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The Bookshelf: March 11, 2015

In this week's Bookshelf, our content partner Kirkus Reviews highlights Rain.

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Trib+Water is joining with respected books authority Kirkus Reviews to bring you select reviews of books of note in the field of water studies. For more book reviews and recommendations, visit

RAIN: A Natural and Cultural History

by Cynthia Barnett

An environmental journalist returns with a multifaceted examination of the science, the art, the technology and even the smell of rain throughout history.

Barnett, who has written previously about hydrology, has an eclectic agenda for her new work …Barnett writes about historical cycles of drought and flood and how they affected the world’s principal religions — from Noah to Indian rain dances. She segues into weather forecasting, with an emphasis on the meticulous records that Thomas Jefferson keptA particularly engaging chapter deals with “rainmakers,” from charlatans to scientists. The author then tries to show the influence of rain on various arts, from Chopin to Dickens to Dickinson to Woody AllenNext comes the scent of rain, the perfume industry in India, and the problems of rainwater in urban areas, with a focus on Seattle and Los Angeles … Highlights the severity of some of our environmental problems with knowledge, humor, urgency and hope.

For full review, visit

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