Thanksgiving: Stories of Family

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday – four days of family time with a side of delicious food?  Sign me up.  Here are some of my favorite recent reads about families – the ones you can’t life with and the ones you can’t life without.

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Nuclear Family by Susanna Fogel

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Nuclear Family is a hilarious epistolary novel.  Through a series of letters addressed to a main character who we never hear from directly, we learn about the deterioration of her parent’s marriage, the scandalous escapades of her younger sister, the failed exploits of her own love life, and so much more.  We hear from her parents, her sister, her father’s new wife, her grandmother, as well as the exercise machine in her father’s office, her boyfriend’s dog who knows that he does not deserve her, and more.  It’s the kind of funny that will make you laugh out loud when you least expect it.  And it is the perfect book to read while traveling with your family because it mocks all the crazy things families do to one another while simultaneously paying homage to why we love one another so much. Read Morgan’s full review here. →

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I think my favorite thing about Pride and Prejudice is that it is impossible to decide which Bennet is the best Bennet.  Every time I read this book, I fall in love with another member of this kooky family.  It’s a classic that stands the test of time, and encourages you to love each family member for their faults as well as their strengths.

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Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

One of my first reads of 2018 and it remains one of my favorites.  Fourteen-year-old June loses the family member closest to her, her uncle, Finn, to a mysterious illness.  At the funeral, she meets a stranger, Toby, who begins to pop up in her life in unexpected ways.  A beautiful and unlikely friendship forms between these two, bonded by love and loss and grief.

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Strike Your Heart by Amélie Nothomb

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This is a perfect novel.  Concise and brilliant, Nothomb’s work shows the level of world building that is possible to accomplish in just 135 pages.  A beautiful story of a deeply imperfect relationship between multiple generations of mothers and daughters, Nothomb explores jealousy, brilliance, and love. Read Morgan’s full review here. →

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Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

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This winner of the 2017 National Book Award is an incredibly powerful book that employs all kinds of  familial archetypes and flips them on their head in a way that rings sadly true.  The setting of a family road trip, a purportedly happy experience, is filled with drugs, sweat, and vomit.  In contrast to those dark and painful scenes, the moments of love and embrace in this novel are made even more special.  This is a must read.  Read Morgan’s full review here. →

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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

If you read Little Women as you were growing up, you undoubtedly know which March sister you are (or which one you wish you were).  This is one of my favorite books of all time.  Four sisters and one mother making their way in the world – what could be better?  And something about the New England setting seems so perfect for winter.

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The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

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In 1969 in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Gold children visit a fortune teller who claims to be able to tell them the exact day they will die. The Immortalists is a story in four parts – each section telling the story of one of the Gold children from that moment on. However, the other Golds appear in their siblings sections, giving the story a sense of cohesion, and reuniting you with the characters you love even after Benjamin has moved along to the next sibling.  Among many other things, it’s a family love story.  Read Morgan’s full review here. →

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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

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Two very different families meet in the ever-organized Shaker Heights, Ohio.  The seemingly perfect Richardsons and the jumbled Warrens, a mother-daughter duo who are new to town.  Within weeks of their arrival, the two families are dependent on one another in more ways that one.  It’s an extremely well-crafted story and the characters are complex and relatable.    Read Morgan’s full review here. →

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The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

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Thirteen-year-old Leni moves with her mother and unstable father to a remote town in Alaska.  No part of Leni’s life has been made easy for her.  She doesn’t remember the so called “happy” years her family spent together before her father went off to war; by the time she was old enough to form memories, he was gone.  When he returns, he has changed – a dangerous part of his personality has been revealed.  This is a story of perseverance in spite of all of that and more.  It’s a powerful story of strength and kindness.   Read Morgan’s full review here. →

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