We covered Thanksgiving books for kids last year, but realized adults often want to read holiday-themed books as well. Or maybe you’re trying to find November book club books for Thanksgiving.
Whether you’re looking for a novel perfect for group discussion, a funny rom-com to relieve turkey day stress, or a book that discusses the origins of the holiday, we’ve got perfect book recommendations below.
Before we get started with our curated list, we wanted to acknowledge that we left off 5 books that seem to be on everyone else’s Thanksgiving books for adults list. None of them made the final cut for our list because of very mixed reviews and/or just not sounding like books we’d jump to read. But, since they seem to be standard book recommendations for Thanksgiving, we listed them in a separate section right under our list.
While the rest of our list is fiction, including some very light, entertaining picks, we wanted to include one solid non-fiction for anyone wanting to learn more about the history of Thanksgiving. We selected This Land is Their Land, which was published in 2019 right before the 400th Anniversary of the landing at Plymouth Rock.
The book focuses on the Wampanoag Indian tribe, starting with the relationship and alliance between the chief and Plymouth's governor, John Carver which lead to a successful harvest and first Thanksgiving. You'll learn about the next 50 years of uneasy peace between the tribe and the local government, which ended in 1675. Silverman explores the tensions before, during, and after the treaty in this well-researched book.
The author was determined to remain neutral in tone and focus on historically documented facts, which is an asset but also creates a more scholarly tone instead of reading like fiction. That makes it a longer read, so we recommend picking it up a bit at a time in conjunction with other books versus sitting down to read straight through.
This Pulitzer finalist was initially published in 1985 and then turned into a popular movie in 1988. The fact that it's still easily accessible in reprint over 30 years later is telling!
Travel writer Macon Leary is not what you'd expect a travel writer to be. He hates anything out of the norm and away from his home, including travel. Things get even worse after his wife leaves him. Macon intends to remain isolated and alone at home. Then a peculiar dog trainer works her way into his life and helps him re-engage with life. Thanksgiving happens in Chapter 10, including planning for the day and the big dinner.
Anne Tyler also authored another book - A Patchword Planet - that includes a dysfunctional Thanksgiving dinner.
While Louisa May Alcott is best known and loved for her novel, Little Woman, she was also a short story writer. One of her most popular short stories focuses on Thanksgiving, when a mother is called away and the children attempt to make the full dinner. So, if you're yearning for a sweet story, set in a simpler time, grab this classic!
A pivotal scene in this popular contemporary fiction happens around the Thanksgiving table, so if it's been on your TBR list, this is a great time to pick it up!
The story focuses on the intertwined relationship between Alix, a successful white woman, and Emira, her toddler's 25-year-old black babysitter.
When Emira visits Alix's neighborhood high-end grocery store, an overzealous security guard believes she's kidnapped Briar, Alix's daughter. The encounter between Emira and the guard is filmed, making Emira both angry and embarrassed. Alix is also upset and determined to do something, but then the viral video brings something from her own past to light.
If you've read any of the Stephanie Plum series, you know that Janet Evanovich specializes in adding laugh-out-loud, over-the-top situations to daily life. In this quick read, the main characters have the ultimate meet-cute when a rabbit begins chewing on the bottom of Megan's skirt. She's ready to yell at the rabbit's owner, but quickly changes her mood when she finds out he's a handsome doctor.
This is a fun option if you're looking for a very light and funny romance with cheesy Hallmark movie vibes. But, skip it if you're looking for something deeper or literary.
The first book in the popular Inspector Granache series kicks off on Thanksgiving weekend in the small Canadian town of Three Pines. Beloved local artist Jane Neal is murdered and found in the woods. It's is a huge shock a town so crime-free that it doesn't even have a police officer.
If you're a fan of cozy mysteries and haven't read this series, be warned that you might get hooked. Book 17 was just released! If you're also doing the Book Voyage challenge, this is a great overlap book for our November stop in North America.
This fluffy rom-com is free on Amazon as of 10/5/21! It's part of a holiday series featuring the endearing Wong family. The parents set up blind dates for all three of their children for Thanksgiving. This is the first book in the series and focuses on the party boy and advertising executive Nick.
The woman who the Wongs selected for Nick's brother just happens to be Lily, who was Nick's latest one night stand. He hasn't been able to forget her, unlike his normal flings. While Nick didn't come home with the intention of settling down, he might be changing his mind...
This book contains three stories from the author of Breakfast at Tiffany's, including The Thanksgiving Visitor. The story features the same autobiographical characters from A Christmas Memory - 9 year old Buddy and Miss Sook, his eccentric elderly cousin who is also his best friend.
Buddy is bullied every day on his way to school, so Miss Sook decides to solve the problem by inviting the bully to their big country Thanksgiving feast.
Eliza is a suburban wife secreting struggling with a new, intense fear of leaving her house. She forces herself to go to the store in preparation for a Thanksgiving visit from her college-age children. While she is there, she hears younger moms talking about a new local online forum for women. Eliza has run a similar group for years, but these strangers are calling her group boring.
In a moment of desperation and weakness, Eliza starts a rumor on her board to liven it up, and the rumor reaches further than she expected.
This book is a great mix of comedy and drama about a group of neighbors overcoming their individual problems when they’re willing to share them and lean on other women. While most of the book is set leading up to the big dinner, it's the setting of a major revelation.
Five More Thanksgiving Books for Adults
These are the books mentioned in our intro that weren’t a good fit for our criteria, but you might find them interesting as they appear on almost every other Thanksgiving booklist. Just be sure to check the reviews!