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A Library for Every Sailing Vessel

Part of our library on Golden Glow

Reading is a favorite pastime of Rand’s and mine, and something essential for safety as much as enjoyment for sailors. When the sails are trimmed and the routine maintenance of the day is done, it’s a delight to have a good book to sink into.  But what to read?   Here we share our sailing library with you, including essential books on boats, weather, navigation, cooking on board, and some of our favorite novels, travel books and non-fiction stories to read while sailing.

Our selections are our favorites and those family, friends and fellow cruisers have shared.  If you have any comments about the books on our list, or others you want to share, please post a comment. We’ll continually update this list.

To find & purchase books for your library, Many of the books on our list also have hyperlinks to our affialite page on Amazon. For those of you not familiar with how affiliate marketing works, if you purchase an item after clicking the link, Amazon shares a small amount of the price back to the referrer. That comes out of Amazon’s profit; you pay the same. Even though the commission is tiny, we put it into our sailing kitty – so thank you!

Recommended Books for Your Library from Golden Glow’s Sailor’s Library

Essential Cruising Reference Books

Navigation and Pilots

Galley

How To Books on Sailing and Cruising

Sailboat Maintenance

Circumnavigation Stories

  • After 50,000 Miles Hal Roth
  • Against all Odds, Around Alone in the BOC Challenge, Alan Nebauer
  • The Circumnavigators, a History, Derek Wilson
  • The Circumnavigators, Small Boat Voyages of Modern Times, Donald Holm
  • Following Seas: Sailing the Globe, Sounding a Life, Beth Leonard
  • The Improbable Voyage, Tristan Jones
  • Islands, Oceans and Dreams, Michael Salvaneschi
  • Just Cruising, Lisa Copeland
  • Letters from the Lost Soul, Five-Year Voyage of Discovery and Adventure, Bob Bitchin
  • 9 Years on the 7 Seas Anne E. Brevig
  • Reluctant Mariner, Joanna Hackett
  • Sailing Alone Around the World, Joshua Slocum  
  • Sailing  Promise: Around the World in a Catamaran, Alayne Main and Dom Degnon
  • Still Cruising, Liza Copeland
  • A Trimaran Sails the Seven Seas, Jerry Heutink
  • Two on a Big Ocean, Hal Roth

Nonfiction Stories: True Cruising and Sailing Stories

  • Adrift, Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea, Steven Callahan
  • Always a Distant Anchorage, Hal Roth
  • An Island to Oneself, Tom Neale
  • Blown Away, Herb Payson
  • Blue Latitudes, Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before, Tony Horwitz
  • Cape Horn: One Man’s Dream, One Woman’s Nightmare, Reanne Hemingway-Douglass
  • Celestial Navigation for Yachtsmen  Mary Blewitt
  • Chasing Dreamtime, a Sea-going Hitchhiker’s Journey through Memory and Myth, Neva Sulliway
  • Close to the Wind, an Extraordinary Story of Triumph over Adversity, Pete Goss
  • Courage at Sea, Naomi James
  • Cruising in Seraffyn, Lin and Larry Pardey
  • Cruising is Contagious, Adventures of a Cruising Couple, Charles E and Corrine C Kanter
  • Cruising Adventures, 3-book series, Come Aboard, Wandering Under Sail, Sou-West in Wanderer IV, Eric Hiscock
  • Cruising around the world, west to east, Best of Multihulls Series: Vol 2, Rosalind Miranda
  • Dark Wind: A Survivor’s Tale of Love and Loss, Gordon Chaplin
  • Desperate Voyage, by Robert Caldwell
  • 8 Men and a Duck: an impossible voyage by reed boat to Easter Island, Nick Thorpe
  • Flying Cloud, true story of America’s most famous clipper ship and the woman who guided her, David W. Shaw
  • Gentlemen Never Sail to Weather, Denton Richey Moore
  • Ice! by Tristan Jones
  • The Incredible Journey, Tristan Jones
  • Master and Commander, Patrick O’Brian
  • My Old Man and the Sea: A Father and Son Sail Around Cape Horn David Hay
  • N by E, Rockwell Kent (Greenland)
  • North to the Night, A Spiritual Odyssey in the Arctic, Alvah Simon
  • Passage to a Palm Tree, Malcolm Cameron
  • Passage to Juneau, a Sea and its Meanings, Jonathan Raban
  • Perfect Storm, The, Sebastian Junger
  • A Prairie Chicken Goes to Sea, Margo Wood
  • The Proving Ground, G. Bruce Knight
  • Red Sea Peril, Shirley Billing
  • Rough Water, Stories of Survival from the Sea, Clint Willis
  • Saga of a Wayward Sailor, Tristan Jones
  • Sailing to the Far Horizon, the Restless Journey and Tragic Sinking of a Tall Ship, Pamela Bitterman
  • Seafaring Trilogy, Hal Roth
  • Shackleton’s Boat Journey, F.A. Worsley
  • Sufferings in Africa, Captain James Riley
  • Survive the Savage Sea: 37 Days in Mid-Pacific, Dougall Robertson
  • Survivor, Michael Greenwald
  • Tales of a Sea Gypsy, Ray Jason
  • Travelers on a Trade Wind, Marcia Pirie
  • Two Years Before the Mast, Richard Henry Dana, Jr.,
  • View from Pluto, Stuart Buchanan (Queensland, Australia)
  • Voyage of Rediscovery, Ben Finney
  • Wanderer, Sterling Hayden
  • We Followed Odysseus, Hal Roth
  • Who’s Who in Pacific Navigation, John Dunmore
  • Wreck of the Batavia, Simon Leys
  • Yarns, Tristan Jones

