Observation Post: The People Who Come and Ask a Lot of Questions and Then Go Away — Myanmar
Forrest Hamer and Surrendering to the Process of Discovery Through Language

Which Dad Are You?: Recommended Reading for Father’s Day

By Christian Coleman

Fathers Day wallpaper
Image credit: Sohryu22

This Sunday, it’s dad’s turn to be given his flowers—or tie or power tool or gift card. You get the idea. Our flowers come in the form of books, some of which are written by fathers. Books for the daddies and zaddies on their muscle-bound journey. For the House fathers taking the rejected queer kids under their wing. For the feminist dads who don’t want to go the way of the Kens in Barbie. For the fathers living from hustle to hustle to keep a roof over their loved ones’ heads. For the fathers who persevere in the face of the world’s horrors. For the fathers who love America more than any other country in the world and insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. For the dads who can’t get enough of their history fix. For the Daddies whose special bedroom community matches their freak. For the fathers worried about the natural world we’re leaving for the next generation. Whichever father or father figure you are, these books are for you.


And the Category Is pb

And the Category Is . . . : Inside New York’s Vogue, House, and Ballroom Community

“If you shadowed other gay Black fathers, or anyone in Ballroom for that matter, you’ll find that everyone’s theoretical approach to parenting is also primarily an iteration of that of their first and most formative role model—their mother . . . Within this culture, a quintessential act of masculinity (fathering) can be driven by classic femininity (mothering), and Black femininity in particular—the most marginalized group who again and again care for the greater good, the type of tender, put-upon yet persistent nurturers consistently known for and expected to save the world from itself.”
—Ricky Tucker 


Don't Look Left

Don’t Look Left: A Diary of Genocide

“Yasser [my son]—who, at 15, has only witnessed two wars so far—is still scarred by memories of the 2014 conflict. He was seven at the time, and remembers it all vividly. His younger sister Yaffa, who was only two, claims she remembers it, but when asked to describe it, it seems she is only describing videos she’s seen of the war. She also knows I talked a lot about her in my book, so has a kind of strange nostalgia for it. Memories of war are strangely positive, because to have them you must have survived.”
—Atef Abu Saif 



Drive: Scraping By in Uber’s America, One Ride at a Time

“I sat down and made a list of the pros and cons. Pro: I could choose my own hours to work. Cons: I was risking getting hurt in a car accident and I’d spend more money on gas, which would wreck my budget if I couldn’t make it work. I knew that working as a rideshare driver would beat up my vehicle, leave me sitting down for long periods in my car, and inevitably end with someone puking in my backseat. I tried not to think about phrases like ‘deep vein thrombosis’ and whether my life insurance policy would be enough for my son, Alex, to go to college.”
—Jonathan Rigsby 


Everybody's Protest Novel

Everybody’s Protest Novel: Essays

“I don’t think that the Negro problem in America can be even discussed coherently without bearing in mind its context; its context being the history, traditions, customs, the moral assumptions and preoccupations of the country; in short, the general social fabric. Appearances to the contrary, no one in America escapes its effects and everyone in America bears some responsibility for it. I believe this the more firmly because it is the overwhelming tendency to speak of this problem as though it were a thing apart.”
—James Baldwin, from “Autobiographical Notes” 


Junk Raft

Junk Raft: An Ocean Voyage and a Rising Tide of Activism to Fight Plastic Pollution

“The Junk would be my eighth raft. In my journal, I sketched elongated pontoons of plastic bottles wrapped in fishing nets, poles lashed across the deck, a cabin that looks like a giant doghouse, and a square sail billowing in the wind. Plastic bottles are an ideal boatbuilding material. Seemingly unsinkable, they’re tough, UV-resistant, and designed to last on store shelves for decades. Having been sold the idea that bottled water is better than tap water, consumers bought more of it than milk and beer by the 1990s, and by the turn of the twenty-first century, they paid more for it than gasoline. Today, water packaged in plastics that may contain leached plasticizers and microplastic fibers is likely bottled locally, despite pictures of mountains and waterfalls on the labels, and the industry has complete freedom from any standard of quality, unlike free water from your tap. Plastic bottles are plentiful on roadsides and beaches. They’re floating down rivers and bobbing across oceans. If you puncture one on your raft, there’s likely another one floating by.”
—Marcus Eriksen 


