100 books like The Time Traveler's Wife

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Here are 100 books that The Time Traveler's Wife fans have personally recommended if you like The Time Traveler's Wife. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Magus

Gregg Dunnett Author Of Little Ghosts: My sister's name was Layla. I know who killed her. She told me.

From my list on blurring the line between fantasy and reality.

Who am I?

I’m not an expert on very much. Certainly not the biggest questions of all, such as are we really here, and if not, what’s this all about? But I’ve always enjoyed books that touch upon these questions and find a way to connect them to our everyday reality (I find them easier than actual philosophy). If I am well placed to curate this list, that’s why. I hope it reminds you how we all grapple with these same universal questions. How we all share our doubts and face the same fears. How we’re all whittled away by the same relentless flow of time. 

Gregg's book list on blurring the line between fantasy and reality

Gregg Dunnett Why did Gregg love this book?

A young man takes a job as an English teacher on a Greek island, and is quickly drawn into a bewildering mystery involving the island mythological roots, and an impossibly beautiful woman who seems to want him as much as he wants her.

This mix proved irresistible to me when I read it as a young man, teaching English abroad. The novel ultimately weaves a web of psychological intrigue so powerful there can be no answer to the riddles it sets. Which is perhaps why the ending blurs reality so that I still don’t really know the why for what happens.

It’s a credit to the strength of Fowle’s characters that I’d still pick this as my favourite ever read. If I had to pick just one.   

By John Fowles,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Magus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Magus is the story of Nicholas Urfe, a young Englishman who accepts a teaching assignment on a remote Greek island. There his friendship with a local millionaire evolves into a deadly game, one in which reality and fantasy are deliberately manipulated, and Nicholas must fight for his sanity and his very survival.


Book cover of The Lovely Bones

Gregg Dunnett Author Of Little Ghosts: My sister's name was Layla. I know who killed her. She told me.

From my list on blurring the line between fantasy and reality.

Who am I?

I’m not an expert on very much. Certainly not the biggest questions of all, such as are we really here, and if not, what’s this all about? But I’ve always enjoyed books that touch upon these questions and find a way to connect them to our everyday reality (I find them easier than actual philosophy). If I am well placed to curate this list, that’s why. I hope it reminds you how we all grapple with these same universal questions. How we all share our doubts and face the same fears. How we’re all whittled away by the same relentless flow of time. 

Gregg's book list on blurring the line between fantasy and reality

Gregg Dunnett Why did Gregg love this book?

I read this book years ago, but it stuck with me.

The idea that when a loved one dies they watch over us, wishing to end our pain, is a powerful one. And for a novelist it’s a rich seam to mine. And yet The Lovely Bones did it so well, that few have tried to follow where it leads.

Although it moves in a very different direction, my own book clearly owes a debt of inspiration to Alice Seebold and I couldn’t not make it first on my list.

By Alice Sebold,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Lovely Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The internationally bestselling novel that inspired the acclaimed film directed by Peter Jackson.

With an introduction by Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Age of Miracles.

My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.

In heaven, Susie Salmon can have whatever she wishes for - except what she most wants, which is to be back with the people she loved on earth. In the wake of her murder, Susie watches as her happy suburban family is torn apart by grief; as her friends grow up, fall in…


Book cover of Slaughterhouse-Five

Leon Stevens Author Of The View from Here

From my list on for readers who don’t think they like science fiction.

Who am I?

I like science and math. I’m better at science than math. I grew up reading books from the early pioneers of sci-fi when imagination trumped hard science. Oh, the science was around, there was just a lot more leeway to make up the physics when you needed something to work. As science advanced, authors got more into the technical and theoretical aspects of what they were writing about. I usually skim over technical writing, so when I began to write, it was natural for me to limit what I found to be superfluous to the story. The recommended books are the kind of books I like to read and write.

Leon's book list on for readers who don’t think they like science fiction

Leon Stevens Why did Leon love this book?

I got hooked on Vonnegut after reading his short story, Harrison Bergeron. Most of his books straddle the genres of literary fiction and science fiction, with just enough information to make the science believable.

