The best sea books

Who picked these books? Meet our 22 experts.

22 authors created a book list connected to seas, and here are their favorite sea books.
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What type of sea book?


Rites of Passage

By William Golding,

Book cover of Rites of Passage

Peter Guttridge Author Of City of Dreadful Night

From the list on quartets and trilogies with unreliable narrators.

Who am I?

I’m fascinated by long stories where things aren’t exactly as they seem. Most crime fiction is secrets and lies and their eventual uncovering but most ‘literary’ fiction is too. For what it’s worth, I was a book reviewer for all the posh UK papers for about 15 years, including crime fiction critic for The Observer for twelve (so I’ve read far more crime novels than is healthy for anyone!). I’m a voracious reader and writer and I love making things more complicated for myself (and the reader) by coming up with stuff that I’ve then somehow got to fit together.  

Peter's book list on quartets and trilogies with unreliable narrators

Discover why each book is one of Peter's favorite books.

Why did Peter love this book?

William Golding surpassed his Lord of the Flies with these novels about a sea voyage to Australia in the early 19th century on a former man-of-war crammed with passengers and crew. In it he explores his usual theme—all that is good and (mostly) bad in human nature and how savagery can so easily erupt.  

Something dark happens in the cramped confines below deck, linked to Reverend Colley, an unhappy on-ship acquaintance of the young aristocrat, Edmund Talbot, who narrates the story via his diaries. 

Talbot sorts the dark secret to his own satisfaction but that’s an unreliable narrator for you! A dark cloud still hangs over the ship, despite some lightness, especially as the old vessel may flounder before it reaches Australia. Stunning—and stunning evocation of shipboard life.

By William Golding,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sailing to Australia in the early years of the nineteenth century, Edmund Talbot keeps a journal to amuse his godfather back in England. Full of wit and disdain, he records the mounting tensions on the ancient, stinking warship, where officers, sailors, soldiers and emigrants jostle in the crammed spaces below decks.Then a single passenger, the obsequious Reverend Colley, attracts the animosity of the sailors, and in the seclusion of the fo'castle something happens to bring him into a 'hell of self-degradation', where shame is a force deadlier than the sea itself.

Neptune's Laboratory

By Antony Adler,

Book cover of Neptune's Laboratory: Fantasy, Fear, and Science at Sea

Helen M. Rozwadowski Author Of Vast Expanses: A History of the Oceans

From the list on human's relationships with the underwater world.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated with the ocean starting when I was a kid growing up on the Great Lakes. While I sailed and swam in Lake Erie’s freshwater, I dreamed of and read about oceans. My career as a historian and writer has been dedicated to exploring the human relationship with the ocean, especially the underwater realm so often left out of maritime history and literature. My greatest joy is that other historians have joined my quest. The books I’ve selected include some I used as sources in writing ocean history and others by historians who are themselves plumbing the ocean’s depths. 

Helen's book list on human's relationships with the underwater world

Discover why each book is one of Helen's favorite books.

Why did Helen love this book?

The title Neptune’s Laboratory invokes knowledge of the oceans through science alongside the equally central role imagination has played in the human relationship with the sea. Antony Adler astutely observes how its mirror-like qualities encouraged scientists, politicians, and the public since the early 19th century to use the ocean to spin utopian fantasies and explore dystopian fears. Most importantly, he reminds readers that our propensity to fathom oceans to project the fate of the human species and our planet offers an important key: imagination could chart a course toward a better future.

By Antony Adler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Neptune's Laboratory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An eyewitness to profound change affecting marine environments on the Newfoundland coast, Antony Adler argues that the history of our relationship with the ocean lies as much in what we imagine as in what we discover.

We have long been fascinated with the oceans, seeking "to pierce the profundity" of their depths. In studying the history of marine science, we also learn about ourselves. Neptune's Laboratory explores the ways in which scientists, politicians, and the public have invoked ocean environments in imagining the fate of humanity and of the planet-conjuring ideal-world fantasies alongside fears of our species' weakness and ultimate…

Book cover of Seven Tears Into the Sea

Jacqueline E. Smith Author Of Cemetery Tours

From the list on supernatural books to read all year long.

