Niagara Gazette

October 9, 2013

BRADBERRY: Great weather for good books

By Bill Bradberry
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — As a kid, given a choice, I almost always opted for the outdoors in any weather anytime, even in the extremes unless there was a good book or an interesting story going on inside; in that case, wild horses could not pull me away.

I have always been fascinated by extreme weather, especially by storms they never frightened me; in fact I have always found them rather exhilarating, exciting, though over the years I have learned to respect them, to get out of their way.

I feel the same way about books.

I recall standing stubborn against the wind near Lake Erie’s shoreline watching the billowing purple black fists, the Blizzard of ‘77 as it approached the city, picking up hundreds of tons of snow and slamming it into Buffalo, holding the region hostage, burying us feet deep as if in icy crypts for weeks.

Tragically taking nearly two dozen lives in Western New York, the storm etched permanent crystal memories into the Nation’s collective psyche, becoming one of the three things synonymous with Buffalo, creating the Devine Holy Trinity: snow, chicken wings and the Bills!

Fifteen years later in August, 1992, I was leaning against the stinging wind driven sand on the Atlantic coast, fascinated by what looked like identical deep purple-black fists pounding Hurricane Andrew directly at Florida, dropping, “like a bomb” into the history books as one of the deadliest storms of the century taking fifteen lives, wreaking more than $25 billion in life altering devastation, like The Blizzard, searing lifetime lasting memories into our minds.

These days, I’m less inclined to confront Mother Nature’s wrath head-on, more inclined to stick to good books and great stories about the weather, and more often, during it, especially this time of the year as the season changes.

With shorter days and cooler, longer nights ahead, now’s a good time to get ready for some good reading; there are few things better than a good book about almost anything to complement a refreshing evening walk or any invigorating after dinner exercise.

Add a cup of hot tea or a glass of your favorite beverage, a fireplace, if you can, a comfortable chair, or get yourself propped up against a stack of pillows somewhere and prepare to be entertained and informed in a way that no television or computer can possibly match.

Sure, eBooks, Kindles, Nooks, IPads & laptops are ok, but I prefer the tactile feedback; experiencing the smell, the sound of the pages turning, the feel of the actual book is part of the comfort and joy of reading.

Reading to, or with someone can enhance the experience turning a good book into a more exciting, and rewarding venture.

When we were young, my mother would sometimes read to us, especially during storms to distract my sisters if they were frightened by the thunder and wind, but like I said, I enjoyed the weather; the louder, the better.

Lately, unable to spend as much time outdoors as I might otherwise, and as a result of the extended onslaught of inclement weather, and the imminent arrival of fall in earnest with the change of the season upon us, a small collection of a few good books might go a long way toward preventing cabin fever.

So, have a look at these from the New York Times “Best Sellers”:

Fiction

1. “Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King

2. “The Longest Ride” by Nicholas Sparks

3. “The Lowland” by Jhumpa Lahiri

4. “The Quest” by Nelson DeMille

5. “Never Go Back” by Lee Child

Nonfiction

1. “Killing Jesus” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

2. “Si-Cology 1” by Si Robertson with Mark Schlabach

3. “Zealot” by Reza Aslan

4. “Still Foolin’ ‘Em” by Billy Crystal

5. “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg with Nell Scovell

Barnes & Noble’s 2013 list includes:

“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

“David and Goliath” by Malcolm Gladwell

Other than what looks like a full ton of required technical reading that I am trying to catch up on, I am also plowing through H.W. Brands’ “T.R. The Last Romantic,” an exhausting biography of Theodore Roosevelt the 26th president who served as vice president until William McKinley was assassinated on September 6, 1901 by Leon Czolgosz at the Pan American Exposition (World’s Fair) in Buffalo.

At the age of 42 Roosevelt became the youngest president in American history, and the first to invite an African American (Booker T. Washington) on October 16, 1901 to be invited to the White House for a meal.

BTW (by the way) the blockbuster film, Lee Daniels’, “The Butler” is rumored to be scheduled for release on DVD, Blu-ray and online in time for Christmas, in case you finish reading your book selections before spring arrives.

Meanwhile, enjoy the great weather with a good book!

Contact Bill Bradberry at bill.bradberry@yahoo.com