Today’s Forecast: You’re About to Read a Post Discussing Weather in Literature

Two years ago, as autumn was coming to an end, I wrote a column about winter scenes in literature. That was back when I blogged about books for The Huffington Post or The Huffington Kellogg’s or whatever that site is called when you visit it while eating breakfast cereal.

As winter approaches again, I thought I would write another weather-related literature piece, only this time expand it to all four seasons in order to not repeat myself. Myself, myself, myself. Okay, I just repeated “myself.”

Anyway, weather can add to a fictional work’s drama, be a plot device, test the courage or cowardice of characters, reflect their moods, serve as symbols or omens of what is happening or will happen in a story, or even get a book or your Kindle device soaking wet. That wetness, of course, symbolizes the need to hold your water glass more tightly while reading.

I’m finally reading Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and weather is an element in that fabulous first installment of the “Millennium” trilogy featuring the impressive computer hacker/”punk prodigy” Lisbeth Salander. In the novel, Stockholm-based financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist loses a libel case after being set up when doing a story about a nasty industrialist, and then moves to a small town after being offered an unexpected one-year assignment. Blomkvist is a bit bitter about his legal comeuppance, and the bitter cold of the small town sort of symbolizes that. To misquote Freud, sometimes an icicle is more than an icicle.

Crime and Punishment‘s impoverished Raskolnikov, who lives in a bare-bones room in St. Petersburg, often shivers from that Russian city’s frigid weather. But his shivering is also a manifestation of exhaustion, confusion, pangs of conscience, and fear of being caught/desire to be caught for the murders he committed. Why did Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s protagonist kill? It wasn’t just…in cold blood.

There’s a mix of temperatures in J.M.G. Le Clezio’s Desert, as exemplified by this line: “The wind blew relentlessly, the desert wind, hot in the daytime, cold at night.” The intense heat creates a mesmerizing, lethargic, almost hopeless mood in the novel — and the temperature extremes echo Desert‘s counterpoints: its juxtaposition between plot lines in the distant and more recent past, and the contrast between protagonist Lalla’s life in Morocco and France. One more juxtaposition: The hot-titled Desert helped Le Clezio win a Nobel Prize he accepted in chilly Stockholm (where he didn’t meet Mikael Blomkvist. ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

Heat is also a palpable presence in Geraldine Brooks’ March, in which the father of Jo March from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women leaves New England to be a minister for Union troops on the southern front lines of the Civil War. The much warmer climate and the fever March suffers when he becomes desperately ill make heat a literal and figurative representation of his misery. Say it ain’t so, Jo. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

In Toni Morrison’s Beloved, the heat at one point is described as “unbearable” — which could also describe the horrors and tribulations that novel’s African-American characters have to face before and after the aforementioned Civil War. That was long before the U.S. became a post-racial society…um…the U.S. never really became a post-racial society — as the unindicted police killing of Eric Garner illustrates.

The drenching precipitation toward the end of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath is yet another “when it rains it pours” moment for a determined but beleaguered Joad family that can’t catch a break. The epic flood that concludes George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss is the only way incompatible siblings Maggie and Tom Tulliver can (tragically) reconcile (due to Maggie’s heroic efforts). The dramatic storm in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre occurs just after the two protagonists declare their love — and doesn’t bode well when a tree is split by a lightning bolt. From Lowood to lowered wood. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

In L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the tornado is a major plot enabler that sends Dorothy on a course to the Land of Oz. “A course of a different color” in the famous film version of Baum’s book.

Climate change, which of course includes weather change, devastatingly affects the migratory patterns of monarch butterflies in Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior, which is not about the way stressed airline passengers act.

On a more positive note, David Lodge’s Paradise News is about a British man traveling from crummy-weather England to gorgeous-weather Hawaii, where his life improves as much as the climate. Aloha to loneliness and all that.

And last but not least, in L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, Anne’s deep enjoyment of autumn and spring illustrates the enthusiastic nature of her personality and the gratitude she feels for being in a lovely rural area after life in a drab orphanage. But her new mother Marilla initially has a personality that’s rather…wintry.

What are some of your favorite fictional works in which weather is a significant factor?

(The box for submitting comments is below already-posted comments, but your new comment will appear at the top of the comments area โ€” unless youโ€™re replying to someone else. Also, please feel free to read through comments and reply to anyone you want; I love not only being in conversations, but also reading conversations in which I’m not involved!)

For three years of my Huffington Post literature blog, click here. I’m also writing a literature-related book, but still selling Comic (and Column) Confessional — my often-funny memoir that recalls 25 years of covering and meeting cartoonists such as Charles Schulz (“Peanuts”) and Bill Watterson (“Calvin and Hobbes”), columnists such as Ann Landers and “Dear Abby,” and other notables such as Hillary Clinton, Coretta Scott King, and various authors. The book also talks about the malpractice death of my first daughter, my remarriage, and life in New York City and Montclair, N.J. — where I write the award-winning weekly “Montclairvoyant” humor column for The Montclair Times. You can email me at to buy a discounted, inscribed copy of the book, which contains a preface by “Hints” columnist Heloise and back-cover blurbs by people such as “The Far Side” cartoonist Gary Larson.

163 thoughts on “Today’s Forecast: You’re About to Read a Post Discussing Weather in Literature

  1. Defo the Wizard of Oz. As well as the tornado there was the magnificence of Oz compared to the flats of Kansas, something the film highlighted by shooting the its there in b&w and yet that was the place that ultimately there was nowhere like. Dragon Tattoo is another, not just of the comparisons between Stockholm and his next move but the claustrophobic, cut of nature of there which becomes increasingly sinister too. I’ve often though change the weather and you change the book. Cathy runs after Heathcliff in that awful storm and that sets up the marriage to Edgar. Many authors like Bronte use the entire landscape that way. Mary Webb was another one who used weather at every turn, especially in Gone to Earth to shape not just the characters but the events in the book. I always think it is one of the most important factors to get into a book, so great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Shehanne! Your last line struck me — while major elements of fiction of course include the characters, the plot, the prose style, etc., weather is indeed a very important element, too.

      Great point about “The Wizard of Oz”! Shooting the Kansas scenes in black-and-white and the Oz scenes in color was a stroke of genius.

      And, yes, weather and the landscape in “Wuthering Heights” were almost like additional characters. So crucial to the novel.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Totally agree Dave. And thank you for the kind reply. I had a chat along these lines with another author a wee while back about how landscape is another character in a book. It shapes those who live on it after all and that needs to be shown. But the weather goes hand in hand with that landscape and how people live in it. I know when i set off on a new book, the characters will always drive the plot (Well I sure hope they will cos I never have one, sitting here poncing away) but once I’ve thought a bit about them and what they are after, the next thing I think of is what the setting will be and what time of year. That gives me my overall tone of the story.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. real santa – by William hazelgrove a dad takes insane measures to prove santa is real after a teacher tells his kid’s class santa is a myth because of global warming and the polar ice caps melting.It’s really silly and over the top but made me laugh a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, kristy! I just put that book on my to-read list. It sounds VERY funny, and I love the premise. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m sure we’re going to be seeing more and more novels — funny or serious — with climate-change elements.


  3. Weather is one of those fundamental aspects of setting that always pique much intrigue, interest, and uniqueness. After all it is not raining for nothing. It’s probably easier to describe a warm, sunny day than one that is wet and rainy. Usually when it is raining, such as in “A Tale of Two Cities,” it usually reflects a baptism of sorts for characters and either washing away their sins or setting them up for extraordinary circumstances.

    Happy New Year, Dave!.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said, Eric!

      I like what you eloquently wrote about “A Tale of Two Cities.” Weather is indeed so important in so much literature — including the evocative works of Dickens. I remember several scenes in his novels where impoverished characters (lacking adequate housing, etc.) of course suffer more harshly from bad weather than the rich do.

      Happy New Year to you, too!


    • Thanks for the very timely posting, bebe! Hard to believe Christmas is just four days away. Such a catchy song, and Louis Armstrong’s gravelly voice is always amazing.