In Slaughterhouse Five, there’s a time travel element, but how it happens really isn’t as important as where the main character ends up. With some historical content about World War II, which is another subject I enjoy, this book will take you on an interesting ride as the character becomes unstuck in time.

I do recommend anything by Kurt Vonnegut.

By Kurt Vonnegut,

Why should I read it?

24 authors picked Slaughterhouse-Five as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A special fiftieth anniversary edition of Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece, “a desperate, painfully honest attempt to confront the monstrous crimes of the twentieth century” (Time), featuring a new introduction by Kevin Powers, author of the National Book Award finalist The Yellow Birds
 
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time
 
Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous World War II firebombing of Dresden, the novel is the result of what Kurt Vonnegut described as a twenty-three-year struggle to write a book about what he had…


Book cover of The Book Thief

Mark Stibbe Author Of A Book in Time

From my list on the magic of books, bookshops, and libraries.

Who am I?

When I was a boy, my adoptive father – a star pupil and friend of C.S. Lewis – heard I’d started reading the Sherlock Holmes stories. He bought every Sherlock Holmes book he could find. I remember lifting one to my nose and smelling the pages. I fell in love with books that day. I went on to earn a senior scholarship in English Literature at Cambridge University, and a PhD in storytelling. Since then, I have written over 50 books of my own and ghostwritten over 30 titles. I now host The Christian Storyteller Channel on YouTube, and I run BookLab, dedicated to helping emerging authors. My whole life is books.

Mark's book list on the magic of books, bookshops, and libraries

Mark Stibbe Why did Mark love this book?

I love the way this story is narrated by Death.

I love unusual first-person narrators anyway. But the idea of Death telling the story of a young girl in World War 2 who grows to love words and adore books, that’s genius. I love it! And I love the way that this girl, Liesel, comes to a very Hebraic understanding of the power of words to give life.

This, in the end, causes a great reversal. Instead of Liesel being frightened of death, Death is frightened of her! I love the idea of books containing something that’s stronger than death.

By Markus Zusak,

Why should I read it?

28 authors picked The Book Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

'Life affirming, triumphant and tragic . . . masterfully told. . . but also a wonderful page-turner' Guardian
'Brilliant and hugely ambitious' New York Times
'Extraordinary' Telegraph
___

HERE IS A SMALL FACT - YOU ARE GOING TO DIE

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

SOME IMPORTANT…


Book cover of The Time Machine

James Papandrea Author Of From Star Wars to Superman: Christ Figures in Science Fiction and Superhero Films

From my list on thought-provoking time travel.

Who am I?

I am a lifelong fan of science fiction, and especially all things time travel. However, I do get annoyed by time travel stories where the time travel is never really explained or it’s just reduced to a magical vehicle for the story setting. I want my science fiction to ask the big questions of humanity. I have a PhD in history and theology, and in my research for my book From Star Wars to Superman, I combined a lifetime of enjoying science fiction and time travel with a career studying those big philosophical questions, and I’ve come to the conclusion that true sci-fi has to be thought-provoking.

James' book list on thought-provoking time travel

James Papandrea Why did James love this book?

I had to include this book because this is the book that opened up the whole world of time travel for me.

I read it as a young teenager and have loved everything about the concept of time travel ever since. I think the reason is that there is this implied desire to fix the mistakes of our past or something, and that whole idea bubbles under the surface of Wells’ classic.

Of course on the other side of that coin is that I would later come to learn that Wells was an atheist, and so that brings up the whole question of whether time travel is a human attempt to play God, and whether time travel is only possible in a universe where there is no God. 

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Time Machine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

A brilliant scientist constructs a machine, which, with the pull of a lever, propels him to the year AD 802,701.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition of The Time Machine features an introduction by Dr Mark Bould.

The Time Traveller finds himself in a verdant, seemingly idyllic landscape where he is greeted by the diminutive Eloi people. The Eloi are beautiful but weak and indolent, and the explorer is perplexed by…


Book cover of The Paper Palace

Rochelle B. Weinstein Author Of When We Let Go

From my list on tugging on every one of your heartstrings.

