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Books to Read During a Hurricane

With a hurricane approaching, anticipating possibly a few days without power and without television, entertainment is important. Booze helps of course, as do board games, and we think it’s important to have a few good books on hand as well. Of course you’ll need candles or flashlights to read them by, but that just makes it all the more cozy. Below are some suggestions that either feature hurricanes or major storms at the heart of their plot. Stay safe, and keep those books dry.

Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen
Any of this Miami writer’s books would be fun to read during a hurricane, but “Stormy Weather” takes place in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in South Florida.

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
This National Book Award Winner by a Mississippi Gulf Coast native has an impending hurricane at the center of its plot.

Cape Fear (or The Executioners) by John D. MacDonald
We’ve all seen the movie with Robert DeNiro playing psychopath Max Cady and maybe even the original with Gregory Peck, but this story of terror on the North Carolina Coast is all based on a 1957 book.

Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson
Especially appropriate for Isaac, this account of Texas’s chief weatherman Isaac Cline during the 1900 storm that hit Galveston shows how far we’ve come in terms of tracking hurricanes.

Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks
Another story set on the North Carolina coast, this one depicts two people falling in love inside a ramshackle inn as a major storm approaches.

Porch Lights by Dorothea Benton Frank
This popular lowcountry author’s latest summer read about a mother and her son returning to Sullivan’s Island ends with a big storm.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
A central part of Hurston’s classic novel, the hurricane in this story represents more than just a storm and causes characters like Tea Cake and Janie to question who they are and what their place in the universe is.

To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway’s 1937 novel about Key West fishing boat captain Harry Morgan includes lots of small storms, both physical and theoretical, and shows how a man’s relationship with the sea can make or break him.

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
Inspired by Hurricane Katrina, Eggers’ nonfiction book tells the story of a Syrian-American in New Orleans who rides out the storm in his home Uptown. After helping to rescue friends and neighbors, he is eventually arrested and accused of terrorist activity.

Did we leave out your favorite book about a storm? Comment and tell us! 

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Hurricane Cocktail R
  • Ryan / August 27, 2012

    This isn’t a work by a southern author (not that I’m certain that’s entirely the point) but A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes is certainly a very good read. It has elements of adventure along yet retains the seriousness of Faulkner and Hemingway (written in 1929 so in their time as well). The disruptive force of the hurricane in the novel sets the characters (mostly children – leading to many negative reviews in its day) off on a new and unchartered path. Often found on lists as one of the 100 best novels of the 20th century. A favorite of mine.

  • Kat / August 28, 2012

    I just LOVE your magazine, and the Books and Drinks included for the Hurricane Preparations are truly how us southerners think! My oil lamps are full, my lighter ready and a cozy book and Hurricane glass in hand…even though Isaac is passing Florida by, I think I”ll just turn out the lights and enjoy my moment anyway!Thanks Ya’ll!

  • susab / August 28, 2012

    Ironically, I finished reading “Salvage the Bones” yesterday! Here on the eve of the anniversary of Katrina,our vacation to Savannah was nixed so that we could come home to Mississippi to take care of things and get ready for Isaac. I found the book rather hard to read at times, but stuck with it, and was glad i did.
    and “Stormy Weather” is an all time favorite! glad to see some more i want to try.

  • susan / August 28, 2012

    can’t spell my own name….. LOL!

  • Karyn / August 29, 2012

    Awesome list!!
    Edna Buchanan’s book Margin of Error is also good hurricane reading. She’s a Floridian, so it kinda counts as Southern. 😉

  • Tammy / March 1, 2013

    I recently read Salvage The Bones and it was very good!

  • Sara (Bangladesh) / April 12, 2013

    I have never been in a hurricane altho we get some bad storms in this part of the world. The book ‘Misisipi’ by Michael Reilly really made me feel like I was living thru hurricane katrina. One to consider for your next list.


  • Sleepwokker / June 28, 2013

    I would like to suggest one more book for this list. “Storm of the Century” by Willie Drye. Reads like a novel but unfortunately it is the real deal.

  • billy / July 19, 2013

    Maybe all you recommend has to be fiction…I don’t know…but How Could You Leave Out THE PERFECT STORM. That book kept me up all night reading it.