Sea books, soon to be washed ashore. If you are an author or a publisher, do tell me about upcoming releases. If you are a reader, I promise to have these titles in the sea library sooner or later.
Jūras grāmatas, kuras gaidāmas drīzumā! Ja esi autors vai izdevējs, dod ziņu, ko te pievienot. Ja esi lasītājs, varu apsolīt, ka agrāk vai vēlāk šīs grāmatas būs jūras bibliotēkā.
Philip Street “Shell Life on the Seashore” AUGUST 2019
Originally published in 1961, Shell Life on the Seashore is an amateur beachcombing classic. This newly reissued and updated edition includes a new foreword by Philip Hoare and an illustrated fold-out guide to identifying shells on the reverse of the book jacket.
‘Armed with this intrepid survey, we can see a brave new world down there on the beach … Exquisite revelation, of the most wonderful, watery kind.‘ Philip Hoare
For many, the highlights of seaside holidays are rockpooling and gathering the glorious array of shells left strewn on the beach after the receding tide. Attracted by the infinite variety of shapes and colours, visitors can never resist making a souvenir collection of their own – but little do they suspect the fascinating lives of the animals who once occupied them.
What if each shell had a story of its own to tell us, if only we knew the language? Mr Street’s delightful, informative guide uncovers the secret history of each common shell, revealing not only which marine creature once inhabited it but the unique challenges of its watery habitat it had to solve.
From barnacles to oysters, cockles to sea slugs, winkles to carnivorous snails, molluscs and lesser-known members of the octopus family, Shell Life on the Seashore is the essential primer for recognising and collecting both these curious specimens and the ’empties’ they leave behind – and will greatly increase the old-fashioned pleasures of a coastal holiday for all the family.
“Edward Posnett has written an exceptional first book; Strange Harvests is a subtle, fascinating braiding of travel, cultural and natural history, ethnography and economic analysis; a modern-day Wunderkammer with echoes of Pico Iyer as well as Sir Thomas Browne. Clear-eyed but never blithe, Posnett records the destructiveness of market rapacity as well as rare, hopeful examples of human and more-than-human harmony. It is a pleasure and an education to journey with him in these pages.” —Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland and The Old Ways
Edward Posnett was born in London. After a spell working in financial services, he started writing about nature, markets, and trade. His fascination with the Icelandic tradition of eiderdown harvesting led him to write “Eiderdown,” winner of the Bodley Head/Financial Times Essay Prize, and sparked this first book. He lives in Philadelphia.
In ‘To the Island of Tides’, Alistair Moffat travels to – and through the history of – the fated island of Lindisfarne. Walking from his home in the Borders, through the historical landscape of Scotland and northern England, he takes us on a pilgrimage in the footsteps of saints and scholars, before arriving for a secular retreat on the Holy Isle. Lindisfarne, famous for its monastery, home to Saints Aidan and Cuthbert and the place where the celebrated Lindisfarne Gospels were written, has long been a place of sanctuary.
It is an island rich in history: the Romans knew it as Insula Medicata; it reached the height of its fame in the dark ages, even survived Viking raids, before ultimately being abandoned after Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monastaries. Today the isle maintains its position as a space for retreat and spiritual renewal.
‘To the Island of Tides’ is a walk through history, a meditation on the power of place, but also a more personal journey; a chance for a personal stock-taking and a reflection on where life leads us.Alistair Moffatwas born in Kelso, Scotland in 1950. He is an award-winning writer, historian and Director of Programmes at Scottish Television, former Director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and former Rector of the University of St Andrews. He is the founder of Borders Book Festival and Co-Chairman of The Great Tapestry of Scotland. He is the author of The Hidden Ways: Scotland’s Forgotten Roads.
A groundbreaking exploration of the relationship between capitalism, communism, and Arctic ecology since the dawn of the industrial age.
Whales and walruses, caribou and fox, gold and oil: through the stories of these animals and resources, Bathsheba Demuth reveals how people have turned ecological wealth in a remote region into economic growth and state power for more than 150 years.
The first-ever comprehensive history of Beringia, the Arctic land and waters stretching from Russia to Canada, Floating Coast breaks away from familiar narratives to provide a fresh and fascinating perspective on an overlooked landscape. The unforgiving territory along the Bering Strait had long been home to humans—the Inupiat and Yupik in Alaska, and the Yupik and Chukchi in Russia—before Americans and Europeans arrived with revolutionary ideas for progress. Rapidly, these frigid lands and waters became the site of an ongoing experiment: How, under conditions of extreme scarcity, would the great modern ideologies of capitalism and communism control and manage the resources they craved?
