Favorite Stories and Classics
by Bernard Moitessier
I LOVE this book! I particularly relate to Bernard’s inner evolution at sea. After nearly finishing the first Golden Globe Race, a solo, non-stop circumnavigation in the Southern ocean, Bernard decides to drop out of the race and civilized world and turn back for the South Pacific…
by Audrey Sutherland
Audrey is a true hero of mine–a pioneer female adventurer who never let fear or money stop her from enjoying the outdoors. This is the story of her solo summer swims/paddles along the rugged north coast of Molokai. I love you, Audrey!
by Gary Snyder
Gary poetically helps me understand our link to the way we lived before the modern era and this book had a profound impact on how I view our human connection to nature and Earth.
by Thor Heyerdahl
1930s–Thor’s fabulous and romantic first adventure with his wife, Liv, in their early twenties. As a part of his university studies, Thor and Liv decide to ‘return to nature’ and choose to leave Norway for an island called Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas to live out their trial of going back to a lifestyle without modern conveniences and routines.
by David Lewis
Rather textbook-like and a bit western-minded, but a very interesting study–sadly some of the only published knowledge that exists–about the Polynesian navigators who sailed all over the Pacific using star-charts, wave forms, bird life and all sorts of amazing techniques that connected them closely to sea and spirit.
by Edward O. Wilson
Wilson spells out the state of our environmental crises in terms everyone can understand. Although it’s now slightly outdated, I still think it’s a great book for awakening to the realities we face as humans on this Planet. READ IT!!
by Mark Twain
Twain was so ahead of his time. In this story of his journey around the world by steamship, he uses his classic wit to criticize racism, missionary actions, and imperialism he witnesses as he goes.
by Herman Melville
I adore Melville’s works, especially this one! In this true story, Melville deserts his crew position on a whaling ship on a stopover in the Marquesas Islands. He escapes into the lush valley and is eventually captured by the ‘Typee’ tribe–a notoriously fearsome people–and yet has quite and amazing experience living among them for many months!
by Jeannette Walls
If you think your childhood was hard, read this. Jeannette is a truly amazing writer and brings her memoir to life in an unforgettable, warm, and wonderful way. I couldn’t put it down.
by John Muir
I wish I could have roamed the Sierras with Muir on this summer he describes in this book!! His loving descriptions of nature, his adventurous spirit, his simple pleasures and spontaneous ways…If only he were still alive, I’d propose!.. :)
by Kahlil Gibran
Poetic in format, timeless wisdoms and truths that inspire me over and over when I pick it up.
by Thor Heyerdahl
Following Heyerdahl’s adventure on Fatu Hiva, wherein he gathers clues about the origin of Polynesians, he sets out to prove the possibility that Polynesians came from or at least had contact with South America. He was such a radical adventurer–he and his buddies build a balsa raft and float across the Pacific to prove the theory!!
by Herman Melville
If you can get through some of the thick beginnings, this classic has every aspect of amazing literature and storytelling within.
edited by Jon Bowermaster
A book of collected essays–includeing mine!–about how and why we need to save our oceans from further destruction.
by Paulo Coelho
This classic re-inspires me no matter how many times I pick it up. Could be classified below as well or taken more for the literal story…
by Ernest Hemingway
I’m a sucker for the classics…especially ocean classics and especially Hemingway.
by Kurt Vonnegut
And so it goes…
by T.C. Boyle
Boyle is such a great writer. He uses this story to portray the oblivion and heartless attitude of Californians in regards to Mexican immigrants.
by George Crane
Great book. George gets adopted by an exiled Tibetan monk living in New England and while translating his poetry transforms his life and accompanies him on a journey to China to visit the bones of his deceased spiritual master.
by Dan Price
Dan’s lifestyle is a tribute and embodiment to the joys that come from simple living!
by Henry David Thoreau
A green crusader’s staple and one of our first American environmentalists.
by Walt Whitman
Walt has a poem and insight for every day of the year!! He’s just great.
