Six Nonfiction Books for Your Beach Bag


Summer vacation means a lot of things–long days, rising temperatures, and maybe–if you’re lucky–a trip to the beach! Typically when I think of a good “beach read,” I think of a really interesting fiction book that grabs your interest and transports you to another place. But why should fiction books get all the love? Today I’ve got six nonfiction books that are just as interesting as a novel. I’ve picked books from different types of nonfiction–travel, humor, and history, to name a few.

1. Home by Julie Andrews

If you are looking for a great memoir, Julie Andrews’ book Home might be the perfect fit. Don’t expect stories about Mary Poppins, or The Sound of Music, however, because this book only tells the story of her childhood. The memoir ends right as Andrews describes getting the part of Mary Poppins. It’s a great read, and I think Andrews has said that she plans to write a second memoir that tells about the rest of her life!

2. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

If you’re looking for something a little lighter to take on your next beach trip, try Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. I’ve written here about several of Bryson’s other books, but this one might be his funniest. Bryson writes about his time hiking the Appalachian trail, and things get crazier and crazier with each chapter.

3. Love Does by Bob Goff

If you prefer something more inspirational, try Love Does by Bob Goff. This is a great book about pushing yourself to focus more on others than yourself. Goff has had an amazing life, and he shares his experiences in this book. It’s a light read, but it really does challenge your thinking.

4. Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

I read Devil in the White City in high school, and it’s the first of several Erik Larson books that I’ve read. This one is more of a thriller; it tells the story of the Chicago world’s fair and a super-creepy serial killer who lived in Chicago during that time. It will definitely grab your attention in the same way that a mystery novel would!

5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

If science is more your speed, you’ll really enjoy The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. This book tells the story of Henrietta Lacks and her unwitting contribution to scientific discovery. The book touches on questions of medical ethics, but it doesn’t read anything like a scientific journal. It’s really a fascinating story!

6. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Last but not least, this is probably my favorite nonfiction book of all time. I always recommend this to people because this book absolutely captured my interest. If you’re interested in American history, this book tells the little-known story of the 1936 Olympic rowing team. And I’ll stop there, mainly because I could gush and gush, but that would probably be over-selling. Just read it. You won’t regret it.

So there you have it–next time you head to the beach, forget the fiction and grab a nonfiction book instead. Don’t forget to tell me what you choose!

Keep Reading,




  1. Leslie Carpenter Gibbs · · Reply

    I’ve only read Devil in the White City from that list, but I’ve been debating whether to start A Walk in the Woods next. You convinced me! I’m excited to check out the others too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. I wrote about this book briefly when I shared six nonfiction books for your beach bag, but I thought it deserved some more […]


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