Title: Heat: Adventures in the World’s Fiery Places
Author: Bill Streever
Release Date: January 15, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Non-Fiction, Science, Travel
Rating: 4 out of 5
In Heat: Adventures in the World’s Fiery Places, author Bill Streever takes the reader on a journey around the world, exploring hot places and telling the stories of people whose lives were changed by heat.
Bill Streever is both a scientist and a writer, and that shows on every page of Heat: Adventures in the World’s Fiery Places. He’s interested in the science behind heat, the extremes and effects of it, but he’s also interested in the stories behind heat. This combination makes for an excellent, interesting read, as Streever combines the lives of different people influenced by heat with the more technical aspects of the book.
Streever’s prose is spare. He indulges in vivid descriptions, yet the reader gets the sense that there is not a single wasted word. Everything that could have been in excess has been pruned out. He also describes in detail exactly what heat can do to the body; it’s clear that he’s fascinated by how heat can affect us, from burns to dying of thirst. A word to those with delicate stomachs: the vividness of his language can be difficult in some areas. You may want to skim (or skip) these parts if you’re squeamish.
From Death Valley to volcanoes to firewalking (a personal interest of Streever’s), the author explores heat in so many different ways. It’s an incredibly broad topic, yet Streever manages to cover many facets of it in Heat. Part of that is accomplished because Streever has a sort of stream-of-consciousness writing style. He’ll focus on a topic for a short period of time, but he jumps around pretty regularly. It’s a good way to learn about many different things, but if you’re hoping for an in-depth study of one aspect of heat, this probably isn’t the book to pick up.
If you’re looking for an informative read that will still keep you entertained, Heat is a good choice. It’s easy to read and the pages turn quickly, yet Streever has packed the pages with information. If you’re interested in reading more science-type non-fiction, this would also be a good jumping-off point, as it explores so many different things that you could determine your interests and avenues for further exploration.