Buy a sailor a book! Or buy a friend a sailing book! Either way, you’ll be doing your part to promote maritime litera(sea).
My top recommendation is my good friend Randy Peffer’s Civil War maritime thriller The Southern Seahawk, the first of his Seahawk trilogy. The second in the series, Seahawk Hunting, has gotten great advance reviews and will be released in early 2010. This book is perfect for any Civil War or maritime history buff.
Another book that I recommend, especially for sailors in the Northern states who have to suffer through long, cold winters, is Chris Santella’s Fifty Places to Sail Before You Die: Sailing Experts Share the World’s Greatest Destinations.
Chris has written a series of these books about golf, flyfishing and surfing and their small but very entertaining coffee table books. While I noticed that there are few unfavorable reviews on Amazon, these people might be missing the point. This is not any sort of cruising guide for sailors. Chris interviews famous sailors, and not so famous sailors like me, about where there favorite sailing ground is and then he researches and writes about it. You’ll have to get the book to see what I said. ;-)
No sailor’s library is complete with out these maritime classic anthologies: American Sea Writing: A Literary Anthology (Library of America) edited by Peter Neill and the incredibly comprehensive The Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History edited by John Hattendorf which Amazon has listed for it’s original price of $595.00 but which you can currently get direct from the publisher for an amazing $150.