Beyond Literary Landscapes—Marine Life

From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.

From one bookworm to another, this column will be underscoring and outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.


This week’s column focuses on a series of works that contemplate the mysterious and expansive world that is marine life: an innovative autobiography that considers ten creatures of the deep, a case study of one of the ocean’s most belovedand most mysteriouscreatures, and a novel that deals with the cynicism of human nature.

As a former scuba diver in a previous life, who enjoyed observing marine life in its natural habitat, I now appreciate pursuing books on marine life of all sorts, often glancing wistfully at the hybrid octopus and nautilus that I have tattooed on my hand.


Some of my recent favourites, as well as popular pieces that consider marine life, include How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures by Sabrina Imbler, The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery, and Moby Dick by Herman Melville.


These works are set throughout the United States, including the east and west coasts.


These works are set in the 21st century.


The theme of marine life may be of interest to students who are interested in knowing what takes place at the deepest depths of the ocean, and how, in a way, these stories can apply to our own lives.  This topic may also be of interest to students who would like to read a variety of works, including autobiography, literature, and non-fiction.


AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to Marine Life are available in a variety of disciplines, including one’s that may fit into your Degree Works.  (Always check with an AU counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in this topic may consider ENGL 491: Directed Studies in Literature, a senior-level, three-credit course, in which they “complete an extended research and writing project under the direction of a professor.  The topic for the project will be determined by consultation between the student and the professor.”  (AU learners should note that ENGL 211: Prose Forms and ENGL 212: Poetry and Plays, as well as two senior-level English courses and permission of the course coordinator are required).  Happy reading!

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