Drawing on her own experience living with and interviewing indigenous people in the region, as well as from archival sources, Demuth shows how the social, the political, and the environmental clashed in this liminal space. Through the lens of the natural world, she views human life and economics as fundamentally about cycles of energy, bringing a fresh and visionary spin to the writing of human history.
Floating Coast is a profoundly resonant tale of the dynamic changes and unforeseen consequences that immense human needs and ambitions have brought, and will continue to bring, to a finite planet.
Bathsheba Demuth is a historian at Brown University. She specializes in the lands and seas of the Russian and North American Arctic. Her interest in northern environments and cultures began when she was 18 and moved to the village of Old Crow in the Yukon. For over two years, she mushed huskies, hunted caribou, fished for salmon, tracked bears, and otherwise learned to survive in the taiga and tundra. In the years since, Demuth has visited Arctic communities across Eurasia and North America. From the archive to the dog sled, she is interested in how the histories of people, ideas, places, and non-human species intersect.
For thousands of years human beings have been losing their possessions and dumping their rubbish in the River Thames, making it the longest and most varied archaeological site in the world. For those in the know, the muddy stretches provide a tangible link with the past, a connection to the natural world, and an oasis of calm in a chaotic city.
Lara Maiklem left the countryside for London in her twenties. At first enticed by the city, she soon found herself cut adrift, yearning for the solace she had known growing up among nature.
Down on the banks of the River Thames, fifteen years ago, she discovered mudlarking: the act of scavenging in the mud for items discarded by past generations of Londoners. Since then her days have been dedicated to and dictated by the tides, in pursuit of the objects that the river unearths: from Neolithic flints to Roman hair pins, medieval shoe buckles to Tudor buttons, Georgian clay pipes to discarded war medals.
Moving from the river’s tidal origins in the west of the city to the point where it reaches the sea in the east, Mudlarking is the story of the Thames and its people as seen through these objects. A fascinating search for peace through solitude and history, it brings the voices of long-forgotten Londoners to life.
Lara Maiklem has been fossicking since she was a child, growing up on her family’s farm just out of the reach of London. It was a habit she took with her when she finally succumbed to the bright lights of the city in the early 1990s and what eventually led her down to the foreshore of the river Thames. Her obsession with mudlarking, and subsequent collection of weird and wonderful objects, grew steadily over the years and in 2012, just after the birth of her twins, she began sharing her finds and exploits on Facebook under the name of London Mudlark. She now shares the hidden side of one of the world’s most famous rivers with thousands of people all around the world. In 2015 she followed the Thames out of London and now lives on the Kent coast within easy reach of the river, which she visits as regularly as the tides permit. This is her first book.
One summer following the Second World War, Robert Appleyard sets out on foot from his Durham village. Sixteen and the son of a coal miner, he makes his way across the northern countryside until he reaches the former smuggling village of Robin Hood’s Bay. There he meets Dulcie, an eccentric, worldly, older woman who lives in a ramshackle cottage facing out to sea.
Staying with Dulcie, Robert’s life opens into one of rich food, sea-swimming, sunburn and poetry. The two come from different worlds, yet as the summer months pass, they form an unlikely friendship that will profoundly alter their futures.
Benjamin Myers was born in Durham in 1976. His novel The Gallows Pole received a Roger Deakin Award and won the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction. Beastings won the Portico Prize for Literature and Pig Iron won the Gordon Burn Prize, whileRichard was a Sunday Times Book of the Year. He has also published poetry, crime novels and short fiction, while his journalism has appeared in publications including, among others, the Guardian, New Statesman, Caught by the River and New Scientist. He lives in the Upper Calder Valley, West Yorkshire.
Under the ravishing light of an Alaskan sky, objects are spilling from the thawing tundra linking a Yup’ik village to its hunter-gatherer past. In the shifting sand dunes of a Scottish shoreline, impressively preserved hearths and homes of Neolithic farmers are uncovered. In a grandmother’s disordered mind, memories surface of a long-ago mining accident and a ‘mither who was kind’.
In this luminous new essay collection, acclaimed author Kathleen Jamie visits archeological sites and mines her own memories – of her grandparents, of youthful travels – to explore what surfaces and what reconnects us to our past. As always she looks to the natural world for her markers and guides. Most movingly, she considers, as her father dies and her children leave home, the surfacing of an older, less tethered sense of herself.
