Tuesday, 4 August 2009

What to read in the rain?


I can't help it, I feel gloomy in August when the clouds descend over north London. I don't mind the British countryside in the rain -- in previous summers, I've enjoyed August walks along rainlashed Cornish clifftops. But here in London, on a drizzly morning, with a book to finish, I'm longing for the clouds to clear, or as my grandmother used to say, 'enough blue in the sky to make a sailor's suit'; or a Turner sky, like the one above -- now, that would be magical... (though there is magic in all skies, I know, if you look at them in the right way, like he did).
I suppose there's something to be said for the grey sky: it's not going to lure me away from my computer. But actually, I think it is easier to write with a feeling of optimism, rather than foreboding. And the sky today looks threatening, with not a hint of rose-tinted pink above it...
Is anyone out there?

26 comments:

Sarah Standalone said...

You're not alone. I just had a friend over for a coffee, and we moaned about the weather, and how it has wrecked so many summer plans again. I know we are supposed to console ourselves with the saying, 'there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes' but here, in August, after weeks of rain I am coming to realise that saying is just plain wrong.
At this rate we will still be knee deep in green tomatoes by the end of September, we will get rickets and the nation will be on Prozac by Xmas. On the up side, I'm getting plenty of reading done ;-)

enid said...

Why not get into bed under the duvet and shout Rain rain go away come again another day . Have you read Captivated by Piers Dudgeon about JM Barrie and Daphne Du Maurier ? Have you seen Coco avant Chanel ? Both are on my to read and see list.
I hate the cold dark journey to work in the rain but I play a cd and try to love the rain soaked scenery.

kairu said...

I woke up to grey skies, a chill in the air, and rejoiced. Seattle has been experiencing a heat wave, and the coolness brings with it some relief (even though I shouldn't complain, as I am one of the lucky few with air conditioning).

When it is miserably cold and wet out (or even if I just need comfort) I read (or watch!) The Enchanted April, and dream of Italy in spring. But I am a person who likes to wear layers and layers, wrap myself in soft cashmere or cuddly down blankets or cozy fleece. I love the clear bright light of summer, the cherries and strawberries and juicy watermelons, the sweet corn and luscious tomatoes. But autumn and winter has its own delights and comforts, and I wait all year for them to come again...

Justine Picardie said...

I've read Captivated and seen Coco Avant Chanel (indeed, I saw some of the filming of the movie in Paris). I will do my best to find solace under a duvet, but even so, I'm afraid I'm going to have to concur with Sarah's analysis of the situation: green tomatoes, rickets and Prozac...

Justine Picardie said...

And at the risk of sounding curmudgeonly, we haven't had a heatwave, so more difficult to look forward to autumnal joys.

kairu said...

Did you ever get your copy of The Fashionable Savages? Did you like it?

So sorry the weather is miserable. I will probably be madly regretting my complaints about the heat when it is winter and it has rained for forty days straight.

If the tomatoes are green, make fried green tomatoes! (The Southern version of "if life gives you lemons, make lemonade," I suppose).

oxford-reader said...

I'm here, in a drenched Oxford, which always looks so dreary. Nowt but tourists getting in your way, and umbrellas knocking together. I suppose it is better for your book, no temptation of sunbathing (and you've forgotten the two weeks at the end of June, which were glorious. They seem so far away now!)
I've got the pleasure of seeing Coco Avant Chanel tomorrow, and Captivated is sitting on my tbr pile... I thought of you today when I processed a student's book grant form, and saw 'Daphne' amongst the plethora of reciepts!

I'm sure the sun will come back soon, and in the meantime, just batten down the hatches and make something suitably summery to eat!

savidgereads said...

I dont mind autumnal, I dont mind cold and snowy and I dont mind heatwave but this muggy humid nonsense is just not right. Makes you feel really mardy, well it does with me anyway. It's too humid to do anything... even read!

savidgereads said...

I dont mind autumnal, I dont mind cold and snowy and I dont mind heatwave but this muggy humid nonsense is just not right. Makes you feel really mardy, well it does with me anyway. It's too humid to do anything... even read!

Justine Picardie said...