      (I deleted the other video per your request!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the delete…there is no one better than Louis Armstrong ..
        BTW..just noticed the noti. in WP was back the way it was, I wonder if they are trying different tings.
        Or it could be very well in my computer.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re very welcome, bebe! Louis Armstrong IS great. I also love his duets with Ella Fitzgerald.

          Interesting about the notifications. Mine have stayed the same since I started the blog, but I think WP bloggers might get different notifications than visitors/commenters.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Joyce ‘s The Dead. The snow,on the trees, illuminated by gaslight, on the waves of the river SHannon, the churchyard, the graves. Snow that blanketed all of Ireland,the most in three decades. Snow representing so many things, youth,innocence,purity, tranquil yet foreboding,out of one’s control as is life,most certainly death,inevitable,can come without warning,leaving one paralyzed. The snow is the fragility of life in this beautiful story. Not only does it set the mood literally and figuratively in this turn of the century tale set during the Christmas holidays holiday. It evokes powerful imagery,mostly toward the end,when the soiree ends,the imbibing ceases, the turkey,jams and pudding beginning their absorption,the oratory stops, the cajoling,fan fare all part of the holiday albeit facade mixed with merriment and appreciation. Reality sets in as one steps outdoors,to pristine white,to life ‘s truth,to regrets. In this quiet, serenity,peace,our lives of of grey Joyce so beautifully writes. Snow in memory of those living and those deceased. We all pay respects.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Very glad you mentioned “The Dead,” Michele. The snow at the end of that novella (or is it a long short story?) is so evocative and symbolic — as your rich, eloquent description shows.

      As you know, readers who associate James Joyce with his more challenging works would find “The Dead” to be a mostly straightforward (masterpiece of a) story.


  5. Hello Dave,

    It has been a long time. So good to see your site is improving, and so happy to see so many new articles you’ve posted. I will save the new articles and read those later on.

    Just stopped by to wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Holiday season.

    Thank you for these excellent articles, and hope to see you soon. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

  6. As I am currently on a Jack Reacher jag, I will note that Echo Burning features some fine description of Texas weather– the book’s climax takes place during a torrential rainstorm, after days of relentless baking heat– heat so intense it literally figures in the plot throughout.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds like an EXCELLENT example of weather in lit, jhNY. Nicely described!

      I’m hoping to take out a Jack Reacher novel during my trip to the library this Sunday. Three days and counting… ๐Ÿ™‚


  7. Dave great you have finished the first book of Stieg Larsson`s Millennium Trilogy series ” The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo”, Yes the weather played a big role in the book. if you like this one the other two you would love. When I was reading the third one ” The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest ” I slowed down somehow I did not want the book to end.
    Such was the charm of the book and the English translation was superb.

    Normally I don`t see the movies of the books I like but The Swedish version I loved and you will too…if you ever want to watch them in some cold winter days when you are home bound.
    Lot of interesting things could happen in bad weather :).

    In Jane Austin`s Pride and Prejudice the prelude of a big romance started due to a heavy downpour . Jane and Mr. Bingley already falling in love and during that time, Jane on paying a visit to Mr Bingley’s sister, Caroline, was caught in a heavy downpour, walking all the way to their estate Jane catches cold and was forced to stay at Netherfield for several days. Elizabeth the younger sister so close to Jane arrives to nurse her sister and was thrown into frequent company with Mr Darcy, who was always misunderstood for his abruptness begins to pay attention to Elizabeth. That sets off the jealousy of Caroline Bingley who noticed of his growing attachment to Elizabeth and started becoming disdainful and rude to her to no avail. .

    Such was the story of the world famous novel sets off due to some unpredictable weather.


    • Thanks for the great (and at times nicely wry) comment, bebe!

      I CAN’T WAIT to read the rest of “The Millennium Trilogy.” I’ll probably be going to the library this Sunday, and desperately hope that the next two books will still be there. ๐Ÿ™‚ (They were there last month.) I know what you mean about not wanting certain novels/series to end. I’ve read that Stieg Larsson wrote 200 pages of a fourth book before he died. Such a shame he died so young.

      Interesting that Larsson’s work had two movie versions. Not surprised that the Scandinavian version was better.

      Terrific paragraph about the downpour in “Pride and Prejudice”! Your words made me want to reread that superb novel — and I will at some point. It’s been a while. I’ve read every Jane Austen book except “Northanger Abbey,” but have unfortunately never reread any of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually I was resisting the american version but it is not bad at all with Christopher Plummer, Daniel Craig, Robin Wright but they never made the other two. I have a feeling you will have no problem finding the other two books.

        Oh P&P I read so many times and just borrowed the 6 hr movie version just in case I want to watch it.

        Oh then there is the Life of Pi by Yann Martel the Father of Pi wanted to transport all the animals from their zoo to North America. A few days out of port from Manila, the ship encounters a storm and sinks. Then comes the adventure of Pi and Richard Parker the mighty Tiger who had boarded the lifeboat with assistance from Pi himself.

        Then the thriller continues…with two entirely different stories chronicled by Pi.

        Liked by 1 person

        • bebe, that’s some seriously good acting talent in “The Girl With the Dragoon Tattoo” film’s American version!

          And I think my local library did have more than one copy of Stieg Larsson’s second and third books. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Glad you’ve enjoyed “Pride and Prejudice” so many times!

          I liked the “Life of Pi” novel a lot but never saw the movie version. Certainly lots of weather elements in Yann Martel’s book, including the storm you mention. Great addition to this discussion!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hi Dave…yesterday in our Tai Chi morning class the instructor had our holiday gift in folded papers in a glass bowl and asked us to choose one.
            Was pleased to see my gift which was..

            “It wasn’t until late in life that I discovered how easy it is to say, ‘I don’t know.’ ”
            ~W. Somerset Maugham

            Liked by 1 person

            • Nice that you got an author’s quote — and such a great one, bebe! Thanks for repeating it here!

              Reminds me that I’d love to read Maugham’s “Of Human Bondage” one day. I thought his “The Painted Veil,” “The Razor’s Edge,” “The Moon and Sixpence,” and “Cakes and Ale” were all excellent.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I have read so many of his book in my youth but it is time to re read them perhaps. Loved Razor`s Edge. This holidays..I will start reading the Grisham book i have not gone much beyond the first chapter.

                Liked by 1 person

                • That traumatized-by-war/seeking-the-meaning-of-life protagonist in “The Razor’s Edge” is so interesting, bebe.

                  I’m sure the new Grisham novel will be great. That guy is prolific; seems he writes at least a novel per year.


        • Hi bebe,

          I’m also a bit of a fan of P&P. I’ve read the book three or four times, and I recently borrowed the BBC series, which I loved so much, I went out and bought on DVD the next day.

          Have you ever seen Lost in Austen? A four part TV series kind of based on the book?

          Liked by 2 people

          • Hi Susan yes it is my all time favorite romantic book and the BBC series established Colin Firth as The Mr. Darcy to the fans. When they showed in Public TV decades ago I taped then in my VHS now obsolete. Now I am looking forward to watching it in this Holiday season. It is going to be rather quiet in our household here with sunless winters in OH.

            No I have not seen Lost in Austin but I must look for it in the public Library.

            Liked by 1 person

  8. Well-wrought and memorable scene of waiting out a rainstorm in a Mexican church in James M. Cain’s Serenade.

    And in Gogol’s The Overcoat, the Russian winter and its chilling to the point of killing power is, in a way, a major character…

    In Lampedusa’s The Leopard, the heat rising off the parched landscape of rural Sicily can make a reader reach for a water glass unthinkingly.

    The oppressive humid heat of tropical postings in the British Empire, as written up by novelists for the generations before the sun mostly set on that Empire, would almost warrant an entire essay, or at least among sympathetic readers, multiple yearnings for wrinkly white linen suits. See Passage to India, and Under the Volcano….

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just read “The Overcoat” for the first time a few months ago, and the winter chill is indeed palpable in that haunting and influential short story.

      Thanks, also, jhNY, for the evocative descriptions of weather in “Serenade” and “The Leopard.”

