As much as I love a beautiful sunny day, I admit that if I had to choose I’d pick a rainy day over a sunny one. If I had a day full of errands, maybe I’d rather not run around in the rain; but if I had a day off, and I planned on spending it reading in my apartment, then the more rain the better. And if it should storm, even better! There’s just something about the rain that reminds you how amazing it is to be inside, all warm and cozy, and—hopefully—in your pajamas.
My preference of rainy days to sunny ones doesn’t end with the weather. While I do enjoy a good Beach Read, I prefer my books to be a bit overcast as well. These books should accompany that next storm beautifully.
1. The Barbarian Nurseries by Héctor Tobar
Scott Tores is living the American Dream with his beautiful wife, three children, and his Los Angeles home full of servants. But after a bad investment, Scott loses almost everything. The kids are inadvertently left with the one remaining maid who, when she runs out of food, takes the kids on a search for their grandfather (unintentionally frightening the parents who think their children have been kidnapped.)
2. Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick
It’s the summer of 1948 in Brownsburg, Virginia, and Charlie Beale has just strolled into town with nothing but two suitcases: one full of his possessions and the other full of money. Charlie gets a job at the butcher shop, where he quickly befriends the owner and his family. But Charlie also falls in love with Sylvan, the young bride of the town’s wealthiest man. Charlie refuses to let anything get in his way as he pursues Sylvan in this haunting love story.
3. Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace
Jason has just met The One, or at least he might have, but just as quickly as he’s met her she’s gone, accidentally leaving him holding her camera. Tracking her down means developing the film, and Jason is on a mission in this hilariously charming love story.
4. The Navigator of New York by Wayne Johnston
After his mother commits suicide, Devlin Stead becomes an outcast and a loner. Raised by his Uncle Edward and Aunt Daphne in St. John’s Newfoundland, he believes his father is an explorer and is compelled to follow in his footsteps. Upon receiving a letter from one of the world’s most successful explorers, Devlin moves to New York and becomes his protégé. To Devlin, New York offers the adventure, and answers, he’s been searching for.
5. Let the Great World Spin by Column McCann
New York, summer of 1974: chance and tragedy are interweaving the lives of strangers in ways readers can only imagine. Over the span of a day that begins with a tightrope walker balancing on a wire between the two Twin Towers, McCann captures pain and promise alike in this portrait of one of the world’s most portrait-worthy cities.
6. The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock
Narrated by Catherine Rozier (as well as her uncle Charlie through confessions made on audiotape twenty years prior) this book doesn’t so much unravel secrets as much as it does expose them. Set in 1985 on the island of Guernsey, Horlock simultaneously explores the psyche of a deranged, self-loathing teenager and the testimony of her furtive uncle who claims to have been sent to a concentration camp during the Nazi occupation of the island.
7. Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
Archy and Nat are co-owners of Brokeland Records, which looks as though it might have met its match when Gibson Goode, an NFL superstar, announces his plans to open a Dogpile superstore just down the street. In the meantime, friendships are tested, babies are delivered, and estranged sons resurface in Michael Chabon’s clever, multi-faceted All-American novel.
8. Requiem, Frances Itani
Bin Okuma spent his childhood in a Japanese internment camp in British Columbia during the Second World War. For the rest of his life, the time spent there will influence the way he sees the world. Bin, now living in Ottawa, refuses to even visit B.C. until his wife, Lena, passes away. Bin drives west in an attempt to revisit his past and lay some of his ghosts to rest.
9. Until I Find You by John Irving
This novel begins with four-year-old Jack Burns and his mother Alice chasing Jack’s organ-playing father, who has left them for Europe. Upon returning home to Canada after an unsuccessful search, Jack develops a fondness for acting, which eventually leads to a successful career in Hollywood. Eventually, retracing his mother’s steps, jack goes back to Europe to try and find William himself, but what he discovers to be true could not be further from what he imagined.
10. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Clay Jannon has just lost his job but luckily Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore was hiring. The store is an even weirder place than it sounds; the few customers that do come in don’t even buy their books (which are—unsurprisingly—bizarre and obscure volumes that don’t even seem to be written in English). In actuality, the customers aren’t customers at all, they’re secret society members and old book lovers who are attempting to solve a mystery. Clay, an information-loving computer geek enlists the help of his friends and sets out to do the same. An age-old mystery, a super old bookshop, the internet, friends! This book truly is as cool as it sounds.
Happy rainy-day reading!