Surviving the Summer Heat with Good Books (and Videos)

“Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”

At least one of the topics that’s been a part of our conversations this past week (aside from Washington politics and investigations of British tabloids) has been the weather—more specifically, the temperature.  In the words of Porky Pig, “Gosh, I’m roastin’!”  With that in mind, the LTL Blog thought it might be interesting to look at some library resources related to heat and temperature.

We begin with Heat.  Searching this word as a subject term in the RL catalog uncovers over 80 items, including Heat and Thermodynamics:  A Historical Perspective and the Excessive Heat Events Guidebook.  The latter is a U.S. government document which defines excessive heat events (EHEs) and explains how best to respond to them.  A print copy of the document is available in RL’s General Collection, but it is also available online.  For those able to tackle physics, upper level mathematics, and probability, let me recommend Random Walk and the Heat Equation, a 2010 work by Gregory F. Lawler.  According to reviewer Miklos Bona, “This is a very readable introductory course resource on topics . . . that have more than their fair share of unreadable textbooks.  Even so, definitely not a beach read for most of us.  For those, like me, needing a simpler explanation of the scientific principles of heat, try Rob Moore’s children’s book Why Does Water Evaporate?: All About Heat and Temperature, a title from RL’s Curriculum Materials Collection (4th floor). 

There is also a subject term for Body temperature.  With this search, I uncovered Mark Blumberg’s 2002 work entitled Body Heat:  Temperature and Life on Earth.  The book’s synopsis from the publisher (Harvard University Press) states, “Whether you’re a polar bear giving birth to cubs in an Arctic winter, a camel going days without water in the desert heat, or merely a suburbanite without air conditioning in a heat wave, your comfort and even survival depend on how well you adapt to extreme temperatures.”

Next I searched the catalog using Global temperature changes and Global warming and received 32 results and 225 results respectively (as of 7/22).  Among the items found with these subject term searches were the books Life in the Hothouse: How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change by Melanie Lenart and How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate by Jeff Goodall.  Interestingly enough, at the top of the result list was Karen Dionne’s 2011 novel Boiling Point, available in RL’s Popular Reading Materials (1st floor).  This ecothriller is definitely a beach read.  And for scores of other suggestions related to these topics, don’t overlook the Global Warming and Climate Change LibGuide

Finally, for those who would prefer to watch a video rather than read a book, let me recommend the Frontline/NOVA production, What’s Up With the Weather? (science), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (drama), or Some Like it Hot (comedy).

Oh, and the quote above?  Historically, many have attributed it to Mark Twain, but you might be interested in reading what the online source Quote Investigator has to say about its origin as well as Respectfully Quoted:  A Dictionary of Quotations, available in Rice Library’s CREDO reference, a collection of electronic reference books.

Have fun reading (or viewing), everyone, and stay cool!


This entry was posted in body heat, global temperature changes, global warming, heat, temperature. Bookmark the permalink.

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