While the holidays may be filled with traveling, copious amounts of food, and rejoicing with family members you barely kept in touch with, there is more to it, isn’t there? Sometimes people just get their fill quicker than expected. For those with difficult families, this is a particularly pressing time. And even those with happy-go-lucky families might need a breather from time to time.
Truth is, holiday reading is the best reading. If you’re having a grand time, you get to make it that much better with a great story. If not, you have an excuse to not participate in the family drama. Either way, you win and get to enjoy a great story.
The following is a book list catering to most holiday needs, from books about messed up families, to artsy, feel good novels.
Books About Unconventional Families
- Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
- Mommie Dearest by Christina Crawford
- We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson
- We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
- Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman
- We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
More Artistic Books
Cheering Up Books
- The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
- One Man’s Meat by E.B. White
- Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino
- An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
- Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
- Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights Ryu Mitsuse
Books to Travel With
- The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion by Meghan Daum
- Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee
- West with the Night by Beryl Markham
Books About Being Thankful
- Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table by Ruth Reichl
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton.
Whatever your Thanksgiving is like, there is a book for the occasion. If you need to escape from the seemingly endless mashed potatoes, reach for something like Cosmicomics. If you want to add to the fun in a twisted, crime-filled way, maybe try The Goldfinch.
Thanksgiving is about rejoicing in what you have, even if it isn’t perfect. You could have a dysfunctional family, but that’s just more of a reason to read about a more dysfunctional family. Or maybe it’s a fantastic holiday season, and you can’t wait to enjoy it.
All the same, books just make things better. They’re portals to other time periods and worlds where self-absorption is no longer a thing. Escape yourself.