If the go-to present for Father’s Day is the necktie, a quick look in any father’s closet would suggest how long his patriarchy has endured. This year, take a break from wrapping the obvious thin rectangular department store box and take a trip to a local bookstore. Whether it’s a large chain or mom-and-pop shop, these stores not only have suggestions for new books to capture the imagination of any father but old standbys he might have missed.
Political books are top sellers in a region where politics are followed with the fervor other areas reserve for sports. Markus Hanson, manager at the Olsson’s in Courthouse, said that these books move well around Father's Day, but cautioned they have a short shelf life. “It trails off. New buzz, and then it sort of trails off. Once all the nuggets get out into the mainstream, no one really needs to read it anymore," he said.
Hot right now is "The Reagan Diaries" ($25), in which historian Douglas Brinkley has edited together the late president's daily diary during his time in the White House. The entries range from his thoughts on politics and world affairs to his personal life with wife, Nancy, and popular culture.
Hanson expects author Vincent Bugliosi's "Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy" ($49.95) to be a popular choice for Father's Day. The author of "Helter Skelter" took 20 years to write this defense of the Warren Commission's conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the slaying of President Kennedy. This 1,632-page book includes a compact disc with footnotes.
Hanson said former CIA director George Tenet's "At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA" ($30) has been selling well after a blockbuster opening. “It was huge. It’s usually a politically-minded area," he said.
The Barnes & Noble of Potomac Yards reports that "The Dangerous Book for Boys" ($24.95) by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden has been selling briskly. This droll book was a bestseller in the U.K. and acts as a guidebook for everything from making the perfect paper airplane to building a bow and arrow.
Hanson is a fan of " Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season" ($26), written by Jonathan Eig. It chronicles Robinson's historic first season in the big leagues. “People hear the mythology, but a lot of it’s not true," said Hanson.
Several high-profile authors and series have new books on the market in time for Father's Day.
Best-selling author Don DeLillo's "Falling Man" ($26) tells several stories with the backdrop of 9-11. Michael Connelly's "The Overlook" ($21.99) is his 13th Harry Bosch novel, another complex crime solver. Author John Connolly's fifth novel featuring Maine private eye Charlie Parker, "The Unquiet," ($25.95) is a dark and suspenseful thriller.
Khaled Hosseini, author of the best-seller "The Kite Runner," returns with "A Thousand Splendid Suns," ($25.95) a sweeping epic about the lives of two women in Afghanistan.
On more general terms, Patrick Moore of Burke Used Books tends to lean towards some of the time-tested bestselling authors for Father’s Day. He believes a son or daughter can’t go wrong with Tom Clancy or John Grisham. For fathers who enjoy the science fiction genre, Moore suggests the works of Robert Heinlein and David Weber.
Kevin Paridy of McKay’s Used Books in Centreville, believes most fathers are looking for a good page-turner for Father’s Day — one that really gets the heart pumping.
“What I’ve seen gentlemen buy is a lot of crime and political thriller,” he said. “Just take a ‘guy movie’ — whatever the book version of that will be.”