The best books about saving the oceans

Why am I passionate about this?

Travels to the Arctic and Antarctic and time spent alongside researching counting Magellanic penguins in Argentina have inspired not only The Tourist Trail but a life spent advocating for animals. The oceans may appear vast and impenetrable but they are fragile, and we need to act now to protect the many species who call these waters home. The books here not only expose the crisis we face but highlight those people and organizations who have dedicated their lives to protecting our planet and its many residents. It’s not too late to make a difference and I hope these books inspire you to lend your voice and energy to the fight.


I wrote...

Book cover of The Tourist Trail

What is my book about?

The Tourist Trail is an environmental thriller about endangered species in the world's most remote waters and the people who put their lives on the line to protect them. Against the backdrop of the Southern Ocean, the novel weaves together the stories of Angela, a penguin researcher based in southern Argentina, Robert, an FBI agent in pursuit of an anti-whaling activist known as Aeneas; and Ethan Downes, a computer tech whose love for a passionate animal rights activist draws him into a dangerous mission among the icebergs of Antarctica.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Hooked: Pirates, Poaching, and the Perfect Fish

John Yunker Why did I love this book?

If you’ve ever considered eating “sustainably” fished seafood, this book will open your eyes to the fact that there is no such thing as truly sustainable fishing. Through stories of modern-day, high-seas piracy, you’ll get a better understanding of how rogue fishing vessels will go anywhere, legal or otherwise, to make a profit. And that one of many reasons why fish species are in great decline everywhere. But this is a demand-driven problem, which means we all have a role to play in solving it.

By G. Bruce Knecht,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hooked as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This modern pirate yarn has all the makings of a great true adventure tale and is also an exploration of the ways our culinary tastes have all manner of unintended consequences for the world around us.

Hooked is a story about the poaching of the Patagonian toothfish (known to gourmands as Chilean Sea Bass) and is built around the pursuit of the illegal fishing vessel Viarsa by an Australian patrol boat, Southern Supporter, in one of the longest pursuits in maritime history.

Author G. Bruce Knecht chronicles how an obscure fish merchant in California "discovered" and renamed the fish, kicking…


Book cover of My Last Continent

John Yunker Why did I love this book?

Few novels capture the thrills and the dangers of living in Antarctica amidst penguins, icebergs, and tourist vessels. Midge Raymond (who is my partner) has written a powerful novel that is more than just a romance between researchers, it is a cautionary tale about the precariousness of our world. For anyone considering (or dreaming) of a cruise to Antarctica, this is a must-read novel.

By Midge Raymond,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked My Last Continent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This unforgettable debut, set against the dramatic Antarctic landscape, is “refreshingly different, vivid and immediate. Midge Raymond has an extraordinary gift for description that puts the reader bang in the middle of its dangerous and endangered world” (M.L. Stedman, New York Times bestselling author of The Light Between Oceans).

It is only among the glacial mountains, cleaving icebergs, and frigid waters of Antarctica that Deb Gardener and Keller Sullivan feel at home. For a few blissful weeks each year they study the habits of Emperor and Adelie penguins and find solace in their work and in one another. But Antarctica,…


Book cover of What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins

John Yunker Why did I love this book?

I was raised to think fish do not feel pain. When I hooked my first fish, a rock bass, as a young boy, I was initially proud of my catch. But when I went to carve the fish and felt the eyes looking up at me, I experienced very different feelings: guilt and regret. It turns out that, so many years later, scientists are telling us that fish do feel pain, that they are highly intelligent in ways that we are only just beginning to understand. Hopefully, this book will open eyes and hearts and convince people that seafood is not just unsustainable but cruel.

By Jonathan Balcombe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked What a Fish Knows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

AS FEATURED IN SEASPIRACY

An Observer Book of the Year 2017

A Sunday Times must read

A New York Times Bestseller

Endorsed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama - 'Balcombe vividly shows that fish have feelings and deserve consideration and protection like other sentient beings'

What's the truth behind the old adage that goldfish have a three-second memory? Do fishes think? Can they recognize the humans who peer back at them from above the surface of the water? Myth-busting biologist and animal behaviour expert Jonathan Balcombe takes us under the sea, through streams and estuaries to the other side of…


Book cover of Float: A Novel

John Yunker Why did I love this book?