Who am I?

I am an independent author, photographer, wildlife advocate, paranormal enthusiast, and cat mom living in Dallas, Texas. In 2012, I earned my Master's Degree in Art and Performance from the University of Texas at Dallas and have been pursuing my writing career ever since. I published my first book, Cemetery Tours, in 2013 and it will forever be the book that changed my life.

Jacqueline's book list on supernatural books to read all year long

Discover why each book is one of Jacqueline's favorite books.

Why did Jacqueline love this book?

A beautiful tale of first love, summer by the sea, and sexy supernatural boyfriends, Seven Tears Into the Sea is one of my favorite books of all time. Like Gwen, I’ve always felt called to the sea, though sadly, I’ve never been rescued by a beautiful selkie boy. Nor has one ever beckoned for me to return to him. But thanks to Seven Tears Into the Sea, I at least know what it would be like if one ever did. 

By Terri Farley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seven Tears Into the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beckon the sea,
I'll come to thee....
Shed seven tears,
perchance seven years....
At the age of ten, Gwen Cooke had a strange encounter with a boy with dark, slightly tilted eyes. He came to her on the beach, whispered strange words in her ear, and then disappeared. Shortly thereafter, her family moved away from their seaside home and Gwen never saw the boy again.
Now seventeen, Gwen is returning to her childhood home. Her nana asked her to come. But Gwen knows it's time to go back for another reason: She yearns for the sea. Perhaps the sea itself…


By Suzy Lee,

Book cover of Wave

Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick Author Of Owl Bat Bat Owl

From the list on silent or wordless books for kids.

Who am I?

As a picture book creator, I am always seeking to use as few words as possible – for me, the best picture books are those where the images do most of the storytelling. Wordless books take things a step further and totally engage the child in interpreting the story - the child becomes the story's voice. Wordless books have a special place in my heart and I’m always on the lookout for new silent treasures as they emerge into the wonderful world of picture books. I want everyone to experience the special magic of ‘reading’ wordless books. 

Marie-Louise's book list on silent or wordless books for kids

Discover why each book is one of Marie-Louise's favorite books.

Why did Marie-Louise love this book?

A gorgeous picture book that captures the joys and excitement of being a child at the sea, playing chicken with the incoming waves. The little girl and a gaggle of gulls get braver and braver, until… SPLASH!

Suzy Lee’s lines are so fluid and expressive, her use of a limited palette works brilliantly, and there’s a clever use of the gutter (middle of the book) to build tension. Dare you not to smile and feel joy.

By Suzy Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this evocative wordless book, internationally acclaimed artist Suzy Lee tells the story of a little girl's day at the beach. Stunning in their simplicity, Lee's illustrations, in just two shades of watercolour, create a vibrant story full of joy and laughter.New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book 2008

Don't Date Rosa Santos

By Nina Moreno,

Book cover of Don't Date Rosa Santos

Sonora Reyes Author Of The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School

From the list on young adult about queer people of color.

Who am I?

I am Sonora Reyes, author of The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School. As a queer Mexican-American, I’ve only ever written (and probably only ever will) write stories about queer characters of color like myself. Growing up, I never had access to books that represented people like me, and it fills me with so much joy to see all the representation that exists today. I write for the queer kids of color who desperately need to see themselves in fiction. I write for my teenage self. For the kids who think they’re alone. For the kids who want to see joy in their own stories. And, most importantly, for myself, as I am today.

Sonora's book list on young adult about queer people of color

Discover why each book is one of Sonora's favorite books.

Why did Sonora love this book?

Don’t Date Rosa Santos is one of the only books I’ve ever been able to read more than once (I’ve read it three times!). It made me laugh and cry and hug the book to my chest. I still am not over this book, and may never be! It’s my all-time favorite comfort read. 

By Nina Moreno,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Don't Date Rosa Santos as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For fans of Gilmore Girls and To All the Boys I've Loved Before, this effervescent love story from debut author Nina Moreno will sweep you away.