      Great point about British characters in the tropical corners of their country’s old empire. There’s a similar dynamic in other novels with a colonialist vibe — including Barbara Kingsolver’s “The Poisonwood Bible,” Paul Theroux’s “The Mosquito Coast,” and possibly Paul Bowles’ “The Sheltering Sky.” (I say “possibly” because it has been ages since I read that last book.)


      • Haven’t read Bowles in some years, but always considered him, admiringly, a sort of Fitzgerald acolyte (John O’Hara [Appointment in Samarra] is another) who chose to work in desert climes– but he’s also the husband of troubled, talented Jane, whose Cataract Falls still haunts me from time to time.

        Liked by 1 person

        • “The Sheltering Sky” is the only Paul Bowles novel I’ve read; it’s quite mesmerizing. I didn’t know much about Jane Bowles, so, after seeing your comment, I took a look in Wikipedia. A troubled life indeed.

          I could have included those two in my recent column about authors who knew each other, were married to each other, etc.!


            • It’s hard to remember everything in a timely fashion! ๐Ÿ™‚ But you remember a LOT.

              We could put your aforementioned F. Scott Fitzgerald in the married-to-an-author category, because Zelda wrote one novel. Looking at Wikipedia, F. Scott apparently was angry that Zelda’s “Save Me the Waltz” had some parallels to the “Tender Is the Night” novel he was planning/working on.


              • Yep– that’s another troubled pairing– on Antiques Roadshow a while back, there was a Zelda painting of flowers that I thought very good. Strangely, the Zelda pictures lately on view at HuffPo looked nothing like it– amateurish by comparison.

                Zelda’s life, after Scott and she were together, is hard to look at, especially if one wants to like Scott, and ends in fire. But then, day to day with somebody in mental trouble is hard going. How much of that trouble was brought on by Scott’s erratic doings and by her sharing in his appetites, I can only guess.

                Years ago, I stumbled on a book called The Disenchanted, by Budd Shulberg. It’s a very thinly veiled, though fictionalized, account of Shulberg’s early writing assignment with Fitzgerald, which called for a cross-country trip by train, Hollywood to New England, so the pair of them (under their fictionalized names) could soak up local detail at a winter carnival. Let’s just say the Scott character got most thoroughly soaked well before they saw any snow. The ending, where the old author dies, is the most fictional portion of all. In real life, as I recall, he was merely fired.

                For Fitzgerald fans, The Disenchanted is worth checking out for what rings sadly true, despite the fact it’s a novel, though not a particularly good one.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Yes, a troubled pairing indeed — and, as you allude to, both had their share of the (voluntary and involuntary) blame.

                  Also, especially in those days, it was hard for a creative woman to emerge from the shadows of a creative/famous husband. I read recently that Tolstoy’s wife Sophia did some fiction writing, which was of course overshadowed by Leo’s authorial genius.

                  One exception to this dynamic was Colette (as we discussed earlier) becoming much more famous than her first husband.

                  “The Disenchanted” sounds like fascinating and uncomfortable reading!


  9. I had an elementary school teacher who would regularly say โ€œYou canโ€™t judge a day by its weatherโ€. Iโ€™ve personally found this to be true. Cold, nasty, rainy days provide the perfect cover for settling in with a warm comforter, a glass of wine, and a good book โ€“ in other words, a perfect day!

    But you are so correct. Weather often serves as an important device in many novels. In other novels, it is not so much the weather that is important, but the climate. I am currently reading a novel by Larry McMurtry โ€“ a prolific novelist that Iโ€™ve neglected to read to date. In โ€œAll My Friends are Going to be Strangersโ€, I am struck by the way the climate plays a role. The book opens in West Texas, where it is described as hot and sticky, and where our protagonist, Danny, thrives. It then moves to San Francisco, where the cool damp fog has a debilitating effect on the main character. As I am reading, Danny is on his way to Los Angeles. You canโ€™t get more perfect weather than LA, so I am curious as to how this will affect the plot. I am enjoying this novel very much.

    The climate of Russia, with its bone-chilling winters, plays such an important part in several great novels, such as “War and Peace” and “Doctor Zhivago”, as does the subtropical climate of Mexico and Central America in the novels of Marquez, or the damp cold English winters in Dickens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, to paraphrase a Christmas song, the weather outside can be frightful while being inside can be delightful! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Somehow, I’ve never read Larry McMurtry, but would very much like to. “All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers” sounds really interesting — and I LOVE the title.

      Your last paragraph — all so true. Many famous Russian novels indeed allude to the brutal winters in that country. (The one time I visited Russia, I was lucky to go in August.) And in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” weather was not only a big factor but basically served to end the novel with that memorable wind scene.

      Thanks for the great comment, drb19810!


  10. My favourite author at the moment is Alistair MacLean. He is known for setting his adventure books in diverse, exotic locations. When Eights Bells Toll is set in Scotland; The Golden Rendezvous is set in the Caribbean; Bear Island is set in Arctic Norway.

    Weather elements go hand-in-hand with his books’ geographic locations. The characters often have to battle nature in order to accomplish their missions. I recently completed The Secret Ways (set in Budapest). In The Secret Ways, a British agent has the task of entering Budapest, kidnapping an outspoken British scientist in Budapest who favours Communism, and returning that scientist to Britain so that his pro-Communist speeches and political beliefs could be destroyed.

    This book even begins with a man – vs- nature battle. The agent on this assignment must prevent weather conditions and frigid temps from betraying him. While hiding out in a forest, he was forced to stuff his mouth with an old handkerchief to suppress any sounds made by his chattering teeth. Footprints in the fresh snow were clandestinely removed so that the Hungarian police and military could not track his movements, nor hear any sounds. While the freezing cold air cut through his body, he could not react, make any sounds, and could only make subtle movements.

    Ice and snow were challenging to the agent throughout the entire book. At one point, he was on an ice-covered roof, and had to balance his body by plunging a knife in the roof to keep him from slipping and falling to his death. Great, great book that makes you feel as if you and the agent were battling the weather together on this assignment.

    What do I personally like the most about weather in literature??? Spending a Saturday at a bookstore during a typical rainy day here in the Northwest. Nothing is more comforting than sitting in a plush chair at a bookstore, listening to the Puget Sound rain tap against the windows, and enjoying a nice book. Bonus points if the bookstore staff has a cute little cat/dog that either nuzzles against your feet or just hops in your lap like it’s no big deal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the great comment, Ana!

      I just put Alistair MacLean on my bulging to-read list, and will give one of his thrillers a try when I can. From your description, I’m impressed with how he depicts quite a variety of weather conditions in quite a few locales.

      “The Secret Ways” sounds extremely intense, and your summary of that novel’s premise and weather was spectacular. The British agent’s battle with that icy weather is reminiscent of some of Jack London’s novels.

      Also, nice approach to this topic in your final paragraph — i.e., the real weather around a person as she or he reads a book! You painted a word picture of a VERY pleasant bookstore scene!


      • Every Alistair MacLean book I’ve read is fantastic. His books are also great for geography lovers. When I come across an unfamiliar region, body of water, or mountain range mentioned in one of his books, I won’t hesitate to locate those places on either my globe or on one of the maps I used as wallpaper for the closet that I converted into a bookcase. It’s a curiosity thing.

        We take our bookstores seriously here. I know of people (myself included) who get comfy and make local bookstores extensions of our personal reading nooks/rooms at home. That’s how we roll in the Puget Sound.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s wonderful, Ana, when a book piques our curiosity and sends us looking at maps, searching for more info, etc.! And you’ve convinced me that I should try Alistair MacLean, though I want to first read the second and third installments of “The Millennium Trilogy,” read a Jack Reacher novel, etc. ๐Ÿ™‚

          I’ve heard, from you and others, that the Puget Sound area is a “mecca” for book lovers. Great place to live!


            • “So many books, so little time” — a quote that actually seems to have originated from the mind of Frank Zappa. But, again, I will try Alistair MacLean when I can. ๐Ÿ™‚ He seems to have written MANY excellent novels.

              Have a good evening, too, Ana!


