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Bookish Left Turns for Awkward Holiday Moments

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Sonja Palmer

Staff Writer

Sonja resides in Asheville, NC where she has a job she loves at a children’s nonprofit.  When she’s not working, she probably has a book or comic in hand as she tries to read her way out of the ever-growing stack in her small apartment.  On weekends, she’s probably clambering through the mountains with her husband and dog or trying to eat too much cake while watching Great British Bake Off.

I love the holiday season. I love the smell of Christmas trees and the sparkly lights and the plethora of GREAT Hallmark holiday-themed movies (like Holiday in Handcuffs, which involves Melissa Joan Hart legit kidnapping Mario Lopez to pretend to be her fiancé. Do I need to say more?) BUT, the holidays DO come with their own awkward family moments. You know the ones:

“SO! You’ve been with your partner for about 10 years. When are you having children? Don’t you think its time?”
“How’s your relationship with your mother?”
“Let’s talk about POLITICS, shall we?”
“*something something racist*”
“*something something let’s talk about religion*”
“How’s your love life?”
“How’s your job? Do you like it?”

YIKES, ya’ll.


I understand sometimes these conversations need to happen, but here’s some bookish left turns for when you just need to change the subject.

“Oh man, speaking of time! Wouldn’t it suck to be a little girl who gets stuck in fairyland forever and become a murderous monster? I just finished this graphic novel called I Hate Fairyland. Its about this little girl who gets stuck in fairyland and then becomes a murderous monster because she doesn’t receive the love and caring she needs. There’s a part where she just straight up murders a bunch of stars and they all start falling from the sky and kill more people. Oh man, good times. Do you want to borrow it?”

“What would you do if your mother made some kind of deal with an ancient God that made you part monster so every now and then you just kinda turned into a tentacular devouring thing? There’s this comic called Monstress that is all about that and the main character has to figure things out and also try not to murder a bunch of people when they get on her nerves. Interesting, huh?”

“Man, speaking of politics, I read this book called The Power by Naomi Alderman and its all about if women suddenly had physical power to just shock people and how our world could completely change because a lot of our current political system is based on people in power using their strength to keep marginalized people down. How interesting. Hm. I think it would be kinda nice to have shocking powers, even if it eventually corrupts. What do you think? Want to talk about lightning or something?”


“Oh man! I am reading this book called Color of Law which is all about how the government pretty much made segregation and disenfranchisement of African Americans law. Isn’t it interesting that people think that everything is equal now when a lot of those same laws are still having effects today? Facts are so cool. Let me go to my car to get it and before we finish this argument we can just do some reading! Reading is so great.”

“Man, did you read The Girl on the Train? Or Gone Girl? Let’s talk about that twist. Woo boy, who saw that coming right? Who needs to talk about religion when we can talk about murder.”

“Yeah, I was thinking about romance when I was reading Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue where the main character goes on this amazing journey across Europe with his best friend who he loves and there are so many shenanigans. Maybe I should go on a trip. Doesn’t Europe seem nice this time of year? Also outside. Outside seems nice. Let me go check on the sun.”

“Speaking of jobs. I just recently finished Sourdough by Robin Sloan, and it is all about how this main character receives magical sourdough and kinda realizes that she doesn’t like her job and has to go on a magical baking journey. Don’t you wish more of life’s problems could be solved with magical bread? Speaking of bread, do we have any? I should go find some right now? Or make some. That would be also be great.”


You can come up with your own variations, but I just thought I’d have a couple of ideas ready for you that you can easily adapt.