To me, any book is a good rainy day read. I mean, that’s what rainy days are for, right? That said, there are some books that seem particularly apt for reading on a rainy day. I’ve put them in order based on reading age, from youngest to adult.
Books that feature rain
On Noah’s Ark (Jan Brett) features Noah’s granddaughter getting all the animals onto the ark. The rising waters rock them to sleep, and eventually, as the floodwaters go down, they all exit the ark. Brett’s artwork is charming and intricate, as always.
Winnie the Pooh (A. A. Milne). The chapter about the blustery day, which turns into a blustery night and results in a flooded Hundred Acre Wood, is particularly apt on a rainy day.
The Children of Green Knowe (L. M. Boston). Days of cold, winter rain mean rising waters around Green Knowe, the ancient manor house owned by Tolly’s great-grandmother. In the beginning of the book, Tolly has to cross floodwaters to reach the house, and the flooding certainly adds a rainy-day atmosphere to the book.
A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle) deliberately starts out with “It was a dark and stormy night.” The first chapter takes place during a stormy, windy night, which ties in nicely with the book’s themes of light vs. darkness, facing your fears, and standing firm against the (metaphoric) storm.
The Nine Tailors (Dorothy Sayers) starts out with a snowstorm in England’s fen country, but later in the book, spring rains flood the flat countryside, forcing parishioners to take refuge in the village church that lies at the center of the mystery Lord Peter Wimsey is trying to solve. An added bonus: you’ll learn a bit about English-style bell-ringing.
The Tempest (William Shakespeare) begins with a storm that causes a shipwreck. And it’s not the only play in which Shakespeare references bad weather. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the natural world is experiencing rain and unseasonable cold as a result of a dispute between Oberon and Titania, the king and queen of the fairies (Act 2, Scene 1.) And King Lear invokes the storms in Act 3, Scene 2:
Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!
The Dark Place (Aaron Elkins) begins with the discovery of a murdered man in the temperate rainforests of Olympia National Park, where a day without rain is a rarity, and significant portions of the book take place within the forest’s damp, twilit bounds.
Second Wind (Dick Francis) is one of my least favorite books by one of my favorite mystery writers, but it does involve rain—specifically, a hurricane, which forces TV meteorologist Perry Stuart’s hurricane-tracking plane down on a Caribbean island. And that’s just the start of his problems.