              • Frank Zappa…pure genius. I first heard his music in the early 80s. Didn’t know at the time that particular album was criticising the Reagan administration and religious hypocrisy (…but I couldn’t have known that at age 4, lol). He’s one of the many great artists I never got a chance to see live.

                Alistair MacLean would’ve fit perfectly in your geography in literature piece on HP. I can’t recall if I mentioned him or not.

                Liked by 1 person

                • I can’t recall either, Ana, and unfortunately neither of us can check because every comment under all my posts was wiped out by HP — without telling me in advance so I could save those comments. I’m not bitter… ๐Ÿ™‚

                  Frank Zappa was a genius I knew about but for some reason never listened to a lot. Might be a good idea for me to spend a spare hour clicking on some of his music on YouTube!


                  • I was an early fan of The Mothers of Invention, the band he rode in on– I owned a dj (white label) copy of their first lp- a double album– and for about a year I was the only person I knew who owned the album in any form. I introduced many pals to it during that time. Fell off the Zappa bandwagon around the Hot Rats lp, and never got entirely back on. But I did see them in a later incarnation (when Flo and Eddie of the Turtles sang).

                    Zappa, I think, managed one long moment of complete sincerity, disguised as a sort of parody of 50’s doo-wop– an lp titled Reuben and the Jets, recorded here in NYC at Apostolic Studios in 1968 or 69 (I later met the engineer who recorded it)– but his later quarrels with band members from that time caused him to do what I would term an aural disfigurement– he remixed my favorite of his records and replaced tracks by the band members with whom he had quarreled. Last time I looked, the only way to hear it in its original state is to buy the vinyl lp– I’ve got it, natch.

                    The production overall, as a musical offering, anticipates much later stuff, such as ’80’s synth pop(!)– hard to believe, I grant, yet true. Highly recommended, though odd.

                    Interestingly, I saw one of Zappa’s paintings, from high school, on the Antiques Roadshow some years ago. Though it’s a sample of one, I contend that he might have become equally famous with a brush in his hand.

                    ps I hate to hear him play guitar nearly always. But that’s just me.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Hi, jhNY! Thanks for all those fascinating thoughts and information nuggets about Frank Zappa (and The Mothers of Invention). Among the musical figures you’re an expert on — and that you were a fan of when many others didn’t know about them that much.

                      Interesting how when someone is so talented in one area they’re often very talented in another. Music and painting in Zappa’s case. Joni Mitchell and Tony Bennett also each combine those two skills.


                    • As a big fan of Zappa in 1976, one of my favorite albums was the live โ€œRoxy and Elsewhereโ€ recorded in 1974. This live album featured Flo and Eddie doing a very interesting rendition of their Turtlesโ€™ hit โ€œHappy Togetherโ€. jhNY โ€“ were you in the audience during this concert? Anyway, Zappa was touring at the time, and I bought two tickets to his concert at the Philadelphia Spectrum. As a freshman in college, I met a fascinating girl at a mixer, and asked her to accompany me to the concert. She turned me down, and I went with someone else. However, I didnโ€™t give up on the girl, and she is now Mrs. drb19810! She is still not a Zappa fan, although I remain one. I do think his musicianship sometimes took a back seat to his shock value, but I am saddened we lost him at such a young age.

                      Liked by 1 person

                  • The thread’s maxed so I hope you can somehow, in your capacity as blogmaster, let drb19810 that I am responding here.

                    Saw the Flo and Eddie Mothers in 1973 or 4, and I can’t say for certain whether or not they performed Happy Together– though I hope you are aware of the irony implicit in their teaming up with Zappa, who, in the liner notes for the 1st Mother’s lp, put in quotes from a music manager who said, more or less, that if they’d clean up and act right, one day the band might be as big as the Turtles…

                    The night I saw them, Sick Man of Europe was the opening act– this was Cheap trick bassist’s Tom Petersson’s band: not a thoughtful pairing, given the iconoclastic impulses of Zappa fans. But he was, long before I knew her, my wife’s boyfriend– so I have a love connection in a Zappa context also.

                    Sorry also to have lost the man so early; sorry too, that he must have suffered quite a lot on his way out.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Thanks for that liner notes tidbit. It is indeed ironic. Although “Happy Together” was performed straight up on the album, the lead in to it not ‘cleaned up’, but rather hysterically raunchy. Thanks also for sharing your Zappa based love connection. I am not too familiar with Tom Petersson’s music prior to Cheap Trick (and not all that familiar with Cheap Trick), but speacking of the iconoclastic impulses of Zappa himself – I was surprised to discover that he was a big fan of the Monkees – appearing in their show and movie, and even offering Dolenz a job in his band (which was turned down due to contractual reasons).

                      Liked by 1 person

                  • Same here. I synced the One Size Fits All album to my iPod this afternoon. Never listened to this before, but I’ll put it on hold for now.

                    My husband doesn’t know it yet, but we are going to the Willie Nelson concert next month in Tacoma. We can kick off our 2015 concert season and road trip with a little Frank Zappa music. Total win.

                    Talk to you later.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Willie Nelson concert: great! (And a great surprise for your husband!) Mentioning Nelson and Frank Zappa in one comment: very appropriate, as both are/were “outlaws” in a musical sense!


                    • Willie Nelson used to host a giant barbecue/jamboree in TX, and in 1975, his barbecue, though many miles away, drew so many country music fans that Hank Snow, an older performer (his biggest hit was titled Movin’ On), counted fewer than two dozen at his own TX show.

                      Snow determined to modernize, and try making records with more contemporary production values– he even hired a drummer with a full set of traps. He chose Chuck Glaser to produce and recorded at the studio recently opened that the Glaser Brothers owned. By strange coincidence, Tompall Glaser had booked Willie Nelson and Jessi Coulter and Waylon Jennings to record during the same period as Hank Snow did– they recorded in the daytime, Snow recorded at night. The record Tompall et al made was the first Outlaws lp, which succeeded spectacularly.

                      One of the musicians who Chuck Glaser chose to track for Snow was: me. I played dobro on two tunes (Breakfast With the Blues and Trouble in Mind), even borrowing an instrument from Lloyd Green , who was recording with Tompal and Waylon, etc.

                      I will always be grateful to Willie Nelson for inspiring Snow to try something new, as I never would have had the chance to record with him otherwise– and grateful to his session steel player, Lloyd Green, for having loaned me a dobro– mine had its neck broken mid-session– but that’s another story.

                      The lp is hard to find, but if you’re curious, it’s titled Still Movin’ On, and was released on RCA in 1776.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • So exciting, jhNY, that you played on an album recorded by a country legend! Thanks for describing that memorable experience. It’s interesting the way more modern and/or more original music can influence more traditional musicians. For instance, I think of all the musicians who got edgier after punk rock hit in the latter ’70s.

                      Of course, this also applies to literature. For instance, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s masterpiece “One Hundred Years of Solitude” was certainly a spur for Isabel Allende to write (the almost as good) “The House of the Spirits.”


              • I also like, though I’m quoting from memory, which almost always means, at best, paraphrasing, his take on rock criticism: “Written by people who can’t write for people who can’t read.”

                Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow Dave, A topic with which we could run for quite some time . Weather as an indicator of mood and such or a plot device is a pretty central part of so much fiction and poetry. The first thing that came to mind was genre stuff. Frank Herbert’s Dune Trilogy is set on a planet that sees rain less than once a year, ironically by introducing water into the system it destroys the eco and cultural balance although I am much simplifying a strange and complex work. Some science fiction is best left in one’s stoner days perhaps ๐Ÿ™‚ The Game of Thrones series has basically one powerful family that actually tries to live up to codes of honor and decency ( The Starks) of course the are decimated pretty early in the novels, their motto is * Winter is coming*. In serious fiction two examples leapt to mind, the snow falling all over Ireland at the conclusion of The Dead and the hurricane in Their Eyes Were Watching God ,in the former it’s a real shame for Teacake that sharpshooter Atticus Finch wasn’t on hand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, weather can be a very big thing in fiction, Donny. You gave several great examples of that. The snow in James Joyce’s “The Dead” is incredibly evocative, and authors from Charles Dickens to Louisa May Alcott to Jack London to Mordecai Richler, etc., have made great use of wintry scenes. (I haven’t forgotten those Yiddish-speaking Eskimos in Richler’s “Solomon Gursky Was Here”! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

      Great mention, too, of that devastating Florida hurricane in Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” And I totally get your Atticus Finch reference; Tea Cake certainly could have used less face time with that rabid dog.

