Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Climate of Reading

The Wind is Not a River is not a book to read in the winter. When his plane is shot down, journalist John Easley bails out and lands on Attu, the westernmost of Alaska's Aleutian Islands and the site of the only World War II battle fought on U.S. territory.

Easley has come to report on the war but instead finds himself in a damp, cold place known as "the birthplace of winds." He survives by eating mussels and coaxing fire out of grass and driftwood. He wraps up in a parachute to sleep.  He is never really warm.

When I read this novel I find myself pulling up the covers or tightening my scarf. Such is the power of fiction to take us out of one place and plop us down in another.

But I must choose books more carefully. Read in the warm months, this book would be a cool breeze. Read in the winter, it's yet another nail in the coffin of cold.

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