When I was young the family would visit relatives in Arizona in the Spring. Since my father was a school teacher, it was natural to spend a week over the Easter Holiday communing with cactus, irrigation, and burning creosote. But one year we went to Phoenix for some sort of convention and it was in the heat of the summer. Back then few people had air conditioning and had to rely on water coolers to take the edge off the heat.
I remember visiting grandfather’a new house and watching the water department open the valves on the irrigation lateral to flood the backyard under three or four inches of water. Ten minutes later it was dry as three day old toast. When we were ready to leave, you could stand in the open front door and press your body against a wall of hot air, just like cotton batting. Someone said it was 120 but that’s probably an exaggeration.
However, when I was in High School in San Diego we got hit by a September inversion and the temperature soared up to 114 degrees for three or four days. Since the school wasn’t air conditioned, they let us go home early and take the next day off. Needless to say, we cooled off down at the beach where it was only 110 and the waves were gnarly.
Now I sit in my air conditioned room listening to stories, reading books, and watching a few good shows or movies on the computer. I know it’s hot outside but I try to avoid it.
Here is my little pool of books I hope to read while the roads buckle and crack in Portland. Remember. it’s relative: 114 in San Diego is hot but 116 in Portland is positively the Devil’s scrotum.
- The Last Taxi Ride — A. X. Ahmad
- Foundation: Foundation 1 — Isaac Asimov
- The Professor — Charlotte Brontë
- Libra — Don DeLillo
- Forever Flowing — Vasily Grossman
- De Niro’s Game — Rawi Hage
- Old Rendering Plant — Wolfgang Hilbig
- The Folding Star — Alan Hollinghurst
- At Dusk — Hwang Sok-yang
- Second Person Singular — Sayed Kashua
- Sometimes a Great Notion — Ken Kesey
- Dancing in the Dark: My Struggle Book 4 — Karl Ove Knausgârd
- The Flood — J. M. G. Le Clézio
- Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River — Jung Young Moon
- Teeth — Hannah Moskowitz
- A Book of American Martyrs — Joyce Carol Oates
- Vengeance Is Mine — Mickey Spillane
- Arcadian Nights — John Spurling
- Hummingbird Salamander — Jeff VanderMeer
- L’Argent — Émile Zola