Fathers play huge roles in our lives. From childhood to adulthood, they shape who we are. There are funny dads, brilliant dads, troubled dads and sometimes absent dads. In honor of fatherhood and as we continue our celebration of Audiobook Month this June, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite audiobooks by or about some remarkable fathers.
Published in 1995, Dreams From My Father is a compelling memoir of a young civil rights attorney and activist from Chicago. Of course, this man is now president. Which is all the more reason to pick up this audio edition, which garnered a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album in 2006 for the Commander in Chief. While President Obama writes about his life and upbringing with his mother and grandparents, he also delves into his visit to Kenya, his father’s homeland, after his father’s death.
Last year Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me took the book world by storm. With this brief and searing memoir, written as a letter to his teenage son, journalist Coates has written a modern classic that speaks powerfully to our current cultural conversations around race (e.g. the Black Lives Matter movement). If you’ve already read Between the World and Me, check out The Beautiful Struggle, in which Coates writes about his own father.
Jumping from the inspiring to the unfortunate, we have A Wolf at the Table. Bestselling author Augusten Burroughs, best known for Running with Scissors, presents a scathing memoir about his relationship with his father. Burroughs’ narration is praised by Library Journal, “In audiobook form, Burroughs's memoir is an unforgettable experience that will resonate with many.”
Michael Hainey’s father, a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, died under mysterious circumstances when Hainey was a young boy. His death haunted him his whole life. In After Visiting Friends, he chronicles his search to find answers and come to terms with the loss of his father and what that meant to his life. Library Journal highly recommended the audio edition, noting, “This compelling memoir is read by Dan John Miller, whose voices, pacing and talent for conveying nuance and emotion bring Hainey's text to life.”
Let’s lighten things up with a funny dad. Stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan writes about being the father of five in Dad Is Fat. AudioFile Magazine gave high marks for the narration, “Gaffigan's performance strikes the right balance between his near-deadpan comedy delivery and the energy needed to keep a beleaguered parent engaged… This fun listen will help parents remember that suffering and laughing are both part of the deal when you're raising young children.”
Finally, to say that Alexander Hamilton is having a moment would be an understatement. Ron Chernow's biography of this founding father (see what I did there?) inspired the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton. Give a listen to this solid biography before you see the show.