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Isaac's Storm
Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History | Erik Larson
54 posts | 94 read | 84 to read
At the dawn of the twentieth century, a great confidence suffused America. Isaac Cline was one of the era's new men, a scientist who believed he knew all there was to know about the motion of clouds and the behavior of storms. The idea that a hurricane could damage the city of Galveston, Texas, where he was based, was to him preposterous, "an absurd delusion." It was 1900, a year when America felt bigger and stronger than ever before. Nothing in nature could hobble the gleaming city of Galveston, then a magical place that seemed destined to become the New York of the Gulf.That August, a strange, prolonged heat wave gripped the nation and killed scores of people in New York and Chicago. Odd things seemed to happen everywhere: A plague of crickets engulfed Waco. The Bering Glacier began to shrink. Rain fell on Galveston with greater intensity than anyone could remember. Far away, in Africa, immense thunderstorms blossomed over the city of Dakar, and great currents of wind converged. A wave of atmospheric turbulence slipped from the coast of western Africa. Most such waves faded quickly. This one did not.In Cuba, America's overconfidence was made all too obvious by the Weather Bureau's obsession with controlling hurricane forecasts, even though Cuba's indigenous weathermen had pioneered hurricane science. As the bureau's forecasters assured the nation that all was calm in the Caribbean, Cuba's own weathermen fretted about ominous signs in the sky. A curious stillness gripped Antigua. Only a few unlucky sea captains discovered that the storm had achieved an intensity no man alive had ever experienced.In Galveston, reassured by Cline's belief that no hurricane could seriously damage the city, there was celebration. Children played in the rising water. Hundreds of people gathered at the beach to marvel at the fantastically tall waves and gorgeous pink sky, until the surf began ripping the city's beloved beachfront apart. Within the next few hours Galveston would endure a hurricane that to this day remains the nation's deadliest natural disaster. In Galveston alone at least 6,000 people, possibly as many as 10,000, would lose their lives, a number far greater than the combined death toll of the Johnstown Flood and 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.And Isaac Cline would experience his own unbearable loss.Meticulously researched and vividly written, Isaac's Storm is based on Cline's own letters, telegrams, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the hows and whys of great storms. Ultimately, however, it is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets nature's last great uncontrollable force. As such, Isaac's Storm carries a warning for our time.From the Hardcover edition.
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Mitch
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Yeah - picked up my order at my local store today. Excited to get into my second #newyearwhodis book. The first was FAB so excited to dive into number 2!

Dostoyes Terrific book. Hope you enjoy. 6d
Mitch @Dostoyes I‘m really looking forward to it. It‘s a new discovery for me - 🤞🏼 6d
Aims42 Loved this read! Hope you enjoy it too 😄 6d
Mdargusch 🤞🏼I knew nothing about this storm when I read the book. Enjoy! 5d
74 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Minimalgrl
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This was a great book about a hurricane that struck in 1900 .... love Erik Larson books 📚
#keeplitsyactive #disaster


ljuliel Oh, I‘ve heard this is really good ! I read a fiction book about that storm. Can‘t remember the name of it but it was very good. 2mo
31 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Coleen
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Mehso-so

Between a pick and so-so with this. Not my favorite of Larson‘s, but still interesting and educational. I listened to the abridged audio, so that may have affected my opinion.

nelehelen Omg i remember reading this and just weeeeping... 😭😭😭 4mo
Crazeedi I really liked this book 4mo
26 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Sporto
Pickpick

Captivating

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Aims42
Pickpick

Another fascinating read from Erik Larson 👏🏻👍🏻

sprainedbrain I just love his books! 6mo
Aims42 @sprainedbrain me too!! He‘s a fantastic writer 6mo
17 likes2 comments
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Tex2Flo
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Another challenge 3-fer
@Cinfhen @KarenUK #lilithjuly not my current coast, but it sure played a big part in my family history.
@Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @OriginalCyn620 #letstraveljuly the area of the US that I know the most.
@TK421 quotsyjuly19 in essence the island was gone, at least to the rest of the world for days.

