Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Novels with Nell - Thelonious Rising

The other day I did something a little bit dangerous...I allowed myself to get into the black hole of shopping for books on Amazon. Usually this consists of me searching for one book and instantly looking at all of the similar ones recommended. But, this time was especially dangerous because of the number of book recommendations from different genres that I added to my cart. Since I was looking at a bunch of different types of books, I was exposed to so many other recommendations on top of the ones I knew I wanted already. Come time for me to move from the apartment I am currently in to what is next I have no doubt that there will be at least one (if not more) box solely for my expanding book collection. 

Nell's recommendation hits close to home for the both of us since our hometowns are not far apart and we both have Katrina stories. Fortunately, our area was not hit as hard as New Orleans although there were areas that had their fair share of damage. Being somewhat familiar with New Orleans and knowing a lot about Katrina's aftermath would make this a particularly interesting book for me to add to my reading list! 

By: Judith Richards

August 29, 2005. Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast. I remember sitting with my family in the back hallway of our house, away from any windows, as rain pounded and winds howled outside. Wind carried some debris through part of the living room window not boarded up, which was thankfully the only damage our house suffered. When the storm was over, the main thing I remember was the stifling heat and humidity. Nothing new to me but without power, there is no reprieve. I am thankful to say that after about a week, roads were cleared, power came back on, school reopened, and life went on as usual. My hometown experienced flooding and damage but nothing like what happened in New Orleans.

Thelonious Rising is a captivating novel about Hurricane Katrina, with the story focusing on a boy named Thelonious. The reader gets an introduction to the characters in the story and the character and spirit of New Orleans. Then Katrina comes, stronger than many expected. The storm proves tragic for Thelonious but resilience of the city is mirrored in him. We’ve all seen images and footage of the devastation New Orleans faced after Katrina. However, Thelonious Rising allows you to get to know some of her (albeit fictional) residents, showcasing the power of storytelling in restoring the human element to a seemingly distant event.

“Over the hot tropical waters of West Africa a fitful breeze flung salt spray in the faces of fishermen. Storms are common in the Atlantic between June and November. Most weather disturbances falter and die, no sooner born than ended. Wind blowing from the east six miles high may collide with wind blowing from the opposite direction, creating a shear that will decapitate a storm and rip it apart before an eye can solidify. Warm waters fuel a hurricane, but cold ocean currents can destroy the system before it gains strength. For the moment, this particular disturbance has no name. Meteorologists say she is a tropical depression that should be watched, but five days east of Florida, with gale force winds, she is worthy of no more than a warning to seafaring ships. When winds reach hurricane force, they will dignify her with a name: Katrina. Nine-year-old Thelonious Monk DeCay lives in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward with his grandmother. His mother dead and his father missing, Monk is determined to find his father. With their harmonicas and bottle-cap taps, Monk and his best friend entertain the tourists in Jackson Square under the watchful eyes of eccentric historian Quinton Toussaint, who knows where to find Monk's father. Hurricane Katrina changes everything. Left homeless and alone after the storm, Monk befriends a deranged man and survives by sneaking across the rooftops and courtyards of the French Quarter, stealing food and supplies while hiding from both a murderer and the police. In the midst of the storm and its aftermath, a woman Monk has never met appears in New Orleans with answers to his questions about his long-lost father.”


  1. Thelonious Rising sounds like a really good book. I can't relate to the scenario of Hurricane Katrina as well as you because I live halfway across the world, but I hope reading this will bring to light what happened!

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