Willie Geist's Reading List for Dads
"Dad Is Fat" by Jim Gaffigan
Just when you think you have it tough, along comes Gaffigan, a comedian who lives in a two-bedroom New York City apartment with his wife and five kids. Being a father is like joining a cult, he admits: You dress oddly, don't sleep, lose touch with your friends, and even recruit others to join you. If you want help learning to laugh through the tears that occasionally accompany parenthood, Gaffigan is your man.
"Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Parenthood" by Michael Lewis
It turns out that Lewis writes well about a lot more than baseball, Wall Street, and blind-side hits. He records what happened after the birth of each of his three children in this funny read. For example, he describes birth as "the sound of a hairless dog escaping from quicksand." Guys will find comfort learning that the daily life of fatherhood overwhelms even the likes of Lewis at times.
"After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story" by Michael Hainey
In one of my favorite reads, Hainey explores his family's history to solve the question: How did his dad die? Over the course of his suspenseful and ultimately heartbreaking investigation, Hainey finally gets to know his father. His story will make you think about your own relationship with your dad and just might encourage you to ask him any lingering questions while he's still here.
"Commando Dad: A Basic Training Manual for the First Three Years of Fatherhood" by Neil Sinclair
Written by an ex-commando in the British military, this book aptly compares the baby's arrival with the first gunshot in a long war. Chapters like "New Recruits: Surviving the First 24 Hours" and "Call the Medic: Basic First Aid and Unit Maintenance" teach how to be a dad -- and how to do it with military precision.
"Little League Confidential: One Coach's Completely Unauthorized Tale of Survival" by Bill Geist
My dad's 1992 best-seller remains, for many, the bible of guiding kids through the snake pit that is suburban Little League baseball (if the Bible were slightly less dry). To this day, I hear of people giving this book to new fathers because it explains so well the insane things we do for our children. Did I mention that the first chapter of the book is named "Willie"?
"The Godfather" by Mario Puzo
Criticize me if you will, but I like to consider myself the Vito Corleone of my household. When family matters arise, I summon my children to a dark room where I sit behind a large oak table dressed in a tuxedo and command the respect of my assembled rugrats. Replace bootlegging, gambling, and hit jobs with homework, karate, and tap dancing, and you have the plot of our family's story.
Originally published in the June 2014 issue of Parents magazine.