A Boatload of Books

Our floating lifestyle attracts creative people, from authors to artists. This is a list of publications by current and former residents as well as select books about our floating homes.


A Little Piece of the Earth, Maria Finn. Grow your own food, starting small, with more than fifty self-contained, doable projects. (Rizzoli, 2010)

A Mini Course for Life, Gerald Jampolsky and Diane Cirincione. A Mini Course for Life offers you new choices for dealing with old challenges and presents amazingly adaptable lessons for solving problems and for whatever life sends your way. (2007)

The Art and Life of Jean Varda, Betsy Stroman. A biography of Jean Varda, a legendary iconoclast in the 20th century art world, who lived out his last years on a wreck of a ferry boat. (2015)

Change Your Mind, Change Your Life, Gerald Jampolsky and Diane Cirincione. Most of us want to change the world, but only a few of us are willing to change our own minds! (Bantam, 1994)

Cool, Grey City of Love, Jane Chamberlin. Sketches and stories about unusual places in San Francisco. (Tinkachew Press, 1996)

Creativity: Crossing the Threshold, Jim Woessner. Practical ideas and exercises in visual art, poetry, and prose that can be used to help you realize and reclaim the artistic and creative parts of yourself. (Threshold Publishing, 2014)

The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion, Elle Luna. A highly visual book giving you permission to choose the path between Should and Must to uncover the difference between jobs, careers, and callings. (Workman Publishing, 2015)

Don’t Act Your Age: How Twenty Minutes a Day Will Restore Vitality and Add Years to Your Life, Jim Sargent. Using common sense and good humor, Gate Six ½ resident Jim deconstructs the way we look at wellness and builds an easy, enjoyable, and effective plan requiring the minimum commitment of time, energy, and willpower. (Rare Bird Books, 2022)

50 Water Adventures To Do Before You Die, Lia Ditton. Lia, who is training to row from Japan to San Francisco, inspires with practical and armchair advice for water fun from paddle-boarding the Mississippi to big game fishing off Mexico, from floating in the Dead Sea to sailing non-stop round the world. (Adlard Coles, 2015)

Finding Right Work: Five Steps to a Life You Love, Leni Miller. Using stories of those who have created work and lives they love, Leni helps you find the best and most direct route to your own right work. (2012)

The Five Invitations, Frank Ostaseski. An exhilarating meditation on the meaning of life and how maintaining an ever-present consciousness of death can bring us closer to our truest selves. Weaving together pragmatic tools, real life stories and ancient wisdom, Frank helps us discover how an awareness of death can be a valuable companion on the road to living well, forging a rich and meaningful life free of regret. (FlatIron Books, 2017)

Houseboats: Aquatic Architecture of Sausalito, Kathy Shaffer. With an eye toward the artistic, Shaffer documents the architectural evolution of our houseboat community, including the developers who helped shape it and the history of the marinas. (Schiffer Publishing, 2007)

In Our Hands, Wilford Welch. A handbook for intergenerational actions to solve the climate crisis, with an easy-to-understand primer on global warming and specific actions to take to bring about a positive future. The book is a guide to creating a global movement focused on solutions. (2017)

Life on the Dock, Michael Konrad. This informal introduction to marine biology looks at large and small animals and plants; who eats who defines food chains in the dock ecology. This book invites you to look under the dock and see the community of organisms in our bay. (Science is Art, 2011)

Love is Letting Go of Fear, Gerald Jampolsky. After more than thirty years, Love Is Letting of Fear continues to be among the most widely read and best-loved classics on personal transformation. (Celestial Arts, 2010)

Natural Urges, Christina Leimer. Follow your inner guidance—your spirit’s guidance—to change your life and our world. (Twisted Tree Press, 2003)

Sausalito: Once Upon a Waterfront, Catherine Lyons-Labate. A 209-page hard cover photo essay featuring hundreds of photographs by the author, as well as recollections by her and others who lived or worked on the Sausalito waterfront in the late 1970s. (2021)