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Renown for his Buddhist teachings, this book gives an autobiographical glimpse into his young life and the development of his ideals and struggles before being exiled from Vietnam in 1966.
by Jennifer New
The visual travel journal to top all…Dan was a passionate spirit, died too young, but left behind his art journals from his wild life as an adventurer, activist, and crusader of benevolence.
by Coleman Barks
Rumi is radical, mysterious, and wise…and this collection of poems never leaves me less thoughtful.
by Robin Lee Graham
The book that started it all…I developed a rather large crush on Robin and began to envision my own sailing dream when I read this book when I was 9 years old.He sets off to sail around the world alone at 16 years old in 1965…I always wished that his lover, Patti, wrote her own version of the tale!!
by Joshua Slocum
A must read for anyone considering solo sailing. Slocum was the first to circumnavigate solo, and has a humble humorous way of telling his story that I just love.
On the Path…Books for Awakening!!
These books have helped me transform my life by looking within for change rather than pointing fingers and have led me to an extremely fulfilling, non-dogmatic spiritual life. I offer these suggestions with hope for happiness and inner peace for All!
by Don Ruiz Miguel
Four very simple, yet incredibly powerful and life-changing Toltec wisdoms. The first book that helped me stop blaming others and deal with anger, pain, and frustration.
by Eckhart Tolle
The book that speaks to so many of us searching for a way to worry less, and enjoy more. Learning about ego and letting go of past and future, changed the way I looked at life, myself, and my reactions to every situation that arrives. All Eckhart’s books are fantastic if you’re feeling stuck or bummed out about where you are in your life.
by Charlene Belitz and Meg Lundstrom
This book speaks to the miraculous fact that when you are positive and in alignment with your truth and intuition, your life ‘flows’ easier and you attract what you need when you need it!
by Sharon Gannon and David Life
Since I don’t always get to go to classes, I need yoga books to keep my practice fresh. This one’s great.
by David Swenson
I found this book at a used bookstore and it has turned into my favorite yoga book on board.
by Pema Chodron
Pema is an American Buddhist nun. I adore her and cherish the wisdom she offers in any and all of her many books. This and the following are the those I’ve read so far…
by Pema Chodron
No one is too far gone to heal themselves. Pema lets us be exactly who we are as we learn to forgive, soften, open up, and restart again and again on our wild human ride…
by Pema Chodron
So good!! Helps pinpoint and gives tips for working on the things that we deny, shy away from, fear, and resist in ourselves.
by Geshe Jampa Tegchok
Shantideva helps us realize that all our true earthly happiness is rooted in our kindness and compassion towards others!!
by David Hawkins
Hawkins has a lot figured out. I highly recommend this read.
by Marlo Morgan
This book contains some seriously powerful truths. Whether you believe some, none, or all of this disputed story, the wisdoms Morgan learns on her walk across the Australian Outback with an Aborigine tribe are undeniable and will find you re-evaluating the way we live.
by Neale Donald Walsch
I can’t say whether it happened or didn’t, but the answers that Walsch transcribes here impacted my life PROFOUNDLY. If you’ve never been comfortable with the word ‘God’, this ‘conversation’ has a LOT to offer.
RicardoJune 10, 2012
Its great to check your new website I enjoyed so much your photos and dreamed about one day visiting you! I need to win the lottery!:)…also, I am quite tired of living at the city and all. At my age now 56 I feel like its time to get out again for a few years away from people and city dwelings…Anyway, hope someday we can meet in person or better share sometime at sea. And surf! of course…I just was dropping by to check your readings and suggest to read Naomi James book another classic sea adventure..Alone at Sea…I think its the name of book. Best whishes, big big hug, many kisses and my soul its always taking care of you. Bless you.
GBJune 28, 2012
I luv your whole gig and lifestyle, wish i could do it too. I think you’ll like these books.
