• Recommended Reading For Thanksgiving Travel

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN Story Club     Comments 13 comments

    Happy Thanksgiving, writers! Many of you will be on the move during this hellish travel week.

    If you’re hoping to write during your time away from home, or during your time at home that will include family/friends buzzing around (hopefully not like angry wasps), this post from 2016 offers strategies for writing on the go:Holidays, Family & Writing.”

    Maybe you’ve reached the end of your to-be-read stack of books and are looking for a new travel companion?

    In the comments section below, share with your fellow writers/readers your favorite books from 2017, and take a peek at everyone else’s if you’re in need of some good airplane/bus/train/car reading.




    Here is my own list, my favorite books of 2017. They’re not Thanksgiving themed, or in any way intended to be specific to travel, family, holidays, etc.

    They’re just books I liked reading this year. And maybe one of ’em sounds up your alley?

    Swing Time, Zadie Smith (novel): I know, I know… big surprise. But just because I’m a Zadie Smith fanatic doesn’t mean I can’t look at her work objectively. I prefer NW to Swing Time, in fact! But Swing Time is the one I read this year, and I didn’t enjoy a novel more.

    There Are Little Kingdoms, Kevin Barry (stories): I go on and on about this guy, too. This is his first story collection, and it’s great; the other, Dark Lies the Island, is also very good. His debut novel, City of Bohane, is nothing if not interesting. Barry’s most recent novel, Beatlebone, is already one of my favorite books. You can’t go wrong with any of them.

    The Safety of Objects, A.M. Homes (stories): She’s just so good at writing about deviance and dissatisfaction. I defy you to read any of her books and not feel something.

    The Coast of Chicago, Stuart Dybek (stories): This might well be my desert island story collection.

    Pafko at the Wall,” Don DeLillo (novella?): This very long story acts as sort of a preface to Underworld, which I’ve never read. It was first published in, and can be downloaded at (with subscription), Harper’s, and it may be the best baseball fiction I’ve ever read. (N.B. If you don’t have a Harper’s subscription, you can still find it online, but I won’t link to it.)

    The Art of Memoir, Mary Karr (instructional, I guess): If you’re writing a memoir, I can’t imagine there’s a better guidebook. If you’re not writing a memoir, it’s still very entertaining, and her advice crosses genres. At the very least, you’ll get some great reading recommendations out of it.

    Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, Michael Ausiello (memoir): Sure, we have an emotional and professional attachment to this book. It’s still one of the finest memoirs I’ve ever read, funny and poignant. You might want to save it for December, though, as there’s a lot of fun attention paid to ghosts of Christmases past.




    That’s my list, friends! What’s on yours? Let us know below.

    Happy Turkey Day, happy writing, and safe travels!


    WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is copy editor and fiction editor at the Texas Observer and has written about books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

    WriteByNight is a writers’ service dedicated to helping you achieve your creative potential and literary goals. We work with writers of all experience levels working in all genres, nationwide and worldwide. If you have a 2016 writing project that you’d like a little help with, take a look at our book coachingprivate instruction and writer’s block counseling services. Join our mailing list and get a FREE writer’s diagnostic, “Common problems and SOLUTIONS for the struggling writer.”

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    Sandra Fox Murphy

    I like all the books I’ve read this, except one (nope, not saying). But these two are my favorites of the year! Ordinary Grace, by William Kent Krueger, a mystery filled with so much more. I loved how the story is told through the eyes of a 13-year-old. This is a perfect read for Thanksgiving or the holidays. Grateful I found this book. The Good People, by Hannah Kent. I found this to be a dark, dark tale … maybe not a holiday read. But this tale of the harsh days in early Ireland, when belief in mystic spells and… Read more »


    My favorites I’ve read this year are Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey, and I finally finished the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Desert Solitaire was wonderful, plus I love the desert, but also…Abbey is a badass.

    Elissa Malcohn

    Most of the books I’ve read this year were published prior to 2017, but of those published this year: N.K. Jemisin’s The Stone Sky (the final volume in her Broken Earth trilogy). Science fiction with extraordinary characters, world-building, and story. The previous volumes both won well-deserved Hugos. I highly recommend the full trilogy, which also includes The Broken Earth and The Obelisk Gate. Naomi Klein’s No Is Not Enough. Klein deconstructs the strategies employed by 45 and details ways to both resist them and work toward a progressive alternative. Svetlana Aleksievich’s Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets. Follows the… Read more »

    Eleanor Gamarsh

    I have read three very insightful books in the past 6 months.i don’t remember much in this moment about the earlier half of this year of any books I read. I know I tried a couple and didn’t like so or read through so returned to library. Jumping Over Shadows by Annette Gendler This is How It Begins by oan Dempsey Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead The theme in these books is old current at the same time. They are historic novels. I enjoy reading this genre because I learn history that I wasn’t exposed to I my life. I… Read more »

    David Duhr

    These all sound great, Eleanor. Thanks for the tips! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Elissa Malcohn

    My top five (I’m counting trilogies as one), in no particular order: N.K. Jemisin: Broken Earth trilogy (The Broken Earth, The Obelisk Gate, The Stone Sky). Science fiction with extraordinary characters, world-building, and story, with cutting social relevance. The first two volumes won well-deserved Hugos; The Stone Sky came out this year. Cixin Liu: Three-Body Problem trilogy (The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest, Death’s End). Science fiction from one of China’s foremost SF authors and a thoroughly wild ride. The narrative begins during the time of China’s Cultural Revolution and ends — well, ends with me wide-eyed and awestruck. Svetlana… Read more »

    David Duhr

    Thank you for sharing, Elissa. And in such detail! These all sound fascinating. I’ve been looking for some contemporary sci-fi to try, so it’s helpful for that reason too. And I’m glad you’re enjoying Michael Ausiello’s book. I had a feeling you would!


    Never thought I’d be reading, now so happy I am listening to the audiobook–kinda book. I am halfway through “Kushiel’s Dart” Book 1 by Jacqueline Carey. The forward nearly scared me away with pages and pages of family lines..I am terrible at remembering more than a few characters, save whole families. But then, the story began and within minutes the red mote in the narrator’s eye becomes hard to take my eyes away. Her unique world and viewpoint transformed the couch I was reading on to a high night blossoming court. Try the Amazon sample and see what you think.… Read more »

    David Duhr

    Thanks for the tip, Rose. I’m seeing comparisons to Game of Thrones, at least as far as intrigue and page-turnability(?) are concerned. (I’ve never read any Game of Thrones either, but I know they’re wildly popular.) Maybe I’ll try it, and it’ll be on this list in 2018!

    Barbara A Mealer

    My top books were: “We Shall Ne’er Be Younger” by Mary Ellen Woods. It is about an older woman who goes after what she wants.”‘Maon: Marshal of Tallav'”and “Shane: Marshal of Tallav” by Cailin Briste. These are two hot novels which were my normal reading material. They are erotica with BSDM and a great story and a lot of romance thrown in to make them better yet. They aren’t your normal erotica. All three of these were well written and are by Indie authors who did a great job of putting them books together. The other one I enjoyed with… Read more »

    David Duhr

    Hi Barbara. It’s good to hear from you! Thanks for the tips; I can always trust you to recommend good indie books. I shall be adding them to my ever-growing list. Have a great Thanksgiving!

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