father's day

The Best Father’s Day Book Gifts, According to Independent Booksellers

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

It can feel like you’re stumbling through a labyrinth when searching for the perfect book for Father’s Day. One of the best people for advice is an expert: a bookseller, whose knowledge can steer you through. But as the big day is fast approaching — now little over a week away — you might not have the time to venture out to your local store (and may be tempted to succumb to a doomscroll on Amazon instead). We’ve reached out to booksellers across the country to compile a list of thoughtfully curated reads sure to delight many types of dad. Below each pick, we’ve included the last date when you can order each book for guaranteed delivery before Sunday, June 19, as well as a link to shop from an independent bookseller. So whether your dad upgraded his Sky package to watch crime soaps on Alibi or knows a huge amount about World War II, read on for a recommendation that should delight him.

For the dad who’s watched World War II in Colour ten times

For dads with a keen interest in World War II, Tara Spinks at London-based Lutyens and Rubinstein recommends this book by historian and broadcaster Peter Caddick-Adams. It takes personal accounts and memoirs of fighters to create a “specific, detailed, vivid lived experience of the last 100 days of the war,” says Spinks. “Even for the dads that know the name of every battle, this is really going to a new level, showing what the men on the ground were seeing, with the type of accounts not many people have previously had access to.”

Last date to purchase: June 16.

For another truly specific read, Bryan Alwyn of Liverpool’s Kernaghan Books recommends Lloyd’s Second World War (Volume 1). Featuring precise accounts of “British, Allied and Neutral Merchant Vessels sunk or destroyed” during the war, the book contains the sort of rarely seen detail to impress dads who have read it all.

Last date to purchase: June 13.

For sports-obsessive dads (and not just football fans)

Spinks recommends this novel, based loosely on basketball star LeBron James. It follows the lives and complicated friendship of white Jewish sports nerd Brian Blum and Black future NBA star Marcus Hayes, pulling together what Spinks calls a brilliant tale of “sport, friendship and what it is to be second best.” She also thinks The Sidekick is particularly interesting for its handling of race, and because there simply “aren’t that many books about male friendship.”

Last date to purchase: June 16.

For dads who are less keen on fiction, Alwyn suggests this special collection of Sports Weekly magazines. The book features 48 issues of the magazine bound together, covering a wide range of sports (predominantly football). It also features some deliciously retro ads.

Last date to purchase: June 10.

For the dad eagerly anticipating a Jack Wills comeback

For dads who are fans of what Nomad Books’ Grace Barber deems the “finer things in life,” the London-based bookseller recommends Ralph Lauren’s Polo Shirt. “Filled with glossy photographs of the full range of the colours, styles, and celebrity-wearers of the polo over 50 years,” this is an easy win, according to Barber, as a gift for a dad who appreciates traditional, preppy style. And if your dad is a fan of beautifully shot coffee table books like this, you can read our guide to 24 more highly giftable ones here.

Last date to purchase: June 16.

For the dad who doesn’t need a map at Glastonbury

“Jarvis has always had some definite Big Dad Energy — and anyone who came of age in the late ’90s will know that he somehow makes the uncool deeply cool,” says Spinks. Cocker manages to take the book’s conceit of a rummage in his loft and turn it into “an enlightening memoir and a reflection on life, music, art and everything beyond.” Despite its title, Cocker’s book gets into more than music and ticket stubs. You learn his thoughts on growing up in the ’70s, writing cringy books of dreadful jokes, and how many packets of Wrigley’s gum can be found in one man’s attic. A slight twist on a classic memoir for dads who are all autobiography-d out.

Last date to purchase: June 16.

For the dad who guessed the end of Broadchurch

Not only is it set by the seaside, but Cecily Gayford’s collection of short stories is perfect for “dipping into on the beach or while travelling this summer,” says Barber. Stories from popular mystery writers such as Dorothy L. Sayers, Cyril Hare, and Margery Allingham should keep dad glued to the page.

Last date to purchase: June 16.

For the dad who still misses Top Gear

This cultural history of the car should distract your dad from lamenting the BBC’s loss of Jeremy Clarkson. “Appleyard looks back to the heyday of automobiles and remembers some more unusual instances such as Kanye West’s ‘chopped’ Maybach and Elvis Presley’s fleet of a hundred Cadillacs,” Barber says. But the book looks forward as well as back: “Appleyard is ultimately interested in whether this way of life as we currently know it is coming to an end — is there a future for cars?”

Last date to purchase: June 16.

For the dad who enjoyed Percy Jackson just as much as you

For Spinks’s own folktale-loving husband — and father to her 2-year-old — she’ll be gifting Storyland, a collection of British legends retold by Amy Jeffs. “We all know the Greek myths or the Roman myths, but the British myths are also really interesting, yet not so well known at all,” says Spinks. As well as retelling the tales, Jeffs documents the evocative experience of visiting each site in which the tales are set — including the sacred monument of Stonehenge — adding a level of authenticity throughout the collection. Before you purchase, however, Spinks does warn that several of the tales include plenty of gore, so it’s more suited to a dad with a stronger stomach.

Last date to purchase: June 16.

The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

The Best Father’s Day Book Gifts, According to Booksellers