Rhody Reads: Six Picks with Ocean State Allure

July 2023


Set a course for adventure with this month’s selections curated to explore the beauty, mystery, and quirks of the Ocean State. From an illustrated picture book to a stunning coffee table book to engrossing yarns and history lessons, every salt and landlubber is shore to find something that floats their boat. Be a first mate and purchase copies at your local independent bookseller.

LA-based photographer Gray Malin’s MO is “make every day a getaway,” and flipping through his latest collection in Coastal is sure to transport you from couch to beach. More than a coffee table book, this follow up to 2016’s Beaches, is a treasured keepsake for anyone who enjoys the beauty of the ocean. Shot in his pioneering aerial style, Narragansett is included, along with other grand beaches around the globe, including Hawaii and Australia.

Noted lighthouse and history expert Ray Jones returns with his latest exploration, Lighthouses of New England: From Maine to Long Island Sound. Engaging stories of Rhode Island’s lighthouses and their keepers are featured prominently and illustrated with photographs that demonstrate their magnificence. These watchers of the sea serve to remind us of the dangers that sailors faced during their ocean travels while still holding a cherished place in our culture today.

Explore the beauty of Jamestown letter by letter with Sharon McDermott Babbitt’s An Island Alphabet: Jamestown, Rhode Island. The island resident and youth services librarian at Kingston Free Library collaborated with East Greenwich artist and retired police officer Donald Mong to bring young learners a new way to explore letters through the sights and sounds of this unique coastal community. It’s the perfect gift for Conanicut Island fans of all ages.

Greg McLaughlin sets Moonstone in Matunuck, where the author spent every summer of his youth. Filled with landmarks and loving jabs of the community, the story centers around the return of native son Mick Maguire. When aging parents, real estate, and romance come crashing down, Mick must rise to the challenges. Moonstone is the third book in McLaughlin’s Matunuck Beach Series, which includes Matunuck and Erosion.

In Will Sofrin’s memoir, All Hands On Deck A Modern-Day High Seas Adventure to the Far Side of the World, a film crew must transport The Rose, a replica of an 18th-century ship, from Newport to California for the shooting of Master and Commander, an adventure starring Russell Crowe. Then a 21-year-old wooden boat builder and yacht racer who joined as the ship’s carpenter, Sofrin tells the suspenseful tale of near-disasters during the monumental voyage.

The America’s Cup in Newport is the colorful setting for Robert Elliott’s The Shrouded Keel: A Michael Wickham Mystery. Amidst crowds of sailors and tourists, a radio talk show host and the city’s lead homicide detective team up to investigate the death of a young nurse; soon evidence points to potential links from past crimes at another coastal resort city in Vietnam. Wealth and power come into play as the pair works against the clock to prevent further deaths.



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