17 Books That Are Perfect For A Lazy Day, Because Sometimes It's Just That Kind Of Afternoon

Sure, you could spend your weekends hiking up mountainsides, kayaking down the river, or playing beach volleyball beneath a blazing sun, but sometimes you just wake up feeling kinda lazy. And on those days, what could be better than kicking back with a good book?

There are a lot of different kinds of books that make for great lazy-day reading. Long books make for great excuses to stay put in your reading nook all day long, but the shorter ones are lighter, and thus not as strenuous to hold, so if you're really committed to having a low-effort kind of day, they make great options too. Though many books you read can challenge you to think and push you to feel, a lazy-day book can't be one that is too strenuous or too complicated. You are trying to relax, after all. Books that charm, that make you laugh even if they make you cry, books that scare the crap out of you but keep you turning the page anyway, books that that make you want to stay in them all day long — those are the kinds of books you want to spend your relaxed day reading.

Here are 17 lazy-day reads perfect for doing just that.

Images: inesbazdar/Fotolia

by Sadie Trombetta

'The Bookseller' by Cynthia Swanson

Cynthia Swanson blurs the line between dreams and reality in her stunning debut novel, The Bookseller. Kitty Miller, a bookseller in 1960s NYC, thought she was happy with her simple Bohemian lifestyle, but when she dreams of what life could had been if she’d married the love of her life, she starts to question everything she knows, including whats real and what is purely fantasy. This book will leave you wondering “What if…?”

'Love May Fail' by Matthew Quick

If you spent your last lazy day at home watching Silver Linings Playbook on Netflix again, try shutting off the TV and picking up another brilliant Matthew Quick novel. Love May Fail is a quirky, heartfelt story about a woman who refuses to lose hope that the world is a decent place, despite being handing more than enough reasons to give up. A colorful cast of characters, including a hair metal-loving little boy and a cheeky nun, complete this hilarious quest to restore faith in humanity.

'The Three' by Sarah Lotz

Four planes crash on the same day in four different locations, and in three of them, the only survivor is a child. A creepy, tantalizing page-turner, this is the kind of book you won’t be able to close until you’ve reached the end. In other words, it’s the perfect excuse to keep your butt firmly planted on the couch all day long.

'How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents' by Julia Alvarez

After their family was forced to flee from the Dominican Republic to the United States, four sisters, Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofía, must learn how to navigate in an unfamiliar world of New York. While their parents try and keep their culture and traditions in tact, the girls rebel against the old ways and embrace the new and exciting culture of the American teenager. This vibrant and enchanting coming-of-age story will keep you both happy and occupied, so you can keep avoiding all the other stuff you have to do.

'Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy' by Judd Apatow

Spend the day with Mel Brooks, Steve Martin, Sarah Silverman, and other master comic master’s in Judd Apatow’s recent bestseller Sick in the Head , a book that collects the filmmaker’s most memorable conversations with the industry’s leading men and women. Brimming with intelligence and insight, it’s the ultimate behind the scenes look at the world of comedy.

'Fledgling' by Octavia Butler

When Shori wakes up alone in a cave, she can’t remember anything about her life. That is, until, she gets the taste of blood in her mouth, and realizes that she’s a vampire, but there’s something different about her. Shori must fight for her life as she tries to uncover the truth about herself and her family. Fledgling is a powerful, haunting novel that offers a refreshing take on vampire fiction.

'Reservation Blues' by Sherman Alexie

A magical guitar, a deal with the devil gone wrong, and an all Native American rock and roll band collide in this hilarious, musical adventure. Though just as thought-provoking and illuminating as his other novels and stories, Reservation Blues is Sherman Alexie at his funniest. Trust me, laughing is a great way to spend a lazy day.

'Cat's Cradle' by Kurt Vonnegut

It’s impossible for me to say which Kurt Vonnegut book is my favorite, and I could spend an entire weekend reading book after book — and OK, maybe I have — but there’s something about Cat’s Cradle that keeps me coming back to it read after read. Satirical, fatalistic, and tremendously amusing, this apocalyptic story is an easy read for both fans of Vonnegut and unfamiliar readers.