Rosa Santos is cursed by the sea—at least, that's what they say. Dating her is bad news, especially if you're a boy with a boat.

But Rosa feels more caught than cursed. Caught between cultures and choices. Between her abuela, a beloved healer and pillar of their community, and her mother, an artist who crashes in and out of her life like a hurricane. Between Port Coral, the quirky South Florida town they call…

We, the Drowned

By Carsten Jensen, Charlotte Barslund (translator), Emma Ryder (translator)

Book cover of We, the Drowned

Gregg Dunnett Author Of Little Ghosts: My sister's name was Layla. I know who killed her. She told me.

From the list on blurring the line between fantasy and reality.

Who am I?

I’m not an expert on very much. Certainly not the biggest questions of all, such as are we really here, and if not, what’s this all about? But I’ve always enjoyed books that touch upon these questions and find a way to connect them to our everyday reality (I find them easier than actual philosophy). If I am well placed to curate this list, that’s why. I hope it reminds you how we all grapple with these same universal questions. How we all share our doubts and face the same fears. How we’re all whittled away by the same relentless flow of time. 

Gregg's book list on blurring the line between fantasy and reality

Discover why each book is one of Gregg's favorite books.

Why did Gregg love this book?

When I read this it felt like a seagoing version of One Hundred Years of Solitude, and it was touch and go which to include in this list. But if you’re like me, and love the sea, there’s no real choice.

In this epic novel we’re shown how the Danish port town of Marstal – and people who call it home – evolve over the course of a century. The novel brilliantly captures the pull that the sea has over the town’s inhabitants, and their struggle to keep what makes them human when faced with its power and scale.

There’s a fantastical element too, just a touch here and there, which somehow matches how most of us experience the unexplainable.  

By Carsten Jensen, Charlotte Barslund (translator), Emma Ryder (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1848 a motley crew of Danish sailors sets sail from the small island town of Marstal to fight the Germans. Not all of them return - and those who do will never be the same. Among them is the daredevil Laurids Madsen, who promptly escapes again into the anonymity of the high seas.

Spanning four generations, two world wars and a hundred years, We, The Drowned is an epic tale of adventure, ruthlessness and passion.

Book cover of Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter

T.A. Willberg Author Of Marion Lane and the Deadly Rose

From the list on historical mysteries with female protagonists.

Who am I?

Books have always been an escape for me, historical mysteries in particular. Getting lost in another world, another time and someone else’s life is like therapy for me and something I will never tire of. Which is perhaps why I went on to write my own historical mystery trilogy. The Marion Lane series consists of The Midnight Murder, The Deadly Rose, and The Raven’s Revenge—all set in 1950’s London, in a mystical private detective agency concealed beneath the city streets. 

T.A.'s book list on historical mysteries with female protagonists

Discover why each book is one of T.A.'s favorite books.

Why did T.A. love this book?

This historical mystery slash adventure novel is set in 1886 in Australia and follows the plucky, headstrong Eliza Brightwell as she attempts to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of her beloved father—a renowned pearler. I was so riveted by this heart-wrenching, atmospheric story and its unique setting. A great one for those who’d like to try something different in the historical mystery space.

By Lizzie Pook,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For readers of The Light Between Oceans and The Island of Sea Women, a feminist adventure story set against the backdrop of the dangerous pearl diving industry in 19th-century Western Australia, about a young English woman who sets off to uncover the truth about the disappearance of her eccentric father.

Western Australia, 1886. After months at sea, a slow boat makes its passage from London to the shores of Bannin Bay. From the deck, young Eliza Brightwell and her family eye their strange, new home. Here is an unforgiving land where fortune sits patiently at the bottom of the ocean,…

Sea Change

By Sylvia Earle,

Book cover of Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans

Maddalena Bearzi Author Of Dolphin Confidential: Confessions of a Field Biologist

From the list on the ocean and its inhabitants.

Who am I?

