Thanksgiving Readathon

Just caught wind of a Thanksgiving Readathon and immediately thought: This is my kind of marathon. I’m in much better reading shape than running shape. And I’m constantly training for a readathon (and never training for a marathon…)! And frankly, I’m like 1% interested in a running marathon and 101% interested in a reading marathon.

Plus, it’s time for something on my blog other than medical stuff. Just to throw you off. (Sorry this is none of the stuff I promised months ago…and that I still haven’t gotten around to posting about those things. I loved your votes for topics and encouragement, though! Promise I’ll get there.)

So anyway, this readathon is basically reading as many books as you can over Thanksgiving weekend. Today (Wednesday) through Sunday. So you’ll see a post from me after the weekend detailing my progress.

Not gonna lie, the first thought I had was, “…as many books as I can? Well, get ready for lots of Beverly Cleary and all the kids books I own…” But there’s no prize associated with the number of books you complete, and while I do love kid lit and will likely read at least one kids’ book this weekend, I’m not super focusing on number of books.

Elizabeth, you might be wondering, don’t you have a goal to read 100 books this year? Shouldn’t you actually be in it for the number of books you complete? Goals, Elizabeth!

Yes, thank you for remembering. I do in fact have a goal of 100 books this year. Good news: I’m definitely going to achieve that. I think I’m on 93 right now, but I’ve started like 7 more and December is prime reading time for me–I’m a huge hygge hibernator.

So my Thanksgiving Readathon goals are:

  • Read as much of my library books as I can since they are due in early December.
  • Read a solid portion of The Way of Kings with James.
  • Read one kids’ book.
  • Read Martin Marten for book club next week.
  • Read something Thanksgiving-y.

Let’s dive a little deeper here. Which library books do I need to complete soon?

  1. The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore
  2. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
  3. The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination by Ursula K. Le Guin
  4. When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön

See, there’s no way I can finish all of these books by midnight Sunday. That’s why I said read as much of them as I can.

I want to read a “solid portion” of The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson with James because he just got Oathbringer in the mail and is so, so excited to read it, but wanted to catch up on the series first, and also wanted this to be our next read-aloud-together book. (Which, if you notice, isn’t just a book, but three, and all of them are like twelve-pound behemoths.) So anyway, I’m currently on page 202 and would like to get to around page 400 or 500 this weekend. The book has 1,007 pages. This is clearly not a book to pursue for a readathon if number of books were my actual goal. But it’s on my To Be Read list this weekend because James is so excited, and it’s something we can do together, which actually counts double in my book (ha!) since he’s been out of town for work this week and I’ve missed him terribly.

Next: Read one kids’ book. I want to read Enna Burning by Shannon Hale because James bought it for me a coupla months ago and it’s just been prettily sitting on my shelf since. (It’s a sequel to Goose Girl, which I liked last year.) OR I wouldn’t mind reading Ellen Tebbits by Beverly Cleary because I’ve been working through the boxed set I got for Christmas last year and haven’t ever read that one PLUS my little neighbor borrowed it yesterday and said she liked it.

Next: Read Martin Marten by Brian Doyle because it’s a book club book for a meeting next week. So that’s kind of a must. Especially since it was my turn to choose the book =)

Lastly, read something Thanksgiving-y. I like the idea of this readathon not only being about just simply reading for me, but about holidays, and about this holiday. I like themes. I don’t actually have any strictly Thanksgiving books around (do you know of any? I do not. Please share!) I don’t mind “Thanksgiving-y” being defined kind of loosely. Possibly as simple as something that produces many feelings of gratitude. So maybe When Things Fall Apart could fit that bill? Or actually I bet any of my library books would somehow make me feel deeply grateful about something. I’m drawn by the idea of a stronger “Thanksgiving-y” book, like something American history, even if it doesn’t directly deal with this holiday. I would like something from that time at least. I’d love something about indigenous peoples. Or about pilgrims and early settlers. Or both, together. But I don’t have anything here already that would fit the bill I don’t think. But I do have a few America books I’ve been meaning to read: A Renegade History of the United States by Thaddeus Russel; United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good by Cory Booker; Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance. Hopefully I’ll at least start in on one of those.


So, an optional part of this Thanksgiving Readathon is sharing some family Thanksgiving traditions. Which has actually been a big deal to me lately (traditions in general). But maybe that’s a topic for another post.

My family is huge. I’m one of ten kids, so there are a lot of hungry hungry hippos. So growing up, we’d generally just have a lot of food for Thanksgiving. And I’m realizing now that that is a little unusual. Sure, Thanksgiving is typically a feast. But I don’t think you realize–nor did I, until recently–how seriously we took this feast idea.

We have the regular: turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green beans, cranberries, pies.

But lemme just tell you what we also typically ate every Thanksgiving:

Broccoli salad. Sarah salad. Carrots. Peas. Homemade rolls. Raspberry Jell-o with raspberries and whipped cream that always reminds me of my grandma. Frog eye salad. Fruit salad. A fruit arrangement in the middle of table which featured a pineapple with a felt turkey head on a skewer stuck in it. Depending on how many people were there we’d also have a ham.