KarenUK Nice multitasking! 💕👍 7mo
OriginalCyn620 😊👌🏻 7mo
Cinfhen Well done 👍🏻 and now I understand your Litsy handle 🤓 7mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Way to go!!! 7mo
16 likes1 stack add4 comments
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BookyMcBookface
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Pickpick

As a meteorologist, obviously I have a special interest in this book. But I can honestly say, it's probably the best non fiction book I've ever read.

5 likes1 stack add
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Aims42
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So, I bought a few books today at my favorite library‘s used book store. $7.00 total 🙌🏻

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Pretty pic 💞 7mo
35 likes2 comments
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EmilieGR
Pickpick

The first 50 pages were enthralling but it cooled down after- still really good

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Crazeedi
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Thanks for tag @Jee_HookedOnBookz !
#frideas @SailorMoon
1 both, but usually fiction especially when based on history
2 tagged is one of Larson's best
3 penmanship, because I was left handed and no one ever told me the Mark's on pencil for finger position was for a right handed person 🙁
4 every century has its pluses
5 @gradcat @CBee @Llanphear @SamanthaMarie and anyone else!!!

SailorMoon Thanks for playing!!! 💕🤟🏻🌙 11mo
62 likes1 stack add1 comment
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sprainedbrain
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Pickpick

Once again, Erik Larson for the win with nonfiction that reads like a novel.

This one is the story of the devastating Galveston hurricane of 1900, told together with the story of meteorologist Isaac Cline and his successes and failures in predicting storms like this. Truly fascinating to listen to... the way that Larson takes us through the events makes it all feel very real.

I wish Scott Brick could narrate all of his books, though.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

callielafleur My favorite Erik Larson. So very, very good. 13mo
Amiable I loved this book! 13mo
inthegreensandblues Scott Brick is so good for non fiction. 13mo
88 likes4 stack adds3 comments
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Aseleener
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Pickpick

This was my #nonficpick for October and my 3rd Larson. I have a morbid fascination with natural disasters; I loved it. I didn't care for the parts that focused on the politics of the weather bureau. That bored me. But the descriptions of the chaos that ensued when the storm hit really packed a punch. It's just so horrible what these people went through. 😥 So sad that this happened. Such a tragedy. Larson tells the sad story beautifully.

Reviewsbylola I def want to read this. 1y
23 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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TelevisionNeighbor
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I‘m taking this back to the library without finishing. I love it, but my library is charging me an insane amount of money and accusing me of damaging a book. I‘m done with them. I called and they just wanted to get me off the phone. I loved that library, so I‘m heartbroken. It sounds stupid, but I know you all will understand. Luckily, I have a small local library I can go to. Just sad about losing this other one. 😔

Amiable That's horrible 😟 1y
10 likes1 comment
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bookwrm526
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Pickpick

I thought this was a fascinating look at what weather prediction, especially hurricanes, was like before the advent of weather satellites. The way he weaves in the story of the personalities involved makes it that much better. This is my book #aboutenvironment or #setoutdoors for #booked2018 @4thhouseontheleft @Cinfhen @BarbaraTheBibliophage

Cinfhen I‘ve been wanting to read this book for awhile!! Glad to hear it‘s a a good one!! Congrats on getting the last prompt in💚 2y
BarbaraTheBibliophage This sounds fascinating! I love a good science book. 👏🏻👏🏻 2y
45 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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goodbyefrancie
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The first one that comes to mind from my library. #maps #Riotgrams @bookriot

DefLeppard Great book. 😊 2y
73 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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AndreaLRogers
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Pickpick

Favorite summer time read. I love this book so much. It‘s my favorite non-fiction book and in my top ten of all.

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Tomigirl44
Mehso-so

I‘ve owned this book for years but finally made the time to read it. I learned a lot about meteorology and how the US Weather dept got started along with a lot of details that seemed extraneous. I‘d have liked more character development; it felt like the author was putting forth a delineation of facts. I look forward to reading other books by this author as I see that others have the same opinion of this book but say this isn‘t his best work.

