Cape Books

Classic Cape Books

Cape Cod has been inspiring writers and poets for centuries. From Henry David Thoreau to Mary Oliver, they have sought to capture the true spirit of the place and the people. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Outermost House by Henry Beston. Written in 1938, this classic book about Cape Cod “written with simplicity, sympathy, and beauty” (New York Herald Tribune) is a chronicle of a solitary year spent on a Cape Cod beach,and has long been recognized as a classic of American nature writing.

Devotions by Mary Oliver. Often called “the poet laureate of Cape Cod,” Mary Oliver lived outside Provincetown for more than 40 years and touched countless readers with her brilliantly crafted verse and her love of nature and the powerful bonds between all living things.

Cape Cod by Henry David Thoreau. Beginning in 1849, Thoreau made four walking tours of Cape Cod, recording his observations on the natural world as well as the people he met. Originally published in 1865, Thoreau’s Cape Cod is a wonderfully written, surprisingly funny account of nineteenth-century life on the Cape. This edition includes a forward by Paul Theroux.

The Cape Cod Mystery by Phoebe Atwood Taylor. The Countryman Press has reissued four of the Asey Mayo mysteries originally written in the 1930s and featuring the witty and salty “local handyman who knows something about police work and everything about everybody’s business” (Marilyn Stasio).

The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home by George Howe Colt. Faced with the sale of the century-old family summer house on Cape Cod where he had spent forty-two summers, George Howe Colt recounts returning for one last stay with his wife and children in this stunning memoir that was a National Book Award Finalist and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.