West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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Father's Day

In honor of Father's Day, read one of these true stories about fathers, their children, and their tales about where life has taken them.

To me, he was just dad : stories of growing up with famous fathers by Joshua David Stein

"My Father the Chef. My Father the Cult Leader. My Father the Duke. These men (Jacques Pepin, Saul Newton, and John Wayne, respectively) are among the famous-and infamous-fathers featured in To Me, He Was Just Dad, a collection of first-person essays written by the children of some of the world's most fascinating men. Though these men may be familiar to the reader, their children offer a unique, intimate view of them at their most unvarnished, through heartfelt reflections, charming anecdotes, and archival photographs. Christopher Reeve's son fondly recalls both the adventure-filled days spent copiloting Cessnas with his Superman father, and the ways in which their relationship deepened after Reeve's devastating accident. Evel Knievel's son, Robbie Knievel, reveals the mixture of fear and pride his father had in his son's desire to follow in his footsteps, beginning with jumping his mini-bike over his friends' ten-speeds to eventually succeeding where his father had failed, jumping the Caesars Palace fountains in Las Vegas. And Cesar Chavez's son shares the most important lesson his father ever taught him: "In the fight for justice, you only lose when you stop fighting-you only lose when you quit." Taken together, these and the many other stories featured here serve as a moving celebration of the profound role fathers can play in the lives of their children"--

Promise me, Dad : a year of hope, hardship, and purpose by Joseph R Biden

The former vice-president of the United States chronicles the difficult final year of his son's battle with cancer, his efforts to balance his responsibilities to the country and his family, and the lessons he learned

Gay like me : a father writes to his son by Richie Jackson

"When Richie Jackson's son born through surrogacy comes out to him at the age of 18, Richie - now in his 50s, a successful producer and happily married - feels compelled to write him a letter. Gay Like Me is both a celebration of gay identity and a sorrowful warning. Jackson talks of his own progress and growth as a gay man coming of age through decades of political and cultural change. We've come a long way, he argues: discrimination is now outlawed in most states, gay men and women can marry, and there are drugs available to protect against AIDS. His son is going to be living in a newly liberated America. However, he also argues that nothing can be taken for granted. Bigotry and hatred still exist, nurtured by a President who draws votes and support by stirring up fear of The Other, and excluding minorities and anyone who can be labelled 'an outsider'. A newly constituted Supreme Court could revoke laws and turn the clock back. The gay identity can be worn with pride, but gay citizens needs always to be aware that their gains are fragile. Like Between the World and Me, this is a response to our times, and will strike a powerful chord with anyone who cares about human rights and the importance of tolerance and social progress. Angry, proud, moved, tender, this is also a powerful letter of love from a father to a son, relevant to everyone"--

An odyssey : a father, a son, and an epic by Daniel Adam Mendelsohn

When eighty-one-year-old Jay Mendelsohn decides to enroll in the undergraduate Odyssey seminar his son teaches at Bard College, the two find themselves on an adventure as profoundly emotional as it is intellectual. For Jay, a retired research scientist who sees the world through a mathematician's unforgiving eyes, this return to the classroom is his "one last chance" to learn the great literature he'd neglected in his youth--and, even more, a final opportunity to more fully understand his son, a writer and classicist. But through the sometimes uncomfortable months that the two men explore Homer's great work together--first in the classroom, where Jay persistently challenges his son's interpretations, and then during a surprise-filled Mediterranean journey retracing Odysseus's famous voyages--it becomes clear that Daniel has much to learn, too: Jay's responses to both the text and the travels gradually uncover long-buried secrets that allow the son to understand his difficult father at last. As this intricately woven memoir builds to its wrenching climax, Mendelsohn's narrative comes to echo the Odyssey itself, with its timeless themes of deception and recognition, marriage and children, the pleasures of travel and the meaning of home. Rich with literary and emotional insight, An Odyssey is a renowned author-scholar's most triumphant entwining yet of personal narrative and literary exploration.

