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The Ultimate Book of Lighthouses: An Illustrated Companion to the History, Design, and Lore

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To the Lighthouse is partly about power and largely about portraying consciousness, but as a reading experience it can feel like an exercise in eternally delayed gratification. It has been acclaimed as a masterpiece since its appearance in 1927. But it’s not exactly long on action, and the young boy James is not the only one who wants to get to the sodding lighthouse. You start to wonder if Woolf will have the bottle actually to postpone arrival beyond the end of the novel. No spoilers here. I have always loved lighthouses. I don’t know if it’s the quirky, architectural novelty of them, the romantic, windswept locations or the thrill of the spiral staircase that goes up, up, up into the sky, but they hold a very special place in my imaginative world.

Seashaken Houses is a fascinating book about the lighthouses of Britain and the nearby islands. It tells the stories of the structures that have kept British sailors and mariners safe for centuries. If you love visiting lighthouses, then you need this book! Sarah has listed every lighthouse in the UK, including all the minor lights. There are so many great lighthouse books, some technical, some about specific aspects of lighthouse keeping. There are also some great reads from former lighthouse keepers, keepers’ wives and others who have lived in a lighthouse. However, people from all over the world still find lighthouses fascinating and mysterious. Here are our top 12 books about lighthouses that you should get your hands on.The vivid writing in this book is what makes it unique. It puts the reader right in the middle of the story and makes them feel like they are a part of it. To get an idea of how lighthouses and the world around them work, this book has many detailed sections. Each lighthouse has its own unique features that make it stand out. The book is full of amazing photos and detailed information about some of the most famous lighthouses in Europe, North America, and Australia. It also shows how these structures are built, maintained, and used. People who work on lighthouses and know a lot about them write up the information in this guide and make sure it's true. Lighthouses of Ireland is an illustrated guide to the Irish lighthouses, using O’Reilly’s contemporary artwork. The Great Lighthouses of Ireland by David O’Hare If a lighthouse is a symbol, it may be a phallic one, as Helen Dunmore concedes in her lovely Granta piece about Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. Here, however, Whitehaven lighthouse – painted red and white with a green “eye” – is closely associated with the main character Arthur’s mother. A novel that reads as if HP Lovecraft had moved to West Cumbria in 2011. The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge – On the Manhattan bank of the Hudson River, a small lighthouse–made of steel and painted bright red–proudly protects boats with his faithful beam. One day a great expanse of gray steel, which also shines a bright light into the fog and darkness, is built over it. The little red lighthouse feels insignificant and useless in comparison but soon learns that . . . small can be mighty!

The surname Stevenson often reminds us of RL Stevenson, author of the famous classic “Treasure Island”. But well before his time, his ancestors were no less famous and were known across Great Britain as the Lighthouse Stevensons. Pioneers in the construction, maintenance, running, and lighting mechanisms of these structures, the Stevensons revolutionized the modern lighthouse while staying true to the classic British architectural styles that were commonplace on the coastline. Interesting facts and features are covered in more depth in separate sections. It also points out unique lighthouses, like those at Barnegat Long Beach Island and the Kopu watchtower in Estonia. Each one comes with a series of beautiful images and illustrations that show how these lighthouses were built and how they worked. Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse By Eric Jay DolinThe book tries to show how politics, military, and technology all played a role in the building of American lighthouses. Structures are looked at from the time of colonial rule to when the country was growing and becoming a global power. A lot of people don't think about how important these lighthouses were, but this book makes a great case for how they shaped the country.

Portentous prospect … Flamborough Head lighthouse in Yorkshire. Photograph: Chris McLoughlin/Getty Images Eric Jay Dolin, a best-selling author and government policy advisor, wrote this book about the silent guardians of America's coast. It's a must-read and one of the most highly rated books on our list. It tells the stories and histories of some of the lighthouses that have helped the maritime industry in different parts of the country. It also talks about how they have helped with trade and business. A lot of attention is paid to each lighthouse and its history in the stories, which are told in a lovely way. Covering the famed and notorious lighthouses of Britain and the surrounding isles, Seashaken Houses is an enthralling account of the various coastline structures that protected British sailors and mariners for centuries. As a youngster, I also loved Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, in which the lighthouse is a place of happiness and safety for young Pete. The Little Golden Book version of the story is a nostalgic treat for mums and dads, and a colourful “brazzle dazzle” tale for tots too. In this book, you will learn about why and how a lighthouse should be built, the different types and categories of lighthouses, the factors that go into building and maintaining them, and the natural beauty of the coast and the lives of the people who live there.

I leave picture books lying around for the kids to read or thumb through. I choose one or more books to read aloud – usually a short chapter book and a picture book or two.

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