Ashley’s Top Picks – Oceans of Possibilities

Celebrate the 2022 Summer Reading Program at North Country libraries with an ocean-themed read! Whether you’re interested in learning about the creatures who call its endless depths home, or traveling with those who have explored the open waters, we have a nonfiction option for you!

Each of the titles listed below are linked to our catalog so that you can easily place holds from wherever you are. Simply click on the cover image to jump directly to our library’s catalog.

Discover the world’s ocean–from tides and currents to the creatures living in it to the impact it has on our lives, whether we know it or not–in this richly illustrated overview of the life force that defines and sustains our planet, written by world-renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle.

Everything you want to know about the ocean can be found inside these beautiful and dynamic pages. National Geographic Ocean unveils the power and significance of our planet’s watery essence: the fundamental importance of the ocean in shaping Earth’s climate and chemistry as well as its vital role in supporting a multitude of life-forms, including our own human race.

World-renowned oceanographer and National Geographic Explorer in Residence Sylvia Earle–affectionately called “Her Deepness”–guides readers with her lyrical style and inspiring wisdom, describing the evolution, beauty, and impact of our ocean; the challenges it faces, such as climate change, plastic, and overfishing; and the myriad ways we can help protect it.

This engaging story of the ocean celebrates dozens of ocean champions and visionaries, explores the ocean’s origin and the nature of water, and features a gallery of wondrous creatures that illustrate the spectacular diversity of life in the sea, from sponges, kelp, and zooplankton to whales, sharks, and sea turtles. More than 100 maps and diagrams, including seafloor and political maps of all Earth’s seas and oceans, elucidate Dr. Earle’s lively narrative.

For seaside dwellers and landlubbers alike, this is a book you will turn to again and again to understand why, as Sylvia Earle says, “Everyone, everywhere is inextricably connected to and utterly dependent upon the existence of the sea.” “

-From amazon.com

““The oceans have always shaped human lives,” writes marine biologist Helen Scales in her vibrant new book The Brilliant Abyss, but the surface and the very edges have so far mattered the most. “However, one way or another, the future ocean is the deep ocean.”

A golden era of deep-sea discovery is underway. Revolutionary studies in the deep are rewriting the very notion of life on Earth and the rules of what is possible. In the process, the abyss is being revealed as perhaps the most amazing part of our planet, with a topography even more varied and extreme than its Earthbound counterpart. Teeming with unsuspected life, an extraordinary interconnected ecosystem deep below the waves has a huge effect on our daily lives, influencing climate and weather systems, with the potential for much more—good or bad depending on how it is exploited. Currently the fantastic creatures that live in the deep—many of them incandescent in a world without light—and its formations capture and trap vast quantities of carbon that would otherwise poison our atmosphere; and novel bacteria as yet undiscovered hold the promise of potent new medicines. Yet the deep also holds huge mineral riches lusted after by many nations and corporations; mining them could ultimately devastate the planet, compounded by the deepening impacts of ubiquitous pollutants and rampant overfishing.

Eloquently and passionately, Helen Scales brings to life the majesty and mystery of an alien realm that nonetheless sustains us, while urgently making clear the price we could pay if it is further disrupted. The Brilliant Abyss is at once a revelation and a clarion call to preserve this vast unseen world.”

-From amazon.com

“A compelling history of seashells and the animals that make them, revealing what they have to tell us about nature, our changing oceans, and ourselves.

Seashells have been the most coveted and collected of nature’s creations since the dawn of humanity. They were money before coins, jewelry before gems, art before canvas.

In The Sound of the Sea, acclaimed environmental author Cynthia Barnett blends cultural history and science to trace our long love affair with seashells and the hidden lives of the mollusks that make them. Spiraling out from the great cities of shell that once rose in North America to the warming waters of the Maldives and the slave castles of Ghana, Barnett has created an unforgettable account of the world’s most iconic seashells. She begins with their childhood wonder, unwinds surprising histories like the origin of Shell Oil as a family business importing exotic shells, and charts what shells and the soft animals that build them are telling scientists about our warming, acidifying seas.

From the eerie calls of early shell trumpets to the evolutionary miracle of spines and spires and the modern science of carbon capture inspired by shell, Barnett circles to her central point of listening to nature’s wisdom―and acting on what seashells have to say about taking care of each other and our world.”

-From amazon.com

“In this richly informative volume, brimming with new discoveries and more than three hundred colorful images of jaw-dropping fish and coral reefs, you’ll swim in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans; you’ll be dazzled in the Coral Triangle and amazed in Triton Bay. Up close you’ll meet the Cenderawasih fairy wrasse, with its florescent yellow streak; the polka-dot longnose filefish; and the multicolored seadragon. There are scarlet-colored corals, baby-blue sponges, daffodil crinoids, and all sorts of mystifying creatures that change color at the drop of a hat. The whale shark is almost larger than life and the author’s beloved pygmy seahorse, unless photographed, is almost too tiny to see.

The wondrous creatures inside are charmers and tricksters and excel in the arts of seduction and deception, and you’ll have the rare chance to see and delight in their antics. You’ll also learn what they eat, how they play, and how they care for one another, live on one another, and mimic others when they’re afraid. There is also compelling insight into the naming process, which sea creatures are facing extinction, and how we can help them before it’s too late.”

-From amazon.com

A new and updated edition of the only sailing manual that you will ever need.

Whether you’re a seasoned seafarer or just starting out, this fully revised and updated sailing manual is perfect for all levels of experience. Learn how to handle any sailing situation with thorough coverage of all aspects of sailing and boat ownership.