The Death of Santini : The Story of a Father and His Son by Pat Conroy

Chronicles the author's efforts to reconcile with his harsh fighter pilot father, who inspired "The Great Santini," recounting how at the end of his father's life, he defended the author from his critics while helping to heal family estrangements

Air traffic : a memoir of ambition and manhood in America by Gregory Pardlo

"From the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, his first work of prose: a deeply felt memoir of a family's bonds and a meditation on race, addiction, fatherhood, ambition, and American culture The Pardlos were an average, middle-class African American family living in a New Jersey Levittown: charismatic Gregory Sr., an air traffic controller, his wife, and their two sons, bookish Greg Jr. and musical-talent Robbie. But when "Big Greg" loses his job after participating in the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Strike of 1981, he becomes a disillusioned, toxic, looming presence in the household--and a powerful rival for young Greg. While Big Greg succumbs to addiction and exhausts the family's money, Greg Jr. rebels--he joins a boot camp for prospective Marines,follows a woman to Denmark, drops out of college again and again, and yields to alcoholism. Years later, he falls for a beautiful, no-nonsense woman named Ginger and becomes a parent himself. Then, he finally grapples with the irresistible yet ruinous legacy of masculinity he inherited from his father. In chronicling his path to recovery and adulthood--Gregory Pardlo gives us a compassionate, loving ode to his father, to fatherhood, and to the frustrating-yet-redemptive ties of family, as well as a scrupulous, searing examination of how African American manhood is shaped by contemporary American life"--

Manhood for amateurs : the pleasures and regrets of a husband, father, and son by Michael Chabon

Michael Chabon discusses his life, and what it means to be a man

Featherhood : a memoir of two fathers and a magpie by Charlie Samson Gilmour

"A beautiful, moving, and wildly original memoir of grief, healing, and fatherhood through the story of a young man who adopts a baby magpie"--

The puzzle solver : a scientist's desperate quest to cure the illness that stole his son by Tracie White

"For the past six years, Whitney Dafoe has been confined to a bedroom in the back of his parents' home, unable to walk, to eat, to speak. The sound of music causes him pain. At one point, the formerly healthy, young, freelance photographer, faced starvation as his 6'3" frame withered to 115 pounds. In desperation, Whitney and his parents went from one specialist to another, and still no answers. Then, finally, a diagnosis: the mysterious disease myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Whitney's story is heartbreaking, but it's also one of redemption. It reaches far beyond just one family's harrowing tale. Today, ME/CFS affects between 1 and 2.5 million Americans--and 20 million people around the world. Those afflicted largely suffer in silence because the disease is little known and much misunderstood. The question lingers still whether it even exists outside the patient's mind. Often disbelieved, they're abandoned by family and friends. They lose their jobs, and battle with insurance companies over rising medical costs as the chronic disease continues on year after year. In one way, Whitney has been lucky. He could reach out to his father, a world renowned, scientist, for answers. This book is the story of one father's desperate hunt for the insidious illness that stole his son away. Invisible follows Ron as he unravels the molecular trail within his own son's donated blood and genome, to began to find answers. He confirms this is a biological disease and uncovers new possibilities for treatments and potentially a cure. At its heart, Invisible is about more than just cutting edge research or a race to find the cure for ME/CFS--it's about the unbreakable bond between a father and his son, and the lengths to which a parent will go to save their child's life"--

Pops : fatherhood in pieces by Michael Chabon

"'Magical prose stylist' Michael Chabon (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times) delivers a collection of essays— heartfelt, humorous, insightful, wise— on the meaning of fatherhood. For the September 2016 issue of GQ, Michael Chabon wrote a piece about accompanying his son Abraham Chabon, then thirteen, to Paris Mens Fashion Week. Possessed with a precocious sense of style, Abe was in his element chatting with designers he idolized and turning a critical eye to the freshest runway looks of the season; Chabon Sr., whose interest in clothing stops at 'thrift-shopping for vintage western shirts or Her̈ms neckties,' sat idly by, staving off yawns and fighting the impulse that the whole thing was a massive waste of time. Despite his own indifference, however, what gradually emerged as Chabon ferried his son to and from fashion shows was a deep respect for his sons passion. The piece quickly became a viral sensation. With the GQ story as its centerpiece, and featuring six additional essays plus an introduction, Pops illuminates the meaning, magic, and mysteries of fatherhood as only Michael Chabon can." --

A better man : a (mostly serious) letter to my son by Michael Ian Black

"Michael Ian Black takes a poignant look at manhood, written in the form of a heartfelt letter to his teenage son before he leaves for college. Black offers a radical plea for rethinking masculinity and teaching young men to give and receive love"--