      I unfortunately have yet to read “Dune” or the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series as I triage the four or five novels I manage to finish every month. Excellent descriptions of those iconic works by Frank Herbert and the still-writing George R.R. Martin.


  12. I’m reading sci-fi right now. Two books both feature weather as part of the all-important world-building in much of this genre: “Andymon” (1982) by Angela and Karlheinz Steinmรผller, was the most popular East German SF novel – oddly naive but interesting tale of a ship sent out like in “Interstellar” the movie to populate a far-away planet with men and women who are incubated and bread during the flight. A little like “Lord of the Flies” without the nasty. Only a little nasty, otherwise socialist Utopia complete with no-shame nakedness, free education, etc. The weather comes in often because the crew must terraform an entire planet (their new home). Not translated from the German original. Very different style from US Sci-Fi – much more contemplative, philosophical…either Germans cannot do action or they choose not to.

    And another: “Children Star” by Joan Slonczewski: just started it but it’s already filled with weather conditions โ€”ย nanotech and microbiology is Slonczewski’s strength (and also her actual profession), and the “children star” is a planet with a strange and noteworthy environment. I’m enjoying it immensely: interesting to notice how describing a fantasy planet can actually heighten one’s appreciation for Earth’s nature! An excerpt:

    ยปProkaryan weather, like its landscape, had a predictable pattern: sunshine every day, with gentle rain in the evening. But far to the east, past the dark line of hills, the clouds could burst into unexpected storms. And above those clouds hovered the peaks of Mount Anaeon and Mount Helicon. The tallest peaks had been named for the twelve floating cities of Elysium, who had bankrolled the first explorers. They may have regretted the naming, for the mountains proved unlucky, full of landslides and other accidents for hapless prospectors.ยซ

    “Elysium” is the sky-bound paradise just like the Elysium in the recent blockbuster of the same name. Slonczewski describes a universe ripe with class conflict and social injustice. Well…just like our world, really.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sci-fi is indeed a rich vein for weather in literature, Marcus. One of many examples of that (as I also mentioned briefly in another reply) is H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” — especially in its last portion where the traveler goes WAY into the future.

      The two sci-fi books you mention sound mesmerizing, for weather and other reasons. Great descriptions and a great excerpt.

      You said “Germans cannot do action or they choose not to.” I realize that might be a bit of an exaggeration, whether in sci-fi or other genres. But not overdoing the action, and, as you say, being more “contemplative” and “philosophical,” can be a great positive. Certainly, many American novelists overdo the adventure plotting at the expense of some deeper approaches.

      Thanks for another excellent comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. What a great way to celebrate the end of the year in a literary way. Robert Musil’s “Man Without Properties” begins like a weather report:

    ยปA barometric low hung over the Atlantic. It moved eastward toward a high-pressure area over Russia without as yet showing any inclination to bypass this high in a northerly direction. The isotherms and isotheres were functioning as they should. The air temperature was appropriate relative to the annual mean temperature and to the aperiodic monthly fluctuations of the temperature. The rising and setting of the sun, the moon, the phases of the moon, of Venus, of the rings of Saturn, and many other significant phenomena were all in accordance with the forecasts in the astronomical yearbooks. The water vapor in the air was at its maximal state of tension, while the humidity was minimal. In a word that characterizes the facts fairly accurately, even if it is a bit old-fashioned: It was a fine day in August 1913.ยซ

    It doesn’t continue that way, no worries (in fact if you haven’t read it yet, do give this book a try: it’s one of the great novels of the 20th century) – the central character, Ulrich, is a friend of exactness and engineering โ€” and the start of the book is a much a veiled comment on the state of Europe before the first great war as on the state of his mind. Weather: it has no definite properties – it changes all the time. Still, it provides endless distraction. Talking about the weather is a little like divination. He who controls the weather controls the world. And who can write well about it at least controls the word.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Marcus, for the mention of Robert Musil! That is one heck of an opening passage he wrote. All those details he put in, followed by his understated last line. Brilliant!

      I have not read Musil’s book, but your calling it “one of the great novels of the 20th century” is a gold-standard recommendation.

      And I loved your philosophical thoughts about weather — including the splendid last two lines of your comment. Powerfully and cleverly said!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ty and you’re welcome. The translation of “The Man Without Qualities
        by Sophie Wilkins and Burton Pike (1996) by Vintage is absolutely marvelous. Also, at over 700 pages, this is a whopping good Christmas break read ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks, Marcus! Seven-hundred-page novels don’t worry me at all — I love a good long read. It’s the number of books I want to get to that’s so overwhelming. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I will try to read “The Man Without Qualities” in early 2015, if possible.


          • Weight and weather! I’ve just started Robert Coover’s last book, “The Brunist Day of Wrath” – which begins with…weather and landscape: ยซThe young Reverend…whushing along through the rain-drenched countryside, the bus nosing out of lush farmlands and dark wet forests onto the gently undulant and somewhat barren coal basin…ยซ From the start the book summons the strong connection between the land and its weather. This book, sort of a continuation of Coover’s first novel (The Origin of the Brunists, 1966) is a fat bird of paradise: we’re talking over 1000 pages here…Christmas is saved! ๐Ÿ˜‰

            Liked by 1 person

            • Weight and weather indeed, Marcus! The long book you mention certainly starts off wonderfully — I love the language used (“whushing,” “lush,” “undulant,” etc.). Ernest Hemingway would be annoyed, and that’s a good thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

              Christmas and doorstop novels: perfect together! Those books certainly give Santa’s reindeer a workout…

              Liked by 1 person

  14. Dave! Not sure if I’m qualified to comment because, in regard to weather in literature, I loved the book that began (or was it a story?), “It was a dark and stormy night.” ๐Ÿ™‚ But then I also loved “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo!” Wonderful column – I love spooky!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cathy, that WAS a memorable opening line in Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s novel — a line, as you know, also periodically seen in the “Peanuts” comic when Snoopy was writing.

      I’ve almost finished reading “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” — and now I’m chomping at the bit to read the next two installments. What a story (or stories)!


  15. Hi Dave, another great column, especially since I consider myself to be something of a weather geek (some of my friends have even called me “Miss Weather Channel”). In the novel “We Need To Talk About Kevin,” by Lionel Shriver, the mother is trying to explain to her husband how disturbed their son is, and she cites one of the reasons is that he would spend hours watching The Weather Channel. Oh my, that made me cringe, and I’ve since cut back my viewing time! ๐Ÿ™‚
    “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” was the first book that came to mind, which was already mentioned by “littleprincess.” You already have that on your list, and I’d add my recommendation as well. You mentioned Stieg Larrson, and I have to say I enjoyed the second and third novels of his trilogy more than the first. Weather often plays a factor in Scandinavian crime novels, among which are “The Snowman” by Jo Nesbo (Norwegian) and “The Ice Princess” by Camilla Lackberg (Swedish). I’m partial to Nordic fiction, partly (or mostly?) because my grandparents on both sides, and even my father, immigrated from Sweden, and I find many of these books to be extremely interesting.

    I’ll add a couple of non-fiction books, “The Perfect Storm” by Sebastian Junger, and “Into the Air” by Jon Krakauer. I read the former after seeing the movie, and as I recall, the book was much better than the film. I read the latter not too long ago; I found Krakauer’s description of the expedition to climb Mt. Everest, where a “rogue storm” resulted in the deaths of some the climbers, to be quite compelling (while making me wonder why people want to climb mountains in the first place).

    You already mentioned the very good novel “Flight Behavior” (funny comment, Dave!), which was the second book that came to mind. I suppose as a naturalist, Kingsolver naturally excels in describing weather and climate, whether in Africa or in Appalachia (I’ve yet to read her earlier works set in the Southwest).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your kind words, Kat Lib, and I did not know you were a weather expert/aficionado! That was a funny anecdote you told about the Lionel Shriver novel and your Weather Channel watching!

