The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth
Medical historian Thomas Morris examines some bizarre and cringe-inducing cases from the past, including the title mystery, which was exactly what it sounds like: people’s teeth were exploding. Other cases include a woman who peed through her nose and a soldier who operated on his own bladder stone. These stranger-than-fiction tales offer more than oddball anecdotes, but teach us a lot about the progression of medicine and the blunders that have gotten us to where we are.
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
Monty Python luminary and brilliant comic actor Eric Idle brings us tales from his extraordinary life, including run-ins with the likes of George Harrison, Queen Elizabeth, Mick Jagger, Steve Martin, Carrie Fisher, David Bowie, Paul Simon, and—of course—that ragtag troupe of geniuses who changed comedy (and the world) forever.
In the Hurricane's Eye
For all things nautical, you can never go wrong with Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea, Mayflower, and Valiant Ambition. His latest tells the story of Washington’s stroke of brilliance in defeating the British in the Battle of the Chesapeake without the use of a single American ship, and how that decisive victory lead to the success of the American Revolution.
A Darker Sea
James L. Haley
In what may be viewed as a sequel to In the Hurricane’s Eye, but is actually a sequel to The Shores of Tripoli, James L. Haley’s A Darker Sea picks up after the American Revolution and focuses on the buildup to the War of 1812. Commander Putnam takes charge of the USS Tempest and leads his men into an unforgettable battle with the enormously formidable British Navy.
Only a writer like Shteyngart could take the story of Barry, a mega-rich hedge fund manager who abandons his wife and child in New York to head on an absurd, reliving-the-glory-days road trip and turn it into an emotional journey filled with all kinds of perceptive points about American life. There’s some Fitzgerald in there (Barry’s hedge fund is called This Side of Capital) and a little of Tom Wolfe, but Lake Success is quintessentially Shteyngartian. Which means, for those uninitiated, brilliant.
I Am Dynamite!
German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s ideas radically changed the world, sometimes in ways he never intended. From the Nazis’ gross misappropriations to Ayn Rand’s heartless exaggeration, Sue Prideaux takes the reader through not only the life of one of the world’s most iconoclastic thinkers, but of his subversive ideas that have coursed through history.
Joseph J. Ellis
Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning historian Joseph J. Ellis asks one simple question in his latest book: what would the founding fathers think of America today? The result is American Dialogue, a fascinating tour through the minds of America’s authors that sheds light on the divisive conflicts of the present day.
Titans of History
Simon Sebag Montefiore
Martin Luther King, Jr., Albert Einstein, Catherine the Great, Anne Frank, Elvis Presley, Jesus Christ, and William Shakespeare: these are just some of the figures who appear in Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Titans of History, a collection of pieces examining the major players on history’s grand stage.
Wayne and Ford
The iconic pair who made The Searchers, Rio Grande, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance worked together for two decades before their friendship ended in 1960. In Wayne and Ford, Nancy Schoenberger illuminates the bond between filmmaker John Ford and star John Wayne, and how their films defined a genre and indelibly influenced culture.
We all know dads love John Grisham—need we say more? OK, OK. Grisham’s newest novel takes place in 1940s Mississippi, where a WWII vet walks into his church one day and shoots his pastor and friend. More perplexing is that the man won’t explain why he did it. The Reckoning is both vintage Grisham while also a deeper exploration than Dad might expect.
Fathers are notoriously hard to shop for, but really, who isn’t? And anyway, all dads are different: some love the conventional dad subjects—sports, war, and presidential biographies—while others take on all sorts of eclectic topics. Here at Read It Forward, we put together a list of books for dad with subjects ranging from medical history to film and philosophy (and yes, some presidential war stories) that should appeal to any type of father out there. Either way, they’re definitely better than another tie, or an ergonomic snow shovel, or whatever you were thinking about getting him.
Editor: Eliza Smith; Featured Image: Matt McCarty