2011 APHC At Sea Boston-Montreal

Itinerary  •  Guests  •   Activities  •   Reading List  •   Notes from GK  •   FAQ •   Booking

Reading List

Hello, old friends and new!

Ah, the North Atlantic! This journey will be a wonderful foray into the backyard of most of your naturalist team members. And we are thrilled to share this region with you!

We'll be sailing through the summer feeding grounds of the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale (so named because it was considered the “right” whale to hunt), the Blue Whale (the largest animal on the planet), and the charismatic all-white Beluga Whale. Soaring above and floating below, we'll spot comical Atlantic Puffins, dancing storm-petrels, and dive-bombing Northern Gannets (not to mention an incredible array of other birds of the open seas and wooded shores). The landscape will reveal stories of a mile-deep sheet of ice atop bedrock once connected to Africa. And blanketing those landforms, we'll explore vegetation marking the intersection between the mid-latitude temperate zone and the great boreal regions of the north.

And then there are the people! We will be in the land of Champlain, the Acadians, Revolutionaries, and Loyalists. Well, why don't we stop waxing poetic about our home turf and let the great authors listed bellow tell the story of the people and places we will explore together!

Enjoy reading,
Natalie and Rich
(And thanks for a few additions by our fellow naturalists, Lytton and Dyk!)

Atlantic Canada

Evangeline, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (first published in 1847). One of Canada's most cherished stories, Longfellow's tale tells of two lovers separated by the Acadian expulsion in 1755.

Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maude Montgomery. If there is a provincial tale for Prince Edward Island, this is it! Anne of Green Gables was a staple of Rich's youth during the two summers he spent on PEI as a youth, full of adventure and mystery. Today, it is a provincial industry, the basis for much of their tourism.

Best Maritime Short Stories, edited by George Peabody (1988).

Vanishing Lights: A Lightkeeper's Fascination with a Disappearing Way of Life, by Chris Mills (1992). The author has lived and worked at lighthouses on Seal, Cross, and Machias Seal Islands, as well as Gannet Rock in Maritime Canada.

Atlantic Outposts, by Harry Thurston (1990). A book about one man's experiences throughout Atlantic Canada, from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland.

Rockbound, by Frank Parker Day. First published in 1928. “The Classic Novel of Nova Scotia's South Shore.”

The Americans Are Coming, by Herb Curtis (1989). “Garrison Keillor has Lake Wobegon, Mark Twain has the Mississippi, and Herb Curtis … has claimed the Dungarvon River [New Brunswick].” (From the book's back jacket quoting the Daily News.)

Three Hills Home, by Alfred Silver (2001). One Acadian woman and her family's story in the Grand Derangement, the Acadian expulsion from the Maritimes in 1755.

I'll Buy You an Ox, by Betty Boudreau Vaughan (1997). “An Acadian daughter's bittersweet passage into womanhood.”

Oak Island Secrets, by Mark Finnan (1995). The story of the famed lost treasure on this Nova Scotian island. This is a story of mystery and intrigue: a booby-trapped mineshaft that seemingly goes nowhere, tales of pirate treasure, intrigue, and history.

The First Nova Scotian, by Mark Finnan (1997). “The story of William Alexander and his colony of Charlesfort, Nova Scotia's first English-speaking settlement.”

Kelusultiek, Original Women's Voices of Atlantic Canada (1994). Published by the Institute for the Study of Women at Mount Saint Vincent University. It is a compilation of testimonies from indigenous women.

We Belong to the Sea, edited by Meddy Stanton (2002). “A Nova Scotia Anthology.”

Sea, Salt and Sweat: A Story of Nova Scotia and the Vast Atlantic Fishery, by Murray Barnard (1986). This book includes wonderful illustrations of boats, nets, and other fishing technology over the ages.

Land of the Loyalist, Their Struggle to Shape the Maritimes, by Ronald Rees (2000).

Life on the Tusket Islands, by Caroline B. Norwood (1994). “Stories and photos showing life on the Tusket Islands [Nova Scotia] then and now.”

Random Passage, by Bernice Morgan (1992). This Canadian best-seller chronicles the lives of two families who scrape their existence together on the rock-bound coast by processing fish in exchange for food, tools, and bare-bones needs, never once seeing real money for their work. This historical fiction captures the harsh lives of early 1800s Newfoundland settlers in such vivid detail that it has become required reading in most high schools across the province. It was also turned into an award-winning CBC TV series.