PIES. (they get their own category) We are VERY INTO pies. My mom starts making pies like a week ahead of time. One year we had 26 pies, which was one per person since we were eating with cousins. Typical pies usually include: At least 2 pumpkin pies. Apple. Berry. A frozen pie (grasshopper or sometimes a raspberry sherbet). Cherry no-bake cheesecake. Banana or coconut cream, sometimes both. Usually a lemon meringue and a chocolate. Typically a new pie, which was just something exciting Mom wanted to try. If I’m home, a rhubarb or strawberry rhubarb. Cherry. Accompanied by ReddiWip, Cool Whip, and vanilla ice cream, depending on the pie and on the person.

The thing is, I’m sure I’m forgetting some regulars. We ate a lot of food. And it was all homemade (except the stuffing was generally Stove Top, but not always. And sometimes we’d have a can of cranberry sauce, but the best cranberry sauce was a homemade compote.)

Clearly, this comes with a lot of cooking. I hate cooking, so typically I’d do the easy stuff and run off. There are four girls and six boys in my family, so I could generally disappear without being missed too much and leave the cooking to my mom and at least two of my sisters. They/we cooked all morning and we’d eat in the afternoon. Generally my mom had been cooking or prepping for days and would also wake up early to get a head start on more cooking. The boys got to goof off and play games or something I guess. Which I always hated. I was a tomboy and always preferred working outside on our small farm to working inside–especially if it was a chore that involved food–prep, cooking, whatever. So I hated that Thanksgiving meant I was supposed to help and full boys and not tomboys got to just set the table maybe and play Risk. Our chores were generally gendered and I was not having it. But every year I’d still make an easy pie or salad or something that didn’t take precision or patience. (I still hate cooking.)

There were other Thanksgiving regulars like the decor. Our house would look like autumn until after Thanksgiving and usually Thanksgiving weekend we’d transition into Christmas. But mostly Thanksgiving meant lounging and eating and The Feast. We’d do different types of gratitude-expressing depending on the year, but it was usually incorporated into our feast. And of course, we’d have leftovers for days, which was all part of it, too. Pie for breakfast. Day-after Thanksgiving casserole.

I remember a few years where we mixed it up–I remember one year we had goose, which we generally thought was a little too greasy. We also tried rabbit and duck, but those may not have been on Thanksgiving. Typically we had turkey and ham. And lots and lots of homemade rolls =)

Now our traditions are different because we’re grown and most of us are married and live scattered all over the U.S. Since I’m #7 out of the 10 siblings, I had a lot of Thanksgivings without the whole family, and on partial-family Thanksgivings we do scale it down a tad, but not as much as you’d think. It’s still a full-on feast.

My own traditions are different now, too, because I’ve been married for two and a half years now so my Thanksgivings aren’t always spent at home. I married a guy who genuinely loves to cook turkey. (Lucky me!) And because of this, already had his own tradition of cooking a turkey for Friendsgiving. So I’ve joined that for the past few years. Last weekend we had our Friendsgiving and this is when I fully realized how seriously Bradys take their Thanksgiving feast–I constantly felt like we wouldn’t have enough food or it wouldn’t be festive enough if we didn’t have X or Y dish. So I was planning on just making mashed potatoes (friends were bringing squash casserole, a green salad, and pies), but I ended up making a fruit salad, asparagus, a no-bake cheesecake, and some Pillsbury crescent rolls. James made turkey, potatoes, gravy, and stuffing. (I almost made peas and wanted to make bacon brussels sprouts or at least bake the squash I had, but I didn’t.) It was all very extra. Unnecessary, even. James was like, “No one would notice or care if we didn’t have fruit salad, asparagus, or an extra pie. The rolls are nice.” hahaha And it’s so true! I made way too much food. And then James went out of town the next day and I’ve been eating leftovers all by myself. And I don’t even super love turkey. C’est la vie. One day I’ll learn to scale it back. Or, like this year, I’ll just embrace that I like and even need traditions and just go for it.

And tomorrow, I’ll have a Tidwell Thanksgiving. Also read all weekend. So stay posted (or not) for the readathon review next week. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Readathon

5 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Readathon

  1. Wow! Your family’s Thanksgiving food tally sounds super impressive. I can’t believe you would have all those different kinds of pie – many of them I’ve never even tried before but they sound delicious! So happy to hear you’re joining the readathon. The idea behind ‘read as many books as you can’ was not to try to get people to break some kind of record but rather to just work reading around all the social engagements we’re all going to have this weekend, so that it doesn’t feel like a chore just to reach some arbitrary number 🙂 So no pressure! Radium Girls is also on my long term TBR list and I’ve heard great things about it. Hillbilly Elegy is super topical and relevant, so that would be my recommended read out of all the ones you’ve listed. Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. elizabethtidwell says:

      Oh yeah. We’re serious about pies. And I remembered even more pies after I wrote this! Haha =) Yeah, I got a little overzealous with the read-all-the books idea at first 🙂 But it was a great reading weekend!
      And I did read Radium Girls, but didn’t get to Hillbilly Elegy, which has been on my shelf for months now….excited to dive in soon!

      Liked by 1 person

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