10 Long Reads Worth Your Time

How many books do you read a year? According to a January 2014 Atlantic article, 23% of American adults stated they didn't read a single book in 2013. While the article speculates as to why this is, education levels, age, the Internet, TV, I'm going to throw another factor into that mix - time.

As I get older, I find myself continually wishing for more time. As a result, I am pretty picky about what I do with the free time I do have. I love to read, but starting a long book can be incredibly daunting. That said, I will start a long book if it has been highly recommended. Below are ten long reads you might want to check out. The first eight recommendations are books over 500 pages that I greatly enjoyed. The last two recommendations are two series you might consider reading if you're feeling really adventurous.

The first nine titles are in no particular order. The suggestion is for those looking for a seriously long read. Click on the hyperlinks to learn more.


1.) Shogun by James Clavell

An amazing look into the feudal culture of Japan, Shogun's got pretty much everything - love, action, political intrigue, and a whole lot of seppuku. Tipping the scales at 1152 pages, this is no quick read. That said, you'll be surprised at how fast you burn through Shogun's pages. Probably one of my favorite recent reads, I can't recommend Shogun enough.






2.) East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Considered Steinbeck's masterpiece, East of Eden follows two families over several generations from the mid-1800's to the early 1900's. Steinbeck's characterization is incredibly thorough, and the themes he delves into are universal. Centered around family, love and what it means to forgive, East of Eden explores questions that we've all wondered about, but maybe haven't been able to articulate quiet as eloquently as Steinbeck.






3.) The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor

I know I laud O'Connor's The Complete Stories all the time, so if you're a regular reader of my blog, you've probably heard this before, but you need to read this book. A collection of short stories organized in the order in which O'Connor wrote them, The Complete Stories shows the progression of attitudes in the American South from the 1940's through the1960's. A great look into a more shameful part of America's past, you'll walk away from The Complete Stories better for having read them.





4.) Shataram by Gregory David Roberts

Several years ago I walked back to my work car and discovered this tome tucked between the driver's door and side mirror. Interestingly enough, one of my friends had just mentioned wanting to read this, so I decided to start it. A compelling story supposedly based on Robert's life, Shantaram follows an escaped Australian convict as he hides out in the slums of Bombay, India. Know that this is one of those books you'll either love or hate, and I think that probably depends on what's going on in your life when you read it. I enjoyed the adventure. Maybe you will too.




5.) Dune by Frank Herbert

This is a must for all sci-fi fans. An amazingly detailed work that encompasses everything from the environment to politics, Dune has it all. Dune is one of those books that you could read over and over again and still not pick up on everything. Incredibly complex, you'll finish the book wondering how Herbert managed to squeeze so much into only 500 or so pages.







6.) Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howley

Originally self published as a series of novellas, Wool can now be found on the shelves of all major book stores. About a community of people who live in a silo because the outside world is so polluted, Wool follows a series of characters who embark upon the mission to solve the mystery of why they are where they are. Broken into five sections, if you get to the end of the first section and aren't compelled to immediately turn the page, I'd say just stop there. This book isn't for you.





7.) Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Not the easiest of books to get through, Diamond has the unfortunate problem of having an amazing theory but poor writing skills. That said, Guns, Germs, and Steel is by far the most compelling look into human history that I've ever come across. If you can wade through Diamond's 40 plus word sentences, you'll walk away from this book with an amazing new perspective on just how the world came to be what it is today.





8.) The Secret History by Donna Tartt

About a group of wealthy college students who commit a heinous crime, Tartt's The Secret History is both sickening and compelling. Perhaps the most interesting part of this book is that none of the main characters are good people, but you find yourself rooting for them and loving them despite knowing you'd never want to be within ten feet of them in real life. The Secret History, is a rabbit hole you'll be glad you fell down.




9.) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

In all likelihood, if you're a reader, you've probably already read the Harry Potter series. If you haven't, this is a great series to dive into. Fun and imaginative, Harry Potter is amazing in the fact that it is compelling even to those who don't consider themselves readers. If you are one of those people who don't consider them self a reader, this series is for you. If you are a reader and you haven't read Harry Potter, it's time to remedy that.





10.) Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time series is a fantasy epic. Often heralded as an in depth look at the world Tolkien just began to reveal, the Wheel of Time is not for the faint of heart. Composed of 14 books, each book usually averaging between 600-1000 pages, Wheel of Time follows a group of diverse characters as they attempt to win the war against the evil that threatens to break their world. Filled with magic, romance, action, and loss, the Wheel of Time is everything you want out of a fantasy series.