Surfacing offers a profound sense of time passing and an antidote to all that is instant, ephemeral, unrooted.
Darkness has shaped the lives of humans for millennia, and in Dark Skies, author Tiffany Francis travels around Britain and Europe to learn more about nocturnal landscapes and humanity’s connection to the night sky.
Over the course of a year, Tiffany travels through different nightscapes across the UK and beyond. She experiences 24-hour daylight while swimming in the Gulf of Finland and visits Norway to witness the Northern Lights and speak to people who live in darkness for three months each year. She hikes through the haunted yew forests of Kingley Vale, embarks on a nocturnal sail down the River Dart, feeds foxes on a south London estate, and listens to nightjars churring on a Sussex heathland.
As she travels, Tiffany delves into the history of the ancient rituals and seasonal festivals that for thousands of years humans have linked with the light and dark halves of our year. How has our relationship with darkness and the night sky changed over time? How have we used stars and other cosmic phenomena to tell stories about our lives and the land around us? In this beautifully written nature narrative, Tiffany Francis explores nocturnal landscapes and investigates how our experiences of the night-time world have permeated our history, folklore, science, geography, art and literature.
Tiffany Francis is a writer, artist and environmentalist from the South Downs in Hampshire. With a mixed background in the arts, rural heritage and conservation, her work is fuelled by a love for the natural world and a passion for protecting it. She writes and illustrates for national publications and has appeared on BBC Radio 4 and Channel 4. Her first book Food You Can Forage was published in March 2018.
In an old wooden sloop, Philip Marsden plots a course north from his home in Cornwall. He is sailing for the Summer Isles, a small archipelago near the top of Scotland that holds for him a deep and personal significance. On the way, he must navigate the west coast of Ireland and the Inner Hebrides. Bearing the full force of the Atlantic, it is a seaboard which is also a mythical frontier, a place as rich in story as anywhere on earth.
Through the people he meets and the tales he uncovers, Marsden builds up a haunting picture of these shores – of imaginary islands and the Celtic otherworld, of the ageless draw of the west, of the life of the sea and perennial loss – and the redemptive power of the imagination.
Exhilarating and poignant, Marsden’s prose has been widely praised. Bringing together themes he has been pursuing for many years, The Summer Isles is an unforgettable account of the search for actual places, invented places, and those places in between that shape the lives of individuals and entire nations.
PHILIP MARSDEN is the award-winning author of a number of works of travel, fiction and non-fiction, including The Bronski House, The Spirit-Wrestlers, and The Levelling Sea. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and his work has been translated into fifteen languages. He lives in Cornwall.
Water is commodified. The Water Train that serves the city increasingly at risk of sabotage.
As news breaks that construction of a gigantic Ice Dock will displace more people than first thought, protestors take to the streets and the lives of several individuals begin to interlock. A nurse on the brink of an affair. A boy who follows a stray dog out of the city. A woman who lies dying. And her husband, a marksman: a man forged by his past and fearful of the future, who weighs in his hands the possibility of death against the possibility of life.
From one of the most celebrated writers of his generation, Stillicide is a moving story of love and loss and the will to survive, and a powerful glimpse of the tangible future.
CYNAN JONES was born near Aberaeron, Wales in 1975. He is the author of three novels, The Long Dry (winner of a Betty Trask Award, 2007), Everything I Found on the Beach (2011), and The Dig (2014), a chapter of which was shortlisted for the 2013 Sunday Times/ EFG Private Bank Short Story Award. He is also the author of Bird, Blood, Snow (2012), the retelling of a medieval Welsh myth.
Mary Costello “The River Capture” OCTOBER 2019
Luke O’Brien has retreated from the city to live a quiet life on his family land situated at the bend of the River Sullane. Surrounded by the Irish countryside and alone in the crumbling house, he longs for a return to his family’s heyday. He has given up on love and relationships and instead turned to books for solace.
One morning a young woman arrives at his door. Her appearance could have profound consequences for him and his family. But will he let her into his closed life?
In a novel that pays glorious homage to Joyce, The River Capture tells of one man’s descent into near madness, and the possibility of rescue. This is a novel about love, loyalty and the raging forces of nature. More than anything, it is a book about the life of the mind and the redemptive powers of art.