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jamielaine
Panpan

Didn‘t like it

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tomes4gnomes
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After a strong start reading almost 4 hours last night for #24in48, I was majorly derailed by illness in the wee hours and I have been sleeping most of the day ☹️. Thanks to this upset, it‘s unlikely I‘ll complete my 24, but I am feeling well enough to get back to the books. I‘ve abandoned my previous TBR pile (too exciting on an upset stomach) and moved on to the tagged title and some good old Wodehouse.

catebutler I hope you feel better soon! 2y
Scurvygirl Hope you feel better! 2y
Jas16 Hope you get well soon 2y
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cobwebmoth Hope you feel better soon! 2y
Mollyanna Feel better soon! 2y
minkyb Feel better. 2y
78 likes6 comments
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Macnjen
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Mehso-so

Amazing how politics plays into the most unlikely places. Ego is Ada hero us thing. Interesting read but not as much as some of his others. My favorite of his is Devil in the White City by far. Very timely read, that's for sure.

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Macnjen

Next read- very timely.

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NCNY
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Long weekend starts now.
Terrace reading + 65° = ?

Work was crazy this week. We model losses due to natural catastrophes so Harvey kept us busy. I'm reading this book to learn some history that's somewhat related to this week's events.

My thoughts are with everyone who's displaced or cleaning up after Harvey this weekend.

48 likes1 stack add
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Anovelobsession
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Had to relocate from Houston for a bit. My family is still safe and dry, but I had to move to an alternate location for work. I haven't read at all since fu*%^#~ Harvey showed up. I brought these with me just in case I have the time and attention span to read.

ReadingSusan Glad you are ok but sorry for what you are going through 😢😢 2y
Riveted_Reader_Melissa I know it must be incredibly stressful. I'm glad everyone is safe and dry, and hopefully you'll soon feel ready for your favorite reading escapes again. 2y
swishandflick I'm glad to hear you're ok, but I can only imagine how stressful that all is. Sending hugs! 2y
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Alfoster Sending virtual hugs❤️❤️❤️! 2y
Soubhiville It's unbelievably awful! I'm glad you're safe and dry. 2y
Anovelobsession @ReadingSusan @Riveted_Reader_Melissa @swishandflick @Alfoster @Soubhiville Thank you all. I feel incredibly lucky that my family is safe and our home remains dry. The amount of devastation that has occurred in Houston is staggering. Driving out of the city today was surreal. 2y
DebinHawaii I'm glad you and your family are all OK but what a horrific thing to deal with. Hugs. 💜 2y
Tamra 😕 I'm glad you are safe, despite no reading. I hope you can get some down time this weekend. 2y
monkeygirlsmama Relieved to hear you are safe and dry. Sorry that you've had to jump ship, so to speak, for work. I can only imagine how stressful this past week has been for you. (((Hugs))) and 🙏 2y
Ms_T Sending you my very best wishes x 2y
AmandaL Glad you are okay! 2y
Amanda23 Glad to hear you are okay! 2y
Laura317 My cousin is in Houston. She's one of the lucky ones, too. Glad you're safe. 2y
69 likes13 comments
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Maggie
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Noooooo! 😩😩😩

Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret.

I really need this vacation. I'm nursing a broken heart and am also so behind on my reading. Please keep my rental house and favorite restaurant safe. And, you know, all the people and stuff, too. I promise I'll be nice to my annoying coworkers for the next two weeks, and I'll help clean up stuff when we get there.

Okay, thanks.

#SaveShells

rubyslippersreads Sending vacation vibes from one Margaret to another. 😊 2y
Notafraidofwords Crossing my fingers for ya ! 2y
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LeeRHarry Fingers crossed!! 2y
Maggie @rubyslippersreads @Notafraidofwords @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @LeeRHarry thanks, y'all. I really am more concerned about the people and property than my vacation. Port Aransas is a lovely little town, and hearing it mentioned on tv in this context makes me so sad. 2y
CoffeeCatsBooks Fingers crossed for you and the town! 2y
MrBook 😧🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻 2y
24 likes7 comments
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Bluebird
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Pickpick

This started out slow. I was bored by the history and science of meteorology-surprising since I'm a bit of a science geek. However it was worth wading through the first section because once the hurricane hit I was riveted. Larson's descriptive and evocative writing style had me on the edge of my seat. A bonus on the audio: there's a great interview with the author at the end. He talks about his writing process and how he chooses his topics.

