The Life Aquatic

Situated where Green Apple is--on a peninsula surrounded in three directions by water--many staff members have a special affinity for the bay and ocean. A few of us swim, row, surf, and play in our local waters year-round. We also, of course, love books, so we've put together a short list of some of our favorite books about The Life Aquatic. It's by no means exhaustive, just some recent, classic, and dog-eared tomes that warm our hearts.

 

 

Why We Swim Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781643751375
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: Algonquin Books - April 13th, 2021

The title certainly describes the content, but there's a joy in this book that feels like a refreshing dip in our San Francisco Bay. Swimming is examined through many lenses: history, sociology, personal experience, literature, and so on. It's the perfect read for any aquatic-loving mammal.


Waves and Beaches: The Powerful Dynamics of Sea and Coast Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9781938340956
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: Patagonia - March 16th, 2021

Here is a book I've been waiting a decade for--a revised and expanded edition of the classic primer on waves, tides, winds, and general ocean behavior. This new edition includes many charts and illustrations that make it more user-friendly than my tattered 1979 paperback. Time and tide wait for no one; don't sleep on this one...


Pre-Order Now Badge
Waterlog: A Swimmers Journey Through Britain Cover Image
By Roger Deakin, Bonnie Tsui (Introduction by), Robert Macfarlane (Afterword by)
$27.95
ISBN: 9781951142858
Availability: Coming Soon. Pre-Order Now!
Published: Tin House Books - May 25th, 2021

Long a cult favorite in England, Waterlog is now available in the US for the first time. In an attempt to discover his island nation from a new perspective, Roger Deakin embarks from his home in Suffolk to swim Britain—the seas, rivers, lakes, ponds, pools, streams, lochs, moats, and quarries. Through the watery capillary network that braids itself throughout the country, Deakin immerses himself in the natural habitats of fish, amphibians, mammals, and birds. And as he navigates towns, private property, and sometimes dangerous waters and inclement weather, Deakin finds himself in precarious situations: he’s detained by bailiffs in Winchester, intercepted by the coast guard at the mouth of a river, and mistaken for a dead body on a beach. The result of this surprising journey is a deep dive into modern Britain: its people, culture, its laws and customs, its communities, and especially its wild places.


The Seas Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781947793569
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: Tin House Books - July 16th, 2019

I LOVE this ethereal novel, but don't just take it from me: "One of the most distinctive and unforgettable voices I have read in years. This book will linger in your head for a good long time."-- Dave Eggers


Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143109396
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: Penguin Books - April 26th, 2016

When I first moved to the outer Sunset, my colleague/pal EH gave me a photocopy (or was it a mimeograph?) of a long New Yorker piece by William Finnegan on the early days of surfers at Kelly's Cove on SF's Ocean Beach. This piece is included, with updates, in Finnegan's Pulitzer-Prize winning autobiography documenting his life as a surfer/journalist. It's one of the very few books about surfing that appeal consistently to a non-surfing audience.


The Sea Forager's Guide to the Northern California Coast Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9781597143578
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: Heyday Books - October 1st, 2014

Free seafood anyone? This guy's a real pro--he runs a seafood subscription service--and herein he shares his tips, tricks, and special spots!


The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780805080117
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: Holt Paperbacks - May 30th, 2006

Explore the Farallon Islands! Just a marathon swim away from San Francisco (do not try this at home). Featuring: surf, sharks, urchin divers, natural history, murre egg wars, and so much more!


Between Pacific Tides: Fifth Edition Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780804720687
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: Stanford University Press - January 1st, 1992

A timeless, classic guide to what you can find at low tide. Come find your first nudibranch!

 


Caught Inside: A Surfer's Year on the California Coast Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780865475090
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: North Point Press - April 10th, 1997

This remarkable narrative of Daniel Duane's life on the water is enhanced by good-humored explanations of the physics of wave dynamics, the intricate art of surfboard design, and lyrical, sharp-eyed descriptions of the flora and fauna of the Pacific wilderness. From Captain Cook and Mark Twain to Robinson Jeffers and Jack London, from portraits of famous (and infamous) surfers to an analysis of Gidget's perverse significance, Duane expertly uncovers the myths and symbols bound up in one of our most vibrant and recognizably American subjects.


The Sea Around Us Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780190906764
Availability: NOT on our shelves now. Usually ships from warehouse in several days.
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - December 18th, 2018

Originally published in 1951, The Sea Around Us is one of the most influential books ever written about the natural world. Rachel Carson's ability to combine scientific insight with poetic prose catapulted her book to the top of The New York Times best-seller list, where it remained for more than a year and a half. Ultimately it sold well over a million copies, was translated into 28 languages, inspired an Academy Award-winning documentary, and won both the National Book Award and the John Burroughs Medal.


Sharks, Death, Surfers: An Illustrated Companion Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9783956794247
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: Sternberg Press - June 18th, 2019

An Intriguing new work from the Chief Obituarian of the International Necronautical Society.


The Curious World of Seaweed Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781597144827
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: Heyday Books - August 6th, 2019

In this beautiful volume, Josie Iselin explores both the artistic and the biological presence of sixteen seaweeds and kelps that live in the thin region where the Pacific Ocean converges with the North American continent--a place of incomparable richness. Each species receives a detailed description of its structure, ecological importance, and humans' scientific inquiry into it, told in scientifically illuminating yet deeply reverent and inspired prose.