Swimming can be relaxing, exciting or even life saving, so it’s no wonder that there are hundreds of books on the subject. There’s nothing like a beach read about swimming to whet your appetite for a sunny stint near the sea, so we’ve collected some of our favourites below.
What are you waiting for? Stretch out on a sun lounger (or daydream from the sofa about 2021 holidays, pristine pools and sparkling seas) and pick up one of these brilliant books about swimming.
Why we Swim by Bonnie Tsui
Part memoir, part celebration of all things related to water, this book is a journey around the world that you can hold in your hands, exploring where history and culture meet H2O – as well as the author’s own personal experiences of a life saturated with swimming experiences.
Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols
Blue Mind is a study on how being close to water is good for our wellbeing, as well as almost every aspect of our lives. If you’ve ever waded into the warm waves or splashed into a pool and felt more free and like your cares were being washed away – this book is for you. Prefer to stay dry? This book also explores how just being close to water is a positive experience, too.
Butterfly by Yusra Mardini
For a bit of swimspiration, we must mention Butterfly by Yusra Mardini. This true tale of two talented swimmer sisters fleeing from conflict and crossing the sea as refugees – saving lives in the process – is essential reading. It might not be a traditionally light beach read, but the hopeful message is a perfect way to dip your toe into world events.
Waterlog by Roger Deakin
Roger Deakin’s cult classic book about dipping in the lakes and rivers of the UK is said to have sparked a new wave of wild swimming. Although a bit of a gentle eccentric – he had a moat in his garden – this writer was also an advocate for clean waterways and the right to roam. Or swim, in this case.
The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
Best known for her cute creations (the Moomins), Tove Jansson also wrote semi-autobiographical novels about living on a remote Finnish island and, you guessed it, swimming often plays a big part. We recommend The Summer Book especially, for its magical setting and the well-imagined relationship between a young girl and her grandmother.
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