“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me,” remarked CS Lewis and truer words were never spoken!
What better way to spend your rainy days than with a big cup of tea in one hand, a book in the other, curled up on the couch as the pitter patter of the rains continues outside unabated.
To make your task easier, here is a list of some of the greatest literary masters and their finest works that never got the recognition they deserved. These novels are sure to get you through any rainy day.1 A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy
“One point in her, however, you did notice: that was her eyes. In them was seen a sublimation of all of her; it was not necessary to look further: there she lived.”
Thomas Hardy is known for classics like the Tess of D’Urbervilles and Far From a Madding Crowd, however the most ‘autobiographical’ of his novels, A Pair of Blue Eyes, hardly gets a mention.
Set in the scenic and remote sea-swept parish in Cornwall, which is rumoured to be based on an actual place called St Juliot where the initial courtship period between Hardy and his first wife Emma took place, the novel is the perfect choice to spend a rainy day with.
While Tess and Bathsheba have become immortal names in the literary world, Elfride, Hardy’s protagonist in this forgotten classic, with her eyes “blue as autumn distance – blue as the blue we see between the retreating mouldings of hills and woody slopes on a sunny September morning”, is sure to stay on with you long after the last page has been turned.2 The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
Dickens is known for his immortal classics such as David Copperfield and A Tale of Two Cities, however The Old Curiosity Shop is one of his less regarded but also one of his finest works of fiction.
A tragic tale of loss told in the true Dickensian way with elements of social realism, a critique of the Victorian society and a suffering child protagonist, the tale has all the ingredients required for an emotional roller coaster ride.
As the author himself famously stated - “It opens the lungs, washes the countenance, exercises the eyes, and softens down the temper; so cry away.”
A tear jerker in every sense of the word, snuggle up with ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ by Charles Dickens and lose yourself in the story of ‘not quite fourteen’ year old Nell Trent and her grandfather.3 The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
Every book lover knows their Bronte sisters, or do they?
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is practically on the ‘must read’ list of any bookworm while Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights is the novel that readers usually begin their literary journey with.
Anne Bronte, the lesser known of the Bronte sisters, failed to get the recognition that is enjoyed by Charlotte and Emily. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall thus qualifies not only as a forgotten classic but also a literary work by a ‘forgotten’ author.
The novel, when released under the pseudonym ‘Acton Bell’ in 1948, was actually an instant success which was followed by a drop in its sales after its author’s demise.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall holds the distinction of being one of the very first works of feminist fiction and follows a unique narrative pattern (okay, no spoilers) which is sure to make you wish for more rainy days ahead.4 Persuasion by Jane Austen
The creator of the likes of famous literary characters like Darcy and the Bennet sisters, Jane Austen’s last completed novel Persuasion is a stronger critique of a superficial society than any of her other literary masterpieces.
Written during the author’s last years, Persuasion is a must read not only for Austen fans but also for the contemporary reading public.
While the novel’s protagonist Anne Eliot doesn’t enjoy the popularity of her literary predecessors of the likes of Emma or Elizabeth, hers is a story that is far more relatable than any of the previous Austen heroines.
Read it for Austen’s wit and dialogue, read it for the story that is sure to make you see the world in a new light, read it because you are sure to regret if you don’t.
As the author writes in one of her finest works, “I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon woman's inconstancy. Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman's fickleness. But perhaps you will say, these were all written by men.", and you are sure to agree with her.5 Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year
For those of you who refer non-fiction, Daniel Defoe’s account of the bubonic plague that hit London in the seventeenth century, is an essential read.
Defoe, popularly known for the eighteenth century classic Robinson Crusoe, tells the tale of what came to be known in world history as the Great Plague.
Although Defoe could have been only five years old when the plague struck, the book published in 1722, is written in the form of an eyewitness account which many claim could have been taken from the author’s uncle’s journal.
This is the reason why the classification of the book as fiction has come under debate from critics.
A Journal of the Plague Year is the perfect read for all history buffs out there.
The author tweets as @simarb_92