Nonfiction Stories: Other Travel and Adventure Stories

  • Australia, True Stories of Life Down Under, Travelers’ Tales Guides
  • A Year in Provence and Encore Provence, Peter Mayle
  • Danzinger’s Travels, beyond Forbidden Frontiers, Nick Danzinger 
  • Down Under, Bill Bryson
  • Far Eastern Tales, (Malaysia) Somerset Maughan
  • Fire, Sebastian Junger
  • Happy Isles of Oceania, The: Paddling the Pacific, Paul Theroux
  • In the Land of Oz, Howard Jacobson
  • Kon-Tiki, Thor Heyerdahl
  • Manana Means Never (Southeast Asia) Michael Brochue
  • Mosquito Coast, The, (Honduras), Paul Theroux
  • Mutant Message Down Under, Marlo Morgan (Australian aborigines)
  • Pillars of Hercules, Paul Theroux
  • Soul Mountain, Gao Xingjian
  • Traveler’s Tales, Thailand
  • Utulei, My Tongan Home, Patricia Ledyard
  • We of the Never-Never, Aeneas Gunn 
  • Whale Rider, Witi Ihimaera, (about New Zealand Maori)
  • Wild Country, Jeff Carter (Australia)

History, Geography and Guide Books Africa:

  • Cape Verde Islands, The Bradt Travel Guide
  • Egypt, The Lonely Planet
  • Eritrea: Even the Stones Are Burning,  Roy Pateman
  • I Didn’t Do It for You : How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation, Eritrea, Michela Wrong
  • Surrender or Starve, Robert Kaplan (Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea)
  • Yemen: The Unknown ArabiaTim Mackintosh-Smith

Asia:

  • 1421, The Year China Discovered the World, Gavin Menzies
  • Before the Deluge, the Vanishing World of the Yangtze’s Three Gorges
  • Beyond the Last Village, Alan Rabinowitz
  • Fried Eggs with Chopsticks, Around China by Any Means Possible, Polly Evans
  • Life and Death in Shanghai, Nien Cheng
  • On Top of the World, Five Women Explorers in Tibet, Luree Miller
  • The Private Life of Chairman Mao, Dr. Li Zhisui
  • River at the Center of the World, A Journey up the Yangtze and Back in Chinese Time, Simon Winchester
  • Sri Lanka, a Travel Survival Kit with Maldives, Tony Wheeler, Lonely Planet
  • Sri Lanka, The Lonely Planet
  • Sri Lanka, Globetrotter, with excellent travel map
  • Tibet, Tibet, a Personal History of a Lost Land, by Patrick French
  • Traveler’s History of China, Stephen Haw

