Any writer can describe a sweltering afternoon in the sunshine. But it takes a skilled author to make the reader actually feel the heat being experienced by his or her characters.
Bill Buford, a desk jockey at the New Yorker Magazine, does a wonderful job of conveying two sorts of heat in Heat, his memoir of life in a professional kitchen. He describes the physical heat of the stoves surrounding his work station and also the mental 'heat' of having to produce faultless food day after day for discerning diners.
P.C Wren's classic adventure story, Beau Geste, combines the dry desert heat of North Africa with the heroic deeds of the French Foreign Legion. The Four Feathers is another adventure yarn to make use of North Africa's arid landscapes. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness uses the sweltering damp heat of the Congo as the backdrop for his 1902 novella that displays Africa as the 'Dark Continent.' Francis Ford Coppola carried over those overpowering themes of heat and sweat into his famous movie adaptation of Faulkner's story, Apocalypse Now.
Another master of the mercury is William Faulkner, who wrote so often about life around his beloved Mississippi in his novels and short stories. Fellow legend of American literature John Steinbeck captures the hopelessness of Oklahoma's 'Dust Bowl' landscape during the Great Depression in The Grapes of Wrath. J.G. Ballard's novel Drought foresees a world baked by the sun and suffering from a lack of water.
These blistering hot summer reads convey every type of heat imaginable from the kitchen to the desert, from the Outback to the boiling river of blood and flaming tombs of Dante's Inferno. Read, sweat, enjoy!