      I put your name next to littleprincess’ name on my to-read-“Smillaโ€™s Sense of Snow” notation. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Wow — if the second and third installments of “The Millennium Trilogy” might be better than the first book, that’s saying something. I was on an insanely long post office line this morning (mailing someone my memoir), and reading “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” greatly helped pass the time. (Only one person was staffing the post office desk, and the customer in front of me had, like, 25 packages and didn’t seem embarrassed at all. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ )

      I may have to read more Scandinavian crime novels, so thanks for mentioning Jo Nesbo and Camilla Lackberg! There’s something really nice and curiosity-satisfying about reading novels set in places we’re related to by ancestry and or by where we live now.

      Oh yes — nonfiction books about mountain climbing, sea voyages, etc., can be very gripping when it comes to depictions of weather.

      As you know, the protagonist in “Flight Behavior” did a bit of climbing in the beginning of that novel! And, yes, Barbara Kingsolver has the perfect background and set of knowledge to include weather in her books.


      • I can relate to your comment about standing in line at the post office, something I rarely have to do, because there always seems to be a long line for whatever reason. I had to laugh at Cathy Turney’s comment above, because I was going to quote the first line from “The Snowman,” but opted not to as it sounded too much like the “dark and stormy night” opener. But now of course I will have to: “It was the day the snow came.” I’m not sure if that was tongue-and-cheek, a poor translation, or an intentional sentence to show just how important snow is to the story (oops, I just typed “stormy” instead of “story). ๐Ÿ™‚ As an aside, the Smilla book was originally translated as “Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow,” but I like the US version better, which is much more alliterative.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kat Lib, the post office I use is a small “annex” — convenient because it’s just a five-minute walk from my apartment, but inconvenient when there’s a long line because there’s never more than one person at the counter.

          Yes, some opening lines are open to ridicule because they seem so cliche, but perhaps they weren’t cliches — or weren’t AS cliched — when they were written. ๐Ÿ™‚ And, as you say, some might be meant to be tongue-in-cheek.

          The alliterative version of that Smilla title indeed sounds better — or perhaps I should say, “sounds significantly superior.” ๐Ÿ™‚


  16. Howdy, Dave!

    โ€” What are some of your favorite fictional works in which weather is a significant factor? โ€”

    It may be more climate than weather that envelops Ken Keseyโ€™s โ€œSometimes a Great Notion,โ€ an evergreen novel resounding with the rushing waters of the Wakonda Auga River that I can still hear in my mindโ€™s ear from time to time while carefully navigating the stone canyons of The Town So Nice They Named It Twice, and I donโ€™t mean Walla Walla, although it is true both Oregon and Washington get their share of heaven-sent showers: In fact, I once calculated about 12.50 percent of Keseyโ€™s second-greatest work was dedicated to observations of precipitation in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, which I later learned was about the equivalent proportion devoted to the same subject by other PNW-based writers whose streams of consciousness were more likely to be dammed than to flow, in comparison with that of the creator of Stamper World, where, as I may have mentioned, it rains a lot.


    J.J. (Alias MugRuith1)

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.J., LOVED your stream-of-consciousness comment!

      Given that I’ve only read one Ken Kesey book (the obvious and great “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” you obliquely referenced), I would very much like to try “Sometimes a Great Notion” — hopefully sometime in 2015. Thanks for the evocative description of weather/climate in that book.

      To your twice-named places (New York, New York and Walla Walla), I can only add a town both twice named and once named: Ho-Ho-Kus, ex-home of not Santa Claus but the great Bill G. — formerly of a certain magazine that has seen better days.


      • โ€” To your twice-named places (New York, New York and Walla Walla), I can only add a town both twice named and once named: Ho-Ho-Kus, ex-home of not Santa Claus but the great Bill G. โ€”

        You mean, Bill and Santa Claus ARENโ€™T one and the same?

        (Meanwhile: If you do attempt โ€œSometimes a Great Notion,โ€ then be sure to bring along your Sou’wester, oilskin and hip waders. I mean: Youโ€™re gonna need a bigger boot.)

        Liked by 1 person

        • “Bill and Santa Claus ARENโ€™T one and the same?” — ha ha! You might be on to something there, J.J., because he DID move closer to the North Pole… ๐Ÿ™‚

          LOL, also, for your “Sometimes a Great Notion” quip! Hopefully I still have all that protection-from-water equipment left over from when I read “Moby-Dick”…


  17. Dave, another great post. You reminded me of a couple of books I’ve read while I was reading through it. I remembered “Sahara” by Clive Cussler which puts the hunt for a Confederate treasure ship in the middle of the Sahara because in the 1860s the climate was very wet there rather than dry. Such a change in the weather, and references to the dry winds, makes for a different location for finding a military vessel.

    I also couldn’t help but remember a book from elementary/middle school, “The Iceberg Hermit” by Arthur Roth. The titular character isn’t able to get off unless the weather conditions put him in the right place at the right time. A very unique use of weather from the books I’ve read.

    You mentioned “The Wizard of OZ” and I can’t leave out “Ozma of OZ” the third book in the series in which Dorothy returns to OZ by way of a hurricane. Baum never could stop writing those stories either. It was 14 or 15 books worth including the short stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the kind words and excellent comment, GL!

      That “Sahara” novel sounds fascinating. I’ve never read Clive Cussler (though I’ve of course heard of him) and will look for “Sahara” if I decide to try that author.

      Re “The Iceberg Hermit,” some books from our kid days can be incredibly memorable, and some of them have weather elements. Heck, it was a rainy day when Sally and her brother were in the house the day The Cat in the Hat arrived. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Those other “Oz” books by Baum must be very interesting. I’ve only read the first one, and there are certainly quite a few differences in it compared to the famous movie made 39 years later.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. The weather on the moors as it was described by Charlotte and Emily Bronte in both “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights” plays such a role in making them the masterpieces that they are. I reread “Jane Eyre” recently and I need to reread “Wuthering Heights”. The mood of both of these great books is largely due to the amazing descriptions of the weather on the moors. A visit to “the moors” is on my bucket list. The best I’ve done so far is a visit to Stonehenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so right, lulabelleharris, that the weather on the moors is a VERY important element in “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights” — especially the latter.

      I reread “Wuthering Heights” a few months ago, and was again struck but how darn wild and original that great novel is. I like “Jane Eyre” better, but there’s no question that while “JE” is highly original, “WH” is just plain unique.

      I’d love to visit that area, too! A great bucket-list wish. During my one trip to England, I unfortunately didn’t get to “Bronte country.”

      Thanks for the excellent comment!


  19. Dave, I don’t have much time, but wanted to tell you I enjoyed this article so much. Two very different books came to my mind. A more recent one is “Miss Smilla’s Sense of Snow” by Peter Hoeeg, in which the heroine profits from her intuttive knowledge about the different states of ice and reading traces in the snow. She’s half Inuit from Greenland, so their knowledge of snow plays an important part.
    The other book is older, but famous for its beginning which is a paragraph describing the metereological situation of high and low pressure systems between the Atlantic and Russia, the resulting temperature and so on, culminating in the remark that all this means: it was a beautiful August day in 1913. The book leaves the subject matter of weather, meanders here and there, and one might sum the plot up, under the weather aspect, into: The hero and his country, the Austrian emprie, feel a bit under the weather…. well, it’s a very big uncompleted novel (The man without qualities) and has a lot of thoughts and ideas, the magnum opus by an Austrian writer, Robert Musil. I suppose it’s been read as much as “Ulysses”, even reading during vacation lets you drift in and out again (much like clouds).

    Liked by 3 people

    • You may not have had a lot of time when you wrote your comment, but it’s a great one, littleprincess!

      “Miss Smilla’s Sense of Snowโ€ sounds fascinating, and it’s now on my to-read list. (Among other things, I’m intrigued by Greenland — a place I know so little about.) I also love the book’s title; Iโ€™m sure the alliteration helps in that respect. ๐Ÿ™‚

      “The Man Without Qualities” also sounds VERY compelling, and I appreciate your eloquent/philosophical words about it — including the “under the weather” and drift/clouds lines.