Death on the Ice, by Cassie Brown (1972). A painstakingly researched account of the Great Sealing Disaster of 1914, when 78 sealers from the SS Newfoundland were left on the ice off the northeast coast for 53 hours in a savage blizzard.

Maine and New England

The Weir, by Ruth Moore (first published in 1943), and any other Ruth Moore novel. Ruth Moore is well known and loved for her many novels about life on the Maine coast in the first half of the 19th century. Choose any of her novels and you will step back in time!

The Wooden Nickel, by William Carpenter (2002). A vivid novel about a Maine lobsterman. Carpenter teaches at College of the Atlantic, located in Bar Harbor.

The Hungry Ocean, A Swordboat Captain's Journey, by Linda Greenlaw (1999). A personal account of a swordfish captain life. What makes this different is the captain is female (but don't call her a fisherwoman). She is also well known to readers and viewers of The Perfect Storm. Other books by Greenlaw include Lobster Chronicles and All Fishermen are Liars.

The Perfect Storm, by Sebastian Junger (1997). This book has also been made into a major motion picture. It tells the story of a fishing vessels caught in “the perfect storm” in Gulf of Maine waters.

The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier, by Colin Woodard (2004). This Maine-born journalist (Christian Science Monitor, SF Chronicle, etc.) takes a close look at the history and contemporary issues facing the Maine coast's largest marine fishery, and by extension, the changing character of Maine's coastal communities.

The Lobster Gangs of Maine, by James Acheson (1988). A well-researched and detailed account of the Maine lobsterman's way of life, from the importance of kinship to the controversial turf wars, by a University of Maine maritime anthropologist, who has managed to gain the trust of both the fishing and the academic community.

Maine Sea Fisheries: The Rise and Fall of a Native Industry, 1830–1890, by Wayne M. O'Leary (1996). Cod and mackerel fished out of Maine, Massachusetts, and Nova Scotia played an essential role in the development of North America. This account traces the growth and competition of these fisheries in the 19th century.

The Finest Kind: The Fishermen of Gloucester, by Kim Bartlett (1977).

Against the Tide: The Fate of the New England Fisherman, by Richard Adams Carey (1999).

Down East, a Maritime History of Maine, by Lincoln P. Paine (2000).

Maine Lobsterboats: Builders and Lobstermen Speak of their Craft, by Virginia L. Thorndike.

Islands in Time, by Philip W. Conkling (1999). “A natural and cultural history of the islands of the Gulf of Maine.”

The Maine Islands: In Story and Legend, by Dorothy Simpson (1987).

Field Guides

From Cape Cod to the Bay of Fundy: An Environmental Atlas of the Gulf of Maine, edited by Philip Conkling (1995).

The Atlantic Coast: Cape Cod to Newfoundland, by Michael and Deborah Berrill (1981).

A Sierra Club Naturalist's Guide to the North Atlantic Coast: Cape Cod to Newfoundland.

National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America.

Birds of Atlantic Canada, by Roger Burrows (2002).

Birds of Nova Scotia, by Robie Tufts (1986).

Atlantic Seashore, Peterson Field Guides, by Kenneth Gosner.

Seashores of the Maritimes, by Merritt Gibson (2003).

Marine Life of the North Atlantic, Canada to New England, by Andrew J. Martinez (1994).

The Last Billion Years: A Geological History of the Maritime Provinces of Canada, by Atlantic Geoscience Society (2001). Though mostly about Canada, Dyk Eusden, our cruise geologist, says, “This layperson-friendly book covers the origins of the Appalachian-Caledonian mountain belt that extends into Norway. Great illustrations!”

A Field Guide to Whales, Porpoises, and Seals, from Cape Cod to Newfoundland, by Steven Katona, Valerie Rough, and David Richardson (1993).

Stellwagen Bank: A Guide to the Whales, Sea Birds, and Marine Life of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, by Nathalie Ward/Center for Coastal Studies (1995). Stellwagen Bank is just east of Boston, Massachusetts, in the Gulf of Maine, beneath and surrounding the primary shipping lane.

The Plants of Acadia National Park, by Glen Mittelhauser, Linda Gregory, Sally Rooney, and Jill Weber (2010). This is a phenomenal and comprehensive book. Be sure to read the entry for Lowbush Blueberry on page 176.

Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada, by David Spahr (2009).

