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Book worm: Use Thanksgiving to savor these good reads

By Kathleen Duncan
Nov. 27, 2013 at 5:27 a.m.


Hurrah, it's Thanksgiving.

Maybe you arrived last night or maybe you're currently in a car, plane or train on your way to a family or friend's house. Maybe you're sitting on a couch waiting for visitors to arrive (you lucky dog) and aren't traveling at all.

Either way, you're soon to be stuffed full of succulent turkey, sweet cranberry sauce, yams adorned with clouds of marshmallows and delectable stuffing.

You may also have children climbing all over you, dogs biting your ankle with unrestrained joy and an exhausting array of personal questions thrown at you with the best of intentions to make that time with your loved ones all that much more meaningful.

But hey, in the meantime, you have some hours to kill. So why not relax and enjoy some literary leisure? If you're not sure what book to pick up at the airport or listen to while you wait for that delicious feast to commence, I'm here to help.

"The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son," by Pat Conroy, is the first book I'm excited to pick up this week. Conroy is a master of elegant prose and emotional plot twists. Every time I read his books, I'm shocked, heartbroken and filled with admiration for his writing. "The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son" is a memoir about Conroy's childhood.

He grew up with a violent and brutal father, moving from base to base because of his father's military career. It promises to be a personal account of a family in turmoil and their struggle to reconcile in later years.

Now, my foodies, gather round. Are you one who loves to read about food before, during and after you gobble up your Thanksgiving delicacies? Maybe even as you stir that sauce, you have a book propped in your other hand. Well then, "Anything That Moves," by New Yorker writer Dana Goodyear, may be the book for you.

It looks to be an exploration of the extremes in new American cuisine - from the strangest of ingredients to the most unfathomable combinations. It may be a story better enjoyed on a full stomach, rather than an empty one, just in case some unappetizing surprises are lurking in its pages. After all, we wouldn't want to miss out on the biggest spread of the year because of some well-placed adjectives.

And last but not least, I can't wait to delve into "Havisham: A Novel" by Ronald Frame. Haven't we all wondered how the haunting Miss Havisham of "Great Expectations" came to be? Frame promises to tell us every dismal detail in Catherine's path from a well-bred young lady to the specter that drifts aimlessly through that shadowy mansion in her decrepit wedding dress. Finally, we will find out what led to her dramatic and irreversible unraveling.

Any or all of these books, may be consumed before turkey this week, as I will be one of the many travelers working their way across the country. I have hours of driving, flying and driving again to reach my grandparents' home in northern California. I should arrive just in time (fingers crossed) to indulge in a leisurely dinner with my family and a couple days of holiday rest.

But until the moment when I leap across that threshold and dive into some heavenly home cooking, I'll be reading. I hope you will be, too.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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