Kairu is right, we must celebrate all seasons, and I shouldn't be so curmudgeonly, especially as she has a lovely way with words.
But Savidge Reads also has a point, and mardy is an excellent word.
And Oxford Reader is always soothing. Has anyone read Zuleika Dobson? Edwardian Oxford in the summer...

kairu said...

No, Justine, I maintain you have every right to feel curmudgeonly about the weather! Although, like savidgereads, I think I can bear anything except muggy humidity.

Must track down Zuleika Dobson. What a name! I'll have to reread Gaudy Night to hold me until I can find it. (Just got the BBC Dorothy Sayers trilogy...will save it to watch on a rainy fall day).

oxford-reader said...

My father called his skiff Zuleika Dobson, because he bought it after it had been renovated, and the previous owner was the man who rennovated the heads around the Bodleian, who all weep for Zuleika's beauty (the man was very jealous of how well the boat was rennovated!) The man used to come to where the boat was moored and cover the name with green tape!
Added to that, Dad has on one wall of our house, twelve prints of the original illustrations that Osbert Lancaster did for the novel. Here's a link to one of them (which also has the emperor heads in it) http://www.headington.org.uk/oxon/broad/pics/south/emperors_zuleika.jpg

Justine Picardie said...

OK, so that is impressive. Your father clearly has excellent taste, like his daughter.

Justine Picardie said...

Sorry, one more comment, and then I'm going to watch Milk. I did get Fashionable Savages, and it is really good, and very helpful for my book, so much appreciated as a recommendation.

kairu said...

I'm glad you liked it. John Fairchild is really a wonderful (and sharp) writer. (I flipped through Chic Savages and found a postcard of the Winterhalter portraight of Empress Sissi of Austria - one of the greatest Fashionable Savages of them all!).

By the way, you asked, "Is anyone out there?" and I think the answer is clear - "YES!"

Justine Picardie said...

Yes... words come miraculously out of the sky

oxford-reader said...

Talking of Turner (which we weren't really, but you did post a beautiful picture), I've just returned from my lunchtime walk, and found a blue plaque on St John St (which is by Wellington Square, v. near Jericho) which states that Turner lived in a house there for a good 30 years. I can just imagine him sauntering around Oxford, the light here is amazing - just like in his pictures.

Justine Picardie said...

I could be wrong, but I think it's a possibly a different Turner who lived in Oxford; though also a landscape painter. I seem to remember, somewhere in the distant recesses of my childhood in Jericho (and at school at Bishop Kirk), being told about an Oxford Turner, and the more famous Turner.

oxford-reader said...

Sadly you are right (just turned to wiki for confirmation). It's a pity, because the sky was very J.M.W Turner yesterday evening. However, I know for a fact that there is a plaque to Mrs William Morris - painter, not car maker - (Jane Burden) near the Turf tavern.
I saw Coco Avant Chanel at the Phoenix, and thought it wonderful - written up on my blog if you want to take a look.

Justine Picardie said...

V. good blog on Coco.
And you are making me feel nostalgic for the Oxford of my past, which probably is obscured, though I wonder if I might catch a glimpse of my childhood ghost, slipping just around the corner into Richmond Road, if I were to walk down Walton Street today.

oxford-reader said...

You'd probably wonder why Walton st needs so many cocktail bars ...
The Oxford of your youth is there to be found should you ever feel the need. Roadworks may create traffic madness, the streets may be thronged with more overseas students than ever before, it may be pouring with rain, but the Oxford you left all those years ago is still ever present just beneath the surface. You should come back and wander, I always find it does wonder for my frame of mind!

kairu said...

I've never been to Oxford, but I live in the city where I grew up, and in every corner of the city I see little glimpses of myself as a ghost-child.

I very much look forward to Coco Avant Chanel. I love Audrey Tautou - Amelie is one of my favorite cheering-up movies - and it will be interesting to see her as Chanel. I am also looking forward to your upcoming Chanel book, Justine - I just reread the essay in My Mother's Wedding Dress.

simoncadbury said...

the rainy season is my favorite season... i just love the rain

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Serg said...

For my sci-fi books are the best to read when rains, the sound of the rain can provide a great set up for the reading, I once caught a friend reading a magazine about viagra online and all of it benefits, I found that very funny.

Arleen said...

I prefer to listen some chill out music when is raining, I know that the sound of the rain can be very relaxing as well.


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