Think your family is insane? They've got nothing on these literary clans.More
Don't judge a book by its film adaptation, OK? Though you might not have loved last year's movie, rest assured that the book is much, much better. A novel about adult siblings returning home to sit shivah for their father, This Is Where I Leave You is witty, touching, and downright hilarious. The one-liners delivered among the Foxman siblings and the uncomfortable family dynamics (grappling with mom's new boob job, for one) are both relatable and funny. The book begins with a (lit!) birthday cake being thrown onto the bed of a cheating wife by her jilted husband, and the escapades that follow do not disappoint, either.
This Is Where I Leave You (Plume), $10, amazon.com.
Another tale of adult siblings coming home to their parents (spoiler alert: people have issues). This time we're hanging with the Lamberts, who are reunited in the Midwest for the holidays. A study of neurosis, anxiety, failure, and impending death, this superbly written novel cuts deep. If you're feeling nervous about facing the extended family this season, the Lambert siblings' craziness may prove pacifying. From entanglement with the Lithuanian mob to more affairs than you can count, getting through one last Christmas seems at times an insurmountable task for the Lamberts.
Your trip home will be a cakewalk by comparison.
The Corrections (Picador), $5.50, powells.com.