The Great Lakes are the largest source of fresh surface water in the world, providing food, work and recreation for millions. Yet they are under threat, and their problems are worsening. “The biggest threat to the lakes is ignorance,” writes Pulitzer Prize finalist Dan Egan in The Death and Life of the Great Lakes. Egan blends the history of the Great Lakes with an examination of its science, politics and economics, including toxic algae bloom “dead zones,” fluctuations in lake levels as a result of climate change and overzealous dredging, and threats to siphon water to quench dry regions of the United States or to be sold abroad. (W.N. Norton & Co., $28)
The joy of fishing
James R. Babb reflects on his preoccupation with fishing — one that keeps him up at night — and some of his memorable adventures in this collection of essays titled Fish Won’t Let Me Sleep. In “Hooking Bottom,” Babb recalls thrown hooks, lost leaders, parted lines and the “what ifs” of the fish that get away. “Snide and Prejudice” is a look at the friendships and occasional animosities that can arise among angling companions. And in “Simple Gifts,” the author muses on the weather. Babb’s poignant and witty writing should appeal to anyone who has ever wet a line. (Skyhorse Publishing, $30)
Cooking on the water
Joy Smith’s Kitchen Afloat is more than a boater’s cookbook. It’s a definitive keep-aboard guide to galley management and meal preparation. Preparing and preserving food for any type of cruising, from weekend jaunts to long offshore passages, can be a challenge, and Smith addresses such topics as refrigeration, stoves, water systems, food safety, provisioning and more in the second edition of her guide. The author has logged more than 5,000 miles in 35-plus years on the water — cruising and cooking from her homeport in Connecticut to the Caribbean, via Bermuda. (JSBooks Publications, $20)
This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue.