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Plumbing the Depths: “Ocean” Reads


Plumbing the Depths: “Ocean” Reads

More than 70 percent of our planet’s surface is covered by the oceans. Our ocean provides countless benefits to the planet and all the creatures that live here.

Here in New Jersey we are especially reminded of the vastness and majesty of our oceans in the summer months, when we spend time at the beach, walk along or swim in the ocean, enjoy surfing and boating, or even when we just sit silently witnessing the magical movement and sound of the ocean waves.

June is National Ocean Month, a time when we recognize the importance of the ocean to the economy, national security, and environment of the United States, and we renew our commitment to safeguarding its vital resources.

Our ocean faces many threats caused by human activity, like the onslaught of ocean trash, coastal pollution, overfishing, coral reefs destruction, climate change (heating up and losing oxygen) and ocean acidification.  We need to do much more to protect and conserve this natural resource and the  wildlife and ecosystems that thrive beneath the waves and on the water’s edge.

Here is some ocean themed literature available in ebook or audiobook form;  some are classics of fiction ( tales of ships and survival at sea, ocean voyages), and some are nonfiction that convey the beauty and significance of our marine habitats, the wonderful and diverse forms of life teeming in the ocean depths, and the dangers faced by this indispensable natural resource.

pup_9781400849932_270The Extreme Life of the Sea by Stephen R. Palumbi & Anthony R. Palumbi

A thrilling tour of the sea’s most extreme species, written by one of the world’s leading marine scientists.

The ocean teems with life that thrives under difficult situations in unusual environments and here readers are taken to the absolute limits of the ocean world-the fastest and deepest, the hottest and oldest creatures of the oceans.


ssd_9781643132778_270Imperiled Ocean by Laura Trethewey

This is a deeply reported work of narrative journalism that follows people as they head out to sea. On a life raft in the Mediterranean, a teenager from Ghana wonders whether he will reach Europe alive. A young chef disappears from a cruise ship, leaving a mystery for his friends and family to solve. A water-squatting community battles eviction from a harbor in a Pacific Northwest town,  raising the question of who owns the water. What is discovered holds inspiring and dire implications for the life of the ocean, and for all of us back on land. Behind this human drama, the ocean is growing ever more unstable, threatening to upend life on land.

{97FBB0FF-C079-44B3-ABFA-BF2F0FA7F1DB}Img100438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea by Jonathan Franklin

The true story of the fisherman who survived fourteen months in a small boat drifting seven thousand miles across the Pacific Ocean.



{D9A6D76C-D2A8-458A-9B14-4E021A8C058D}Img100Moby Dick Or, The Whale by Herman Melville

Often referred to as “the greatest book of the sea ever written,” Melville’s masterpiece tells the story of a fanatical captain out for revenge against a whale. Full of mesmerizing characters and chilling descriptions of the sea, this book will leave an impression on all who read it.


pup_9781400888665_270The Oceans:A Deep History by Eelco Rohling

Beginning with the formation of primeval Earth and the earliest appearance of oceans, Rohling takes readers on a journey through prehistory to the present age, vividly describing the major events in the ocean’s evolution-from snowball and greenhouse Earth to the end-Permian mass extinction, the breakup of the Pangaea supercontinent, and the changing climate of today. Along the way, he explores the close interrelationships of the oceans, climate, and life, to provide perspective on humankind’s impacts on the health and habitability of our planet-and on what the future may hold for us.

{06943DC2-CEDE-474C-8736-583CB22AC260}Img100The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

One of Hemingway’s most iconic stories, this ells a timeless tale of personal triumph after devastating loss. It is the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Earning Hemingway a Nobel Prize in Literature, this slim novel stands the test of time as a classic of ocean literature.


ttm_9781452624600_270Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans by Capt. Charles Moore & Cassandra Phillips | read by Mel Foster– Audiobook

In the summer of 1997, Charles Moore set sail from Honolulu with the sole intention of returning home after competing in a trans-Pacific race. To get to California, he and his crew took a shortcut through the seldom-traversed North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a vast “oceanic desert” where winds are slack and sailing ships languish. There, Moore realized his catamaran was surrounded by a “plastic soup.” He had stumbled upon the largest garbage dump on the planet-a spiral nebula where plastic outweighed zooplankton, the ocean’s food base, by a factor of six to one. Here, Moore recounts his ominous findings and unveils the secret life and hidden properties of plastics. From milk jugs to polymer molecules small enough to penetrate human skin or be unknowingly inhaled, plastic is now suspected of contributing to a host of ailments including infertility, autism, thyroid dysfunction, and some cancers. Moore’s sobering revelations will be embraced by activists, concerned parents, and seafaring enthusiasts concerned about the deadly impact and implications of this manmade blight.

