The Holidays are supposed to be a time of Thanksgiving, gratefulness, quiet reflection, and family fun, but sometimes it feels like the Holiday season has been overtaken by gluttony. Think about it: We want more food, more presents, more parties, and more shopping. More more more!! Need proof? Just keep in mind that Black Friday shopping now begins on Thanksgiving Day. So if your family members are absent from the dinner table this Thanksgiving, they might be trampling old ladies down at the Wal Mart for a chance to get that new HDTV for 90% off.
It’s true. There are some amazing Black Friday deals out there, but there are also some amazing moments with friends and family that are being sacrificed in the name of gluttony. So this season, before you reach for that 5th turkey leg and before your eyes glaze over with visions of coupons and bargains in your head, let’s remember that gluttony comes in many forms, and it isn’t just for the dinner table. But if you need a few reminders along the way, here are 5 books to deter your gluttonous tendencies:
Edie Middlestein’s food addiction in Jamie Attenberg’s novel is the epitome of gluttony in my opinion – at least in the more tradition, food-related sense of the word. For Edie, food isn’t about nutrition or sustenance, it’s an utter obsession and it eventually costs her her life. So while the Holiday season is certainly a time for indulgence and celebration, Edie reminds us that there is a line between indulgence and obsession – one that is especially easy to cross this time of year.
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The next time you think about the Holiday season and wonder if you’ve bought enough presents for everyone on your list, just think about the Ingalls family Christmas during the long South Dakota Winter of 1880. Snowed in for months and completely impoverished, the family still managed to have a heartfelt, meaningful Christmas. They even managed to prepare a meal and exchange a few homemade gifts in spite of their poverty and lack of necessary goods! It’s easy to forget the reason for the season, but The Long Winter reminds readers that possessions are meaningless compared to health, family, love, and togetherness.
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
One of my favorite books of all time, Down and Out in Paris and London is the perfect deterrent for someone tending toward gluttony. Orwell’s memory of working long hours in various kitchens of Paris and London during the early 20th century will leave you humbled and thankful for a roof over your head and a full belly. The imagery of such impoverished and destitute living conditions serves as a much-needed reminder this time of year that basic necessities should never be taken for granted, because as Orwell can testify, there are many who are forced to do without.
Gulp by Mary Roach
Mary Roach’s books indulge the curiosity and voyeuristic qualities within us all, and from corpses to orgasms, Roach has addressed a great deal of myths and superstitions about the human body. Her most recent book, Gulp, is no exception. From ingestion to excretion, Gulp charts the long and complicated journey that our food endures within the body. Like her other books, it offers honest, frank descriptions that are often uproariously funny and also quite disgusting. It’s like that body episode of The Magic School Bus, but for adults! So read Gulp, and then ponder all the horrifying things you learned about the digestive tract while you gobble down that turkey and pie – the food glutton in you will surely be neutralized.
Think your Holiday dinners are crowded and stressful? Try planning around a family of 33. That’s right…Golden Richards has 4 wives and 28 kids, and if you think Holidays would be stressful for a family of this size, think about the time and energy that also goes into planning birthdays, anniversaries, and daily activities. It’s expensive and time consuming to say the least, and let’s also remember that pretty much every possession acquired by a Richards child is second hand and used by either an older family member or a church/community member. So the next time you find yourself overwhelmed by your relatives, just be grateful that you’re not a member of the Richards clan!