From personal memoirs, through travel, to sci-fi & thrillers… whatever your taste in books, there’ll be a sea-related book (or 10) to suit you.
Here are a few of my favourites – they all strengthen a good mood, and give a boost when a lift is needed.
Taking on the World – Ellen Macarthur’s autobiography: written soon after she won the round-the-world race that brought her to worldwide renown.
Neutral Buoyancy – Tim Ecott: a montage of diving history (more interesting than one would think), travel & personal memoir
Terra Incognita – Sara Wheeler: a mix of personal memories, Antarctic exploration, & travelogue.
Sea Room – Adam Nicholson: how would you react if you suddenly inherited a tiny, remote island off-off-off the coast of Scotland? Adam Nicholson shares what happened to him, and who he shared the island with – sea-life, legend & beyond.
Strands – Jean Sprackland: a year’s worth of beach-combing finds chronicled, plus meditations on the sea.
Water Light Time – David Doubilet: even if you don’t know the name you may well have seen some of his jaw-dropping images. He finds new ways to portray sea-life, islands & seascapes.
The Sea – Cube Book: different aspects of the sea, from coastal communities, through seascapes, to fisherfolk.
Blue Planet – Byatt, Fothergill & Holmes: companion to the BBC tv series, it’s a mix of coffee table book and accessible science book, looking at the deep oceans, the coast, the frozen oceans, and more.
Beside the Seaside – Jane Struthers: a compendium of all things sea-related, from a history of coastal tourism, through naval archives and snippets of info on sea-life.
Great British Marine Animals – Paul Naylor: for anyone who believes British seas have nothing interesting in them! And if you already know our seas are packed with cool stuff, you’ll enjoy this too.
Sea Glass – Anita Shreeve: intertwines lives in New Hampshire of the 1920s, with the main contemporary character, collecting sea glass and musing on life
Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys: the pre-quel to Jane Eyre. Much of which takes place in the Caribbean.
The Life of Pi – Yann Martell: a strange tale of a shipwreck and existing in a lifeboat… magical-realism rather than a survivors’ tale. Recently made into a film.
Master and Commander – Patrick O’Brian: the first of a series of books detailing life in the British navy in the era of Nelson. This has great characterisation and social history, as well as all the exciting sea-battle bits.
At Sea – Laurie Graham: comedic novel about a self-effacing wife who finds her way in life while on a sea-cruise.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne: an exciting early sci-fi story with evocative descriptions of the sea and sea-life, plus lessons for humanity that are as relevant today as the day they were written
The Hunt for Red October – Tom Clancy: pure adrenaline!
Ice Station Zebra – Alistair Maclean: suspenseful tale of espionage upon the high seas and the frozen Arctic sea. A classic.
What sea-related books do you love?
Feel free to share your favourite sea pages in the Comments section.