The Sea Lion and the Sculptor, Terence Clarke and Bill Kirsch. The life story of artist Al Sybrian, sculptor of the bronze Sea Lion that graces the waterfront in Sausalito. (2013)

State of Confusion: Political Manipulation and the Assault on the American Mind, Bryant Welch. An illumination of the longterm effects of sophisticated political manipulation (gaslighting) that has not only led to our debacle in Iraq but undercuts America’s ability to address its very serious problems. (St. Martin’s Press, 2008)

Wise, Happy and Feeling Good, Jarl Forsman and Steve Sekhon. A guide to taking charge of your feelings, which create your attitude and vibration and define the quality of your life. (High Vibration, 2013)

Windstar: The Building of a Sailship, Joe Novitski. A chronicle of the age of sailing that takes the reader through the design and construction of a new breed of cruise ship, a four-masted schooner. (MacMillan, 1986)

Whole Earth Discipline: Why Dense Cities, Nuclear Power, Transgenic Crops, Restored Wildlands, and Geoengineering Are Necessary, Stewart Brand. The renowned author of the National Book Award-winning Whole Earth Catalog persuasively details a new approach to our stewardship of the planet, offering a bold, inventive set of policies and design-based solutions for shaping a more sustainable society. (Penguin, 2010)

The Whole Fish, Maria Finn. The ocean is a complex web, from phytoplankton to orcas, so let’s make dinner choices according to the cycles of nature. (Ted Books, 2012)


Celebration & War: The Sausalito Houseboat Community in the 1970s, Bruce Forrester. A collection of the photographer’s favorite historic black and white images from our turbulent history in glossy, high-quality reproduction. (2017)

Floating in SausalitoLars Åberg and Lars Strandberg. The story of the vibrant houseboat community, where the original hippie culture meets today’s more affluent alternative lifestyle. (2016)

The History of Issaquah Dock, Annie Sutter. An intimate look at how a ferry boat from Seattle ended up in the marshlands of Sausalito to become the award-winning “garden dock” of our waterfront community. (2018)

Houseboats of Sausalito, Phil Frank. In this collection of vintage-photograph postcards, Phil Frank explores the city’s houseboat past. (Arcadia Publishing, 2008)

Moondrifter Reverie, Keith Emmons. A narration in verse of the history of 1970s houseboat life by the poet and builder who designed and built the Train Wreck. (Red Mountain Press, 2017)

Sausalito Wooden Boat Tour, Victoria Colella. A popular guide book of the mysteries and treasures of the waterfront, from wooden boats and historic vessels to World War II shipyards and the wooden boat building center. (2014, 3rd edition)

Subee Lives on a Houseboat, Phil and Susan Frank. Not for sale, this story of a young girl who lives in a houseboat community is in the Sausalito Library rare local history collection. (1980)


Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott. To be a writer, keep your eyes open, Lamott says in this classic guide to the life of the artist as well as the art of life. Lamott, the famous author of numerous works of fiction and essays, lived on Issaquah Dock in the late 1980s. (Anchor, 1995)

DIY Mom: A Solo Parenting Adventure, Rachel Lehmann-Haupt. A candid, wry memoir about not waiting for Mr. Right and choosing to have a baby on her own while living on a houseboat. (Shebooks, 2014)

A Day in the Orifice, Hellin Brown (Donna Lunsford). Our own Dinghy Dame gives her take on the evolution of medicine over fifty years and her real experiences with the patients in the back office. (2016)

Flashbacks: A Memoir, Jim Gibbons. In 1969, Jim Gibbons dropped out of college and headed west, ending up in Sausalito, where he joined other dropouts living free on the water during the 1970s era of “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll.” (2018)

Fond Memories of a Young Man in Old China, Jack Sherwood. A spell-binding tale of life lived in China as an employee of the Standard Oil Company under extreme political tensions from 1929 to 1942. (Author House, 2009)

