Packing for summer vacation has the attractive of anticipation, to imagine the new experiences in the destination, places, art, landscapes, people, food… One of the most special parts is selecting the books that are going with you during one of the best periods of the year.
As sea and trips are at the core of Aubarede 7, we have selected 7 books that are great summer readings and can be amazing companions throughout the year as well.
The Mirror of the Sea
A collection of autobiographical essays in which Joseph Conrad draws his relationship with the sea, in his own words “"a very intimate revelation. . . . I have attempted here to lay bare with the unreserve of a last hour's confession the terms of my relation with the sea”. Poetical and with an introspective touch, the sea is here not the landscape but the main character for an author that portrays his passion, reflects on it and leaves an essential work to understand him and the rest of his literary legacy.
“Happy he who, like Ulysses, has made an adventurous voyage; and there is no such sea for adventurous voyages as the Mediterranean—the inland sea which the ancients looked upon as so vast and so full of wonders.”
Joseph Conrad - The Mirror of the Sea
My Family and Other Animals
Th first of The Corfu Trilogy, it is an autobiographical novel by the English naturalist Gerald Durrell. Bewitching and eccentric, the descriptions of the landscapes of Corfu, the author’s childhood, his love for animals, his view of his family and his world back then are unforgettable. His irony and sense of humor is hilarious, particularly when he describes the relationship between his family and locals, or adult’s reactions to his animal friends.
“The phosphorescence was particularly good that night. By plunging your hand into the water and dragging it along you could draw a wide golden-green ribbon of cold fire across the sea, and when you dived as you hit the surface it seemed as though you had plunged into a frosty furnace of glinting light. When we were tired we waded out of the sea, the water running off our bodies so that we seemed to be on fire, and lay on the sand to eat. Then, as the wine was opened at the end of the meal, as if by arrangement, a few fireflies appeared in the olives behind us – a sort of overture to the show.”
Gerald Durrell - My Family and Other Animals
West With the Night
Memoir by English-born Kenyan aviatrix, adventurer and racehorse trainer Beryl Markham. She became the first person to fly nonstop from Europe to America and the first woman to fly solo east to west across the Atlantic, four years later than Amelia Earhart’s flight from America to Europe. The book impressed Ernest Hemingway, who felt “completely ashamed of myself as a writer” after reading it. Newsweek described it as “one of the greatest adventure books of all time.”
“A lighted ship — the daybreak — some steep cliffs standing in the sea. The meaning of these will never change for pilots. If one day an ocean can be flown within an hour, if men can build a plane that so masters time, the sight of land will be no less welcome to the steersman of that fantastic craft. He will have cheated laws that the cunning of science has taught him how to cheat, and he will feel his guilt and be eager for the sanctuary of the soil. . . . I saw the ship and the daybreak, and then I saw the cliffs of Newfoundland wound in ribbons of fog.”
Beryl Markham - West With the Night
The last book written by aviatrix Amelia Earhart before her disappearance over the South Pacific during her attempt to become the first pilot ever to circumnavigate the globe. It is called one of the most absorbing adventure stories of all time. Includes her diary notes, charts and letters to her husband at each stage of her trip until she disappeared. Charismatic and independent, still inspiring generations of travellers, adventurers and entrepreneurs, not to say she is the muse for our Navigatio collection.
“It was a night of stars. Stars hung outside my cockpit window near enough to touch. I have never seen so many or such large ones. I shall never forget the contrast of the white clouds and the moonlight and starlight agains the black of the sea. It is interesting that I have flown over thousands of miles of water but I have seen only hundreds of miles. I have been over clouds, between tow layers, or actually in the formation, for hours in end, and have seen no ships excepting very near land.”
Amelia Earhart - Last Flight
Waterlog: A Swimmer's Journey Through Britain
Described as “A beautiful ode to the act of swimming outdoors” by The Atlantic, this book is a personal view by Roger Deakin who decided in 1996 to swim through the British Isles. The result was a celebration of water, the feeling in one’s skin, the pure experience without interpretation of being and flowing like water.
“When you swim, you feel your body for what it mostly is – water – and it begins to move with the water around it. No wonder we feel such sympathy for beached whales; we are beached at birth ourselves. To swim is to experience how it was before you were born. Once in the water, you are immersed in an intensely private world as you were in the womb. These amniotic waters are both utterly safe and yet terrifying, for at birth anything could go wrong, and you are assailed by all kinds of unknown forces over which you have no control. This may account for the anxieties every swimmer experiences from time to time in deep water. A swallow-dive off the high board into the void is an image that brings together all the contradictions of birth. The swimmer experiences the terror and the bliss of being born.”
Roger Deakin - Waterlog: A Swimmer’s Journey Through Britain
How to Read Water
Tristan Gooley shares knowledge and tips to enjoy and interpret the natural world from a water perspective. Written as a guide to learn to read the water around us “from puddles to the sea.” “This book is a treasure is in its un-ironic display of joyful curiosity, and its serious pursuit of this curiosity to knowledge that is a pleasure in itself” describes Washington Free Beacon.
“Imagine you are sitting on a boat out at sea and a friend asks you the following question:
“What color is the sea?”
You glance around you, just checking that it is as stupid a question as it sounds, before confidently replying, “Blue. No, wait a minute . . . Green . . . Or maybe gray.”
At this point your friend leans down, dips a glass into the sea, pulls it out, and puts it in front of you. You stare at this glass of perfectly clear liquid and briefly consider your choice in friends. Then your mind turns to the color of the water at your favorite rivers, lakes, and coastlines, and you realize they are all slightly different.
The variety in the colors we see when we look at water is one of the reasons we love it, but far more people enjoy this array than give any thought to the reasons for it. The Celts certainly appreciated the challenge of trying to describe the color of water. They cheated by using a prefix, “glasto-,” to denote things that were blue/green/gray.”
Tristan Gooley - How to Read Water
The Sea Around Us
“The story of the seas” was written by American marine biologist Rachel Carson and contains a unique mix of poetry and science. Rachel Carson believed we should look at the world with a child’s vision and contemplate its beauty and wonders to love and respect it “A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood.” In her book, she navigates the mystery of the tides, its connection to life and the fascination that science and literature owe to the sea.
“The next time you stand on a beach at night, watching the moon’s bright path across the water, and the conscious of the moon-drawn tides, remember that the moon itself may have been born of a great tidal wave of earthly substance, torn off into space. And remember if the moon was formed in this fashion, the event may have had much to do with shaping the ocean basins and the continents as we know them.”
Rachel Carson - The Sea Around Us
We hope you enjoy them as much as we have done so… or plan to ;)