I'm a passionate scientist, conservationist, and published author. I'm the President of the nonprofit Ocean Conservation Society and I hold a Ph.D. in Biology and a Post-Doc from UCLA. My research on dolphins off California represents one of the longest studies worldwide. I'm the co-author of Beautiful Minds: The Parallel Lives of Great Apes and Dolphins and author of Dolphin Confidential: Confessions of a Field Biologist. As a photo-journalist, I've written for many national and international media, including National Geographic; I currently write essays for Medium and other publications. I live in Los Angeles with my husband. When I’m not writing, I can be found with dolphins out on the ocean, traveling, or walking my mutt.

Maddalena's book list on the ocean and its inhabitants

Discover why each book is one of Maddalena's favorite books.

Why did Maddalena love this book?

“Her Deepness” Sylvia Earle is an authority on ocean explorations, so this is another must-read for all ocean lovers. Sea Change recounts Earle’s decades dedicated to the discovery of the sea. With contagious enthusiasm and vivid prose, this internationally renowned author and scientist narrates her many underwater adventures while urging readers to respect the oceans and their creatures.

By Sylvia Earle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1952, at age sixteen, Sylvia Earle - then a budding marine biologist - borrowed a friend's copper diving helmet, compressor, and pump and slipped below the waters of a Florida river. It was her first underwater dive. Since then, Earle has descended to more than 3,000 feet in a submersible and, despite beginning at a time when few women were taken seriously as marine scientists, has led or participated in expeditions totaling more than 7,000 hours underwater, and counting.

Equal parts memoir, adventure tale, and call to action, Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans has become a classic…

Saltwater in the Blood

By Easkey Britton,

Book cover of Saltwater in the Blood: Surfing, Natural Cycles and the Sea's Power to Heal

Tina LeCount Myers Author Of The Song of All

From the list on surfing (from a surfer).

Who am I?

The moment I rode my first wave 25 years ago, I fell in love with the raw energy of that swell that traveled all the way across the ocean to share the last bit of its journey with me. My love of surfing became an all-consuming passion. I abandoned graduate school and reorganized my life to spend every possible minute in the water. Hours a day, I sit on my board, watching the horizon for the next wave, anticipating that sublime connection, when wind and water unite with my breath and blood. Out of the water, I seek a similar kind of transcendence in the stories I write. 

Tina's book list on surfing (from a surfer)

Discover why each book is one of Tina's favorite books.

Why did Tina love this book?

To look at what is written about surfing, it would seem that it’s a “man’s world.” Surfing, like other pursuits and professions, is one where women are often characterized as either anecdotal or exceptional. The truth is so much richer and complex that, as a woman who surfs, I almost don’t want to share our secrets. But Easkey Britton shares some of hers from years of competitive surfing around the world and from the fierce and sustaining waters she calls home on the west coast of Ireland. Britton has surfed waves and conditions that few among us have the desire to tackle. But in discussing all these places and all these conditions, she speaks eloquently about what can be gained through immersion in the ocean that gave birth to our human form and continues to abide by our human trespasses. 

By Easkey Britton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Saltwater in the Blood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is an incredibly inspiring exploration of the sea's role in the wellness of people and the planet, beautifully written by Easkey Britton - surfer, scientist and social activist. She offers a powerful female perspective on the sea and surfing, explaining what it's like to be a woman in a man's world and how she promoted the sport to women in Iran, surfing while wearing a hijab. She speaks of the undiscussed taboo around entering the water while menstruating - and of how she has come to celebrate her own bodily cycles. She has developed her own approach to surfing,…

Middle Passage

By Charles Johnson,

Book cover of Middle Passage

Emily Mitchell Author Of The Last Summer of the World

From the list on reminding you how strange the past really was.

Who am I?

I’ve always been interested in history. I grew up in London, where there's a lot of it. But what made me want to write fiction about the past was experiences of imaginative affinity for certain other times and places. My first book is set during World War One. I've always felt connected to the change in sensibility that many people went through then, from an optimistic, moralistic, Victorian outlook, in which, to quote Paul Fussell from The Great War and Modern Memory, people “believed in Progress and Art and in no way doubted the benignity even of technology” to an understanding that human beings and our societies contained deeper, more persistent shadows. 

