Rainy Day Reads

Bringing voyeurism to the region through books.

“For me, the way we want to connect with each other is through stories,” says Katrina Hill, co-owner of Rainy Day Reads. With her husband, Jason, this pop-up bookstore’s quest is to travel to different communities, sharing a love of reading at each stop. Though the inventory may be small, it’s carefully curated for all types of readers—from romance fans to YA-loving teens.

“In the back of my head, I’ve always wanted to have a bookstore,” Hill says. It was in August of 2021 that this English teacher’s dreams came to fruition. 

The first pop-up took place at Gatewood Rose, a plant nursery in Roanoke, and the partnership continues to grow. “It’s been amazing to get to know the community here,” she notes. “They’re so supportive of one another.” Popping up throughout the Roanoke Valley was Rainy Day Reads’ first goal, but their geographical reach is expanding around the state. They also drive to Glen Allen’s Intermission Beer Company, where the brewery’s book club gave them an idea. 

“We are starting an adult book club the first Monday of the month,” Hill says. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsovler and Chesapeake Requiem by Earl Swift are first on the club’s list. “Connecting people with a book, putting together individualized book lists, is my favorite thing,” she says. The couple is also looking forward to interactive events for children, like story hours. 

Their latest surprise came in March 2022, when they hosted a Readers’ Retreat at Wilderness at Eagle Landing, a summer camp and group retreat venue in New Castle. Twelve book lovers enjoyed a weekend working on their to-be-read list, enjoying Eagle Landing’s rustic ambiance, a roaring fireplace, and hearty meals. Swapping recommendations and even books, the experience “was a way to bring folks together who shared a love for reading and literature in a space that was comfortable,” Hill notes. A second retreat is on deck for late March, and Hill looks forward to many more. “I get to help people find books and that’s the best feeling in the world.” RainyDayReadsVa.com


This article originally appeared in the Best of Virginia 2023 issue.

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