As the holidays approach, I find myself thinking more and more about family. It’s probably the most-written-about subject in all of literature, so compiling a list about families might be an insane venture, but I’ve got a few favorites to recommend. I probably won’t be reading much myself this month, since any free time will be sucked up by NaNoWriMo (I’m writing this post in October and pre-scheduling it; many of my November posts will be pre-written so I can reserve time for my novel), but for those of you who will have time to read, here are a few of my favorites:

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

Weird and wonderful, Bender explores a young girl’s connection to her mother and development of empathy through an inexplicable sixth sense: she can taste emotions in her food.

A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz

Though Jasper Dean’s father is dead, he is far from gone as he recounts his boyhood with his criminal uncle, his absent mother, and his scheming father.

Trash by Dorothy Allison

This beautifully written collection of short stories will startle you with its honest and brutal depictions of poverty, violence, and–ultimately–compassion.

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

Set in the agricultural Midwest, this novel is a retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear. Just as Shakespeare did in his day, Smiley uses the story to shed light on the social structures of her area and era, along with the precarious nature of family.

 

 

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