What to read, watch, and listen to so your holiday travels are a little less tedious

And so you don’t have to listen to Christmas carols on repeat.

Thanksgiving holiday travelers wait for departure announcements at Penn Station, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, in New York. One of the busiest, most stressful travel days of the year posed special challenges in the crowded Washington-to-Boston corridor as travelers on their way to Thanksgiving celebrations contended with a nor'easter packing rain and snow. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Tuesday is set to be the busiest travel day for the Thanksgiving holiday, and whether you’re shipping out of Boston by plane, train, or automobile, it probably won’t be the most pleasant experience. Tune out your annoying seatmates, and tune into these eight picks for how to entertain yourself while you travel:


Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern: Seventeen-year-old Rose is confronted with her own mortality as she approaches the age at which she can be tested for Huntington’s disease, the same degenerative condition that is slowly killing her mother. This novel tackles all the big topics of life, death, and love, and of course family, so take a break before visiting your own to dive into Rose’s. McGovern, who was born and raised and recently returned to Cambridge, also features Porter Square Books as a scene location in Rules (November 2015, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), so you can find comfort in the familiar if you’re homesick for Somerville that quickly.


Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter by Nina MacLaughlin: This is a true story that, though maybe not exactly relatable, definitely hits close to home. MacLaughlin worked at the Boston Phoenix for eight years before she up and quit her journalism job and answered an ad to become a carpenter’s assistant. She chronicles the trials and tribulations of her first year of her new life in this book (March 2015, W.W. Norton & Company), and her story will stick with you when all your relatives keep asking you what you really want to do. Don’t worry: Adults change their minds all the time (and still get book deals).

Courtesy W.W. Norton & Company

Live by Night by Dennis Lehane: If you read this on the way home, you’ll be fully informed when your aunt asks why Ben Affleck is filming in Boston. His latest project is an adaptation of this 2012 crime novel by Lehane, who’s also the mastermind behind Shutter Island, Mystic River, and Gone, Baby, Gone. Live by Night is about the making of a gangster during the 1920s Prohibition era. Be sure to show your family how the streets of Boston have been refashioned for the film.


Story continues after gallery—photos from the Live by Night set:

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Master of None: This Netflix original was created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, the latter of whom is a Harvard alumnus who was a writer and producer for NBC’s Parks and Recreation. Yang produced Master of None with Michael Schur (also of Parks and Rec), whom he met when both were writers for The Harvard Lampoon. Master of None deals with family interactions and what it’s like to not quite have it all together, even by your 30s, which is both terrifying and comforting.

The Garbage Time Podcast with Katie Nolan: Whether you’re a football buff or you’re prepping to just tolerate the Turkey Day sports conversation, Garbage Time, hosted by Boston native Nolan, is both accessible and entertaining. Watch Nolan argue about her favorite sauce for chicken fingers (sweet and sour) and make her weekly NFL picks.


Dear Sugar podcast, WBUR: Before you go home and get all kinds of unsolicited advice from your relatives, hear some relationship advice that’s directed at someone else. Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild and the “Dear Sugar’’ column from The Rumpus, and Steve Almond, author of Candyfreak and a writing teacher at Boston’s creative writing center GrubStreet, answer questions “no matter how deep or dark’’ from all kinds of listeners and offer truly empathetic responses in return.


The Boston Music Awards lineup: December 9 and 10, an array of local acts with take the stage at the Sinclair for a two-night award show event dolling out titles like New Artist of the Year and honoring Evan Dando of The Lemonheads with a Hall of Fame award. Bone up on the bands— the full lineup of performing artists can be found here—so you’ll be all set to sing along when the magical nights come.

Adele, 25: There’s nothing Boston about this. But it just might save your Thanksgiving.


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