Happy Thanksgiving! This day is all about being grateful, spending time with family, and eating an absurd amount of food. There are several dishes that seem to be staples at Thanksgiving dinner, and everyone has a favorite they look forward to.
No matter what your favorite Thanksgiving dish is, we’ve got a book recommendation to match. So stuff your face—and then relax with a good book.
If you can’t wait for the turkey, read Sarah’s War* by Eugenia Lovett West
No food is more directly associated with Thanksgiving than turkey. It’s traditional. If you look forward to the turkey, then you likely like something a little more literary, perhaps even historical. Sarah’s Waris about a young woman during the Revolutionary War, a Patriot, who masquerades as a Loyalist to cozy up to British soldiers and pass on information she gleans through flirtation.
If you can’t wait for the stuffing, read Above the Star by Alexis Marie Chute
Stuffing is full of tasty, tasty carbs. You can’t stop eating stuffing, and you want a book that holds your attention just as long. For an addictive read, check out Above the Star. Like stuffing, it has a lot of elements—three main characters in search of a magical cure, a battle for dominion, whimsical creatures, and a long-buried secret. Reviewers have called it “utterly compelling,” “spellbinding,” and “a must-read.”
If you can’t wait for the cornbread, read Girl with a Gun by Kari Bovée
Cornbread gives your Thanksgiving meal a bit of a southwestern flair. For a book with a similar vibe, read Girl with a Gun, the first in the Annie Oakley Mystery series. In this historical mystery, the famous sharpshooter is offered a position in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. When two are murdered and her horse is stolen, she must team up with her sharp-shooting opponent to find her horse, solve the murders, and clear her name.
If you can’t wait for the green bean casserole, read Mission Afghanistan by Elie Paul Cohen
This healthy-ish Thanksgiving staple is probably the only vegetable that makes it to the table—unless you count starchy veggies like potatoes and corn. You recognize the value in balance and may be interested in learning something new with your next read, but you still want it to be engaging. Mission Afghanistan strikes the perfect balance; this memoir is part spy thriller and part reflection on the conflict in Afghanistan and expansion of terrorism.
If you can’t wait for the cranberry sauce, read Deepest Blue by Mindy Tarquini
Cranberry sauce is by far the most divisive Thanksgiving food. You either love it or hate it—and you love it. Since you love this divisive dish, perhaps you will also like this divisive book. Between the blending of genres, characters with similar sounding names in a new world with a new language, and both mythological and astrological influences, this is a challenging read. But if you’re up for the challenge, it may be your new fave.
If you can’t wait for the mashed potatoes, read the Thief books by Alane Adams
Mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food; a childhood favorite. Return to childhood by reading one (or all!) of Alane Adams’s picture books. While they may not have been around when you were a kid, the throwback to 1920s Philadelphia oozes with nostalgia. Plus, all of the books carry a positive moral message which aligns with spirit of generosity, perfect for Thanksgiving.
If you can’t wait for the gravy, read But Not Forever by Jan Von Schleh
During Thanksgiving, gravy goes on everything. Mashed potatoes? Duh. Turkey? Yes, please. Rolls? Of course. Green bean casserole? Why not? You want a book that’s got a little something for everyone, like But Not Forever. Time travel? Check. Romance? Check. Strong female protagonists? Check. Multiple perspectives? Check and check. You’ll be recommending this one to friends with very different interests.
If you can’t wait for the pumpkin pie, read The Leaving Year by Pam McGaffin
If pumpkin pie is your favorite Thanksgiving dish, then you have a sweet tooth. Why not read something just as sweet? A young adult novel that features familial love will be right up your alley. The Leaving Year is a story about a girl’s journey to learn more about her dad. And the whipped cream on top? Just a dash of magical realism, using Native Alaskan mythology to bring the story to life.
If you can’t wait for that dish from your culture that someone always brings to Thanksgiving dinner, read Bedside Manners by Heather Frimmer
Some families have mac & cheese. Other families have kugel. Still other families have tamales. Thanksgiving is about family and traditions, and that’s where this pick lies. For a story that focuses on family, read Bedside Manners. It’s a mother-daughter story that follows Marnie and her mother Joyce through planning Marnie’s wedding and Joyce’s breast cancer diagnosis. Issues of mortality, role reversal, and values all come into play.
*Not out yet, but available for preorder now.