Best Books to Read Over the Thanksgiving Holiday – The Vermont Cynic


The seasons are changing, the days are getting shorter and the holidays are fast approaching. To fight against freezing weather and shortened hours of sunshine, nothing better than escaping into a good book. Here are the culture staff’s recommendations for good reads.

“The essential” Keagan Lafferty

As winter approaches, it is necessary to find enjoyable and engaging reads, and the best way to do this is to adopt a fashionable independent style and immerse yourself in the genre of poetry. .

Recently I’ve been down a rabbit hole of local poets, and I’m very impressed with a project known as “The Gist,” the University of Vermont literary and visual arts journal that publishes an issue each fall and spring semester.

The publication includes poetry, prose, creative non-fiction, and student-submitted visual arts. It’s extremely engaging and has a wide variety of pieces since it’s a collaborative project.

Physical copies can be acquired free of charge from Old Mill’s English department or from their shelf in Brennan’s Pub. “The Gist” was formerly known as “Vantage Point”, and on its website PDFs of archived editions are available.

Take your reading locally and check out “The Gist”.

“Just Kids” by Patti Smith Olivia Nardon

Do you like reading about New York City in the 70s? What about the lifestyle of a rockstar and a poet who hangs out with artists like Andy Warhol? Patti Smith’s memoir “Just Kids” will distract you from your endless to-do list.

“Just Kids” depicts Smith’s chaotic life as she learns to survive adulthood, sacrifice for love, and attempt to make a name for herself in New York’s artistic underground.

Smith demonstrates that dreams can come true with years of hard work and sacrifice. Now a musical artist and best-selling author, she was hugely influential during her time in New York’s punk rock music scene.

“Just Kids” is one of my favorite books of all time. The story of Smith’s young adult life has stuck with me since I read it last year. I recommend reading this when you need inspiration other than images on your Pinterest board.

“The Dead Romantics” by Ashley Poston Avery Delisle

Above all, I am a romance lover. So when I started reading “The Dead Romantics” by Ashley Poston, I was really only looking for a light romance. Instead, I was irreversibly changed.

“The Dead Romantics” is the perfect embodiment of bittersweet autumn nostalgia. If feelings were a book, this book would be the warmth of hot chocolate on a cold day combined with the sting of aging.

Read “The Dead Romantics” is a bit like watching ‘When Harry Met Sally’ – if Sally could see ghosts and deal with the dead.

Covering topics ranging from the unbreakable bonds between siblings to the bonds involved in romance, this book is essentially filled with love of all kinds. The characters are the ones you can’t help but want to keep close to you.

On top of that, however, it also gives a new perspective on death and what it means to grieve, because, as Laura Donney writes in the Marvel TV series “WandaVision”, “what is grief , if not persevering love?”

“On Earth, We Are Briefly Magnificent” by Ocean Vuong Grace Wang

My average rating of a book is based on how easily I can put it down, with the best of them being nearly impossible to put down. Breaking that notion though, Ocean Vuong’s “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” is a book I’m irrevocably in love with but at the same time deeply painful to read.

The novel requires a pause, reflection, rereading, tears. Covering the experience of a young boy and his experience after the Vietnam War, Voung explores themes of generational trauma, class, addiction and mental health with his poetic voice.

My personal connection to the small-town Asian American experience made the book particularly impactful. I recommend it to anyone struggling with multiple identities and looking to be both absolutely devastated and amazed.

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen Maya Surrenti

An old classic, “Pride and Prejudice” is a book I would recommend with my last breath. I’m a die-hard Jane Austen fan, so let me tell you why you need to read this book.

First and foremost is the original plot between enemies and lovers. So if you can’t get enough of this romantic trope, this is the book for you.

Second, “Pride and Prejudice” can be read in any season. I read this book on the beach or on my sofa in the middle of winter.

Finally, the twists and turns of this novel will make your head spin. Do yourself a favor and read my personal favorite novel.

“Tiny Beautiful Things” by Cheryl Strayed Eamon Dun

I first read “Tiny Beautiful Things” because a celebrity crush recommended it on Instagram. I didn’t expect all the emotions he put me through.

A culmination of letters sent to Cheryl Strayed’s advice column on Ruckus, an online literary magazine, the book is made up of countless individual stories of grief, struggle, identity and more. Strayed responds beautifully to each letter, focusing on each person’s humanity and embracing them in his endless compassion.

Recently, I briefly forgot how powerful this book was and picked it up for a light read at a coffee shop. Halfway through a column that I picked at random, I started crying.

I probably should have been embarrassed, as many people saw me, but the resounding message of the book is that everything will be fine, even if it takes crying in public to make it happen.


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