Books to Be Thankful For

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Once again, it’s that time of year when we all pause, amid the gluttony, to reflect on what has enriched our lives since we last stuffed ourselves silly in the name of tradition. It is when we think, however fleetingly, about the things that really matter, instead of fretting about carpools, and schedules, and life in general.

So, in that vein, I present the annual list of books to be thankful for. This time, I’ve chosen to spotlight the books that my family has especially enjoyed over this last year. I hope our list will find your families happy and healthy, and with much to be thankful for.

From Mr. Book-lover (who truth be told, isn’t really a serious reader):

“How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life” by His Holiness the Dalai Lama – Ever on a quest for self-improvement, and the ability to better understand his fellow man, this year my husband, who has long admired the ideals of men like Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and the Dalai Lama, began the practice of meditation. This book by the spiritual leader of Tibet was his most impactful read this year.

From Son No. 1, my high school freshman:

“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee – Nick really connected with the character Atticus Finch. He admired his wisdom, and willingness to go against the grain, standing up for what he felt to be right, even when it meant putting himself in harm’s way.

From Son No. 2, my fifth-grader:

“Captain Nobody” by Dean Pitchford – Braden loved this book about a puny younger brother who had grown up perpetually in his older brother’s shadow. He liked the idea that the underdog can be the hero, and although he and his brothers often fight like the dickens, he liked the feeling of brotherly love the story portrayed as well. Even better – it is written with enough humor to keep a tender, serious story light and upbeat.

From Son No. 3, my third-grader:

“The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate – Luke enjoyed this story, because he enjoyed hearing it told from the animals’ perspective. He liked hearing Ivan (a gorilla) tell his own story, and realizing how the animals we keep locked up for our entertainment feel about it. He also appreciated the reminder to treat animals as more than just possessions.

From me:

“The Forgotten Garden” by Kate Morton – Perhaps simply because it was one of my more recent reads, and stands fresh in my mind, I chose this 645-page whopper as one of my favorites for this year. Told in a creative style, the author weaves together the story of three generations of women, as they discover how they are all connected, yet preserves each of their individual voices, so that they tell their own stories as well. Set primarily in the close of the 19th century, 1913, 1975, and 2005, the book is an escapist read into the Victorian era, and tells the story of a fairy-tale gone terribly wrong, but then righted again somehow in the end.

This was recommended to me by a fellow book-lover nearly a year ago, and I am only sorry it took me so long to get around to reading it. I am excited to check out others of Morton’s books, including her new release, “The Secret Keeper.”

As I sign off, I am headed into the kitchen to begin the preparations for a weekend filled with family, food, and memories. From our home to yours, we wish the start of a season filled with the same, and urge you not to forget to find a little time for

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