The Princess Bride

By William Goldman,

Book cover of The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

Book description

William Goldman’s beloved story of Buttercup, Westley, and their fellow adventurers.

This tale of true love, high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts was unforgettably depicted in the 1987 film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Fred Savage, Robin Wright, and others. But,…

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Why read it?

12 authors picked The Princess Bride as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is a double recommendation because The Princess Bride is also one of my favorite movies. The book is special because the author pretends to be abridging a much longer fantasy adventure novel by the fictional S. Morgenstern. The story skips the boring bits (which don’t actually exist) and crams in all the good stuff we love about the genre. There’s a daring rescue, a mysterious pirate, quirky magic, an evil lord, strange creatures, and lots of excellent sword fighting. The hero, Westley, is full of sassy quips, which makes him a fun counterpoint to the brooding heroes you’ll find…

I am including this book because it is one of my absolute favorite books of all time and thinking of it brings me back to one of my favorite family memories: reading it out loud together. I can still remember carrying it around the house, always ready to read if we had a few minutes or longer. It tells the unlikely love story of a farm boy and a princess. My family still quotes regularly from the book (“as you wish”) and (“inconceivable”) and, of course, (“have fun storming the castle!”). We loved it so much, we named our amazing…

From Elizabeth's list on YA with unlikely love stories.

A classic story of adventure, good versus evil, and the power of unending love. It has a courageous pirate with a reputation for cruelty, a heartbroken soon-to-be princess, a conniving prince, a lovable giant, a determined Spaniard, and a whole cast of characters that demand to be loved (or hated, depending on their role). It is the perfect fairytale story– one filled with nostalgia and adventure with every page. A worthy match for its widely adored movie, The Princess Bride is a must-read for anyone desiring a page-turning escapade. 

I found this book to be the most unusual fairytale I’ve ever read. It was romantic, funny, and easily one of the most quotable books (and movies) ever. “I am Inigo Montoya, you killed my father! Prepare to die!” It didn’t take itself too seriously and was a fun read from beginning to end. It is also my daughter’s favorite book. No wonder it’s become a cult classic!

From Marlayne's list on where love overcomes all obstacles.

There is nothing that The Princess Bride doesn't have. It's an adventure, a romance, a horror (remember The Machine, which literally sucks the life out of you?) and a story that lovingly skewers all of the tropes and expectations we have of High Fantasy. And it also has an extended title! I also love the way the book version is told: Goldman suggests it was originally written by S. Morgenstern, and was actually a political satire—and Goldman's bold enough to put in a fictionalized version of himself. That audacity feeds into what I was trying to do with…

Anyone who has seen the movie understands how perfect a story this is. It has everything you could possibly want. It has love, death, torture, sword fighting, sorcery, pirates, giants, thieves, and so much more. Just as the movie is a cult classic that I am always up for a watch-through with a few friends over drinks. The book is just as good.  

In fact it is one of those books that elevates the movies. Knowing the little background pieces that didn’t make the film help flesh out the characters. 

A perfect swashbuckling fairytale, full of sweeping romance, dastardly villains and epic adventure, The Princess Bride has everything we love in a classic fantasy novel. With great wit and aplomb, this literary treasure tells the story of beautiful, kidnapped princess Buttercup and her runaway farm-boy-turned-pirate paramour, Wesley, and the love story that brings them back together again. This novel is just pure fun from the first page to the last!

From Catherine's list on fantasy to make you swoon.

Seriously, no list of adult fairy tales can be complete without this one. One of the only instances where the movie and the book are equally delightful, in endearing and different ways. The movie—which I can quote in its entirety (true fact)—is more romantic than the book. The book is snarky and hilarious, a fairy tale that makes fun of fairy tales, while also hinting at why we as humans perennially need them.

From Elisabeth's list on fairy tales for adults.

It celebrates everlasting love! And love is a truly revolutionary act because it is de rigeur to disbelieve in it. Goldman is just the best because he enjoys the pain as much as the pleasure, the evil as much as the good, the clever as much as the daft… and the characters he draws – with Buttercup and Westley as leading lovers – are every bit as delicious as anything from Roald Dahl. It’s proper romantic and absolutely rightly so. I read this out loud cover-to-cover with my girlfriend and then both my kids. To be fair, she was gone…

From Matthew's list on to completely reverse your whole brain.

“True love is the best thing in the world, except for cough drops.” If you’re a fairy-tale lover who hasn’t read The Princess Bride yet, you need to remedy this immediately. It pretends to be just ‘the good bits’ from a longer book by Morgenstern that doesn’t exist (I know because I spent a while looking for it!). With heaps of adventure, pirates, sword fighting, true love, and laugh-out-loud humour, it is endlessly entertaining and you won’t want it to end. It proves that there are infinite possibilities for fun within this wonderful genre.

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