Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Whangarei, NZ
Boat: Lock Crowther Spindrift 40 - Cheshire
The Cruiser's Library: On Passage Entertainment
I’m a lifelong reading addict and must have a supply of books when leaving on passage, and/or for remote places. I find that on passage, a good yarn is essential for lifting my spirits and passing time on watch. In the US, the library usually had what I wanted, and I’d treat myself to a book of my own now and again. While cruising, I’ve been limited by budget, choice and space/weight considerations. Bookswaps are wonderful, and I’ve had a chance to sample authors I probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise.
Now the Ipod and Kindles or similar devices offer some options that help save weight & space over having the physical copies, and also might better suit those of us prone to seasickness, which reading can trigger. But, the issue remains of finding a good “read”, not always limited to sailing stories, cruising guides or how to manuals.
So, I’m starting a thread with some of my favourite choices for your entertainment, in no particular order. Please contribute yours!
Alexander McCall Smith, #1 ladies detective agency series. Delightful series set in Botswana. Many of the people and situations are similar to those we’ve encountered in the South Pacific islands.
J Maarten Troost, The sex lives of Cannibals, Getting Stoned with Savages, Lost on Planet China. Irreverent account of life on South Pacific Islands as the partner of an NGO manager, and then a visit to China. Getting stoned with savages is especially good for those going to Fiji or Vanuatu – mind the kava!
Phillip Ells, Where the Hell is Tuvalu? Another in the same vein – corporate lawyer chucks the suit and London job and heads for a volunteer job on an atoll.
Colleen McCullough, Emporers of Rome series. As a lapsed Latin scholar, I enjoyed these very detailed fictionalised accounts of events in the century leading up to and through Julius Caesar’s life.
Dick (and now Felix) Francis, anything. Retired jockey Dick Francis will be well known to British readers but was a new find for me. It’s amazing how he manages to weave all kinds of people and careers into mysteries related to horse racing.
Ruth Reichl, Garlic and sapphires, and others. Very entertaining account of her career as the New York Times food critic and the lengths she went to for anonymous food reviews. Some good simple recipes too which can be adapted for boating, such as spaghetti carbonara. She’s a good storyteller, her other books are good too.
Linda Greenlaw, The Hungry Ocean and All fishermen are liars. Another good teller of seastories.
Gavin Menzies, 1421: The year China discovered America. I’m not sure I buy all of his theories, but clearly the Chinese did a lot more exploring earlier in history than the Westerners I was taught about in school. A good book to debate over cocktails in the anchorage.