Books

15 Books Perfect To Read On A Rainy Day, Because There's No Better Time To Curl Up And Get Whisked Away

For me, a good rainy-day read has to meet at least one of the following criteria: a book of intimidating length I have been afraid to start; a mystery or suspense novel that is too good to bookmark, and must be finished in one sitting; or, something sentimental or melancholic that matches the mood the weather has brought with it. Basically, a good read for a rainy day is one you can comfortably curl up with by the window and get lost in until the skies clear. This list has a little bit of all of them.

So, whether you prefer a 900-page family saga or a 200-page horror paperback, here are 15 books for the next time there are storm clouds on the horizon. With books this good, you're going to be hoping for storm clouds.

Images: Jacob Lund/Fotolia

'Thunderstruck & Other Stories' by Elizabeth McCraken

This beautiful story collection has everything you want for rainy-day reading: wonder, magic, mystery, heartache, and so much more. And with a title like Thunderstruck , it’s as if it was created for reading by an open window on a stormy afternoon.

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'The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway' by Ernest Hemingway

You never know how long a storm will last, but Hemingway’s complete collection of stories will have you covered whether it rains for 15 minutes or the entire night. Get lost in one — or 50 — of his classic and previously unpublished works, from “Fathers and Sons” and “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” to “The Strange Country” and “The Porter.”

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'The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America' by Erik Larson

The next time a storm knocks your power out, light a candle and crack open Erik Larson’s true story of the Chicago World Fair of 1893 and the serial killer who used it as a hunting ground. Suspenseful and terrifying, The Devil in the White City is best read when you don’t Google its conclusion.

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'The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity' by Mark Vonnegut

You’ve read plenty of his father Kurt Vonnegut’s work, but Mark Vonnegut’s memoir detailing his descent into insanity will blow you away. Raw, honest, and delightfully frantic, The Eden Express will take you on a ride to hell and back again, and make you question your own sanity — which seems like the perfect thing to contemplate on a dark and stormy night, right?

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'The Museum of Extraordinary Things' by Alice Hoffman

Romance, mystery, and magic collide in this spellbinding love story about a freak show performer and a Russian immigrant who cannot be kept apart by time, space, or even the sinister intentions of those around them. Set in some of New York’s most tumultuous times, the melancholic tone of the novel is perfect for reading on a rainy day.

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'The Weight of Blood' by Laura McHugh

Spend a rainy afternoon solving mysteries hidden in Ozark Mountains with protagonist Lucy, as she tries to find out what happened to her mother and her close friend, who both disappeared a generation apart. A dark ‘n’ gloomy novel for an equally dark ‘n’ gloomy day.

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'1Q84' by Haruki Murakami

If you’re looking for a lengthy book you’d otherwise be intimidated by for your next rainy-day read, look no further that this 1,100-plus page part-fantasy, part-mystery, part-dystopian love story. Brimming with imagination, Murakami’s masterpiece will keep you occupied all storm long.

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'All the Light We Cannot See' by Anthony Doerr

The interwoven lives of a blind French girl and a German boy-turned-soldier during the German occupation of France in WWII blend perfectly in Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book of alternating voices. A story of war, survival, and human decency, this is one you won’t want to put down until you’ve reached the last page.

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'Joyland' by Stephen King

A book whose climax coincides with a storm breaking out? Rainy-day reads don’t get more perfect than that. Visit the stormy shores of North Carolina in this pulp crime novel about murder, mystery, and love at the amusement park.

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'Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell' by Susanna Clarke

Coming in at more than 1,000 pages, this book may seem intimidating to start, but if you begin reading it while the clouds begin to loom, you won’t want to put it down when the sun comes back out, I promise. An epic tale of two different sides of magic in England, and the two men who represent them, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell is a heavy book worth lifting.

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'The Things We Do To Make It Home' by Beverly Gologorsky

Shedding light on the side of war commonly overlooked, Gologorsky’s novel tells the much-needed story of the lovers, wives, and children of the soldiers who served in Vietnam. Haunting and devastating, this heavy-hearted novel is rich with the kind of sentiment and gloom that rolls in with the thunder.

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'The Blazing World' by Siri Hustvedt

Betrayal, humor, feminism, and art are rarely, if ever, combined in the manner that they are in this stunning and psychological novel about one woman’s desire to be a celebrated artist. Using the artist’s journal, her peers’ criticism, and other types of texts, The Blazing World s multiple perspectives are enough to keep you occupied until the weather clears, but be warned: you might not be able to put this one down until you’ve read the last page.

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'Wreckage' by Emily Bleeker

From the first page of Wreckage , readers know that protagonist Lillian Linden is lying about the plane crash she survived and the two years she spent on a deserted island. But the fun of this book is in finding out just how much she’s deceived her family and friends, the media, and even herself — and why she had to. Lost fans, rejoice in this one-sitting kind of read.

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'Serena' by Ron Rash

Love, greed, power, envy, jealousy, revenge — Serena has it all. This Gothic-style novel’s story of the titular character, who is as dark and intimidating as a black storm cloud rolling in, and her all-consuming pride and obsession, will leave you questioning how far you’d go for what you think is rightfully yours.

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'Great Expectations' by Charles Dickens

England is a notoriously rainy place, and no one knows that better than Charles Dickens. From the lofty descriptions of the misty woods of Kent to the verbose passages on the puddle-dotted streets of London, Great Expectations will transport your rainy day to another time and place entirely.

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