The calendar has not yet flipped to July but already Tucson is teeming with amateur weathermen and women, all of us studying the afternoon skies in a hopeful search for rain.
The monsoon has begun, offering us a daily reminder of the beauty, power and unpredictable impact nature has on our day-to-day lives.
No matter where we live or what we do, weather often shapes our plans, so it is hardly surprising the elements often play a central role in literature, too.
Volunteers with the Tucson Festival of Books were asked to recommend some recently released books that are framed by weather. As always, they offered a wide range of stories to choose from:
“On a Rainy Day” by Sarah L. Perkins. In this delightful picture book, a girl and her father de ella are forced indoors from their day at the park when it begins raining. Then comes lightning and thunder, taking out the electricity, so they must come up with things they can do together. Dad puts away his laptop as they build a blanket fort, play a board game and stomp around in a puddle after the rain ends. Perkins gives us a warm celebration of the simple joys of being together with a loved one. — Kathy Short
People are also reading…
“Rock Paper Scissors” by Alice Feeney. The numbing cold of the Scottish Highlands is the setting for this tale of a struggling couple who get away for a make-or-break weekend together. Mr. & Mrs. Wright are looking to save their marriage. Or are they? — tricia clapp
“The Lost Boys of Montauk” by Amanda Fairbanks. Fairbanks holds two master’s degrees from the Columbia School of Journalism and her investigative skills are on full display here. She looks into the disappearance of five Montauk fisherman whose boat was enveloped by a nor-easter in 1984. Neither the boat nor any of the sailors were ever found. The event has since become a local legend near the Eastern tip of Long Island, still vivid in the minds of those who were there. What happened? What has been the impact on the families and the surrounding community? The paperback version of “Lost Boys” was released last month. — Bill Finley
“LA Weather” by Maria Amparo Escandon. Although the story revolves around a Los Angeles father who is obsessed by the weather — the ongoing drought, in particular — the real storm is brewing within his Los Angeles family of him, the Alvarados. Oscar’s wife is ready to get a divorce. Each of their three daughters has her own trouble bubbling. Into every life some rain must fall, and the Alvarados realize they all need to find higher ground. — Estella González
“Powder Days” by Heather Hansman. “Powder Days” is a former ski bum’s poignant and revealing love letter to a sport that evolved from the joyrides of early thrill-seekers to a multibillion-dollar industry with magnificent resorts all over the world. Hansman looks closely at the past, present and future of a sport she loves—and examines ways it is already being altered by climate change. — Abby Mogollon
“Weather Girl” by Rachel Lynn Solomon. This recently released romance novel features a TV meteorologist who is trying to reunite her boss, a Seattle weatherwoman, with her ex-husband. She does get a romantic fire burning, but it’s not the one she was trying to light. — Jessica Pryde
“The Guest List” by Lucy Foley. A destination wedding on an island off the Irish coast is interrupted by a sudden storm … and loss of power. When the lights finally come back on, someone is missing: the groom. Published last year, Foley gives us a rich whodunit that keeps us guessing until the final pages. — Bill Finley
“Our Wives Under the Sea” by Julia Armfield. Part adventure story, part Jules Verne fantasy, this one evolves from a scientific research vessel that sinks to the bottom of the ocean. It remains there for months. When the crew is finally rescued, one of the scientists is different. Real different. — Lynn Wiese Sneyd
“A Children’s Bible” by Lydia Millett. A new sub-genre known as “cli-fi,” or climate fiction, found a noble centerpiece in this creation from Tucson novelist Lydia Millet. A group of college friends and their families have gathered for a summer vacation at a remote lakeside mansion. When a hurricane maroons them all, the heroes become the kids. They are the ones who understand and acknowledge climate change. They are the ones who trust science will help them survive. “A Children’s Bible” was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award in Fiction. — Bill Finley
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