When racking your brain for things do in lieu of watching football this long weekend, here are a few more possibilities, in the form of books about family! The weather is brisk, the leaves have fallen (or some of them have), and the pie is on the table, which is the perfect time to curl up with a book – probably grab some pie first, though.
In honor of a time when many gather with loved ones, these selections feature families, whether functional or otherwise. Mostly otherwise.
After being unceremoniously left by her fiancé, Ruth agrees to go home for one year to take care of her father, a history professor who has been forced to stop teaching due to his dementia. With the backdrop of her father’s increasing confusion and her mother’s guilt, she seeks a way forward for herself.
This entirely hand-drawn—in PEN—graphic novel is the fictional 1960s diary of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, who is trying to discover who murdered her upstairs neighbor, a Holocaust survivor. With a superstitious mother and an older brother whose involvement seems murky, Karen imagines herself as a werewolf detective.
The National Book Award winner in fiction this year, this book features three generations of a family. When Jojo’s father is due to be released from prison, his mother takes him, his younger sister Kayla, and the ghost of her brother on a road trip, leaving Jojo’s grandfather behind to take care of his sick wife.
Shortly after moving into a decrepit beachside home in Rockaway following 9/11, pregnant Sue deals with her impending conversion to Judaism while her daughter learns to care for an egg for school. Meanwhile, their neighbor Tim grapples with knowing a different family’s drama and with his desire to fill his deceased friend’s shoes.
In remembrance of his mother following her death, Sherman Alexie wrote a memoir about his impoverished childhood on a reservation. Written in poems, essays, and photographs, this book takes on the complicated relationship he had with his alcoholic mother.