By the Sea, On the Sea: Fiction and Non-fiction

Kenneth L. Gosner

This book used to be subtitled "Invertebrates and Seaweeds of the Atlantic Coast from the Bay of Fundy to Cape Hatteras." It helped me identify comb jellies and a few other weird beasties near Chesapeake Bay.

Joan Anderson
"During the years Joan Anderson was a loving wife and supportive mother, she had slowly and unconsciously replaced her own dreams with the needs of her family. With her sons grown, however, she realized that the family no longer centered on the home she provided, and her relationship with her husband had become stagnant. Like many women in her situation, Joan realized that she had neglected to nurture herself and, worse, to envision fulfilling goals for her future. As her husband received a wonderful job opportunity out-of-state, it seemed that the best part of her own life was finished. Shocking both of them, she refused to follow him to his new job and decided to retreat to a family cottage on Cape Cod. At first casting about for direction, Joan soon began to take plea-sure in her surroundings and call on resources she didn't realize she had. Over the course of a year, she gradually discovered that her life as an 'unfinished woman' was full of possibilities."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"In this inimitable, beloved classic--graceful, lucid and lyrical--Anne Morrow Lindbergh shares her meditations on youth and age; love and marriage; peace, solitude and contentment as she set them down during a brief vacation by the sea. Drawing inspiration from the shells on the shore, Lindbergh's musings on the shape of a woman's life bring new understanding to both men and women at any stage of life. A mother of five, an acclaimed writer and a pioneering aviator, Lindbergh casts an unsentimental eye on the trappings of modernity that threaten to overwhelm us: the time-saving gadgets that complicate rather than simplify, the multiple commitments that take us from our families. And by recording her thoughts during a brief escape from everyday demands, she helps readers find a space for contemplation and creativity within their own lives. With great wisdom and insight Lindbergh describes the shifting shapes of relationships and marriage, presenting a vision of life as it is lived in an enduring and evolving partnership."

Also available in large print and on audio.

Joan Druett

"On May 25, 1841, the whaleship Sharon of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, set out for the whaling grounds of the northwestern Pacific under the command of Captain Howes Norris. A year later, while most of the crew was out on the hunt, Norris remained at the helm with four crew members-three of them natives from the Pacific Islands. When the men in the whaleboats spied the Sharon's flag flying at half-mast-a signal of distress-they rowed toward the ship to discover their Captain had been hacked to pieces. His murderers, the Pacific Islanders, were covered in blood and brandishing weapons. Unless the crew could retake the Sharon, their prospects of survival were slim. The nearest land was seven hundred miles away.

"Through recently discovered journals of the ship's cooper and the third officer, award-winning maritime historian Joan Druett unearths the mystery of the ill-fated whaleship.... Dramatically and meticulously recreating the events of the Sharon, Druett pieces together a voyage filled with savagery and madness under the command of one of the most ruthless captains to sail the high seas. In the Wake of Madness brings to life a riveting story and exposes the secrets that followed the men of the Sharon to their graves."

Katherine Paterson

I was proud of my sister, but that year, something began to rankle beneath the pride.
Louise has had enough of her twin sister. Caroline is beautiful. Caroline is talented. Caroline is better. Growing up on the small island of Rass in Chesapeake Bay, Caroline seems to do nothing but take from Louise: their parents' love, Louise's chances for an education, her dreams for the future. They have spent their lives entwined -- sleeping in the same room, eating at the same table, learning in the same classroom -- and yet somehow nothing can bring them together. Louise's only hope lies in seeking a place for herself beyond the stretch of Rass's shores and her sister's shadow.

 

Thor Heyerdahl

Am going to cross Pacific on a wooden raft to support a theory that the South Sea islands were peopled from Peru. Will you come? Reply at once.

That is how six brave and inquisitive men came to seek a dangerous path to test a scientific theory. On a primitive raft made of forty-foot balsa logs and named Kon-Tiki in honor of a legendary sun king, Heyerdahl and five companions deliberately risked their lives to show that the ancient Peruvians could have made the 4,300-mile voyage to the Polynesian islands on a similar craft. On every page of this true chronicle from the actual building of the raft through all the dangerous and comic adventures on the sea, to the spectacular crash-landing and the native islanders hula dances each reader will find a wholesome and spellbinding escape from the twenty-first century. Actual film from the expedition is available on an Academy Award-winning documentary.

Patrick O'Brian

This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, R.N., and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against a thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of life aboard a man-of-war are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the roar of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.

Dudley Pope

The young lieutenant takes up special orders direct from Nelson himself which bring news of a mission close to his own heart. In a daring foray, under the very nose of the French Mediterranean fleet, Ramage is to sail his tiny cutter close in to the Italian shore and rescue a party of stranded aristocrats from Napoleon's fast-advancing army. First of a series.

