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Water Cooler: Thanksgiving reads

UPDATED: Mon., Nov. 23, 2020

Chole Liotta-Jones, assistant youth service coordinator at the Brooks Memorial Library, in Brattleboro, Vt., puts books back onto the shelves on Nov. 13. The library plans to close its doors on Thanksgiving and reopen on Dec. 14 as the number of COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the area.  (Associated Press)
Chole Liotta-Jones, assistant youth service coordinator at the Brooks Memorial Library, in Brattleboro, Vt., puts books back onto the shelves on Nov. 13. The library plans to close its doors on Thanksgiving and reopen on Dec. 14 as the number of COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the area. (Associated Press)

With Thanksgiving to be more low-key than usual this year, it may just be the perfect holiday weekend to cozy up with a new read. With fewer people to share all the food-coma-inducing leftovers with, you might as well plan on staying put for awhile in your roomiest clothing, book in hand. Here are some reads fitting for the holiday.

“The Nest,” by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (2016) – A debut novel that follows the incredibly dysfunctional Plumb family. The four siblings of the family have unrelenting tension, so if you’re missing a bit of your own family dysfunction this year, this book should be a good fix.

“Home Cooking,” by Laurie Colwin (1988) – Tales of meals gone beautifully well and horribly wrong, that share in the pleasures of cooking and eating well and the power of gathering for a meal. A book perfect for a socially-distanced Thanksgiving as it reflects on the meaning of food.

“Still Life: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel,” by Louise Penny (2005) – A mystery begins as the mist clears early on Thanksgiving morning – a member of this small community in Three Pines is found dead in the woods.

“There There,” by Tommy Orange (2018) – The debut novel by Cheyenne and Arapaho author offers a look at contemporary Native Americans, which can make for a great read during a holiday that perpetuates a lot of myths and misunderstanding about Indigenous relationships with European settlers.

“The Accidental Tourist,” by Anne Tyler (1985) – This finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction follows a travel writer who hates travel and is haunted by grief and loneliness. His life of solitude and the mundane is interrupted once he meets a spirited dog trainer who helps him engage with life. This charming love story is complete with a roasted turkey on Thanksgiving.

“The Thanksgiving Visitor,” by Truman Capote (1967) – This short story makes for a quick holiday read for all ages. Buddy and his closest friend and cousin, Miss Sook, prepare their old country house for Thanksgiving. Buddy is then bullied relentlessly by another child, while Miss Sook comforts him and teaches him patience and understanding. This story is filled with universal emotions and lessons about cherishing the things we are thankful for.

“How to Bake the Perfect Pecan Pie,” by Gina Calanni (2014) – Your fix for holiday romance. Lauren Hauser is home for the holidays and determined to master her grandmother’s pie recipe, but without any of the baking skills to pull it off. Luckily she stumbles into a gorgeous stranger who just happens to have bags of pecans on Thanksgiving Eve.

“The Harrowing,” by Alexandra Sokoloff (2006) – If fall still has you hankering for chilling, supernatural tales, look no further. Left behind in the residence hall of Baird College after most students return home for Thanksgiving break, Robin Stone starts to pick up on the eerie atmosphere. As a storm emerges around the isolated campus, other students gather in the residence hall later learning that they might not be so alone after all.

“Menus,” by Jacques Pépin (2018) – A beautifully illustrated menu diary accompanied with stories of breaking bread from a legendary artist and chef. The menus tell of what he has cooked for weddings, holidays, birthdays and anniversaries over the years.

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