Let’s be real here: the best gift you and the family could probably get Dad this Father’s Day is to leave him alone. But if you’re determined grab him a token of your appreciation, even after he’s said “I don’t need anything” for the 10th time, we’ve done what we usually do to lend you a hand: test out a bunch of gear, figure out what’s good, then report back with the things we think your gift recipient might actually like.
Whether you’re celebrating your dad, a dad, or you’re a dad yourself trying to give others an idea of what to get you, we’ve curated a sampling of last-minute Father’s Day gift ideas below.
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An Ars-approved book he can nestle into
Any number of books could hold Dad’s attention, but if you need a prompt, a few works we at the Ars Orbiting HQ have recently reviewed positively do the job.
Project Hail Mary, for one, is the latest from The Martian author Andy Weir, and like that hit, it’s about a lone human in a desperate space-based predicament who must solve problems with science. Here, though, the fate of the Solar System is at stake, and our hero is accompanied by an unexpected partner. In many ways, it’s like a buddy movie, with snappy dialogue, unpretentious prose, and a consistent commitment to logic and science. (Not surprisingly, it soon will be a movie, with First Man Ryan Gosling in the lead role.) Don’t expect a rich character study, but if Dad was into The Martian as a film or a novel, Project Hail Mary should be a treat. And when he’s done, Dad can read the 5,000-word screed on xenolinguistics the book inspired in my colleague Lee Hutchinson.
For a nonfiction pick, we recently praised Press Reset: Ruin and Recovery in the Video Game Industry, the latest from investigative video game journalist Jason Schreier. Being into games helps with this one, but at its core, Press Reset is a breezy yet impactful web of stories that connects working people—the people who make the games we play yet are punished by the rampant instability of a capricious industry. Inside you’ll find all the expected dramatic anecdotes from a book that digs into the internal stresses of big-money gaming companies. But amid the tales of high human cost, Schreier leaves room for real-world nuggets of optimism and potentially healthier paths forward. For those interested in gaming or the state of modern labor in general, Press Reset is both entertaining and illuminating.
Finally, for the gearheads among us, consider A Medium-sized Book of Boring Car Trivia from the satirical British motoring site Sniff Petrol. It is… more or less exactly what the title suggests, minus the “boring” part. It’s brief, and, unsurprisingly, a bit Eurocentric, but nevertheless loaded with fascinating anecdotes about car names, prototypes, engines, and the like. To give you an idea, one bit describes how Ford Edsel dealers got saddled (ahem) with taking care of nearly 1,000 literal ponies. For less than $6, it’s a fun and witty little dive for car nerds hungry for new party trivia. If it goes down well, note that Sniff Petrol recently released a second volume with even more motoring obscurities.
—Jeff Dunn, Senior Commerce Editor
Ars Approved Books
A tumbler suited for a bartender or an expeditionist
High Camp Flasks
Whether Dad likes to camp, hike, golf, or just go for nice picnics, a High Camp Flask is an excellent companion for hydration or libation. Twenty-four-hour hot-and-cold tumblers have become relatively common among millennials, but these particular flasks are designed more for sitting down and enjoying a drink, solo or with others, than replacing a plastic water bottle.
Coming in either 750 ml (enough to hold a bottle of wine) or 325 ml sizes, the 750 ml seamlessly incorporates two magnetically attached cups onto its ends, while the 325 ml has just one. The magnets’ grip on the cups is satisfying and strong, and in our use, the cups only came off when we deliberately removed them. The design is classy and feels durable, too, being forged of stainless steel in bronze, silver, or gunmetal and fashioned in the style of a six-shooter. It’s a great look, somewhere between professional bartender and Bear Grylls adventurer, that adds grip and style to the cups and the flask’s overall aesthetic.
Beyond that, you can get a custom engraving, and the company says it dedicates 3 percent of its product cost to 10 nonprofits, including Black Lives Matter, Earthjustice, and Defenders of Wildlife. The engravings look and feel well-done and can include pictures and text. Plus, as of this writing, several of the flasks are on sale for Father’s Day.
—Corey Gaskin, Senior Commerce Writer