These are my favourite books about swimming, swimmers and the writers who have reflected on swimming. They are not coaching books or how to books. They are also in no particular order.
Find A Way - Diana Nyad. Diana Nyad's life and what inspired her to try - again - to swim from Havana to Key West and succeed this time at the age of 64. Diana Nyad is one of my heroes.
Waterlog - Roger Deakin. The eccentric Englishman's attempt to swim wild (in rivers, canals, loughs, lakes & seas) all over Britain. A classic of the genre.
Hell And High Water - Sean Conway. An unemployed man living with his mum decides to swim nearly 1000 miles (in stages) from Land's End to John O'Groats and raise money for the charity War Child.
Haunts of the Black Masseur: The Swimmer As Hero - Charles Sprawson. The best look at swimming through literature and attempting literary swims (the Hellespont, The Grand Canal etc.) Everyone should read this book even if they don't actually swim.
Swimming to Antarctica - Lynne Cox. Maybe the greatest long distance swimmer of all time the amazing Lynne Cox recounts her adventures all over the world including, of course, swimming to Antrarctica.
The Man Who Swam The Amazon - Martin Strehl. Another ordinary bloke who decided one day to swim the Amazon River. Why? Cause no one else had done it, of course.
Swim: Why We Love The Water - Lynne Sher. Does what it says on the tin. A nice book to have if you liked Sprawson's Black Masseur and want some more in a smiliar vein.
The Swimmer - John Cheever. A classic. No point in buying this though. One of my alma maters (can you have more than one mater?) has put it online for nothing, here.