Deep Dive : 5 Best Reads on the ocean

Did you know that the ocean is the last, vast wilderness on earth? That the mystery of the sea resonates with cultures all over the world? Take a deep dive with author and swimmer, Bonnie Tsui to find out what about the water draws us in –  these are just some of the compelling stories to devour in the five ocean-themed books selected by Philip Blackwell of Ultimate Library. 


1. The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch

Charles Arrowby is determined to spend the rest of his days in hermit-like contemplation, so he buys a mysteriously damp house on the coast, far from the heady world of the theatre where he made his name. But when he encounters his childhood sweetheart Hartley, instead of ‘learning to be good’, Charles proceeds to demonstrate how very bad he can be.

The Sea, The Sea


2. How to Read Water by Tristan Gooley

From wild swimming in Sussex to wayfinding in Oman, via the icy mysteries of the Arctic, Tristan Gooley draws on his pioneering journeys to reveal the secrets of ponds, puddles, rivers, oceans and to equip us all with the skills that we need to read the lifeforce that is all around us.

The Water


3. The Boundless Sea by David Abulafia

Following merchants, explorers, pirates, cartographers and travellers in their quests for spices, gold, ivory, slaves, land and knowledge, David Abulafia has created an extraordinary narrative of humanity and the oceans in this fabulous book. The Boundless Sea shows how maritime networks came to form a continuum of interaction and interconnection across the globe.

The Boundless Sea


4. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia from the Western Front and becomes the lighthouse keeper on the island of Janus Rock. He and his wife Isabel yearn for a child, but after two miscarriages and a stillbirth, a miracle comes in the form of a bundle in a boat that drifts ashore. Years later, the couple visit the mainland with their daughter, a choice that plunges their existence into chaos.

The Light Between Oceans


5. Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life by Peter Godfrey-Smith

A compilation of all the things Candice wishes someone had talked to her In Other Minds, Peter Godfrey-Smith, a distinguished philosopher of science and a skilled scuba diver, tells a bold new story of how nature became aware of itself – a story that largely occurs in the ocean, where animals first appeared. Tracking the development from a ball of cells under the water’s surface to an intricate creature, we discover the details of the inner ocean.

Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life

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