It’s looking to be a very rainy week this week, so this prompt couldn’t be more appropriately timed. When I think of a “rainy day read,” I tend to think of books that really captured my attention or that I wanted to read in one sitting. I love to stay indoors when it is raining and just read for the whole day. To be fair, I generally love to stay in and read any day, but I love the whole atmosphere of a good book while listening to all the rain outside. To some degree, I also associate rainy day books with books that are very atmospheric or a bit on the darker side. I guess that just seems to fit with the gloomy weather in my mind. The books that I ended up choosing are all books that I found very compelling, and would have loved to have an entire day (rainy or not), just to read them straight through.
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
1) Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
I’m just finishing off this book today, after very grudgingly putting it down to go to bed last night. Akemi Dawn Bowman is quickly becoming one of my favourite new YA authors, and I would also highly recommend Starfish as a rainy day read, or really for any day. Actually, of the two I think I enjoy Starfish a tiny bit more but they are both 5-star reads for me. This book is about a teenage girl named Rumi whose sister has died in a car accident. Rumi is sent to Hawaii to live with her aunt while her mother deals with her own grief, causing Rumi to feel abandoned. Rumi is also struggling with the fact that her sister Lea was her songwriting partner and they had a song in progress when Lea died and is struggling to finish the song on her own. I think this book would be a great rainy day read because it is so impactful and beautifully written. The Hawaiian setting could also be a great getaway from the rainy weather, although I have to admit that I found the use of pidgin English by many of the characters a little hard to read at times. This is the kind of book that kept me so absorbed in the story all the way through, and it’s been really hard to put it down.
2) Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Big Little Lies would also be an excellent choice for a rainy day read, but I feel like I’ve mentioned that one quite a bit on this blog. This is actually my favourite Liane Moriarty book so far after Big Little Lies, and it had such an interesting premise. This book is about a group of nine people who are all visiting a health resort for a ten-day retreat. The book alternates between the perspectives of the various guests, as well as the resort’s owner and employees. It is a lot of perspectives to keep track of, but I had no trouble telling the characters apart, although I found some more interesting than others. I thought the book was very unusual, and there were a few unexpected turns toward the middle that I didn’t expect to enjoy, so I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I was still completely invested. I thought the characters were all well-written and realistic, and I was especially intrigued by the odd methods that the spa was using, and the way Liane Moriarty kept me guessing about what the owner’s intentions were. It was a very intriguing story and easily kept me reading!
3) The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
This was one of my most highly anticipated books to read this year. It came out last May, but I didn’t have any room to squeeze it into my 2018 reading challenges, so it was one of the first to be added to my list this year instead. It is about a woman named Winnie who is part of a group called the May Mothers, who are all parents with infants born in May who meet to support each other. While out with the other parents one night, Winnie’s infant son goes missing, and several of the others in the group take it upon themselves to help figure out what happened. This book captured my interest from the very first pages, although I was surprised to find that the thriller element was not quite as prominent as I expected. What I loved most about it was how the author addressed so many different attitudes toward motherhood through the perspectives of different women in the group. I loved the writing and the characters, and the ending caught me off-guard (in a good way). I think thrillers in general make a great rainy day read, and even though this was not as much of a thriller as I thought, it was a great read.
4) Vicious/Vengeful by V.E. Schwab
It’s safe to say that these books have become my recent obsession, but with good reason. I read Vicious in December last year and it immediately took one of the top spots as a favourite of the year. This duology, which is rumoured to possibly have at least one more book coming, is about two college roommates and rivals, Victor and Eli, who shared an interest in the development of extraordinary abilities. When their experiments go horribly wrong, it leaves the two of them with opposing views on EOs (people with extraordinary abilities), and seeking revenge. Vengeful follows the events of the first book five years later, but I won’t reveal too much since it is tricky to do that without giving any spoilers for the first book. In general, I think V.E. Schwab’s books make great rainy day reads because I find that I prefer to read them straight through as much as possible. Her characters are very interesting and her story premises are so creative, and I seem to enjoy them best when I read them uninterrupted. I think a rainy day would be the perfect opportunity to read these straight through.
5) A List of Cages by Robin Roe
I’d been meaning to read this book since mid-2016, when I first saw it on Goodreads, about 6 months before it was released, although I somehow kept putting it off until this year. I finally picked it up this year, and it is one of the strongest books I’ve read so far this year. This book is about a teenage boy named Adam, who begins to work as an aide for the school psychologist, with the task of bringing another student to his appointments. He soon realizes that this student is his former foster brother, Julian, who had been sent to live with his Uncle Russell. This book is definitely not a light or fluffy contemporary, but it is a very memorable one. I immediately connected with both of the main characters and thought they each had a distinct voice. I especially loved how the author developed their backstories, and the amazing bond that develops between the boys. It is another book that is difficult to discuss without giving spoilers, although I think the synopsis hints at the direction of the story strongly enough. I think this book would be a great rainy day read because it is such a compelling, character-driven story and one that would be great to read in one sitting.
