There are ample things I miss about the UK while living on Sydney’s sandy shores; the bookshops, the culture, the architecture. The endless options of where to spend one’s Friday night and with whom; the theatre scene, the beer gardens. I miss the countryside and the bubble of anticipation when the clocks go back and the nights get lighter; the days get longer and there’s hope in the air for a spiritous summer ahead.
What I don’t miss is the rain; the endless and relentless downpour and grey skies that we are accustomed to, and simply see as an unavoidable part of being a Brit. And yet, while there’s little joy to be taken from the looming skies and frequent and torrential downpours, for bookworms the world over, one thing it does offer is the perfect excuse to do little else than hunker down in bed and read. Rainy reads; the sort of books to indulge in when the sky is threatening, are my favourite sort.
And while when the sun is out I love nothing more than indulging in heady novels set in balmy terrains, rainy days call for an altogether different kind of read. From the creme de la creme of crime fiction to one of my very favourite short stories, below you’ll find the finest of fiction for when the skies are menacing.
One of my very favourite rainy reads is Daphne Du Marier’s Don’t Look Now. An eerie and sinister tale to read in a single setting, it’s doubtlessly one of its authors most evocative stories. Set on Venice’s cobbled streets and ripe with twists and turns, Don’t Look Now is full of slow, creeping horror and offers bookworms the perfect short read to curl up with when the skies outside are grey.
Probably the best ghost story ever written, Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black is best read when the skies outside are dark and looming, and a thunderstorm is imminent. Set on the obligatory English moor, on the estate of Eel Marsh House, the tale is rich in atmosphere and anticipation, and will leave you thoroughly spooked long after you’ve finished it.
Intricate, chilling and sinister, Killing Me Softly is my favourite sort of thriller – dark and detailed and set against a dreary London backdrop. A novel about obsession, love and fear, it’s the sort of book that will sweep you away into the world of the protagonist and her boyfriend as their affair balances on the brink of an all-consuming craze.
A wonderfully compelling tale from one of literature’s best writers, Great Expectation’s marsh country and London setting makes it the perfect rainy read. A gripping tale of crime and guilt, revenge and reward, clear aside a rainy weekend to indulge in this book of epic proportion.
Set on the windswept Yorkshire moors, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights is wild, passionate and intense, and calls for brooding weather as the perfect companion, as you find yourself enraptured by the almost demonic affair between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff. Its setting and flawless characterisation makes it one of the very best rainy reads.
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