Australia & New Zealand:

  • At Home in Australia, Peter Conrad (picture book
  • Australia, The Lonely Planet
  • Best of Aussie Slang, Eric Spilsted
  • Cape York, The Savage Frontier, Rodney Liddell
  • Cape York Peninsula, History of Unlauded Heroes, 1845-2003, Lennie Wallace
  • Captain’s Log, New Zealand’s Maritime History, Gavin McLean
  • Fatal Shore, the, by Robert Hughes
  • Healers of Arnhem Land, John Cawte (Aborigines)
  • Great Barrier Reef, The Lonely Planet
  • Queensland, The Lonely Planet
  • New South Wales, The Lonely Planet
  • New Zealand, The Lonely Planet
  • Songlines, Bruce Chatwin (aborigines)
  • Voices of Queensland, Julia Robinson
  • Wildflowers of Outback Australia, Denise Greig

Europe:

  • Athens, Best of, Lonely Planet
  • Baedeker’s Paris
  • Baedeker’s Portugal
  • Canary Islands, Lonely Planet Guide
  • Eastern Europe, The Lonely Planet
  • France, Catalan Region, Michelin
  • Greece, Michelin
  • Greek Islands, Insight
  • The Italian Way (Behavior, Attitudes and Customs) Mario Costantino
  • Neither Here nor There, travels in Europe, Bill Bryson
  • Provence and the Cote D’Azur, Insight Guide
  • Provence, The Green Guide, Michelin
  • Reluctant Tuscan, How I Discovered my Inner Italian, Phil Doran
  • Turkish Odyssey, a Cultural Guide to Turkey, Seril Yenen
  • Turkey, The Lonely Planet
  • Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong, Why we Love France but not the French, Jean-Benoit Nadeau & Julie Barlow
  • Spain, Balearic and Canary Islands, Michelin
  • Thirty Days in Italy, Escape to the Good Life, James O’Reilly
  • Venice, The Dramatic History of the World’s Most Beautiful City, Francesco Da Mosto, photographs by John Parker
  • Western Balkans, The Lonely Planet

Middle East, Arabian Peninsula:

  • The Arab Mind, Raphael Patai
  • Arabian Peninsula, The Lonely Planet
  • Arab-Israeli Wars, Chaim Herzog
  • Are We Living in the End of Times? Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins
  • The Case for Israel, Alan Dershowitz
  • The Crisis of Islam, Bernard Lewis
  • Dead Sea Scrolls Deception, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh
  • Israel, Frommer’s
  • In Israel Today,  Paul & Nuala O’Higgins 
  • Jerusalem, City of Mirrors, Amos Elan
  • Josephus, The Works of , Comprising the Antiquities of the Jews; a History of the Jewish Wars; and Life of Flavius Josephus (autobiographical)
  • Qur’an, Translation by Abdullah Yusef Ali
  • Left Behind Series, Armageddon and Others, Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins
  • Mission Al Jazeera, Josh Rushing
  • Nine Parts of Desire, Geraldine Brooks
  • Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Shiffman
  • Struggle for the Holy Land, Arabs, Jews and the Emergence of Israel, William Hare
  • The Final Battle, Hal Lindsey
  • What Went Wrong, Bernard Lewis
  • Revelation, The Torah and the Bible, Jacob Neusnser and Bruce D. Chilton

North, Central and South America:

Southeast Asia:

