Friday, April 30, 2010

Bill McKibben's five favorite environmental books

Activist and writer Bill McKibben is the award-winning author of The End of Nature and The Age of Missing Information. His new book, Eaarth, argues that our planet already has been irrevocably remade by human activity.

For The Daily Beast, he named his five favorite environmental books. One book on the list:
The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson really began the assault on modernity with Silent Spring—suddenly progress didn't seem quite so shiny. But before that she'd written some of the most-loved natural history of all time, introducing millions of Americans to the oceans before Jacques Cousteau even wet a swimfin.
Read about the other books on the list.

Also see: Bill McKibben's all-time favorite books.

The Page 69 Test: Bill McKibben's Deep Economy.

Learn more about McKibben's new book Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sophie Thompson's 6 best books

Sophie Thompson (sister of Emma Thompson) appears in the forthcoming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; she plays Mafalda Hopkirk, a witch who works in the Improper Use of Magic Office at the Ministry of Magic.

For the Scottish Sunday Express, she named her six best books. One title on the list:
by JD Salinger

I was still at school when I read this. I can remember sitting on a wall, in a little puddle of sun, after getting the number 28 bus home, crying as I slowly turned the last few pages. I was completely in love with the central character and genuinely bereft that he was no longer in my life.
Read about the other books on Thompson's list.

The Catcher In The Rye appears on Dan Rhodes' top ten list of short books and Sarah Ebner's top 25 list of boarding school books. Upon rereading, the novel disappointed Khaled Hosseini, Mary Gordon, and Laura Lippman.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Top ten love stories

Esther Freud was named by Granta magazine as one of the 20 Best of Young British Novelists in 1993. Her books include Hideous Kinky (1992), Peerless Flats (1993) and Gaglow (1997). Her most recent novel is Love Falls (2007).

She named her top ten love stories for the Guardian. One novel on the list:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre was responsible for a misguided belief in the power of romance that complicated my teenage years. The idea that you could lean out of your window and whisper your lover's name, and that he might actually hear you, appealed to me too much.
Read about the other books on the list.

Jane Eyre also made the Guardian's top 10 lists of "outsider books" and "romantic fiction;" it appears on Jessica Duchen's top ten list of literary Gypsies, and on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best weddings in literature, ten of the best breakfasts in literature, and ten of the best smokes in fiction.

The Page 99 Test: Jane Eyre.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Five best books about soldiers at war

Stephen Hunter retired in 2008 as chief film critic of the Washington Post.

His most recent novel is I, Sniper (Simon & Schuster, 2009).

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of books on soldiers at war.

One book on the list:
The Face of Battle by John Keegan Viking, 1976

John Keegan is by no means the first historian to contemplate combat from eyeball range, but he has been the most eloquent to propose that battle accounts should involve more than describing the movement of military units as viewed from an imaginary satellite far above the smoke and blood. Yes, it's important to know that, say, a unit called Able/3/4 moved up Hill 271 at 0350 and didn't take possession from the 2/2 SS Panzergrenadiers/Totenkopf until 0530, but Keegan thinks that the focus should instead be on the guys of Able Company as they climb the incline against heavy German fire. In "The Face of Battle," written early in his remarkable career, Keegan applies his close-up history writing to three world-changing battles—Agincourt in 1415, Waterloo in 1815 and the Somme in 1916. Infusing his narrative with archaeology, anthropology and the utter melancholy of loss and permanent injury, he produced a model for all who followed.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Face of Battle is one of Thomas C. Schelling's most influential books.

Friend of the Blog Kurt van der Walde once alerted me to the closing lines of the acknowledgments of the book where Keegan reveals why he did not dedicate the book to his "wife Susanne: ...were the title and the subject of this book not so inappropriate, I would have dedicated it to her, for all she has done."

