With Memorial Day here, many will head to the beach to enjoy the cool ocean breeze. In this spirit, we talked to Fabien Cousteau—grandson of famed ocean-lover Jacques Cousteau—who’s an avid reader and frequent visitor to our Brooklyn Heights Library.
Did you think you’d follow in your grandfather’s and father’s footsteps as an explorer?
It is impossible to ignore a passion for the sea when exposed from birth to its mystical beauty. I was never pushed but chose to continue a path blazed by the last two generations. Love of life, mystery and discovery are at the heart of the drive for exploration. Telling the experiences to an eager audience is the icing on the cake.
Where was your favorite place to read as a child?
We moved so many times that any place where I could find peace and quiet was perfect. Sometimes it was perched on the washing machine and others it was in a tree behind our house.
You balance so many different projects all at once. Do you also read several different books at one time?
I guess my side table (and night table, and coffee table, and buffet, etc.) stacked 8 to 10 high with different books, is a good indicator of it: organized chaos. I have so many interests that books provide an eternal reference ready for me to pick each one up at any given whim. We stare at glowing screens all day long; it is nice to take the time and sit on a comfortable sofa, hold a physical book while quietly reading non-illuminated words.
What books do you recommend for youth and adults this summer?
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
DK Guide to the Oceans by Dr. Frances Dipper
The Human, the Orchid, and the Octopus by Jacques Cousteau and Susan Schiefelbein
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman