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Classic Sailing Books

Looking for some inspiration on what to read to help prepare you for a voyage? Or, perhaps you are looking for something relevant to read during your sailing trip. 

There are many brilliant books out there, where do you start? Below we are compiling a list of books sorted by sailing area and recommended by our ship’s crews and Classic Sailing. If you have any other recommendations, please just drop us an email at skippers@classic-sailing.co.uk. 

Scotland

East Coast of Scotland 

The Silver Darlings by Neil M Gunn – 1978 
A tale about the dawning of the herring fisheries set in northeastern Scotland 

Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon – 1932
Scottish novel about rural live in the early 20th century. 

Iceland

The Sagas of the Icelanders by Jane Smiley – 2005
In Iceland, the age of the Vikings is also known as the Saga Age, packed full of exciting tales to add to the Icelandic experience

Grettir’s Saga by Jesse Byock – 2009
Taking place in northern Iceland, this is a brilliant saga/ghost story to read if you are sailing on Tecla as it covers a similar area. 

Viking Myths & Sagas: Retold from Ancient Norse Texts by Rosalind Kerven
Full of sagas and norse myths

D’Aulaires’ Norse Gods & Giants by Ingri D’Aulaire – 1967
Ancient myths populated by gods and giants!

Topsail and Battleaxe: A voyage in the Wake of the Vikings by Tom Cunliffe – 1988
English sailors follow the Viking route from Norway to Newfoundland with sagas in between

Independent People by Halldor Laxness 
Set in rural Iceland in the early 20th century and written by a nobel prize winner. A portrait of the eerie Icelandic landscape. 

Greenland

Saga of the Greenlandersand Saga of Erik the Red, also known as The Vinland Sagas. Written in the 13th century, they recount the Norse exploration of Greenland & North America.

Greenlanders, Jane Smiley (1984) Wonderful novel about the mysterious disappearance of the medieval Norse Eastern & Western Settlements in Greenland.

N by E(1930) and Salamina(1935), Rockwell Kent – memoirs of his trips to Greenland (including a shipwreck), written & illustrated by an adventurous American artist who had previously sailed a small boat in Tierra del Fuego, which he describes in Voyaging: Southwards(1924).

Green Seas & White Ice, Miriam MacMillan (1948) wife of Donald MacMillan, Arctic explorer, voyages to Labrador & Greenland with him.

No One Thinks of Greenland, John Griesemer (2003) novel that has been made into a movie, Guy X(2005), a black comedy set in Greenland.

 

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