The Devils teeth & every book written by Kem Nunn
Deborah J. BrasketJuly 17, 2012
I love what you’ve been doing and the way you write about it. Our family completed a 6-year circumnavigation back in the 90’s and I’ve only started blogging about–it still enriches me after all those years. As for books go, you might want to check out Peter Matthiessen’s Far Tortuga too.
behanSeptember 15, 2012
that is a spectacular reading list… love the titles I’m familiar with, will now look up the balance!
loved meeting you…hope to see you again in the blue marble somewhere…we are off to png soon.
Tim DerryDecember 1, 2012
Great list! Some of my favorites also. I got a chance to paddle with Audrey about 25 years ago, been in love with her ever since. Here are a couple of suggestions for you to try out;
The Animal Dialogues- Craig Childs
Sailing Home -Norman Fischer
CharlieApril 16, 2014
All are wonderful selections. Some I’ve read, I’ll read the ones I haven’t picked up yet.
As far as fiction goes, l recommend the ‘Bloody Jack’ series; an account of the life and adventures of midshipman Mary ‘Jacky’ Faber. A great collection by L. A. Meyer for kids of all ages.
AstaMarch 1, 2015
Just came across your blog and am so happy that I did. I was wondering, seeing as you studied at UCSB, whether you had come across the works of Joanna Macy yet? She studies a new field called Ecopsychology, and uses aspects from Buddhism, mind body therapy, and many other things to help people both become aware of their grief for the environment and learn how to treat the world with more respect. I think you might like her work, and I think I would very much like to meet you! My fiancee and I are working towards our dream of starting our own sailing and marine science education program, and we are so inspired by other people who are living their dream as well.
I hope we cross paths one day!
Art St.GeorgeApril 30, 2015
Liz: here is a must for your reading: High Endeavours: The Extraordinary Life and Adventures of Miles & Beryl Smeeton. It reads like fantasy until you realize it is all true. Among other things, the Smeetons are legend in the sailing world
lizMay 26, 2016
I totally second the recommendation of the Smeeton biography, written by his godson. Also anything written by the Smeeton’s themselves. True adventurers.
Captain LizMay 29, 2016
TinschiJune 11, 2015
I just stumbled across your blog in a magazine in Austria! I love it – I’ve recently followed some other blogs/instagrams and fb sites, but yours is one of my favourite!! I hope I have the strengh one day to do the same as you do – not sail around the world – but explore it in my own way… just be a wanderer. I admire and respect you for your journey and wish you all the best! and of course Tropicat – love that she goes anywhere it takes you two! :)
benFebruary 23, 2016
Hi, if you sign up with the amazon affiliate program and replace the links above with affiliate links, you can make some bucks from your recommendations.
CynthiaMay 4, 2016
Such a great list; thank you…many titles that I love, plus lots of new ones to read! I think you would also enjoy Robyn Davidson’s Tracks. Happy voyaging, and reading…
ElenaMay 26, 2017
I’ve just read your fantastic adventures and i dream one day to sail me too and point towards a spectacular island…and feel free!
May i suggest:
Patrick O’Brian, “the Aubrey-Maturin novels”?..i love it too much
I hope to meet you one day.
Kisses from Italy!
Sara MeyerAugust 28, 2018
Just finished Swell Great read, Extraordinary living. Book recommendation, Before the Wind – Jim Lynch about a family taking 2 years with young children to travel the oceans. I am 75 years old but your book helped me to consider new directions even at my age. Thank you.
Captain LizJanuary 12, 2019
Wonderful Sara, thank you for your note. I wish you all the best to pursue your new inspiration!
VANESSA JACKSONDecember 31, 2018
I am reading your book and I have a burning question- do you think I can learn to surf at 42?!
I am inspired by your courage, sincerity and the way you have chosen to live in this world.
Thank you for sharing your inner and outer worlds through your beautiful book.
Captain LizJanuary 12, 2019
Yes of course VAnessa!! If the desire is there, you can easily learn!! Where do you live?? xoxo Liz