      Last but not least, thanks for your kind words about the column!


      • Excellent blog Dave…I will write later..but borrowed a book yesterday ” Gray Mountain” by John Grisham now number one in NYT best seller list.
        Does the topic count ?
        I am sure it is not about the forecast of weather…but I have read only the first chapter and I am hooked already.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks, bebe! Glad you liked the column!

          I’m not surprised that the great John Grisham has another best-seller, and that he has quickly hooked you into his new novel. The “Gray Mountain” title does sound like there could be a little weather involved. ๐Ÿ™‚

          On another topic, I finished “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” last night, and it really was terrific as you said it would be.

          I look forward to hearing from you later!

          Liked by 1 person

        • *going off topic for a little bit, Dave*

          Bebe…I don’t know if this was just for the stores in my area, but Target has incredible sales on body wash. Lavender Ivory was $1.64 per bottle. I bought 6. The Up & Up body washes are on sale too. Bought 6 bottles of the coconut water scent, and 4 bottles of the oatmeal wash.

          I don’t know if these are end-of-the-year deals at select stores or stores nationwide, but I am telling every woman I know so she can take advantage. When I get off work tonight, I’m heading straight for Target to see what else they have in stock.

          I think I’ll be pretty much set for body wash for all of 2015. LOL.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Hello hello Ana…you know Dave could join in too as his wife perhaps have a great taste in finer things in life. I love thmn even more if they are such a price..I am running to target on Thursday with this note and look for them.
            Coconut water water scent ? I wonder how that would be. Oatmeal wash never tried for that…
            I trotted to CVS in the weekend and got their brand of Apricot scrum for the face ( I use).

            Hey is in`t good we are no longer in the waiting area in HP and wonder if they are gonna scrub the comments or not !
            Dave welcomes all even some funnies about their self promos ads. in some back threads..

            Love this place ๐Ÿ™‚

            Liked by 1 person

            • Ana, “going off topic for a little bit” is perfectly welcome. Sounds like quite a sale!

              And thanks, bebe, for your “love this place” line! Much appreciated.

              The HP waiting area was indeed a Hellish Place. Appropriate first initials! ๐Ÿ™‚


            • If we were still on HP, this convo would’ve been deleted. Mods had no problem deleting innocent comments or leaving them pending for days, but they allowed trashy comments to post. Dave’s blog is the total opposite of HP in every way.

              Try the coconut water wash, you will love it. It smells great and really softens the skin. The oatmeal body wash is good too to keep my skin from getting dry. Aveeno body wash tends to be on the pricey side; Target’s brand is just as effective as Aveeno, and it is more affordable.

              I get my natural beauty and hair products from an African salon, but Target is my go-to store for body wash. I love when they have these unannounced sales.

              Liked by 2 people

              • First of all congrats on claiming your name back Ana and I love the avi as well.
                I do tend to get my hair product from Aveda…pricey which I don`t like. On body and face Cetaphil is okay..I don`t use Aveeno. I agree on using generic brand and as soon as I can I am on my way to target..only 5 minutes drive from my home and then let you know.
                On cosmetics might as well cover that..because of my non-white complexion it is hard to find the right stuff. I use Bobby Brown an adorable Black woman is in charge of that brand and I developed a good communication with her.

                Liked by 1 person

                • bebe, Cetaphil is great (albeit pricey)!

                  Are you referring to Bobbi Brown? She’s white, but may have an African-American executive in charge of part of her cosmetics brand. Bobbi Brown lives in my town, and I know her products are well-regarded. Unfortunately, she’s married to a developer who has done awful things in my town — including knocking down an inn that partly dated back to the 1840s in order to make a financial killing by squeezing 10 McMansions with tiny yards into the former inn property. He and other greedy developers have been periodic targets in my local satirical humor column.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Hi Dave..the same Bobby Brown ..the make shades these days like any other brands to suit all skin tones. Long long ago…there was harly any for pigmented people. I remember in certain well know brand they gave me one only they had looked like mud and the woman said this would do…we have come far from that but not enough.
                    It is shocking to hear about her husband at the same time does not surprise me a bit. The life of rich and famous ugh..
                    we all seen generosity from unknowns and perfect strangers Dave.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • bebe, Ms. Brown’s cosmetics are indeed popular for a reason, and it’s great that she offers products for a diverse customer base. Perhaps she was partly influenced by living in a very diverse town. (The population here is a least a third African-American, with a lot of ethnic diversity, too.)

                      And of course she can’t be blamed for what her husband does, though she certainly hasn’t criticized him (in public at least). As you allude to, most of the rich and famous live their lives, and look at things, much differently than people like you and I. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ The not-rich and not-famous are often kinder and more generous than the “bigwigs,” as you note.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Actually all these companies do and Ms. Brown is not cheap at all…but for me I like the tone and it lasts at least one year because i believe less is more.
                      Tomorrow i will check out target and answer Ana.
                      Also in notific. now they show a line of answer and when you click the whole comment shows. The format is eye catchy and nice.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • bebe, sorry to hear that her cosmetics are not cheap (I can see why she’s one of the richest people in my town), but at least the products are good.

                      Great that the notifications show a line and look good! Overall, as I’ve said before, I’ve been impressed with WordPress.


                • I’m glad I’m able to log in here through my Twitter account rather than post anonymously. That pic was taken at a U2 concert during their 360 tour. The stage design was a huge brightly lit claw-looking structure.

                  Women of colour have always had a difficult time with makeup. I am glad our options are better now than in the past. Another site you may want to try is B.L.A.C Minerals Cosmetics. Their makeup is natural, similar to what I’d buy in Cape Verde. The African salon I go to sells mineral makeup samples. It’s not heavy/greasy on my skin, and really compliments my honey-ish complexion.

                  I did what I promised to do and went to Target last night. They sold out of the coconut water wash! I got 3 bottles of the peach scented wash instead.

                  Liked by 1 person

                    • Ha! ๐Ÿ™‚

                      I didn’t sing along with any songs at that U2 concert. I was with my daughter, who would have cringed in embarrassment!

                      Sounds like you nicely camouflaged flubbing those lyrics with the humming and dancing. Not the best analogy, but if one camouflages a veggie burger with ketchup and a good roll, it’s hard to tell it’s not a classic hamburger…

                      Liked by 1 person

                  • That is a great avi…so festive !
                    Just because not having much options long ago I started custom blended foundations from Prescriptive. Now as the years go by we have better and better choices.
                    Love having those choices and suddenly the whole cosmetic industry woke up to see there was more money to be had !

                    Couple of years ago went to the City of calm Seoul a wonderful city and the food so very healthy. Interestingly they spend billions on skin care, relaxation to cosmetic industry. The women there prefer to look ” white” and they are..looking tanned was not IN still not. The cosmetic counters were devoid of any darker shaded. My Korean girl friends confirms that.

                    Just went to Target this afternoon and they were not having any sales..but still got a bottle of Coconut water and oatmeal body wash from up and up..not very expensive for the size of the bottle.

                    But I will be on the lookout now that I know ๐Ÿ˜‰

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • I know I’ve said it before, bebe, but I would love to visit Seoul! So glad you got a chance to go there.

                      Coincidentally, before I hopefully find Stieg Larsson’s second book this Sunday, I’m reading Adam Johnson’s novel “The Orphan Master’s Son” — which is set in NORTH Korea. Fascinating, horrifying book so far.


                    • Oh my…the cyber attack now they say came from there..I gave my 2 cents in NYT ..the movie I understand is a crude raunchy one the theme is to kill the leader from another Country ? Then those couple of Sony executives had derogatory comments on our leader President Obama.
                      These people have no class .

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • North Korea’s leader is awful but, yes, what a stupid idea for a movie and stupid of those two movie people to have that racist email conversation about Obama’s supposed film preferences. You’re right — absolutely no class.

                      Visiting Korea and Japan is definitely on my bucket list! Japan may be a bit more realistic because of my wife having a friend there.