'Quesadillas' by Juan Pablo Villalobos

Juan Pablo Villalobos is the kind of author who can stir your soul while making you shoot milk out of your nose, and his novel, Quesadillas , does just that. A critique of Mexican politics as well as a story of one poor family’s struggle to survive the every day, this is a darkly funny book that doesn’t over analyze. Plus, it has UFOs, artificially inseminated cows, and “your momma” jokes. What more could you need?

'Juliet, Naked' by Nick Hornby

You’ve seen all the film adaptations — About a Boy, High Fidelity, Fever Pitch — so you know there’s something mesmerizing about Nick Hornby’s writing. In Juliet, Naked , Hornby writes about what he knows best, music and romantic dysfunction, with wit, compassion, and a surprising amount of optimism. There’s a reason The New Yorker has called Hornby “shamefully readable,” so just give in and spend an entire day shamelessly reading him.

'A Tale for the Time Being' by Ruth Ozeki

Never mind a message in a bottle, struggling writer Ruth has found an entire Hello Kitty lunchbox full of secrets washed up on the beach in A Tale for the Time Being . It isn’t long before Ruth, and readers, are pulled into the unraveling mystery of Nao, a lonely and bullied Japanese teenager who has every intention of killing herself, that is, of course, after recording the history of her century-old great grandmother. A truly unforgettable (and unputdownable) novel.

'Drinking Closer to Home' by Jessica Anya Blau

If you were a fan Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You , then you will fall in love with the family dysfunction in Drinking Closer to Home. Sincere and seriously funny, Blau’s second novel details the struggles of Buzzy and Louise’s three children when they’re forced to return to their childhood home in the wake of their mother’s heart attack. Obviously, madness, hilarity, and heartwarming reunions ensue.

'Plan B' by Jonathan Tropper

Speaking of Jonathan Tropper and dysfunction, his enchanting novel of a group of about-to-be-30-year-olds whose lives turned out nothing like they’d hoped will likely hit close to home if you’re being forced into adulthood without your consent. Because reading about other people’s problems is so much more entertaining then solving your own, Plan B is the perfect lazy-day read for when you need to avoid real life.

'Amerian Gods' by Neil Gaiman

Okay, maybe Gaiman’s book doesn’t comply with the “not to big of a book” lazy day read rule, and sure, it’s a bit complex, but American Gods is the kind of novel that you can completely lose yourself in, from sun up to sun down. A tour de force, this epic fantasy takes you on a road trip across America — just be sure to pack extra underwear, because this is a terrifying ride. Humorous and magical, but terrifying.

'The Solitude of Prime Numbers' by Paolo Giordano

If you were under the impression that mathematicians make for lousy authors, then you haven’t read the work of Paolo Giordano. The Solitude of Prime Numbers is a smart, touching debut that compares people to prime numbers — that is to say, destined to be alone. Intense and intimate, read this only if you’re lazy day is one you can spend alone. You’ll need some me-time after this one.

'The Mysteries of Pittsburgh' by Michael Chabon

Michael Chabon has become one of modern literature’s most beloved authors, and his debut novel is powerful example of why he deserves the praise. Tender yet funny, honest yet hopeful, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh is a moving coming-of-age story with all the elements we crave: sex, drugs, alcohol, and teenage angst. Oh, and a whole lot of heart. If you want to spend your sweatpants-clad day giving yourself the warm ‘n’ fuzzies along with a healthy dose of humor, look no further.

'Water for Elephants' by Sara Gruen

There is so much to love about this novel — the characters, the storytelling, the writing itself — that you will want to spend an entire day wrapped up in its majesty. A spellbinding story about love, loss, and the complications of memories, Water for Elephants will transport you from your couch to a magical, wonderful world, without the hassle of actually getting off the couch.