Although Moby-Dick is beloved as one of the most enduring works of American fiction, we rarely consider it a work of nature writing—or even a novel of the sea. Yet Pulitzer Prize– winning author Annie Dillard avers Moby-Dick is the “best book ever written about nature,” and nearly the entirety of the story is set on the waves. In fact, Ishmael’s sea yarn is in conversation with the nature writing of Emerson and Thoreau, and Melville himself did much more than live for a year in a cabin beside a pond. He set sail: to the far remote Pacific Ocean, spending more than three years at sea before writing his masterpiece in 1851.
A revelation for Moby-Dick devotees and neophytes alike, Ahab’s Rolling Sea is a chronological journey through the natural history of Melville’s novel. From white whales to whale intelligence, giant squids, barnacles, albatross, and sharks, Richard J. King examines what Melville knew from his own experiences and the sources available to a reader in the mid-1800s, exploring how and why Melville might have twisted what was known to serve his fiction. King then climbs to the crow’s nest, setting Melville in the context of the American perception of the ocean in 1851—at the very start of the Industrial Revolution and just before the publication of On the Origin of Species. King compares Ahab’s and Ishmael’s worldviews to how we see the ocean today: an expanse still immortal and sublime, but also in crisis. And although the concept of stewardship of the sea would have been foreign to Melville, King argues that Melville’s narrator Ishmael reveals his own tendencies toward what we would now call environmentalism.
Featuring a coffer of illustrations and interviews with contemporary scientists, fishers, and whale watch operators, Ahab’s Rolling Sea offers new insight into a cherished masterwork and our evolving relationship with the briny deep—from whale hunters to climate refugees.
Richard J. King is visiting associate professor of maritime literature and history at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He is the author of Lobster and The Devil’s Cormorant: A Natural History.
“Ahab’s Rolling Sea is a wide-ranging, highly personal, richly eclectic, and extremely well-researched book whose style and humor, combined with its rigor, suggest the potential for popularity even beyond the fascinations of this self-confessed whalehead. Who could not warm to a chapter titled ‘Gulls, Sea-Ravens, and Albatrosses’ or ‘Sword-Fish and Lively Grounds,’ or be intrigued by ‘Phosphorescence’? There’s a Melvillean romance here, and it sits especially well with King’s love and empathy for human as well as natural history. A contemporary, witty, almost postmodern field guide.” Philip Hoare, author of RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR, The Sea Inside, Leviathan or, The Whale.
Sarah Dry “Waters of the World: The Story of the Scientists Who Unraveled the Mysteries of Our Oceans, Atmosphere, and Ice Sheets and Made the Planet Whole” OCTOBER 2019
From the glaciers of the Alps to the towering cumulonimbus clouds of the Caribbean and the unexpectedly chaotic flows of the North Atlantic, Waters of the World is a tour through 150 years of the history of a significant but underappreciated idea: that the Earth has a global climate system made up of interconnected parts, constantly changing on all scales of both time and space. A prerequisite for the discovery of global warming and climate change, this idea was forged by scientists studying water in its myriad forms. This is their story.
Linking the history of the planet with the lives of those who studied it, Sarah Dry follows the remarkable scientists who summited volcanic peaks to peer through an atmosphere’s worth of water vapor, cored mile-thick ice sheets to uncover the Earth’s ancient climate history, and flew inside storm clouds to understand how small changes in energy can produce both massive storms and the general circulation of the Earth’s atmosphere. Each toiled on his or her own corner of the planetary puzzle. Gradually, their cumulative discoveries coalesced into a unified working theory of our planet’s climate.
We now call this field climate science, and in recent years it has provoked great passions, anxieties, and warnings. But no less than the object of its study, the science of water and climate is—and always has been—evolving. By revealing the complexity of this history, Waters of the World delivers a better understanding of our planet’s climate at a time when we need it the most.
Sarah Dry is a writer and historian of science who has immersed herself in the history of meteorology and climate for more than ten years. She is the author of Curie and The Newton Papers: The Strange and True Odyssey of Isaac Newton’s Manuscripts. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she now lives in Oxford, UK, with her family, and is on the board of the Science Museum Group.
“Waters of the World sparkles with lyricism and wit. Dry is a gifted storyteller, and her research into the pre-history of Earth system science has turned up gripping tales of risk, adventure, defiance, and discovery. A unique and important book.” Deborah R. Coen, author of Climate in Motion: Science, Empire, and the Problem of Scale
Edward Parnell “Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country” OCTOBER 2019
What does it mean to be haunted? Why do certain places give us a sense of the uncanny? And should we run from the things that haunt us, or embrace them?
