Guest Review: Rachel Carson’s Sea Trilogy

Rachel Carson’s seminal ‘Sea’ trilogy – “Under the Sea-Wind” (1941), “The Sea Around Us” (1951), and “The Edge of the Sea” (1955) – has been reissued by Canongate in the publisher’s modern classics series, ‘The Canons’. The beautifully-produced paperbacks – each a celebration of the sea told through poetic nature writing – include a full set of integrated illustrations and a pertinent new introduction by Margaret Atwood. 

“Down to the Sea in Ships” by Horatio Clare

A beautiful and terrifying portrait of the oceans and their human subjects, and a fascinating study of big business afloat, “Down to the Sea in Ships” by Horatio Clare is a moving tribute to those who live and work on the great waters far from land.

“The Little Book of Swimming Safely” by Sue Gyford

“The Little Book of Swimming Safely: Incomplete Advice for Wild Swimmers” was written last year in the middle of the pandemic with closed public pools and a huge increase in the number of people heading to rivers, seas and lochs near home. Even before lockdown swimming throughout the year in wildness had become more and more popular. Cold water swimming is beautiful, healthy and also dangerous. This little blue book comes in handy.

“Islands of Abandonment” by Cal Flyn

What happens to abandoned places when nature is allowed to reclaim its place. A unique book “Islands of Abandonment: Life in the Post-Human Landscape” by Cal Flyn, published earlier this year, has reached the Sea Library thanks to the generosity of Iain Rousham from England.

Arkādijs Fīdlers “Ukajali dzelmēs zivis dzied”

Grāmatā “Ukujali dzelmēs zivis dzied” poļu rakstnieks, žurnālists un dabas pētnieks Arkādijs Fīdlers 20. gadsimta 30. un 40. gados vairākas reizes dodas zooloģiskā ekspedīcijā uz tolaik maz izpētīto Amazones baseinu.

“Severnside” by Carolyn Black

“Severnside: An Artist’s View of the River Severn” by Carolyn Black is a love letter to a river in drawings and texts. “The story is tidal, the river, like spinal fluid, flows between the banks.”

“Barbarian Days” by William Finnegan

Barbarian Days is William Finnegan’s memoir of an obsession, a complex enchantment. Surfing only looks like a sport. To initiates, it is something else: a beautiful addiction, a demanding course of study, a morally dangerous pastime, a way of life. For this book William Finnegan received 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography.

“Grey Skies, Green Waves” by Tom Anderson

Tom Anderson has always loved surfing – anywhere except the UK. But a chance encounter leads him to adventure on home shores. As he visits the popular haunts and secret gems of British surfing he meets the Christians who pray for waves (and get them), is nearly drowned in the River Severn and has a watery encounter with a pedigree sheep. All this rekindles his love affair with the freezing fun that is surfing the North Atlantic.

“Kings of the Yukon” by Adam Weymouth

“I have already forgotten darkness,” Adam Weymouth writes after first weeks of kayaking through Midnight Sun in Alaska, following the kings, the salmons, to the Bering Sea. He paddles a bright yellow 18ft glass-fibre canoe down the Yukon, for almost 2,000 miles.

“Walking on Water” by Andy Martin

This book is about waves. It is the story of an obsession, a journey through heaven and hell, the clumsy initiation of an outsider, the author himself, into a cult and a culture. It is also an oblique history of the world, a human comedy on waves, that will find an echo in anyone who has fallen prey to the spell of the ocean. Surfing is less a sport than a state of mind, an adventure in mythology, a religion with its own high priests and ritual sacrifices.

“Stealing the Wave” by Andy Martin

Roger Cox, journalist from Scotland who writes about books, art and outdoors for Scotland’s National newspaper “The Scotsman” has donated a book for the Sea Library – “Stealing the Wave: The Epic Struggle Between Ken Bradshaw and Mark Foo”. It is written by Andy Martin, British author, academic and retired surfer, and published in 2007.

Review: “Salt on Your Tongue” by Charlotte Runcie

Charlotte Runcie’s “Salt on Your Tongue” is a book of stories, legends, myths and songs about the sea, and about women who are left on the shore to take care of the life on land, to wait and hope, while men are in the sea, and about women, who are as dangerous, powerful and mysterious as the sea itself, the mermaids, selkies, sea goddesses and witches.

Review: “The Outrun” by Amy Liptrot

“The Outrun”, by a British writer and journalist Amy Liptrot, is her first book and it’s about her. Absolutely open, disarmingly honest, life affirming and with a thin lining of silver sorrow. Amy finds herself at a rehab in London and returns home on an island by the North Sea, in hope to understand the traps of consciousness and the deeps of subconscious. To learn to see the world with new, sober eyes.