GeekDad Holiday Gift Guide #2: Dads’ Books & Activities

Gift Guide Hacking the Holidays

Dads need holiday love too, and here’s another gift guide devoted to him. Fill up his shelf with smart and fun books, not to mention a couple of fun activities. Be sure to keep an eye on the sidebar on the right for additional gift guides as the season progresses.

SciencecookingSciencecookingThe Science of Cooking
Lots of GeekDads love cooking, and this book intersects the world of cooking with the worlds of physics and chemistry. It is not nearly as dry a book as you might fear, and you’ll come out of reading it with a new insight into how kitchen gadgets work and what gives your dishes their flavor. Listen to the author’s interview on NPR or buy from Amazon.

ShardsShardsShards of Alara
It’s been an impressive run for Magic: The Gathering, Richard Garfield’s seminal trading card game. It’s been around since 1993, allowing players to assume the roles of a plane-skipping wizards battling it out for supremacy. The game also happens to be extremely kid friendly, with legions of teenagers (and younger kids) representing a huge portion of the Magic’s estimated six million fans. Give Dad the latest set, Shards of Alara! Buy a Shards "fat pack" from Think he’ll need help in decyphering the labyrinthine mythos? Enclose A Planeswalker’s Guide to Alara: A Magic: The Gathering Field Guide.

SkepticSkepticSkeptic Magazine
Give your GeekDad a gift that will keep giving all year long with a subscription to Skeptic Magazine. What’s not to like about a magazine with the byline "Extraordinary Claims, Revolutionary Ideas, and the Promotion of Science"? This quarterly magazine is always an entertaining read, covering a variety of topics involving debunking the supernatural, investigating scientific claims, and the writings of the always-entertaining Michael Shermer.

Bestof2600Bestof2600Best of 2600
This book tackles the magazine’s 24-year run the best way it can — by being encyclopedic. Weighing in at 871 pages and rivaling a phonebook’s size and heft, the book covers the ups and downs of hackerdom’s brief existence: discoveries, busts, jokes, conflict. Read our review or buy it from Amazon.

LegovwLegovwLEGO Volkswagen
Based off of the 1960 "Charlotte" Volkswagen Beetle, this 1,626-piece model will help Dad blow off some stress after work. When assembled it measures 16" long, and comes packed with a fully detailed interior and engine, opening and closing doors, and a spare tire. Buy it from Amazon.

Hacking: The Art of Exploitation
What is hacking? According to Fox News or USA Today it’s bad people doing bad things with computers. However, according to security expert and author Jon Erickson, hacking consists of creative program solving, used for better or for worse by programmers and criminals. Regardless of how you feel about the phenomenon, it exists. You can either stick your head in the sand or learn and adapt. Read our review or buy it from Amazon.

Kq07_coverfinalKq07_coverfinalKobold Quarterly
The sole remaining professional roleplaying game magazine, Kobold Quarterly became number one by beheading all of its competitors in spectacular urban swordfights. Actually, the talent-heavy KQ has thrived by occupying Dragon Magazine’s foolishly squandered niche and recruiting a lot of great writers left similarly dumbfounded by Wizards’ decision to take Dragon online. Read our review or subscribe on

AstronomyAstronomyIllustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders
If you’re considering buying a telescope, first buy this book. Whether you’re dedicated or just think you’re dedicated, this book will tell you what you need to know to do some serious stargazing. Read our review or buy it from Amazon.

The last bastion of the cyberpunk roleplaying games. Now in its 4th edition, the rules continue to impress with their logic and ease of use. Roleplay a human, dwarf, elf, ork or troll in the near future… a future where magic has returned and cybernetic implants are a daily reality. Read our review or buy it directly from publisher Catalyst Game Labs or Amazon.

Bbook_of_geek_Bbook_of_geek_The BBook of Geek
You shouldn’t need a lot of convincing for this one; the name already draws you in. BBook of Geek is based on Brian Briggs’s parody website, which most of the book is taken from. It covers most topics dear to geeks, such as TV shows (Doctor Who), computers (Commodore 64), and games (Zork), and each section has a mix of real and fake information. As a GeekTeen, I thought it was really funny, and it introduced me to a few subjects I didn’t know about. (Mostly before my time.) BBook of Geek will be a good present for any GeekDad who wants to reminisce about his own teenage years.

FreeportFreeportThe Pirates’s Guide Freeport
Welcome to Freeport, the city of pirates! Okay, how cool is that? Sure, many other settings have offered similar ideas, but I’ve never seen one with as much polish. Anyone can design a pirate city that is nothing but a gathering of thugs, but to be truly cool, it must behave like a real city. It’s gotta have sewers that work and bureaucrats to collect taxes. There must be nice, safe neighborhoods for middle class folks, and churches and vegetable markets. However, while it must have all those things, it can never lose its piratical flavor. Not an easy challenge, but one that Green Ronin Publishing met when it designed its Freeport setting. Read our review or buy it from Amazon.

SeedSeedSeed Magazine
An incredibly beautiful science magazine. Maybe not as brainy as SciAm, maybe a little more sophisticated than PopSci, but smart, accessible and wonderfully put together. Subscribe on Amazon.

LockpickingLockpickingHow To Open Locks With Improvised Tools
Lost the key to castle? This book will teach you what you need to open any lock, without using force. Now, why would a non-nefarious individual want such a thing? Read our article from last year. Buy the book on Amazon.

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