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What to Read on a Rainy Day

A Guide by the Burack Family

As Hurricane Sandy leaves behind damage on the East Coast, I decided to make a handy list on what books you can download to read in bad weather (it doesn't have to be a hurricane). So as we were waiting for the storm to pass (and miraculously still had power) I asked my family to come up with books they think you will enjoy.

Here are five books that I think you can curl up with as you listen to the rain outside...
  1. The World to Come by Dana Horn. The story interweaves "a real art heist, history, biography, theology, and Yiddish literature." Tells the story of the world to come—"not life after death, but the world we create through our actions right now." It really makes you think about the interconnectedness of the past, present, and future.  
  2. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: The beloved story of Alice is timeless. Get lost in her adventures, watch the movie adaptation, read Alice I Have Been (I did, I loved it). This is free on the Kindle and iBooks, so you have no reason not to download this to read before your power goes out.
  3. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah: a story of friendship spanning more than three decades. I think I read this about four years ago, and this is the first book I genuinely remember breaking into tears. And thats what we sometimes need on rainy days - a solid story, a good cry, and maybe a cup of hot chocolate. 
  4. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albon. The story of Eddie's death on his 83rd birthday. He wakes up in a place where he finds his life explained to him by five people who were in it - loved ones or distant strangers - and changed his life. A very short read, but a very touching one.
  5. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown: sometimes what we need on a rainy day isn't a book that makes you think, or a romantic novel, but a pure international mystery thriller. The DaVinci Code delivers, transporting you to Paris to witness the solving of a mystery - who murdered the Louvre's chief curator? 
After the break, recommendations from my family (five books from my parents and five series from my siblings)...

Four non-fiction my dad suggests you to read...
  1. The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House by John F. Harris: about about the man who "transformed American politics" and whose presidency "spawned arguments that continue to resonate." This book is a "comprehensive, nonpartisan overview of the Clinton presidency." (source)
  2. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson: the authorized biography of Steve Jobs, based on interviews with Jobs himself and with friends, family, and colleagues. Published shortly after his death.
  3. When the Garden Was Eden: Clyde, the Captain, Dollar Bill, and the Glory Days of the New York Knicks by Harvey Araton. 
  4. "The late 1960s and early 1970s, in New York City and America at large, were years marked by political tumult, social unrest . . . and the best professional basketball ever played. Paradise, for better or worse, was a hardwood court in midtown Manhattan." (source)
  5. A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam (Modern Library) by Neil Sheehan. Probably one of my dad's favorite books - the story "of Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann–"the one irreplaceable American in Vietnam"–and of the tragedy that destroyed that country and the lives of so many Americans." Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction 
Three series my nine year old brother loves...
  1. The Harry Potter Series (get Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1) if you don't already own a copy): Matty's reasoning? "cause I like them" and "they are really interesting" The Harry Potter series have inspired millions of children to read, and shaped my childhood (read my post here). Rainy days would be the perfect time to get started - or really, any day. 
  2. The Mysterious Benedict Society Series: "smart" and "mysterious" according to Matty. The first book is a wondrous tale of four children solving a mystery that "only the most intelligent and resourceful children could complete" and it turns into a trilogy that my siblings and I all cherish.  
  3. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: "they're good" is Matty's only comment on these series, the adventures of Percy, a demigod. As the author says, "The stories have everything--romance, magic, mystery, action, and great characters. The Greek gods are our first superheroes...Kids especially respond to them because they are both powerful and accessible. Who wouldn't want to be the son or daughter of a Greek god?" (source) (I must admit I love reading these and wait anxiously for the new ones to be released)
... And two series my fourteen year old sister likes
  1. Pretty Little Liars Series by Sara Shepard: highly addictive story of four girls Spencer, Hanna, Aria, and Emily who "have been keeping secrets ever since their best friend, Alison, disappeared three years ago. But when the girls begin receiving threatening notes from someone named “A,” their secrets no longer seem so safe." (source) Also made into a tv show that my sister watches religiously that can be found on Netflix (and also occupy your time during a rainy day) (although I've never personally liked the books or the show myself). 
  2. Gallagher Girls Series (first book is I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You) by  Ally Carter. The story of a super secret spy school, I must admit, captivated me as well. It is a light and fun YA read and keeps you interested. 
Plus one book my mom is currently reading for book club...
  1. Home by Toni Morrison: "Frank Money is an angry, self-loathing veteran of the Korean War who, after traumatic experiences on the front lines, finds himself back in racist America with more than just physical scars." (source

I hope everyone stayed safe during the hurricane, read some good books, played a board game or two, and spent time with family.
What do you like to read during a rainy day?

Tender is the Night

My Ántonia