Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future – Lauren Redniss

61agsqhveul      Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future – Lauren Redniss, Random House, (9780812993172), 2016.

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5:  5+

Genre:  Non-fiction, Science

What did you like about the book?  I planned to just skim a few chapters of this massive book, but as soon as I started reading, I was hooked. Redniss discusses aspects of the weather in a series of essays, observations, anecdotes, and interviews profusely illustrated with hand-colored prints. Topics range from cold, rain, fog, wind, heat, and dominion to thought-provoking examples of how weather has been studied for use in war, for profit, and for pleasure.  One entire chapter, on the sky, contained no text at all; just lovely full-page pictures. The last chapter, on forecasting, focuses on the intersection of fact and divination behind the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Redniss has a genius for choosing the most intriguing situations to illustrate her point, and she conveys enough about a single incident or place to make you feel you own it. End pages include notes on the artwork, on the unique typeface created just for this book, and two hundred forty-one footnotes detailing chapter-by-chapter sources of the information. Unique and intriguing.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommend to high school readers as an exemplar of narrative non-fiction.

Readalike: Redniss’ previous book,  Radioactive, which was a National Book Award finalist

Who should buy this book? High school libraries and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve with books about the weather in 551.6

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes, if you enjoy reading outstanding narrative non-fiction.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA

Date of review:  11/24/16

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