The words of my father : love and pain in Palestine by Yousef Khalil Bashir

In the Gaza Strip, growing up on land owned by his family for centuries, fourteen-year-old Yousef is preoccupied by video games, school pranks, and meeting his father's impossible high standards. Everything changes when the second Intifada erupts and soldiers occupy the family home, turning it into a virtual prison. Over time, Yosef learns the rules of his new life in captivity—but he can't anticipate that an Israeli bullet is about to transform his future in an instant

The boy who followed his father into Auschwitz : a true story of family and survival by Jeremy Dronfield

In 1939, Gustav Kleinmann, a Jewish upholsterer in Vienna, was seized by the Nazis. Along with his teenage son Fritz, he was sent to Buchenwald in Germany. There began an unimaginable ordeal that saw the pair beaten, starved, and forced to build the very concentration camp they were held in. When Gustav was set to be transferred to Auschwitz--a certain death sentence--Fritz refused to leave his side. Throughout the horrors they witnessed and the suffering they endured, there was one constant that kept them alive: the love between father and son

The deer camp : a memoir of a father, a family, and the land that healed them by Dean Kuipers

"For readers of The Stranger in the Woods and H Is for Hawk, a beautifully written and emotionally rewarding memoir about a father, his three sons, and a scrappy 100-acre piece of land in rural Michigan. Bruce Kuipers was good at hunting and fishing, butnot at anything else that makes a real father or husband. Distant, angry, and a serial cheater, he destroyed his relationship with his wife, Nancy, and alienated his three sons--journalist Dean, woodsman Brett, and troubled yet brilliant fisherman Joe. Hedistrusted people and clung to rural America as a place to hide. So when Bruce purchased a 100-acre hunting property as a way to reconnect with his sons, they resisted. The land was the perfect bait, but the moment the sons arrived, none of them knew howto be together as a family. Conflicts arose over whether the land--an old farm that had been degraded and reduced to a few stands of pine and blowing sand--should be left alone or be actively restored. After a decade-long impasse, Bruce acquiesced, and his sons proceeded with their restoration plan. What happened next was a miracle of nature. Dean Kuipers weaves a beautiful and surprising story about the restorative power of land and of his own family, which so desperately needed healing. Heartwarming and profound, The Deer Camp is the perfect story of fathers, sons, and the beauty and magic of the natural world"--

The boy who felt too much : how a renowned neuroscientist and his son changed our image of autism forever by Lorenz Wagner

"An international bestseller, the story behind Henry Markram's breakthrough theory about autism, and how a family's unconditional love led to a scientific paradigm shift. Henry Markram is the Elon Musk of neuroscience, the man behind the billion-dollar Blue Brain Project to build a supercomputer model of the brain. He has set the goal of decoding all disturbances of the mind within a generation. This quest is personal for him. The driving force behind his grand ambition has been his son Kai, who suffers from autism. Raising Kai made Henry Markram question all that he thought he knew about neuroscience, and then inspired his groundbreaking research that would upend the conventional wisdom about autism, expressed in his now-famous theory of the Intense World Syndrome. When Kai was first diagnosed, his father consulted studies and experts. He knew as much about the human brain as almost anyone but still felt as helpless as any parent confronted with this condition in his child. What's more, the scientific consensus that autism was a deficit of empathy didn't mesh with Markram's experience of his son. He became convinced that the disorder, which has seen a 657 percent increase in diagnoses over the past decade, was fundamentally misunderstood. Bringing his world-class research to bear on the problem, he devised a radical new theory of the disorder: People like Kai don't feel too little; they feel too much. Their senses are too delicate for this world"--

Mad, bad, dangerous to know : the fathers of Wilde, Yeats, and Joyce by Colm Tóibín

"Colm Tóibín begins his incisive, revelatory Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know with a walk through the Dublin streets where he went to university--a wide-eyed boy from the country--and where three Irish literary giants also came of age: Wilde, Yeats, and Joyce. Elegant, profound, and riveting, Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know illuminates not only the complex relationships between three of the greatest writers in the English language and their fathers, but also illustrates the surprising ways these men surface in their work. Through these stories of fathers and sons, Tóibín recounts the resistance to English cultural domination, the birth of modern Irish cultural identity, and the extraordinary contributions of these complex and masterful authors"--

My first coach : inspiring stories of NFL quarterbacks and their dads by Gary Myers

A look at the dynamics between quarterbacks and their fathers -- shows how these athletes took advantage of, or overcame, these relationships to find success

