Ah Thanksgiving. The American holiday where we celebrate family, friends and the fact that we gave Syphallis blankets to our Native American brothers and sisters. Actually, we don’t celebrate that last part…
Anyway, it’s basically a yearly four day weekend of stuffing yourself with as much food as possible and then getting as close to the definition of attempted murder that you can without going to jail for the last 60″ TV at Best Buy. But most importantly it’s a FOUR DAY WEEKEND! Which any bookdragon will tell you is just the excuse we need to hole up in a Comfy ChairTM and while away the hours.
I’ve seen many lists come across my facebook feed over the last couple days with lists of books to read over the Thanksgiving holiday and frankly a lot of their suggestions are bullshit. War & Peace, Bustle? Really???
Below you will find a list of books that I’ve seen on several Thanksgiving reading lists along with a much better fit for your Turkey Day enjoyment.
And if you’re not American well… here’s a list of This Over That books for your perusal whenever you have time.
1. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was all the rage when it debuted in 2014. Seriously you couldn’t go anywhere in the book community without seeing this cover and hearing about this literary triumph. Seems to meet all the criterion for a Thanksgiving Break read right?
WRONG, Constant Reader. Exhibit A: it’s 768 pages long. True you have a 4 day weekend and you’re a BEAST in them sheets (pages that is) but remember you’re going to be stuck spending the majority of Thursday helping your grandma stir gravy before sitting between Uncle Norman and Uncle Fred watching a Cowboys game that you are required to comment on even if you can’t tell a cornerback from cornbread. Then there’s the Black Friday savagery.
Instead, try Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Young hero who lost a parent. Check. Travel to new and familiar places. Check (come one NYC is a little world all on it’s own). Cast of unique characters. Check. Heartwrenching at times and uplifting at others. Extra Check. And it clocks in at a slim 324 pages.
2. It by Stephen King
With arguably one of the best film adaptations of a movie ever (okay I’m biased) It has seen a big resurgence since its reprint. It’s even shown up on the NYT Best Sellers list again. It’s a worthy read but I think you should save it for summer. You know when there are more daylight hours. This, in my humble opinion, is King’s scariest work. But once again, 1116 pages. No that’s not a typo. Over a thousand pages. There’s just no TIME constant reader we have to be realistic to truly enjoy our Thanksgiving reading choices.
Instead, go for another King Classic. Misery.
There comes a point in every holiday get-together where you want to murder someone and the antagonist of King’s blatant metaphor of his relationship with his fans (and drugs) can provide you with some creative brain candy on the death and dismemberment front. But seriously, check out Misery. There’s a good chance you might be miserable and it will be nice to know that while you have to listen to your Aunt Margaret extol on the many virtues of President Trump at least you don’t have a psychotic nurse breaking your legs with a sledgehammer.
3. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Why is anyone even suggesting this on the “what to read for break” lists? WE’VE ALREADY READ IT. If you haven’t yet (What the hell is wrong with you?) by all means devour this it’s fantastic.
For the rest of us, read it again.
Check out I Am the Messanger by Markus Zusak
This book deals with some heavy stuff for a YA novel but it’s masterful in its ability to show characters, that in any other novel would be labeled the low lifes and losers, as intelligent folks with simpler dreams who are just as capable at altering the course of people’s lives for the better as your typical literary hero. Also if the first chapter doesn’t have you ROTLcopter than you’re officially dead inside.
4. Catcher in the Rye by F. Scott Fitzgerald
What the actual fuck why? I’m sorry, Constant Reader I’m sorry. I shouldn’t judge your efforts to squeeze in a classic during a break when you can actually concentrate. Plus it’s short! Bonus! I read an article recently that said if you didn’t read this book in your teens then it’s a wash because Holden is just an insufferable little shit when you aren’t in the throws of your own teen angst. Agreed.
Instead read Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer
This is considered a “new” classic so you don’t have to feel guilty about losing any reading cred and the young hero can be pretty frustrating sometimes, (Really Chris? You’re gonna head into the Alaskan wild with nothing but a .22 and a hatchet?) but this true story of a young man’s journey to find… what, we aren’t really sure. Adventure, freedom, the meaning of life? One of those coming of age books that you can read at almost any age and find something to identify with about McCandless’ journey and untimely end.
5. Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America by Donald Trump
Look, I know you have to try and keep the peace at these family events. And your mother told you that reading this will go a LONG way to undo the damage you did at the 4th of July family reunion. But there are other ways to skin a cat, constant reader, and you don’t have to sit through 209 pages of Trump’s bloviating to do it.
Instead pick up Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News
Yeah, fuck that noise BUT fuck it quietly ya know. Bunk is a fascinating history of America’s peculiar history with hoaxes and conmen. If you know all about our country’s rich, wild history with carpetbaggers and thieves you and aunt Margaret might just find common ground in a particular huckster from history. Stranger things have happened.
What will you be reading over the holiday break? Tell me in the comments or @ me on twitter @dianneinwriting