Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Come Tell Me Which Thanksgiving Films to Review

An overturned tub of popcorn and some gummy bears lying on an opaque surfaceToday’s post is going to be short and sweet because I will (hopefully) be following up on it at least once this autumn.

Over the past few months I’ve been working ahead on blog posts as ideas pop into my mind and I have the time to write them.

Right now I’m thinking about Thanksgiving films. I’ve reviewed many stories set during Halloween and various winter holidays, but I haven’t done the same thing for Thanksgiving yet.

This is something I want to change in October for Canadian Thanksgiving or November for American Thanksgiving. Maybe I’ll even be able to review films for both of these holidays!

The rules are simple.

Rule #1: The film should be at least loosely related to any speculative fiction genre: science fiction, fantasy, horror, paranormal, alternate history, etc. so that it will fit the theme of this blog. I am willing to stretch these terms to include films that might only brush against these genres lightly if you say they’re great stories.

Rule #2: The film should be something I can access legally by either purchasing it online or watching it on a streaming service. This isn’t something I’m ethically comfortable compromising on.

The films I’m currently considering, assuming I can procure copies of them, include the following:

  • Addams Family Values (1993) 
  • Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow  (2015)
  • ThanksKilling (2009)
  • A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)
  • A Thanksgiving Tale (1983)
  • It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

As you may have noticed, the year a film was originally released doesn’t matter. While everything on this list happens to be in English, I also have no problem watching something with subtitles if someone recommends a film that includes that.

I have two questions for my readers as I work on this project.

Which of these films did you enjoy the most?

What other Thanksgiving films can you recommend? 

Thank you all in advance for your input!

Top Ten Tuesday: Native American Reads

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Opened books lying down on a flat surface. Every inch of the surface is covered in books. This week’s prompt was a Thanksgiving freebie. Since I’ve already written a few different posts about the Canadian and American Thanksgivings over the last month, I decided to use this prompt to share books written by Native American and First Nations authors that I’ve already read or am I’m hoping to read soon.

If I’ve read it, I’ll share a sentence or two about why I liked it.

1. Two Old Women: An Alaskan Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival by Velma Wallis

Generally, survival and adventure stories are a tad too intense for my tastes. This one began when two old women were abandoned by their village during a terrible winter famine. Where the plot went from there is why this has become one of my all-time things to read when I do want to read about adventure and survival.

2. Born with a Tooth by Joseph Boyden

3. Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese

4. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Mr. Alexie has a fantastic sense of humour. I can’t count the number of times I laughed while reading this book.

5. Gardens in the Dunes
by Leslie Marmon Silko

6. Solar Storms by Linda Hogan

7. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

8. Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

This was my first introduction to Mr. Wagamese’s work. I’ve been a fan of his writing style and storytelling ever since. He has a way of making every scene come alive no matter what is happening in it. That is, his ordinary scenes are just as unforgettable as the heartbreaking ones.

What books can you all recommend adding to this list?

Characters I’d Never Invite to Thanksgiving Dinner

Pumpkin pie, forks, and a decorative gourd sitting on a Thanksgiving supper tableHappy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian readers!

Last year I wrote about the characters I’d want to invite over for a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner.

Since then, I’ve gotten some hits on my site from people who are wondering which characters shouldn’t be included on a Thanksgiving dinner guest list.

Honestly, I could happily make small talk about how unpredictable the weather can be in October or why pumpkin pie is so delicious with 99.99% of the people and characters out there. There are plenty of ways to gently guide a conversation along to lighthearted topics if you don’t have much in common or know each other well.

It would take a lot for me to refuse to share such a hospitable and inclusive holiday with someone…especially if they don’t have anywhere else to go!

With that being said, even I have my limits. Here are the characters who would never be invited to my house for Thanksgiving dinner.

1. Dolores Umbridge from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. 

Why: She was a violent, cruel person who did a deceptively good job of hiding that part of her personality from authority figures and anyone else who might have stopped her.

2. The Borg from Star Trek

Why: As cool as it might be to have some body parts replaced by machines, I do not want them to assimilate me or the other guests against our will. Former members of The Borg like Seven of Nine who simply want to eat some food and discuss human culture would be welcomed in my home.

3. Heathcliff from Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights 

Why: Like Dolores, Heathcliffe was skilled at putting on the facade of being a good person while doing quietly terrible things to his victims behind the scenes. This is something I simply can’t sweep under the rug.

4. President Snow and President Coin from Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy 

Why: Does anyone actually want to spend Thanksgiving with ruthless dictators who have repeatedly sent innocent people to their deaths? If so, I’ve never met such a person.

This list was pretty short, but I felt that I’d be repeating myself if I added anyone else to it. Basically, the behaviours that would make me exclude someone on Thanksgiving are limited to things that would also be bright red flags the other 364 days of the year. The vast majority of people would never behave this way, so my list of folks who could join me for a special holiday meal will always be miles longer than the ones who will have to make other plans that day.

Which characters would you never invite over for Thanksgiving dinner?

Science Fiction and Fantasy Shows I’m Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers! I hope you all have a table full of delicious things to eat and plenty of kindred spirits to share this meal with. Today’s post will be something short and sweet.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how happy I am to see the science fiction and fantasy genres doing so well, especially on the small screen. There have been times when these genres haven’t gotten as much attention from mainstream audiences as they’re currently receiving. I’m so glad to see the audiences for them growing.

Today I’m going to be talking about why I am thankful for certain science fiction and fantasy shows that I’ve been watching this year. I’d love to see your lists, too.

The picture on the left reminded me of how I feel when I read these genres. The right storyteller can paint such a vivid picture of the world they’re imagining that I forget it’s fiction.

