7 great books for reading on rainy days




So today is the day before the summer solstice in the UK and looking out of the window, frankly it looks a whole lot more like winter, or at least autumn.  For the record, that picture was taken a while back, but it could easily have been today and, also for the record, it was taken in colour, that's not a black-and-white filter, that's how it was.  Anyway, navigating a huge puddle on my way to work today has set me thinking about books you could dip into on rainy days, maybe when you were planning to do something else, but had to stay indoors.  I was looking for books which you could dip in and out of and which most people would enjoy, even if they had different tastes in fiction.  So, here are my picks.

Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

New editions of this book are investment purchases, but older ones can be available very affordably.  I’ve only ever seen this book myself in hard copy and I’d only buy it that way since I’ve heard that the formatting on the Kindle editions could use some improvement.  In hard copy, however, this is an amazing book and can keep you absorbed for hours.

Guinness World Records

A new edition of this book is released every year, but if you’re just reading it for fun, I don’t think it really matters which one you get.  The book doesn’t just cover the record-breaking attempts you see in the media, it’s full of facts about the world in general and it’s most spectacular places and inhabitants.

Ripley's Believe It or Not!

This is basically a compendium of trivia which is fun, weird but true.  It’s great for adults and (older) children alike.

Asimov's New Guide to Science by Isaac Asimov

“New” is relative, Asimov died in 1992, but it is a fascinating look at the people behind science as well as science itself and is a very straightforward read.  Asimov was one of those rare gems, a brilliant scientist who could communicate easily with non-scientists.

National Geographic Animal Encyclopaedia

Amazing pictures of animals (birds, reptiles, fish and insects too) and lots of interesting facts about them plus some serious lessons about the natural world.  I’d class this as a win.

The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language by Melvyn Bragg

I like the idea of treating the English language like a person and treating it as something (or someone) who is still very much alive and developing, rather than something which is complete and finished.  Languages, including English, are one of my passions, which did influence my pick, but I still think this is a book most people could enjoy.

The Phantom Atlas: The Greatest Myths, Lies and Blunders on Maps by Edward Brooke-Hitching

Maps are supposed to be the facts and nothing but the facts, but even today they’re a form of storytelling, for example most maps show lines between countries, but these lines don’t exist in reality.  Just like stories, maps can contain errors and sometimes they can be deliberately abused for political purposes.  If you want a book which illustrates the saying “truth is stranger than fiction”, this may be it.

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