Bermuda Books and Bookstores
Photo: Bermuda Bookstore
Great books on Bermuda's history
The Story of Bermuda and Her People - by William Zuill
This is a concise, thorough and very readable book on Bermuda's history. It starts from early 1600 when George Somers arrived. An excellent introduction to the islands, it features many photographs and an up-to-date awareness of post-colonial history. The book has depicted personal reminiscence and human endeavor, as well as a shown Bermuda's vital role in developing this part of the world. It's great for a first-time traveler to Bermuda - a fascinating place and far more than just lovely pink sandy beaches, as brought out by this book.
The History of Mary Prince - by the West Indian slave herself
Born into Slavery in Bermuda in the late 18th century, Mary Prince was the first woman slave who herself wrote an account of her slavery life in this book. It was published in 1831 by the Anti-Slavery Society in 1831 in London and Edinburgh. It became the best seller in that year with three editions sold. It's a classic that provides a rare glimpse into the life of a female slave.
Shipwrecked: Bermuda’s Maritime Heritage - by Dr. Gordon Payne Watts Jr
Dr. Watts is an American Archeologist and has come out with this full color coffee table book in April 2015 depicting the history as well as archeological and research efforts behind 300+ shipwrecks on this 500 page large book. The book has been published by Bermuda National Museum Press and has six chapters. Starting from Bermuda's discovery way back in 1500s, to advent of steamships and all the way up to 1900's shipwrecks of Bermuda have been all captured in this book.
It also has large number of pictures of many artifacts stored at the museum as well as artworks of ships and wreck sites. The book is available for $75 from National Museum of Bermuda and various other bookstores in the island.
Hall of History - by Graham Foster
If you visit the Commissioner's House at the National Museum of Bermuda, you will find the 1,000 square feet wall mural Hall of History
created by a Bermudian artist Graham Foster. It took him over 7,000 hours of work to capture the deep heritage and history of Bermuda since early 1600s. The mural depicts details starting from early settlement in the island up to the modern time.
A 14" X 14" coffee table book is now available with section by section high quality pictures of the mural and explaining each part in great details. The text has been written by Rosemary Jones who was the former Editor of The Bermudian magazine. The book retails for $65 and is available at all the major stores in the island.
The Bermuda Railway - by Simon Horn
The book tells the saga of Bermuda's Railway that once operated from 1931 after a difficult start until it closed down untimely in 1948. With a total length of 21.8 miles, the track passed through Bermuda's some of the most scenic spots on the northern shoreline between the western and eastern end of the island. At that time, the construction cost per mile was higher than any other railway in the world. It was never profitable for the investors, yet it played a key role in developing a new dimension of tourism in Bermuda and also in constructing the wartime bases for the US.
The publication has numerous rare and historic photographs of Bermuda's railway, maps, plans, tourist snapshots etc. It has been written by Simon Horn, a Canadian who has a background on history and political science. He has visited Bermuda every year since 1995.
The book was launched at National Museum of Bermuda at Royal Naval Dockyard in May 2021. The book is priced at $35 and is available at the island stores such as The Bermuda Bookstore in Hamilton, the Bookmart at Brown & Co in Hamilton. You can also order it online (for local delivery) from the website of National Museum of Bermuda at www.nmb.bm/shop.
More great books on Bermuda's history
Biography of a Colonial Town by Jean de Chantal Kennedy (Bermuda Bookstores Society);
Chained on the Rock: Slavery in Bermuda by Cyril O. Packwood (Baxters);
Bermuda's Story by Terry Tucker (Bermuda Bookstores Publisher).
Books on Diving and Shipwrecks
Treasure! A Diver's Life - By Teddy Tucker, the legendary wreck diver of Bermuda
I had been waiting for this book since I met Teddy and his wife Edna in 2005, and heard from him about his life as a scuba diver. He had spent all his life in underwater exploration, discovered over 250 shipwrecks all over the world and collected invaluable treasures from the wrecks.
I knew that some day he would come out with a book that will capture the amazing stories and his discoveries around them. Finally the book has been published in November 2011 and is available exclusively at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute for $59.95. If you like to know more about this book and his life, then check out Teddy Tucker and His Book
Bermuda Shipwrecks: A Vacationing Diver’s Guide to Bermuda’s Shipwrecks
If you have interest in diving, you will surely enjoy this book by Daniel Berg. But mind it, it's a beginners book only. If you are looking for great details about Bermuda's shipwrecks, this is not the book for you. The book refers to many stories from my favorite diving legend - Teddy Tucker.
Diving Bermuda, published by Aqua Quest Publishers, is a popular diving guide book.
As a diver, you will also be interested in flora and fauna in Bermuda's Atlantic waters. Wiley Publishing is one of the top publishers in Bermuda and here is a great book published by them: Marine Fauna and Flora of Bermuda.
