Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Take 5: 5 Books for a Stormy Night

Last night there were some incredible thunderstorms here. So, on this shiny, sunny morning we've been discussing the perfect books to read on a stormy night. Here's what we came up with...

1. Shadow of the Wind, by Carols Ruiz Zafon (Katie)

Ok, ok we pick this book for everything. But in our defense, that's because it is so good; atmospheric, mysterious, and satisfying:

Barcelona, 1945. A great world city lies shrouded in secrets after the war, and a boy mourning the loss of his mother finds solace in his love for an extraordinary book called The Shadow of the Wind, by an author named Julian Carax. When the boy searches for Carax's other books, it begins to dawn on him, to his horror, that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book the man has ever written. Soon the boy realizes that The Shadow of the Wind is as dangerous to own as it is impossible to forget, for the mystery of its author's identity holds the key to an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love that someone will go to any lengths to keep secret.

2. Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier (Rebekah)

Though her name is not spelled to my satisfaction, this has always been one of my favorites. Great book, great movie. Brooding man with a haunted past, evil housekeeper, bright eyed new wife who starts to discover secrets she wishes she didn't. Very dark and stormy.

From the first page, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten, a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house's current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim's first wife, the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.

3. The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova (Jamie)

Although it might take one stormy night to get through the first one hundred pages, believe me, the next 600 will be devoured so fast that all that will be left is the spine...

When a motherless American girl living in Europe finds a medieval book and a package of letters, all addressed ominously to "My dear and unfortunate successor..." she unwittingly assumes a quest she will discover is her birthright--a hunt that nearly brought her father to ruin and may have claimed the life of history professor Bartholomew Rossi. But what does the legend of Vlad the Impaler, the historical Dracula, have to do with the 20th Century?

4. The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman (Lauren)

The first line alone is enough to justify this pick: "There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife." It doesn't get much better than that on a dark & stormy evening...

Inspired by The Jungle Book, The Graveyard Book tells the story of Bod, a young boy whose family is ruthlessly murdered when he is just a baby. Bod escapes, and finds his way to a graveyard. Within the gates of the cemetery, Bod is protected from the murderer Jack, and the spirit of his dying mother begs its residents to keep him safe. One pair of ghosts, the Owenses, agree to take him in, and so begins Bod's life within the graveyard gates, raised by the dead...

5. The Sign of Four, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Kristina)

Sherlock Holmes just equals a dark and stormy night, and this particular story is sure to raise some goosebumps.

The Sign of Four is the mystery surrounding the disappearance Miss Mary Morstan's father. Every year on the anniversary of Miss Morstan's father's disappearance, Mary receives an anonymous gift of a priceless pearl. Miss Morstan solicits the help of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson to unravel the identity and motive of her anonymous benefactor.

So there you have it! What are your favorite books for a dark and stormy night? Send us your picks!

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