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ten of the best accounts of being marooned in literature

For the Observer, William Skidelsky named a list of ten of the most vivid accounts of being marooned in literature. One book on the list:
Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Golding's first novel describes the ghastly fate that befalls a group of British schoolboys when they are stranded on a desert island (Golding was a prep-school teacher when he wrote it). At first, the boys set about creating an ordered society, with the good-natured Ralph as chief. But a dissident faction emerges and seizes power. Ralph, together with his myopic sidekick Piggy, wants the group to concentrate on getting rescued; the other lot just want to hunt. The boys' descent into savagery symbolises mankind's innate capacity for evil.
Read about the other castaways on the list.

Lord of the Flies
is on AbeBooks' list of 20 books of shattered childhoods and is one of the top ten works of literature according to Stephen King. It appears on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best pairs of glasses in literature and ten of the best horrid children in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Five great fictional Prime Ministers

Michael Dobbs served as Chief of Staff to British Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major and was Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party in the mid-1990s. His many books include House of Cards, the first in what would become a trilogy of political thrillers based on the character Francis Urquhart.

His latest novel is The Reluctant Hero.

Dobbs named a brief list of great fictional Prime Ministers for the Times (London).

One PM on the list:
Harry Perkins in A Very British Coup by Chris Mullin (1982)

Perkins is the PM who wants to get rid of media monopolies, nuclear weapons and US influence. Nothing new there, then. His idealism runs full pelt into entrenched interests and ends with mysterious forces ousting him.
Read about the other PMs on Dobbs' list.

Read about Michael Dobbs and his books.

The Page 69 Test: The Lords’ Day.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ten of the best visions of hell in literature

For the Guardian, John Mullan named ten of the best visions of hell in literature.

One book on the list:
Paradise Lost by John Milton

Tumbled out of Heaven, the rebel angels find themselves in a bad place: "A dungeon horrible, on all sides round / As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flames / No light; but rather darkness visible / Served only to discover sights of woe..." Being devils, they decide this is where they want to stay.
Read about the other works on the list.

Satan from Paradise Lost is among the 50 greatest villains in literature according to the (London) Telegraph and appears on John Mullan's list ten of the best devils in literature.

Paradise Lost also appears on Mullan's list of ten of the best pieces of fruit in literature and Diane Purkiss' critic's chart of the best books on the English Civil War.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 23, 2010

Shirley Williams's six best books

Shirley Williams, Baroness Williams of Crosby, is a British politician and academic. Originally a Labour Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister, she was one of the "Gang of Four" rebels who founded the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1981. She later served as Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, and since 2007 has served as Adviser on Nuclear Proliferation to Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Last year she told the Scottish Sunday Express about her six best books. One title on the list:
The Great Transformation
by Karl Polanyi

An absolutely brilliant history book which tells the story of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, covering among other events the Industrial Revolution, the creation of nations and the birth of empires.
Read about the other books on Williams' list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Six great books where women hit the road

At Flashlight Worthy, Anne Matthews, co-author of Deep Creek, named a list of six great books where women journey away from home.

One book on the list:
S. M. Fuller's Summer on the Lakes in 1843
by Sarah Margaret Fuller

Touring the Great Lakes in 1843, a hard-to-please Transcendentalist melds reportage, diary, verse, and rant into travelogue both inner and outer. (Her personal low points: swampy, dull Chicago, pop. 7,000; and Niagara Falls, which looked exactly like the postcards.)
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Top 10 absurd classics

Michael Foley was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, but since 1972 he has lived in London, working as a Lecturer in Information Technology. He has published four novels, four collections of poetry and a collection of translations from French poetry, which have earned impressive reviews from the Guardian, New Statesman and New York Times. The Age of Absurdity is his first non-fiction book.

