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Books should be part of your winter storm emergency kit

December 4th 2021

This week winter has made itself known in the form of storms and winds tearing through the forests and eating the highways of British Columbia. With these raging winter storms come the power outages.

After a day of stormy weather the power first went out towards the end of Sunday dinner with friends. We piled up the fire with bark and logs to keep the heat going, decorated the house with candles, and someone sat down at the piano to play. From there several ukeles, drums, and even some chickpea and rice shakers appeared to create an impromptu band of all ages accompanied by a spontaneous dance party.

The lights came back on pretty fast that evening, but were turned off by the youngest member of the band (4) who was keen to keep the dance party going.

The next day the lights went out again, this time taking the water with them and not returning for over 24 hours. We collected water from the creek and cooked pasta on the barbecue, shared card games and generally indulged in the excitement of an evening disconnected from our interconnected lines of power. Despite the fun of the first two evenings, by the second day with no power, things were beginning to feel quite disrupted and frustrating. I had meetings I needed to attend and no way of contacting people to let them know why I wouldn’t be showing up. There was work to do, plans to make, but it was quite literally not possible to make any progress, and so instead I had to accept that there was nothing I could do.

When there is no internet, no water and no power we are left with books. So as winter truly takes root, as part of your winter storm prep why not also select your perfect storm reading to leave with your stock of candles.

If you want to make your heart race a little then Elizabeth Day’s sinister psychological thriller Magpie should be in your emergency storm stash.

Alternatively, Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott’s Failures of State isn’t but it will certainly keep you up at night:

If you’d like to add some historical fiction to play into the timeless ambiguity of a world without electricity then Elodie Harper’s The Wolf Den should be in your pile!

Do you want to tap into the power of family bonds, perhaps to drown out the sound of arguing kids? Then Jennifer Munsabuga’s The First Woman will really make you think about what makes a family:

My power outage reading was Split Tooth, an incredible novel by the indigenous Canadian author and throat singer, Tanya Tagaq. It is an extraordinary piece of vivid fiction set in the Canadian arctic that I would recommend putting to the very top of your to read pile!

Get your candles stocked up, have some drinking water canisters stored somewhere for emergencies and enjoy hand picking your reading for a stormy, candlelit night!

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