A Different Kind of Beach Reading | Wyatt’s World

Deborah Harkness’s The Book of Life and Daniel Silva’s The Heist might be the stars of beach reading next week, but there is another kind of beach reading to suggest as well—books about the sea. From adventures to tragedies to court cases and more, here are five titles that allow readers to get their feet wet without leaving home.

In the Kingdom of Ice

  • American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood by Paul Greenberg (Penguin).
    Before digging into the seafood buffet, readers might want to know how American seafood is faring (not well). Greenberg studies Gulf shrimp, Eastern oysters, and Alaskan salmon and offers a wake-up call to all.
  • War of the Whales: A True Story by Joshua Horwitz (S. & S.).
    The riveting and deeply troubling story of the U.S. Navy vs. whales makes for immersive reading as Horwitz traces the clash of environmental and national security interests that arises when submarines use a particular kind of sonar that swamps whales’ senses and cause them to strand.
  • Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves by James Nestor (Eamon Dolan: Houghton Harcourt).
    The mysteries of the ocean are plumbed in Nestor’s fascinating account that mixes adventure, history, and science and provides an amazing narrative of the sea and ways to see it—from free diving (diving without scuba gear) to submarine voyages.
  • In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides (Doubleday, Aug.).
    An adventure story set on the sea is hard to beat. Fans of such descriptions have a treat waiting for them in August as Sides tells a fabulously gripping version of the sinking of the USS Jeannette in the polar sea. Devotees of Shackleton-like stories should put a copy on hold now.
  • Rescue of the Bounty: Disaster and Survival in Superstorm Sandy by Michael J. Tougias & Douglas A. Campbell (Scribner).
    Thrilling maritime rescue and astounding courage are detailed in this exciting account of a replica of the HMS Bounty that was lost off the coast of North Carolina during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. In the face of one of the worst storms in modern history, the coast guard fought to save the crew. Tougias and Campbell detail every electrifying minute.
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at Readers_Shelf@comcast.net