Top 5 Tuesday – Top 5 Rainy Day Reads

Happy Tuesday,

It is time for another Top 5 Tuesday, and the topic this week is picks for a rainy day. And while my real answer for this question is just whatever I feel like reading that day, I decided for this post to highlight a few of my favorite long and dense books, including a fair amount of nonfiction which I don’t talk about nearly as much as my favorite fiction titles.

There is something appealing about picking up what we affectionately refer to as doorstop novels on a rainy day (if you have seen a hardcover copy of the unabridged Les Miserables you know why we refer to these books as such). There is something about a rainy day that lets you sink into a big story or that dense academic book that might be hard to get into if you are likely to stop in 20 minutes to go outside because it is nice and sunny.

Thinking Fast and Slow Cover version11. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

This book may just be my favorite nonfiction book, but it is also quite dense. I found it absolutely fascinating. I think I have now read every other book on behavioral economics because I just wanted to know more but none of them were as good as this one.

Strangers Cover2. Strangers in Their Own Land: anger and mourning on the American right by Arlie Russell Hochschild

I read this book for a class in grad school and it is heavy but fascinating. Basically the author is asking why people, she was specifically studying a community in Louisiana, act/vote against their own interest. The research for this book is probably at least a decade old at this point but it has some really interesting implications for understanding why there is so much political divergence in the US, and why it often seems like the largely separate communities just seem to be talking past each other.

Walkable City3. Walkable City: how downtown can save America, one step at a time by Jeff Speck

This book is really delightful, you didn’t think you wanted to know about urban planning but you absolutely do. This was one of the books that Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy is always talking about and I finally got around to picking it up at the end of last year and I was honestly blown away, it is full of interesting information but also quite readable. Want to know why you find yourself speeding, or why that renovated plaza doesn’t seem to attract any people, or why you enjoy one neighborhood over another, this book can give you those insights.

The Storm Before the Storm cover4. The Storm Before the Storm: the beginning of the end of the Roman Republic by Mike Duncan

I had to include some history on this list and this is one of my favorites. There were a few options that were more of a doorstop including his more recent biography of Lafayette, but I enjoyed this one more (and Chernow’s Hamilton, and a Richard III bio that I still haven’t finished, and a slim but dense volume on Bloodfeuds which is great, but back to the book I actually picked). I really think this is some of the best history writing out there, I haven’t read that much since undergrad (I got a bit burnt out after 4 years of the history books) but I do listen to lots of history podcasts and I think the podcast story telling is a big reason this book is so good.

Remarkably Bright Creatures5. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

This is the only fiction I put on the list and it is a decent length, nothing too huge, but it really feels like a rainy day pick, it could be the Aquarium or being set in the pacific northwest but it really feels like rain. I considered putting Anxious People on this list for similar reasons and if you liked that book you should pick this one up.

Happy Reading Everyone!

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