He’s Always Been My Son, Janna Barkin. A mother’s story about raising her transgender son reminds us to accept others for who they are and will support, educate, and inspire readers. (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017)

Hold Me Tight and Tango Me Home, Maria Finn. The tale of surviving a broken heart, this memoir is the discovery that tango has a lot to teach about understanding love and loss, about learning how to follow and how to lead, and how to live with style and flair. (Algonquin Books, 2010)

Houseboats, Drugs, Government and the Fourth Estate, T.J. Nelsen. A firsthand narrative history of Waldo Point Harbor that examines the bureaucratic process involved in ridding a community of drugs and violence. An extraordinary story about citizens, politicians, the press, and our criminal justice system. (Dorrance Publishing, 2015)

In her Own Sweet Time, Rachel Lehmann-Haupt. A trailblazing memoir examines the trials and modern scientific solutions of balancing career and love with the realities of reproductive timing. (2016, 2nd edition)

Manhattan Walkabout, Gene Tepper. This memoir features five coming-of-age stories recalling the youth of a Merchant Marine and solves a personal and historical puzzle. (Amazon, 2013)

Possiplex: My Computer Life and the Fight for Civilization, by Ted Nelson. The autobiography of a controversial thinker and his visionary ideas and views on the history of computing, the Internet, filmmaking, and entrepreneurship. (Mindful Press, 2011)

Rain or Shine: A Family Memoir, Cyra McFadden. The story of Cyra’s complex relationship with her parents and eccentric relatives. She looks back with pride, regret, and humor on family life spent and misspent in the gaudy, gritty world of rodeo. (U of Nebraska Press, 1998)


A Small Black Ether, Jim Woessner. A collection of short stories and prose poems that have one thing in common: Either the location is a coffee house or there is a reference to the ultimate truth serum–coffee. (Threshold Publishing, 2015)

A Soldier’s Wind, Stuart Riddell. A rollicking story about love, loss and life on the water, the novel weaves its net of quirky characters including salty live-aboards, world class sailors, and purveyors of alternate medicine. (Wordrunner Press, 2015)

Beyond Bitterroot, Barbara Hubbard. The story of a young couple in the San Francisco of the 1920’s, of good intentions gone awry, and the struggles of imperfect souls to reconcile their expectation with their disappointments. (Ashlar Press, 2011)

The Holy Man, Susan Trott. An acclaimed national bestseller, the inspired first book of The Holy Man Trilogy is a warm and witty collection of modern fables reflecting on the human search for happiness. Penguin, 1996.

Houseboat Wars, Charles Bush. A change in property ownership threatens the houseboat community and they fight back, enlisting in their cause Legal Aid attorney Rick Spenser. Battles ensue, both legal and physical, in the courts and on land and water in this fictitious retelling. (Moonshine Cove Publishing, 2019)

Intimacy: The magic of her presence, John J. Sherwood. Lansing Hardiman’s life seemed perfect in every way: Completely happy with his home and family, he was a master of his life’s work as a professor of economics. He was on a path to the Nobel Prize, when he was seduced by Kelly. Torn between two loves, he devised a plan that would surprisingly change his life at home. (WingSpan Press, 2010)

Like No Other Time, John J. Sherwood. Join Layne and Anne-Marie and experience a daring, revealing, and heartbreakingly sad, unconventional friendship. A deeply intelligent portrayal of how an intimate personal relationship is unhurriedly built. (WingSpan Press, 2016)

One Sausalito Summer, Colleen Rae. Based on a true story, musicians meet on the Charles Van Damme at the beginning of the legendary San Francisco rock music scene. (Wordrunner Press, 2016)

Purple Ferry, John J. Sherwood. Presaging Occupy Wall Street, four characters live on a remodeled ferryboat and experience first love, academic triumph, and a perfect game. Creative larceny is planned amid a sustained and often humorous exploration of the contemporary American political scene. (WingSpan Press, 2013)