In his late thirties, the ghost story writer Edward Parnell found himself without a family. His parents had died in quick succession in his teens, before his beloved brother succumbed to the same disease years later. In his grief, he turned to his bookshelves.
In Ghostland, Parnell goes in search of the ‘sequestered places’ of the British Isles, our lonely moors, our moss-covered cemeteries, our barren shores and our mysterious and ancient woodlands. At the same time he explores how these places conjured and shaped a kaleidoscopic spectrum of our literature and cinema, from the ghost stories of MR James, Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood to Alan Garner and Susan Cooper’s fantasies, from WG Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn and Graham Swift’s Waterland to Robin Hardy’s ‘folk horror’ film The Wicker Man.
Ghostland is an evocative and moving exploration of what haunted these writers and artists, and what is it that is haunting him. It is a unique meditation on grief, memory and longing, and the magical power of stories and nature.
Edward Parnell lives near Norwich and has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. He has been the recipient of an Escalator Award from Writers’ Centre Norwich and a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship. His novel The Listeners was the winner of the Rethink New Novels Prize. Edward has previously worked for BirdLife International and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, and has written numerous natural history and conservation-related articles for various magazines and newspapers; he has also worked extensively in television and media production, and as a freelance editor and copywriter.
I have learned many words for ‘island’: isle, atoll, eyot, islet, or skerry. They exist in archipelagos or alone, and always, by definition, I have understood them by their relation to water. But the Chinese word for island knows nothing of water. For a civilisation grown inland from the sea, the vastness of mountains was a better analogue: (dao, ‘island’) built from the relationship between earth and sky.
Between tectonic plates and conflicting cultures, Taiwan is an island of extremes: high mountains, exposed flatlands, thick forests. After unearthing a hidden memoir of her grandfather’s life, written on the cusp of his total memory loss, Jessica J Lee hunts his story, in parallel with exploring Taiwan, hoping to understand the quakes that brought her family from China, to Taiwan and Canada, and the ways in which our human stories are interlaced with geographical forces. Part-nature writing, part-biography, Two Trees Make a Forest traces the natural and human stories that shaped an island and a family.
Jessica J. Lee is a British-Canadian-Taiwanese author, environmental historian, and winner of the RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Author Award. She received a doctorate in environmental history and aesthetics in 2016, and her first book, Turning, was published in 2017. Jessica is the founding editor of The Willowherb Review. She lives in Berlin.
Eerie, unsettling and hauntingly beautiful – a new collaboration from the bestselling creators of Holloway
‘Ness goes beyond what we expect books to do. Beyond poetry, beyond the word, beyond the bomb — it is an aftertime song. It is dark, ever so dark, nimble and lethal. It is a triumphant libretto of mythic modernism for our poisoned age. Ness is something else, and feels like it always has been’ Max Porter, Booker-longlisted author of Lanny and Grief is the Thing with Feathers
Somewhere on a salt-and-shingle island, inside a ruined concrete structure known as The Green Chapel, a figure called The Armourer is leading a black mass with terrible intent.
But something is coming to stop him.
Five more-than-human forms are traversing land, sea and time towards The Green Chapel, moving to the point where they will converge and become Ness. Ness has lichen skin and willow-bones. Ness is made of tidal drift, green moss and deep time. Ness has hagstones for eyes and speaks only in birds. And Ness has come to take this island back.
What happens when land comes to life? What would it take for land to need to come to life? Using word and image, Robert Macfarlane and Stanley Donwood have together made a minor modern myth. Part-novella, part-prose-poem, part-mystery play, in Ness their skills combine to dazzling, troubling effect.
Robert Macfarlane is the author of The Lost Words with Jackie Morris, The Old Ways and Underland, among other books.
Stanley Donwood is an artist and the author of Slowly Downward and Household Worms. His next books are There Will Be No Quiet and Bad Island.
This outstanding new handbook to whales, dolphins and porpoises is the most comprehensive, authoritative and up-to-date guide to these popular mammals. With nearly 1,000 accurate illustrations – complete with detailed annotations pointing out the most significant field marks – this new handbook covers all 90 species and every subspecies in the world.
