It’s that time of year. When grad caps and advice is flyin’! When we’re reminded to “Go confidently in the direction of [our] dreams and live the life [we’ve] have imagined.” (Rachel, are we doing it wrong?) So we’ve come out of unintentional hiding to share a few timely picks for your shiny grad or for your awesome book-lovin’ dad.
Very Good Lives by J.k. Rowling
I gave these words of wisdom from the girl who grew up to write Harry Potter to Rachel’s grad girls (along with Whatever You Choose to Be). Cash inside the cover may have created more stir. This book began as a commencement address given to Harvard grads in 2008—boy, they were the lucky ones. Rowling’s words are emotive; they had a profound impact on me as I read about how to embrace failure, and how to use my imagination to improve myself and others. This is fantastic for grads, or everyone honestly.
Whatever You Choose To Be by Ann Romney
The former Lady of Massachusetts and all-around rock star role model, Ann Romney, imparted eight key life lessons in a commencement address she gave just two years ago. She gives honest and inspirational advice she wishes someone would have offered her for the road ahead, after college graduation. I trust Romney. I’ve met her several times and I’m always impressed by how sharp she is and I’m astonished by how firmly her feet remain on the ground.
Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard
I just gave Destiny of the Republic to one smart dad and he reported back that he’s lovin’ it! This New York Times best seller is an extraordinary account of James Garfield’s improbable rise to the American Presidency. He triumphed over abject poverty, political corruption, and medical challenges. One reviewer gushed, “One of the many pleasures of Candice Millard’s Destiny of the New Republic is that she brings poor Garfield to life—and a remarkable life it was…fascinating…Millard has written us a penetrating human tragedy.”
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
Why haven’t I written a throw-back post about this compelling book? If your pops hasn’t read what has been called the best civil war novel ever written, he’s in for an unforgettable read. Years ago, I found myself turning pages of Shaara’s Pulitzer-prize winning novel about the battle at Gettysburg deep into the lightless morning hours in lieu of REM sleep. How many historical novels can do that to a gifted sleeper? I’d like to re-read The Killer Angels when time and I become friends again.
*If you're looking for a more recent read for your dad, we're hearing good things about Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.