Perrin is the author of The Ryo Myths, a sci-fi/fantasy trilogy that has been heralded to engage both nerds and non-nerds alike. Check out her books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. When not writing, Perrin enjoys drinking coffee and swimming, although usually not at the same time.

The Cyclical Creative Process

Right now I'm not inspired. I don't feel creative, and I'm more than fed up with trying to market myself in a digital world. I've spent the last two hours combing through Twitter trying to figure out the difference between scam marketers and honest marketers, and, right now, if you gave me a button that would erase the Internet, I would gladly push it.

Welcome to the life of a modern (insert creative calling here). A few weeks ago, I read an article in Scientific American entitled, The Messy Minds of Creative People. The article dove into the traits of creative people and the creative process. It also had some pretty spot on graphics, including the following:

Image credit: Scientific American

While the article states that each person's creative process differs, one thing I've learned is that most people's creative process always includes some variation of numbers 3 and 4. Which brings me back to my opening paragraph. Currently, I am not inspired, and I feel like my work is just a pixel in the digital ocean that is the Internet.

In terms of my feelings of my future as a writer, I am mired somewhere between numbers 3 and 4. 

Mmmm. Uplifting, you're thinking. Well, this brings me to my next point.

Another thing that I've learned about 'the creative process' is that it's cyclical. Please assume for a moment, that number six represents a conclusion of sorts. Maybe it is the final note in a song you're writing, or the final sketch before you can touch paint to paper, or maybe it's the final edit in your for-real-final draft of your manuscript. Whatever number 6 is, it's always, for truly creative people, a temporary end that will eventually loop back to number one.

Because, while you may finish writing that song, now you have to play it. And while your sketches for your painting my be done, now you have to color them. For me, while I may have finally sent my publisher my final version of the third book in The Ryo Myths, I now have to market it.

It can't be coincidence that number 1 and number 6 are both: This is awesome. 

While there are millions of people who are creative, there are a far fewer number who are able to
complete the 'entire' creative process, as roughly outlined by the above graphic. I would wager the Internet that most people have started a creative project and have felt: This is awesome. Most of those people have probably gotten to number 2: This is tricky. Things just get harder from there.

Number 3: This is shit. Number 4: I am shit. You shift from thinking that your project is bad, to thinking you are bad. Welcome to the world of self doubt that comes from creating something completely from your own imagination and then giving it to the world to judge. Criticism isn't easy to take because when you're at number 4 because that criticism is about you not your work. When people tell you they don't like your stuff, what you hear is that they hate you and everything you stand for. (No, I am not being overly dramatic. Number 4 is a warped place.) Most people will jump ship before reaching number 5: This might be ok.

Recently, I met someone who learned I was a writer. He told me liked to write, but only when he was inspired. He hoped to write a book one day when he had more time.

If you are a person who seriously pursues something creative, you've heard a variation of the above conversation a bazillion times (that's a real number, btw). If you are the guy in the above mentioned conversation, I'm about to get to the most important part of this post.

You don't get more time as you age. You don't get to only write or sculpt or act when you're feeling
inspired. I'm sitting here right now typing this to you and hating every second of it. That being said, you're still reading it, so there is merit in what I'm doing.

Truly creative people may get mired in numbers 3 and 4, but once they've struggled and endured through those steps and reached number 6, they don't get off the train. They cycle back around, and start again at number 1.

A few nights before submitting my for-real-final draft of book three of the Ryo Myths, I was drifting off to sleep when I was quiet annoyingly jolted awake. Why? Because I suddenly knew how to begin my next book. Yes, I'd been kicking around ideas for a new stand alone book, but I had decided to take some time off between finishing the Ryo Myths and jumping into another project. I was thinking of spending more time pursuing hobbies, maybe traveling a bit, I don't know, just not writing.

Yet there I lay, wide awake at midnight, faced with a choice. I could let the inspiration I felt slide away and work on my new book when I was good and ready, or I could get up and type until the genius left me. Begrudgingly, I got up. Why? Because how often am I truly, truly inspired? Not enough.

And suddenly, I was back at number 1. Everything I typed in those few hours was pure gold. I will believe that until I start to edit and find myself back at numbers 3 and 4, wherein I will constantly toy with the idea of deleting the entire thing and getting a job at a greenhouse where I can spend most my day smelling flowers.