For the Guardian, he named a top ten list of books that best express the absurdity of the human condition. One title on the list:
Bouvard and Pécuchet by Gustave Flaubert

Bouvard and Pécuchet are humble copy clerks until Bouvard unexpectedly inherits money and the two friends decide to give up work and devote themselves to acquiring knowledge. They attempt to master in turn farming, chemistry, medicine, astronomy, geology, gymnastics, spiritualism, philosophy, religion and phrenology, in each case following the best contemporary expertise, but always ending in disaster and disillusionment. In their education phase they take in the children of a convict and subject them to the latest pedagogic techniques. Resolutely resisting improvement, the children wreck the garden, smash dishes in the kitchen, steal food and money, attack their philanthropic teachers and finally boil a pet cat alive in a cooking pot.
Read about the other books on the list.

Bouvard and Pécuchet
also appears on John Mullan's list of ten of the best unfinished literary works and John Sutherland's list of the best books about listing.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Six best stoner novels

Sam Munson, author of The November Criminals, named the six best stoner novels for The Daily Beast.

One book on the list:
Invisible Man
by Ralph Ellison

The protagonist of Ellison's masterwork may love sloe gin, but he also has a transformative experience with weed while listening to Louis Armstrong's "What Did I Do to Be So Black and Blue" at bone-shaking volume in his underground lair. He comes to a Nietzschean conclusion: Great music and chemical intoxicants belong to the same existential class, implements of the Dionysian. (Although he does eventually give up ganja.) A nearly-infinite number of adolescents have repeated this experiment, with continually worsening music and far less impressive philosophical results.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Invisible Man comes in second on the list of the 100 best last lines from novels; it is one of Joyce Hackett's top ten musical novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ten of the best breakfasts in literature

For the Guardian, John Mullan named ten of the best breakfasts in literature.

One breakfast on the list:
From Russia with Love, by Ian Fleming

James Bond's breakfast, supposed to demonstrate his fine taste, is a memorable exercise in prissiness. Coffee from De Bry in New Oxford Street, toast with Norwegian heather honey from Fortnum's, a single brown egg from a French Marans hen.
Read about the other breakfasts on the list.

From Russia with Love also made Mullan's lists of ten of the best chess games in fiction and ten of the best punch-ups in fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Five best books on blasphemy

Diarmaid MacCulloch is Professor of the History of the Church and Fellow of St. Cross College in the University of Oxford. His latest book is Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years.

For the Wall Street Journal he named a five best list of books about blasphemy. One title on the list:
The Antichrist
by Friedrich Nietzsche

It takes the son of a preacher-man to do blasphemy properly; Nietzsche's father was a German Lutheran pastor. It's not Nietzsche's fault that the Nazis admired him—his anti-Semitic sister should shoulder much of the blame for manipulating his image, but even so ... In the urgent, jagged prose of "The Antichrist"—superbly translated into English by H.L. Mencken in 1920—Nietzsche pitches viciously into Christianity for pushing humankind off course, for exalting pity over strength. (In German, his title could also mean "Anti-Christian.") "Theologians are the enemy," he says, and "faith is a pathetic thing." The book is a howl of rage against the great German Protestant project of wedding Christianity to the Enlightenment. Nietzsche tries to forge a relationship with Jesus beyond the distortions brought by Christian piety and to rediscover true life behind shams.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bill McKibben's all-time favorite books

Activist and writer Bill McKibben is the award-winning author of The End of Nature and The Age of Missing Information. His new book, Eaarth, argues that our planet already has been irrevocably remade by human activity.

He named his six favorite books for The Week magazine. One title on the list:
Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

Any book by this Kentucky farmer-writer will do, but this novel is a particularly moving part of his ongoing project: showing the meaning of and need for real human community. Once you’re finished with this, continue on to his collected essays.
The Page 69 Test: Bill McKibben's Deep Economy.

Read about the other books on McKibben's list.

Visit Bill McKibben's official website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 16, 2010

Best books for lovers of Henry Thoreau's "Walden"

At Flashlight Worthy, Will Howarth, co-author of Deep Creek, named a list of books that echo [Henry David Thoreau's] "fierce love for exploring personal freedom" and "emulate the place-centered nonfiction he invented in Walden."

