Beach Books

beach_books2.jpgI am spending the weekend enjoying the gorgeous Oregon Coast while currently reading two sea-worthy books, and it’s got me thinking about Beach Books; novels filled with the lore and adventure of the sea. So, as I pondered the ocean’s beauty, I have compiled a list of books reminiscent of the vast and wonderful sea.
I have come up with a list of really great books that capture the ocean’s beauty, strength, and wonder.

Here is my list of oceanic beauties, shore to decorate many beach bags:

The Old Man and The Sea

by Ernest Hemingway

The endearing story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway tells the timeless tale of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph.

Rated 4.3 on


The Little Mermaid

by Hans Christian Anderson

After saving a prince from drowning, a mermaid princess embraces a life of extreme self-sacrifice to win his love and gain an immortal soul.

Over a century after its first publication, this tale persists as one of the world’s most enduring works of fantasy for children.

Rated 4.6 on

The Light Between Oceans

by M.L Stedman
Australian Tom Sherbourne returns home after fighting in the western trenches of World War I in Europe. He and his wife, Isabel, move to an isolated lighthouse, where they remain for several years. While there they informally adopt a baby girl who washes up in a lifeboat. When the child is two years old, Tom & Isabel return to the mainland on leave. There they discover that “there are other people in the world”, and keeping the child “has devastated one of them.”

Rated 4.4 on

The Swiss Family Robinson

by Johann David Wyss

Following a wild and raging storm, the Swiss family Robinson are stranded at sea. But the thundering waves have swept them off to a tropical island, where a new life awaits them. Their ship is laden with supplies and the island is packed with treasures, so they soon adapt and discover new dangers and delights every day.

Rated 4.1 on

Life of Pi

by Yann Martel
Life of Pi, according to Yann Martel, can be summarized in three statements: “Life is a story… You can choose your story… A story with God is the better story.” A recurring theme throughout the novel seems to be believability. Pi at the end of the book asks the two investigators “If you stumble at mere believability, what are you living for?” According to Gordon Houser there are two main themes of the book: “that all life is interdependent, and that we live and breathe via belief.”

Rated 4.3 on

 Gift From The Sea

by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Casting an unsentimental eye on the trappings of modernity that threaten to overwhelm us: the time-saving gadgets that complicate rather than simplify, the multiple commitments that take us from our families. And by lyrically recording her thoughts during a brief escape from everyday demands, Lindbergh helps readers find a space for contemplation and creativity within their own lives.

Rated 4.6 on

The Whale Rider

by Witi Ihimaera
Eight-year-old Kahu craves her great-grandfather’s love and attention. But he is focused on his duties as chief of a Maori tribe in Whangara, on the East Coast of New Zealand; a tribe that claims descent from the legendary ‘whale rider’. Every generation since the whale rider, a male has inherited the title of chief, but now there is no male heir, only Kahu. She should be the next in line for the title, but her great-grandfather is blinded by tradition and sees no use for a girl. Kahu will not be ignored and leads her tribe to a bold new future.

Rated 4.3 on

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea

by Jules Verne

A classic science fiction novel by French writer Jules Verne published in 1870. It tells the story of Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus, as seen from the perspective of Professor Pierre Aronnax after he, his servant Conseil, and Canadian whaler Ned Land wash up on their ship. On the Nautilus, the three embark on a journey which has them going all around the world, under the sea.

Rated 4.3 on

English Passengers

by Matthew Kneale
In 1857 when Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley and his band of rum smugglers from the Isle of Man have most of their contraband confiscated by British Customs, they are forced to put their ship up for charter. The only takers are two eccentric Englishmen who want to embark for the other side of the globe. The Reverend Geoffrey Wilson believes the Garden of Eden was on the island of Tasmania. His traveling partner, Dr. Thomas Potter, unbeknownst to Wilson, is developing a sinister thesis about the races of men.

Rated 4.4 on

Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe

A castaway who spends years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers before being rescued. The story is widely perceived to have been influenced by the life of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who lived for four years on the Pacific island called “Más a Tierra”

Rated 4.2 on

Jacob Have I Loved

by Katherine Paterson

Sarah Louise, who lives with her family on a Chesapeake Bay island, grows up feeling less important than her beautiful twin sister. For once in her life, Louise wants to be the special one, but she must begin to find her own identity.
This is a great book (and movie) that I really love, think Hemingway meets Fried Green Tomatoes.

Rated 4.1 on


In The Heart of The Sea

by Nathaniel Philbrick

This novel brings to life the extraordinary ordeal of ordinary men, in the incredible story of the wreck of the whaleship Essex. An event as mythic in its own century as the Titanic disaster in ours, and the inspiration for the climax of Moby-Dick. A wealth of whale lore and a brilliantly detailed portrait of the lost, unique community of Nantucket whalers. In a harrowing page-turner, Philbrick restores this epic story to its rightful place in American history.

Rated 4.6 on

What sea-worthy book/s do you consider a beach bag must?


44 thoughts on “Beach Books

  1. Love the beauty of the Oregon coast, it is my go to spot if I’m stressed or need to think about big decisions in my life.
    what part of the coast are you enjoying?
    Depoe Bay is my Favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great list! I would add Moby Dick itself–it’s a truly crazy read. And, for something in a totally different vein than the books you mention, I would include Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea–some of the best maritime fantasy fiction around, inspired by the San Juan Islands just to the north of us!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Beach Books – worldtraveller70

  4. I go hot and cold on Hemingway. Sometimes, his books seem too pretentious. However, I really think that The Old Man and The Sea is truly worthy of the “classic” label. His characterizations of the old man and the boy are outstanding. I have been to Cuba twice and can easily envision that old man rowing his boat against time and fate.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If you like first-person accounts, “Two Years Before the Mast” was a real favorite for me. Published in 1840 but I just love the Age of Sail, the California coast, and personal viewpoint. Richard Henry Dana was only a boy, so it’s one of those daring adventure books, but real nonfiction, so even more interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m currently watching Black Sails, so this post is totally serendipitous, as the show has absolutely brought out my love of the sea. (I love reading about the sea while at the sea). My suggestions are: more pirate books! Captain Blood and Treasure Island are obvious favorites that come to mind ,but there’s also the Horatio Hornblower series and Master and Commander. And, if you want to super delve into the classics, Moby Dick and The Odyssey.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks Abbie, this is a great list. I’ve read many of them but will now look out for “English Passengers” and “Gifts From the Sea”. You’re right that there are so many wonderful sea stories. Some of my favourites are Homer’s “Odyssey”, Junger’s “The Perfect Storm” and many of Daphne du Maurier’s novel that are set on the rugged Cornish coast.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for following my blog because it introduced me to yours. I have read some of the books on your list and am looking forward to reading the others. Thank you for the recommendations. I’m always on the lookout for a Lucy story.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Abbie, Thanks for being the first person to follow and like my blog. I now feel “birds of a feather (somehow) flock together”. 🙂 I liked this post very much – I just got my next reading list.
    Best regards.

    Liked by 1 person

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