I'll deal with that issue later. 

So, as you can see, I've got multiple creative cycles, as I'm going to call them, happening at the same
time. I'm currently somewhere between 3 and 4 in terms of how I feel about my future as an author, and I'm at number 1 in terms of my most recent project. While these two cycles may seem to contradict each other, they do not. Welcome to the illogic of the creative processes.

I imagine, I'm not the only person who has multiple creative cycles. What's important isn't how many I have though, but that I have any at all.

Truly creative people pursue their passions not because they always have some Divine Wind waking them up in the middle of the night and filling their heads with ideas, but because when they do feel that tug of a creative idea, they follow it, and they see it through. They commit to pushing through numbers 3 and 4 even when they feel about as creative as a burned stump, and eventually they get to number 6. Not all of their projects will pan out (I've got several unpublished books, and they will never amount to more than a learning process for me) but some will, and the triumphs of those few projects lay the tracks for the next ones.

So, as I sit here, struggling with steps 3 and 4, I can take solace knowing that they won't last forever. Unfortunately, I will return to them, but, that's an issue I'll deal with later.


Perrin is the author of The Ryo Myths, a sci-fi/fantasy trilogy that has been heralded to engage both nerds and non-nerds alike. Check out her books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. When not writing, Perrin enjoys drinking coffee and swimming, although usually not at the same time.




















The Numbers: Books of 2014

At the beginning of 2014, I decided to start keeping track of basic stats for the books I read. Over this
past year, I logged each of my reads' titles, the date I completed the book, the date the book was published, the author's gender, race and nationality, as well as the book's genre. While I did this for a variety of reasons, an online discussion about reading more female authors made me realize I had no idea how many female authors I read. I had never decided to read a book because the author was female as opposed to male. I often pick books based on recommendations or just because I think they look interesting. That being said, I was curious about the diversity of my reading selections.

This year I read 57 books. (Almost ten less than last year, but for the record, this year I've read my own books probably upwards of 30 times while editing them, and those reads are not reflected in my stats. Writing trilogies apparently requires a lot of re-reading.) Two of the books I read were supposedly co-authored (although I suspect that James Patterson just endorsed a lesser known author's book by putting his name on it), bringing my author total to 59. Here's the damage.

James Patterson
Gender:

Male authors: 40

Female authors: 19

Race:

White writers: 54

Black authors: 2

Latino/a authors: 1

Native American authors: 1

Asian authors: 1





Nationality:

American authors: 49

Native American authors: 1

African authors: 1

English authors: 5

New Zealand authors: 1

Australian authors: 1

Irish authors: 1

French authors: 1

Scottish authors: 1

(You'll notice that while I have 58 authors, my author nationality numbers total 60. Two authors had dual nationalities.)

Octavia E. Butler
Genre: 

Non-fiction: 9

Literary fiction: 10

Classics: 4

Memoir: 2

Historical non-fiction: 3

Sci-fi/fantasy: 9

Mystery: 13

Young Adult: 3

Romance: 1

Western: 2

Horror: 1

(Genres shown are my attempt to fit each book into one main category.)

Publication Dates:

Oldest: 1870

Newest: 2013


So, what have I learned from my numbers?

To start, while I don't pick books based on an author's demographic info, I still read a lot of white males. I suspect this has a lot to do with the fact that there are a lot of white male authors out there. The non-white authors I read this year tended to be pretty famous (Sherman Alexie, Octavia Butler, Amy Tan, Sandra Cisneros).

Most of the books I read were by American authors and authors from Western countries.

While I read a lot of science fiction, literary fiction and non-fiction, the genre I read the most was mystery. I know this is because my mother has a huge library of mystery audio books, and she gives
Amy Tan
them to me when she's done, so I've always got one playing in my car.

I didn't read any books that came out in 2014. I hypothesize this has a lot to do with me solely shopping at used book stores. I suspect my penchant for used book stores also impacts the diversity of the authors I read, as well as the fact that most of the books I read are from Western countries. While I have a list on my phone of books I want to read, sometimes it takes months before I find those books in a store. Used book stores don't always have the best selection of books, therefore limiting the pool of authors I read.

What do I think about this? Well, looking at the racial diversity of the books I've read this year makes me cringe. That being said, I don't know how I feel about reading a book just because the author is Pacific Islander or female whatever. The older I get, the more I value my time, and I don't like the idea of reading a book simply to mark a quota. I want to want to read the book. That being said, I think I can do a much better job at seeking out diverse authors that I want to read. I might have to occasionally get my books from somewhere other than a used bookstore to do that.