Bluebird I realized this fits today's #livetotell challenge! #Augustgrrrl (edited) 2y
Cinfhen 😍great choice ~ helpful review ❣️ 2y
7 likes2 comments
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Maggie
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Pickpick

That blurb, y'all...

In 1900, all the experts were certain that the Gulf of Mexico was immune to hurricanes. On September 8th, that certainty cost at least six- and up to ten-thousand residents of Galveston, TX their lives.

This book is incredible and fascinating and heartbreaking. This one is even better than The Devil in the White City.

And Galveston is such a fun little town now. Worth a visit if you ever get the chance!

#hurricane

20 likes4 stack adds
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Jennick2004
Panpan

Although I somewhat enjoyed the last 75 pages or so of this book, it was way too much (boring) weather information for me! And it was on my TBR!

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mdm139
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I am supposed to read 3 nonfictiom this month. Do you have any recommendations? This is my nonfiction tbr #shelfie #riotgrams #junemostanticipated #junebookbugs @RealLifeReading

7 likes1 comment
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Jennick2004

Should get some reading done today while snuggling my boy...he had a frenectomy (oral surgery) done this morning and he is in pain 😔

TheLibrarian Hope he starts feeling better. 3y
LauraBrook I'm sorry for your lil peanut - here's hoping he can sleep peacefully, and you can read (and nap) to your hearts delight! 3y
23 likes2 comments
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Jennick2004
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Hanging out with this silly girl and reading outside on this beautiful day! #dogsoflitsy

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Jennick2004
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Ready to start this one which has been on my TBR for a while 😁

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nelehelen
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Pickpick

Started off slow in the beginning, but that quickly changed. I could not put this book down except for the times when I had to stop reading to compose myself. I broke down and wept loudly multiple times throughout this book. I cannot express how broken my heart feels... This story will continue to stay with me for a long time, especially because I also survived a hurricane in Cabo a few years ago. #recommendsday

5 likes2 stack adds
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LeslieO
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My favorite Larson #weather #aprilbookshowers

SharonGoforth Loved this book! My favorite of his. 3y
LeslieO @SharonGoforth it's the one that got me into narrative nonfiction. 3y
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Sweettartlaura
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Pickpick

Now THIS is what I expect from Erik Larson! Quickly paced, rich in detail, this book grips you early & tightly. I recommend it for anyone📚

Wife How was the audio version? 3y
Sweettartlaura @wife Great! It was like someone telling you a tale as you sit in a leather armchair before a fire. Not hard to follow, either. I'm sure a couple smaller characters get lost in the shuffle, but I loved it, both the book and the audio version. 5⭐️ for both 3y
43 likes5 stack adds2 comments
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Sweettartlaura
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WOW! This book is worth a read/listen, just for the description of the origin of the hurricane. This is just the first couple of sentences. It is EXQUISITE prose.

33 likes3 stack adds
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Sweettartlaura
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I'm already enjoying this more than Devil in the White City - yay 🙂

40 likes3 stack adds
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KimM
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Pickpick

#recentnonfictionread. Erik Larson never disappoints. Very reminiscent, at least for me, of A Perfect Storm. What happened to Galveston was absolutely surreal. #marchintoreading

SharonGoforth This is my favorite of his... 3y
33 likes4 stack adds1 comment
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KimM
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They are calling for 9" of snow in Raleigh,NC tomorrow and negative temps but I'll still be in the BVI sailing the islands. This is Jost Van Dyke. Probably not the best time to read this book ?. It's pretty fascinating tho, if you are in to weather and storms. #dreamingofawarmerclimate #livingthedream

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MrBook
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This was my favorite Science book that I read in 2016. It's more frequently categorized as a history selection, but the central focus of this read concerns meteorology and the meteorologists who got things wrong. Really wrong. Hence my decision to treat this title as more of a science book. I listened to this on audio, & it was just phenomenal. 5 strong stars! What was your favorite Science read of 2016 (for my TBR 😊👍🏻)? #MrBookWantsToKnow

