Upcoming

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.

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Tim Dee “Greenery: Journeys in the Springtime” MARCH 2020

A masterpiece of nature writing from the author of The Running Sky.

One December, in midsummer South Africa, Tim Dee was watching swallows. They were at home there, but the same birds would soon begin journeying north to Europe, where their arrival marks the beginning of spring.

Between the winter and the summer solstice in Europe, spring moves north at about the speed of swallow flight. That is also close to human walking pace. In the light of these happy coincidences, Greenery recounts how Tim Dee tries to travel with the season and its migratory birds, making remarkable journeys to keep in step with the very best days of the year, the time of buds and blossoms and leafing, the time of song and nests and eggs. After South Africa, we follow European migrants staging in Chad and Ethiopia, and on across the colossal and incomprehensible Sahara. We accompany storks venturing the Straits of Gibraltar, honey buzzards dodging Sicilian hunters, and tiny landbirds finding haven on the curious island of Heligoland. A diary of the spring spreading through Britain with a magic trinity of oak-tree-loving birds interleaves the continental greening. We read of other determined spring-seekers: D. H. Lawrence and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. We hear from a Sámi reindeer herder, a barn-dwelling swallow-devotee, an Egyptian taxi driver, a chronobiologist in arctic Norway. There are bears and boars and bog-bodies too.

Greenery is a masterpiece of nature writing, deeply informed, expansive and often profoundly beautiful. Tim Dee’s journey ends where the greenery of the European spring ends: on the shores of the Arctic Ocean in northern Scandinavia, where, yes, there are swallows in midsummer as there were at the Cape of Good Hope in December.

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Julia Baird “Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder & Things that Sustain You When the World Goes Dark” MARCH 2020

A beautiful, intimate and inspiring investigation into how we can find and nurture within ourselves that essential quality of internal happiness – the ‘light within’ that Julia Baird calls ‘phosphorescence’ – which will sustain us even through the darkest times.

Over the last decade, we have become better at knowing what brings us contentment, well-being and joy. We know, for example, that there are a few core truths to science of happiness. We know that being kind and altruistic makes us happy, that turning off devices, talking to people, forging relationships, living with meaning and delving into the concerns of others offer our best chance at achieving happiness. But how do we retain happiness? It often slips out of our hands as quickly as we find it. So, when we are exposed to, or learn, good things, how do we continue to burn with them?

And more than that, when our world goes dark, when we’re overwhelmed by illness or heartbreak, loss or pain, how do we survive, stay alive or even bloom? In the muck and grit of a daily existence full of disappointments and a disturbing lack of control over many of the things that matter most – finite relationships, fragile health, fraying economies, a planet in peril – how do we find, nurture and carry our own inner, living light – a light to ward off the darkness?

Absorbing, achingly beautiful, inspiring and deeply moving, Julia Baird has written exactly the book we need for these times.

Julia Baird is a globally renowned author and award-winning journalist. She hosts The Drum on ABC TV and writes columns for The New York Times and The Sydney Morning Herald. After the publication of her first book, Media Tarts – based on her history PhD on the portrayal of female politicians – she moved to the United States to take up a fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2007, she became senior editor of Newsweek in New York. Her work has earned her four Walkley Our Watch awards, a Walkley Award for team election reporting, and two further Walkley nominations. Julia’s biography of Queen Victoria was published in several countries to critical acclaim and was one of The New York Times’ top ten books of 2016. She lives near the sea with two children, a tyrannical cat and an abnormally large dog.

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David Farrier “Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils” MARCH 2020

A profound meditation on climate change and the Anthropocene and an urgent search for the fossils―industrial, chemical, geological―that humans are leaving behind.

What will the world look like in ten thousand years―or ten million? What kinds of stories will be told about us?

In Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils, the award-winning author David Farrier explores the traces we will leave for the very distant future. Modern civilization has created objects and landscapes with the potential to endure through deep time, whether it is plastic polluting the oceans and nuclear waste sealed within the earth or the 30 million miles of roads spanning the planet. Our carbon could linger in the atmosphere for 100,000 years, and the remains of our cities will still exist millions of years from now as a layer in the rock. These future fossils have the potential to reveal much about how we lived in the twenty-first century.

Crossing the boundaries of literature, art, and science, Footprints invites us to think about how we will be remembered in the myths and stories of our distant descendants. Traveling from the Baltic Sea to the Great Barrier Reef, and from an ice-core laboratory in Tasmania to Shanghai, one of the world’s biggest cities, Farrier describes a world that is changing rapidly, with consequences beyond the scope of human understanding. As much a message of hope as a warning, Footprints will not only alter how you think about the future; it will change how you see the world today.

