Weather Literature

Well, as another snowstorm bears down upon us, it's probably time to come clean. For a while there, a subway Poetry in Motion type poster was up. It said: "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people." —Eleanor Roosevelt.* And I thought: "Oh, I guess I have a small mind." Which felt, actually, like a relief to have settled so definitively.

It's true (for me) of books too: I like books about people more than those about events or ideas, and I suppose that's just my small mind talking. But I think there must be yet another quote that piggybacks on the faux–Eleanor Roosevelt one and says, "But really, totally, entirely boring people talk about the weather."

Friends: I am one of those people, and it's time to just come out and acknowledge it. I like to talk about the weather. I like to think about the weather. I even (God help me) like to read about the weather.

Trust me, great books have been written about the weather. Of course, for the snow-focused among us, there's no better book than this:


Blizzards! More blizzards! Extreme cold! The chinook!

But that's not all. Perhaps you would like a hurricane novel? Check this out:


It has the most excellent description of a giant wave with a CAR inside the wave, its lights still on and shining through the wall of water. (Trust me: weather people have a thing for very big waves as well.) Bonus: building on unsteady foundations laid bare and excoriated!

And my most favorite weather novel, Ice! Sadly, I don't know the author (and no, it's not the Christian Science novel about discovering ice on the moon) and the internet has failed me: I cannot find it anywhere. It has an (ice) blue cover, and it's about a nerdy boy who has discovered that the next ice age is coming. (His mother is an…anthropologist? Who studies native cultures in icebound Greenland? Maybe?) There is also a weather scientist (exciting!) whose climate model shows that this is TRUE! And then, the snow begins! Madness! Chaos! Mayhem! Lots of snow! Polar bears wandering over the frozen tundra that once was New York City! Oh, to find that book again!

Anyway, it's supposed to snow tonight, so I thought I'd let you all in about this part of my reading. I'm hoping Chestnut will follow in my inglorious weather-reading footsteps. (I've got her checking the hourly forecasts on, it's a start.)

*Apparently she never said this. Apparently no one ever said this the first time. Still, it was on a subway poster once, which counts for…nothing, I guess.

6 thoughts on “Weather Literature

  1. Because I’m a science geek I loved this but I think others might find it fascinating as well.
    Barbara Mayes-Boustead, a meteorologist, compared actual historical records of the winter weather conditions that Laura Ingalls Wilder recounted and found them to be not only highly accurate in description but also in timing even though she was recounting events significantly after the fact. There are also some neat photographs that add to the drama of the long winter.


  2. Oh! A round of applause from the land of sunshine and 70 degrees for rose and that cool website confirming Laura Ingalls Wilder’s veracity. I, too, love discussing the weather, even out here where there’s very little of it.


  3. Have you tried the Kim Stanley Robinson climate change ones Forty Signs of Rain /Fifty Degrees Below / Sixty Days and Counting ? They are very fine. And his Antartica kind of counts too, as it’s all set in such an extreme place.
    Oh and I’m English, we all talk about the weather all the time.


  4. I too have read this quote elsewhere and thought, “Well, I’m resigned to being a small-minded person. Eleanor wouldn’t care for me much.” I am relieved to know she didn’t say/write these words.


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