I don’t know if it’s the summer scorchers when the grass is dry and crunchy and all the vegetation looks desiccated — or the heavy humidity which leads to languidness, violent thunderstorms, and sudden heavy downpours — but it all drives me to read futuristic dystopian books featuring cataclysmic climate changes. The heat waves that break all existing records, and the super storms in unlikely places, make these books with their dysfunctional world settings seem quite palpable.
As I sat down to read Gold, Fame, Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins, this summer’s post-apocalyptic book about a destroyed and drought-ridden South California, I reflected on other books with similar themes I’ve read over the last few summers. Last year I read Emily St. John Mandel’s beautifully constructed Station Eleven, involving a flu pandemic and a unique theater troupe. This book had gotten rave reviews from both the public and the review journals, even winning some awards along the way, but I was never interested in it…until the following summer, filled with crazy weather, when anything seemed possible! Other post-apocalyptic summer reads have included California by Edan Lepucki, World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler, The Water Knife, Ship Breaker, Windup Girl, all by Paolo Bacigalupi.
Happy summer reading (even about disasters)!