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Gillen D’Arcy Wood “Land of Wondrous Cold: The Race to Discover Antarctica and Unlock the Secrets of its Ice” MARCH 2020

A gripping history of the polar continent, from the great discoveries of the nineteenth century to modern scientific breakthroughs.

Antarctica, the ice kingdom hosting the South Pole, looms large in the human imagination. The secrets of this vast frozen desert have long tempted explorers, but its brutal climate and glacial shores notoriously resist human intrusion. Land of Wondrous Cold tells a gripping story of the pioneering nineteenth-century voyages, when British, French, and American commanders raced to penetrate Antarctica’s glacial rim for unknown lands beyond. These intrepid Victorian explorers―James Ross, Dumont D’Urville, and Charles Wilkes―laid the foundation for our current understanding of Terra Australis Incognita.

Today, the white continent poses new challenges, as scientists race to uncover Earth’s climate history, which is recorded in the south polar ice and ocean floor, and to monitor the increasing instability of the Antarctic ice cap, which threatens to inundate coastal cities worldwide. Interweaving the breakthrough research of the modern Ocean Drilling Program with the dramatic discovery tales of their Victorian forerunners, Gillen D’Arcy Wood describes Antarctica’s role in a planetary drama of plate tectonics, climate change, and species evolution stretching back more than thirty million years. An original, multifaceted portrait of the polar continent emerges, illuminating our profound connection to Antarctica in its past, present, and future incarnations.

A deep-time history of monumental scale, Land of Wondrous Cold brings the remotest of worlds within close reach―an Antarctica vital to both planetary history and human fortunes.

Gillen D’Arcy Wood is professor of environmental humanities at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he serves as associate director of the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and the Environment. He is the author of Tambora: The Eruption That Changed the World (Princeton). Originally from Australia, he lives in Urbana, Illinois, with his wife and two children.

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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.]

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Elisabeth Gifford “The Lost Lights of St Kilda” MARCH 2020

1927: When Fred Lawson takes a summer job on St Kilda, little does he realise that he has joined the last community to ever live on that beautiful, isolated island. Only three years later, St Kilda will be evacuated, the islanders near-dead from starvation. But for Fred, that summer – and the island woman, Chrissie, whom he falls in love with – becomes the very thing that sustains him in the years ahead.

1940: Fred has been captured behind enemy lines in France and finds himself in a prisoner-of-war camp. Beaten and exhausted, his thoughts return to the island of his youth and the woman he loved and lost. When Fred makes his daring escape, prompting a desperate journey across occupied territory, he is sustained by one thought only: finding his way back to her.

The Lost Lights of St Kilda is a sweeping love story that will cross oceans and decades. It is a moving and deeply vivid portrait of two lovers, a desolate island, and the extraordinary power of hope in the face of darkness.

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Rebecca Giggs “Fathoms: The World in the Whale” APRIL 2020

A stunning meditation on the awe-inspiring lives of whales, revealing what they can teach us about ourselves, our planet, and our relationship to other species.

What can whales reveal about our world today? When writer Rebecca Giggs encountered a humpback whale stranded on her local beachfront in Australia, she began to wonder how the lives of whales shed light on the condition of our seas. Fathoms: the world in the whale blends natural history, philosophy, and science to explore: How do whales experience ecological change? Will our connection to these storied animals be transformed by technology? What can observing whales teach us about the complexity, splendour, and fragility of life? In Fathoms, we learn about whales so rare they have never been named, whale songs that sweep across hemispheres in annual waves of popularity, and whales that have modified the chemical composition of our planet’s atmosphere. We travel to Japan to board the ships that hunt whales, and delve into the deepest seas to discover the plastic pollution now pervading their undersea environment.

In the spirit of Rachel Carson and Rebecca Solnit, Giggs gives us a vivid exploration of the natural world even as she addresses what it means to write about nature at a time of environmental crisis. With depth and clarity, Giggs outlines the challenges we face as we attempt to understand the perspectives of other living beings, and our own place on an evolving planet. Evocative and inspiring, Fathoms marks the arrival of an essential new voice.

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“Tales of Two Planets: Stories of Climate Change and Inequality in a Divided World” edited by John Freeman APRIL 2020

Building from his acclaimed anthology Tales of Two Americas, beloved writer and editor John Freeman draws together some of our greatest writers from around the world to help us see how the environmental crisis is hitting some of the most vulnerable communities where they live.

