Nonfiction November: Like a Hurricane
It’s Week 2 of Nonfiction November and we’re pairing up a favorite nonfiction book with a fiction title. Since I feel like I’m still trying to dry out from Hurricane Patricia (you can read about my rainy day running adventures here), I thought this would be the perfect topic for today’s pairing. As I mentioned in my Week 1 post, this is my first year to participate in Nonfiction November, hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, Becca at I’m Lost in Books, and Leslie at Regular Rumination.
As a native of southeast Texas and the Gulf Coast, my fascination with hurricanes stems from a childhood of riding out storms with no electricity (AKA becoming sick after eating all of the ice cream in the freezer before it melts), reinforced windows and tornado drills at school. My nonfiction selection for this book pairing is Hemingway’s Hurricane: The Great Florida Keys Storm of 1935 by Phil Scott; until contemplating today’s post, I’d totally forgotten that I’d read this one which is not to say that it was not worthy of my time. You’ll understand why I chose this one in just a moment…
I borrowed this one from my library after reading Under A Dark Summer Sky by Vanessa Lafaye; it was completely captivating and definitely one of my favorite selections this year. I was so taken with the story that I really wanted to find out more; I was also watching Season 1 of the Netflix series Bloodline during this time…it was, quite literally, the perfect storm! Lafaye did a great bit of research on the topic of the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, the socioeconomic conditions in the area of South Florida and the Florida Keys during this time period, and her characters were fascinating. You can read my thoughts on her novel in this post.
In some ways, the storm plays out as a character in her novel and also functions to create this low buzz that permeates the novel and propels the story forward. Scott’s book on the actual storm is equally intriguing; I had to know more and this one gave more in-depth information about the events leading up to the storm’s landfall.
What is most thought-provoking and interesting to me is the fact that, much like in the situation surrounding Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Government knew that the people (in the case of The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, disenfranchised WWI veterans) involved were not prepared to handle, or equipped to ride out, a storm of this magnitude; both of these selections also explore the topics of discrimination, racism and poverty. Author Vanessa Lafaye definitely had these factors in her thoughts, as you can read in the interview she graciously provided for the blog.
If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend both Hemingway’s Hurricane and Under a Dark Summer Sky; while I’m not always a huge fan of historical fiction, I couldn’t put this one down and it certainly led to a desire for more investigation.
Have you read any great stories about infamous storms?
Do you enjoy historical fiction?