The Books Every Ocean Lover Should Read in 2018

Here at Ocean Conservancy, we get countless requests for all things sea-related—including our best book recommendations for ocean lovers. The beginning of January is the perfect time to curl up with a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate and a start a new book (or three), and Ocean Conservancy’s staff has pitched in with their best recommendations, just in time for the new year. Which ones will you add to your 2018 reading list?

Inspiring Depictions of Natural History

While our ocean is awe-inspiring all on its own, knowing the natural histories of its various habitats and species can help us appreciate it all the more. These books help us understand how and why our ocean came to be as it is today, as well as how it established itself as being one of the most important features of communities and cultures across the globe.

  • Beautiful Swimmers (William W. Warner)
    • “This is my favorite. Not just because I grew up enjoying steamed crabs from the Chesapeake Bay, but because it tells a compelling story about the fascinating Blue crab, its history and importance to the Chesapeake region…and, it describes how easy it is to overfish a presumed limitless resource.” 

-Charlotte Meyer (Director of Individual Philanthropy)

beautiful swimmers

The Human-Ocean Connection

These inspiring books discuss the incredible and sometimes mysterious pull that human beings feel towardblue mind

the sea, as well as our ocean’s ability to make us feel happier, healthier, and more in tune with our spirituality

The Health and Wellbeing of Our Ocean Today, and What We Can Do to Help It

It’s no mystery that our ocean is has been and continues to face some extremely detrimental threats when it comes to maintaining healthy ecosystems today. These works outline some of those most threatening issues, and contain some powerful calls to action about ways we can help combat these problems.

-Rebecca Colglazier (Manager, Development Operations)

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Addressing and Combating Plastic Pollution

While we could’ve included pollution and the presence of trash in our seas in the previous category, we know that these topics can sometimes be so strong that they’re placed in a realm all their own. The following are both true stories about some of the most powerful discoveries of accidental plastic loss at sea, the impact they had on our ocean, and what brave and determined individuals and communities did to fight back against this type of pollution.

-Ivy Frederickson (Staff Attorney, Conservation Programs)

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Photography-Based and Coffee Table Books

Know someone who loves visuals and photography? These books use the power of imagery to communicate their key messages, but all unite in oneUntitled design (5)

common theme: demonstrating the beauty of our ocean through photos! 

The Living Seas and Books on Marine Life

If you or someone you know is highly interested in marine life and the creatures that dwell beneath the surface of the sea, these are the animal- and living being-focused books we recommend!

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Fictional Coastal Adventures

Diving into the category of fiction, these books both demonstrate themes of action, thrill, and even science-fiction. The best part? They’re all set along our nation’s gorgeous coasts!

  • Annihilation (Jeff VanderMeer)
    • “I fell in love with St. Marks while I was visiting nearby Wakulla Springs last year, and I love that VanderMeer–who lives in Tallahassee–sets the book in a version of the Gulf Coast that seems almost pristine yet dangerous. The book is the first of the author’s Southern Reach trilogy, and it’s been adapted as a movie starring Natalie Portman, to be released this February!”

-Rachel Guillory (Gulf Restoration Program Specialist)

  • Tampa Burn (Randy Wayne White)
    • “The entire Doc Ford series discovers the Indiana Jones-like escapades of an ex-CIA assassin turned marine biologist; all set on the Florida Gulf Coast. How could I not relate to this?”

-Michael Drexler (Fisheries Scientist)

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From classic literary gems to unbelievable first-person accounts, these literary pieces are all about one thing: experiences had by human beings on the open seas!

  • The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)
  • Shackleton’s Boat Journey (Frank A. Worsley)
    • “A short, vivid account by the ship’s skipper of Ernest Shackleton’s voyage in open boats to South Georgia to rescue his stranded Antarctic expedition. This is what got me hooked on Antarctica and the polar regions, so I can say it was a life-changing read!”

-Henry P. Huntington, Ph.D. (Director,  Arctic Science)

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