The 10 Best Books About Sharks – Reviewed and Ranked

Written by Alan Lemus
Published: September 14, 2022

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For a lot of people, sharks are fascinating. They’ve been portrayed as scary, fearsome, and human-eating animals in some parts of the media. However, there have been attempts to dispel the myths about sharks and campaign for their conservation.

In fact, the Discovery Channel premieres Shark Week, an annual television program that, as the name suggests, is focused on sharks. The show is a week-long docufiction and has been continuously produced since its debut in 1988. It was created to dispel people’s fear of sharks, especially those who had seen the Jaws film series. Having debuted in more than 72 nations, Shark Week is now the longest-running television program in history.

As scientists discovered unique things about the ocean’s toothy cartilaginous species, more and more books have been published about them. From fiction, and science to history, here are some of the best books about sharks for your reading pleasure.

  1. The Encyclopedia of Sharks
  2. The Encyclopedia of Sharks
    • Comprehensive, fact-filled reference on every species of shark on the planet
    • Great resource for shark lovers
    • Detailed information about a variety of sharks
    Check A,mazon
  3. Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916
  4. Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916
    • Well-researched retelling of the 1916 New Jersey shark attacks
    • Will appeal to fans of fiction and non-fiction alike
    • Another version is available for young readers
    Check Amazon
  5. Jaws
  6. Jaws
    • Perfect for fans of the movie
    • A well-written, classic thriller book
    • Led to a turning-point in cinematic history
    Check Amazon
  7. The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks
  8. The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks
    • Lots of information about the Farallon Islands
    • An adventurous tale about great white sharks
    • New York Times best-seller
    Check Amazon
  9. Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist (Women in Science Books, Marine Biology for Kids, Shark Gifts)
  10. Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist (Women in Science Books, Marine Biology for Kids, Shark Gifts)
    • Best for kids interested in STEM
    • Contains a ton of fascinating and beautifully illustrated shark information
    • Included in the New York Time's "Twelve Feminist Books for Boys and Girls"
    Check Amazon
  11. Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks
  12. Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks
    • Good to learn about sharks from a cultural viewpoint
    • Explores the natural history and conservation of sharks
    • Great example of journalistic writing on the topic of sharks
    Check Amazon
  13. Sharks in the Time of Saviors: A Novel
  14. Sharks in the Time of Saviors: A Novel
    • Great for fans of magical realism
    • Transportive writing style
    • Won "Book of the Year" in multiple publications
    Check Amazon
  15. Meg: Hell's Aquarium
  16. Meg: Hell's Aquarium
    • Captivating, action-packed story
    • Was adapted into a feature film
    • Good for sci-fi lovers
    Check Amazon
  17. Motherfucking Sharks
  18. Motherfucking Sharks
    • Graphic horror story
    • Violent, yet entertaining
    • Lots of great word-play
    Check Amazon

#1 The Encyclopedia of Sharks

This book is called the encyclopedia of sharks for a good reason. It’s a comprehensive, fact-filled reference on every species of shark on the planet. There are in-depth descriptions of numerous shark species. Some of these include the great white, thresher, megamouth, tiger shark, and the whale shark, the largest fish in the world. 

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Need in-depth knowledge about one of the most ancient species; this book is for you. It discusses their anatomy, evolution, their strong bodies, and extraordinary senses, as well as how they hunt, eat, reproduce, hibernate, migrate, and live in ocean habitats.

By offering plain facts and up-to-date research, Steve Parker dispels the misconceptions and vicious tales about sharks. It also includes over 200 beautiful images that show the sharks in their elements. These pictures were made possible by the recent improvements in underwater photography. Charts, maps, and cutaway drawings are also included. 

The Encyclopedia of Sharks
  • Comprehensive, fact-filled reference on every species of shark on the planet
  • Great resource for shark lovers
  • Detailed information about a variety of sharks
Check A,mazon

#2 Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916

This one is based on the horrific incident of July 1916. Micheal Capuzzo recounts how a Great White shark came out of its deep-ocean habitat and moved 11 miles up a river in New Jersey. The rogue shark attacked swimmers along the coastline. This led to what has been described as the first shark attack on swimmers in American history. He combines horrific descriptions of the shark’s five attacks and the ensuing hunt with a realistic depiction of the time period and deftly rendered characters.

Close to Shore is a New York Times bestseller that is rife with rich historical background and insights into the physiology and behavior of sharks, as it chronicles a crucial event in history.

Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916
  • Well-researched retelling of the 1916 New Jersey shark attacks
  • Will appeal to fans of fiction and non-fiction alike
  • Another version is available for young readers
Check Amazon

#3 Jaws

Authored by Peter Benchley, Jaws is a classical book that describes the journey of three guys who set out to kill a big white shark that was preying on a little tourist town.

The book was a huge hit after its initial release in February 1974; the hardback edition spent 44 weeks on the bestseller list, and the accompanying paperback edition sold millions of copies the following year.

The blockbuster Steven Spielberg film adaptation of the classic thriller novel set a new record for box office revenue at the time, marking a turning point in cinema history and the birth of the summer blockbuster.

Jaws
  • Perfect for fans of the movie
  • A well-written, classic thriller book
  • Led to a turning-point in cinematic history
Check Amazon

#4 The Devil’s Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival among America’s Great White Sharks

The Devil’s teeth is a non-fictional fascinating account from an extraterrestrial outpost that tells the tale of crossing over into a wild area where people are neither needed nor welcomed.