Who am I?

Not only am I the author of seven women’s fiction novels, I’m a voracious reader who believes she was raised by Judy Blume and Sidney Sheldon. In our broken home, reading was an escape, a salve for the wound, a place where I felt heard and understood. My novels touch on deep emotions—real and relatable. If I don’t capture that feeling when I’m reading through my drafts, I dig deeper. And that’s the thing about a great book, that gut punch, that slide under my skin, I get you. There’s no better read than the one that pulls the heartstrings and gives you all the feels.    

Rochelle's book list on tugging on every one of your heartstrings

Rochelle B. Weinstein Why did Rochelle love this book?

Every page of The Paper Palace is moving and evocative—the quintessential love triangle that had me torn between young, innocent love and mature, adult love. I’m a sucker for these tropes, so I sunk inside this story of then and now, shuffling through a range of emotions, just like the protagonist, Elle. That’s the best kind of book. When you feel alongside the characters. And the secret longing kept me turning pages until the climactic, tender ending. And that ending. It will keep you guessing. And discussing. And thinking about it. I still think about it.  

By Miranda Cowley Heller,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Paper Palace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK

INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

OVER 1 MILLION COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE

THE PAPER PALACE IS:

“Filled with secrets, love, lies and a summer beach house. What more could you ask?”—Parade

“A deeply emotional love story…the unraveling of secrets, lies and a very complex love triangle.” —Reese Witherspoon (Reese’s Book Club July ’21 Pick)

"Nail-biting." —Town & Country

“A magnificent page-turner.” —Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, New York Times bestselling author

“[An] irresistible placement of a complicated family in a bewitching place.” —The New York Times

A story of summer, secrets, love, and lies: in the course of…


Book cover of Never Let Me Go

Suzanne Heywood Author Of Wavewalker: A Memoir of Breaking Free

From my list on coming-of-age that will rip your heart out.

Who am I?

I'm fascinated by these books about coming of age because they all share elements of my own experience. While I was growing up, I was told by my parents that my life on board our boat Wavewalker was ‘privileged’ and that I was lucky not to live a ‘boring’ life like other children. It took me a long time to question this view, and even longer to find an escape. As an adult looking back, I now know that many of the things I was told by my parents were not true. That experience of growing up and discovering that what you have been told is not right is deeply disturbing, while also being liberating.

Suzanne's book list on coming-of-age that will rip your heart out

Suzanne Heywood Why did Suzanne love this book?

I love Kazuo Ishiguro’s work and this is my favourite book of his.

Never Let Me Go is the fictional story of a childhood that initially seems acceptable, despite the early indications that something strange is going on. As the story proceeds, however, it becomes clear that this is a horrific world, one in which children are being grown for their organs.

But the power of the story for me is not the revelation itself but the way in which it is revealed, layer by layer, as the characters become older and more knowing. That experience of becoming aware that all is not right with your world, and then trying to come to terms with that, is something I can resonate with.

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Never Let Me Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most acclaimed novels of the 21st Century, from the Nobel Prize-winning author

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now thirty-one, Never Let Me Go dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense…


Book cover of The Hunger Games

Beth Morrey Author Of Clover Hendry's Day Off

From my list on books set in the world of television.

Who am I?

I worked in television as a development producer for twenty years, designing game shows, reality shows, formatted documentaries, all sorts of programming. One of the prerequisites of working in telly is to watch a lot of it, and that has always been a joy for me, as I love the medium. Even after I left the profession to become an author, I’ve retained my passion for the small screen and write a regular blog on what I’m watching. So, for me, a combination of books and television is something to be savored and celebrated. 

Beth's book list on books set in the world of television

Beth Morrey Why did Beth love this book?

I love to read children’s books as well as grown-up ones. This book is just as dark, gritty, and challenging as any adult novel and has a fantastically compelling premise. It also has a heroic and endearing protagonist in Katniss Everdeen and a wonderfully bleak backdrop in District 12.

