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Best Books to Read in the Maldives

Welcome! Here are our recommended reads for everyone visiting the Maldives or those who want to know a little more about one of the most beautiful places on earth. While our Barefoot Booksellers can provide you with exclusive insights into life in the Maldives and their own personal suggestions, these are our top picks to really learn more. 

We have chosen books on every aspect of island life, from a deep dive into life in our oceans to the islands' history. We love to celebrate the natural world that surrounds these small atolls so you'll find plenty of books on sustainability and how we can help protect the ocean life around us. 

Hope you enjoy!

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Turning the Tide on Plastic by Lucy Siegle

Without big action, at the current rate, pieces of plastic will outnumber fish in the ocean by 2050. This is the legacy we are leaving our children and grandchildren. Journalist, broadcaster and eco-lifestyle expert Lucy Siegle provides a powerful call to arms to end the plastic pandemic along with the tools we need to make decisive change. It is a clear-eyed, authoritative and accessible guide to help us to take decisive and effective personal action. 

Silk Roads: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan

For centuries, fame and fortune were to be found in the west – in the New World of the Americas. Today, it is the east which calls out to those in search of riches and adventure. Sweeping right across Central Asia and deep into China and India, a region that once took centre stage is again rising to dominate global politics, commerce and culture.

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Ocean of Life by Callum Roberts

Callum Roberts uses his lifetime's experience working with the oceans to take us on a panoramic tour beneath the seas, exploring the richness of life in the deep and how it has altered over the centuries. He shows the catastrophic impact of humanity on the oceans, but also how we can restore them to life.

Island by J. Edward Chamberlin

Island tells the groundbreaking story of humans and islands throughout history and illuminates the ways in which islands transform the world. It celebrates islands, be they real or imagined, barren or beautiful, large or small, as a central part of our lives.

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Folk Tales of the Maldives by Xavier Romero-Frias

This volume is a collection of 80 traditional short stories and legends selected from the large corpus of stories in the local oral tradition, and translated and illustrated by the author who is the foremost authority on the language and anthropology of the Maldives. 

Voices in the Ocean by Susan Casey

Inspired by a profound experience swimming with wild dolphins off the coast of Maui, Susan Casey set out on a quest to learn everything she could about these creatures. Along the way, Casey recounts the history of dolphin research and introduces us to the leading marine scientists and activists who have made it their life’s work to increase humans’ understanding and appreciation of the wonder of dolphins—the other intelligent life on the planet.

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How to Read Water by Tristan Gooley

A must-have book for walkers, sailors, swimmers, anglers and everyone interested in the natural world, in How To Read Water, Natural Navigator Tristan Gooley shares knowledge, skills, tips and useful observations to help you enjoy the landscape around you and learn about the magic of the outdoors from your living room.

Blowfish's Oceanopedia: 291 Extraordinary Things You Didn't Know About the Sea by Tom 'The Blowfish' Hird

From luminous squid to invisible plankton, from sandy shorelines to the bone-crushing pressure of the deep, marine conservationist Tom "The Blowfish" Hird takes us on an incredible journey revealing what lurks beneath the waves. A treasure chest of fascinating facts, full-colour photos and vintage line drawings, Blowfish's Oceanopedia is a stunningly beautiful guide to all we know about our oceans and the weird and wonderful creatures that inhabit them.

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The Travels of Ibn Battutah by Ibn Battutah and Tim Mackintosh-Smith

Ibn Battutah - ethnographer, biographer, anecdotal historian and occasional botanist - was just twenty-one when he set out in 1325 from his native Tangier on a pilgrimage to Mecca. He did not return to Morocco for another twenty-nine years, travelling instead through more than forty countries on the modern map, covering seventy-five thousand miles and getting as far north as the Volga, as far east as China and as far south as Tanzania. He wrote of his travels and comes across as a superb ethnographer, biographer, anecdotal historian and occasional botanist and gastronome.

Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui

Propelled by stories of polar swim champions, a Baghdad swim club, Olympian athletes, modern-day samurai swimmers and even an Icelandic fisherman who improbably survived a six-hour swim in the wintry Atlantic, Why We Swim takes us around the globe in a remarkable, all-encompassing account of the world of swimming.

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Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands by Ian Sinclair and Olivier Langrand

In field guide form, this text presents concise descriptions of each species, highlighting diagnostic features for ease of identification. Differences between sexes and plumages are discussed as well as the status of the bird, its habitat and call. Distribution maps accompany each entry. 

Stories of the Sea by Diana Secker-Tesdell

Classic adventure stories by Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, Stephen Crane, Robert Louis Stevenson and Jack London mix with marvellously imaginative tales by Isak Dinesen, Patricia Highsmith and J. G. Ballard.

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