                    • Thanks, bebe! Yes, the hospitality is a big draw — as is the food, the sights, how different Japan is from the U.S., etc. Hopefully a visit will happen one day. ๐Ÿ™‚


  20. Hi Dave,

    Much as I loved your columns on The Huffington I’m Procrastinating Doing My Housework So Will Read This Instead site, I think these ‘new’ ones are even better. They seem to have more humour, and come across as more personal. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but I think it’s even more inviting to comment, and become part of the conversation. It also helps that people aren’t hindered by silly length and censorship restrictions.

    Probably the second thing that came to my mind was Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. The weather in that post apocalyptic world did nothing to help the poor father and son. And what made it eerie for me, was the fact that it was never explained why it seemed to be so different than the weather we see now. Though I have no doubt that the government must have had something to do with it ๐Ÿ˜‰

    There are so many examples of weather in literature. Most of it very, very cold. Or maybe it’s just that as an Australian, every time someone says snow, I can’t help but shiver!

    Thank you for giving me something much more entertaining to read when I’m putting off mopping my floors ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree with you, Susan. This is a more enjoyable site to participate within, and Dave continues to be even more inspiring and fun to read.

      Everyone, have a lovely week.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Susan, thanks so much for your kind words (and the humor)! I really appreciate it!

      I’m also glad that people (unlike at HP) can now write their comments the length they want them to be, not have those comments often deleted for no reason, see their comments post immediately rather than waiting two hours or two days, etc. That helps make the comments by you, and those others here who were also at HP, even more wonderful than they were there.

      I do realize I’m falling down on the job when it comes to posting trashy celebrity stories… ๐Ÿ™‚

      As for “The Road,” you’re right that weather was a major element in that mesmerizing book. I guess that can often be the case in apocalyptic novels. (Also memorable are the weather scenes in H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine,” which is essentially apocalyptic.) And, yes, the culprits in such books are often the government — or corporations. Which, in fiction and real life, frequently work WAY too closely with each other.

      I think you’re also right that cold weather — in Australia or elsewhere — turns up in novels more than weather from the other three seasons. Or maybe those wintry scenes are just more memorable!

      Reading does have its benefits over mopping floors. ๐Ÿ™‚


      • HopeWFaith, I really appreciate your generous praise, and always greatly look forward to your comments! Thank you.

        Have a really nice week, too! (I realize that with all the terrible news happening this autumn — unindicted police killings, the CIA torture report, etc. — it can be hard to have good weeks. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ )


    • Thank you very much for your comment, Bill! I just read about “The Devil in the White City” in Wikipedia after seeing your mention of it, and it looks compelling!

      I recently enjoyed a book partly about another World’s Fair — the 1939 one in New York City. That E.L. Doctorow work, a mix of memoir and fiction, is not surprisingly titled “World’s Fair,” and there are some weather elements in it, too.


  21. Interesting that you mention the flood at the end of ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ as it is a drought, creating the massive dust bowl, that precipitates (I know, kind of an ironic word to use in this context) the Joad family move to California. The fog on the Moors in the opening of ‘Great Expectations’ visibly conveys the ominous mood of a forbidding landscape in which escaped convicts can lurk in country churchyards (I just saw the first 10 minutes of David Lean’s ‘Great Expectations’ on TCM so that is particularly on my mind at the moment).

    The weather throughout the entire ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ series of George R.R. Martin is an ever present factor as that title evoking Ice and Fire, the two complementary thematic forces manifested most memorably in the icy climate of The Wall, featuring one of the major protagonists Jon Snow and the fire of the dragons in the Middle Eastern-like climate where Daenerys Targaryen, the self-proclaimed Queen of Dragons, hopes to enlist support necessary to return to Westeros and reclaim her rightful place on the throne. In the latest volume that I read, ‘A Dance With Dragons,’ an oppressive blizzard stops an invading army in its tracks in its journey to attack a strategic hold. The occupiers of the hold, meanwhile, are suffering from the same cold and are forced to start eating their horses.

    A similar enveloping cold defeats the hapless protagonist of that eerie and chilling (can’t get away from those adjectives) Jack London story, “To Build a Fire”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so true, bobess48. Drought — exacerbated by agribusiness encroaching on family-owned farmland — was the weather factor that led to everything else in John Steinbeck’s novel.

      Funny use on your part of the word “precipitates.” ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yes! Fog in “Great Expectations” — and in a number of other books — is very evocative and mood-setting.

      As we’ve discussed, I haven’t yet read George R.R. Martin’s multi-volume opus, but it sounds like weather is a huge part of it. You wrote an excellent, intense description of that.

      And, as you note, weather is also huge in Jack London’s riveting “To Build a Fire” story — as well as in that author’s “The Call of the Wild,” “White Fang,” “The Sea-Wolf,” etc.


      • I also recall a scene in the middle of ‘Gone With the Wind’, after the Civil War when the Yankees have devastated farms, when Scarlett, emaciated and sunburned, lies down on the parched earth foraging for a carrot. I could feel the heat of that sun burning into the skin and the desperation of the starving person.That scene was significantly sanitized in the film when she shook her fist and vowed to never be hungry again.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Very evocatively described, bobess48. Thanks!

          So annoying when Hollywood sanitizes things. I can understand filmmakers wanting their movies to not be TOO upsetting (to maximize attendance and not antagonize viewers). But if one is going to bring a novel to the screen, I’d prefer that the movie version approximated the book’s approach.


          • But, in the example of GWTW, it is worth noting that Margaret Mitchell had always seen Rhett as Clark Gable, very much including the hours and hours she spent writing that troublesome thing. In other words, it was a novel written with movies in mind, and was always intended to wind up in screen form.

            Liked by 1 person

                • Makes sense, jhNY. The Scarlett role certainly made Vivien Leigh VERY known in the U.S. after “GWTW,” but that of course doesn’t mean she was well-known before that.

                  If Meryl Streep was from a different era, she may have been in the running for that role, like a zillion other roles. ๐Ÿ™‚


                  • Streep is a fine actress, but I think she would have lost out due to her looks, given the sort of beauty Scarlett was conceived to be by Mitchell, and surely, by Hollywood, when it was casting time.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • True. Meryl Streep doesn’t have Vivien Leigh’s classic beauty, though the magician-of-an-actress Streep probably could have alchemized herself into an approximation of Leigh. Heck, Streep pretty darn closely resembled Julia Child and Margaret Thatcher with makeup and costuming help, though of course Child and Thatcher look a lot different than Leigh did.


    • I thought for sure that I’d be the first to mention that “Winter is coming” but you beat me to it, bobess. Weather is definitely a huge part of the Martin series. I had to go back and reread an early sentence which mentioned the length of the current summer in the north. Summer?! If this is summer, I’m dreading winter. And years and years of it? No thanks. And that’s not even north of the wall! Am about a third of the way through the third book, and completely caught up in it. I hope you enjoyed ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

        • Susan, I also accidentally made myself “Anonymous” a few times (even though it’s my own blog). When that happened, I checked my birth certificate just to be certain, and, sure enough, I wasn’t “Anonymous.” ๐Ÿ™‚

          But great that you have a new computer (despite that not-yet-knowing-who-you-are annoyance), and good luck with it!

          One of these days I’ll read the Martin series…

          Thanks for commenting!


    • That Jack London story, “To Build a Fire” has stuck with me for all of the 40+ years since I read it. Just like “The Little Match Girl” has haunted me for 50+ years.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Same with me, Mary. Some short stories just imprint themselves on one’s brain, and “To Build a Fire” is among them. Jack London sure knew how to build tension in a story (or novel).

        Of stories I’ve read recently, the most memorable might be “Proof Positive” by Graham Greene. Just a few pages, and not much plot or character development, but the premise and the conclusion — wow!

        I’ve never read “The Little Match Girl,” but I see that it’s online and will read it as soon as I can today. I’ll let you know what I think!


        • Mary, I just read “The Little Match Girl.” You’re right — that story is haunting, and an emotional gut punch. As relevant today as then, with all the poverty we have in 2014. And also relevant at any time for the imagination the girl employs (or perhaps it’s hallucinations) to make herself feel better.


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