How many times have you gotten through an entire book without recalling you'd earlier read another by the same author?
Because my memory is sharp (and also because I keep records - geek alert!), I'm usually aware of my previous exposure to authors. But when I began "Atlantic" (2010), Simon Winchester's name was not familiar to me. This meticulously researched book detailing "great sea battles, heroic discoveries, titanic storms, and a vast ocean of a million stories" is as engrossing as it is well written. Although there isn't a weak section, Chapter Four - entitled "Here The Sea of Pity Lies" - was the heartbreaking standout for me. Here Winchester painfully outlines how the Atlantic Ocean - specifically the section known as the Middle Passage - played a gruesome role in the lives of eleven million Africans after they were hijacked from their homes - "humans, offered wholesale". I can't recommend "Atlantic" highly enough.
Just before writing an entry about "Atlantic" in my book journal, I glanced at Winchester's back catalog. "The Professor and The Madman", his 1998 book about the creation of the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), has long been a non-fiction favorite of mine! Although I'm disappointed in my memory and my records, there's a happy ending to this story. That back catalog has eighteen other titles.