Emily's book list on reminding you how strange the past really was

Discover why each book is one of Emily's favorite books.

Why did Emily love this book?

The question of how to portray a historical atrocity like slavery in a work of fiction is obviously monumental. Toni Morrison, Gayl Jones, Colson Whitehead, and John Keene have approached this with consummate brilliance by writing the experience and subjectivity of enslaved and formerly-enslaved people. Johnson, however, focuses on the perpetrators: the men who engage in and profit from the capture and trafficking of other human beings. As in Mantel’s novel, the choice of the protagonist is key. Rutherford Calhoun is a ne’er-do-well free Black man from New Orleans who runs away on a ship to escape debts and engagement to a woman whose love he hasn’t done much to deserve. It turns out this ship is bound for Africa to collect a cargo of people, members of the Allmuseri tribe, an ethnicity Johnson invented for his fiction. But along with the people, they are also collecting something much more…

By Charles Johnson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Celebrating Fifty Years of Picador Books

Winner of the National Book Award 1990

The Apocalypse would definitely put a crimp in my career plans.

Rutherford Calhoun, a puckish rogue and newly freed slave, spends his days loitering around the docks of New Orleans, dodging debt collectors, gangsters, and Isadora Bailey, a prim and frugal woman who seeks to marry him and curb his mischievous instincts. When the heat from these respective pursuers becomes too much to bear, he cons his way on to the next ship leaving the dock: the Republic. Upon boarding, to his horror he discovers that he…


By Adrienne Young,

Book cover of Namesake

MTG Author Of Terra Nova: Book 1

From the list on fantasy with amazingly developed characters.

Who am I?

As a child of immigrants I lived in three countries and went to five schools by grade eight, and I loved it! It started a passion in me for people and cultures. I’ve now lived in six countries, I speak five languages and visited countless places as a tourist. Learning about people and cultures is in my blood. Seeing the world, expanded my imagination and love for fantastical worlds. But, because I’ve met with many cultures and individuals, reading books with shallow characters and badly developed cultures is painful for me. I can tell when an author truly understands their characters and the worlds they create and I value that.

MTG's book list on fantasy with amazingly developed characters

Discover why each book is one of MTG's favorite books.

Why did MTG love this book?

I’m a sucker for teen romance, but, I don’t like it when that’s all the story is about. Fable and Namesake had that awesome teen love but it was perfectly intertwined into the larger plot of the story. On that note, the plot was great! It was rich and extensive, not just a cover for the romance. Additionally, the book delved into parent-teen relationships on a realistic and detailed level, which I find to be a rarity in YA fantasy novels.

By Adrienne Young,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Trader. Fighter. Survivor.

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she becomes a pawn in a notorious thug's scheme. In order to get to her intended destination she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.

As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception, she learns that the secrets her mother took to her grave are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save…

The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig'

By William Hope Hodgson,

Book cover of The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig'

Tupenny Longfeather Author Of Bowels of Darkness

From the list on ominously atmospheric stories for a winter's night.

Who am I?

I love forests. There's a particular atmosphere, a sense of being close to nature. Yet there's a mystery, you can never see too far ahead. What's around the corner? A truly atmospheric book has the quality of a forest, leading us on but never revealing too much at once. Perhaps beyond the next tree, or page, is something that may not be of our universe.

Tupenny's book list on ominously atmospheric stories for a winter's night

Discover why each book is one of Tupenny's favorite books.

Why did Tupenny love this book?

Hodgson's sea-based stories, drawing on his experience as a sailor, have a plausibility that draws me in. The vast emptiness of the ocean is depicted vividly, creating a sense of isolation that adds to the terror of his work. Add to this some of the most bizarre creatures in literature and we have a bleak, enchanting atmosphere. I find the sense of brooding horror really puts me in the scene.

By William Hope Hodgson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig' as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.


By Ben Clanton,

Book cover of Narwhal

Jill Heinerth Author Of The Aquanaut

From the list on young explorers.

Who am I?