Nine lessons I learned from my father by Murray (Murray A Howe

Gordie Howe may have been the greatest player in the history of hockey, but greatness was never defined by goals or assists in the Howe household. Greatness meant being the best person you could be, not the best player on the ice. Unlike his two brothers, Murray Howe failed in his attempt to follow in his father's footsteps to become a professional athlete. Yet his failure brought him to the realization that his dream wasn't really to be a pro hockey player. His dream was to be his father. To be amazing at something, but humble and gracious. To be courageous, and stand up for the little guy. To be a hero. You don't need to be a hockey player to do that. What he learned was that it was a waste of time wishing you were like someone else

My first coach : inspiring stories of NFL quarterbacks and their dads by Gary Myers

A look at the dynamics between quarterbacks and their fathers -- shows how these athletes took advantage of, or overcame, these relationships to find success

Love that boy : what two presidents, eight road trips, and my son taught me about a parent's expectations by Ron Fournier

A uniquely personal story about the causes and costs of outsized parental expectations. What we want for our children--popularity, normalcy, achievement, genius--and what they truly need--grit, empathy, character--are explored by National Journal's Ron Fournier, who weaves his extraordinary journey to acceptance around the latest research on childhood development and stories of other loving-but-struggling parents

The return : fathers, sons, and the land in between by Hisham Matar

"In 2012, after the overthrow of Qaddafi, the acclaimed novelist Hisham Matar journeys to his native Libya after an absence of thirty years. When he was twelve, Matar and his family went into political exile. Eight years later Matar's father, a former diplomat and military man turned brave political dissident, was kidnapped from the streets of Cairo by the Libyan government and is believed to have been held in the regime's most notorious prison. Now, the prisons are empty and little hope remains that Jaballah Matar will be found alive. Yet, as the author writes, hope is "persistent and cunning." This book is a profoundly moving family memoir, a brilliant and affecting portrait of a country and a people on the cusp of immense change, and a disturbing and timeless depiction of the monstrous nature of absolute power"--

Finding my father : his century-long journey from WWI Warsaw--and my quest to follow by Deborah Tannen

"A New York Times bestselling author traces her father's life from turn-of-the-century Warsaw to bustling New York City in an intimate memoir about family, memory, and the stories we tell. Long before she was the acclaimed author of a groundbreaking bookabout women and men, and praised by Oliver Sacks as having "a novelist's ear for the way people speak," Deborah Tannen was a little girl who adored her father. Though he was often absent during her childhood, Deborah was profoundly influenced by his loveof language and gift for writing and storytelling. As she grew up and he grew old, she spent untold hours with her father, recording their conversations and taking notes. He handed her a journal he kept when he was young--and showed her another he said she could have after his death, all for the account of his life she promised him she'd write. In this memoir, Deborah fulfills her promise to her father, embarking on the poignant, yet perilous, quest to piece together the puzzle of her father's life. Beginning with his astonishingly vivid memories of the Hasidic community in Warsaw that he was born into in 1908, she traces his journey: arriving in New York City in 1920, he quit high school at fourteen to become sole support of his mother and sister, yet attended law school at night and eventually established the largest workmen's compensation practice in New York. In the intervening years, he became active in the Communist Party, then New York's Liberal Party, running for Congress on its ticket. As Deborahcomes to better understand her father's--and her own--relationship to Judaism, she also uncovers aspects of her father's life she would never have imagined. When she discovers letters from another woman he might have married, she is forced to rethink herassumptions about her parents' marriage. Finding My Father is a memoir of Eli Tannen's life and the ways it reflects the near century that he lived. But even more than that, it's about a daughter's struggle to see her father clearly, to know him more deeply, and to tell a more truthful story about her family and herself."--

Don't let me down : a father & daughter in 27 Beatles songs by Erin Hosier

How to build a boat : a father, his daughter, and the unsailed sea by Jonathan Gornall

British journalist Gornall beautifully documents the year he spent building a wooden boat for his young daughter. After being an absentee dad to his grown son, the 58-year-old hoped one day to teach his two-year-old to navigate, believing that "the sea is the sworn ally of imagination." Owning almost no tools and having no woodworking skills, Gornall, living on England's eastern coast, gave himself a crash course in boatbuilding from books and experts and bought what seemed at first an "utterly indecipherable" schematic plan with the hopes that he could finish the project in a year

I've been meaning to tell you : A letter to my daughter by David John Chariandy

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