Storytime for Grownups: Hurricane Aftermath

As we drive around the community, looking at piles of debris, downed power, cable, and phone lines, damage to roofs and more, we are reminded of the fact that part of the price of living in paradise is the occasional hurricane. In many ways, we were lucky. Just look at the damage in Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean, and you understand how much worse it could have been.

With those facts in mind, Adam Davis of the Palm Beach County Library System put together a list of books that might help us overcome our fear of tropical systems, and learn a bit more about them in the process.


Casey, Kathryn. “The killing storm”.

“On a quiet afternoon in the park, four-year-old Joey plays in the sandbox, when a stranger approaches looking for his puppy. While Joey’s mom, Crystal, talks on her cell phone, the stranger convinces the child to help search. By the time Crystal turns around, her son has disappeared. Yet her reaction is odd, not what one would expect from a distraught mother. Is Crystal somehow involved in her son’s abduction? Meanwhile, on a ranch outside Houston, Texas Ranger Sarah Armstrong assesses a symbol left on the hide of a slaughtered longhorn, a figure that dates back to a forgotten era of sugarcane plantations and slavery. Soon other prizewinning bulls are butchered on the outskirts of the city, each bearing a similar drawing. The investigations converge at the same time a catastrophic hurricane looms in the Gulf. Finally, as dangerous winds and torrential rains pummel the city, Sarah is forced to risk her life to save Joey.” ®Bowker

D’Agostino, Kris. “The antiques : a novel”.

“A family reunites after the death of its patriarch just as a hurricane tears through town in this ‘sparklingly funny novel about love, power, money, and adult siblings finding the beating heart of what matters most: one another’ ( People ).

On the night of a massive hurricane, three estranged siblings learn that their father is dying. For the first time in years, they convene at their childhood home in upstate New York, where the storm has downed power lines, flooded houses, and destroyed the family’s antique store. The Westfalls are no strangers to dysfunction. But never have their lives felt so out of control. Armie is living in their parents’ basement. In Manhattan, Josef, a sex-addicted techie, is struggling to repair his broken relationship with his daughters. Their sister, Charlie, who works in Hollywood as a publicist for a wayward young actress, just learned that her son has been expelled from preschool. Amid the storm, they come together to plan their father’s memorial service, only to learn his dying wish–they must sell his priceless Magritte painting. As their failures are laid bare, they discover that hope often lurks in the darkest of places. And so, too, can hilarity.” ®Bowker

Dorsey, Tim. “Hurricane punch”.

“That lovable, under-undermedicated dispenser of truth, justice, and trivia is back with a vengeance–just as his cherished home state is about to take a beating from a conga line of hurricanes bearing down on the peninsula. But as Serge and his burnout buddy Coleman go storm-chasing, bodies begin turning up at a disturbing rate, even by Florida standards. It looks like a serial killer is on the loose–another serial killer–which highly offends Serge’s moral sensibilities. And he vows he’ll stop at nothing to unmask his thrill-killing rival and make All Things Right–though Coleman’s triathlete approach to the sport of polyabuse binging threatens to derail the mission more completely than the entire combined Sunshine State police community could ever hope to.” ®Bowker

Francis, Dick. “Second wind”.

“Dick Francis takes us on his most electrifying, death-defying ride yet in Second Wind. The catastrophic power of a giant hurricane can raise coastal waves thirty feet high and blow through houses at devastating speeds. For TV meteorologist Perry Stuart, however, such predictions are generally hypothetical, as he chiefly predicts periods of English drizzle, with bursts of heavier rain and sunshine to follow. Stuart’s profound weather knowledge and accuracy have given him high status among forecasters, but no physical baptism by storm. Not, that is, until a fellow forecaster offers him a Caribbean hurricane-chasing ride in a small airplane as a holiday diversion. But a frightening accident teaches Stuart more secrets than wind speeds . . . and back home in England he faces threats and danger as deadly as anything nature can evolve. ®Bowker

Greenwood, T. “The forever bridge”.

“Sylvie can hardly bear to remember how normal her family was two years ago. All of that changed on the night an oncoming vehicle forced their car over the edge of a covered bridge into the river. With horrible swiftness, Sylvie’s young son was gone, her husband lost his legs, and she was left with shattering blame and grief.

Eleven-year-old Ruby misses her little brother, too. But she also misses the mother who has become a recluse in their old home while Ruby and her dad try to piece themselves back together. Amid all the uncertainty in her life, Ruby becomes obsessed with bridges, drawing inspiration from the strength and purpose that underlies their grace. During one momentous week, as Hurricane Irene bears down on their small Vermont town and a pregnant teenager with a devastating secret gradually draws Sylvie back into the world, Ruby and her mother will have a chance to span the gap between them again.” ®Bowker

Hiaasen, Carl. “Stormy weather”.

