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Notable New Books

Jan 1, 2003

Boater's Pocket Reference

Your Comprehensive Resource for Boats and Boating

By Thomas McEwen

Measuring just 3-by-5 inches, the size of an index card, this book seems an unlikely candidate for being comprehensive in anything. The problem with such survey books is a tendency toward being overbroad to the point of uselessness, so the information is of little service to anyone but the rank amateur. The author avoids this fate by two methods: a small font that allows for maximum information density (though not the best readability) and a knack for distilling a given subject, however complex, to its essence.

This is a valuable reference, handily sized and intelligently arranged for both amateur and expert alike. Included are sections on boat design and construction, rules of the road, seamanship and piloting, weather, electrical systems and reference tables.

Anchor Cove Publishing; 766 pages; $13.95;

Ghost Sea

By Ferenc Máté

The author is better known to the maritime public as a writer of nonfiction nautical books, including The World's Best Sailboats, Volumes 1 and 2, and From a Bare Hull. Ghost Sea is his first novel and it is a boisterous, expertly written sea story.

The story takes place in the waters of the Pacific Northwest. The hero is a careless rogue, who works aboard a log-salvage tug - a dreamer whose sights are set on two objects of beauty: a disused vintage ketch and the wife of a wealthy businessman. His pursuit of both leads to compromising situations indeed.

The author weaves traditional stories of the region's native people, the Kwakiutl, and adventures on the high seas into a beautiful story.

W.W. Norton; 288 pages; $23.95. n

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