Books on Art and Architecture
Two books describe the Bermudian style of Art and Architecture quite well.
Bermuda Antique Furniture and Silver published by Bermuda National Trust
Architecture Bermuda Style, by David R Raine, published by Pompano Publications
Books and Documentaries on Bermuda's Music
Dale Butler, Bermuda's former Minister of Culture wrote to me about several great books that he had written on Bermuda's Music. His 500 page book Music on the Rock is one of the most comprehensive books on Bermuda's local music. It was updated from his earlier version Jazz on the Rock after several years of effort. Some of the other great books and documentaries written by him include:
My Blue Heaven: This book is about the life story and achievements of Bermuda's one of the greatest trumpet player Ghandi Burgess.
Five Profiles in Harmony: The lives of 5 Warwick Musicians
Many writers have attempted to explain the mystery of Bermuda Triangle. The disappearance of ships and airplanes occurred within a triangular area whose corners were Miami, Puerto Rico and Bermuda. Writers dubbed this area as the Bermuda Triangle. While you will know about my findings under Bermuda Triangle Facts
, here are some books on the subject, that are quite popular:
The Bermuda Triangle Mystery - Solved by Larry Kusche. This book was first published in 1975 where Kusche analyzed various incidents (over 50) through intense research using meteorological reports, news papers and journals of the times and interviewing naval officers and crew. He came to the conclusion that, Bermuda Triangle is nothing but a 'Manufactured Mystery'.
Atlantis: Bermuda Triangle by Greg Donegan.
The Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle by Chris Oxlade.
Hiking Bermuda by Cecile Davidson
A guide book of 160 pages of 20 nature walks and day hikes with extensive content on Bermuda's back roads and the Bermuda Railway Trail. My favorite sections include the stunning view at Abbott's Cliff, and the quiet landscape at Hog Bay Park. This guide book is great for self-guided enthusiasts who want to experience Bermuda's hidden gems on foot.
Insight Guide Bermuda by Brian Bell
From the most popular resort cities to the most exotic villages, this Bermuda guide captures the unique culture of Bermuda with an insider's perspective. You get full-color photography on every page, and there are also color maps of Bermuda.
The book includes, brief introduction including historical events and timeline, lively descriptions by local writers on the culture, history, and people, expert evaluations on best of sightseeing. It also has listings of the best restaurants, budget accommodations, luxury hotels, and attractions, as well as information on getting around the island.
Bermuda Country Guide by Glenda Bendure and Ned Friary
This is part of Lonely Planet publications. Its sections on hotels, restaurants, entertainment, are excellent. Coverage of things to see and do, sports and other activities are precise and very full. The sections on history and culture are also very nice, very well written, easy-to-read, making this truly enjoyable reading for everyone.
Bermuda Travel Adventures - by Blair Howard (Hunter Travel Guides)
I found this to be a nice to have travel guidebook of Bermuda although some areas require updates (for example some restaurants and operators mentioned cease to exist). There is an emphasis on outdoor adventures - hiking, scuba diving, golfing, fishing, snorkeling, swimming.
An underwater section profiles the top dive spots and shipwrecks, with contact names and numbers of local operators. Sightseeing and walking tours are also covered to a fair details. There are nice photos and maps included in the guidebook.
A Naturalist's Field Guide to Bermuda - by Dr. Martin Thomas
This is an exploration of Bermuda's common and important wildlife, plantations and geology. Click Review of Bermuda Field Guide
for detailed review of the book that has been published recently.
Pink Rock - An adventure novel by Ron Lacey
This thrilling novel is about a plot to invade Bermuda with a nuclear weapon that is aimed at the United States. This "Indiana Jones" type adventure combines the story line with Bermuda.
As a repeat visitor to Bermuda (now 43 times), Ron has injected his love for the island in a story that features a character who is based on his late best friend and his wild and exotic exploits. It was a huge hit with the members of the Sandys Rotary Club in Bermuda, which Ron is a constant repeat visitor. Actually, two of the club members are characters in his novel. Over 300 copies of the book have already been sold including about 100 in Bermuda itself.
The Golden Age of Bermuda Postcards - By Horst Augustinovic’s
Developed over 40 years, this 240-page hardcover book with images of 460 Bermuda postcards is a treasure for those who take keen interest in collections of postcards. These postcards provide a rare insight and pictorial record of the society and the life of the Bermudians over the ages. The book focuses from late 19th century to mid 20th century postcards. You will see great examples of the initial plain monochrome postcards, to the exquisite hand tinted colorful ones of later years.
There are also chromo-lithographic postcards that were created by the artists out of 3-colour lithography. The book sells for $48 and is available at most of the Bermuda stores mentioned in my section below including in Bermuda Book Store, Bookmart/Brown & Co., Long Story Short in St. George’s (Tucker's House) and the Bermuda Craft Market in Dockyard.
