Last year I gave my dad Green Hills of Africa and felt like a genius. Pops has never touched any heavy literary stuff, but I figured for sure a book on hunting would hook him on an author I love. “Get through some of the philosophical stuff in the early chapters,” I told him. “You’ll love the kudu hunt in the second half. He even shoots a rhino.” A few days later I got a text: “Couldn’t get through Hills. I’d rather just read my own notes on the woods.”

Jesus, Dad.

Barring the rare outlier, most of the time, good writing can be appreciated by all kinds of people. Some books “define a generation,” others speak broadly. It’s in this latter category that you and your dad can bond over books. So we took the best intergeneration books from our “Best Books of Summer” series. Yeah, he may read something about the Kent State shootings for an entirely different reason than you, but that’s part of the beauty of connecting over literature. And if he doesn’t like it — well, maybe you’ll find out something about him you didn’t know, like that he’s been writing about the woods himself. – Chris Wright

Editor’s Note: The following short reviews have been selected from our picks of the best fiction and nonfiction books of the summer.
the-sport-of-kings-gear-patrol The Sport of Kings
C. E. Morgan

The Forges, one of Kentucky’s most powerful families, are trying to breed their own Secretariat, a superhorse to shatter every record. Soon a black man comes to work on their farm, causing a clash between present-day morals and the family’s slave-owning past. $17

barkskins-gear-patrol Barkskins
Annie Proulx

This is a doorstopper, the master work of Proulx — a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. The story follows two poor young Frenchmen who become woodcutters in New France, working under a feudal lord. The book then follows their descendants for the next 300 years, showing how the destruction of a once “infinite” resource impacts the world today. $22 (Out June 14)

the-fireman-gear-patrol The Fireman
Joe Hill

The fourth novel from Stephen King’s son, Joseph Hillstrom King (who writes under the pen name of Joe Hill), was inspired by a childhood obsession with spontaneous combustion. In The Fireman, a plague known as Dragonscale is spreading across the world. Victims break out in black and gold rashes before combusting, burning up everything around them. But the protagonist, a nurse named Harper, finds out about “The Fireman,” a man who learned to control Dragonscale and harness its power. $17

summer-reading-list-gear-patrol-what-if-were-wrong But What If We’re Wrong? Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past
Chuck Klosterman

Klosterman, former Ethicist at The New York Times Magazine and author of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and I Wear the Black Hat, writes about how our contemporary world will be remembered as we move far into the future. Topics like gravity, time, rock music and sports are explored through interviews with thinkers as varied as Neil deGrasse Tyson, Junot Díaz and Dan Carlin, written with Klosterman’s casual humor and extreme nerdiness. $17

summer-reading-list-gear-patrol-fav-band Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me: What Pop Music Rivalries Reveal About the Meaning of Life
Steven Hyden

Former Grantland/A.V. Club music critic Steven Hyden places great pop music rivalries — Hendrix vs. Clapton, Beatles vs. Stones, Biggie vs. Tupac — within the context of society as a whole. Each chapter is a different rivalry, young and old, and each rivalry is a product of its listeners and its environment in the American consciousness. $12

summer-reading-list-gear-patrol-67-shots 67 Shots: Kent State and the End of American Innocence
Howard Means

On May 4, 1970, a decade of friction boiled over on the campus on Kent State, leaving four students dead and nine wounded. Using the university’s recently available oral-history collection, and re-interviewing witnesses firsthand, Means retells the events of May 4 and places them in the larger context of the end of the ’60s. $20