{CBB30CFC-20D2-4ED3-B8D6-F6EFB6DE541F}Img100The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson

This book became a cultural phenomenon when first published in 1951 and cemented Carson’s status as the preeminent natural history writer of her time. Her inspiring, intimate writing plumbs the depths of an enigmatic world—a place of hidden lands, islands newly risen from the earth’s crust, fish that pour through the water, and the unyielding, epic battle for survival. Focusing on the geologic and biological processes that make the oceans so mysterious and awe-inspiring, this book combines scientific facts with lyricism to take you on a journey through the geologic history of the earth and the darkest depths of the seas.

{A78581BD-F721-41DF-A75C-82D9A7BFEB9D}Img100Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans by Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.)

From the time of the Greeks and the Persians clashing in the Mediterranean, sea power has determined world power. To an extent that is often underappreciated, it still does. Admiral Stavridis takes us with him on a tour of the world’s oceans from the admiral’s chair, showing us how the geography of the oceans has shaped the destiny of nations, and how naval power has in a real sense made the world we live in today, and will shape the world we live in tomorrow.

{27F3D187-2031-4F06-AD81-E1F98EB7001E}Img100Sex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connection with Kinky Crustaceans, Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep by Marah J. Hardt & Carla Mercer-Meyer– Audiobook

In a journey unlike any other to explore the staggering ways life begets life beneath the waves, this book uniquely connects the timeless topic of sex with the timely issue of sustainable oceans. Through overfishing, climate change, and ocean pollution we are disrupting the creative procreation that drives the wild abundance of life in the ocean.

{5B395DA7-2991-495D-A883-CF1EFF813B06}Img100The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery–Audiobook

In this astonishing book the author explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus-a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature-and the remarkable connections it makes with humans.



{675BE426-78D9-4332-B979-C2878C8FFADA}Img100Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone by Juli Berwald

Jellyfish have been swimming in our oceans for well over half a billion years, longer than any other animal that lives on the planet. They make a venom so toxic it can kill a human in three minutes. Their sting—microscopic spears that pierce with five million times the acceleration of gravity—is the fastest known motion in the animal kingdom. Made of roughly 95 percent water, some jellies are barely perceptible virtuosos of disguise, while others glow with a luminescence that has revolutionized biotechnology. Driven by questions about how overfishing, coastal development, and climate change were contributing to a jellyfish population explosion, Berwald embarked on a scientific odyssey. Berwald’s engaging account of these delicate, often ignored creatures shows how much they matter to our oceans’ future.”

dsa_9781974997381_27020,000 Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne

A classic that captures the imagination even today, Verne’s account of life inside a submarine is celebrated as one of the best novels about the ocean. Chronicling the adventures of Captain Nemo, this novel celebrates the freedom of the ocean and the wonder of human ingenuity.




{FB1A6E6B-E31B-49FB-ABC9-5C76C181A247}Img100Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins by Susan Casey

A breathtaking journey through the extraordinary world of dolphins. While swimming off the coast of Maui, Casey was surrounded by a pod of spinner dolphins. It was a profoundly transporting experience, and it inspired her to embark on a two-year global adventure to explore the nature of these remarkable beings and their complex relationship to humanity.

sta_9781627937870_270The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin

Detailing the legendary voyage that birthed the theory of evolution, this journal-turned-memoir takes you inside the mind of Charles Darwin during his long voyage around the Galapagos. Documenting day-to-day activities alongside ground-breaking natural history discoveries, this book shines a new light on the “Father of evolution” and his journey across the sea.


{7239E507-3AC4-49DF-9A47-C38C0A8FA227}Img100War of the Whales: A True Story by Joshua Horwitz & Holter Graham–Audiobook

The “gripping detective tale” of a crusading attorney, Joel Reynolds, who stumbles on one of the US Navy’s best-kept secrets: a submarine detection system that floods entire ocean basins with high-intensity sound—and drives whales onto beaches. Horwitz explores the legal and moral saga of a military secret that threatens the lives of whales, forcing one to ask the question: where do we draw the line between national security and protecting the ocean?

Here are some ocean themed movies available on Hoopla:

Amazing Ocean  offers a fantastic journey through the magic of the deep blue sea.

The Last Ocean follows the race to protect the Ross Sea, Antarctica, from our insatiable appetite for fish.

Minds in the Water follows the quest of professional surfer Dave Rastovich and his friends to protect dolphins, whales and the oceans they all share.

-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian


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