6) The Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo
This is another duology that I think has become a recent obsession, but again with good reason. It is about a criminal mastermind named Kaz Brekker who is hired to carry out a heist, with the help of a team of other misfits. I enjoyed the Grisha trilogy but didn’t quite love it, so I was completely blown away by this duology. I especially enjoyed the incredible cast of characters and the dynamics between everyone. I’ve come to realize that I generally enjoy books like this that have an ensemble cast of unusual people. I also loved the intricate plot, especially because I’m not usually interested at all in heist stories. I definitely think it is worthwhile to read the Grisha trilogy first. It isn’t absolutely essential, but I found it very helpful. This is another duology that I think would make excellent rainy day reads because the characters will draw you in, and because the complexity of the schemes that the characters undertake are easier to follow if they are read straight through. I’m so glad I read these books.
7) The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this series to death by now, but I think they would make the perfect rainy day read because of the atmosphere. The series is about a girl named Blue who meets a boy named Gansey and his friends, a group of students from the local private school, who are searching for the sleeping king Glendower along the ley lines. This has been the first series in a long time that has captured the same kind of feeling for me as my first time reading Harry Potter. I think the books are so atmospheric, which adds so much to the air of mystery around the ley lines and the boys’ quest. I do remember finding the plot a tiny bit confusing at first, but it didn’t take long for me to get fully invested in the story, especially because of the strength of the amazing characters. These books have quickly become one of my all-time favourite series and I’m already looking forward to eventually reading them all again. With four books in the series, it’s probably too much to devour in a single rainy day, but I think reading these while listening to the rain would add so much to the already incredible story.
8) House Rules by Jodi Picoult
I would actually recommend most Jodi Picoult books for a rainy day, but I singled this one out because it is one of my favourites. In general, I think Jodi Picoult’s books would be great for a rainy day because I never want to put them down once I’ve started them! To be fair, I haven’t read her first two books yet, and there are a couple more of her earlier books that I’m not such a fan of (Keeping Faith and Picture Perfect were both my least favourites, although still quite good). House Rules is about a teenage boy named Jacob who has Asperger’s syndrome, and a strong interest in forensics. When his social skills tutor is murdered, Jacob quickly becomes a suspect, with many of the behaviours that are characteristic of his ASD appearing to be signs of guilt. I thought this book was incredible because of the way Jodi Picoult brought us into Jacob’s mind, while also showing how he appeared to the people around him. I especially loved how it tackled the difficulty the justice system has with people who behave differently. I’ve read this one twice and thoroughly enjoyed it both times. I would highly recommend any Jodi Picoult book for a rainy day, but especially this one.
9) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
This was another book that I somehow waited way too long to read. I think it became one of those books that I actively avoided because it seemed too overhyped, to the point where I decided that it couldn’t possibly be that great. I finally picked it up in December of 2017 and was completely blown away by it. It is definitely one of the strongest thrillers that I’ve read, and I’m glad I finally decided to listen to the hype. This book is about a man named Nick Dunne whose wife Amy has gone missing on the couple’s fifth anniversary. Nick quickly becomes the prime suspect in her disappearance. I find it nearly impossible to discuss this book in any amount of detail without risking spoilers for anyone who, like me, is still late to picking this one up. What I think I can safely say is that it is very intricately crafted with such fascinating characters, and it is definitely a book that was really hard to put down. I think this would be a great rainy day read because of the darker tone to the story, and also because it would be a great one to read in one sitting.
10) Defending Jacob by William Landay
I’ve always been a bit hesitant to mention this one of this blog since I thought I’d brought it up a lot over the past few years. Surprisingly, when I looked back on my earlier posts, it seems like I haven’t included it nearly as much as I thought. This book was easily a standout of my first year of reading challenges, and possibly even the single most memorable book of that year. It is about a teenage boy who is accused of killing a classmate, and his parents have conflicting views about whether their son could be guilty. I was hesitant to pick it up at all because I’d read it for a prompt requiring a book that my mom loves. Although we have similar taste to a degree, she loves quite a few books that I have no interest in at all. This book did get a tiny bit slow in a couple of places, but overall it was such an intriguing story, with some plot points that still haunt me even now, 4 years after I read it. It did an amazing job of keeping me guessing about Jacob’s innocence or guilt, and I’ve yet to read another book that handles this kind of plot as well as this one did.