The 20 Best Books to Read Over Thanksgiving

How to American

There’s no better time to start a new book than when you know you’ve got a few days off work and school! We’ve compiled some of the best reads to take home with you for Thanksgiving break.

Audiobooks for the drive home
It’ll probably be cold and windy out, and if you’re in the Midwest, your drive most likely won’t be very exciting. These audiobooks will make the drive fly by (or will at least keep you more entertained than the flat, empty landscape).

You are a BadassYou Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero 
See if this New York Times bestseller lives up to its hype on your drive home. If nothing else, it will arm you with mantras to repeat to yourself when Grandma Jeanie asks why you’re still single or Great Aunt Rose makes a comment about what a *big* appetite you have when you go for that second slice of pie.

Trespassing Across America, by Ken Ilgunas 
An interesting and funny memoir with the added underlying panic of the effects of climate change – the perfect road trip audiobook that keeps you entertained but still makes you think.

The Year of Less, by Cait Flanders
Just in time for you to reflect on what you’re thankful for, this memoir about how destructive consumerism can be will inspire you to take the meaning of Thanksgiving to heart – and maybe help you hold back on Black Friday.

Orange is the New Black, by Piper Kerman 
The original inspiration for the hit Netflix series, Orange is the New Black will warm your heart and break it at the same time. Clocking in at 11 hours, it’s long enough to last you for the drive home and back.

Beautiful Boy, by David Sheff
Prepare yourself for a Thanksgiving break trip to the movies by reading this bestselling memoir that inspired the current it film starring Steve Carrell and Timothee Chamelet. It’s not a particularly light or uplifting story, but it will make you appreciate what it means to love unconditionally.

For when you’re hiding from family
Family get-togethers are so great and no one ever gets on anyone else’s nerves! Here are some reads you can tackle in chunks when you’re hiding in the bathroom – the chapters are short enough that no one will start to question the length of time you’re spending in the bathroom.

How To AmericanHow to American, by Jimmy O. Yang 
An American holiday is the perfect time to reflect on the absurdity of American customs and see them through the eyes of a Chinese immigrant. Jimmy O. Yang, best known for his role as Jian Yang from HBO’s Silicon Valley, writes on moving from Hong Kong to LA at age 13, ignoring his parents’ wishes to become a doctor, and learning about America by watching hours of rap music videos every day.

Scrappy Little Nobody, by Anna Kendrick 
A New York Times bestseller by the star of Pitch Perfect, Anna Kendrick captures the ridiculousness (and painful awkwardness) that came with growing from scrappy little nobody to Hollywood starlet. The book is divided into short, funny chapters that make it easy to pick up – and be forced to put back down – during your family gathering.

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman 
Ron Swanson and Tammy 2 are married in real life, and their actual marriage is just as hilarious and full of antics as their Parks & Recreation fling. Quick, witty essays from the two of them are the perfect mood-booster in between helpings of turkey.

The Tao of Bill Murray, by Gavin Edwards
Who doesn’t love Bill Murray? Even better than his acting chops are the tales of his real-world antics. The author goes off in search of the very best Bill Murray stories, travelling to all the places the actor lived, worked, and made an appearance. Silly and sweet at the same time, The Tao of Bill Murray is sure to make your family Thanksgiving seem a lot more entertaining than it actually is.

30 Before 30, by Marina Shifrin
Calling all twenty-somethings! Let this before-30 bucket list power you through another family get-together full of imposing questions about why you aren’t married and what your entire life plan is. This essay collection will help you to take some solace in the fact that no one else at this age knows what they’re doing, either.

For the long weekend
Finally, some time off! Here are some fast-paced books that you can finish in a few days, so that they don’t risk becoming that half-read novel that’s been sitting on your nightstand for three months now.

Then We Came to the EndThen We Came to the End, by Joshua Ferris
Nothing will make you appreciate time away from the office quite like getting absorbed into someone else’s office drama. This fast-paced, hilarious read about the impending sense of doom infiltrating a workplace after several rounds of layoffs can easily be finished in a weekend. Added bonus: the author is an Iowa grad.

Seinfeldia, by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong  
Fill your days off with a book about nothing! Perfect for Seinfeld fans and newbies alike, this behind-the-scenes look at the creation of one of America’s most successful sitcoms will keep you entertained from cover to cover.

Confessions of a Domestic Failure, by Bunmi Laditan
With main character Ashley Keller being compared to Bridget Jones and Becky Bloomwood in reviews, this hysterical and very real take on motherhood is a must-read for any mom who knows just how difficult it is to try to “have it all”. Perfect for picking up during your turkey coma.

Then She Was Gone, by Lisa Jewell
Looking for something a little darker to read during your break? Try Then She Was Gone, a twisty-turny thriller that will leave you wondering what on earth you just read. You’ll finish it quickly only because you won’t be able to put it down.

Host, by Robin Cook  
Another option for someone looking to go the mystery route for their weekend read. Host explores a disturbing medical conspiracy and the two med students trying desperately to expose the truth.

To get you in the holiday spirit
Once the Thanksgiving table has been cleared, it’s open season for all holiday music, movies, decorations, and, most importantly, books. 

Oliver: The Cat Who Saved ChristmasOliver the Cat Who Saved Christmas, by Sheila Norton
The cutest Christmas story that will soften the heart of even the biggest cat hater. A must-read for any cat person looking to get into the holiday spirit.


Christmas: a Biography, by Judith Flanders
A festive read for history buffs or anyone interested in learning about how Christmas as we know it came to be. Starting from the very first recorded Christmas and chock-full of factoids and footnotes, this look at the evolution of Christmas traditions is sure to have you nodding thoughtfully and mumbling “Interesting…” to yourself.

Alaskan Holiday, by Debbie Macomber
Basically a Hallmark movie in book form, this holiday romance set in the Alaskan wilderness is perfectly paired with a roaring fire, a cozy blanket, and a giant mug of hot cocoa.

Winter, by Ali Smith 
A choice if the holidays make you feel more like Scrooge than Santa. Winter is a tale of the Cleve family Christmas, which swirls with political tensions, an absurd lie, and several surprising moments of humor and lightness in what the Cleves consider to be a rather bleak time. Author Ali Smith has won several awards for her fiction writing, and Winter was well-received by critics.

Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris
Funny and sweet, this Christmas-themed collection by David Sedaris can be read in an afternoon and will make you appreciate what the holiday season is all about: complete and utter family dysfunction.

Did we miss any must-reads? Comment below with what you’ll be reading over the next few days!