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Fathers: notoriously difficult to buy for, but secretly utterly devastated if they haven’t been bought that obscure present they so desperately wanted.
Few places can be better than a bookshop to address that burning need. No matter if it’s the early films of Stanley Kubrick, the choice of the right back-up power supply for the fish tank, or the need to know the batting average of Worcestershire County Cricket Club in their triumphant season of 1989, the book is the perfect way to make choosing a Father’s Day gift a breeze.
From outstanding classics such as My Dad from previous Children’s Laureate Anthony Browne to completely fresh new favourites like Knapman and Berger’s charming Superhero Dad, being enviably on the right side of forty – or even ten – means there’s no end of choice for readalongs between fathers and the most special members of the family. Don’t forget too that Grandfathers across the land might appreciate their moment of glory too, precisely the moment a book like Benji Davies’ Grandad’s Island perfectly ticks the box.
With all that responsibility of carrying the entire world on their weary shoulders, now and again fathers need to escape into other worlds, usually when they are ‘working’ during that daily commute on the train or out in the garden, allegedly mowing the lawn.
Currently there’s an embarrassment of riches when it comes to simply cracking novels – Breaking Bad meets The Wire in Don Winslow’s drug-war epic The Cartel, whilst on the other end of the scale meet the twin-kitten owning The Vinyl Detective, Andrew Cartmel’s breakout delight of murder and record-collecting. Or perhaps it’s a reissued, still razor-sharp classic such as Michael Frayn’s Towards the End of the Morning. Whatever their taste, we’ve got something to match.
If fiction is on the comeback, non-fiction has to be the most active area of publishing today. This month alone seen some remarkable releases, such as Springwatch’s Chris Packham ‘s surprisingly searing memoir Fingers in the Sparkle Jar, his account of childhood, alienation and nature; the birth of a great writer’s craft in Love from Boy: Roald Dahl’s Letters to his Mother; and the glimpse into the mind of master-fantasist Neil Gaiman via his selected non-fiction compilation, The View from the Cheap Seats. Whether it’s the hidden tradecraft of Le Carré or the legacy of John Peel, Waterstones has it in the bag for that special Father’s Day treat for the man who has it all.
Over the past two decades, sports writing has come a long way from hastily-assembled soccer biographies and number-crunching collections of facts and figures. Consider David Foster Wallace’s posthumous collection String Theory, where the author of cult classic Infinite Jest considers the game of tennis, his first and abiding love; Richard Askwith’s reverential biography of Emil Zátopek, probably the greatest distance runner and most beloved Olympian of all time; the classic and never-bettered golfing bible, Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons, reproduced in all its 50th Anniversary glory ; or perhaps just in time for the UEFA European Championship, it’s Henry Winter’s Fifty Years of Hurt, the definitive narrative of the England team’s post-1966 decades of defeat.
Like you, we love books, but we delight too in bringing you carefully-selected gifts that are practical and unusual (and sometimes both!). After the unprecedented success of the Man Tin (the ever-winning home for things that, well, need a home) we have the Train in a Tin, a compact box which manages to contain a 16-piece desktop train set; a chance to tune in to the past with our Retro Radio; and as every male domain needs its guard, the amazing robotic Frilled Lizard is on hand to save the day!