Hooked_on_books I love Larson! He's terrific. My favorite science book of 2016 is Hope Jahren's Lab Girl, but my overall favorite recent science book is Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction, which is phenomenal. (edited) 3y
Kat_Reads This is on my list for #litsyAtoZ ! 3y
Leniverse Not science exactly, but I think you'll like this: https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/1111828/shark-drunk/ I can't vouch for the English translation, as it won't even be available until July 2017. But the original is amazing. 3y
See All 19 Comments
LisaJo I do not like science books really. So the closest thing I read to a science book this year was Dark Matter. Since, Blake, explains a theory of multiple universes in that book, I consider it a science book. Your choice, so much closer. 3y
ChasingOm I love your #MrBookWantsToKnow tag! Also, @Hooked__on__books, I agree that The Sixth Extinction was excellent! 3y
tricours I second @Leniverse 's recommendation, brilliant book! 3y
MrBook @Hooked_on_books 😁👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻! I'm hoping to get to both of your recs in 2017 😊👍🏻! @Kat_Reads Niiice 😁👍🏻🙌🏻! @Leniverse @tricours Awesome! Thank you for the link! Added 😁👍🏻! @LisaJo 😂👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻🙌🏻! You're awesome regardless 😉👍🏻! @ChasingOm Thank you ☺️!! 3y
Aseleener I've had this on my tbr pile for a while. Love Erik Larson. Devil in the White City and Dead Wake were both 👍. 3y
kalinichta Would definitely be The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery. Lovely and loving memoir of the author's relationship with cephalopods. File under marine biology. 3y
tlmorgan Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks (a 2010 book but 2016 for me!) 3y
MrBook @Aseleener 😁👏🏻🙌🏻!! @kalinichta Ooh! Saw that in the store this past week, adding! Thank you 😊👍🏻!! @tlmorgan Nothing but raves for this one, adding! Thank you 😊👍🏻! 3y
Theresa I discovered Mary Roach in 2016. Read Stiff & Bonk. Stiff was my favorite. 3y
Suet624 Isaac's Storm was SO good. Those descriptions of the flood will stay with me. 3y
MrBook @Theresa Oh, you're so awesome 😊👏🏻! @Suet624 😁👏🏻👏🏻🙌🏻!! 3y
Lea I read it a few years ago and really enjoyed it. History well told. 3y
MrBook @Lea 😁👏🏻🙌🏻! @Girl_Power I've been wanting to get my hands on that one for the longest! 😁👍🏻 3y
BeckyD I read this last year, and loved it. 3y
99 likes9 stack adds19 comments
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Sara_Planz
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Thank you @Amanda and @jennirl for the recommendation about weather books on your podcast this week. As my husband is a meteorologist, it helped me mark off another gift for him today!

Alwayscoolwb Great choice 3y
Sara_Planz Super grateful for the person who sent them the question. It was perfect! 3y
SharonGoforth Such a good book! 3y
Hoopiefoot Great book! 3y
65 likes4 stack adds4 comments
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TriniCapini
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Well lookie there! A great month for nonfiction. 😊 I'm not quite done with H is for Hawk but I'm adoring the audio. Could I pick a favorite? I don't think so. 😜 Have you read any of these?? #nonfictionnovember #novemberstats #pictureadaynovember

Dogearedcopy I listened to 'H is for Hawk' last month; and it was my Pick for October! Anxiety NF performance by the author; and great material read :-) 3y
Dogearedcopy * Amazing performance... 3y
TriniCapini @Dogearedcopy I'm not sure I would be as captivated by it if reading it in print but her narration is everything. So so so good. 3y
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Dogearedcopy @TriniCapini I absolutely agree! I actually had the print book in hand; but opted for the audio. I think it would have been too easy to skim over parts and lose the internal rhythm of the book if I hadn't gone to audio! 3y
SusaninTX Loved As You Wish and A Fine Romance was one of my top books from last year. H is for Hawk is patiently waiting on my TBR. Looks like you had a great reading month! 3y
DebinHawaii Great job!!! 📚👍😀🎉 3y
TriniCapini @SusaninTX not sure if you're and audio fan but if so, DEFINITELY add audio to H is for Hawk experience. 3y
14 likes7 comments
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eva_lution
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Pickpick

"Time lost can never be recovered," he said, "and this should be written in flaming letters everywhere." I'm not sure if it was comforting to read about a horrific tragedy that was in large part due to the hubris of people who thought it could never happen to them. Erik Larson is tremendous as always, though, and this took me into the 1900 Galveston hurricane as well as anything could.

