Thanksgiving Dinner (Kevin Curtis/unsplash)
Saturday, November 17, 2018 Charleston County Library

CHARLESTON, S.C. – There are few ways better than avoiding Thanksgiving Eve chores or those awkward conversations about politics and religion around the dinner table than this timeless excuse: “Be right there! I just want to finish this chapter!”

No one can fault you for reading and enjoying a book. You were always the bookworm in the family, after all!

And it turns out, according to a recent study, Americans turn to books on Thanksgiving Eve to melt away the stress of the holiday, especially if they’re traveling. Turns out a thrilling page-turner or a saucy romance works better than sneaking slivers of Nana’s pumpkin pie before the table is set. So here’s a list of great reads you’ll enjoy this Thanksgiving holiday.

 

 

 

Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives

A witty, urbane, and sometimes shocking debut novel, set in a hallowed New York museum, in which a co-worker's disappearance and a mysterious map change a life forever. Stella Krakus, a curator at the renowned Central Museum of Art, is having the roughest week in approximately ever. Her soon-to-be ex-husband (the perfectly awful Whit Ghiscolmbe) is stalking her, a workplace romance with "a fascinating, hyper-rational narcissist" is in freefall, and a beloved colleague, Paul, has gone missing. Strange things are afoot!

 

Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman

In Vacationland, Hodgman presents a memoir of his oft-cursed travels through the woods of Massachusetts and coastal Maine, describing his midlife transformation from an idealistic youth to an eccentric family man. Just wait until you make it to the story about the terror of freshwater clams. You'll laugh out loud from cover to cover, but the stories are poignant enough to have you coming back for second and third readings. 

 

I'll Have What She's Having: How Nora Ephron's Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy by Erin Carlson 

Revisit your favorite Nora Ephron films alongside journalist Erin Carlson, who takes a deep dive into the world of romantic comedy and reveals just how revolutionary and reinvigorating Ephron’s beloved trio—When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail—were to the world of film and to moviegoers everywhere. 

 

The Library at the Edge of the World: A Novel by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

As she drives her mobile library van between villages of Ireland’s West Coast, Hanna Casey tries not to think about a lot of things. Like the sophisticated lifestyle she abandoned after finding her English barrister husband in bed with another woman. Or that she’s back in Lissbeg, the rural Irish town she walked away from in her teens, living in the back bedroom of her overbearing mother’s retirement bungalow. Or, worse yet, her nagging fear that, as the local librarian and a prominent figure in the community, her failed marriage and ignominious return have made her a focus of gossip. 

 

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

In the midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child. Days later, the family are forced to leave their home in search of safety. As they move from place to place, shelter to shelter, their journey traces both fear and wonder as the baby's small fists grasp at the things he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds.

 

Freya by Matthew Laurence 

Freya is the myth-- and she's about to make one hell of a comeback. In her prime, Sara Vanadi was Freya, the Norse goddess of love, beauty, war, and death. But for an ancient goddess in the 21st century, true believers-- and the strength they bring-- are painfully hard to find. When a new, rising power threatens to remake the world by bending the divine to its will, Sara realizes her days of hiding have ended. She'll just need new clothes and a manicure before she gets started.

 

The Golden House: A Novel by Salman Rushdie

When the aristocratic Golden family moves into a self contained pocket of New York City, a park in Greenwich Village called "The Gardens," their past is an absolute mystery. They seem to be hiding in plain sight: Nero Golden, the powerful but shady patriarch, and his sons Petya, a high functioning autistic and recluse; Apu, the successful artist who may or may not be profound; and D, the enchanting youngest son whose gender confusion mirrors the confusion - and possibilities - of the world around him. And finally there is Vasilisa, the Russian beauty who seduces the patriarch to shape their American stories. Our fearless narrator is an aspiring filmmaker who decides the Golden family will be his subject. He gains the trust of this strange family, even as their secrets gradually unfold - love affairs and betrayals, questions of belonging and identity, a murder, an apocalyptic terror attack, a magical, stolen baby, all set against a whirling background in which an insane Presidential Candidate known as only The Joker grows stronger and stronger, and America itself grows mad. 

