6 Books for a Rainy Day: Quick, Gripping Reads

books for a rainy day

It’s your typical school day in the late 90s or early 2000s. You wake up at 9, thunder and the chattering of rain in your window. You feel somewhat disoriented, thinking, “What time is it? Why did nobody wake me up for school?” Your mom comes into the room, and like a Santa Clause, she murmurs, “It’s raining cats and dogs outside. Surely there will be no rickshaw around in this downpour. Let’s skip school for today.”

You feel an overwhelming urge to jump around with pure bliss from the sudden absence of a monotonous and boring routine. You instantly begin to plan a day full of watching pokemon, convincing your mom to let you play with your friends in the rain, and if you are a bookworm like me, curling up with a good book right beside your window.

Those school days are long gone. With the never-ending race called life, staying inside because it’s pouring outside is not much of an option these days. Unnegotiable deadlines and meetings, a better transport system, and the absence of windows that face the sky in our cage-like apartments make an excuse to enjoy a rainy day by the window slimmer every day.

Yet sometimes, you somehow manage a few hours after your long study sessions or a hectic workday to enjoy a good book with the sound of thunderstorms and the soothing melody of drizzles. And you remember nothing ever beats this feeling.

Books for a Rainy Day

Here’s a list of 6 books for a rainy day which are atmospheric, gripping and quick reads and which will take you back to a time when life used to be full of these small pleasures of petrichor and pitter-patter.

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The Fifth Season

N. K. Jemisin

Speaking of atmospheric and gripping reads, this unique and brilliant fantasy of NK Jemison is a definition of the rainy day reads. Set in a world where there’s an apocalypse every few years, this story is about motherhood, redemption, and humanity. At the edge of an apocalypse, past crawls back to Nassun in the shape of her son’s murder and daughter’s kidnapping.

We follow Nassun in her journey to find her daughter and protect her. We also follow two other characters, a young woman who has the powers to move the ground beneath her feet and a frightened little girl who wants to belong somewhere.

This book makes a list mainly because of its page-turning grim dark plot and unique characterization that gives off an extra chilling vibe on a cloudy and gloomy day. Bear in mind that this is a heavy and intense option. But when you untangle the twists and turns of the story with the characters, you realize it’s so much worth it.

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The Burial Rites

Hannah Kent

The first thing that comes to mind while discussing a book for a drizzly day is some good ol’ fashion page-turning crime fiction. It is a vast rainy day read: Set in remote Iceland in the early 1800s. We follow a family living in rural Iceland housing a criminal named Agnes right before her death sentence for murdering her owner.

With passing time, in a harsh lifestyle and bitter environment, Agnes and this family share a somewhat complicated bond, slowly coming to terms with each other’s stories and past.

This one is a perfect read for a gloomy day because of the subtle mystery element and Iceland’s stark, windy setting. This novel also portrays the complexity of humanity and sins, leaving you breathless with a heavy heart and purged soul.

Night Sky With No Exit Wounds

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Ocean Vuong

This is a poetry collection by the beautiful and elegant Vietnamese-American poet Ocean Vuong. There’s a mysterious yet ever-familiar bond between poetry and rain.

Decades after decades, poetry has been written and recited with the significant element of romanticizing life and heart. And what can be more romantic than watching drizzles by your window and reading?

This book contains poems about motherland, diaspora, and confessions. The best part about Vuong’s writing is that it reaches the heart of our generation, unlike other poetry, because of its accessible yet magnificent style. Not to mention, it’s the shortest book on the list that you can read in one sitting, yet it’ll move you so much more than anything you’ve ever experienced.

Ninth House

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Leigh Bardugo

Dark Academia with a dash of fantasy, need I say more? Leigh Bardugo, like the queen she is, crafts a story and character so unique, gruesome, and breathtaking. Our main girl Alex is a student at Yale and a new member of a super-secret and haunted society. This society deals with souls from another dimension, especially those stuck in this world for some reason.

After leading a chaotic and brutal life, when fate and some unfortunate incident bring Alex in contact with this secret society, she thinks maybe this time, she will finally get some stability and peace. But things change when a girl is found dead inside the university, and Alex sees a connection between the murder and the secret society.

The core element of this story is “MURDER.” And for whatever reason, a good murder mystery book that gives a cloudy and bone-chilling atmosphere is the definition of a rainy day read. You’ll gasp, cry, and shiver while reading Alex’s journey while it’s howling outside.

6 Books for a Rainy Day
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A River Enchanted

Rebecca Ross

Among all the other options, this one is quite a recent one. This book follows the story of the magical island of Cadence, where people between two rival clans have lived side by side with nature spirits for years. But, when little girls from a particular family go missing without a trace, old rivalries spark up again with new flames.

This book probably has the most beautiful, magical, and whimsical worldbuilding I’ve ever read. The intricate description of a magical island where nature goes on with its mood swings and fresh grudges makes you feel part of it all. The writing is so lyrical and gripping that it’s hard to put down. But this book made this list mainly because it gives off the feeling of “being read stories by grandparents on a rainy afternoon of our childhood.”

Buy from Amazon.

The Lamplighters

Emma Stonex

This is another thriller option if you are more into contemporary mystery based on actual historical events. It follows the story of three lighthouse keepers who go missing from a remote lighthouse on a stormy day and their families’ struggles and grief in the aftermath. The less you know about this book going in, the better.

The setting of this book is a coastal city in remote England, so you imagine a dark mighty sea lurking and slow and gloomy drizzles in the background throughout the story. This one is also super fast-paced and gripping; you can finish the whole book in a quick sitting on an off-day if you have a packed schedule going.

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  • Prodipta Hasin

    Prodipta Hasin is currently a lit major who spends most of her time overthinking about life and ranting her heart out on her blog. She loves poetry and daydreams about being Hozier's muse. You can find her on Instagram @strangebeautifulsorrowsofhasin trying to express her chaotic and dramatic fears and feelings.

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