A reminder that Father's Day is June 17 and that we're here to help. Instead of waiting till the last minute to buy another tie, try a title instead.
"Baseball Between Us: A Road Map to a Winning Father/Son Relationship" by Mike Luery, with Matt Luery (Sleuth, $17.95, 303 pages): For this "baseball travelogue," father Mike Luery and son Matt Luery visited 32 Major League Baseball stadiums over a 16-year period, bonding as they traveled. Mike Luery is an investigative reporter for Channel 3 (KCRA) in Sacramento.
"Stuff Every Dad Should Know" by Brett Cohen (Quirk, $9.95, 144 pages): Thoughtful, to-the-point tips on navigating the rough waters from your child's babyhood to the teen years and beyond. Remember these words: "Have a conversation."
"Fatherhood" by Etan Thomas (NAL, $25.95, 320 pages): The NBA star and member of President Barack Obama's Fatherhood Initiative offers solid advice on parenting issues, and solicits prominent athletes, coaches, entertainers, clergy and politicians for theirs.
"Along the Way" by Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez (Free Press, $27, 432 pages): The legendary actor and his actor-filmmaker son lay out this "dual memoir" in alternating chapters.
"The Measure of a Man" by J.J. Lee (Emblem, $19.99, 304 pages): Journalist-tailor Lee decided to alter his late father's last suit to fit himself. That project turned into a memoir and a fascinating history of men's fashion.
"Father's Day" by Buzz Bissinger (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 256 pages): The author takes a special road trip with his 24- year-old son, a savant (memory and navigation) with "serious intellectual deficits."
"Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight?" by Dan Bucatinsky (Touchstone, $14.99, 256 pages): The actor-writer-producer ("Who Do You Think You Are?") and self-described "gay dad" recounts the funny and touching moments of being a father of two children.
"The $64 Tomato" by William Alexander (Algonquin, $13.95, 304 pages): The author-gardener planted a vegetable garden, setting off a string of funny (in retrospect) and frustrating confrontations with deer, groundhogs and insects. Maybe try a farmers market next time?
"Man With a Pan" by John Donohue (Algonquin, $15.95, 326 pages): In these essays, 21 foodie fathers (including Mario Batali and Stephen King) riff on their triumphs and tragedies in the kitchen. With recipes, tips, cookbook recommendations and related New Yorker magazine cartoons.
"The Family Corleone" by Ed Falco (Grand Central, $27.99, 448 pages): This prequel to Mario Puzo's "The Godfather" visits gangster Vito Corleone and his family sons Sonny, Fredo and Michael; adopted son Tom Hagen; and daughter Connie. Based on a screenplay by Puzo, it's a good read for franchise fans.
"Calico Joe" by John Grisham (Doubleday, $24.95, 208 pages): If Dad loves baseball and a heroic story with a heart-rending ending, this one's for him. It's 1973 and "Calico" Joe Castle is a national hero. Then there's a pitch that changes it all.
Where'd that Twain camp?
How about a mystery, in the spirit of Mark Twain:
The riverboat pilot-turned-journalist (and gold prospector) wandered the West between 1861 and 1866, spending some time in Sacramento's hotels and saloon, Angels Camp, Lake Tahoe and San Francisco. His 1872 book, "Roughing It," recalls those years.
Last year, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names refused a proposal to name an inlet on the Nevada shore of Lake Tahoe after him. Essentially, the idea was based on speculation that Twain had a campsite on the inlet's beach in 1861, but it was ruled there wasn't enough proof of that.
So, just where was Twain's camp? Two authors with competing theories about that will debate the issue, kicking off this summer's "Mark Twain Tahoe Mystery Public Festivity." Things will get stirred up at 6:30 p.m. June 21 at the Gatekeeper's Museum, 130 W. Lake Blvd. in Tahoe City. Twain himself will be there, in the guise of McAvoy "Ghost of Mark Twain" Layne.
In "Finding Sam Clemens' Cove at Lake Tahoe" (Stewart Studios, $8, 18 page), Robert Stewart makes the case for a site near Sand Harbor State Park in Nevada, on the east shore.
In "Fairest Picture: Mark Twain at Lake Tahoe" (CreateSpace, $18, 302 pages), David Antonucci says the camp was near Carnelian Bay on the north shore.
The Gatekeeper's Museum invites the public to join the controversy. Maps and books will be available, and people are encouraged to explore the two sites and participate in a poll to be posted at www.northtahoemuseums.org. More information: (530) 583-1762.
On the trail with Oprah's pick
Though her TV show ended after 25 years, Oprah Winfrey is still touting books and ensuring sales for her favorite authors.
At www.oprah.com, the former talk show host announced her first pick for "Oprah Book Club 2.0."
"Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed (Knopf, $25.95, 336 pages) is a memoir of survival and renewal. After the loss of her mother and the dissolution of her marriage, the author impulsively decided to hike a segment of the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail alone.
Oh 'Joyland,' it's a book
Hard Case Crime is unique in publishing. It reprints many of the pulp-fiction crime novels of the 1940s and '50s, and publishes new novels written specifically to match the tone of the genre.
Adorning all the books are covers emblazoned with original pulp-era art.
Stephen King is a fan of the imprint. It published his best-selling "The Colorado Kid," and has announced it will do the same next year for his upcoming thriller, "Joyland." The spooky story is set in 1973, in an amusement park in North Carolina.
"I love crime, mysteries and ghosts," the horror- meister said in a statement. "I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason we're going to hold off on e-publishing this one. 'Joyland' will come out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book."
Books, by the numbers
Last week in New York City, the world's largest book-publishing trade fair brought together key players from publishing houses around the world.
One seminar at the annual BookExpo America addressed the state of self-publishing. It was presented by Bowker, an information aggregator specializing in bibliographic data (all things books).
Among the numbers from 2011:
More than 211,269 self-published titles were released, compared with 133,000 in 2010.
Amazon's CreateSpace was the biggest player on the self-publishing scene, with 57,600 titles.
AuthorSolutions' imprints (including AuthorHouse, iUniverse and Xlibris) published 41,600, with Lulu coming in at 30,000.
The average price of a self-published novel was $6.94; for nonfiction, $19.32. Self-published e-books averaged $3.18.