A wry tale of financial desperation, conceptual art, insanity, infertility, seagulls, marital crisis, jellyfish, organized crime, and the plight of a plastic-filled ocean, JoeAnn Hart’s novel takes a smart, satirical look at family, the environment, and life in a hardscrabble seaside town in Maine. I am proud that Ashland Creek Press (which Midge Raymond and I founded in 2011) published this amazing novel.

By JoeAnn Hart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Float as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When everything around you is sinking, sometimes it takes desperate measures to stay afloat

When Duncan Leland looks down at the garbage-strewn beach beneath his office window, he sees the words God Help Us scrawled in the sand. While it seems a fitting message-not only is Duncan's business underwater, but his marriage is drowning as well-he goes down to the beach to erase it. Once there, he helps a seagull being strangled by a plastic six-pack holder-the only creature in worse shape than he is at the moment. Duncan rescues the seagull, not realizing that he's being filmed by a…


Book cover of The Whale Warriors: The Battle at the Bottom of the World to Save the Planet's Largest Mammals

John Yunker Why did I love this book?

Paul Watson, the founder of the Sea Shepherd Society, inspired the character of Aeneus in The Tourist Trail. This book was my introduction to Paul and his colleagues and the passions they share for the oceans and their residents. If you’ve watched the TV series Whale Wars then you are already familiar with the risks these volunteers take to protect whales and so many other species. Paul Watson has also written a number of books that are worth reading. Learn more at Sea Shepherd.

By Peter Heller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Whale Warriors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now with a new afterword by the author, the tenth-anniversary edition of Peter Heller’s “swashbuckling adventure” (Publishers Weekly) takes us on a hair-raising journey aboard a whale saving pirate ship with a vigilante crew whose mission is to stop illegal Japanese whaling in the stormy seas of Antarctica.

The Whale Warriors is an adventure story set in the far reaches of the globe. For two months in 2005, journalist Peter Heller was aboard the Farley Mowat as it stalked its prey—a Japanese whaling fleet—through the storms and ice of Antarctica. The little ship is black, flies under a jolly roger,…


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A Beggar's Bargain

By Jan Sikes,

Book cover of A Beggar's Bargain

Jan Sikes Author Of The Edge of Too Late

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Avid reader Lover of Music Astral Traveler Tarot Reader Grandmother

Jan's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Historical Fiction Post WW2.

A shocking proposal that changes everything.

Desperate to honor his father’s dying wish, Layken Martin vows to do whatever it takes to save the family farm.
Once the Army discharges him following World War II, Layken returns to Missouri to find his legacy in shambles and in jeopardy. A foreclosure notice from the bank doubles the threat. He appeals to the local banker for more time—a chance to rebuild, plant, and harvest crops and time to heal far away from the noise of bombs and gunfire.

But the banker firmly denies his request. Now what?

Then, the banker makes an alternative proposition—marry his unwanted daughter, Sara Beth, in exchange for a two-year extension. Out of options, money, and time, Layken agrees to the bargain.

Now, he has two years to make a living off the land while he shares his life with a stranger. If he fails at either, he’ll lose it all.

A Beggar's Bargain

By Jan Sikes,

What is this book about?

A shocking proposal that changes everything.

Desperate to honor his father's dying wish, Layken Martin vows to do whatever it takes to save the family farm.

Once the Army discharges him following World War II, Layken returns to Missouri to find his legacy in shambles and in jeopardy. A foreclosure notice from the bank doubles the threat. He appeals to the local banker for more time-a chance to rebuild, plant, and harvest crops and time to heal far away from the noise of bombs and gunfire.

But the banker firmly denies his request. Now what?

Then, the banker makes an…


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