One title on the list:
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
by Bill Bryson

A humorous, self-deprecating story of two urban mid-lifers hiking the Appalachian Trail. Along the way, they shape up, lose their snark, and begin to appreciate the difficulty of preserving wilderness in postmodern times.
Read about the other books on Howarth's list.

A Walk in the Woods is one of Eric Blehm's ten favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Michael Lewis' 5 favorite books

Michael Lewis is the bestselling author of Liar’s Poker, The Blind Side, and a new chronicle of the financial crisis, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine.

One of his favorite books of all time, as told to The Daily Beast:
A Confederacy of Dunces
by John Kennedy Toole

It describes the peculiar street life of the place I grew up (New Orleans) with the precision of a Flemish painting. One of the few books I dip into every few years to make sure I'm still sane. (If I laugh, I am.) It's also one of the three funniest books I've ever read, along with...
Read about the other books on Lewis' list.

A Confederacy of Dunces also appears on Cracked magazine's list of classic funny novels.

Read more about Lewis' most important books.

The Page 69 Test: The Blind Side.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Top 10 seafaring tales

Carsten Jensen, renowned Danish author and worldwide cultural critic, has just published his epic novel We, The Drowned, in English. He was awarded the Golden Laurels for I Have Seen the World Begin; the Danske Banks Litteraturpris, Denmark's most prestigious literary award; and, most recently, the Palme prize.

He named his top ten seafaring tales for the Guardian.

One title on the list:
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Melville's masterpiece tells the tale of Captain Ahab and his obsessive quest for a whale whose terrifying whiteness comes to embody evil itself. I doubt that any contemporary publisher would take on such a vast, eccentric, anarchic work if it crossed their desk today. Reading it, you realise what a free and wide-ranging genre the novel once was, and how much has been wrecked by a book industry catering to the most conventional taste. Not only does Melville forget all about his main character, Ishmael, for hundreds of pages, but he also allows himself to indulge in endless speculations about the nature of whales, before reaching the conclusion that they're not mammals, but fish. What to do in the presence of such artistic nerve, but salute?
Read about the other entries on Jensen's list.

also appears among John Mullan's list of ten of the best tattoos in literature, Susan Cheever's five best books about obsession, Christopher Buckley's best books, Jane Yolen's five most important books, Chris Dodd's best books, Augusten Burroughs' five most important books, Norman Mailer's top ten works of literature, David Wroblewski's five most important books, Russell Banks' five most important books, and Philip Hoare's top ten books about whales.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Five best books on guilt

Pascal Bruckner is the award-winning author of eighteen books of fiction and nonfiction, including the novel Bitter Moon, which was made into a film by Roman Polanski. His other books include The Temptation of Innocence and The Tears of the White Man (Free Press) and the novels The Divine Child (Little, Brown) and Evil Angels (Grove). His new book is The Tyranny of Guilt.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of books about guilt. One title on the list:
And Then There Were None
by Agatha Christie

Ten people who have nothing in common find themselves on Indian Island. They have been invited there by a mysterious Mr. Owen, who has, unfortunately, not shown up. A couple of servants see to their comfort. On the living-room table the guests find 10 Indian statuettes, and in the bedrooms hangs a nursery rhyme announcing how each guest is to be murdered. The deaths follow one another implacably, hewing to the poem's predictions as though the characters' fates were foreordained. Everyone has sinned enough to deserve death; everyone bears the mark of Cain. Within this Puritan framework Agatha Christie displays her passion for playing with crime. As it turns out, one of the 10 guests is the murderer—and he knocks himself off as well, using a sophisticated technique to make it seem as if he has been killed by someone else. Christie's taste for trickery is stronger than her taste for punishment. Thus there is no tragedy in her work: Evil can always be overcome by a shrewd detective.
Read about the other books on Bruckner's list.

