Happy Thanksgiving

Black Friday:  My idea of hell.

Black Friday: My idea of hell.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

Turkey and dressing: no stress.

Family or no family: no stress.

It’s an excuse to eat.

This year I wish I’d gone to Missouri.

My cousins are gathering there.  They are very smart, but few are conventional.  They experimented, they pushed boundaries, they dropped out, and waited till their thirties to finish college and get regular jobs.  Although I consider myself unconventional, my life really took a predictable trajectory. I was (almost) on time finishing school and getting jobs.

One side of the family is very straight; the other side is creative. Give me the creative side any day.  Show me a manic vet on psychiatric drugs and I’ll show you someone who will make you laugh.  Oh, sure, they’ve got problems, but they make jokes at funerals, tell funny stories about Viet Nam (the only funny stories about Viet Nam you’ll ever hear), and have a good attitude toward a life that was obviously derailed by the military.

And the wonderful women in my family are the steady workers.   If these brilliant gals weren’t favored by big corporations or other good-paying employers, it’s because they’re female or didn’t have the connections.

But there’s the family clash:  your husband doesn’t care for your relentlessly unsuccessful relatives, and you find his family a little dry and by-the-book.

So this holiday we’re home.

I turned on the TV while we ate supper.

I had forgotten all about Black Friday.

Don’t shop.  That’s really the best idea.

I spent so much money in Washington, D.C., that I won’t give presents this year.

But if you want to shop on Black Friday, you should shop for books.

You can read various Best Books of the Year lists to get ready for a day of shopping.

Here are links to some good lists, though they tend to be too long.

The Guardian:  Too long, in my opinion.  Did I really count 39 writers’ suggestions?  More likely 40, don’t you think?  I couldn’t make myself go through them.

The TLS:  Recommendations by 27 writers, including my favorite, Margaret Drabble.  This is part of a longer piece to be published on Friday.  Naturally I read only the bits by writers I know.

The New York Times:  100 Notable Books of the Year (way, way too long).  They haven’t published their best of the year yet.

Amazon’s Best Books of 2013 and Amazon’s Best Books of the Year Celebrity Picks.  I skimmed the list:  Amazon has good taste.  Then I looked at the Celeb list and asked, Do I care what Julianne Moore recommends?  Well, she was one of my mother’s favorite actresses, and turns out she and I both like Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings.

Barnes and Noble’s Best Books of 2013:  I haven’t actually looked at this.

I won’t make up my list till the end of the year, but my favorite new books of 2013 are:

Peter Stothard’s Alexandria:  The Last Nights of Cleopatra

Steve Yarbrough’s The Realm of Last Chances

Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings

D. J. Taylor’s The Windsor Faction

Karen E. Bender’s A Town of Empty Rooms

Susan Choi’s My Education

I’ve written about all of these on my blog, but am too tired to give you the links!

2 thoughts on “Happy Thanksgiving

  1. Usually Thanksgiving is the holiday I don’t mind. It’s usually not an ordeal as you say. All that is expected is to have a dinner and eat. But the subtext is we are supposed to have it with a family or group of friends, and while this year even with my husband’s death, we had an invitation, it fell through. So I feel I am not coming “up” to the demands of Thanksgiving today even if before this I never acknowledged them.


  2. I’m sorry your invitation fell through, Ellen!

    It’s winter here: usually it’s much warmer in November. So I’m almost in Christmas mode. I won’t be one of the shoppers–I intend to avoid the mall for a month–but the pressure begins.

    Happy Thanksgiving!


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