I don’t know about you, but I am one of those people who can only read certain books in certain places. Pairing an environment and a book is like finding the perfect wine for a meal. I mean, yes, more is always better, but the point is, it’s an art.

I know this is a little late, but I was pretty busy braving the massive lines in NYC before the storm hit. If you’re not from around here, the New Yorker way to deal with natural disaster is to close the blinds and pour a drink, so the grocery store lines were out the door. Literally. Walk in and all of the water bottles were still on the shelves, but the beer, wine, and liquor were cleaned out. Gotta love that city mindset.

Anyway, this weekend was particularly apt for scenic reading as we had to prepare to go without electricity. It never went out in my building, but I made sure my kindle was charged and I had books on hand that would see me through the storm. I figured there were two types of books I’d want to read if it got really bad:

Category #1: Ship Breaker

Read this type of book when you want to go all out and embrace the madness. While you sit inside and ignore the rain pounding at your window, you can read about what happens if a natural disaster gets really crazy. Also consider The Wizard of Oz. If you’re genuinely afraid of getting swept away in a hurricane, this may not be your best bet. In that case, try…


Category #2: Sloppy Firsts

Sometimes it’s better to just shut off from whatever is happening outside. I know during the firestorm of 2007, there was no way I was going to open a book about a wild fire. In that case just find a lighthearted, preferably hilariously funny book that will make you forget all about the state of disaster right outside your door. If the characters in your book are clueless high school students who care more about who is dating who than the state of current affairs, it’s very likely you’ll be sucked in and suddenly it’s all like, what? Hurricane?

I know Irene ended up being kind of a let down (I wanted crazy wind! I wanted insane rain! I wanted to be huddled in the basement with all of the other student staff playing hours of gin rummy by flashlight! What, too much?), but it never hurts to be prepared. The next time your town is plagued by locusts or there’s acid rain, you’ll know how to quickly and efficiently categorize your books into those worth taking with you to the evacuation center, and those you might want to leave at home.