Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Six great books on natural disasters

M. L. Malcolm is a Harvard Law graduate, journalist, recovering attorney, and public speaker who has won several awards for short fiction, including recognition in the Lorian Hemingway International Short Story Competition, and a silver medal from ForeWord magazine for Historical Fiction Book of the Year.

Her new novel is Heart of Lies.

For Flashlight Worthy, she named six great books about natural disasters. One title on the list:
Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883
by Simon Winchester

I've climbed on volcanoes in Costa Rica and in Indonesia, and still vividly remember the awesome spectacle of Mount St. Helen's explosion. Then one day my son the budding geologist comes home from school and tells me he's just learned that there's a huge volcano under Yellowstone that will someday destroy the continent, so now volcanoes have moved to the top of my list of scary phenomena. Add to that the eruption that recently shut down air travel in Europe, and I think it's time volcanoes started getting more attention.

Stylistically, this book reads like a cross between a lavish Michener novel and a first-rate thriller, with enough scientific information to satisfy the most erudite reader without boring a layperson. By the time the massive volcano explodes (resulting in deaths of over 40,000 people, mostly drowned in the resultant tsunamis) you'll find yourself dreading the powers that lurk beneath the surface of the earth, but you'll also gain respect for the resilience of the human spirit.
Read about another book on the list.

See Simon Winchester's favorite books on travel.

--Marshal Zeringue