8 Essential Books On Jaws

1. Jaws (Peter Benchley)

"The great fish moved silently through the night water, propelled by short sweeps of its crescent tail."

Dedicated to his wife Wendy, Peter Benchley's 300 page debut novel is where it all began. The novel tells the alternate version of events surrounding the infamous shark attacks of summer 1975 off Amity Island. The novel sheds light on why Mayor Larry Vaughn kept the beaches open and shows ellen Brody to be very different from the loyal wife we have come to know over the last 40 years. But most of all, the novel reveals the creative decisions taken by Spielberg and his team of masterful story tellers.    

2. The Jaws Log (Carl Gottlieb)

I remember reading this as a kid. My thirst for Jaws knowledge was unquenchable and this book only made it worse! Insightful and humorous, Steven Soderbergh, Bryan Singer, Rod Lurie, John Landis, Steve Martin, and Rob Reiner are among the many filmmakers who concur, more than 30 years after its first publication, that The Jaws Log by screenwriter Carl Gottlieb deserves an enduring place as a "modern classic" on filmmakers and filmmaking.

3. Jaws: Memories From Martha's Vineyard (Matt Taylor)

This book changed the game. Just when you thought there was nothing more to learn, see or read about the making of Jaws, Matt Taylor (with the help of Jim Beller) complied for the first time ever the behind-the-scenes photographs and stories of the Martha's Vineyard locals who worked as labourers and/or actors into a treasure trove of Jaws rarities. An absolute must have for any Jaws fans and filmmakers alike!

4. Jaws BFI Modern Classics (Antonia Quirke)

Want to read it?

Want to read it?

Jaws divides critics into those who dismiss it as infantile and sensational, and those who see the shark as freighted with political and psychosexual meaning. The author argues that both interpretations obscure the film's success as a work of art.

5. In The Slick Of The Cricket A Shark Odyssey (Russell Drumm)

Local newspaperman Russell Drumm set out to accompany Frank Mundus, captain of the Cricket II on what would be the captain's final voyage. The cantankerous and thoroughly entertaining captain treats Drumm and the reader to weird and wonderful stories about his ingenious fishing methods, his collection of charter "idiots" and heroic first mates, and his lasting bitterness toward author Peter Benchley for never acknowledging him as the source of the Jaws story. 

6. Just When You Thought It Was Safe: A Jaws Companion (Patrick Jankiewicz)

As the 35th anniversary of Jaws approached without any planned studio celebrations, industry author Patrick Jankiewicz opted to compile a retrospective book that would review all four films in the series by pulling vintage materials while conducting new interviews with cast and crew members along the way. An excellent read tying together the Jaws universe across all four films. 

7.  Nigel Andrews on Jaws (Nigel Andrews)

A great collection of anecdotes about the classic film: covering preproduction, production, and postproduction, read this and impress your friends next time you catch Jaws on TV.  With a book like this, i.e. a critical analysis of a film, one should really assume that the target audience are film buffs, and thus don't need to have the problems with "pan-and-scanning" explained to them. There's even a shark quiz to break up the flow! Like I said, this book covers everything. After reading this, you can not watch the movie the same again. 


8. On Location.... On Martha's Vineyard (The Making Of The Movie Jaws) (Edith Blake)

Written by Edith Blake, a resident - and resident journalist - of Martha's Vineyard at the time that "Jaws" was being filmed there in 1974. It offers some amusing anecdotes about the production from the point of view of someone who understands the local politics very well, but the mechanics of filmmaking very little. Edith's book offers Jaws fans a unique islander perspective on the production and rounds off the collective reading experience once the other books have been read.

What do you think of our list? Leave a comment below!

Happy reading!