“The Outermost House,” by Henry Beston

In 1925, a World War I veteran named Henry Beston built a snug two-room cottage on a remote sand dune on the arm of Cape Cod. The Atlantic Ocean, azure in summer and the color of steel in winter, pulsed at its feet. The ribbon of sand on either side became the setting for one of the least-known classics of American literature: “The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod.”

Beston had little company beyond the birds and the Coast Guard foot patrols. It was lonely but hardly desolate. Beguiled by the constant churn of sun and sea and sand, Beston tracked what he called “the noble ritual of the burning year.” There were thrilling storms and dire shipwrecks and the ceaseless wonder of the world’s breathtaking beauty. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a few.



Quarantine Reads are recommendations of soothing books to get us through these fraught days. Send your recommendation, along with your name and city, to books@startribune.com.