Book by Claire VuThe Serial, Cyra McFadden. A  comic send-up of the 1960s Californian lifestyle, from personal growth, hot-tubbing to living together that put Marin County on the map. (Knopf, 1977)

Translated From the Original: One-Inch Punch Fiction, Guy Biederman. This genre-bending collection of flash and micro fiction weaves through lines of love, loss, pain, discovery, and redemption, with dollops of whimsy and notes of wonder. (Nomadic Press, 2022)

What the Eyes Don’t See, Claire Vu. In 1970s Vietnam, amid war and chaos, a young girl leaves behind her family and all she knows to find the truth, plunging into an eye-opening adventure. Vu, born on Gate 6 ½, wrote this novella as an 8th grade writing project. (2020)


Cracks: New Box Poems, Jim Woessner. The 100 poems in this collection explore the breadth of human experience, including the very real world of imagination. Threshold Publishing, 2015)

Little Boxes: Box Poems, Jim Woessner. These box poems, each one a short story told in only 100 syllables, explore culture, love, relationships, being a kid, struggling with parents, personal psychology, death, art, and memory. Threshold Publishing, 2014)

Sound of No Sound, MJ Roberts. Award-winning poet, playwright and author, MJ covers a lifetime in 101 pages with these wide-ranging and heartfelt poems. (Tuna Beach Press, 2012)

Story Boxes: New Box Poems, Jim Woessner.  Each of the 100 poems provides 100 syllables to describe Americana, men attempting to understand women, the point-of-view of kids, corporate life, nature, dreams, coffee and cafés. (Threshold Publishing, 2015)

Children’s Books

A Big Day for a Little Dog: Meggie, the Houseboat Dog, Susan York and Valery Larson. A joyful puppy named Meggie journeys from farmland to city to sea to her new home in a vibrant houseboat community. The surprises of dock life and recognizable floating homes are rendered in beautiful watercolors.

Crane Boy, Diana Cohn. Kinga and his classmates create a dance to honor the cranes of Bhutan and to create awareness for their plight. (Cinco Puntas Press, 2015)

I Didn’t Kill Your Cat, R. Stim. Mary Frances (“Frankie”), who is sent to live with her Aunt Roxy, has to stay out of trouble or it’s back to New Jersey. Accused of animal cruelty, Frankie sets out to prove her innocence with the help of Roxy and the eccentrics on the dock. Book one of three in the Frankie Jackson mystery series set in the Sausalito houseboat community. (2011)

My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer, Jennifer Gennari. June needs a slice of courage the summer she enters the Champlain Valley pie contest and her mother marries her girlfriend. (Houghton Mifflin, 2012)

Muffled, Jennifer Gennari. Fifth grader Amelia hates noise and dreads learning to play an instrument. An unlikely friendship helps her to cope with the noisy world she has muffled for so long. (Simon & Schuster, 2020)

Namaste, Diana Cohn. Nima Sherpa lives in Nepal at the top of the world, where the tallest mountain on earth, Chomolongma—the mountain we call Everest—towers above the clouds. Nima has promised her father, a mountain guide, that she will find a way to help make the world a better place. (Steiner Books, 2012)

Pooh to the Flu Blues, Patricia Scott and Dana Price. A giraffe with the flu makes her public debut to affirm that when troubled, your friends get you through. (Mascot Books, 2015)

Roses for Isabella, Diana Cohn. Set in a small village in Ecuador, this story is about Isabella, the first writer in her family. Her teacher asks her students to write stories honoring Pachamama, Mother Earth. (Steiner Books, 2011)

Si, Se Puede!, Diana Cohn. When the janitors’ union in Los Angeles strikes for better wages, Carlitos discovers a way to help his mother. (Cinco Puntas Press, 2008)

Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein. The illustrator and author, who lived on the Evil Eye from 1967 to 1981, is the author of numerous children’s books including this 1974 outrageous and profound classic poetry collection. (Harper Collins, 1974)

This list is a work in progress; please email jengennari@gmail.com to be added.