 

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Mg 

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned - from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother - who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. 

 

The Power: A Novel by Naomi Alderman

A rich Nigerian boy; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. When a vital new force takes root and flourishes, their lives converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls and women now have immense physical power-- they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And everything changes ...

 

Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda

It's a familiar sight in Los Angeles, traveling on the 110 during peak morning rush hour: an endless sea of commuters, with no respite for miles. But this traffic jam is different-a runner is dodging and weaving between the cars at an astonishing clip. He's moving so fast he's almost a blur. But what's clearly evident is that he is completely naked. This seemingly mundane highway backup turns into a seminal moment for a handful of Angelenos-people whose lives are in desperate need of a change.

 

The Bettencourt Affair: The World's Richest Woman and the Scandal that Rocked Paris by Tom Sancton 

Was the world's wealthiest woman--Liliane Bettencourt--heir to an estimated thirty-six-billion-dollar L'Oreal fortune, the victim of a con man? Or were her own family the real villains? This riveting narrative tells the real-life, shocking story behind the cause celebre that has captivated both France and the world. Liliane Bettencourt is the world's richest woman and the eleventh wealthiest person on the planet, as of 2016. But at ninety-four, she's embroiled in an incredible controversy that has dominated the headlines and ensnared a former president of France in the controversy. But why?

 

The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick by Elizabeth Hardwick

Elizabeth Hardwick wrote during the golden age of the American literary essay. For Hardwick, the essay was an imaginative endeavor, a serious form, criticism worthy of the literature in question. In the essays collected here she covers civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s, describes places where she lived and locations she visited, and writes about the foundations of American literature—Melville, James, Wharton—and the changes in American fiction, though her reading is wide and international. She contemplates writers’ lives—women writers, rebels, Americans abroad—and the literary afterlife of biographies, letters, and diaries. 

 

The Wine Lover's Daughter: A Memoir by Anne Fadiman 

An appreciation of wine--along with a plummy upper-crust accent, expensive suits, and an encyclopedic knowledge of Western literature--was an essential element of Clifton Fadiman’s escape from lower-middle-class Brooklyn to swanky Manhattan. But wine was not just a class-vaulting accessory; it was an object of ardent desire. The Wine Lover’s Daughter traces the arc of a man’s infatuation from the glass of cheap Graves he drank in Paris in 1927; through the Château Lafite-Rothschild 1904 he drank to celebrate his eightieth birthday, when he and the bottle were exactly the same age; to the wines that sustained him in his last years, when he was blind but still buoyed, as always, by hedonism.

 

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham 

John Grisham's newest legal thriller takes you inside a law firm that shouldn't exist. Law students Mark, Todd and Zola wanted tochange the world - to make it a better place. But these days these three disillusioned friends spend a lot of time hanging out in The Rooster Bar, the place where Todd serves drinks.

 

The Last Mrs. Parrish: A Novel by Livv Constantine

Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

 

Five-Caral Soul by James McBride 

Exciting new fiction from James McBride, the first since his National Book Award-winning novel The Good Lord Bird. The stories in Five-Carat Soul--none of them ever published before--spring from the place where identity, humanity, and history converge. They're funny and poignant, insightful and unpredictable, imaginative and authentic--all told with McBride's unrivaled storytelling skill and meticulous eye for character and detail. 

 

The River of Consciousness by Oliver Sacks 

Dr. Sacks takes on evolution, botany, chemistry, medicine, neuroscience, and the arts, and calls upon his great scientific and creative heroes–above all, Darwin, Freud, and William James. For Sacks, these thinkers were constant companions from an early age. The questions they explored–the meaning of evolution, the roots of creativity, and the nature of consciousness–lie at the heart of science and of this book. The River of Consciousness demonstrates Sacks’s unparalleled ability to make unexpected connections, his sheer joy in knowledge, and his unceasing, timeless endeavor to understand what makes us human.