UHV to host Galveston hurricane book authors to kick off common reading program

Isaacs Storm

A chronicle of the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history is the subject of the University of Houston-Victoria’s first Community of Readers program, which begins on Thursday.

The event will kick off at noon Thursday in the Multi-Purpose Room of the UHV University Center, 3007 Ben Wilson Blvd.

Community of Readers is a yearlong series of events to connect readers and the academic community. Other events highlighting weather and post-traumatic stress disorder also are planned, as they relate to the book.

“Isaac’s Storm,” by Erik Larson, is the book chosen for the Community of Readers program this school year. Incoming freshmen and community members are encouraged to read the book and are invited to attend the kickoff. The book is available for purchase at local and online retailers and several copies are available at the Victoria College/UHV Library and the Victoria Public Library.

The book is about Texas’ chief weatherman Isaac Cline, Galveston and its people, and the hubris of men believing they could disregard nature itself. The Washington Post called it “Gripping. The Jaws of hurricane yarns.”

Jodi Wright-Gidley and Jennifer Marines, authors of “City on Stilts,” will be the featured guests on Thursday and will give a presentation with video and photographs about the rebuilding efforts after the 1900 hurricane that killed an estimated 8,000 people. The event also will feature guest speakers talking about the science and history of the time and an essay contest with prizes.

Elizabeth Rhoades, a UHV associate professor of school psychology and the event chairwoman, said “Isaac’s Storm” was chosen for two reasons.

“One is the local tie-in since Galveston is close to us,” Rhoades said. “The other is to give students a sense of cross-disciplinary study. This book has science, sociology, psychology, weather and more. It will give students an idea of what they will face in college.”

Rhoades said UHV instructors of core freshman courses are using the book to address different aspects of their area of study in their classes.

“This event will help connect students with the community. There are a lot of community members, and UHV faculty and staff reading the book,” Rhoades said. “And it also will help begin intellectual traditions since we have new freshmen on campus.”

Rhoades added that in these times when computers and cell phones are ubiquitous, the event also bills the value of a book to students.

“Despite how important the digital age is, books are still very important, too,” Rhoades said. “And UHV has a really rich history with books and its own publishing program.”

Wright-Gidley and Marines are the director and curator, respectively, of the Galveston County Historical Museum. Their presentation will include photos and even some of the earliest-known video footage, which was made during the rebuilding work.

Contact the Community of Readers program at or visit for more information. Other UHV committee members are Charles Alcorn, Dmitri Sobolev, Alireza Tavakkoli and Casey Akins.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Ken Cooke 361-570-4342