In the past five years, John Freeman, previously editor of Granta, has launched a celebrated international literary magazine, Freeman’s, and compiled two acclaimed anthologies that deal with income inequality as it is experienced, first in New York and then throughout the United States. In the course of this work, one major theme has come up repeatedly: how climate change is making already dire inequalities much worse, devastating further the already devastated. The effects of global warming are especially disruptive in less well-off nations, sending refugees to the US and elsewhere in the wealthier world, where they often encounter the problems that perennially face outsiders: lack of access to education, health care, decent housing, employment, and even basic nutrition.

But the problems of climate change are not restricted to those from the less developed world. American citizens are suffering too, as the stories of distress resulting from recent hurricanes testify: People who can’t sell their home because the building is on a flood plain, people who get displaced and cannot find work, and more. And this doesn’t even take on board the situation in much of the Caribbean, or south of the Rio Grande in Mexico and Central America.

Galvanized by his conversations with writers and activists around the world, Freeman has engaged with some of today’s most eloquent writers, many of whom hail from the places under the most acute stress. The response has been extraordinary: a literary all-points bulletin of fiction, essays, poems, and reportage. Margaret Atwood conjures with a dystopian future in three remarkable poems. Lauren Groff takes us to Florida; Edwidge Danticat to Haiti; Tahmima Anam to Bangladesh. Eka Kurniawan takes us to Indonesia and Chinelo Okparanta to Nigeria. As the anthology unfolds, clichés fall away and we are brought closer to the real, human truth of what is happening to our world, and the dystopia to which we are heading. These are news stories with the emphasis on story, about events that should be found in the headlines but often are not, about the most important crisis of our times.

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Gavin Francis “Island Dreams: Mapping an Obsession” May 2020

In Island Dreams, Gavin Francis journeys into our collective fascination with islands. He blends stories of his own travels with great voyages from literature and philosophical exploration, and he examines the place of islands and isolation in our collective consciousness.

Comparing the life of freedom of thirty years of extraordinary travel – from the Faroe Islands to the Aegean, from the Galapagos to the Andaman Islands – with a life of responsibility as a doctor, community member and parent approaching middle age, Island Dreams riffs on the twinned poles of rest and motion, independence and attachment, never more relevant than in today’s perennially connected world.

Beautifully illustrated with maps throughout, this is a celebration of human adventures in the world and within our minds.

Gavin Francis is an award-winning writer and GP. He is the author of four books of non-fiction, including Adventures in Human Being, which was a Sunday Times bestseller and won the Saltire Scottish Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award, and Empire Antarctica, which won Scottish Book of the Year in the SMIT Awards and was shortlisted for both the Ondaatje and Costa Prizes. He has written for the Guardian, The Times, the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books. His work is published in eighteen languages. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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James Bradley “Ghost Species” MAY 2020

When scientist Kate Garrard joins a secretive project to re-engineer the climate by resurrecting extinct species she becomes enmeshed in another, even more clandestine program to recreate our long-lost relatives, the Neanderthals. But when the first of the children, a girl called Eve, is born, Kate cannot bear the thought her growing up in a laboratory, and so elects to abduct her, and raise her alone.

Set against a backdrop of hastening climate catastrophe, Ghost Species is an exquisitely beautiful and deeply affecting exploration of connection and loss in the age of planetary trauma. For as Eve grows to adulthood she and Kate must face the question of who and what she is. Is she natural or artificial? Human or non-human? And perhaps most importantly, as civilization unravels around them, is Eve the ghost species, or are we?

James Bradley is the author of four novels, WrackThe Deep FieldThe Resurrectionist and Clade, and a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus. His books have won or been shortlisted for a number of major Australian and international literary awards and have been widely translated.

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Patrick Baker “The Unremembered Places: Exploring Scotland’s Wild Histories” MAY 2020

There are strange relics hidden across Scotland’s landscape: forgotten places that are touchstones to incredible stories and past lives which still resonate today. Yet why are so many of these ‘wild histories’ unnoticed and overlooked? And what can they tell us about our own modern identity?

From the high mountain passes of an ancient droving route to a desolate moorland graveyard, from uninhabited post-industrial islands and Clearance villages to caves explored by early climbers and the mysterious strongholds of Christian missionaries, Patrick Baker makes a series of journeys on foot and by paddle. Along the way, he encounters Neolithic settlements, bizarre World War Two structures, evidence of illicit whisky production, sacred wells and Viking burial grounds.