I'm a world-class underwater explorer, writer, photographer, speaker, and filmmaker. A pioneer of technical rebreather diving, I have led expeditions into icebergs in Antarctica, volcanic lava tubes, and submerged caves worldwide. As a child, these fanciful places were just a part of my wildest dreams. The Aquanaut tells the story of how I turned my imaginative journeys into reality and became a celebrated underwater explorer.

Jill's book list on young explorers

Discover why each book is one of Jill's favorite books.

Why did Jill love this book?

A happy-go-lucky narwhal and non-nonsense jellyfish discover the depths of the ocean together. This joyful and silly graphic novel celebrates friendship, adventure, and collaboration. The simple illustrations are compelling and accessible, drawing kids into a series of books that will leave them giggling.

By Ben Clanton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together.
A wonderfully silly early graphic novel series featuring three stories. In the first, Jelly learns that Narwhal is a really good friend. Then Narwhal and Jelly form their own pod of awesomeness with their ocean friends. And finally, Narwhal and Jelly read the best book ever -- even though it doesn't have any words...or pictures!
Ben Clanton showcases the joys…

The Caine Mutiny

By Herman Wouk,

Book cover of The Caine Mutiny: A Novel of World War II

William A. Glass Author Of As Good As Can Be

From the list on that show World War II as it was.

Who am I?

An unusual thing about me when it comes to historical fiction is that I write it but rarely read it. So, why should anyone care about my recommendations for historical fiction books? Perhaps because of what I do read, which is mainly non-fiction. On my bedside table right now, insistently beckoning me away from my laptop, is With The Old Breed, a harrowing memoir about the veteran Marines the author, E.B. Sledge, got to know while fighting the battles of Peleliu and Okinawa during World War II. My bookcase is filled with histories, memoirs, war diaries, and biographies. Only a few novels are present, and what sets them apart is their historical accuracy and realism. 

William's book list on that show World War II as it was

Discover why each book is one of William's favorite books.

Why did William love this book?

It’s hard to believe that this realistic portrayal of life in the U.S. Navy during World War II was written by the same author who wrote the vainglorious Winds of War! Still, I have to include The Caine Mutiny on this list because it realistically depicts the everyday tedium endured by crews aboard fourth-class navy ships during the long, drawn-out Pacific war. Wouk served on such a ship, and that inspired this story about mediocrity, cowardice, and mendacity. Like the other books on this list, The Caine Mutiny is ultimately a character study. It focuses on the officers of an obsolete mine-sweeper, plying the backwaters of the war under the directions of an incompetent captain.

A series of incidents puts severe pressure on the ship’s crew and their response creates a dramatic but believable climax to the story. This novel has stuck with me because I served in the…

By Herman Wouk,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a perennial favorite of readers young and old, Herman Wouk's masterful World War II drama set aboard a U.S. Navy warship in the Pacific is "a novel of brilliant virtuosity" (Times Literary Supplement).

Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining novel of life--and mutiny--on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater was immediately embraced, upon its original publication in 1951, as one of the first serious works of American fiction to grapple with the moral complexities and the human consequences of World War II.

In the intervening half century, The Caine Mutiny has sold millions…

Book cover of The Devil and the Dark Water

Gigi Pandian Author Of Under Lock & Skeleton Key: A Secret Staircase Mystery

From the list on mysteries with solutions you’ll never see coming.

Who am I?

I’ve always been drawn to locked-room mysteries, the baffling mysteries where the crime looks truly impossible. The mystery becomes not only who did it, but also how. It’s the ultimate puzzle. The best locked-room mysteries include gothic elements that make you wonder if something supernatural is responsible, but then are resolved with a satisfying rational explanation—like Scooby-Doo for adults. I’ve written more than a dozen mystery novels, but until now, I’ve only focused on locked-room mysteries in my short fiction. In my new Secret Staircase mystery series, I’m focusing on these puzzles in my novels. Here, I’m sharing some of my favorite locked-room mysteries that feature truly ingenious puzzles. 

Gigi's book list on mysteries with solutions you’ll never see coming

Discover why each book is one of Gigi's favorite books.