Many of the world’s most respected whale biologists have collaborated on the concise text, which is packed with helpful identification tips from cetacean expert, Mark Carwardine. Mark’s informative text is accompanied by up-to-date distribution maps and photographs for each species. Beautifully designed, to ensure critical information is quickly accessible, this is an indispensable resource that every whale-watcher will want to carry out to sea.
A powerful debut novel that delicately blends Hawaiian myth with the broken American dream.
In 1994 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores is saved from drowning by a shiver of sharks. His family, struggling to make ends meet amidst the collapse of the sugar cane industry, hails his rescue as a sign of favour from ancient Hawaiian gods.But as time passes, this hope gives way to economic realities, forcing Nainoa and his siblings to seek salvation across the continental United States, leaving behind home and family.With a profound command of language, Washburn’s powerful debut novel examines what it means to be both of a place, and a stranger in it.
Kawai Strong Washburn was born and raised on the Hamakua coast of Hawaii. His short fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s, Electric Literature and The Best American Nonrequired Reading, among others. He has received scholarships from the Tin House and Bread Loaf writer’s workshops and has worked in software and as a climate policy advocate. He lives in California with his wife and daughters. Sharks in the Time of Saviours is his debut novel.
Molly Aitken “The Island Child” JANUARY 2020
On the night of a terrible storm, Oona is cut from her mother and welcomed with joy to the remote Irish island of Inis. Not far away, on a deserted beach, a woman pushes out a boy.
Oona becomes drawn to wild Felim and his ousted mother, increasingly tangled in their erratic lives on the precipice of the island’s deeply Catholic and superstitious community. The gossips say that the mother and son are related to the fairies, and fear escalates when dark secrets are spun. As the magic of this strange boy grows, an extraordinary bond is created that will ricochet dangerously across Oona’s life.
Thirty-six years later, when her own daughter vanishes, Oona is forced to face the past she tried to escape in one last attempt to build a bridge between her and her lost child.
Woven through with the myth of Persephone, this is a haunting and magical tale of motherhood, desire, loss and the healing power of stories. The Island Child is a novel for readers of Megan Hunter, Sarah Perry, Eowyn Ivey, Edna O’Brien and Jeanette Winterson.
Molly Aitken was born in Scotland in 1991 and brought up in Ireland. She studied Literature and Classics at Galway University and has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa. She was shortlisted for Writing Magazine’s fairy tale retelling prize 2016, and has a story in the Irish Imbas 2017 Short Story Collection. Currently, she works as an editor and ghostwriter and lives in Sheffield. The Island Child is her debut novel.
From cult graphic designer and long-time Radiohead collaborator Stanley Donwood comes a starkly beautiful graphic novel about the end of the world.
A wild seascape, a distant island, a full moon. Gradually the island grows nearer until we land on a primeval wilderness, rich in vegetation and huge, strange beasts. Time passes and man appears, with clubs, with spears, with crueller weapons still – and things do not go well for the wilderness. Civilization rises as towers of stone and metal and smoke, choking the undergrowth and the creatures who once moved through it. This is not a happy story and it will not have a happy ending.
Working in his distinctive, monochromatic lino-cut style, Stanley Donwood carves out a mesmerizing, stark parable on environmentalism and the history of humankind.
‘I’ve read lots of his stuff and it’s always good and I am in no way biased’ Thom Yorke, lead singer of Radiohead
Steve Mentz “Ocean” MARCH 2020
Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.
The ocean comprises the largest object on our planet. Steve Mentz’s Ocean shows us that retelling human history from an oceanic rather than terrestrial point of view disorients familiar stories and creates a new sense of our relationship with nature. Unlike conventional stories that describe civilizations made through agricultural settlement or violent conquest, in the ocean humans labor more vulnerably as either sailors or swimmers. Our engagement with the planet’s waters can be destructive, as with today’s deluge of plastic trash and acidification, but the discrepancy between small bodies and vast seas also emphasizes the frailty of human experience.
Embracing the omnipresence of salt water in human history, Ocean combines history, myth, poetry, and narrative in order to revise the human story on a nonhuman scale.
From ancient stories of shipwrecked sailors to the containerized future of 21st-century commerce, Ocean splashes the histories we thought we knew into an unfamiliar context.
Steve Mentz is Professor of English at St John’s University, USA. He is the author of three books, including Shipwreck Modernity: Ecologies of Globalization, 1550 – 1719 (2015), and the editor of four books. His maritime research has been supported by the Folger Shakespeare Library, the John Carter Brown Library, Mystic Seaport, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Maritime Museum in London.