Combining a rich fusion of travelogue and historical narrative, he threads themes of geology, natural and social history, literature, and industry from the places he visits, discovering connections between people and place more powerful than can be imagined.

Patrick Baker has worked in the publishing industry for many years and is currently writer for an investment management company. He is a keen outdoor enthusiast and has walked and climbed throughout Scotland and Europe. He is the author of The Cairngorms: A Secret History.

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Lisa Woollett “Rag and Bone: A Family History of What We’ve Thrown Away” JUNE 2020

From relics of Georgian empire-building and slave-trading, through Victorian London’s barged-out refuse to 1980s fly-tipping and the pervasiveness of present-day plastics, Rag and Bone traces the story of our rubbish, and, through it, our history of consumption.

In a series of beachcombing and mudlarking walks – beginning in the Thames in central London, then out to the Kentish estuary and eventually the sea around Cornwall – Lisa Woollett also tells the story of her family, a number of whom made their living from London’s waste, and who made a similar journey downriver from the centre of the city to the sea.

A beautifully written but urgent mixture of social history, family memoir and nature writing, Rag and Bone is a book about what we can learn from what we’ve thrown away – and a call to think more about what we leave behind.

Lisa Woollett’s family have found value in what is thrown away for generations – her great-grandfather was a scavenger and her grandfather was a dustman, while she herself has been a beachcomber all her life, and in recent years has taken photographs of her beach and river finds. She is the author of two award-winning photography books about the sea, and Rag and Bone won a Royal Society of Literature Giles St Aubyn Award for Non-Fiction. She has lived in Cornwall with her family since 2004, in a house shared with buckets and boxes of shore finds.

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Anna MacDonald “A Jealous Tide” JULY 2020

A restless woman upends her world, abandoning her domestic inertia to seek refuge in a foreign hemisphere. Purposefully unsettled on the labyrinthine streets of London, she assembles a new routine amid the afterglow of a story from a century earlier. A traumatised widow, doubly bereaved, threw herself into the icy Thames. A shell-shocked soldier, heading home from war, gave himself to the depths to save her. Now disoriented by slippages in time as well as place, the woman begins imagining her own presence in the lives of these two strangers entwined by fate. But as her days blur together, as her intrigue becomes obsession, and as her sympathies grow to encompass all manner of souls lost to water–drowned, shipwrecked, cast adrift, or driven to the poles of the planet–she feels her restlessness returning with all the power of a tide in flood.

In this mesmerising début novel, Anna MacDonald finds a language of perpetual motion for an almost static experience of interior life. Lyrical, lilting, and melodious, her gentle words rise into rhythms that surge forth, then break and recede, leaving treasures in their wake. Hers is the poetry of alienation embodied: corporeal and sensory, spatial and recursive, making magic from a tilt of the head, a turn of the gaze, a stride, a halt, an interplay of gesture and orientation. In her dizzying proliferation of spirals and orbits, trajectories and bearings, her every sentence is a search for traction on a world that bewilders anew with every daily revolution.

Anna MacDonald is a writer and bookseller based in Melbourne, Australia.

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Sarah Moss “Summerwater” AUGUST 2020

‘Sharp, searching, thoroughly imagined, utterly of the moment . . . it throws much contemporary writing into the shade’ Hilary Mantel

From the acclaimed author of Ghost WallSummerwater is a devastating story told over twenty-four hours in the Scottish highlands, and a searing exploration of our capacity for both kinship and cruelty in these divided times.

On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents.

A woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a retired couple reminisce about neighbours long since moved on; a teenage boy braves the dark waters of the loch in his red kayak. Each person is wrapped in their own cares but increasingly alert to the makeshift community around them. One particular family, a mother and daughter without the right clothes or the right manners, starts to draw the attention of the others. Tensions rise and all watch on, unaware of the tragedy that lies ahead as night finally falls.

‘Nothing escapes her sly humour and brilliant touch. Deft and brimming with life, Summerwater is a novel of endless depth. A masterpiece.’ Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist

Sarah Moss is the author of seven novels and a memoir of her year living in Iceland, Names for the Sea, shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize. Her novels are Cold EarthNight WakingBodies of Light (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize), Signs for Lost Children (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize), The Tidal Zone (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize) and Ghost Wall, which was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2019. Sarah was born in Glasgow and grew up in the north of England. After moving between Oxford, Canterbury, Reykjavik and West Cornwall, she now lives in the Midlands and is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Warwick.