I’m a big fan of sci-fi novels, and Suzanne Collins is such a great world-builder; everything feels plausible and timely, the stakes are dizzyingly high, and she pushes it all to the limit. 

By Suzanne Collins,

Why should I read it?

41 authors picked The Hunger Games as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before - and survival, for her, is second nature. The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever...


Book cover of Piranesi

Therese Down Author Of The Estate Agent

From my list on lighting up your imagination and your soul.

Who am I?

I love stories grounded in realism - but which also explore that there may be more to life than meets the eye; reasons beyond reason, for the way we dream, love, and think, and which come from unexpected sources. I love books whose characters really 'live', and stay with me, long after I've finished reading. I aspire to create such characters. In my novels, I seek to explore important themes from perspectives that often pitch rationality against what it cannot explain, or dismiss. The fiction I most love does this – whether it exploits mythology, suggests life beyond life, or uses magical realism to add ‘other’ dimensions to the ordinary. "There are more things… Horatio…"

Therese's book list on lighting up your imagination and your soul

Therese Down Why did Therese love this book?

How to explain the appeal of this compellingly original novel? A man who no longer knows himself, exists in a place no longer known to the world; a series of halls flooded by tidal waters and populated by extraordinary statues and flocks of birds.

Narnia for grownups, Piranesi enthralled me from the start. The need to unravel the book’s mystery became an obsession, so that the story occupied my thoughts on and off all day, and I couldn’t wait to get back to it. The ‘reveal’ is as satisfying as it is unpredictable, and the writing is flawless.

Clarke had already asserted her narrative mastery with Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but it is honed with Piranesi. World-class stuff.

By Susanna Clarke,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Piranesi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2021 Women's Prize for Fiction
A SUNDAY TIMES & NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The spectacular new novel from the bestselling author of JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL, 'one of our greatest living authors' NEW YORK MAGAZINE
__________________________________
Piranesi lives in the House. Perhaps he always has.

In his notebooks, day after day, he makes a clear and careful record of its wonders: the labyrinth of halls, the thousands upon thousands of statues, the tides that thunder up staircases, the clouds that move in slow procession through the upper halls. On Tuesdays and Fridays Piranesi sees his friend,…


Book cover of A Wrinkle in Time

Mark David Gerson Author Of The MoonQuest

From my list on fantasy that will make you devour the series.

Who am I?

One of the reasons I prefer novels to short stories as both reader and writer is that I like to immerse myself in fictional worlds and forge ongoing relationships with the characters who live in them. Often, in fact, I experience something resembling grief when I reach the end of a beloved book and am forced to say goodbye to the people and places that have so captured my imagination through all those pages. And that’s as true for the books I write as for those I read. For me, whether I’m writing it or reading it, that’s the major attraction of a compelling series!

Mark's book list on fantasy that will make you devour the series

Mark David Gerson Why did Mark love this book?

Most people read young adult fantasy when they’re in their teens. That wasn’t true for me.

In fact, ironically for someone who would end up writing fantasy, I didn’t read much of it until I was well beyond my teens. That’s when I discovered YA authors like Madeleine L’Engle, Michael Ende, and Ursula K. Le Guin. L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, however, was the first.

At the time, I was refocusing my life—away from the logical and intellectual and toward the spiritual and numinous, not unlike Wrinkle’s main characters, whose journey became a powerful metaphor for my own creative and spiritual awakening.

Moreover, that the now-classic book was rejected 26 times over two years was a potent lesson in perseverance. It still is.

By Madeleine L'Engle,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked A Wrinkle in Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Puffin Classics: the definitive collection of timeless stories, for every child.

We can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts.

When Charles and Meg Murry go searching through a 'wrinkle in time' for their lost father, they find themselves on an evil planet where all life is enslaved by a huge pulsating brain known as 'It'.

Meg, Charles and their friend Calvin embark on a cosmic journey helped by the funny and mysterious trio of guardian angels, Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which. Together they must find the weapon that will defeat It.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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