Non-Fiction Beach Reads
Take these immersive books to the beach, or read them at home to be transported the beach in your imagination!
The Edge of the Sea by Rachel Carson is a pleasureful informative book that will open your eyes to the world of activity where the sea meets the land. Learning how tiny mole crabs feed and ascend the gradual sloping shore in masses as the tide comes in was an unforgettable highlight. The edge of the sea is full of life, don’t miss out!
The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod by Henry Beston is brimming with detailed nature observations through the seasons. With each detail poetically expressed, he conveys the subtle drama of nature. You will be captivated by the profound thoughts he shares.
Gift from the Sea by aviator Anne Morrow Lindbergh was written at the beach during a brief vacation to escape from routine daily demands. Deftly interweaving elements of the sea and making connections to different types of seashells, she shares her wisdom and insight on life and its different stages. Highlighting the importance of slowing down to take in the detail of the world around us, this book will inspire you to live in the moment and take time for contemplation and creativity.
The House on Nauset Marsh: A Cape Cod Memoir is written by physician Wyman Richardson, who was practicing in Boston and teaching at Harvard Medical School. He visited the humble farmhouse on Nauset Marsh as his refuge from the world, where he could notice the nuances of the shifting moods of land and sea. Through his intimate connection to nature, he describes nature’s cycles and his shares his interactions with the birds, fish, ocean, and the marsh.
Seaweed Chronicles: A World at the Water’s Edge by Susan Hand Shetterly is a mind-expansive journey where the big picture is revealed through a series of true stories of life along Maine’s coast. The author is an excellent storyteller, managing to be deeply informative and riveting at the same time. Learn about the coastal ecosystem that seaweeds support, and the details of seaweed harvesting industries, with surprising insights. For instance, there are sheep living on an island that dine on kelp during low tide!
The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How it Transformed Civilization by Vince Beiser, an award-winning journalist, presents an illuminating history of how human use sand and the crucial role sand plays in our lives, even if we never visit the beach. Journey across the globe and through time, with your feet in the sand and this book in your hand!
A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson is an entrancing memoir of how the author retreated to a cottage on Cape Cod for a journey of self-discovery. In this record of her experiences, she shares how she nurtured herself to regain courage and perseverance to see how her life is full of possibilities. You may be inspired to retreat in solitude to the beach, frolic along the shore, and even swim with the seals! This book was also the basis for a major motion picture of the same name: A Year by the Sea.
Atlantic Coast Beaches: A Guide to Ripples, Dunes, and Other Natural Features of the Seashore by William J. Neal is a reference book with illustrative photographs and diagrams that demystify the features of the beach landscape. It is supremely rewarding to be able to read the sand to reveal the secrets of the beach!
Thanks for checking out some of our favorite Beach Reads, be sure to check out our Lists page for more reading suggestions and resource guides.
Written by Linda, 7/27/20