Standing on the Atlantic side of the Florida keys, a sailor asked long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad to stick her tongue out, and report the taste. “We definitely tasted something grainy, crunchy, you know…” Nyad assumed it was salt, and told the sailor as much. She was corrected: “No. It is the Sahara dust,” she was told, sand grains that had blown from Africa clear across the ocean.
Lauren Redniss weaves Nyad’s story into her new book Thunder and Lighting, a spellbinding mix of visual art, science and history that beautifully articulates the many dimensions of weather. She uses the Saharan dust crossing the Atlantic as a means to explain global wind patterns, those that jets fly along and temper local climates. Within the section on wind alone we get Nyad alongside Herman Hesse and Raymond Chandler, a bit of Greek Mythology, and the tale of a geoengineer working to use wind to cool the Grand Mosque at Mecca.
Genre blending, time jumping and scientific speculation are all fair game here. We at Wordstock are excited to host a lunchtime conversation on nontraditional storytelling with Lauren Redniss, a joint collaboration with Tin House Books deemed “Unconventional History: Past, Present and Future.” The talk will include Luc Sante and Zach Dundas, both of whom tell unexpected stories about places and people we think we know. Later in the afternoon we will host an exciting conversation between Diana Nyad and Cheryl Strayed, where Nyad will discuss her new memoir, the chronicle of an unwavering spirit in the face of seemingly great natural barriers.
2018/2019 Portland Arts & Lectures
October 11, 2018
Series subscriptions start at just $90, and include five memorable evenings with…
Gramma Poetry: Anastacia-Reneé
October 19, 2018
Anastacia-Reneé’s words frame so many questions: what is sacred, what is beauty,…
PDX Jazz Discover Jazz: Martin Mueller
October 25, 2018
PDX JAZZ Discover Jazz series presents Martin Mueller Capturing Jazz: How recording…
2018 Portland Book Festival presented by Bank of America
November 10, 2018
Join Literary Arts for the annual Portland Book Festival (formerly Wordstock), presented…
The Moth Mainstage in Portland
December 10, 2018
The Moth returns to Portland on Monday, December 10. This extraordinary performance…
Everybody Reads 2019: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
March 14, 2019
In partnership with the Multnomah County Library and The Library Foundation, Literary…