Perrin is the author of The Ryo Myths, a sci-fi/fantasy trilogy that has been heralded to engage both nerds and non-nerds alike. Check out her books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. When not writing, Perrin enjoys drinking coffee and swimming, although usually not at the same time.

My Favorite books of 2014

Alright, it's that time of year again, the time when I list my favorite reads from this past year. This year I've decided to do something a little different. While in previous years I would try to decide which of the books were objectively the 'best', this year I'm not going to make a list based off of what I think most people would consider the best. The following ten books are books that I really enjoyed for one reason or another. You may not like them, or maybe you will. Either way, here's the list. As with all of my lists, this one is in no particular order. Click on the hyperlinks to see my full reviews.



1.) The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project makes this list because Simsion does a great job at creating a real character with Asperger's. This is a fun, quick read that is uplifting and funny. I know I enjoyed it because I have a lot of very 'rational' people in my life, and they reminded me of the main character, Don Tillman.





2.) In the Woods by Tana French

In the Woods makes the list because I love Tana French. Her books all center around people in the Dublin Murder Squad. While French's work is easily categorized into the mystery genre, I often describe French's writing as literary fiction with a bit of mystery thrown in. Her characterization is unparalleled.

3.) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The best coming of age story I've ever read, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is going to be worth your while. You can read it in an afternoon and you walk away feeling just a little better about the world, even though the story has some pretty heavy themes. An amazing novel, don't miss it.






4.) Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Zeitoun makes this list in part because Katrina directly affected the lives of many who are very close to me. That being said, Zeitoun is about a major event in American history that was a game changer for how we as a country respond during natural disasters. A look into the less talked about aspects of hurricane Katrina, Zeitoun will hopefully help us learn from our mistakes.





5.) Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

Moloka'i makes the list because I've visited Kalaupapa, the former leprosy settlement, on the island of Moloka'i. An incredible place in terms of both human history and natural beauty, Kalaupapa significant in American history but is not often talked about. Brennert does a great job at writing a compelling piece of historical fiction about the people who were banished there. I recommend Moloka'i not only because the characters are well done, but because this is a slice of history that we as a country should not forget.




6.) The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

A modern classic, Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried is comparable to Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front. Strongly anti-war, The Things They Carried talks of the addiction of warfare, and the true cost of that addiction. I recommend this book for anyone looking to better understand just what it is that makes us human.

7.) Dune by Frank Herbert

This is an amazing work of science fiction. If you are at all a sci-fi fan, you need to read this book. Touching on all topics from religion to the environment, Dune is the beginning of an epic saga that is so well crafted, I know I could read this book several more times and still not get everything from it. Also, don't judge the book by the movie. I shut the movie off after thirty minutes but raced through the book in a matter of days.





8.) Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight is a memoir about growing up in Africa as a white colonist during the 1960's. Brutal and often tragic, Fuller does an amazing job at not white washing history, all while exposing her readers to the complex world that was and is southern Africa. Not a light read, but well worth your time.





9.) The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Probably one of the most engaging pieces of historical non-fiction I've ever read, The Devil in the White City takes place Chicago in the early 1890's as the city gets ready for and then executes the 1893 World Fair. About the fair's main architect and the serial killer who killed an unknown, but great, number of women during the fair, this book reads like fiction but is not. Highly recommend.





10.) Junkyard Dogs by Craig Johnson

Junkyard Dogs makes the list because it takes place over Valentine's Day weekend on the Wyoming/Montana border, and I've spent enough winters in that region to appreciate an author who can really capture just what that's like. A fun, quick read, Junkyard Dogs is best read while under a blanket with a warm beverage.











Perrin is the author of The Ryo Myths, a sci-fi/fantasy trilogy that has been heralded to engage both nerds and non-nerds alike. Check out her books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. When not writing, Perrin enjoys drinking coffee and swimming, although usually not at the same time.

10 Fictional Books Taking Place in America

For today's post, I thought I'd give you ten fictional books that take place in the United States of America. I'm a huge fan of exploring your own backyard and here in America, we have a huge backyard. We can go from the Arctic circle to the most isolated island chain in the world without a passport. We've got deserts, white sand beaches, towering peaks and everything in between. We've also got quiet quiet the mix of cultures and viewpoints within our borders, which at times can be spun to seem like a bad thing. Today, I thought I'd share some of the books I've read recently that take place in different parts of America. If you're looking to travel within the boundaries of this country without leaving your home, consider some of these texts.

