10 books like Maiden Voyage

By Tania Aebi,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Maiden Voyage. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Lands of Lost Borders

By Kate Harris,

Book cover of Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road

I’m more of a spin class person than a “cycle thousands of miles through Central Asia” person, but I loved reading about Kate Harris’s months tracing the Silk Road by bicycle in 2011. She doesn’t sugarcoat the hardships of such an undertaking (rain, snow, mountains, traffic, logistics, bureaucracy, scary humans, forbidden Chinese border crossings, friction with the friend who’s riding with her), which makes her human as well as brave, tough, funny, and brilliant. Books like this make huge travel projects seem possible, and even if I’ll never do anything on this scale, I love imagining such epic experiences.

Lands of Lost Borders

By Kate Harris,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lands of Lost Borders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Lands of Lost Borders carried me up into a state of openness and excitement I haven't felt for years. It's a modern classic."-Pico Iyer

A brilliant, fierce writer, and winner of the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize, makes her debut with this enthralling travelogue and memoir of her journey by bicycle along the Silk Road-an illuminating and thought-provoking fusion of The Places in Between, Lab Girl, and Wild that dares us to challenge the limits we place on ourselves and the natural world.

As a teenager, Kate Harris realized that the career she craved-to be an explorer, equal parts swashbuckler and…


West with the Night

By Beryl Markham,

Book cover of West with the Night: A Memoir

Beryl Markham was a bush pilot in Africa during the early years of aviation. She is a marvelous writer and an adventurous soul. Ernest Hemingway wrote of her: “Did you read Beryl Markham’s book? I knew her fairly well in Africa and never would have suspected that she could put pen to paper except to write in her flyer’s log book. As it is, she has written so well, and marvelously well, that I am completely ashamed of myself as a writer.... She can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves writers.”

Hemingway is right. This is the best written travel book I’ve read. I grew up in what is now called South Sudan, not far from Kenya where Markham grew up. Her writing brings back the land and people, the weather and hardships, the beauty of that land and its lonely skies.

West with the Night

By Beryl Markham,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked West with the Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WEST WITH THE NIGHT appeared on 13 bestseller lists on first publication in 1942. It tells the spellbinding story of Beryl Markham -- aviator, racehorse trainer, fascinating beauty -and her life in the Kenya of the 1920s and 30s.

Markham was taken to Kenya at the age of four. As an adult she was befriended by Denys Finch-Hatton, the big-game hunter of OUT OF AFRICA fame, who took her flying in his airplane. Thrilled by the experience, Markham went on to become the first woman in Kenya to receive a commercial pilot's license.

In 1936 she determined to fly solo…


Pirates!

By Celia Rees,

Book cover of Pirates!

Pirates! Historical fiction for young adults and anyone who enjoys a sea story with twists and turns aplenty, this novel begins in Bristol, England in the eighteenth century. Nancy Kingston’s father is a shipowner whose money comes from sugar plantations and enslaved labor in Jamaica. A tragedy makes sixteen-year-old Nancy his heiress; her brothers send her to the West Indies to marry. But life takes a surprising turn; she and the enslaved maid Minerva, escape to become pirates in the Caribbean. If you’re looking for an absorbing, multicultural tale of girls who go in search of adventure and freedom amidst the horrors of plantation life, this is a must-read. According to the author the novel is based on a true story, which makes it even more fascinating. 

Pirates!

By Celia Rees,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Pirates! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of the bestselling and award-winning WITCH CHILD, comes another outstanding historical novel.

When two young women meet under extraordinary circumstances in the eighteenth-century West Indies, they are unified in their desire to escape their oppressive lives. The first is a slave, forced to work in a plantation mansion and subjected to terrible cruelty at the hands of the plantation manager. The second is a spirited and rebellious English girl, sent to the West Indies to marry well.

But fate ensures that one night the two young women have to save each other and run away to a…


My Ship Is So Small

By Ann Davison,

Book cover of My Ship Is So Small

It’s not just that Ann Davison crossed the rough Atlantic alone in her twenty-three-foot yacht, the Felicity Ann, it’s that this solo crossing, in stages, took place in 1952-3. Ann Davison, middle-aged and widowed, took her heart in her hands and set off from Plymouth, England, to find “the key to living.” The boat was sturdy but the ocean was big, and it was winter.  A lot of the logbook reads “Wretched night” or “Squalls” or “Incessant scream of the wind,” but you know she’s going to get through it. In its humorous, modest, courageous way, this book continues to be my favorite seafaring story. Even though I would never ever try the same thing. 

My Ship Is So Small

By Ann Davison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Ship Is So Small as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Bold in Her Breeches

By Jo Stanley (editor),

Book cover of Bold in Her Breeches: Woman Pirates Across the Ages

When I was a little girl I wanted to grow up to be a pirate, and women pirates in particular inspired me. They still do. This collection expands on some of the well-known pirates like Ann Bonny, Mary Read, and Grace O’Malley, and brings diversity with tales of non-European pirates who ruled fleets of ships. When I’m writing my pirates, I can look at the historical record and know that while my work is fiction, there’s plenty of historical evidence for women seizing command and carrying the day.

Bold in Her Breeches

By Jo Stanley (editor),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Bold in Her Breeches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As far back as 480 BC, when Artemisia commanded her Greek trireme, women have taken to the high seas in pursuit of life and liberty. Simultaneously revered and reviled by superstitious male mariners, the realities of these women pirates' lives have been lost in a murky fog of sexual and racial preconceptions.
Bold in her Breeches takes a wholly fresh look at these mythical figures and places them in their true historical and cultural contexts. From Artemisia to the contemporary women pirates of today, via eighteenth-century Grace O'Malley and nineteenth-century Cheng I Sao, we learn why women took to piracy,…


She Captains

By Joan Druett, Ron Druett (illustrator),

Book cover of She Captains: Heroines and Hellions of the Sea

Joan Druett is the dean of authors writing about women at sea. Her books bring to life not only the pirates and transgressive women, but the wives and daughters of sea captains who sailed alongside their men and shared the ship’s command and the global adventures. When I want good, historical data I turn to Druett and the tidbits she incorporates into her writing bring dry historical figures to life.

