Summer is almost here, dads. I am not a father myself (that I know of), but I do know that summer tends to afford you more opportunities to read some books. Whether it’s on a warm summer night after you’ve put the kids to bed and you’re just going to hang out on the porch drinking some bourbon and growing mentally, or if it’s while you’re lounging on the beach trying to avoid your children’s constant inquiries about whether you would be willing to have your entire body up to the neck buried in sand.
Well, lucky for you I spend the entire year reading just so that I can suggest to you some funny reads that will especially tickle a father’s fancy. (No, no, I don’t mind – it’s not like I have anything better to do anyways).
Someone Might Get Hurt, by Drew Magary
Magary is probably my favorite writer at the moment. He’s one of the dudes who has helped put Deadspin on the map. His weekly “Funbag” column is one of my favorite things to read online. Someone Might Get Hurt is Magary’s fantastic memoir about fatherhood. He has three children now, and his essays cover all the fatherly topics in a funny and slightly vulgar way. The book is also peppered with very real human emotion, and it’s very transparent. Magary writes earnestly about his third son’s premature birth and the struggles that came with it, and about the way he redeemed himself to his family after being busted for a DUI. Magary pulls no punches, and has an aggressive style of writing that makes his books easy to fly right through.
Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity, by Joel Stein
Stein is a longtime humor columnist for TIME. His shtick has always been self-deprecation mixed with dry sarcasm. In Man Made, Stein documents a number of tasks he undertakes in an effort to become more masculine, so that he can teach his baby boy how to be manly. Stein embarks on some hilarious adventures like camping with Boy Scouts, spending time shadowing a unit of Los Angeles firefighters, and learning how to appreciate a fine scotch. Throughout the book, layered under the humor, is a very interesting analysis by Stein about what it really means to be a man in this day and age, and just how important masculinity is.
Dad Is Fat, by Jim Gaffigan
Hot Pockets!!!!! See? You know Jim Gaffigan. He’s the pale and chubby comedian who does a lot of standup about eating food and raising kids. His memoir stands out from the crowd because Gaffigan is in a somewhat unique situation: he and his wife have five children, all of whom were born in mostly rapid succession. And they live in a small two-bedroom apartment in New York City’s Soho. Gaffigan takes a funny and sardonic look at the trials and tribulations of raising such a large family in a city where it’s logistically very difficult to raise children.
Manhood For Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son, by Michael Chabon
Chabon has dominated the fiction best seller and award lists for years, but this is the first collection of personal essays he has published. Chabon has four kids, and he writes very eloquently about raising them. The book is not only about kids, though—it’s about Chabon’s entire life, and it’s about going really really deep into what it means to be a man, whether you’re a father, son, or both.
Sh*t My Dad Says, by Justin Halpern
The Sh*t My Dad Says phenomenon started with Twitter, morphed into this book, and then morphed into a very short-lived sitcom starring William Shatner. If you read this book, you’ll understand why it failed as a network TV show—Halpern’s dad is way too vulgar for CBS, but he’s the most hysterically wise father of all time. This is a quick read that you can get through during one beach session.
Everything Is Perfect When You’re A Liar, by Kelly Oxford
Oxford is a mom, obviously, but this is the funniest collection of personal essays I’ve read in years. And trust me… she writes with more vulgarity and obscenity than any other man who has made this list.
By the way, if you’re disappointed that this wasn’t a list of books you could read to/with your children, go to your local library, dude. I can’t help you.