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Time To Coast: “Ocean” Reads

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Time To Coast: “Ocean” Reads

ocean reads

More than 70 percent of our planet’s surface is covered by the oceans. Our oceans provide 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.

Our oceans face many threats caused by human activity, like the onslaught of ocean trash, coastal pollution, overfishing, coral reefs destruction, climate change 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 coasts.

Whether you made it to the ocean side in Jersey or anywhere else this summer, here are some books that can take you to the water’s edge.

These nonfiction titles, available with your Livingston Library card, convey the human relationship with water, 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.

atlas of disappearing places

The Atlas of Disappearing Places : Our Coasts and Oceans in the Climate Crisis by Christina Conklin

Our planet is in peril. Seas are rising, oceans are acidifying, ice is melting, coasts are flooding, species are dying, and communities are faltering. Despite these dire circumstances, most of us don’t have a clear sense of how the interconnected crises in our ocean are affecting the climate system, food webs, coastal cities, and biodiversity, and which solutions can help us co-create a better future.

The Brilliant Abyss : Exploring the Majestic Hidden Life of the Deep Ocean and the Looming Threat That Imperils It by Helen Scales

A marine biologist vividly brings alive the extraordinary ecosystem of the deep ocean–a realm about which we know less than we do about the Moon–and shows how protecting rather than exploiting it will benefit mankind.

The Deepest Map : the High-Stakes Race To Chart the World’s Oceans by Laura Tetheway

The dramatic and action-packed story of the last mysterious place on earth–the world’s seafloor–and the deep-sea divers, ocean mappers, marine biologists, entrepreneurs, and adventurers involved in the historic push to chart it, as well as the opportunities, challenges, and perils this exploration holds now and for the future.

Emperors of the Deep : Sharks — the Ocean’s Most Mysterious, Most Misunderstood, and Most Important Guardians by William McKeever

In this remarkable groundbreaking book, a documentarian and conservationist, determined to dispel misplaced fear and correct common misconceptions, explores in-depth the secret lives of sharks — magnificent creatures who play an integral part in maintaining the health of the world’s oceans and ultimately the planet. 

future sea

Future Sea : How To Rescue and Protect the World’s Oceans by Deborah Rowan Wright

Independent researcher and ocean advocate Wright offers an information-packed and carefully crafted review of challenges to the life and health of oceans.  Rather than continue to focus on discrete, geographically bounded bodies of water, Wright urges a Plan Sea, which reimagines the oceans as the continuous ecosystem it is, not disconnected buckets of salt and plankton. 

In Oceans Deep : Courage, Innovation, and Adventure Beneath the Waves by Bill Streeve

This book celebrates the daring pioneers who tested the limits of what the human body can endure under water: . free divers able to reach 300 feet on a single breath; engineers and scientists who uncovered the secrets of decompression; teenagers who built their own diving gear from discarded boilers and garden hoses in the 1930s; saturation divers who lived underwater for weeks at a time in the 1960s; and the trailblazing men who voluntarily breathed experimental gases at pressures sufficient to trigger insanity. 

Kings of Their Own Ocean : Tuna, Obsession, and the Future of Our Seas by Karen Pinchin

This is a tale of human obsession, one intrepid tuna, the dedicated fisherman who caught and set her free, the promises and limits of ocean science, and the big truth of how our insatiable appetite for bluefin transformed a cottage industry into a global dilemma.

The Outlaw Ocean : Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier by Ian Urbina

Urbina gives us a galvanizing account of the several years he spent exploring and investigating the high seas, the industries that make use of it, and the people who make their–often criminal–living on it.  This Is both a gripping adventure story and a stunning exposé of some of the most disturbing realities that lie behind fishing, shipping, and, by turn, the entire global economy.

sea power 1

Sea 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.

The Sea Trilogy : Under the Sea-Wind ; The Sea Around Us ; The Edge of the Sea by Rachel Carson

Pioneering environmentalist Carson explores the wonders of the Earth’s oceans in these classics of American science and nature writing. At a moment when overfishing, pollution, and global warming are causing catastrophic changes to marine environments worldwide, Carson’s lyrically detailed accounts of these environments offer a timely reminder of their beauty, fragility, and immense consequence for human life.

The Sound of the Sea : Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans by Cynthia Barnett

A compelling history of seashells and the animals that make them, revealing what they have to tell us about nature, our changing oceans, and ourselves.  Barnett blends cultural history and science to trace our long love affair with seashells and the hidden lives of the mollusks that make them.

Spineless: 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’s engaging account of these delicate, often ignored creatures shows how much they matter to our oceans’ future.

underworld ocean

The Underworld : Journeys to the Depths of the Ocean by Susan Casey

An awe-inspiring portrait of the mysterious world beneath the waves, and the men and women who seek to uncover its secrets.  Casey takes us on a fascinating journey through the history of deep-sea exploration, from the myths and legends of the ancient world to storied shipwrecks we can now reach on the bottom, to the first intrepid bathysphere pilots, to the scientists who are just beginning to understand the mind-blowing complexity and ecological importance of the quadrillions of creatures who live in realms long thought to be devoid of life. Throughout this journey, she learned how vital the deep is to the future of the planet, and how urgent it is that we understand it in a time of increasing threats from climate change, industrial fishing, pollution, and the mining companies that are also exploring its depths. 

Voices 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. 

Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsu

 Tsui looks at our love affair with the water, from evolution to mythology, from survival and well-being, from community swim clubs to competitive races, and she goes around the world to explore its significance in many cultures.

Archana Chiplunkar, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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