Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish> in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. How it works is that each Tuesday the host assigns a topic and then posts their top ten list that fits the topic. Every blogger can create their own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well and link to the host’s. The topic for June 19th, 2018 is: Books to Read By the Pool/At the Beach. As you all probably know by now, I live in India where the monsoon has set in and the warm summer days are long gone. So I changed up the prompt and decided to give you reading recommendations that go really well with a cup of tea and a warm, comfortable reading nook by the window when it is pouring outside. The feel I’m going for is something that is dark and hard-hitting like the violent thunderstorms but leave you feeling wholesome and good at the end just like the rain is good for the earth. ‘Read a book perfect for a rainy day‘ is one of the prompts of the Indian Lit Readathon that is being hosted by myself and three other Indian blogging friends, Shruti @ This is Lit, Charvi @ Not Just Fiction and Aditi @ Dreamy Reads, so you can add the ones written by an Indian author to your readathon TBR! For more details, check out the announcement post here.
1. The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi
This is one of the very few books by an Indian author that I fell in love with. It has received a ton of hype in the Indian literary scene and I feel like it deserves it. It has a solid plot and great characters, with the perfect blend of mythology and philosophy. Sometimes, the author does tend to go off on a philosophical tangent but since this is his debut, I could easily overlook that. The cover really gives off a mystic vibe and is great choice to pick up on a rainy afternoon.
2. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
There are some contemporaries that work really well on summer TBRs and then there are some which will sink their claws into your brain so you keep thinking about them long after you’ve turned the last page. This book is one of the latter kind. I buddy read this recently with the lovely Sahitya @ My World of Books. You can check out her spoilery thoughts on the book here. This book is about three girls who challenge the misogyny in their high school and try to get justice to a rape victim who was forced to flee their small town after the horrific incident. It has multiple points of view with some amazing diverse rep and has simplistic writing but it is powerful nonetheless and a must-read for everyone. Also, if this one makes you cry, you can always pretend it was the rain. (Trigger warning for rape, sexual abuse, racism, homophobia, anxiety and depression.)
3. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
This book has everything that a current YA bestseller needs – mermaids, sirens, royalty, ships and an epic quest. This is a loose Little Mermaid retelling but retains none of the cutesy Disney storytelling style. It is dark and dazzling, with its fair share of gore and viciousness but also balances it off perfectly with sass, great character interactions and sizzling chemistry with a slow-burn romance. As this is a standalone with a compelling plot, it is the best book to curl up with on a misty, drizzly morning and finish devouring by the end of the day.
4. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
The cover itself draws one to pick it up when it’s dark and stormy outside. This is one of the best World War II stories I’ve read which discusses the role of women in war. It was hauntingly beautiful and affected me as I was reading it. It fits the dull, oppressive mood of a rainy day but also has a hopeful, inspiring ending. It follows the lives of two sisters who have opposing personalities but are bound by their love for each other in Nazi-occupied France. Please read this book before I start spoiling it for you!
5. Faint Promise of Rain by Anjali Mitter Duva
It has rain in the title, so this was an obvious choice. Although it is set in the arid Rajputana kingdom of yore, the rain is given an almost divine personality in this story. This is an Indian historical fiction book which follows a devadasi whose father is the dance teacher at the village’s Krishna temple and the hardships her family goes through. Steeped in mythology and the Indian dance and musical culture, this will transport you to a whole new world through its pages. It would go very well with the scent of petrichor, piping hot chai and a soft pillow.
6. La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
Again with this one, the cover is very apt for the monsoon season. The flood is the catalyst in this story that propels the hero and the heroine of the story to flee with baby Lyra, the protagonist of Pullman’s previous trilogy. It has the exquisite combination of whimsy and danger that keeps you on the edge of your seat. However, I’d recommend reading His Dark Materials before jumping into this one.
7. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
This is a middle grade book with a creepy twist but manages to be absolutely adorable. I read the illustrated version of this and I can guarantee you that they add so much more to the story. Filled with ghosts, vampires and other monstrous creatures, it is an endearing story about an orphan boy who was raised in a graveyard. The forces of evil, as usual, are out to get him as they want to finish what they had started when they killed his family. It is an roller-coaster ride that will envelope you like a fuzzy blanket and leave you feeling contented at the end of it.
8. The House at 758 by Kathryn Berla
I got a free copy of this book via NetGalley and I’m so lucky that I did because I don’t think I’d have read it at all if I wasn’t approved for it. This is a little-known gem of the YA contemporary genre that tackles the theme of moving on after losing a loved one. There also quite a few subplots going on and they all come together in the end. It made me reflect on the nature of grief, the inevitability of death and the resilience of humankind in the face of loss. Do have your comfort food and a few tissues handy, just in case!
9. Roar by Cora Carmack
Although I personally had a few issues with it, the monsoon season and this book are a match made in heaven. This is a fantasy story set in a world where the magic system revolves around the power of storms. It follows a princess who is born without the powers that would protect her kingdom and is forced into a political marriage before her secret can come out. However, she takes fate into her own hands and runs away with a storm hunter to live on her own terms and discover who she is without the burden of being the perfect ruler hanging over her. This is the first in an interesting new series that will have you begging for the sequel right away.
10. Malgudi Adventures by R. K. Narayan
Last, but definitely not the least, this is another masterpiece that I think everyone should read. Actually, any story by R. K. Narayan set in Malgudi would do, but the Penguin paperback edition of this has a beautiful blue cover that reminds me of cloudy monsoon evenings. It follows different characters in the fictional South Indian town of Malgudi and recounts some particularly noteworthy incidents in their lives, often hilarious. It is the kind of book one should reach for when they wake up to torrential rain on a Monday morning with breakfast in bed.
What kind of books do your prefer to read on a rainy day? Do you like to pair books with food? Let me know in the comments section below.