As Summer ends and Fall approaches, so do the cool thunderstorms and darker days. It’s sometimes nice to have a moody book on hand for just such rainy occasion. You may even find yourself so deep into these stories you’ll want to stay inside and enjoy the coziness of your house and the company of these books.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Francie Nolan comes from an eccentric family living in the Williamsburg slums of Brooklyn from 1902-1919. Her father is dependent on alcohol. Her mother tries to do the best for the family, sacrificing much for her children, although she clearly favors Francie’s younger brother. Every night, she reads to her children a page from the Bible and a page from Shakespeare which strikes a voracious thirst for knowledge in Francie. Wanting to know everything she can, or perhaps escape for a little while, she starts reading a book a day. Despite the entrapment of poverty, living simply gives Francie a greater appreciation for the small things, like a well-worn book and a cup of hot coffee on a rainy day, or saving up pennies to buy candy from the dime store.
A wonderful piece of historical fiction, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a great addition to anyone’s classical reading list. Smith pays such careful and quiet attention to detail that creates an almost paradoxical outlook on the hard yet beautiful life the Nolans live. Full of characters that feel very raw and genuine, this story is brimmed with emotion and is sure to make it to one of your top favorite stories.
The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah
In 1974, 13-year-old, Leni Allbright is told her family will relocate to the remote Alaskan wilderness and live off the grid. Her father, a former POW in the Vietnam war has had enough trouble keeping a job so he decides to make it in a new land where an old wartime friend has left him some property. Leni wonders if this will be the key to setting her father at peace after the war. Perhaps the great outdoors will ease her father’s anger and make everything right with the family. Leni is excited for this new adventure, and her mother, desperate to do anything to make her husband happy, sets off with him into the unknown.
At first, all is well for the Allbrights despite the newfound obstacles, no electricity nor running water. The small community they find up north helps them start their new life. Soon, however, as cold and ruthless winter settles over the wilderness, their rations dwindle as does the daylight. The dim sunlight only skirts on the horizon for six hours a day and the family morale sinks low. Instead of easing the tension left by the war, the wilderness and their new lifestyle only amplify it. Leni must learn to adapt to this new landscape and life in order to survive.
Dog Boy by Eva Hornung
During the 20th century in Moscow, four-year-old Romochka is abandoned by neglectful parents and must figure out how to survive. When he finally runs out of food in the apartment, he ventures out into the streets where he follows a yellow dog into a deserted church cellar where her pack lives. In order to survive, Romochka must learn how to be both a dog and a human, eventually going between worlds to keep himself and his pack alive. Eventually, Romochka wanders further and further into human society to hunt and scavenge for food where he occupies busy streets and bustling train stations where his secret pack life could be easily discovered.
We hope you enjoy these rainy day reads. Next time the skies get gloomy, be sure to grab yourself a good book and a nice cup of coffee or tea.