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Photo of Thanksgiving books laying on a table.

Thanksgiving Books You’ll Want to Put On Your Reading List

Here’s a list of Thanksgiving books with plenty of reading options to help you get into the spirit of the holiday.

We tend to overlook Thanksgiving books. For example, Christmas tends to get more literary attention.

But, believe it or not, there are many books that focus on Thanksgiving. And that’s what this list is all about.

Photo of Thanksgiving books on a table.

Thanksgiving books for your reading list

To be eligible for this list, a book must be exclusively about, or mostly set on or around, Thanksgiving. Plus, this list focuses on works of fiction for adults.

Alright, let’s get going with some Thanksgiving books for your reading list.

Thanksgiving by Janet Evanovich

Here’s one for the romance novel lover. 

Janet Evanovich’s “Thanksgiving” is about a man and woman connecting over Thanksgiving. But can the woman, Megan Murphy, overcome a past relationship to explore her future with her new beau?

The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford

It’s Thanksgiving week in 2000 in this novel, the third installment of Ford’s Frank Bascombe series.

Cover of Richard Ford's, "The Lay of the Land."
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As such, the U.S. Presidential elections have not yet been decided. Bascombe is 55 years old. His second wife has left him and he’s been treated for prostate cancer.

These are the building blocks for “The Lay of the Land,” a novel that takes place over three days in Bascombe’s life.

That is to say, this novel isn’t a quick and easy read. The hardcover version of the book contains 485 pages. And the story trails most of how Bascombe spends his time during the three days.

But if questions of purpose and mortality interest you, this may be one of the Thanksgiving books you should consider reading.

The Ghost at the Table: A Novel by Suzanne Berne

Did you think we left scary books back at Halloween? Think again.

In this story, San Francisco writer Cynthia Fiske heads to a Thanksgiving hosted by her sister in Concord, MA. But this isn’t a perfect family.

For one thing, Fiske believes her elderly father murdered her mother when the daughter was a teenager. And shortly thereafter, their father sent Fiske and her sister off to boarding school.

All of this backstory leads to Thanksgiving with the Fiske family, where one sibling wants to unearth the truth while another wants to forget the past.

The Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote

You could argue that Truman Capote’s “The Thanksgiving Visitor” is a book for children, not adults. However, you could say the same thing about the Harry Potter series. 

Cover of Truman Capote's, "The Thanksgiving Visitor."
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Indeed, “The Thanksgiving Visitor” is a short read. And it’s illustrated. But don’t let the colorful pictures fool you. In other words, this is a short story that even grownups can enjoy.

The tale focuses on Buddy, a child who Capote includes in his work, “A Christmas Memory.” Buddy and his adult friend, Miss Sook, are preparing a Thanksgiving dinner.

But then Miss Sook invites Buddy’s worst enemy, the school bully. 

Thanksgiving Night by Richard Bausch

And now we head safely back into the world of adult fiction. But not too safely.

Richard Bausch’s “Thanksgiving Night” is about two families at war with each other in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Adding to the chaos is that it’s 1999. This means that in the background of these feuding families are predictions of the demise of civilization.

Like many good works of fiction, “Thanksgiving Night” contains flawed characters who make poor decisions, just like many of us enjoying our Thanksgiving meal.

Turkey Day Murder by Leslie Meier

The bird isn’t the only thing getting killed in this murder mystery by Leslie Meier.

“Turkey Day Murder” is the seventh book in the Lucy Stone series. As such, Stone’s become a pro at keeping calm while solving mysteries in her town of Tinker’s Cove.

And it’s that ability which comes in handy as Native American activist Curt Nolan’s head ends up at the town’s annual Thanksgiving football game with an ancient war club burrowed into it.

Courting Disaster by Julie Edelson

There must be something about the holidays that brings out the worst in our families.

Cover of Julie Edelson's, "Courting DIsaster."
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For here is another story about a dysfunctional family endeavoring to make it through Thanksgiving.

In this novel, it’s ten years after the death of their five-year-old son.

It’s a tragedy with which the DiPietro’s and their two surviving children are still dealing.

The parents, Angie and Joe, take lovers.

One of the kids is a rebellious teenager.

Subsequently, all of this comes together for one awkward Thanksgiving.

The Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff

Alexandra Sokoloff’s first novel, “The Harrowing,” focuses on a few college students stuck on campus over Thanksgiving break as a major storm unleases its fury.

On Thanksgiving afternoon, the group enjoys some drugs and alcohol before using an Ouija board. That’s when they think they’ve brought forth the spirit of a deceased college student.

But the truth is worse than even their worst imaginations. As a result, the students are in for the most harrowing Thanksgiving weekend of their lives.

A Catered Thanksgiving by Isis Crawford

Sisters Bernie and Libby Simmons run a catering company. Consequently, they’re hired to prepare a Thanksgiving feast for the Field family.  

But the wealthy family patriarch, Monty, is literally blown away by the turkey the Simmons sisters seemingly prepared.

As a result of Monty’s death, and to clear their good names, Bernie and Libby set out to find Monty’s killer. Plus, a snowstorm traps everyone in the Field home, including the murderer.

The Ice Storm: A Novel by Rick Moody

It’s Thanksgiving weekend 1973. An ice storm is hammering the affluent Connecticut suburb of New Canaan.

Because of this, two neighboring families, the Hoods and the Williamses, hunker down. 

But these aren’t perfect suburban families. As the weekend unfolds and the storm unfurls its fury, simmering issues between the two households bursts into the open.

What Thanksgiving books would you add?

Alright, that’s my crack at a list of Thanksgiving books. I’m sure there are some novels that I’ve missed.

What Thanksgiving books you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments.

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