This week’s topic is Rainy Day Reads. Though it hardly rains in Southern California, I love rainy days. It’s the perfect weather for tea, comfort food, and books. Here are my picks for my favorite rainy day reads. And yes, all the synopsis are from Goodreads.
- After Dark by Haruki Murakami: A short, sleek novel of encounters set in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn, and every bit as gripping as Haruki Murakami’s masterworks The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore.
At its center are two sisters—Eri, a fashion model slumbering her way into oblivion, and Mari, a young student soon led from solitary reading at an anonymous Denny’s toward people whose lives are radically alien to her own: a jazz trombonist who claims they’ve met before, a burly female “love hotel” manager and her maid staff, and a Chinese prostitute savagely brutalized by a businessman. These “night people” are haunted by secrets and needs that draw them together more powerfully than the differing circumstances that might keep them apart, and it soon becomes clear that Eri’s slumber—mysteriously tied to the businessman plagued by the mark of his crime—will either restore or annihilate her.
After Dark moves from mesmerizing drama to metaphysical speculation, interweaving time and space as well as memory and perspective into a seamless exploration of human agency—the interplay between self-expression and empathy, between the power of observation and the scope of compassion and love. Murakami’s trademark humor, psychological insight, and grasp of spirit and morality are here distilled with an extraordinary, harmonious mastery.
- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: As children, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life, and for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special—and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.
Annarasumanara by Ha Il Kwon: A rumor goes around school about an abandoned amusement park and a magician who lives there that can make someone disappear for good. Yoon Ah-ee, a girl struggling to feed her sister and herself everyday will experience her life change as she meets a mysterious magician.
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: “I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, & then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life & stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion.” A summer evening’s ghost stories, lonely insomnia in a moonlit Alpine’s room & a runaway imagination–fired by philosophical discussions with Lord Byron & Percy Bysshe Shelley about science, galvanism & the origins of life–conspired to produce for Mary Shelley this haunting night specter. By morning, it had become the germ of her Romantic masterpiece,Frankenstein.
Written in 1816 when she was only 19, Shelley’s novel of “The Modern Prometheus” chillingly dramatized the dangerous potential of life begotten upon a laboratory table. A frightening creation myth for our own time, Frankenstein remains one of the greatest horror stories ever written & is an undisputed classic of its kind.
Sakamichi No Apollon (Kids On The Slope) by Yuki Kodama:
Nishimi Kaoru has moved from city to city and school to school because of his father’s job, so the first day at his new school was just routine for him. Being intellectual and the new transfer student, he has always been seen as an outcast, and all Kaoru had to do was bear it until the next time he moved. But things were slightly different this time. First, he started to get close to the class president, Mukae Ritsuko, and, secondly, unlikely as it seemed, grew closer to Kawabuchi Sentaro. Sentaro was infamous for getting into fights, skipping class and was an overall bad boy. Strangely enough, the three of them find common ground in music, namely jazz, and Kaoru finds himself actually enjoying the new town. (Synopsis from MangaHelpers)