Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Essential Reading: Father’s Day

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Photo by Daiga Ellaby. See more of Daiga's work at instagram.com/daiga_ellaby

Photo by Daiga Ellaby. See more of Daiga's work at instagram.com/daiga_ellaby

We are honoring fathers with our reading recommendations this month. Interestingly, two of the books are set to the background of nature and it's preservation, which makes it even more important that you add them to your reading list. Check out our final recommendation too for something totally different.

Meredith Porretta, Photo Editor and Blog Editor, found her own relationships were affected by this book: "Spanning the years between the 1950s-70s in Portland, Oregon, The River Why by David James Duncan provides insight on the relationship dynamics of a son, father, brother, and the women who (sometimes) lovingly put up with them all. In this coming of age tale, a young man begins to wonder about his own purpose in an ecosystem as a son, partner, and potential father. The story is tough, tender, and a bit ahead of its time as the protagonist, Gus, navigates the meandering mystery of a river adjusting to human interruption. Fed up with his father, Gus leaves home to gain understanding of the ebb and flow of nature, the damage it endures by modern man, and it's refusal to become obsolete in a time where the concept of climate change is only beginning to surface. The reader gets a glimpse of what society deems as 'male' in the form of a story about love, obsession with fishing, and it's various methodologies and philosophies. Now, as I sit by a river with my 10- and 12-year-old sons, I see that this story has helped me shape my own communication styles with the three men in my household and my sons' father so that we can enjoy positive, supportive relationships. The River Why gives hope of this continuing into the future, as my boys discover their own place on earth."

Amanda Jaros, Editor-in-chief, suggests this title, which may make you want to try a more simple kind of living (and parenting) in the wild: "Michael P. Branch’s Raising Wild is a thoughtful and hilarious collection of essays about fatherhood and family. The collection centers around Branch's experiences inhabiting an 'open, wild country of extreme beauty' in the desert wilderness of Nevada. He retreats to live in nature not as a solitary nature writer the likes of Abbey, Thoreau, or Muir, but rather with the company of his wife and two young daughters. He understands that the domestic and the wild are not mutually-exclusive and 'wildness is inherent both to parenting and to children.' He writes of his visceral bodily experiences in response to his wife's pregnancy, teaching his daughters to climb mountains, and dealing with pack rats taking over his property. All the essays have a hint of humor, and a lot of humility, but 'My Child's First Garden,' a story that includes antelope ground squirrels, coyote piss, and one man's unwavering arrogance that he can tame the desert to grow tomatoes, is one of the funniest things I have ever read. Branch's dedication to his children and love for his landscape is evident on every page, and I recommend this great read not just for fathers, but for all parents."

Finally, Social Media Editor Abigail Lalonde shares this one: "If you're looking for a Father's Day gift for a Gen X-er, Millennial, or a music enthusiast, I highly recommend Beastie Boys Book written by the remaining two Beastie Boys Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz. The two catalog the history of the band through funny, sweet, and honest stories. They speak from the heart about a plethora of topics including growing up in New York City, their treatment of women in both lyrics and life during the eighties, and fellow Beastie Adam Yauch (AKA MCA) who passed away from cancer in 2012. Much of the book is a chronological telling of the history of the band, which in itself is fascinating, but it's so much more than that. The generous 590-page volume is thick with nostalgia in words and pictures with stories and photos of touring with Madonna, a party at Dolly Parton's house, and evolving as a band in both music and friendship. The audio version is a wonderful companion to the written text with a slew of guest narrators such as Rachel Maddow, Bette Midler, Steve Buscemi, and Tim Meadows."

What books would you love your father, husband or son to read? We'd love to hear your recommendations in the comments or tweet us @LiteraryMama. You can also follow us on Instagram @Literary_Mama and Goodreads for more recommendations.


Nerys Copelovitz is a British born marketing writer and mother of three who now lives in Israel. Her writing on parenting and living in a hot spot can be found in the Times of Israel, Grown and Flown, Scary Mommy and Kveller. When not sweating over a hot keyboard, or stove, she likes to read and swim, though not in tandem.


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