The Farallon Islands, a small set of islands in perilous waters off the coast of California, was where American journalist and author, Susan Casey went to see great white sharks feeding once a year during the period called “shark season.” The result was much more adventure for Casey than she had anticipated.

This book made it to top bestselling lists including the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicles, and the 2005 NPR Summer Reading selection/

The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks
  • Lots of information about the Farallon Islands
  • An adventurous tale about great white sharks
  • New York Times best-seller
Check Amazon

#5 Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist

Here’s one for the kids. It tells the story of Eugenie Clark, a little girl who developed a keen interest in sharks while visiting an aquarium. To her surprise, many people thought sharks were ugly and frightening, and many didn’t think women belonged in the scientific field.

Eugenie dedicated her life to studying sharks because she was determined to disprove their claims. Eugenie earned numerous college degrees, made a ton of discoveries, and cemented her place in science history, earning the moniker “Shark Lady.” Through her achievements, she demonstrated to the world that women are capable of achieving anything they set their minds to and that sharks should be admired rather than feared.

This award-winning, inspiring book was written by zoologist Jess Keating and illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens. 

It was featured by the New York Times as one of “Twelve Feminist Books for Boys and Girls”. In 2017, Shark Lady won the Nerdy Book Club Award and was named by Parents Magazine as the Best Nonfiction Book of the Year. It also received the 2018 NSTA Best STEM Book Award and the Best STEM Trade Book Award for Students K-12 by the Children’s Book Council.

Best Non-Fiction
Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist (Women in Science Books, Marine Biology for Kids, Shark Gifts)
  • Best for kids interested in STEM
  • Contains a ton of fascinating and beautifully illustrated shark information
  • Included in the New York Time's "Twelve Feminist Books for Boys and Girls"
Check Amazon

#6 National Geographic Readers: Sharks

This age-appropriate shark book was published by National Geographic Kids in 2008. It presents bits of information and beautiful pictures about a shark’s predatory habits, behavior, evolution, biology, and much more. In addition, it includes fun facts, riddles, and questions for kids.

Most Educational

#7 Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks

In this book, environmental journalist Juliet Eilperin combines a reporter’s instinct for a good story with a scientist’s inquisitiveness as she explores the interesting ways that many people and cultures react to the ocean’s apex predator in an eye-opening journey across the world. 

Also, it serves as a reminder of the reasons why sharks are still among nature’s most amazing creatures after millions of years. In essence, this book gives a fascinating overview of the world of sharks and how they interact with societies around the world.

Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks
  • Good to learn about sharks from a cultural viewpoint
  • Explores the natural history and conservation of sharks
  • Great example of journalistic writing on the topic of sharks
Check Amazon

#8 Sharks in the Time of Saviors

Although sharks aren’t the only subject in this book, they play a crucial part. Sharks in the Time of Saviors is a tremendously innovative debut novel about seven-year-old Nainoa Flores. He falls into the water and is snatched by a shark, who then releases him back into his parents’ arms uninjured.

Noa and his family struggle through life for the next thirty years in the wake of this miracle in an epic tale that depicts survival amid the ruins of the American dream and the mythic relics of Hawai’i.

The author, Kawai Strong Washburn won the 2021 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel and was a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award in the same year. Sharks in the Time of Saviors was on the list of 2020 Best Books of the Year in the New York Times, Guardian, Oprah Magazine, Good Housekeeping,  BBC Culture, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Boston Globe. It was also listed by Barack Obama as one of his best books of 2020. 

Sharks in the Time of Saviors: A Novel
  • Great for fans of magical realism
  • Transportive writing style
  • Won "Book of the Year" in multiple publications
Check Amazon

#9 Meg: Hell’s Aquarium

Looking for a thriller similar to Jaws? The MEG series could be a good fit for you. The 2009 science fiction book is the fourth book in the MEG series by the bestselling author, Steve Alten.

A few years have passed since MEG: Primal Waters finished before MEG: Hell’s Aquarium starts. The prologue starts with Scarface, Michael Maren’s pet Meg, and Angel’s lone surviving progeny from her first litter, hunting. A new potential meal, Leedsichthys, attracts Scarface’s attention. While the Megalodon is focused on its new food, another enormous creature (about 120 feet long) seizes the chance to attack and kill the Megalodon.

The book was adapted into a feature film, The Meg in which Jason Statham plays Jonas Taylor.

Meg: Hell's Aquarium
  • Captivating, action-packed story
  • Was adapted into a feature film
  • Good for sci-fi lovers
Check Amazon

#10 Motherfucking Sharks

In Motherfucking Sharks, Brian Allen Carr narrates the story of a tattooed stranger with a mule and carriage who enters a remote community bringing harpoons, shark jaws, and a warning.

He recounts his story while juggling his family’s skulls. Despite living on land and far from the water, his family was consumed by Motherfucking Sharks. The rains arrived, followed by the puddles and the motherfucking sharks that appeared in the puddles.

Motherfucking Sharks
  • Graphic horror story
  • Violent, yet entertaining
  • Lots of great word-play
Check Amazon

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About the Author

Alan is a freelance writer and an avid traveler. He specializes in travel content. When he visits home he enjoys spending time with his family Rottie, Opie.