Inspired by her own project to build a pool in her Long Island backyard, photographer Kelly Klein published Pools in 1992. She gathered together 187 photographs of the most iconic swimming pools from all over the world into one book with an introduction by Esther Williams. Photography credits range from Robert Mapplethorpe to Bruce Weber to Alfred Stieglitz. Rizzoli will rerelease Pools this September with new packaging. If you can't wait that long, the 2007 edition is currently available from Rizzoli.
If you're looking for a more academic read on the iconography of the swimming pool and its influence on American culture, pick up Backyard Oasis, edited by Daniell Cornell. Cornell, a curator at the Palm Springs Art Museum, explores the symbolism of the swimming pool, from the free love of the ’60s to the glamorous indulgence of the ’80s. Poolside reading doesn't get much better than this—and both books are packed with beautiful images for design inspiration or wishful thinking. Rizzoli Bookstore, 31 West 57th St., 212-759-2424