OBX Beach Reads: New Books About the Outer Banks

Outer Banks Visionaries: Building North Carolina’s Oceanfront by Clark Twiddy

Before the Outer Banks was quite literally “on the map,” the area was painfully isolated and nothing as it is today. It took years of dreamers, innovators, and risk-takers to transform this remote chain of barrier islands into one of America’s most beloved vacation destinations. The captivating new book by Clark Twiddy, “Outer Banks Visionaries: Building North Carolina’s Oceanfront,” offers readers a compelling look at the individuals and events that shaped this unique part of the United States.

Between Tides by Angel Khoury

Outer Banks Local Angel Khoury’s debut novel Between Tides created a lot of buzz both locally and nationally, as the book was chosen by Publisher’s Weekly as a Big Indie Book of Fall 2021. Set on Cape Cod and the Outer Banks, this historical fiction pick is based on true events, as one of the main characters was a personal friend of Angel’s. The page-turner explores the long-lasting complexities that resulted from a man deserting his wife and post as keeper of the Chatham Beach Lifesaving Station in the 1890’s to start a new family at Cape Hatteras. 

obx beach reads 2021
Annie and Buddy Ponton with Nancy Beach Gray

Corolla & The Northern Outer Banks by R. Wayne Gray and Nancy Beach Gray

R. Wayne Gray and Nancy Beach Gray have published several well-researched books about the rich history of the Outer Banks. Their latest book focuses on the most northern area of the OBX, Corolla and the Currituck Outer Banks. The book describes the lives of the earliest inhabitants and moves through the evolution of modern-day Corolla, a popular vacation destination. Wayne and Nancy met with many longtime residents of Corolla, including the Ponton family,  to gather information for the book. When Wayne passed away in August of 2020, Nancy completed the book and it was released during the summer of 2021. 

Memories of the Currituck Outer Banks: As Told by Ernie Bowden by Clark Twiddy

Corolla is a bustling OBX vacation destination today, however, the area was fairly isolated when sixth-generation Outer Banker Ernie Bowden was born and raised. With the assistance of author Clark Twiddy, Ernie’s stories about the evolution of the Currituck Outer Banks are presented as a collection of stories from a truly unique perspective. Memories of the Currituck Outer Banks: As Told by Ernie Bowden tells the story of Corolla the way it was and how it became what it is today. 

The Lost Colony Murder on the Outer Banks: Seeking Justice for Brenda Joyce Holland by John Railey

True crime fans will love the compelling non-fiction narrative by investigative journalist John Railey. Brenda Joyce Holland was just 19-years old when she came to Manteo for the summer of 1967 to work on The Lost Colony. After disappearing from the outdoor drama, her body was found five days later floating in the sound. Though her murder remains unsolved, John Railey shares his theory on who killed Brenda Joyce Holland, complete with supporting information based on interviews with insiders and access to the state investigative file. 

John Railey also recently released a book about Outer Banks Icon Andy Griffith’s life and career. Andy Griffith’s Manteo: His Real Mayberry tells the story of Andy’s life on the Outer Banks, beginning with his time at The Lost Colony, starting in 1947, up until his death at his home in Manteo in 2012.

the Outer banks gazetteer

The Outer Banks Gazetteer: The History of Place Names from Carova to Emerald Isle by Roger Payne

What’s in a name? A whole lot according to Geographer Roger Payne. During a trip to the Outer Banks in 1959, he asked his father why Oregon Inlet was named “Oregon Inlet” and his interest in geographic names was piqued. Roger’s new book is his second reference guide to the names of places along the Outer Banks.

The Coast Guard Rescue of the SeaBreeze off the Outer Banks: On the Wings of Angels by Rear Admiral Carlton Moore USCGR (Ret)

On December 17, 2000, the crew on The Seabreeze I cruise ship found themselves in rough, 35-foot seas with hurricane-force winds approximately 200 miles east of Cape Charles, Virginia. The ship was en route to Charleston, South Carolina, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and there were no passengers on board at the time, just the crew of 34. After receiving the captain’s distress call, the Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, responded by performing what would become one of the most daring helicopter rescues in the history of the service. Author Rear Admiral Moore, who served in the United States Coast Guard for more than 30 years, shares the story of the heroic rescue in great detail. 

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Outer Banks: Lights Out by Alyssa Sheinmel

An all new adventure featuring John B. and JJ from the popular Netflix show hit bookshelves in the fall of 2021. There’s sure to be plenty of thrilling predicaments and Pogue-Kook tension, just as there is in the hit Netflix series. The young adult novel based on the Netflix show Outer Banks has another book on the release radar for the fall of 2023: Outer Banks: Dead Break by Jay Coles.

Kill Devil Hills Little Free Library

More OBX Beach Reads to Love

There are countless OBX beach reads in many different genres that take place on or around the Outer Banks. We have additional OBX book recommendations, and you can also check with one of our local independent bookstores to get their Outer Banks book recommendations. Stop by Island Bookstore or Duck’s Cottage the next time you are in town. 

Courtney Wisecarver

Courtney Wisecarver

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