AustenJennings He came to our store for his latest, dead wake; he's an impressive speaker. Seems that he really does his research 3y
eva_lution @AustenJennings Glad to hear good things about authors I admire. I would attend a reading of his, for sure! And Dead Wake is the only one of his books I think I haven't read. That's actually what I was looking for at the library when I found this. :) 3y
8 likes1 stack add2 comments
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eva_lution
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New home state drivers license = local library card! This is the first book I pulled off the shelf today to check out, and I'm making it my #photoadaynov16 pick for "November TBR."

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neils4fun
Pickpick

I finished this one today. I really enjoyed it. Told in the same historical detail of Larsen's other books, it is a great mix of history, technology, politics, and human psychology.

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neils4fun

I've learned something reading this. What causes the eye of the hurricane to form and how big it will be. It's the equilibrium between the tremendous low pressure causing air to rush towards the center, and the centripetal force pushing the air outward due to the storms rotation. Makes sense but never thought about it in such simple physics terms. More proof that I'm a hopeless geek.

3 likes1 stack add
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neils4fun
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Ready to dive into this one. Timely now that Matthew has passed and I still don't know the status of my home on the coast. Hoping it's still there and intact.

BookishMarginalia Fingers crossed! 3y
neils4fun All was well. House survived. Just a little soggy 3y
7 likes2 comments
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Bookreasons.com
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If you're in the path of Hurricane Matthew today: hoping for safe passage for you and yours.

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somekindawonderful
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MrBook
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Pickpick

What an incredible story! In school, I learned about the Johnstown Flood since I grew up in the region and experienced a similar flood. But why wasn't I ever taught about this hurricane?! It literally changed the future of the American Gulf Coast! This is one of those historical narratives when humans thought they had overcome Nature, with devastating results. Intense & dramatic. Great audio narration. #PairWith: Bone Bourbon, on the rocks.

SharonGoforth I've enjoyed several of Larson's books, but this one is my favorite. Have you looked online at the pictures and the Edison film? Both fascinating and horrifying. Thanks for the reminder that I need to re-read this 😊 3y
tricours I also enjoyed this one! 3y
See All 16 Comments
kspenmoll Thx for review- have to get this for my weather geek husband & son! And thx for link @SharonGoforth 3y
kspenmoll I bought his book Thunderstruck just recently so will have to move to@top of TBR stack 3y
Magdawrites Will give it a try! Really liked Larson's "Devil the white city." They are making it into a movie too, with DiCaprio. 3y
SharonGoforth @kspenmoll You're welcome! 3y
BeththeBookDragon Love his stuff - and also originally from J-town area, so much ado about the flood. 3y
BethFishReads I love Larson but this wasn't even on my radar. It is now! 3y
Lkardos12 Loved this book!! What mostly blew my mind was the tactics associated with predicting weather back then, and the crazy weather phenomenon reported throughout the area. 3y
ApoptyGina69 After I read this, I gave a copy to my dad. A couple years later he said, "oh, I have a terrific book for you!", and handed it to me. Thanks dad! #seniormoment 3y
[DELETED] 2232195534 I learned about it, but I grew up in Texas. There is a lot of info about it if you visit Galveston. I've read Larson's Devil In The White City, but I'm ashamed to say that I haven't read this one yet. Need to, obviously. 3y
kristina_with_a_k I grew up in the 409 and have been to Galveston more times than I can count (the last trip when my mom died in 2014). Sadly, they don't cover this event too much in the requisite Texas history class everyone has to take. #stacked 3y
NCNY I'm a catastrophe modeler - this storm always comes up on the lists of historical biggies. I definitely need to read this one. 3y
Autumn This is on my TBR! I must get to it 3y
Abby2 I've loved everything Eric Larsen had written 3y
118 likes25 stack adds16 comments
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Rrkaras1
Pickpick

Good book, lots of meteorological detail, though. Well written.