Life and Drama at Sea, [or Of Forbidden Seas and Barbarous Coasts]

The sea—a place of escape, adventure, tragedy, and making new discoveries. Mysterious and massive, it has long beckoned us and the imaginations of writers. The vast ocean has much to offer, just as the Lititz Public Library has much to satisfy your nautical curiosity whether you’re an old salt or a green hand.

For children:
Hello Lighthouse“Hello Lighthouse” by Sophie Blackall (picture book)
The life of a lighthouse keeper is a lonely one of strict routine, but surprises are sure to happen along the way. As the winner of the 2019 Caldecott Medal, the illustrations are delightful for children and adults alike.

“The Hen Who Sailed Around the World: A True Story” by Guirec Soudée (nonfiction picture book)
Monique the seaworthy hen took a three-and-a-half-year trip around the world on a boat—with the help of a human friend, of course. Filled with entertaining photographs.

“Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor” by Robert Burleigh (nonfiction picture book)
Marie Tharp was a daring scientist who was drawn to the challenge of mapping the ocean floor at a time when not many geologists were women.

“The Nine Lives of Jacob Tibbs” by Cylin Busby (fiction chapter book)
Get a cat’s eye view of life at sea. The sailors of the Melissa Rae think Jacob Tibbs is an unlucky mouser because of his four white paws, but he proves himself to be one of the luckiest members of the crew in this adventure.

For adults:
Seven at Sea : Why a New York City Family Cast off Convention for a Life-Changing Year on a Sailboat“Seven at Sea: Why a New York City Family Cast Off Convention for a Life-Changing Year on a Sailboat” by Erik Orton & Emily Orton (nonfiction)
A family of seven decides to spend a year at sea to escape the high-paced routine of city life in spite of their fears of what they might face.

“How to Build a Boat: A Father, His Daughter, and the Unsailed Sea” by Jonathan Gornall (nonfiction)
A man with no prior knowledge of boat-building decides to build a boat for his daughter, resulting in a labor of love and learning that leads to a voyage at sea.

“Blue Water, Green Skipper: A Memoir of Sailing Alone Across the Atlantic” by Stuart Woods (nonfiction)
Known primarily for his novels, Stuart Woods also wrote a memoir of a solo voyage he made across the Atlantic in 1976 when he was in his late thirties.

“Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates” by Eric Jay Dolin (nonfiction)
Capsize some old myths and uncover secrets of America’s so-called golden age of piracy, delving into the lives of famous pirates such as Blackbeard and Edward Low, along with their comrades and foes.

At the Mercy of the Sea : The True Story of Three Sailors in a Caribbean Hurricane“At the Mercy of the Sea: The True Story of Three Sailors in a Caribbean Hurricane” by John Kretschmer (nonfiction)
Three different sailors on solo voyages get caught in Hurricane Lenny in the Caribbean in a tragic fight for survival.

“Hover” by Anne A. Wilson (fiction)
When Lt. Sara Denning is singled out as a favorite for a secret Navy SEAL mission, life grows complicated, not to mention the struggles she’s already been having as a woman in the predominantly male Navy.

“Master and Commander” by Patrick O’Brian (fiction)
This commences O’Brian’s epic literary saga of the British navy during the Napoleonic Wars, in which Captain Jack Aubrey and surgeon/spy Stephen Maturin meet and set sail on their first voyage, culminating in a battle that gives Jack his reputation for luck.

Moby-Duck : The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them“Moby Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea, and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools—Including the Author—Who Went in Search of Them” by Donovan Hohn (nonfiction)
Questions beget more questions leading to this investigation of rubber ducks and other bath toys accidentally spilled into the Pacific, taking the author on a quest from factories to the sea to explore every variable involved.

“In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex” by Nathaniel Philbrick (nonfiction)
A sperm whale sinks a whaleship in 1819, leading the members of its crew to resort to their worst fears in the devastating true story that inspired “Moby-Dick.”

“The King’s Marauder” by Dewey Lambdin (fiction)
Injured, deprived of a frigate, and down in the emotional doldrums, Captain Alan Lewrie is given a commission that seems foolhardy—wrong type of ship, no soldiers, inadequate resources all around—an unattractive situation, but he’s up to the challenge.

“The Wine Box Sailors: Misadventures of a Broke Young Couple at Sea” by Amy McCullough (nonfiction)
Not well-versed in seamanship, a couple in their twenties leave their jobs to live their dream of sailing on the Pacific in a small boat.

Kathryn Raynor
July 17, 2019