Inside the pages of this new edition of the go-to guide about sailing and boat maintenance, you’ll discover:

   • Comprehensive coverage of all aspects of sailing practice written by an expert sailor
   • Fully updated contents with the latest information and advice, and technological developments
   • A chapter by chapter approach that functions as a complete tuition course on seamanship
   • Authoritative text, clear, annotated diagrams, and action photographs 
   • A reliable, instant, and user-friendly handbook for any sailing situation
   • Foreword by quadruple Olympic gold medalist, Sir Ben Ainslie

Former British national champion Steve Sleight offers a wealth of expert advice and guidance in the form of a complete tuition course on seamanship. The Complete Sailing Manual is the ultimate sailing handbook that is packed with engaging essential information and breathtaking action photography. Handy diagrams, step-by-step artwork, and instructions will teach you all the latest sailing techniques. 

This updated edition features all of the latest developments in sailing including foiling, long-distance cruising, and high-speed apparent-wind sailing and navigation. Explore new developments in sailing equipment such as modern performance systems, electronic navigation, and ways to use alternative energy on board. Explore the latest rules, regulations, and best practices from collision regulations to safety equipment. This essential sailing book is necessary for every keen sailor, from beginner to expert!”

-From amazon.com

“The human story has always been one of perseverance—often against remarkable odds. The most astonishing survival tale of all might be that of 16th-century Dutch explorer William Barents and his crew of sixteen, who ventured farther north than any Europeans before and, on their third polar exploration, lost their ship off the frozen coast of Nova Zembla to unforgiving ice. The men would spend the next year fighting off ravenous polar bears, gnawing hunger, and endless winter.

In Icebound, Andrea Pitzer masterfully combines a gripping tale of survival with a sweeping history of the great Age of Exploration—a time of hope, adventure, and seemingly unlimited geographic frontiers. At the story’s center is William Barents, one of the 16th century’s greatest navigators whose larger-than-life ambitions and obsessive quest to chart a path through the deepest, most remote regions of the Arctic ended in both tragedy and glory. Journalist Pitzer did extensive research, learning how to use four-hundred-year-old navigation equipment, setting out on three Arctic expeditions to retrace Barents’s steps, and visiting replicas of Barents’s ship and cabin.

“A resonant meditation on human ingenuity, resilience, and hope” (The New Yorker), Pitzer’s reenactment of Barents’s ill-fated journey shows us how the human body can function at twenty degrees below, the history of mutiny, the art of celestial navigation, and the intricacies of building shelters. But above all, it gives us a firsthand glimpse into the true nature of courage.””

-From amazon.com

The legendary explorer of the Titanic shares inside stories of danger, suspense, and discovery–plus previously untold stories about his own dyslexia and how it has shaped his life.

Best known for finding the doomed ship Titanic, celebrated adventurer Robert Ballard has a lifetime of stories about exploring the ocean depths. Now he gets personal, telling the stories behind his most exciting discoveries―including how a top-secret naval mission provided the opportunity for his Titanic discovery―and opens up about his private tragedies.

He frankly recounts the struggles he has worked through, rising to prominence as a scientist whose celebrity drew academic scorn. And he reveals the triumph and agony in the years after his Titanic find: While media around the world clamored for interviews, he grappled with the death of his 20-year-old son and the collapse of his marriage amid academic and military career demands. Finally, he addresses his late-in-life discovery of his own dyslexia, which he now sees as a gift that has shaped his life and accomplishments.

Twice a New York Times best-selling author, here Ballard partners with investigative reporter and bestselling author Christopher Drew to tell the dramatic and often surprising stories behind his newsworthy discoveries. Timed to appear as the National Geographic Channel airs a special documentary about Ballard’s explorations, Into the Deep will intrigue adventure lovers young and old.

Brilliant, insightful, and surprising, Into the Deep is the definitive story of the dangers and discoveries, conflicts and triumphs that have shaped the remarkable life of an American hero.”

-From amazon.com

In an engaging and anecdotal social history, Siân Evans’s Maiden Voyages explores how women’s lives were transformed by the Golden Age of ocean liner travel between Europe and North America.

During the early twentieth century, transatlantic travel was the province of the great ocean liners. It was an extraordinary undertaking made by many women, whose lives were changed forever by their journeys between the Old World and the New. Some traveled for leisure, some for work; others to reinvent themselves or find new opportunities. They were celebrities, migrants and millionaires, refugees, aristocrats and crew members whose stories have mostly remained untold―until now.

Maiden Voyages is a fascinating portrait of the era, the ships themselves, and these women as they crossed the Atlantic. The ocean liner was a microcosm of contemporary society, divided by class: from the luxury of the upper deck, playground for the rich and famous, to the cramped conditions of steerage or third class travel. In first class you’ll meet A-listers like Marlene Dietrich, Wallis Simpson, and Josephine Baker; the second class carried a new generation of professional and independent women, like pioneering interior designer Sibyl Colefax. Down in steerage, you’ll follow the journey of émigré Maria Riffelmacher as she escapes poverty in Europe. Bustling between decks is a crew of female workers, including Violet “The Unsinkable Stewardess” Jessop, who survived the Titanic disaster.

Entertaining and informative, Maiden Voyages captures the golden age of ocean liners through the stories of the women whose transatlantic journeys changed the shape of society on both sides of the globe.”

-From amazon.com

This list is just a quick start – there is so much more to learn! Consult a librarian at 315-785-7714 for tips or help on searching for other materials.

-Ashley

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