  • Bali, Insider’s Guide, includes map and reference guide
  • Cities of the Hot Zone, Southeast Asian Adventure, Greg Sheridan
  • Culture Shock! Malaysia
  • Culture Shock! Thailand
  • Hard Travel to Sacred Places, Rudolph Wurlitzer (Thailand, Burma, Cambodia)
  • Head-Hunting and the Magang Ceremony in Sabah, Peter R. Phelan, Natural History Publications
  • Indonesia Handbook, Footprint Guides
  • Indonesia, The Lonely Planet
  • Land of a Thousand Eyes, the subtle pleasures of everyday life in Burma, Peter Olszewski
  • Laos, The Lonely Planet
  • Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, The Lonely Planet
  • Myanmar (Burma) The Lonely Planet
  • Sandakan, the Last March, Don Wall (Borneo, WWII)
  • Short History of Southeast Asia, Peter Church
  • Thailand, The Lonely Planet
  • Thailand Fever, Chris Pirozzi, Vitida Vasan
  • Three Came Home, Agnes Newton Keith, (Borneo)
  • Tropical Wildlife of Southeast Asia, Periplus Nature Guides

South Pacific (French Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia)

  • After Moruroa, France in the South Pacific, Nic Maclellan, Jean Chesneaux
  • Aku-Aku, (Easter Island) Thor Heyerdahl
  • Captain James Cook, Richard Hough
  • Coming of Age in Samoa, Margaret Mead
  • The Explorations of Captain James Cook in the Pacific, (autobiographical)
  • Fatu-Hiva, Back to Nature, (Marquesas) Thor Heyerdahl
  • Fiji, a Precarious Coalition, Shubha Singh
  • Fiji’s Heritage, a History of Fiji, Kim Gravelle
  • Fiji, The Lonely Planet
  • Life in Feejee, Life Among the Cannibals, Mary Wallis
  • Kava in the Blood, A Personal and Political Memoir from the Heart of Fiji, Peter Thomson
  • King of Tonga, a biography, Nelson Eustis
  • Mahathir: the Wake-Up Call, Hassan Hamzah (Malaysia)
  • Micronesia, The Lonely Planet
  • Nomads of the Wind: A Natural History of Polynesia, Peter Crawford
  • Prehistoric Exploration and Colonization of the Pacific, Geoffrey Irwin
  • Romancing the Islands, Journeys in the South Pacific, Kim Gravelle
  • Salote, Queen of Paradise, A Biography, Margaret Hixon (Tonga)
  • Samoa, the Lonely Planet
  • Sisters in the Sun, The Story of Suwarrow and Palmerston Atolls, A.S.Helm, W.H.Percival, Travel Book Club
  • South Pacific, Frommer’s
  • South Pacific Handbook, Moon Travel Handbooks
  • Tahiti and French Polynesia, Lonely Planet
  • Tonga, the Lonely Planet
  • Trespassers on Easter Island, Hanns Ebensten
  • Typee, a Peep at Polynesian Life, Herman Melville
  • Vanuatu, The Lonely Planet

Fiction:  Sailing, Travel & Adventure Novels

  • Casuarina Tree, Malaysia, W. Somerset Maugham
  • Cruel Sea, the, Nicholas Monsarrat
  • Death of a Swagman, Arthur Upfield
  • The Far Country, Nevil Shute  (Australia)
  • The Five Winds, Patricia Shaw (Historical, Australianna)
  • Jerusalem Conspiracy, The, Charles Samuel
  • River God, Wilbur Smith
  • The Pacific and Other Stories, Mark Helprin
  • Sea Wolf, Jack London
  • Secret of Shambhala, James Redfield (Tibet)
  • South Sea Tales, Jack London

