three weeks ago.
Now what to get him? Your husband, who got the kids up early to make you breakfast, who poured the eggs into the bowl after letting the kids crack the shells and didn’t notice the sharp white shards still stuck in your teeth and cutting your flesh as your read this.
So what to get? Socks! Get socks! No, that’s his small holiday gift. Okay, underwear then. Underwear, yes, brilliant! No, not that—what will you give as a larger holiday gift? Fine, scratch that. Aha! Golf clubs, then! Yes, surely another silver nightmare to trip over in the garage. No, wait, he has 723 of those already and he really only needs one because he’s terrible and no club makes a difference after he hits a divot farther than the ball…on every hole…every time he plays. So what then? It’s over, all over. Hopeless, all hopeless! You might as well rip the computer out of the wall and throw it through the window, because even though you will be buried with that eggshell stuck in your teeth, he was smiling as he opened the door with the breakfast tray on it and held the kids back a few extra minutes like the little Bulls-of-Pamplona they are before letting them run into the room and wake you up with blanket-strangled Mother’s Day kisses!
He isn’t perfect (none of us are) and he might stand to lose a few (who can’t), but he’s sweet and he tries. So he deserves something worthwhile. Perhaps a book? They don’t get holes in their tender places and they don’t smell and you won’t trip over them in the garage because books belong up high on a bookshelf! So yes, you’re saved and you’re welcome. Books. Get him books. And I’ve even categorized my suggestions by vocation, to make it easier on you. See? Men are thoughtful. As a bonus, you can use a page of his book as a toothpick.
For Dad, Who Witnessed Childbirth and Knows Women are the Tougher Sex
This book follows a group of female soldiers serving alongside male-only Special Operations units as members of Cultural Support Teams (CSTs) in Afghanistan. The CST program, introduced in 2010, sought to pair women alongside Army Rangers, Green Berets and Navy SEALs to bridge the cultural gap between male-only operators and female civilians. In a conservative culture such as Afghanistan, the CSTs provide an immeasurable asset to male-only units where men and women are discouraged from speaking and interacting with one another. This book shows the unique space females can, and do, occupy on a modern battlefield.
For Dad, The Golfer
Men in Green
Bamberger, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, embarks on a quest to find golf’s greatest heroes and their happiest memories on the links. Full of legendary golfing anecdotes and personalities, this book seeks to define the heart of the green passion that beats so strong in so many.
For Dad, The Current-Events Czar
ISIS: Inside The Army Of Terror
Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan
This book aims to explain the rise of the most notorious terrorist organization in the world. Weiss and Hassan trace the lineage of the modern organization through its roots as a cell of Al Qaeda, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, to its present state and analyze its worldwide reach and ramifications. It provides an ambitious understanding of a largely misunderstood culture and organization that greatly affects the current, and future, War on Terror.
For Dad, The John Krakauer Fan
Missoula: Rape And The Justice System In A College Town
Krakauer’s latest book examines the prevalence of sexual assault in American society through the lens of Missoula, Mont., incorporating exhaustive research and eyewitness accounts of incredible duress to unearth an unfortunate reality spanning college campuses and society at large. This book is as important for our daughters as it is for our sons.
For Dad, The Aspiring Novelist
Viet Thanh Nguyen
It is 1975, and the war in Vietnam ends with a communist victory. A group of South Vietnamese army officers determine who will leave for America to escape the new government, but there is a spy among them. This debut novel examines the cost of war, both mental and physical, and offers insights into the motivations of those waging underdog wars against superpowers.
The Harder They Come
This novel follows a Vietnam veteran and his troubled son after they commit violent acts separately that define them together as family. Inspired by a true story, one of the men of this family sparks the largest manhunt in California history.
For Dad, The Comedian
How To Be A Husband
In addition to being a journalist and columnist for The Guardian, Tim Dowling is an American ex-pat living in London, a husband and father of three boys. He doesn’t know exactly how his life happened, but offers readers advice on how to make the best of it. A truly funny, and surprisingly touching memoir about what it means to be a father, a husband—a man—in society today.
For Dad, The CEO:
Team of Teams
General Stanley McChrystal, Tantum Collins, David Silverman, and Chris Fussell
This book explores General Stanley McChrystal’s tasks and successes in taking over Joint Special Operations Command in 2004 during the rise of Al Qaeda in Iraq. General McChrystal utilized unconventional tactics and collaboration to turn separate branches of elite military units into a single, cohesive war machine. Drawing on his experiences in this high-stress, high-risk leadership position, General McChrystal offers insights into leadership beyond the battlefield to get the most efficiency and best results in any business, classroom, and organization.
For Dad, The History Buff
A Higher Form Of Killing
Imperial Germany committed three separate attacks over six weeks in 1916 on land, sea, and air that forever changed modern combat and the world. This work examines the sinking of the Lusitania, the first gas attack on French soldiers north of Ypres, and the Zeppelin aerial bombardment of London as the source of our modern fear of weapons of mass destruction.
For Dad, The Dreamer
Skyfaring: A Journey With A Pilot
This book offers a rare glimpse into the beauty of the skies as seen through a pilot’s eyes. Flights are often a mundane form of transportation and inconvenience to those onboard, but in this work Slate and The New York Times columnist Mark Vanhoenacker, a 747 pilot who left the business world, reminds us that life requires passion and love as much as money and status. This is a book that spans not just the skies we fly through, but the dreams we carry onboard with us.
Ross Ritchell is a former Army Ranger who served in Joint Special Operations Command from 2007-2008. His war novel The Knife was published by Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, in February 2015. He lives with his wife, two children and two Labrador retrievers outside Chicago.
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