Life As Jamie Knows It

Life As Jamie Knows It: An Exceptional Child Grows Up

“When Jamie was still little, it meant everything to us to meet parents with older kids, parents who could give us some details on it might be OK after all and (or but) you never know. Now that Janet and I are in the position of parents-with-older-kids, we try to return the favor: your mileage may vary, but our journey has been more complex and wonderful than we could have dreamed. We take deep joy from narratives like that of the man who was initially so distraught by the idea of having a child with Down syndrome that he could not talk to us about it—and has since found (you never know!) that his child is charming, beautiful, and the light of his life.”
—Michael Bérubé 


Natural pb

Natural: How Faith in Nature’s Goodness Leads to Harmful Fads, Unjust Laws, and Flawed Science

“Here’s the difficulty: when our culture is shot through with nature worship, talking about the value of natural birth seems like tacit endorsement of that religion. It doesn’t have to. Nature is not the ultimate source of value, in birth or anything else. “Natural” is not synonymous with beautiful, healthy, true, or good. Once freed from this theological understanding of nature, it becomes possible to discuss the potential benefits of natural childbirth—and there are many—without evangelizing obedience to nature. It also becomes possible to state clearly the benefits of unnatural childbirth—and there are many—without being labeled a heretic.”
—Alan Levinovitz 


The Patriarchs

The Patriarchs: The Origins of Inequality

“Older, wealthier free men would eventually come to rule over their households, elite men would come to rule over their states, and powerful gods would rule over them all, the same way that the English political theorist Robert Filmer would go on to describe in his Patriarcha in the seventeenth century. After the start of classical antiquity in this part of the world, around 800 BCE, male domination would become the social norm. It would weed its way into people’s minds, warping how they thought about themselves—and about human nature itself.”
—Angela Saini 


Reconsidering Reagan

Reconsidering Reagan: Racism, Republicans, and the Road to Trump

“Reagan harbored the myopic view that with the passage of the landmark civil rights legislation of the 1960s, which he, of course, had opposed, America was now ‘a color-blind’ society whose doors were open to African Americans as long as they took ‘the initiative to walk on through.’ Reagan’s preposterous notion that America had ever transcended racism remains a staple of the conservative zeitgeist.”
—Daniel S. Lucks 



Swole: The Making of Men and the Meaning of Muscle

“One thing you’ll notice after reading a century’s worth of men lamenting the ‘crisis’ of dwindling masculinity is that, in many ways, masculinity itself is the crisis: this fitful obsession with living up to an inheritance of standards that feels distorted beyond reason or recognition, the absurd conclusion of a game of telephone strung over millennia of men.”
—Michael Andor Brodeur 


When Time Is Short

When Time Is Short: Finding Our Way in the Anthropocene

“I wonder, do kids have that sense more than we adults do? What if growing up is about learning to forget that uneasy, half-conscious knowledge of the unbearable precariousness of being human in a here-today-gone-tomorrow world? Maybe, over the years, we gradually learn to deny such mortal unease, building moments of experience into a big story, a story of where we’ve been and where we’re going, which provides a kind of narrative bridge to block our view of the abyss we daily cross.”
—Timothy Beal

Fathers Day wallpaper


About the Author 

Christian Coleman is the digital marketing manager at Beacon Press and editor of Beacon Broadside. Before joining Beacon, he worked in writing, copy editing, and marketing positions at Sustainable Silicon Valley and Trikone. He graduated from Boston College and the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. Follow him on Twitter at @coleman_II and on Bluesky at @colemanthe2nd.bsky.social.