Roadside Geology of Maine, by Dabney Caldwell (1996). This is a great book with clear illustrations about Maine geology.

Glaciers & Granite: A Guide to Maine's Landscape & Geology, by David Kendall (1993). Really good description of the last glaciation to cover Maine in the Quaternary.

Canada Rocks: The Geologic Journey, by Nick Eyles and Andrew Miall (2008). This is the first, comprehensive book about Canadian geology written for the layperson. Written for a general audience, this book is a good introduction to Canadian geology and to geology in general.

The Presidential Range: Its Geologic History and Plate Tectonics, by J. Dykstra Eusden (2010). Here is a book White Mountain geology buffs have been waiting for — a clearly written geologic history of the Presidentials, profusely illustrated in color, and accompanied by a full-color topographic map showing the bedrock types on the range from Mt. Eisenhower north to the Randolph Valley. And best of all, written by our cruise geologist!


Captains Courageous, by Rudyard Kipling. A wonderful tale of the now-defunct cod fishery, it pairs a young, privileged boy, who falls off an ocean steamer, with a salty fisherman who helps shape him into the son his tycoon father always hoped he'd be. This story was adapted into a wonderful 1930s movie starring Spencer Tracy.

Any of the historical novels by Kenneth Roberts, but especially Oliver Wiswell. Most of Roberts' novels are set around the American Revolution. Oliver Wiswell tells the story of Wiswell as he confronts the politics of the American Revolution, supports the concept of American representation, but does not endorse violence. His Loyalist tendencies take him from his Boston home to England, to New York's Long Island, to Halifax, and eventually to New Brunswick. In Rich's opinion, one of the best stories told from the perspective of the Loyalists.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Any book by Joseph Conrad, including The Mirror of the Sea.

Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, by Mark Kurlansky.

The Universe Below: Discovering the Secrets of the Deep Sea, by William J. Broad (1997).

A Sea of Slaughter and The Boat Who Wouldn't Float, both by Farley Mowat. This noted Nova Scotian author writes extensively about Atlantic Canada. He is also well known for his book made into the movie, Never Cry Wolf, which takes place in the Artic.

The Shipping News, by Annie Proulx (1993). This gripping novel takes place in Newfoundland and represents life in a small Atlantic Canada village. Also made into a movie (Natalie says the book was better).

Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, by Dava Sobel (1995).

The Riddle of the Compass, by Amir D. Aczel (2001).

Figs, Dates, Laurel, and Myrrh: Plants of the Bible and the Quran, by Lytton Musselman (2007). While well removed from the region of our cruise, this highly readable book is by our cruise botanist (look for his lecture on this topic; and we hope to have his book available on the cruise).

Our cruise geologist, Dyk Eusden, also included the following annotated list of Internet resources for all you geology lovers out there:

A great site to view plate tectonic reconstructions over geologic time. Ancient mountains, as well as paleo-climate, are shown for a variety of time slices.

Probably the best commercial site for viewing plate tectonic reconstructions over geologic time. It has very cool paleo-climate maps and animations.

Natural Resources Canada site for Earth Sciences. Great stuff on climate change, melting icefields, and bedrock geology.

I LOVE this relatively new map of the entire Appalachian Mountains! And it is free to download. “Lithotectonic map of the Appalachian Orogen, Canada-United States of America / Carte lithotectonique de l'orogène des Appalaches, Canada-États-Unis d'Amérique; Hibbard, J P; van Staal, C R; Rankin, D W; Williams, H. Geological Survey of Canada, "A" Series Map 2096A, 2006.

The 50 most popular publications (for free download) on Canadian geology. Who could ask for anything more!

Geological Heritage of Quebec City and Montreal. Nice interactive online geologic history of the these two cities.

Geological Survey of Maine. Including a great online book for the layperson on Acadia National Park.

Nova Scotia's rich resources in oil and gas are explained here!

I use this as the “required text” in my introductory geology classes. It is FANTASTIC and comes in dozens of languages!

Cruise Bulletin

We had a wonderful time on the cruise, and we hope you did too. We've posted a journal of daily updates — notes, photos, and videos — that captured our time at sea and on stage. You can also visit the archive to hear the best of the cruise performances on the July 23, 2011 show.

Cruise episode»
Daily cruise journal»

A Prairie Home Companion Cruise is produced by Prairie Home Productions and presented by American Public Media. Ship's registry: The Netherlands.
American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy