A Summer Reading List for Ocean Lovers: Ten Books to Read before Summer Ends - Oceana USA
Home / Blog / A Summer Reading List for Ocean Lovers: Ten Books to Read before Summer Ends

August 21, 2014

A Summer Reading List for Ocean Lovers: Ten Books to Read before Summer Ends

Summer may be winding down, but there are still a few warm weeks left to enjoy some summer reading. As you make your last trips to the beach, there’s no better way to enjoy the coast than sitting down with an ocean-themed book.

We’ve rounded-up ten must-reads for ocean lovers, with topics ranging from sustainable fisheries to narwhal biology. Take a look below, and let us know about any other ocean-themed books you enjoyed this summer!

1. “American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood”

By Paul Greenburg

Ninety-one percent of seafood eaten by Americans is imported from other nations. With such iconic, tasty fisheries along the U.S. coastline, why are we eating so much seafood from other countries? Greenberg traces the history of the New York oyster, Gulf shrimp, and Alaskan salmon to unlock the point in time that we reached this strange imbalance.

Best for: Foodies, history buffs


2. “The Extreme Life of the Sea”

By Stephen R. Palumbi

This book takes readers on an adventure to the most extreme parts of the oceans, from the frigid Arctic seafloor to steaming hydrothermal vents. You’re bound to finish this book with a new appreciation for some of the rarest, most unique looking creatures that inhabit the deep blue.

Best for: Adventure seekers, natural history lovers


3. “An Ocean Garden: The Secret Life of Seaweed”

By Josie Iselin

Hundreds of species of seaweed provide important habitat for a variety of marine life, but seaweed is an ocean wonder that’s often overlooked. In this book, Iselin highlights seaweed in such a creative manner that it may have you thinking twice about this ocean flora.

Best for: Artists, natural history lovers


4. “War of the Whales: A True Story”

By Joshua Horwitz

This hefty volume dives into a touchy subject between government officials, environmentalists, and whale-lovers alike: the effect of U.S. Navy sonar training on whales. Horwitz traces the painful, dramatic story of one attorney uncovering the connection between mass whale strandings and sonar use.

Best for: Natural history lovers, history buffs


5. “Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks”

By Juliet Eilperin

These days, the media’s shark coverage sways towards portraying them as dangerous, monstrous ocean creatures. Here, Eilperin explores how people around the world came to be fascinated with these creatures from both a scientific and cultural perspective.

Best for: Adventure seekers, natural history lovers


6. “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do”

By Wallace J. Nichols

Have you wondered why you always feel so relaxed when you’re at the beach? Is it the salty air, or the rhythmic sound of crashing waves? In this lengthier read, Nichols studies why water makes us so happy, by combining personal tales with a bit of neuroscience. Needless to say, you’ll want to head to the coast after this read.

Best for: Science lovers, adventure seekers


7. “Octopus! The Most Mysterious Creature in the Sea”

By Katherine Harmon Courage

Like sharks, octopuses are another mysterious ocean creature that have captured the human mind for centuries. Despite our fascination with these highly intelligent invertebrates, largely speaking, they’re still largely misunderstood. This Scientific American contributing editor narrows this knowledge gap by exploring octopuses through both a scientific and cultural perspective.

Best for: Natural history lovers


8. “The River Cottage Fish Book: The Definitive Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Fish and Shellfish”

By Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Whether you’re a cook, a recreational fisherman, or simply interested in ocean ecosystems, there’s something for everyone in this book. Part recipe guide, part fishing how-to, Fearnley-Whittingstall strikes the delicate balance of showcasing how such an enjoyable pastime can be done sustainably and consciously.   

Best for: Foodies, fishermen


9. “Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean”

By Lisa-ann Gershwin

Jellyfish have been appearing in larger-than-average numbers in recent years, so much so that they shut down a nuclear plant and sunk a Japanese fishing vessel. But these occurrences have caused the media to say that jellyfish “invasions” and “jellyfish apocalypses” are on the horizon, even though that’s not likely the case. In these lengthy read, Gershwin not only explores these remarkable creatures, but also spotlights how their increase points to a much larger problem: declining ocean health.

Best for: Natural history lovers


10. “Narwhals: Arctic Whales in a Melting World”

By Todd McLeish

McLeish travels to extreme corners of the world for one of the most comprehensive accounts of this elusive whale to-date, from the labs of climatologists in Colorado to the Canadian Arctic. He takes you alongside this thrilling ride that uncovers the world of narwhals, exploring everything from the purpose of their tusk to their value in Inuit communities.

Best for: Adventure seekers, natural history lovers