The Secret River and The Songlines will always be linked in my mind with the holiday in Halifax on which I read them. I'm sorry now that I didn't take a picture the day we were in the Paperchase coffee shop and the heavens opened to douse Halifax in some of the heaviest rain I've ever seen. The windows were open and we sat in comfortable chairs, watching the rain, watching the other customers watching the rain, listening to some eejits prattling on about jobs in the media (but coded looks between myself and Queenie managed to shut their asses up fast), watching some shifty-looking bloke who looked very much like he was about to start robbing things any minute, and, crucially, reading. We had just been to the cavernous second-hand bookshop that is Doull's, where I had picked up, hey! who would have guessed? a book about the whaleship Essex. That's where I got The Songlines as well.
It's not always bad when it rains on holidays.