As noted above, these are just some of the novels I've read recently. This is not a complete list, nor does it encompass all of what America has to offer. Also, the book are in no specific order. Click on the hyperlinked titles for my full reviews.


1.) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

A coming of age story about, Spokane Indian and high school freshman, Junior, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is not just for high schoolers. Alexie does an amazing job at walking the fine line of writing about the tricky topic of race relations in America. I read this book in a matter of hours, then handed it off to a thirty something friend of mine who said he also read it an afternoon. A wonderful story about people, I can't recommend this book enough.





2.) A River Runs Through It: And Other Stories by Norman Maclean

Taking place in all before 1940, A River Runs Through It: And Other Stories features Montana as its main character. While A River Runs Through it is probably the most famous of Maclean's stories, I highly recommend the other two stories in this edition, Logging, Pimping, and Your Pal Jim and The Ranger, the Cook and a Hole in the Sky. These are great tales of what life was once like in rural Montana.





3.) The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Welcome to the American South. It's got quiet a history. I recommend reading the Help because a.) I genuinely liked it and b.) even if you don't like it, the issues that it raises, such as a white lady telling a story about Civil Rights era Mississippi, are worth discussing, in a productive way. For more books on 1940's to 1960's Southern America, check out: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor. I realize that all three of these recommendations are by white people, so if you have any black authors worth reading in this genre, let me know in the comments.



4.) Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

I recommend Moloka'i by Alan Brennert because it's about a pretty unique place during a pretty crazy time in history. Set in Kalaupapa during the first half of the twentieth century, Moloka'i  is about the leprosy settlement on the Hawaiian of Moloka'i, which is something most Americans have little to no knowledge about. If you are interested in literature on Hawaii, I also recommend reading The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings which is one of my favorite most recent reads.





5.) The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cineros

I know I often praise the House on Mango Street, but seriously, it's worth the read. Short and poetical, it's a great look into the life of a young girl growing up in the inner city in Chicago. Its also a novel that will appeal to those more abstract thinkers out there, as its really just a collection of poetry that forms a single story.






6.) East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Not short, East of Eden follows multiple generations of the Trask and Hamilton families as they struggle to survive. Taking place mostly the Salinas Valley of California, East of Eden is a look into American history. Discussing both the Civil War and the early agricultural history of California, East of Eden offers insight of into how we came to be where we are today. This is one of those classics that is worth reading, despite its heft.






7.) Shutter Island by Denis Lehane

First of all, Martin Scorsese did an amazing job with the film adaptation of this book. Second of all, Lehane did a great job at researching the history of psychiatric care in this country. Lehane, a modern master of thrillers, keeps the plot moving, while giving the details that make Shutter Island real. Taking place on a barrier island off of the coast of Boston, Shutter Island follows two police detectives in the 1950's as they attempt to locate a missing patient. A gripping read.





8.) Appaloosa by Robert B. Parker

How could I not include a Western in this American list? Appaloosa is a quick and fun read. While touching on some of the timeless themes of the American West - cattle rustlers, brothels and violence - what makes Appaloosa is the dialogue. If you're looking to get into Westerns, check out Parker's Appaloosa. If you're already into the Western genre, you might also want to check out  The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry but reader beware, where Appaloosa is light and fun, The Last Picture Show is dark and cold.





9.) White Shark by Peter Benchley

Written by Peter Benchley, the same guy who wrote Jaws, White Shark succeeds where Jaws failed. First, he still has a killer sea creature eating people off of the New England coast. Second, he gets rid of the sex scenes that took up the pages of Jaws and replaces them with more sea based carnage. Third, the killer sea creature is actually a long lost Nazi killing creation, so it's okay hate. In fact, Benchley is a champion of Great White preservation in this book, which was obviously missing from his early Jaws. A fun quick read, I'd say this would be the perfect book to summer with on the Eastern shores of America.




10.) Junkyard Dogs by Craig Johnson

A modern take on the Western genre, Junkyard Dogs is just one of Craig Johnson's many Walt Longmire mysteries. My favorite part of this book is that it really captured what it's like to live in Wyoming/Montana in the winter. If you're looking to get to know America better, check out this book, as most books about the Montana/Wyoming region take place in the summer, and as they say, summer's only three months of the year.






I hope some of these books catch your interest. Feel free to add your own favorite American novels into the comments!