Why did Gigi love this book?

Set on a treacherous sea voyage in 1634, this impossible crime is cloaked by an atmospheric setting. Is a demon hiding on the ship—or is there a very real killer stalking victims in the claustrophobic setting? This was unlike any locked-room mystery I’d ever read, and it was impossible not to get swept up in the adventure on the high seas. With detective Samuel Pipps accused of a crime and imprisoned in cramped quarters on the ship, it’s up to his bodyguard to act on his behalf and prove a human hand—not a demon—is responsible for the murder and mayhem aboard.

By Stuart Turton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Devil and the Dark Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'If you read one book this year, make sure it's this one' Daily Mail CHOSEN AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE GUARDIAN, SUNDAY TIMES, DAILY MAIL, FINANCIAL TIMES, DAILY EXPRESS AND i PAPER WINNER OF THE BOOKS ARE MY BAG READERS AWARD FOR FICTION SELECTED FOR THE BBC TWO BOOK CLUB BETWEEN THE COVERS AND THE RADIO 2 JO WHILEY BOOK CLUB An impossible murder A remarkable detective duo A demon who may or may not exist It's 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world's greatest detective, is being transported from the Dutch East Indies to Amsterdam, where he…

Twelve Mile Bank

By Nicholas Harvey,

Book cover of Twelve Mile Bank

Sharon Ward Author Of In Deep

From the list on mysteries set on a tropical island.

Who am I?

Even as a kid, I was intrigued by the underwater world, so as an adult, I learned to scuba dive. I took to it like a fish to water, and my husband and I spent the next several years traveling to tropical islands to experience the local dive conditions whenever possible. I loved learning how every island had a different culture and a different undersea environment. Since I love tropical islands, scuba diving, mysteries, and adventure stories, these books really hit my sweet spot.

Sharon's book list on mysteries set on a tropical island

Discover why each book is one of Sharon's favorite books.

Why did Sharon love this book?

The Cayman Islands are my favorite place in the world, so a mystery featuring a female divemaster on Grand Cayman is right up my alley. AJ Bailey, the protagonist, is a realistic portrayal of a woman in a man’s world. Many books in the tropical islands have female protagonists, but they are often gun-toting, knife-wielding super-models, not realistic women like Harvey’s protagonist. 

The diving details are spot on; the dive site descriptions are accurate; and the thrilling story will keep you turning pages to the very end. A great start to a super series.

By Nicholas Harvey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A mysterious shipwreck. A ruthless treasure hunter. A race against time.

Cayman Islands divemaster AJ Bailey is searching for a long forgotten WWII U-boat at the bottom of the Caribbean Sea. Armed with nothing more than an adventurous spirit and her late grandfather’s tale, she's determined to find the submarine and the secret it protects.

When a wealthy treasure hunter shows up with a ruthless crew, AJ becomes entangled in a frantic duel to find the precious piece of history. Diving into the path of merciless killers at treacherous depths, she must fight to keep her grandfather’s dream - and…

The Outlaw Ocean

By Ian Urbina,

Book cover of The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier

Helen Scales Author Of The Brilliant Abyss: True Tales of Exploring the Deep Sea, Discovering Hidden Life and Selling the Seabed

From the list on the ocean and seas.

Who am I?

Dr. Helen Scales a marine biologist, broadcaster and bestselling writer whose books include Spirals in Time and Eye of the Shoal. Her stories about the ocean appear in National Geographic Magazine, The Guardian, New Scientist, and others. Helen co-hosts the Catch Our Drift podcast, teaches at Cambridge University and is a scientific advisor to the marine conservation charity Sea Changers. She divides her time between Cambridge, England, and the wild French coast of Finistère.

Helen's book list on the ocean and seas

Discover why each book is one of Helen's favorite books.

Why did Helen love this book?

Urbina gives a shocking and vital account of the human and environmental troubles that are taking place across the ocean, out of sight beyond the horizon. From cases of modern-day slavery and murder aboard fishing vessels to the tricks played by whaling ships and cruise ships to avoid detection of their environmental crimes.

