Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Top 6 Reads for a Rainy Summer

This summer has not being very good at sun shining and warmness and general summeryness, but it has got the whole raining business down. Rain rain rain and storms too. Also cold, so cold. I live in Glasgow, Scotland so I suppose it's to be expected, however I thought I'd gather a list of good rainy summer reading. These books set the perfect mood for rainy reading in the long daylight hours. Perfectly suitable for reading on that *one* sunny day too! In fact on Monday it was a scorching 25 degrees and I read in the park with actual bare legs. And today, Wednesday, has brought the heaviest, most movie like rain I've seen. So I know what I'm talking about when it comes to rainy summers. Without further ado, here are 6 (ok 7 because I added a bonus one and didn't want to make it a top 7 for some reason!) of my reading recommendations for a rainy summer:

Wild Song- Janis Mackay

Wild Song by Janis Mackay, is a beautiful novel set in Finland. Niilo is a 13-year-old boy who is sent off to live at a young offenders centre on a little island due to his thievery and general bad behaviour. Niilo has to overcome his fear of the sea, with the help of a kind councillor and a seal friend. Perfect rainy summer reading, where you can imagine yourself swimming off with the seals and learning to find your own wild song. You can find my original review here.

Pond- Claire-Louise Bennett

Pond is a collection of short stories and essays by Claire-Louise Bennett. Beauty, wisdom, whim, and humour are found in the mundanity of a quiet life in an old cottage in a small town. Claire-Louise Bennett's writing is beautiful and full of much better words than I could possibly muster. Here are some beautiful words about watching a storm from the bath, which makes for perfect rainy summer reading:
"And then, from there, it was possible, unavoidable really, to listen to the storm going around and around, and I knew it was an old one that had come back- it seemed to know exactly where it was and there was such intimacy in its movement and in the sound it made as it went along and around and around. Yes, I thought, you know these mountains and the mountains are familiar with you also."

Maybe read Pond in the bath while it rains outside- especially if your bath is next to a window! My full review of Pond is here

I Capture the Castle- Dodie Smith

From the iconic opening sentence, "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink" right through to the end, this wonderful novel is evocative and charming and is the perfect rainy summer read. Cassandra is seventeen and lives in a tumbledown castle with her family, who is living in poverty due to her father's inability to write a follow up to his first successful novel. She writes about family, falling in love for the first time, and the rich potential suitors who come into their lives and shake things up. I suggest perhaps reading this book sitting in the kitchen sink, especially if that sink is by a window with a view to the summer rain outside. 

Spellbook of the Lost and Found- Moira Fowley-Doyle

Spellbook of the Lost and Found is a wonderful and magical book about the havoc wreaked by the titular spellbook, found in an old oak tree. The setting is wonderfully evocative, with all the closeness and tension of the small town, the dark and magical nooks and crannies of the old forest, and the eeriness of the abandoned housing estate. There is a real sense of stormy summer weather, and in fact I read this book by the fire in a little cottage by the sea in June, while the wind and rain battered the windows. I reviewed Spellbook last month, you can read the full review here.

Aurabel- Laura Dockrill

Aurabel by Laura Dockrill is the follow up to Lorali, a fish out of water mermaid tale from 2015. We're back in the sea two years after the events of Lorali. The politics of the underwater world, the Whirl, are becoming complicated and complex after Princess Lorali's departure to live on land. This book is set under the sea and it doesn't get much more rainy than that! Crack open a window and you'll really feel like you're under water.

Riverkeep- Martin Stewart

Should I stop going on about this book? Am I really putting it in another Top 5 post? You betcha! The story follows fifteen-year-old Wulliam, who is about to inherit his father's role as Riverkeep, which involves tending to the river's ice in winter and a lot of fishing out corpses too. A dark spirit possesses his father one night, which sets Wulliam on a journey away from his one know corner of the river, to row down the river's mouth and hopefully find a cure in the belly of a giant sea creature called the mormorach. I recommend getting yourself a hot drink, curling up in a blanket with a view of the pouring rain, maybe light a candle, and pretend it's winter already! Full review from last year here.

Bonus: Our Dark Duet- V.E. Schwab

The second and final in the Monsters of Verity series, Our Dark Duet picks up almost half a year after Kate Harker's departure from Verity in This Savage Song. She is now living in Prosperity, hunting monsters there, where the monster epidemic is still very much underground and mostly unknown by the population. Kate witnesses the aftermath of a an attack by a new kind of monster, and after an encounter with this strange creature, she finds herself leaving her new friends and heading back to Verity to warn them of this new danger. There is a very urban, gritty, city vibe to this series and I can attest to its suitability to rainy summer reading as I read This Savage Song during last year's rainy cottage holiday and Our Dark Duet on this year's rainy cottage holiday!

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