About Small Rain

Some time ago (I don’t remember when or how – though I’m guessing I was probably on a train, which is where I have all my best ideas) the idea popped into my head to read and review every work of urban nature writing ever published, from Richard Jefferies’s Nature Near London, right up to the present day, when the genre seems to have exploded. Once lodged in my mind, the idea refused to budge.

Whenever I get an idea that strikes me like that, I’m always reminded of Robert Louis Stevenson drawing his treasure island one rainy day in Scotland:

“I made the map of an island; it was elaborately and (I thought) beautifully coloured; the shape of it took my fancy beyond expression, it contained harbours that pleased me like sonnets…”

The shape of this particular idea took my fancy, and so, in 2014 I finally decided to get on with it. As a starting point I put together a timeline of all the urban nature writing books and essays I’d come across. At that point I had a list of 24 books, mostly non-fiction. I shared the list online and received a lot of great suggestions. Since then the list has continued to grow as I’ve discovered new writers, and as new books have been published. You can see the latest version of the reading list here.

What is “small rain”?

The name came about because I’m terrible at naming things. I was eager to get started with the project but I felt that it needed a good name. This was becoming a bit of a road block to starting the project, so I began reading the first book on my list: Nature Near London by Richard Jefferies. That was where I got the name for the project:

The piercing east wind scattered the dust in clouds, looking at a distance like small rain across the field…

A bit about me

Hi. I’m Naomi Racz. I’m a freelance writer and editor in Cumberland, BC. I mainly write about nature, place, and parenting. I’m the co-founder and editor of Stonecrop Review, an online magazine of urban nature writing, art, and photography. You can see more of my writing over on my website.