By Ian Urbina,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Just incredible' NAOMI KLEIN

**New York Times bestseller**

The Outlaw Ocean is a riveting, adrenalin-fuelled tour of a vast, lawless and rampantly criminal world that few have ever seen: the high seas.

There are few remaining frontiers on our planet. But perhaps the wildest, and least understood, are the world's oceans: too big to police, and under no clear international authority, these immense regions of treacherous water play host to the unbridled extremes of human behaviour and activity.

Traffickers and smugglers, pirates and mercenaries, wreck thieves and repo men, vigilante conservationists and elusive poachers, seabound abortion-providers, clandestine oil-dumpers, shackled slaves…

Planet Ocean

By Patricia Newman, Annie Crawley (photographer),

Book cover of Planet Ocean: Why We All Need a Healthy Ocean

Dawn Wynne Author Of Midnight Mission: An Eco Avengers Series

From the list on educate and inspire kids about the environment.

Who am I?

I have been an educator for over 20 years teaching elementary-aged children. The environment is a passion of mine. After reading the book Plastic Ocean and meeting the author Charles Moore, I realized that the issues facing our environment are going to be best solved by the upcoming generation of children. They understand how important it is to preserve our planet. Combining my love of writing with my education background, I started writing books to teach children about the environment and inspire them to make lasting changes. I love recommending books that have the same mission. Small actions equal great changes! 

Dawn's book list on educate and inspire kids about the environment

Discover why each book is one of Dawn's favorite books.

Why did Dawn love this book?

I love this book as a supplement for the classroom or household library. It is filled with lovely photographs and depicts what is happening to our oceans. There is a nice ratio of text to pictures so as not to be overwhelming. It includes maps, vocabulary words, and a glossary to bring in the educational component without feeling like a textbook. 

By Patricia Newman, Annie Crawley (photographer),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Books like this one help lead the way to a better climate future for all inhabitants of Mother Earth. We are all in this together!" ― Jeff Bridges, Academy Award winner and environmentalist

A little more than 70 percent of Planet Earth is ocean. So wouldn’t a better name for our global home be Planet Ocean?

You may be surprised at just how closely YOU are connected to the ocean. Regardless of where you live, every breath you take and every drop of water you drink links you to the ocean. And because of this connection, the ocean’s health affects…

The King's Coat

By Dewey Lambdin,

Book cover of The King's Coat

Brett Mumford Author Of The 7th Pre-Light

From the list on that draw you into a completely different world.

Who am I?

I first found fantasy literature about the same time as I got into tabletop gaming, for me this was AD&D. Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R. Tolkien, Arthur C. Clarke, Fritz Lieber, and Roger Zelazny were just a few of the authors that showed me what was possible. Writing my first novel cemented my understanding that I wanted to create the kinds of worlds that readers would want to experience. The kinds of worlds that would let them get away from their lives, if only for a few hours, where they could live a life of adventure and discovery. Just like the novels I recommended here did for me. 

Brett's book list on that draw you into a completely different world

Discover why each book is one of Brett's favorite books.

Why did Brett love this book?

This is a novel of historical fiction set in the time of the French revolution. The series is named after the main character, Alan Lewrie. This novel introduces you to this rapscallion of a character, someone who is a spoiled, and indolent 16-year-old young man. Against his will he will find his place in the world and it will be in the very last place he would have imagined, commanding a ship of the Royal Navy. The novels follow his travels and adventures as he rises through the ranks, and it was incredibly fun to watch the young man evolve and grow into the man he becomes.

By Dewey Lambdin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

His exploits echo with the bustle of crowded ports and the crash of naval warfare...

It is 1780 and seventeen-year-old Alan Lewrie is a brash young libertine with a head full of dreams. When he is found in bed with the wrong woman, he is forced to leave his profligacy behind for a new life at sea.

Though sickness and hard labour await him aboard the tall-masted Ariadne, Lewrie finds himself gradually adapting to the world of a midshipman.

But as he heads for the war-torn Americas into a hail of cannonballs, will he ever catch wind of the plot…