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6 Riveting Books That Explore the Ocean

There’s so much left to discover about our blue planet
By Joshua Pramis | Updated On June 4, 2024
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6 Riveting Books That Explore the Ocean

The Underworld: Journeys to the Depths of the Ocean

Author: Susan Casey

Price: $32

Publisher: Penguin Random House (penguinrandomhouse.com)

Release Date: August 1, 2023

For centuries, the deep sea has been a seemingly endless wellspring of myth and mystery, and it’s no wonder why: The deepest, darkest parts of the ocean are home to some spectacularly odd creatures that appear to defy the laws of physics. Through a series of exploratory dives and expert interviews, the author seeks a better understanding of the deep ocean—and how it may hold the secret to our planet’s survival.

Between the Devil and the Deep: One Man’s Battle to Beat the Bends

Author: Mark Cowan and Martin Robson

Price: $35

Publisher: Unbound (unbound.com)

Release Date: July 12, 2022

In this true story, the author (Robson) shares the harrowing account of being struck with decompression sickness while on a cave-finding exploration in southern Russia. His decision to redescend rather than continue to the surface was a risky one—one that ultimately paid off. Robson’s gripping tale is interspersed with the science and physiology of DCS, as well as the history behind our understanding of it, so we can push farther into the ocean’s depths.

Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia

Author: Christina Thompson

Price: $15.99

Publisher: HarperCollins (harpercollins.com)

Release Date: April 5, 2022

Polynesians have lived on some of the most remote islands in the Pacific for more than a thousand years. How did they get there? And how did they develop such mastery of the ocean without any of the tools deemed necessary by today’s standards? In Sea People, the author explores her own family’s legacy as she probes the fascinating history of this truly unique region and culture.

The Deepest Map: The High-Stakes Race to Chart the World’s Oceans

Author: Laura Trethewey

Price: $25.60

Publisher: HarperCollins (harpercollins.com)

Release Date: July 11, 2023

For all we know about the ocean and its inhabitants, as much as 75 percent of its bottom is still uncharted territory—namely in the deep sea, where darkness prevails. The Deepest Map follows the big personalities (including scientists, investors, and independent explorers) and cutting-edge tech behind the ambitious race to completely map the ocean’s floor by 2030.

Where the Weird Things Are: An Ocean Twilight Zone Adventure

Author: Zoleka Filander Illustrator: Patricia Hooning

Price: $18.99

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (simonandschuster.com)

Release Date: March 21, 2023

Follow along with Meso, an ocean-exploring robot, as it navigates the depths in pursuit of the strange and fascinating creatures that call the sea home. Budding ocean lovers (ages 4 to 8) will delight at the vibrant illustrations that introduce them to a cast of characters including strawberry squids, swordfish, and krill. Packed with fun facts to excite and inspire youngsters, the story was inspired by Mesobot, an autonomous robot designed to unobtrusively study the ocean’s mesopelagic zone without disturbing the surrounding environment.

How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures

Author: Sabrina Imbler

Price: $28

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (hachettebookgroup.com)

Release Date: December 6, 2022

How similar (or different) are oceanic family and community models from our own, especially when pushed to the limit? In How Far the Light Reaches, the author intertwines personal stories with tales of the deep while taking a closer look at 10 sea creatures that, against all odds, manage to flourish in some of the ocean’s harshest, most remote regions—all while maintaining their own network of interpersonal relationships. It turns out we may not be so different after all.