Also see: a top ten list of Agatha Christie mysteries.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ten of the best lotharios in literature

For the Guardian, John Mullan named ten of the best lotharios in literature.

One lothario on the list:

Foolish Emma Bovary falls for this practised seducer in Flaubert's novel. For the provincial doctor's frustrated wife, wealthy, stylish Rodolphe Boulanger is Prince Charming. For him, pretty Emma is just the latest in a long line of conquests. He gets bored and dumps her.
Read about the other characters on Mullan's list.

Madame Bovary
is on Mullan's list of ten of the best bad lawyers in literature, Valerie Martin's list of six novels about doomed marriages, and Louis Begley's list of favorite novels about cheating lovers. It tops Peter Carey's list of the top ten works of literature and was second on a top ten works of literature list selected by leading writers from Britain, America and Australia in 2007. It one of John Bowe's six favorite books on love.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sheena Iyengar's 6 favorite books

Columbia University business professor Sheena Iyengar is the author of the The Art of Choosing, a new book examining the science of how human beings make choices. For The Week magazine, she named six books that have influenced her work.

One title on the list:
The Worldly Philosophers by Robert L. Heilbroner

A classic that manages to make economics accessible and interesting to the layperson. Heilbroner delves into the “lives, times, and ideas of the great economic thinkers”—as the book’s subtitle promises—to show how men like Adam Smith and Karl Marx were shaped by their choices, and how their theories continue to shape us today.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Douglas Hurd's 6 best books

Douglas Hurd served as Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major. His new book is Choose Your Weapons: The British Foreign Secretary: Two Centuries Of Conflict And Personalities.

He named his six best books for the Daily Express. One title on the list:
Decline and Fall
by Evelyn Waugh

A hilarious book about a young schoolmaster who gets involved with a woman whose fortune is built on brothels. One of the earliest and funniest of Waugh’s books this is up there with some of his better-known works such as Brideshead Revisited.
Read about the other works on Hurd's list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 9, 2010

Top 10 Japanese novels

Julith Jedamus is the author of The Book of Loss. In 2005 she named a top ten list of Japanese novels for the Guardian.

One book on her list:
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (1987)

The novel, Murakami's fifth, whose phenomenal success led to his exile to Europe and the United States. It's all here: the callow narrator, the deja vus and symbols, the peripheral danger - plus slug-eating, damp bras, The Great Gatsby, fires, Miles Davis, and a dead man's pyjamas.
Read about the other novels on the list.

Also see: Fiona Campbell's top ten books set in Japan.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Five books on guitars

One title from the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five books on "the history, craft and voice of the six-stringed heart of American music:"
Instruments of Desire
by Steve Waksman

This crash course on the historical and cultural significance of the electric version of the instrument puts the essentials -- sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll -- right at its amplified heart. Steve Waksman begins in the thirties, with the evolving guitar's galvanizing effect on blues, and country, going on to chart what would emerge as rock. Along the way he riffs on the lives of some of the most influential electric players, including Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, and Jimmy Page.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Doug Glanville's best books on baseball

Doug Glanville played center field for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, and Texas Rangers from 1996 through 2004. His new book, The Game from Where I Stand, is out in early May.

He named his "favorite books that capture the spirit and essence of baseball" for The Daily Beast. One title on the list:
Three Nights in August
by Buzz Bissinger

Buzz writes like a magician, so that was a given, but what I liked about this book was deeply personal. He walked us through three games in 2003. Cubs v. Cardinals, when I was playing for the Cubs. In effect, he left me a literary description of a snapshot of my life in baseball, during my twilight years. It was like seeing something again from a new angle. In this case, through the mind and savvy of Tony LaRussa.
Read about the other books on the list.

