There’s no denying that the holiday season is hectic. Between packing away your Halloween costume and being disgusted by how early Christmas decorations are going up at the mall, it can be hard to take a step back and remember to be thankful for all the small sources of joy in our lives. But that’s what Thanksgiving is actually all about: remembering to take a moment to appreciate all we have.
So slow down, curl up with a warm cup of tea, and crack open one of these books. Whether you already know what you’re thankful for this year, or you’re looking for a book to remind you of all the reasons you have to be, you’ll find a story that will get you feeling grateful this Thanksgiving.
If you’re grateful for those who’ve sacrificed for you, read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Don’t let the lackluster movie fool you — this classic is great to remind both children and adults what it really means to love someone. Chances are, your parents and your best friends have made sacrifices for you, whether working to fund your education or just not flirting with the cute boy you both like. This book will remind you how much those sacrifices can really hurt when you make them, and how important it is to let them know just how much you appreciate it.
If you’re grateful for childhood, (re-)read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
When we get holder, sometimes it’s hard to hold onto our sense of childlike wonder. Re-reading the book that defined many of our childhoods (or reading it for the first time, if you missed out as a kid) is the perfect way to remind your self of all the magical elements of life. Think about how Harry feels when he first walks into Hogwarts, and how every thing he sees is beautiful and exciting. There’s no reason we can’t all feel that way when we try something new — no wands necessary.
If you’re grateful for your health, read Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Nothing will make you more thankful for modern medicine than reading about a post-apocalyptic world where a plague wipes out most of humanity. If these characters find creative ways to survive and be happy — and they do, even forming a Shakespeare acting troupe — then we certainly can in our world.
If you’re grateful for your right to vote, read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
There are a lot of scary debates going on right now about women’s rights in America. While we could spend our time being angry about that (and trust me, I spend plenty of my time in exactly that manner), we could also spend some of our time being grateful that we have the right to vote and speak out against that.
The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in a world where women no longer have control over their reproductive rights, and don’t have the option to speak out. As we approach the presidential elections, I can’t think of any better inspiration to vote to make sure that eerie world doesn’t become our future.
If you’re grateful for laughter, read Bossypants by Tina Fey
We’re in a golden age of comedy geniuses, and that’s definitely worth being grateful for. The queen of them all? Tina Fey. Not only is she the mastermind behind 30 Rock and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (watch them now if you haven’t already), but she’s also a fabulous writer who wrote this laugh-out-loud memoir that started an entire genre of books.
Already taken Bosspants for a spin? Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, and Aziz Ansari all have great memoirs that are equally hilarious.
If you’re grateful for your parents, read If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Warning: this book will cause some serious waterworks. One minute, Mia is worried about college applications and her breakup, the next, she’s in the hospital in a coma after a car crash that kills her entire family. If you’ve ever been mad at your parents, or frustrated with annoying younger siblings, this book reminds you not to take them for granted. And if Mia can find a reason to live, we certainly can find a reason to say thank you.
If you’re grateful for modern technology, read Landline by Rainbow Rowell
We have the whole world at our fingertips thanks to modern technology. The possibilities are endless. Landline takes that sentiment to the extreme, when Georgie discovers a magic phone that allows her to communicate with her husband in the past. The book is both hilarious and heart-wrenching, and will remind you to appreciate the seriously magical technology that connects us all.
If you’re grateful for your body, read Wild by Cheryl Strayed
It’s easy to get preoccupied with the parts of our bodies we don’t like. Whether we want to be thinner or taller or just different in some way, it’s easy to forget all the amazing things our body does for us each day. Wild is the real story of a twenty-six year old woman who decides to push her body to the limits by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail alone. In the process, she learns how to forgive herself, how to appreciate what she can do, and what being strong really means.
If you’re grateful for second chances, read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Everyone makes mistakes. And sometimes the hardest thing to do is forgive yourself. Pride and Prejudice, besides being one of the best books of all time, is the perfect reminder that no mistake can’t be forgiven. After all, if Lizzie Bennet can come around to love a man who ruined her sister’s life and insulted her entire family, then you can fix your mistakes as well. We’re all imperfect, and this book reminds us that those imperfections are actually worth appreciating.
If you’re grateful for books, read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Finally, for book worms like me, it can be easy to take for granted the number of books there are in the world. To be sad, even, that I can’t possibly read every book that’s been written. This extraordinary story — set in 1939 Nazi Germany and told from the perspective of Death — will remind you to be grateful for each and every book you read. Not only does reading bring a much-needed sense of hope to these characters in a desperate time, but reading a book as creative as this one will bring you hope about how original and life-changing a book can really be.
[Images via Amazon, Featured Image via iStock]