Elizabeth Gilbert

On two remote islands off the coast of Maine, the local lobstermen have fought savagely for generations over the fishing rights to the ocean waters between them. Young Ruth Thomas is born into this feud, the daughter of one of the greediest lobstermen in Maine. Eighteen years old, as smart as a whip, and irredeemably unromantic, Ruth returns home from boarding school determined to throw her education overboard and join the "stern men." As the feud escalates, she helps work the lobster boats, brushes up on her profanity, and eventually falls for Owney Wishnell, a handsome young lobsterman.

Herman Wouk

Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining novel of life--and mutiny--on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater was immediately embraced, upon its original publication in 1951, as one of the first serious works of American fiction to grapple with the moral complexities and the human consequences of World War II. The novel inspired the now-classic film, starring Humphrey Bogart, as well as a hugely successful Broadway play.

Douglas Kelley

This fictionalized story is based on the life of Mary Ann Patten, who went from sea captain's wife to skipper of her husband's ship when he fell ill. He recovered enough to make her life even more difficult. Entertaining and fascinating.

David Donachie

In 1793, privateer Harry Ludlow finds himself aboard the navy's 74-gun Magnanime, with his younger brother James. In command is Oliver Carter, a captain with whom Harry has an unfortunate history. When James is found standing over the body of a dead officer, Harry's feud shifts into the background. But dark secrets start to surface on all sides. First of the Privateersman series.

Linda Greenlaw
A young woman is the skipper of a lobster boat off a small island off the coast of Maine. You will learn more than you ever thought you'd want to know about lobsters! A very interesting memoir about lobsters, boats, and a very small island.
Ernest Hemingway

The classic story of a luckless old Cuban fisherman who finally lands a huge marlin, only to lose it in a titanic struggle with the sea.

Sebastian Junger

It was the storm of the century, boasting waves over one hundred feet high--a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologists deemed it "the perfect storm."  When it struck in October 1991, there was virtually no warning. "She's comin' on, boys, and she's comin' on strong", radioed Captain Billy Tyne of the Andrea Gail off the coast of Nova Scotia, and soon afterward the boat and its crew of six disappeared without a trace. In a narrative taut with the fury of the elements, Sebastian Junger takes us deep into the heart of the storm, depicting with vivid detail the courage, terror, and awe that surface in such a gale. Also available on audio.

On Film:
The Andrea Gail's struggle with a ferocious Northeastern storm is brought to life in the 2000 movie adaptation of Junger's book, starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Diane Lane.

Clive Cussler & Craig Dirgo
"A steamboat goes up in flames...and down to the bottom of the sea. A locomotive plunges into a creek...and vanishes into mystery. A German U-boat sends an American troop transport, and eight hundred on board, to a watery grave...on Christmas Eve. Clive Cussler and his crack team of NUMA (National Underwater Marine Agency, a nonprofit organization that searches for historic shipwrecks) volunteers have found the remains of these and numerous other tragic wrecks. Here are the dramatic, true accounts of twelve of the most remarkable underwater discoveries made by Cussler and his team."
Trevor Corson

A fascinating study of lobsters and their sex lives (!), trapping lobsters and studying lobsters and lobster wars and lobstermen and.... You get the idea!

Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Frédéric Dumas

"Before becoming the man who introduced us to the wonders of the sea through his beloved television series, Jacques Cousteau was better known as an engineer and the inventor of scuba. He chronicled his early days of underwater adventure in The Silent World—a memoir that was an instant, international bestseller upon its publication in 1954. Now, National Geographic presents a 50th anniversary edition of this remarkable book, allowing readers to once again travel under the sea with Cousteau during the turbulent days of World War II."

Barbara Delinksy
After surviving a boating accident that claimed several lives, Julia Bechtel decides to go in a new direction and gains a new perspective in her small town on the coast of Maine.
Derek Lundy

When, as a young man in the 1880s, Benjamin Lundy signed up for unimaginably hard duty aboard a...commercial sailing vessel -- one destined for a treacherous, white-knuckle passage around...Cape Horn -- he had no idea that his experience would also provide a window into an epochal transition that would fundamentally change man's relation to the sea.

Richard Henry Dana

The narrative of the author's journey from Boston around the Cape Horn and landing at a port in the western coast of the United States. A classic work of non-fiction that inspired Melville.

Anne Rivers Siddons
A woman experiences devastating changes in her life and takes refuge with a friend on Cape Cod, where she eventually finds hope of a new life.
David Cordingly

"In this illuminating historical narrative, maritime scholar David Cordingly shows that in fact an astonishing number of women went to sea in the great age of sail. Some traveled as the wives or mistresses of captains. A few were smuggled aboard by officers or seaman. A number of cases have come to light of young women dressing in men's clothes and working alongside the sailors for months, and sometimes years. In the U.S. and Britsh navies, it was not uncommon for the wives of bosuns, carpenters, and cooks to go to sea on warships. Cordingly's tremendous research shows that there was indeed a thriving female population--from female pirates to the sirens of legend--on and around the high seas."