Perrin is the author of The Ryo Myths, a sci-fi/fantasy trilogy that has been heralded to engage both nerds and non-nerds alike. Check out her books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. When not writing, Perrin enjoys drinking coffee and swimming, although usually not at the same time.

10 Seafaring Nonfiction Books You Might Want to Read

I'll admit, I'm into reading ocean based nonfiction. Yes, shipwreck stories are incredibly interesting to me, but so are survival stories and ocean science narratives. While I've got a ton more nonfiction seafaring texts on my to-read list, here are ten books from my recently read list that I thought I'd share with you today. To read my full reviews of each book, click on the hyperlinked titles.

The below books are in no specific order. Authors names are only hyperlinked if they have Goodreads profiles.

 1.) Deep Ocean Journeys: Discovering New Life at the Bottom of the Sea by Cindy Lee Van Dover

Do you like lava vents at the bottom of the ocean? Deep water submersibles? How about exploring Earthly realms that most never get to see? Deep Ocean Journeys is all that. Written by deep water submersible pilot and marine scientist Cindy Lee Van Dover, Deep Ocean Journeys is a read that no ocean buff will want to miss.






2.) In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick


Are you into forgotten economies, exploring uncharted waters, and animals getting even? If yes, you'll want to read, In the Heart of the Sea. In the Heart of the Sea is a combination of great story telling and historical fact. Taking his readers on a journey that spans half the globe, Philbrick crafts one of the best non-fiction whaling books I've ever come across.





3.) The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among American's Great White Sharks by Susan Casey

Centered around the Great White sharks that prowl San Francisco's waters, The Devil's Teeth exposes its readers to the miserable and wonderful world that is the Farallones island cluster. Reader beware though, the second half of the book is difficult to get through as Casey makes several somewhat questionable decisions that have far reaching consequences.







4.) Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson


About the early days of scuba diving, Shadow Divers shows its reader a world most will never see. Centered around the discovery of an unknown U-boat sunk off of the coast of New Jersey, Kurson takes his readers on a deadly adventure that pushes the boundaries of just what is humanly possible.







5.) In the Wake of Madness: The Murderous Voyage of the Whaleship Sharon by Joan Druett


Yet another nonfiction whaling disaster, In the Wake of Madness doesn't deal with an enraged spermwhale but rather an enraged crew. An excellent look into whaling economies and just what it means to be a leader, Druett will take you to worlds you're glad you aren't a part of.






6.) Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival by Dean King


The tale of the crew of the ill fated ship, the Commerce, King exposes his readers to the scary world that was 1800's sailing. Complete with shipwrecks, starvation, drownings, and enslavement, Skeletons on the Zahara is a both a brutal and eye opening look at the pre-globalized world.








7.) The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea by Sebastian Junger


My favorite nonfiction book of all time, The Perfect Storm recants the events of the Halloween Gale of 1991 from a variety of viewpoints. Junger follows the crew of the ill fated Andrea Gail, as well as those waiting for the ship's return, the rescue crews working tirelessly throughout the storm, and the sister ship of the Andrea Gail as its crew searches for their missing peers. A must read!





8.) The Hungry Ocean: A Swoardboat Captain's Journey by Linda Greenlaw



Written by the captain of the sister ship of the Andrea Gail, The Hungry Ocean shows its readers everything that goes into preparing for and executing a thirty day swordfish fishing trip. Also unique in that its author, Linda Greenlaw, is one of the only female swordboat captains out there, the Hungry Ocean is a quick engaging read.






9.) Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales


While not just about sea based disasters, Deep Survival looks into the mindsets of those who survive in bad situations and those who don't. A great read for anyone interested in pushing their own limits, or for those just looking to mentally prepare for the worst.







10.) Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea by Tami Ashcraft Oldham and Susea McGearhart

A quick read, Red Sky in Mourning is about 19-year-old Tami Ashcraft's deadly encounter with a hurricane while sailing a yacht across the Pacific Ocean. Tami survives while her one sailing companion, her fiance, is thrown from the boat, never to be seen again. A compelling tale about loss and survival, I recommend this book.






I hope some of these books catch your interest. Feel free to add your own nonfiction seafaring favorites in the comments below!

Perrin is the author of The Ryo Myths, a sci-fi/fantasy trilogy that has been heralded to engage both nerds and non-nerds alike. Check out her books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. When not writing, Perrin enjoys drinking coffee and swimming, although usually not at the same time.