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Washington Reads (Winter 2008) - Of Beaches and the Sea

For many, the wonders of the beach, the sea and the tide are a source of rejuvenation; they inspire contemplation, self-examination and peace. The sea can also be violent, mysterious and dangerous. Countless authors have captured the many moods of the sea and beach, as well as the fond memories, the tragedies, and the lyrical connection that results from our bond with the ocean. Selections range from a beautifully illustrated picture book and a masterful young adult novel, to comprehensive reference books, charming historical tales, a tragedy, essays and epics.

Berg, Norah with Charles Samuels. Lady on the Beach.

With Old Sarge, Norah Berg discovers both adventure and a peaceful niche in life in the 1950s in Ocean City, Washington. The book paints a picture of a town of shacks, clam digging by lantern, beach combing for the treasures of the tide, and the amusing and fascinating people who made a life on this strip of sand. The anecdotes and tales of a life discovered will intrigue the reader.

Dillon, Patrick. Lost At Sea: An American Tragedy.

An acclaimed journalist delves into the tragic loss and mystery surrounding the disappearance of the fishing boats, Americus and Altair, out of Anacortes. From the climate of subzero temperatures, eighty-knot winds, and huge waves to the dangerous jobs in the competitive fishing industry, the reader feels the painful loss of fourteen men at sea.

Glidden, Helen. Light on the Island: Tales of the Lighthouse Keeper's Family in the San Juan Islands.

This fiftieth anniversary edition of a classic chronicles the life of the Patos Island light keeper's family from 1905 to 1913. An important era in lighthouse life in the remote San Juans is captured. The book records the adventures, hardships and spirit of Helene, known as Angie from age five, her twelve siblings, parents, and various smugglers and old timers.

Lamb, Andy and Bernard Hanby. Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest: A Photographic Encyclopedia.

This photographic encyclopedia of invertebrates, seaweeds and select fish is a comprehensive visual reference on Northwest marine life. More than 1,700 color photographs of 1,400 plus saltwater animals and plants grace its pages. This encyclopedia is a necessity for serious biologists, but wonderful for beachcombers and anyone who loves marine life and underwater photography.

Moody, Skye Kathleen. Washed Up: The Curious Journeys of Flotsam and Jetsam.

Beachcombers are fascinated by the sea and the treasures it gives to us. This book provides facts, folklore plus interesting and amusing stories to enrich our fascination with the flotsam and jetsam of the sea!

Peterson, Brenda and Linda Hogan. Sightings: The Gray Whales' Mysterious Journey.

A Native American writer and a celebrated essayist, novelist and naturalist join to link their perceptions of the gray whale, through science, myth and wisdom. Together they create a beautifully crafted tale of the great migration from Baja to the Bering Sea. The history and science of the gray whale are woven throughout the brilliantly written stories.

Russell, Dick. Eye of the Whale: Epic Passage from Baja to Siberia.

In a monumental book, the author tracks the migration of the gray whale by retracing the steps of Charles Melville Scammon. Scammon is the whaling captain who many consider to be responsible for bringing the whale to the brink of extinction in the 1850s and 1860s. This astonishing epic interlaces the story with issues that are political, social and ecological.

Spalding, David A.E. Whales of the West Coast.

This comprehensive book, which addresses all aspects of whales and dolphins of the west coast, is easily read and understood. It has excellent black-and-white photos, maps, and lists of resources in addition to fascinating stories, history, biology, legends and the story of the controversy surrounding whaling.

Young Adult
Lynch, Jim. The Highest Tide.

Olympia author Jim Lynch's masterful first novel intertwines the untold stories of the sea with many of life's mysteries. Lynch's knowledge and sense of wonder with the natural world shine through this book. Many Olympia and Mud Bay locations are named, while other names are fictitious. This coming of age novel, with an engaging plot and metaphor, received much deserved acclaim and attention, and will be read by future generations.

Black, Naomi. Springer's Journey. Illustrated by Virginia Heaven.

Based on a true story, children will discover the tragic tale of Springer, an orphaned whale, and her amazing solitary journey to waters near Seattle. The striking illustrations and concern for the plight of whales will impact readers of all ages. This is a great gift for children.