Now that summer is over and the rainy season is fast approaching, we’ve shared some of our favourite books to curl up with when the weather isn’t looking great. So grab a blanket, some fluffy socks and a hot chocolate and dive into a good book.
Let Them Eat Chaos by Kae Tempest
Kae Tempest’s writing across the board, from their poetry to their essays, plays and novel, is all quite suitable for rainy reading, but no one text seems more appropriate than the masterwork that is Let Them Eat Chaos. Briefer than most long poems at around 70 pages, it details the troubled emotions of a group of people who find themselves united by all being awake one night at 4:18am as a storm rages nearby.
Also adapted into an equally immersive album, Let Them Eat Chaos is an intensely emotional poem that masterfully captures a plethora of contemporary issues – it speaks on mental health, lacking pay, a need for more empathy, global warming and the generally festering anxiety that so many of us carry with us each day… but it’s never truly bleak, and uses its focus on connection to unite these seemingly outcast characters and saving them from their grief, their dissociation and the horrifyingly cyclical nature of their daily lives as they try to save money but always fail.
The pacing is impeccable, with large ideas summarised brilliantly into cleverly formed rhymes without ever feeling forced or out of place. It’s a unique read, and one that is completely enveloping. It’s also definitely helped along that extra bit by reading with a storm as your ambiance, placing you in the same storm as these all-too-real characters and their situations.
By Reece Beckett
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
It’s raining, it’s pouring; the dark days are dawning which makes this time of year ideal for hibernating inside away from the world of deadlines, drinks and downpours. Saying that, a coat of heavy rain casing the house does produce the quintessential autumnal reading experience. Sitting with your own thoughts, or a collection of technology, can furnish the night suitably but there has always been something special about curling up with a good book. Using a stormy night as an opportunity to begin a new book or returning to an old favourite.
Rebecca was written in 1938 by Daphne Du Maurier. Known for other modern classics such as My Cousin Rachel, Du Maurier’s style mixes elements of mystery, romance and gothic fiction to create characters and settings which – like a blanket on a cold night – surround you entirely. Rebecca begins in Monte Carlo where the ‘narrator’, a young woman who is deliberately left unnamed, meets Maxim de Winter, a wealthy older widower. She marries Maxim & travels back to his estate on the South Coast of England; Manderley. Without giving too much away, as there are a few mysteries and plot twists in this novel, the lead learns about Maxim’s ‘adored’ first wife, Rebecca and is left feeling overwhelmed and intimidated by the staff, in particular, the housekeeper Mrs Danvers. Throughout the story, the lead discovers more about Maxim, Rebecca and her own self-perception.
The novel takes time to develop the characters’ routines, making it rather slow paced at times but, for me, that makes it ideal for a stormy night camping indoors. It is a good book for character development – very rewarding in that sense – and fairly modern in its layered characters, most of whom are more than meets the eye.
By Susanna Robertson-Sheath