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Great book ideas for your next trip, Part II

Author David Vann took this terrifying picture as his boat slid under the waves.
Author David Vann took this terrifying picture as his boat slid under the waves.www.davidvann.com

As promised, here is a second list of suggestions of some excellent reads for the next time you take a nautical journey. Each book is related to the sea in one way or another, and I highly recommend all of them for your next trip.


If you are looking for a recent mystery by a well-known author, then pick up a copy of Sail, by James Patterson. The plot revolves around a disfunctional family that sets out on a sailing trip to try and resolve their issues. But it wouldn't be a mystery if everything went according to plan, and sure enough, a storm hits and destroys the boat. Everyone is presumed dead until a note turns up from one of the missing family members, found inside of a tuna! The plot is dense but enjoyable, and Patterson is an excellent author.

For a more factual story of disaster on the sea, check out A Mile Down: The true story of a disastrous career at sea. The book became a national bestseller in 2005 and is authored by Florida State University professor David Vann. The story revolves around his attempt to run his own charter business by purchasing a partially-built 90 foot sailboat in the Mediterranean. The crescendo of the plot features an ill-fated Atlantic crossing that is fascinating to read and horrifying to imagine actually happening. Vann's fantastic writing skills (he teaches creative writing at FSU) makes this one of best "disaster at sea" stories you will ever find.

Finally, for those more into geo-political novels involving wars, coups, and international intrigue, I would highly recommend Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising. Written during the waning years of the Cold War, the story focuses on the outbreak of World War III, as an oil-deprived Soviet Union invades Western Europe. It is one of the few Clancy novels to not follow the adventures of Jack Ryan, but it prominently features several naval actions that take place above, on, and below the ocean. It is my favorite Clancy novel and an excellent choice for anyone into military fiction. Especially if you have ever wondered what it would be like to invade Iceland.

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