She Captains

By Joan Druett, Ron Druett (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked She Captains as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In an innovative look at maritime history from the female perspective, Joan Druett introduces a remarkable array of characters and re-creates their adventures with a captivating immediacy and wit. There are 'pirate queens' armed with cutlasses and pistols who strike fear into the hearts of sailors. There are sea-loving women and women eager to be with the men they loved, who dress as men and join unsuspecting crews where they serve with honour and daring. The brave housekeepers and rescue workers are here too - including twenty year old Grace Darling, whose rescue of nine castaways in 1838 inspired a…


State of Wonder

By Ann Patchett,

Book cover of State of Wonder

A kind of woman-driven answer to Heart of Darkness cast in modern-day Brazil, this dark and thought-provoking story had me enthralled from the first page. A pharmaceutical researcher, Dr. Marina Singh, journeys into the Amazon on a quest to find her vanished colleague, and on reaching a remote jungle village whose residents harbor a potentially world-transforming secret, she’s forced to reckon with questions of morality, fertility, and her own complicated past. I loved the dreamy, almost hallucinogenic setting and the imaginative premise, all contained within Patchett’s trademark lyrical yet straightforward prose style. 

State of Wonder

By Ann Patchett,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked State of Wonder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION There were people on the banks of the river. Among the tangled waterways and giant anacondas of the Brazilian Rio Negro, an enigmatic scientist is developing a drug that could alter the lives of women for ever. Dr Annick Swenson's work is shrouded in mystery; she refuses to report on her progress, especially to her investors, whose patience is fast running out. Anders Eckman, a mild-mannered lab researcher, is sent to investigate. A curt letter reporting his untimely death is all that returns. Now Marina Singh, Anders' colleague and once a student of…


Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube

By Blair Braverman,

Book cover of Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North

I love cold, northern places and dogs, and, if you haven’t already noticed, warts-and-all stories about women finding strength they didn’t know they had in the wilderness. Blair Braverman’s memoir checks all these boxes. As a teenager, she goes to a folk school in the Norwegian Arctic and learns to work with sled dogs, something she later continues as a guide in Alaska. (Braverman is now a professional musher and has run the Iditarod.) The book’s subtitle is Chasing Fear and Finding Home In the Great White North, and Braverman is unsparing in her exploration of fear rooted in both the human and natural world. I read this book on a series of airplanes in one long travel day, and I’m still reminded of it every time I see Braverman’s delightful Twitter stories about her dogs.

Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube

By Blair Braverman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rich and revelatory memoir of a young woman reclaiming her courage in the stark landscapes of the north.

By the time Blair Braverman was eighteen, she had left her home in California, moved to arctic Norway to learn to drive sled dogs, and found work as a tour guide on a glacier in Alaska. Determined to carve out a life as a “tough girl”—a young woman who confronts danger without apology—she slowly developed the strength and resilience the landscape demanded of her. 

By turns funny and sobering, bold and tender, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube brilliantly recounts Braverman’s…


The Fires

By Joe Flood,

Book cover of The Fires: How a Computer Formula, Big Ideas, and the Best of Intentions Burned Down New York City--and Determined the Future of Cities

My copy of this book has so many dog-eared pages and “!”s scrawled in the margins that it’s almost ridiculous. This is the story of how, in the 1960s, New York City and the RAND Corporation used algorithmic modeling to decide where to locate fire stations in the city. It was pretty much a disaster: because of the choices the modelers made about what to measure and how to measure it, they ended up cutting services to many of the poorest neighborhoods in NYC. Joe Flood is a journalist, and it shows—this book is stunning in how it combines the stories of human beings with crystal-clear accounts of the technical decisions made by the computing “whiz kids.”

The Fires

By Joe Flood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York City, 1968. The RAND Corporation had presented an alluring proposal to a city on the brink of economic collapse: Using RAND's computer models, which had been successfully implemented in high-level military operations, the city could save millions of dollars by establishing more efficient public services. The RAND boys were the best and brightest, and bore all the sheen of modern American success. New York City, on the other hand, seemed old-fashioned, insular, and corrupt-and the new mayor was eager for outside help, especially something as innovative and infallible as "computer modeling." A deal was struck: RAND would begin…


Trick Arrr Treat

By Leslie Kimmelman, Jorge Monlongo (illustrator),

Book cover of Trick Arrr Treat: A Pirate Halloween

I recommend this raucous tale because it combines two kid favorites (and, let’s be honest, two of my favorites): pirates and Halloween! I thoroughly enjoyed the stomping, clomping, romping rhyme and the refrain young readers will eagerly repeat—“We be pirates. Trick arrr treat!” The fact that the book features an inclusive cast of characters is an added bonus. All these things combine to make this book a marvelous choice for a fun, engaging pirate or Halloween-themed storytime.

Trick Arrr Treat

By Leslie Kimmelman, Jorge Monlongo (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Charlotte Blue-Tongue, Peg-Leg Pete, Glass-Eyed Gabby, and their friends swashbuckle through the streets demanding loot and treasure from their neighbors in this Halloween pirate tale. As their world transforms from neighborhood to pirate's lagoon, they shout, "We be pirates. TRICK ARRR TREAT!" But what's lurking in the shadows? Are the pirates brave enough to defend their treasure?


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in New York City, piracy, and the Lower East Side?

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