Nonfiction Stories: Travel & Adventure, Cruising & Sailing

  • Adrift, Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea, Steven Callahan
  • Always a Distant Anchorage, Hal Roth
  • An Island to Oneself, Tom Neale
  • A Year in Provence and Encore Provence, Peter Mayle
  • Blown Away, Herb Payson
  • Blue Latitudes, Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before, Tony Horwitz
  • Cape Horn: One Man’s Dream, One Woman’s Nightmare, Reanne Hemingway-Douglass
  • Cruising is Contagious, Adventures of a Cruising Couple, Charles E and Corrine C Kanter
  • Circumnavigators, the, Small Boat Voyages of Modern Times, Donald Helm
  • Dark Wind: A Survivor’s Tale of Love and Loss, Gordon Chaplin
  • Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls, Edward E. Leslie, Fatu Hiva, Thor Heyerdahl
  • Fire, Sebastian Junger, contains a harrowing in-the-trenches profile of Ahmad Massoud, the Afghan guerrilla leader an ally of the West for nearly two decades, Massoud was assassinated two days before the terrorist attacks on the U.S.  Junger was in Afghanistan last December.
  • Following Seas: Sailing the Globe, Sounding a Life, Beth Leonard
  • Gentlemen Never Sail to Weather, Denton Richey Moore
  • Happy Isles of Oceania, The: Paddling the Pacific, Paul Theroux
  • Incredible Journey, The, Tristan Jones
  • Letters from the Lost Soul, Five-Year Voyage of Discovery and Adventure, Bob Bitchin
  • My Old Man and the Sea: A Father and Son Sail Around Cape Horn David Hay
  • Perfect Storm, The, Sebastian Junger
  • The Proving Ground, G. Bruce Knight
  • Sailing Alone Around the World, Joshua Slocum
  • Sailing  Promise: Around the World in a Catamaran,Alayne Main
  • Survive the Savage Sea: 37 Days in Mid-Pacific, Dougall Robertson
  • Tales of a Sea Gypsy, Ray Jason
  • Travelers on a Trade Wind, Marcia Pirie
  • Two Years Before the Mast, Richard Henry Dana, Jr., a Signet Classic
  • Voyage of Rediscovery, Ben Finney
  • Wanderer,Sterling Hayden
  • We Followed Odysseus, Hal Roth

Cruising How To Books

  • All in the Same Boat: Family Living Aboard and Cruising, Tom Neale
  • Changing Course: A Woman’s Guide to Choosing the Cruising Life, Debra Cantrell
  • Cruising 101: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Paradise, Amy L. Sullivan, Kevin J. Donnelly
  • Cruising Life, The: A Commonsense Guide for the Would-Be Voyager, Jim Trefethen
  • Cruising Woman’s Advisor, The: How to Prepare for the Voyaging Life, Diana Jessie
  • Sailing: A Woman’s Guide, Doris Colgate
  • Voyager’s Handbook,  Beth Leonard
  • Voyaging under Power, Robert P. Beebe, James F. Leishman (Editor)
Guide and Pilot Books; History and Geography Books
  • Australia, The Lonely Planet
  • Canary Islands, Lonely Planet Guide
  • Captain James Cook, Richard Hough
  • Cape Verde Islands, The Bradt Travel Guide
  • Charlie’s Charts of Polynesia
  • Charlie’s Charts of the Western Coast of Mexico (including Baja)
  • Cruising Ports: Florida to California via Panama, Captain Pat and John E. Rains
  • France, Catalan Region, Michelin
  • Frommer’s Caribbean
  • Frommer’s South Pacific
  • Getting to Know Panama, Michele LaBrut
  • Great Barrier Reef, the Lonely Planet
  • Insight Guide Caribbean the Lesser Antilles
  • Landfalls of Paradise, Earl Hinz
  • Mexican Boating Guide, Captains Pat and John Rains
  • Nomads of the Wind: A Natural History of Polynesia, Peter Crawford
  • North Africa, Atlantic Coast of Morocco, Straits of Gibraltar to Tunisia, Royal Cruising Club, Hans van Rijn and Graham Hutt
  • Path Between the Sea, the, Creator of the Panama Canal, David McCullough
  • Provence, Michelin, The Green Guide
  • Queensland, the Lonely Planet
  • Sailors Guide to the Windward Islands, Chris Doyle
  • Sisters in the Sun, The Story of Sparrow and Palmerston Atolls, A.S.Helm, W.H.Percival, Travel Book Club
  • Spain, Balearic and Canary Islands, Michelin
  • South Pacific Handbook, Moon Travel Handbooks
  • The Explorations of captain James Cock in the Pacific
  • The Pacific Crossing Guide, Michael Pocock
  • Trespassers on Easter Island, Hanns Ebensten
  • Vanuatu, The Lonely Planet

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