“Hiaasen’s… madcap romp across southern Florida presents an apocalyptic panorama of the region in the wake of a storm much like Hurricane Andrew. Transforming a suburban sprawl into a lawless frontier, the hurricane puts on a collision course a demented cast of tourists, scam artists and eccentrics: New York ad exec Max Lamb, who decides to spice up his Orlando honeymoon by taking his bride and his camcorder into the teeth of the storm; Skink, the swamp-dwelling former Florida governor (last seen in Native Tongue) who kidnaps Max in an effort to teach him to respect the land; Edie March, a seductive grifter who hatches a half-baked personal-injury scam with the help of Snapper, a sadistic ex-con; and Augustine, the altruistic son of a jailed drug smuggler, who juggles skulls to relax. Also mobilized are a mob enforcer with a penchant for crucifixions, a voodoo-practicing building inspector and a number of menacing escaped animals. In his sixth novel, less a straightforward thriller than a sprawling slice of life, Hiaasen dexterously resolves his many subplots, uniting the principals in a climactic chase across the swampland while adding sting to his perpetual theme: the unrelenting depredation of Florida’s cultural and natural heritage.” ©PWxyz, LLC.

King, Jonathon. “Acts of nature”.

The latest entry in the Max Freeman series is every bit as polished and absorbing as its four predecessors, and it trumps King’s own standards for description with a stunning depiction of a hurricane and its aftermath. A longtime Philadelphia crime reporter, King knows cops well, and it shows in the hero he has crafted. Ex-cop Freeman has been holed up in a former research shack deep in the Florida Everglades, accepting some detective work from an old lawyer friend but mostly hiding himself away from his horror at having killed a 12-year-old boy in a robbery attempt. Each novel inches Freeman away from his grief and into life; King is both a master plotter and an able psychologist. In his latest, Freeman and his new love, a South Florida detective, are enjoying a break at Max’s retreat when a hurricane rips apart the shack, nearly killing Freeman’s girlfriend… Gripping.”–Fletcher, Connie” © Booklist

Palm Beach Post, et al. “Hurricane Andrew : images from the killer storm”

“Stories by Palm Beach post staff writers Frank Cerabino, Meg James, Beth McLeod, and Peter Smith are excerpted in this book”–T.p. verso.

O’Sullivan, Joanne. “Between two skies”.

Bayou Perdu, a tiny fishing town way, way down in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, is home to sixteen-year-old Evangeline Riley. She has her best friends, Kendra and Danielle; wise, beloved Mamere; and back-to-back titles in the under-sixteen fishing rodeo. But, dearest to her heart, she has the peace that comes only when she takes her skiff out to where there is nothing but sky and air and water and wings. It’s a small life, but it is Evangeline’s. And then the storm comes. And everything changes. Amid the chaos and pain and destruction comes Tru–a fellow refugee, a budding bluesman, a balm for Evangeline’s aching heart. This novel asks compelling questions about class and politics, exile and belonging, and the pain of being cast out of your home. But, perhaps above all, this is a gently woven love story, difficult to put down, impossible to forget.” ®Bowker

Provenzo, Jr., Eugene F. and Asterie Baker Provenzo. “In the eye of Hurricane Andrew”.

Although Florida has been struck by more hurricanes than any other region of the continental United States, most people living in South Florida in 1992 had never experienced a hurricane. On August 24, in a matter of hours, Hurricane Andrew ravaged communities on the South Florida coast, leaving 250,000 homeless and physical damages of close to $30 billion. Based on interviews with survivors and rescue workers in the weeks and months that followed, In the Eye of Hurricane Andrew is the extraordinary story of one of the most destructive natural disasters in modern American history as told by the people who lived through it. From a psychological and social point of view, Andrew was unprecedented.” ®Bowker

Ross, Ann B. “Miss Julia weathers the storm”.

“Miss Julia’s sweet and generous husband, Sam, has decided to take a big group trip to the beach, inviting family and friends. While Miss Julia prepares for the big trip, her longtime friend LuAnne comes to her with a horrifying discovery–her husband may be cheating on her. Julia invites LuAnne along to the beach to get away and clear her head–and to keep from doing anything rash.

Everyone settles into the rental house and six-year-old Latisha, their beloved housekeeper Lillian’s great-grandaughter, is having a blast searching for seashells when she discovers some much more valuable treasures that have washed up from a strong storm off the coast. As the storm nears, the crew packs up to head back to Abbotsville, and it appears that the three strangers they met on the beach–who seemed a bit too interested in little Latisha’s treasures–have followed them back to their sleepy town.” ®Bowker

Not enough for you? The Palm Beach County Library System has dozens of electronic books, printed books – both novels & non-fiction, audiobooks, and DVDs or Blu-ray discs from just about every series and film. Travel to your closest branch or find them on the web!