stormStorm, aka Ororo Munroe, goes by many different names, but this X-Man has the ability to control the winds and the weather. In this first volume, Storm: Make it Rain, people not familiar with Storm are introduced in part to her origin story and how she got to where she is today. She’s the windrider, the Princess of N’Dare, the former Queen of Wakanda, and the headmistress of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, the place where she met Wolverine and the other X-Men, and the place where she is struggling to control, help instill, and foster a sense of belonging amongst the young mutants attending.

With the help of Henry McCoy, also known as the Beast, Storm is able to work to better the world around her and to keep both the mutants and humans around her safe from harm. Ororo finds herself helping a small village before a giant tsunami hits, chasing down missing young adults, and dealing with tyrants who are trying to control the world. This graphic novel doesn’t disappoint as we’re introduced to Storm’s connection to Wolverine, her former lovers as well as her nemesis, and to her origin story in general.

Storm is shown and drawn as a strong, independent hero who has matured from when she was a small child to a mutant who knows the limits that her body possesses and, most importantly, how to use those powers to help others. This graphic novel is a combination of Storm (2014) #1-5 with each issue bringing to light an extra layer of Storm and the reasons why she does what she does.

storm kingsStorm Kings is a riveting tale of supercell tornadoes and the quirky, pioneering, weather-obsessed scientists whose discoveries created the science of modern meteorology.

While tornadoes have occasionally been spotted elsewhere, only the central plains of North America have the perfect conditions for their creation. For the early settlers the sight of a funnel cloud was an unearthly event. They called it the “Storm King,” and their descriptions bordered on the supernatural: it glowed green or red, it whistled or moaned or sang. In Storm Kings, Lee Sandlin explores America’s fascination with and unique relationship to tornadoes. From Ben Franklin’s early experiments to the “great storm war” of the nineteenth century to heartland life in the early twentieth century, Sandlin re-creates with vivid descriptions some of the most devastating storms in America’s history, including the Tri-state Tornado of 1925 and the Peshtigo “fire tornado,” whose deadly path of destruction was left encased in glass.

Drawing on memoirs, letters, eyewitness testimonies, and archives, Sandlin brings to life the forgotten characters and scientists who changed a nation—including James Espy, America’s first meteorologist, and Colonel John Park Finley, who helped place a network of weather “spotters” across the country. Along the way, Sandlin details the little-known but fascinating history of the National Weather Service, paints a vivid picture of the early Midwest, and shows how successive generations came to understand, and finally coexist with, the spiraling menace that could erase lives and whole towns in an instant. (description from publisher)

It’s the Blizzard of the Century! OK, maybe it won’t be, but it is shaping up to be a major snowstorm with dangerous winds and lots of snow. The best thing to do is to stay home and leave the roads to snowplows and emergency vehicles.

Because of this major storm, the Davenport Public Library will be closed Wednesday, February 2 at all three locations. We will re-open on Thursday, February 3rd.

Stay safe and warm!

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If you are a weather buff (and who isn’t in Iowa), you’ll find this book a suspenseful read. Mark Levine, a University of Iowa poetry professor, tells the story of April 3rd, 1974, an infamous date in weather history. The term Super Outbreak was coined to try to describe the unprecedented 148 tornados that pounded the U.S. from Alabama to Canada for 18 hours. The author focuses on rural northern Alabama and we get to know the victims and survivors as well-rounded individuals, so their fates become even more meaningful.

Many survive multiple tornados – actually being in the tornado itself and being bypassed by multiple funnel clouds. A particularly nightmarish scene is in the small Athens, Alabama hospial as it is flooded with victims and is threatened by tornados itself and finally loses power.

Levine’s skill is both in dramatizing each person’s experience and explaining the technical, meteorological reasons for the storms. The book will appeal to those who want to learn their science or history in a dramatic way.