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March 2017

Reading by the sea
Image Sarah Ross/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)


“How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.”

– Arthur C Clarke
With water covering 70% of Earth’s surface there’s huge scope for us to discover more about it through reading, watching and playing.
Consider the following aspects when you’re thinking about #waterread.
The science of natural bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes, oceans, and how they shape the landscape of our planet.
The vessels that travel on the surface or under it – river boats; ships; hovercrafts; submarines.
Travelling the seas to discover new places and people; for adventure; or for the transport of products. Alongside this we also can see the development of shipping, ports, harbours, and how naval history has been shaped. Sometimes though, unfortunate vessels and those aboard never make it to the end of their journey, and the seas contain the remains of many shipwrecks.
As well as discovery across the oceans, we can explore beneath the surface of them and other bodies of water too. Jacques Cousteau gave us insights into life and the creatures who live beneath the waves, and technology enables us to watch live footage of locations such as the Mariana Trench.
More recently Roger Deakin gave a unique perspective in his travelogue, Waterlog, when he swam through the British Isles.
The devastating effect water and lack of it can have on the planet and its inhabitants in the forms of  tsunamis, floods, and drought.
The desire to understand and take advantage of the benefits of water through engineering in the form of dams, hydro-electric power generation, bridges, canals, and irrigation systems.
Water plays an important role in sustaining life on the planet, and impacts greatly on our own health. It ensures we are able to grow food we need to survive, as well as keeping us hydrated.
As well as the benefits of technology we also have the negative impact industry can have on water, in the form of pollution.
Do you fish, and do you prefer freshwater or sea fishing? What’s the biggest one that got away from you?
The control of sources of water, the desire for countries to have control over specific bodies of water, naval battles, and the Cod Wars all highlight how politics has an impact on water too.
Water sports such as swimming, diving, boat racing, surfing. You can participate in them, or find out more about those people whose lives are focused on excelling in these sports.
Maybe you’re a fan of tear jerkers – did Love Story make you cry?
What’s your favourite water themed novel? Is it a classic such as Robinson Crusoe, Moby Dick, or Three men in a boat, or is it something more recent?
If you like your fiction with a fantastical twist try Waterworld, Pirates of the Caribbean, or The Day of Creation. Or discover more about myths and legends associated with water, including Atlantis, mermaids, selkies, the Kraken, the Loch Ness monster, and other mythical creatures.
Do you have any authors you like to read when you’re around water? Maybe when you’re relaxing by the pool or on a beach. Or when you’re relaxing with a good book what’s your preferred drink? Tea, coffee, a glass of wine, perhaps?
Water and horror can be a lethal mix – the killer shark in Jaws; Piranhas; Sharknado (you’re not even safe when you’re miles away from the sea); and The Fog.
There will be a Twitter discussion on 28 March starting at 11am and 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time, 6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 12.00 noon Central European Summer Time, 9am – 11am BST.  Note this is a staggered discussion.
Use the tags #waterread and #rwpchat as you discuss the reading, watching playing that is your experience of #waterread, so others can join in the conversation too.
As well as the Twitter discussion, during March we’ll also be running an interactive storytelling writing challenge with a watery theme, which is open to everyone. We’ll be releasing more details about it closer to the event.
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