I can’t imagine a book better-suited to escaping into on a hot summer’s day than Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool In Southern California Photography 1945-1982 (Prestel). Sure, it collects six essays which assay the impact of the swimming pool and its attendant iconography on the regional postwar culture—perfect for late-night armchair perusing—but let’s be frank: When the sun’s directly overhead and you’re waiting to leave the office or the city for more aquatic environs, it’s the visuals that speak to you, and this book’s more than 200 photographs and artworks—from Herb Ritts’s “Richard Gere—Poolside 1982” to David Hockney’s “John St. Clair Swimming”—are saying “Get out there!”

Credits: (1) C-type print, Sonnabend Collection, New York © David Hockney; photo credit: Richard Schmidt; (2) C-type print, Courtesy of the Herb Ritts Foundation, Los Angeles © Herb Ritts Foundation