My perfect rainy Sunday involves a great book, a fireplace, a soft blanket and a hot cup of coffee.
Oh, and a clean house that smells of pie, and children who are playing together (with educational toys), quietly.
I can’t manage most of this — except the coffee and the book, and usually the coffee is lukewarm by the time I actually get to sit down and drink it. I can almost always carve out a small space in each Sunday for reading, but at this stage in my life, the books I read have to meet certain criteria.
For starters, they can’t be overly complicated. There was a time in my life when I expected a lot from literature. I devoured classics, and poured over Oprah’s book list. These days? I need books that take me away but don’t ask much of me in return.
Oh, and I’d prefer if they don’t make me cry. There’s enough sadness in the world. I’ll come back to the classics and the books that soak up my sobs eventually, but these days I need escape.
So, if escapist fiction — often with a historical bent — with the occasional bit of dystopia thrown in for good measure is up your alley, then read on to find out what I recommend, and I’ll do my best each rainy Sunday to offer a few other suggestions.
(Note: I live in a semi-arid region, so there aren’t as many rainy Sundays as one might wish for)
The catch? You have to share your recommended reads with me. I read a lot, and quickly. I’m always running out of books, so the more recommendations the better.
What I’m reading now
“It was one of those glorious days in March when the air was so fresh that you worshipped every whiff of it; that each breath of the intoxicating stuff created such new universes in your lungs and brain that you were certain you were about to explode with sheer joy; one of those blustery days of scudding clouds and piddling showers and gum boots and wind-blown brollies that made you know you were truly alive.”
– Speaking from Among the Bones, Flavia de Luce, No. 5
A friend of mine introduced me to this series. It turns out that despite the fact my friend is way smarter than me, with many letters after her name, she and I have a similar taste in reading. This knowledge makes me feel way smarter than it should.
But Flavia is truly enchanting, and I’m so glad we met. Set in 1950, 11-year-old Flavia is finding her way through the world out of her home base of Buckshaw, a rambling old English mansion. Her mother died when she was a year old, her older sisters either ignore her or are terrible to her, and her father is absent. She’s raising herself under the sometimes watchful eyes of Dogger, her family’s butler who suffers from PTSD. Her best friend is Gladys, her bicycle.
Oh, and did I mention that Flavia has a passion for poisons, and also solves murders?
Alan Bradley is a brilliant writer, one I wish I had discovered sooner, and I’m so excited for you to get to know Flavia if you haven’t already.
I can’t remember who recommended The Gods of Gotham to me, or whether it was one of those books that just kept popping up on my recommended reading lists, and I eventually just bit the bullet and bought it, but however it happened, I’m grateful.
The Gods of Gotham, set in the 1840s, introduces Timothy Wilde, the best, yet most reluctant, copper star on New York City’s inaugural police force. It’s dirty, and twisted. I pride myself on being a bit of a plot sleuth, able to figure out what’s going to happen before the author shows me, but there are so many twists and turns and gritty bits in this book that I was completely taken by surprise. Wilde is among the only decent humans that Faye reveals, in her exceptionally well-researched period drama.
These are my recommendations for today, what are yours?