A Different Kind of Bermuda - by Malaikah
Bermuda's youngest author, 8-year old girl Malaikah Abdul Jabbar has been taking the island and the tourists by storm. She had earlier written the book "Stop The Shooting" when the father of her classmate was shot and killed. She was so badly affected by this that she wanted to make her voice felt, which she did. The book was completely sold out and there was no second print made. So it's no longer available other than in libraries.
Due to this huge success in April 2010, Malaikah became the youngest presenter in the 55-year history of the International Reading Association (IRA) conference in Chicago. She was only 7 years old then. Now she has come out with her second book "A Different Kind Of Bermuda". It's all about how an 8-year old looks at Bermuda and its people.
Great bookstores in Bermuda
Opened in 1930s, the main bookstore is located in Hamilton at the corner of Queen Street and Front Street. It's owned by the two sisters Hannah Willmott and Miriam Kaye who once regularly bought books from late James Zuill who too was a bookseller as well as a guide to authors and readers.
The store in Hamilton is known for its cozy atmosphere and is well stocked with best sellers, children's books, and special Bermuda titles (including some out-of-print books). There are sections on Hobby, Travel, Religions, Art, Crime and Mystery, Fiction, Non-Fiction Best Sellers, Classics, History, Pets, Language, Parenting, Children's Best Sellers, Puzzles and lot more.
Photo: Bermuda Bookstore
A narrow staircase earlier used to lead to more books upstairs. However the upstairs section has closed down as the building was divided. All you can see now is concrete stairway from outside leading to some offices. Although the store is now smaller, it still gives you a feel like that of an old library and they actually cram in as many titles into the store as they did earlier. The store has won the Bermudian Magazine's Best of Bermuda Best Bookstore award for more than 10 years in a row.
They also have an outlet at the airport before the check in section, and another small outlet at the Royal Naval Dockyard (west end) tucked into one part of Bermuda Arts Center
Address: 3-Queen Street, Hamilton City.
Open: 10am to 6pm daily (Sunday: 1pm - 5pm)
This is the largest bookstore of Bermuda, has plenty of contemporary titles and classics. Here you will get a complete selection of books on Bermuda. There are also books based on meditation, alternative medicine, numerology, martial arts, philosophy, yoga etc.
Address: Brown & Company, 4 Reid St., Hamilton, Bermuda.
The Craft Market
(at Royal Naval Dockyard, Cooperage Building)
Although the craft market is known for handcrafted items by local artists, it has a section with nice collection of books from local authors ranging from novels related to Bermuda, adventure books for children, architecture, history of Bermuda, birdlife, poetry and more. They also keep books published by National Museum of Bermuda (mostly on maritime stories and facts) and also by Bermuda National Trust (mainly on architecture and history of the island).
Long Story Short (Formerly Book Cellar)
It's a small bookstore located at the Tucker House
Basement in St. George. It has a good selection of Bermudian books and an assortment of novels by English and American authors. There are books on marine and historical titles. The store has a nice little collection of used and near-antique books as well. Although after 32 years of operations there is a change in ownership, it's still worth a stop. Location: 5, Water Street, Town of St. George, Phone: (441)297-0448
Adventist Book Center
It belongs to the Seventh Day Adventist Churches. The bookstore offers Christian religious books, cookbooks, gift items, DVDs, Bibles etc. 41, King Street, Hamilton City. Open Sunday 10am to 2pm.
Ship's Inn Book Gallery
This book store, located at the Clocktower Mall in Dockyard is run by Sherlyn Swan. There are assortment of used books with some rare ones as well. The new books are mostly about the island. Clocktower Building, Dockyard, Phone: (441)234-2807. Update: The store has closed down.
Washington Mall Magazine
Great selection of magazines and periodicals. You will also get best sellers for beach, children's books, and coffee-table publications on Bermuda.Location: Washington Mall, Reid Street, Hamilton City, Phone: (441)292-7420. Update: The store has closed down.
1) Check out Bermuda Shopping
to know all about shopping in Bermuda and the best stores.
Viewers' Reviews and Comments
Arthur White (July 2013)
Hope you can help us locate a hardbound photo essay of Bermuda by K. Skariss or Shariss. Title Bermuda Journey. Only place I have ever seen it is airport. No more copies. Many wonderful photos of last century. Thanks!
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) July 2013
Hi, the only book titled 'Bermuda Journey' that I know of is the one written by William Zuill and published in 1946. It's a hard cover guide book of Bermuda. If that's the one you are looking for, you can still get a used one from Amazon. Regards,
Arthur White (July 2013)
Yes I saw that at once. This must not be the right description I saw at the book store. Very discouraging. I have missed the boat to buy it again! Thanks.