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Vacation Reading: Books to Enjoy by the Sea in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, NC

Nestled in Pleasure Island, a barrier island off the coast of North Carolina, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach emerge as top choices for a beach holiday. Renowned for their pristine shores, abundant outdoor activities, and delightful year-round weather, they’re the perfect place to relax, forget about the world, and feel time melt away. But you know what can make this holiday paradise even better? A good book to keep you company.

Why Take a Book on Your Vacation?

A book is the perfect companion to fill those gaps between swimming, sunbathing, or exploring the surrounding area. It also allows you to unwind and disconnect from daily life.

Whether you crave a light and breezy beach read, a thrilling mystery, or a thought-provoking novel, there’s a book out there to perfectly complement your beach vibe. Plus, reading local literature can deepen your appreciation for North Carolina’s culture and history.

Wondering what to read? Look no further! In this blog, we’ll bring you a list of titles perfect for your Carolina Beach or Kure Beach getaway.

Are you ready to embark on a literary journey?

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Set in North Carolina, the book follows Kya Clark, a young girl who’s abandoned by her family and raised alone in the marsh. The story unfolds in two timelines: one detailing Kya’s resilience and her connection with the natural world as she learns to survive on her own, and the other following an investigation into the murder of a local man with Kya becoming a suspect due to her isolated life and marsh dwelling.

Most readers Praise the book’s beautiful descriptions of the North Carolina marsh, making readers feel immersed in the environment and all that embedded in suspenseful mystery that keeps readers guessing until the end.

Delia Owens is an American with a fascinating background that blends zoology, conservation, and literature. In 2018, she surprised the literary world with her debut novel.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

This romantic narrative unfolds in two timelines. In the present, an elderly man named Noah reads a story from a notebook to a woman in a nursing home. The story within the notebook details a passionate summer romance between Noah, a young man, and Allie, a woman from a wealthy family, in the 1940s on the North Carolina coast. Their love faces social barriers and the challenges of war. The story in the present explores whether their love could rekindle after all these years.

The themes of love, loss, and second chances can truly resonate with beachgoers seeking a heartwarming and emotional literary escape.  Besides, the story takes place on the North Carolina coast, offering a glimpse into the beauty of the area.

Nicholas Sparks is an American novelist best known for his romance novels, many set in the Southern United States. “The Notebook” is his debut novel and remains one of his most popular works. It was also turned into a successful film at the box office, starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway, a giant of 20th-century literature, crafts a story of resilience in “The Old Man and the Sea.” The novella centers on Santiago, an aging Cuban fisherman facing hard times. After eighty-four days without a catch, he ventures far out into the Gulf Stream and hooks a massive marlin. A brutal battle ensues as the old man fights the giant fish alone at sea, showcasing his determination and respect for nature.

This powerful work, known for Hemingway’s minimalist style, won him the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953 and contributed to his Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.

Happy Place by Emily Henry

Are you ready to dive into the delightful world of romcom escapism? Then “Happy Place” is a good bet for your vacation reading list. TikTok sensation and New York Times bestselling author Emily Henry tells the story of a couple who, despite their long breakup, pretend to still be together for a vacation with their best friends. However, how easy can it be to fake their engagement, lie to their friends, and hide their feelings?

As you find out, you’ll definitely connect with the well-developed and authentic characters Emily Henry has created and get tangled in the complexities of their relationship, love, and personal growth. This book is rich in detail, vividly portrayed, and brimming with humor, yet it will also evoke moments of sadness at times.

Beach Reading by Emily Henry

Another title by Emily Henry that makes for a fabulous vacation reading experience is “Beach Read” from 2020. The book follows two writers – January Andrews, a successful romance novelist, and Augustus Everett, an acclaimed literary fiction author.

As fate would have it, they are former college rivals who end up living in neighboring beach houses, both struggling with writer’s block. They strike a deal to challenge each other – January will try to write literary fiction, while Augustus will attempt to write a happy romance novel.

The book is a heartfelt exploration of themes like grief, betrayal, and learning to love again. Like the title above, it captivates for its engaging characters, clever premise, and poignant emotional depth. And with a title like that, we just couldn’t resist adding it to this list!

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

“Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever.”

Set in the 1980s, Malibu Rising centers around the annual party hosted by the four children of famous singer Mick Riva as the reader navigates their relationships, family dynamics, and the fallout from their father’s past in a vividly described party interspersed with flashbacks to past events. The climactic event will change the whole plot.

The author, Taylor Jenkins Reid, is another New York Times bestselling author and has established a reputation for writing engaging, character-driven stories that often explore the lives of fictional celebrities and public figures.

The North Carolina Shore and Its Barrier Islands by several authors

Written by several authors, The North Carolina Shore and Its Barrier Islands: Restless Ribbons of Sand (Living with the Shore) is a comprehensive guide to the North Carolina coast, focusing on its barrier islands. It covers the geology, ecology, history, and human impact on these dynamic landforms. The authors discuss the formation of barrier islands, the plants and animals that live there, the history of human settlement on the coast, and the challenges of living in a constantly changing environment.

Intended for a general audience and written in a non-technical style, the book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in learning more about the North Carolina coast. After reading it, you’ll certainly see the coast in a different way!

Co-authored by Orrin H. Pilkey Jr., William J. Neal, Stanley R. Riggs, Craig A. Webb, David M. Bush, Deborah F. Pilkey, Jane Bullock, and Brian A. Cowan, the book is part of the Living with the Shore series.


Great Book Ideas to Enjoy on a Trip to Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, NC

Picking one or two titles from the list above is sure to add an extra layer of enjoyment to your beach vacation in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. Picture yourself reading a few pages between exploring the shores or feeling the cozy ambiance of a local café — it sounds amazing, doesn’t it?

Here are some extra tips for reading while traveling on vacation:

  • Explore Local Bookstores: Seek out independent bookstores or local shops at your destination. Not only will you find unique reads that offer insight into the culture and history of the area, but you’ll also be supporting local writers and businesses.
  • Research Local Authors: Before your trip, research authors from the region you’re visiting. Look for novels, short stories, or poetry collections that capture the essence of the destination. Reading works by local writers can provide a deeper understanding of the culture and landscape.
  • Find Inspiring Spots: Seek out scenic spots where you can immerse yourself in a good book. Whether it’s a cozy café or a peaceful park, finding the perfect reading spot can enhance your vacation experience.
  • Try Audiobooks for Convenience: If you prefer an alternative medium or want to multitask while traveling, audiobooks are a great option. Download audiobooks onto your smartphone or portable device to enjoy while sightseeing, during long journeys, or maybe as you take a long hike up the mountains.
  • Embrace Digital Books: You can also opt for digital books while traveling to save space and weight in your luggage. Plus, you’ll have a wide selection of titles at your fingertips wherever you go!


A Vacation Reading List for Carolina Beach & Kure Beach, NC

Besides finding a nice place to read, there’s so much to do and see in both locations. In our destination blog, we’ve written extensively about both Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, including the best time of the year to go fishing, what it’s like to visit the area with your pets, and even what it’s like to live in Carolina and Kure Beach year-round. Many more articles and local tips are awaiting you!

Wondering where to stay in Carolina Beach & Kure Beach, NC?

Here’s an idea: stay like a local by booking one of our Carolina Beach Realty rentals. Our rentals are primarily in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, ranging from small oceanfront condos to large beachfront homes.

Carolina Beach Realty is a family-owned and operated full-service property management and vacation rental company. We pride ourselves on keeping it local and supporting the surrounding community.

See what awaits you on our website, and book now with Carolina Beach Realty and have the ultimate vacation on Carolina Beach & Kure Beach, NC.

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