It somehow feels more like exploring a new planet, timeline, or era then reading about a character having those adventures. Even speaking as an author myself who knows the tricks of the trade, this is a magical process every single time it happens.

The Orville

I love the cheerful, uplifting, and hopeful themes on this program about a group of space adventurers. While they aren’t set in the same universe, it reminds me of Star Trek in the very best way possible. Given certain things that have happened in the world over the last few years, we need this optimism now more than ever.

The Good Place

Death and the afterlife definitely aren’t the first things I think of when I’m in the mood for a comedy, but somehow the writers of this show have figured out a way to make serious and controversial topics fodder for jokes. I especially love the fact that the non-humans characters on this show have found so many ways to surprise the audience and defy almost everyone’s expectations of what happens to someone after they die.

The Handmaid’s Tale

I’ve blogged a lot about this series here already, but I can’t help but to include it in this week’s list. Everyone involved in the serialization of this story has done a very good job so far of translating something that was written in and about the 1980s to the social climate of 2018. When I watch season three next year, I think I’ll follow up each episode with something lighthearted since the subject matter of the first two seasons could get pretty dark at times.

Still, it’s something I hope will continue to air for years to come. There is a lot of ground to cover yet with the characters in this world.

Star Trek: Discovery

How could I possibly leave this show off of the list? I was so excited a few years ago when I first heard that the Star Trek franchise was finally come back to television. While the first season didn’t meet all of my expectations, I was intrigued by the differences between the culture of this ship and, say, how a similar episode would have been written if Captain Picard or Captain Sisko had been in charge instead.

It’s going to be so interesting to see where the writers go from here. I’m grateful to have another opportunity to explore this universe, and I’m hoping that the second season will be fantastic.

What science fiction and fantasy shows are you thankful for?

Characters I’d Invite to Thanksgiving Dinner

Happy Thanksgiving, Canadian readers! I’m enjoying a nice, quiet Thanksgiving this year while also wondering what it would be like to celebrate this holiday with characters from some of my favourite books.

If I could, I’d sure love to share this holiday with the following people:

1. Anne Shirley from the L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series.

She’d be welcomed to bring her legal guardians, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, along as well. As someone who is almost always quiet, I’d love to listen to her chatter about whatever it was that had happened to her recently.

It would also be interesting to get more details about her life before she was adopted if she was willing to share them.Some of my favourite scenes in this series were the ones that showed how they all enriched each other’s lives.

2. The entire Weasley family from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

Yes, I’d need a much bigger table to include all of them, but I’d love to see this huge, loving family in action. I’d bet their Thanksgiving dinners would be joyful (and quite noisy) every single year, especially once there were grandchildren in the picture.

3. Afsan from Robert J. Sawyer’s Far-Seer trilogy. 

Not only would it be cool to see what a Tyrannosaurs would want to eat for Thanksgiving, I’d love to talk to this character about his impressions of human customs in general. (His species was sentient and quite intelligent in this series). He’d almost certainly be as horrified and/or amused by some of the things we do as we would be by certain Tyrannosaurs customs.

4. Starr Carter from Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give.

Starr was such an easy character to love. My sympathy for her only grew stronger after she watched a police officer kill her best friend in one of the earliest scenes of her story. I’d want to fix her a big plate of food and offer her any comfort I could over the holidays.

5. Anna from Claire Cameron’s The Bear.

Anna was a six-year-old girl whose family went on a camping trip in a remote section of a national park. After her parents were killed by a bear, she had to figure out how to get her younger brother and herself to safety.

This was one of the most intense things I’ve ever read. I wish it were possible to catch up with characters years later to see how they’re doing. She was so young when the attack happened that she didn’t understand what was going on. While I would never ask about the deaths of her parents specifically, I’d love to know what her life was like after the events of the final scene.

6. Patricia Cowan from Jo Walton’s My Real Children

Patricia might have lived in one of two different timelines during the course of this book depending on which memories of hers you tend to believe are the genuine ones.

Not only did the course of her life take radically different turns in each timeline, the course of human history did as well. I can’t say much else without giving away spoilers, but I’d sure like to talk to this character so I could find out which version of the events she remembered actually took place.

7. Hattie Shepherd and her descendants from Ayana Mathis’ The Twelve Tribes of Hattie.

The first chapter of this tale showed Hattie desperately attempting to save her first two children, a set of twins who were dying from pneumonia in 1923 when such a disease was much harder to treat than it is today. The rest of the storyline showed what happened to this woman and the nine other children she had after the deaths of her first two babies.

Her extended family as a whole wasn’t a particularly emotionally healthy one. I believe that Hattie would have been diagnosable if she’d lived in a time and place where seeing the doctor for mental health concerns was socially acceptable. As it was, her undiagnosed illness damaged her relationships with all of her surviving children and their families.

Sometimes dysfunctional ways of interacting with the world can be passed down for generations when people either can’t recognize the harmful patterns in their family or aren’t willing to try to change them. I’ve seen it happen both in real life and in fiction. It’s as sad as it is fascinating. I’d love to invite different combinations of people from this family to various dinners to see if I could figure out how they’ve changed over the years.

Which character would you invite to your Thanksgiving dinner?

Suggestion Saturday: October 6, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving, Canadian readers! May your meals this weekend be immensely satisfying. Here is this week’s list of Thanksgiving-related blog posts and other links from my favourite corners of the web. Are Potatoes Good for You? Thanksgiving is one of those meals when I don’t worry about the nutritional content of my dinner in any way.… Read More

Dual Citizens Get Two Thanksgivings

Seven years ago, I became a Canadian citizen. There are many things I love about being a citizen of both Canada and the United States. Having the excuse to celebrate Thanksgiving twice every year is definitely part of that list. Yes, this is blog post about food. No, this isn’t about turkey. Don’t tell the… Read More