Father’s Day Gift Guide

It can be hard to buy for the father in your life, whether that’s your own father, the father of your children or just a father figure. Most gift-buying guides are heavily influenced by product placement. Not here! In this guide, I offer you my 100% personally tested recommendations. I’m pretty confident there is something on this list for everyone. Without further ado, let’s get started:

Grill Grates

It’s hard to oversell these. Grill Grates have revolutionized meals at our house. I’ve always been a fantastic griller (rumor has it I was once named Best Griller in Indianapolis) but Grill Grates take it to another level. For men who enjoy grilling out, this is the absolute best gift you can purchase. Even better, it’s really a gift for the whole family! grillgrate

Shoe Horn

Just get the man a decent shoe horn already. He won’t know how much he wanted one until after he has one. This is perfect. ae shoe horn

Dr. Squatch Soap (formerly Sasquatch Soap)

Is the male in your home surrounded by females? Does he begrudgingly use flowery soaps and fortified shampoos because you’re unwilling to let him have anything of his own in the shower? Give him back his dignity. Give him Dr. Squatch soap. drsquatch

RibbedTee Undershirts (previously reviewed here)

You know what men hate? Undershirts that fit poorly. You know what they can’t find? Reasonable undershirts that fit well. Spend money on things you use the most every day. For men, one of those things is undershirts. These are the best. Also, if he wears white shirts, get him a grey undershirt; it won’t show through. Oh, and V-neck, of course. You probably knew that, though. RibbedTee

Butcher’s Crossing by John Stoner

Can your man read? Then he will love this book. Set in the 1870’s, it’s about a tenderfoot who decides to take part in a buffalo hunt before they’re all gone. This is a book for every man. Guaranteed. butchers-crossing

American Giant Hoodie Sweatshirt

American Giant makes the best sweatshirts on the planet. Fact. He’ll be able to hand this one down to the grandkids eventually and it will still be bulletproof. Yes, it’s expensive for a hooded sweatshirt. It’s also the only one you’ll ever buy again. This one will feel amazing, last forever, and make him feel great every time he wears it. Or you could buy 3 cheap sweatshirts that he won’t much care for and won’t really enjoy. Don’t do that. Get this one instead. american-giant-main

For everyone else: Bill Murray

You’re telling me NONE of the above would interest him? You’re kidding, right? Well in that case, get him one of these prints and put it in a frame. Done. bill murray If you think he wouldn’t like any of these suggestions, just try one anyway. Odds are that you don’t have the slightest damn clue what men like. If he doesn’t like any of these options, check his chromosomes and be sure the Y is actually there. Happy Father’s Day!

Update: One final thought is to find out which apps he uses the most and then buy him the paid version to get additional features and remove ads. It will be the best $1-5 ever spent for him.

*Note: I have not received any compensation/goods in exchange for my priceless recommendations. 


Read This: Stoner by John Williams


“In his forty-third year William Stoner learned what others, much younger, had learned before him: that the person one loves at first is not the person one loves at last, and that love is not an end but a process through which one person attempts to know another.” ― John Edward Williams, Stoner

The three novels written by John Williams should be required reading for everyone. Stoner is the one I read first and perhaps for that reason, still love best. It is the life story of a young man sent to college to learn new farming techniques; instead, he falls in love with literature and becomes a professor. He has a disappointing marriage and a beloved daughter who is turned against him.

He watches young men sent off to two world wars, grows old, lives into his profession. This story is not about revealing plot but character. Williams observes the minutiae of Stoner’s life with a poet’s eye and is able to make even the simplest gestures express so much.

This book is wonderfully written. If you think a book with a sparse plot about a literature professor’s life sounds boring, let me assure you it is anything but that. In his keen observation, Williams reveals truths about the human spirit and our role in the universe that stay with me like a rock in my shoe, provoking me to reconsider its ideas just when I think they’ve finally been tossed loose.

“It’s not what a movie is about, it’s how it is about it.” -Roger Ebert

As Ebert indicates, a movie (or book) about any subject, no matter how fascinating it sounds on the surface, can be crushingly dull if not done well. Likewise, a film (or book) about even the most ordinary daily routines can be transcendent in the right hands.

Fortunately for us, the life of William Stoner teaches us vivid truths about the human condition through a novel with a plot that would not be described as ‘exciting’. Don’t let that stop you; the prose of John Williams is often breathtaking and will stay with you long after that last page is turned.

Stoner is written in the most plainspoken of styles….Its hero is an obscure academic who endures a series of personal and professional agonies. Yet the novel is utterly riveting, and for one simple reason: because the author, John Williams, treats his characters with such tender and ruthless honesty that we cannot help but love them.
— Steve Almond, Tin House

Additional reading about Stoner:

TL;DR: Stoner by John Williams is an astonishing masterpiece that should be read by everyone.