Reviewers: Jeriann and Bethany
If you’re anything like us, you never go to a family get-together without a book or two shoved into your bag or queued up on your Kindle. Sometimes, though, choosing the perfect book can be difficult. Maybe you want a read that will initiate interesting conversations when your relatives interrupt your book time to ask what you’re reading. Maybe you want a book whose cover will scare away those interruptions. Below are some options to meet some of the most common Thanksgiving book needs.
1) A book to raise your grandmother’s eyebrows/make your grandmother blush
We all have that prudish relative who likes to pretend that the most contact they’ve had with the opposite sex is holding hands…Just the titles of these books should get them blushing 😉
Passionate Hearts: The Poetry of Sexual Love compiled by Wendy Maltz. This collection of poetry was compiled by a therapist wanting to find positive sexual images to educate her clients. The title makes this a great option for scandalizing relatives, but the poetry is definitely worth the read as well!
Hot as Puck by Lili Valente. Libby Collins is a kindergarten teacher with a non-existent love life, a lot of innocence, and a really sexy, serial dating, professional-hockey-playing, best friend – Justin Cruise. When Libby asks Justin to give her a crash course in How to Be a Sex Goddess, what could go wrong? If you like sports (especially hockey), romance, and a lot of sexy puns, this book is worth a look. Plus, when someone asks what you’re reading, you can enjoy the double-take before they figured out you said puck not…well, you know 😉
2) A book to piss off your drunk uncle
Do you have a relative who refuses to acknowledge that anyone else’s political opinions have merit? I know I do! Well if you feel like making them confront the fact people have different opinions than them, just set one of these on the coffee table and wait for the fireworks to start!
To piss off the democrat: The Overton Window by Glenn Beck. Overton Window (n): Originated by Joseph P. Overton, a political concept, also known as the window of discourse, that describes the range of ideas tolerated in public discourse. Glenn Beck takes this concept a step further by suggesting that the overton window theory can – and has – been manipulated in a grand conspiracy to bring more power, money, and influence to specific people. He uses actual events and documents to build a fictional America that has been manipulated into a police state while you follow the revolutionaries fighting against the tyranny. It’s a really interesting (and terrifying) read and let’s face it: the name of the author alone will have your Dem relative cringing.
To piss off the republicans: Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen. This one will likely only get a rise out of people who are familiar with it, but most conservatives are ready to brush it off as “a book about a crazy lady” and just hate the fact that Angelina Jolie was in the movie. Why do republicans to hate Angelina Jolie? I don’t know, but for some reason it seems to be a thing.
To piss off anti-feminists of all political leanings: Men Explain Things to Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit. Read our review for specifics, but the title alone is guaranteed to get assholes with uninformed opinions all worked up.
3) A book to escape from the stressful and politically-charged landscape of your family dinner
If you’d prefer to avoid political discussion rather than encourage it, these books will help you to relax and unwind by escaping into another world. Plus, if a relative asks what you’re reading, these ones should keep drama to a minimum.
Glory Lane by Alan Dean Foster. When you’re getting overwhelmed by the state of the world we live in, what’s better than a book about three high school kids who hate each other forced to work together to save the universe? Add in a very 80’s “punk” aesthetic and some super cool aliens, and you’ve got the perfect escape novel.
Bluegrass State of Mind by Kathleen Brooks. If you like romantic suspense novels, try Bluegrass State of Mind by Kathleen Brooks. McKenna Mason is on the run and hiding in a small town in Kentucky after she witnessed her bosses rape and murder a stripper at their high-powered law offices in New York City. As she tries to build a new life for herself, she meets the improbable characters of Keeneston, Kentucky, including a prince of a small middle eastern country, a former NFL Quarterback, and several ex-military men. You’ll want to keep reading just to see what happens next!
4) A book that is safe to talk about in front of impressionable ears
If your family has banned talk of politics during the holidays and you don’t feel like explaining plot points that might pop up in romance novels, then here are some books that are safe to discuss in front of the chilluns. These will also be safe to talk about with coworkers and other acquaintances.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli – This one is a kids’ book, but I love re-reading it every couple of years. The male main character is forced to confront some of his assumptions about life when the new girl in school befriends him. Calling her parents by their first name, experimenting with meditation, and shrugging off religion, she’s like no one he’s ever met. This book is fun, a little heartbreaking, and has some great lessons about acceptance.
Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African American Women who Helped Launch Our Nation Into Space by Margot Lee Shetterly. The title says it all. This book takes the reader on a journey to understand how four African American women made strides to change the social landscape of space and then were lost to history. Margot Lee Shetterly grew up in an unsegregated town of NASA engineers and mathematicians in a time when segregation was still very common and her unique perspective on this history makes the story come to life. As a bonus, this one has become a major motion picture so you can discuss it with your family without sharing your copy of the book.
5) A book for fun with the kids!
If you’re going to be hanging with the young ones, it could be cool to have some group reading time! These books will be easy to pass around and have everyone read a section, or just fun to talk about and encourage kids to read on their own time.
From The Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg – This might be my favorite book of all time. It definitely was when I was a kid. Two children run away from home to live in a museum. I related to the bossy main character as a child, and I always dreamed of sneaking off to live in a library. This one is perfect for reading a couple chapters and getting kids’ imaginations going.
Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene. Meet Nancy Drew, a teenaged amateur sleuth/detective who lives with her father and a housekeeper. Together with her best friends, Bess and George, she solves mysteries that she finds either by stumbling upon them or because they are related to her father’s work as a lawyer. She is a strong, independent woman and the mysteries she solves are fun and engaging – a great read for people of all ages.
These are our top picks for Thanksgiving reads, what are yours? Share in the comments!