Also see Richard J. Tofel's list of the five best books on baseball as a business, Tom Werner's six favorite baseball books, Fay Vincent's five best list of baseball books, Tim McCarver's five best list of baseball books, and Nicholas Dawidoff's five best list of baseball novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Top 10 travel books of the 20th century

In 1999 at Salon magazine, Don George named a top ten list of travel books of the 20th century.

One book on the list:
"The Snow Leopard," by Peter Matthiessen.

This profoundly moving work interweaves unforgettably vivid descriptions of a Himalayan climbing expedition with equally unforgettable passages of searing self-analysis and spiritual quest. In its stark humanity and its unvarnished yearning, its soul-open combination of epiphany and despair, fatigue and terror and triumph, "The Snow Leopard" enlightens and enriches on virtually every page. It can change your life, as it did mine.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 5, 2010

Five direly underappreciated post-1960 U.S. novels

In 1999 David Foster Wallace named five direly underappreciated post-1960 U.S. novels.

One book on the list:
"Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West" by Cormac McCarthy (1985)

Don't even ask.
Read about the other books on the list.

Blood Meridian is one authority's pick for the Great Texas novel and is among Clive Sinclair's top 10 westerns and Maile Meloy's six best books. It appears on the New York Times list of the best American fiction of the last 25 years and among the top ten works of literature according to Stephen King.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Ten of the best trips to Canterbury

At the Guardian, John Mullan named a list of ten of the best trips to Canterbury in literature.

One book on the list:
Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser

The pleasure-seeking life of this 19th-century rogue begins in Canterbury. Expelled from Rugby, he thinks to join the army, while wishing to avoid any risk of combat. He chooses the 11th Light Dragoons, who "were at Canterbury, after long service in India, and were unlikely ... to be posted abroad". He makes the most of Canterbury society before a duel and a quarrel over a woman send him to less comfortable climes.
Read about the other entries on Mullan's list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Arthur Phillips' favorite books set in places that their authors never visited

Arthur Phillips is the author of The Song Is You, Prague, The Egyptologist, and Angelica.

He told The Week magazine about six of his favorite books set in places that their authors never visited.

One title on the list:
Dracula by Bram Stoker

Theater impresario Stoker was very well traveled. He didn’t make it to Eastern Europe, however, so it became a suitable place to let his imagination wander. He did more damage to a country’s reputation than any artist until Borat sank Kazakhstan. Transylvania is beautifully depicted: the mountains, the woods, the succubae.
Read about the other books on the list.

Also see Phillips' list of "Five Novels That Make You Feel Like You Might Know Something about Life During the Collapse of the Hapsburg Empire."

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 2, 2010

Mike Figgis' six best books

Mike Figgis was nominated for Oscars for directing and writing the adapted screenplay for Leaving Las Vegas.

He named his six best books for the Daily Express.

One title on the list:
Something Happened
by Joseph Heller

I even prefer this 1974 classic to Catch 22. It deals with family and memory and the agony of raising a child or two. Some of the images in it really will stay with me for ever.
Read about the other books on the list.

Something Happened
appears on Luke Leitch's list of ten cursed second novels and is Neil Cross' pick for Most Under-Rated Second Novel.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Top ten books on the sea

Bella Bathurst's first published book was The Lighthouse Stevensons (1999), an account of the construction of the Scottish lighthouses by the ancestors of Robert Louis Stevenson; it was named one of the List Magazine's "100 Best Scottish Books of all time." Her second book was a novel, Special (2002); it was followed by The Wreckers (2005), a history of shipwrecking and maritime mischief around the coast of Britain.

In 2005 she named her top ten books on the sea for the Guardian. One series on the list:
The Aubrey/Maturin Series by Patrick O'Brian

You can read this fabulous series of novels for advice on the correct use of spankers and futtocks, you can read them for their exuberance and humanity, or you can just read them because they're compulsive and you fancy Stephen Maturin.
Read about the other books on the list.

One book in the series made Lewis Smith's critic's chart of books with bears.

--Marshal Zeringue