There is arguably no better holiday break for true relaxation than Thanksgiving break. It may not be the longest break, but a four-day weekend free from school or work is nothing to turn your nose up at. Christmas break is wonderful and all, but it can also be pretty stressful with so many presents to buy and wrap, parties to attend, and so on. Thanksgiving, however, is the holiday that centers on cooking a yummy meal and sharing it with those people in your life for whom you are most thankful. It is the time where we take a step back and enjoy family, the beautiful weather, good food, and sleeping in. There is very little that is stressful about Thanksgiving break (unless you are one of those crazy people who goes Black Friday shopping - and that is entirely self-inflicted stress).
And what is the perfect activity to do when you are stuffed to the brim with turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie? I think few people would disagree that Thanksgiving break is the perfect break for reading. I know that there is little else I would rather be doing than snuggling up with a wonderful book and maybe a cup of hot apple cider whenever I have a few days off with very little to do except cook and eat delicious food. You can rest your overstuffed body, enjoy the sweater weather, and still feel entertained and accomplished by picking up the perfect autumn read!
Although any book could technically fit the bill, here are a few cozy suggestions for books that will keep you feeling relaxed, place you in the fall mood, and give you something worthwhile to think about. Most of these books actually take place in the fall as well, making them the ideal companions for that blanket and cup of hot cocoa.
1. Little Women
Family, the home, love, sacrifice…the themes of Little Women just so happen to coincide beautifully with the main focuses of Thanksgiving. This classic novel by Louisa May Alcott truly shows the beauty found in a happy family and loving home. The March family may not be the wealthiest or most fortunate family, but it is a family made up of happy, loving, caring women. Their home is not just the place where they reside—it is the center of comfort and stability where the March sisters learn how to live and how to love.
What better way to spend your Thanksgiving break than by learning from these lovely sisters! They are also a wonderful example of sacrifice and thankfulness. The March girls sacrifice their Christmas breakfast to a local family in need, and they do so joyfully and out of thankfulness for the things they have already. They are most thankful for each other, and isn’t this what Thanksgiving is truly all about? What more do I need to say to convince you that this book is a perfect Thanksgiving break read?
To learn more about this marvelous book and its characters, try listening to our Novel Conversations podcast about it.
Do you like romance? How about mystery? Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, gives you both, and neither the mystery nor romance disappoints! It is a haunting, suspenseful, compelling novel that you will be unable to set down. There is arguably no better book with which to curl up next to the fire (or if it’s not quite hot enough for the fire, then your favorite comfy chair). It has an intricate storyline, a wonderful heroine, a horrible secret, and it takes place in the autumn time! If you have never read this book before, you will not regret the time spent reading it over your holiday. (And when you are finished, watch the wonderful Hitchcock film as well!)
Whether you’ve never read it, read it once in high school, or read it too many times to count, consider picking up Jane Austen’s beloved classic, Pride and Prejudice, this Thanksgiving break. Visit late 18th century England without leaving your couch, and enjoy the witty dialogue, beautiful diction, and lovable characters that have given this book the title of of one the most loved books of all time.
Disclaimer: you just might be compelled to leave the comfort of your house and take a walk through the fall foliage and cool autumn air—and maybe even the rain—as you attempt to recreate some of the loveliest and most romantic literary scenes ever.
4. Jane Eyre
Like Rebecca, Jane Eyre contains a wonderful heroine, a haunting secret, and a beautiful romance. It is full of pretty fall scenes, of sadness and joy, of love and sacrifice. If this doesn’t scream “cozy Thanksgiving read,” then I don’t know what does! Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel has been enchanting readers for a century and a half with its story about a passionate young woman who changes her own destiny as she searches for a better life than was dictated her by fate and society. An early “feminist,” the character of Jane Eyre inspires, intrigues, and resonates with modern women (and men!) everywhere, and there is no better time to delve into the mysteries and complexities of Thornfield than during your Thanksgiving break!
5. Anna Karenina
You know how big, beautiful books often look the most appealing sitting there all pretty-like on your bookshelf? It’s like that monster of a book is beckoning you with open arms to pick it up and read it, and yet you just can’t bring yourself to grab it due to its daunting length. Although I personally love long books, I know how hard it can be to start a 1,000-pager, much less find the time to actually finish it. (I have yet to finish Les Miserables for this very reason). However, you now have at your disposal a nice, long weekend where you don’t have to feel bad if you spend hours reading, so why not delve into something big and wonderful, like Tolstoy’s classic Anna Karenina.
This is a beautiful but tragic tale of doomed love and deceit, tied up intricately with beautiful prose, marvelous characters, and muddled morality. And again, there are numerous fall scenes to appease your obsession with all things pumpkin spice. (Note: St. Petersburg in autumn pretty much trumps any other place in autumn). You will not regret picking up this novel over your long holiday weekend; in fact, you will find yourself asking why it took you so long to finally read it. Now is your chance!
6. Harry Potter
And now for a more fun, modern, obvious, and less “girly” pick—J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series! Okay, okay, this one may seem like a “duh, everybody loves those books” suggestion, but hear me out. It is a favorite pastime of mine to stare at my perfectly ordered and lovely set of Harry Potter books on my bookshelf. I stare longingly at their bindings and wish that I had the time to pick them back up and re-immerse myself into the magic that is Hogwarts and Harry Potter. And it has now been so long since I have read them that I have forgotten very important details (What is Hermione’s patronus again?!) However, you better believe that I will be grabbing these gems over my long and lazy Thanksgiving weekend. The first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, even takes place in the fall. And if you happen to be one of the 15 people in the world who has never read it, now is your chance to introduce yourself to Harry, Ron, Hermione, and friends (well, not all friends).
And those are my suggestions for a wonderfully relaxing Thanksgiving break! Happy reading!!