10 books like Time and Again

By Jack Finney,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Time and Again. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Master & Commander

By Patrick O'Brian,

Book cover of Master & Commander

This is the first of the 21 Aubrey/Maturin novels about the British side in the Napoleonic Wars. Read one and you’re hooked for the duration! O’Brian recreates an accurate and nuanced immersion into the age of sail and the British Navy. His characters are rich and complex with foibles and flaws, yet rise to the circumstances of their lives. His research is impeccable and exhaustive. One feels they are on the oak deck next to the crew.
The movie of the same title is far more truncated than the novel, but still a wonder in its beautifully rendered scenes.

The casual brutality, foreign intrigues, and vivid battle scenes leave the reader with racing heart and the hint of salt air in their nose. This series is a true treasure.

Master & Commander

By Patrick O'Brian,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Master & Commander as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, R.N., and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against a thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of a life aboard a man-of-war in Nelson's navy are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the roar of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

By Betty Smith,

Book cover of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

This was the first chapter book I remember reading when I was a little girl, and I still love the story. Set during the early 20th century, Francie, her younger brother, and their mom struggle to survive. The children hoard trash to sell to the junk man for the pennies he pays them on Saturday. Their mother works as a janitress in exchange for rent and a few dollars. Their father works as a singing waiter, but drinks away his earnings. 

I followed Francie from age eleven to age seventeen. I felt like I knew her and was cheering for her to find a better place in her world. This novel highlighted what it was like to grow up impoverished in a city where everyone seems to notice and judge. 

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

By Betty Smith,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Tree Grows in Brooklyn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick

A special 75th anniversary edition of the beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the twentieth century.

From the moment she entered the world, Francie Nolan needed to be made of stern stuff, for growing up in the Williamsburg slums of Brooklyn, New York demanded fortitude, precocity, and strength of spirit. Often scorned by neighbors for her family’s erratic and eccentric behavior―such as her father Johnny’s taste for alcohol and Aunt Sissy’s habit of marrying serially without the formality of divorce―no one, least of all Francie, could…


The House of Mirth

By Edith Wharton,

Book cover of The House of Mirth

Unlike the other titles listed on my list, The House of Mirth was not written with history receding in the rearview mirror. It was published in 1905, and meant to reflect the moral character and social context of a beautiful young woman at the century’s turn in New York. It’s the kind of book I would have wrongly dismissed as a trifle when I was a teenager. But Wharton writes with such pitiless precision and ferocious insight that she makes her story seem as modern as a Netflix show about Anna Delvey, the grifter. Of course, Wharton portrays her protagonist, Lily Bart, with far more compassion. But the author is so tough and knowing about the world Lily is operating in that I was reminded at times of Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Then as now, the city can be a jungle.  

The House of Mirth

By Edith Wharton,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The House of Mirth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A bestseller when it was published nearly a century ago, this literary classic established Edith Wharton as one of the most important American writers in the twentieth century-now with a new introduction from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan.

Wharton's first literary success-a devastatingly accurate portrait of New York's aristocracy at the turn of the century-is considered by many to be her most important novel, and Lily Bart, her most unforgettable character. Impoverished but well-born, the beautiful and beguiling Lily realizes a secure future depends on her acquiring a wealthy husband. But with her romantic indiscretion, gambling debts, and a maelstrom…


The Museum of Extraordinary Things

By Alice Hoffman,

Book cover of The Museum of Extraordinary Things

This one is set in the early 20th century. Coralie, works at her father’s Coney Island freak show as a mermaid and has extraordinary swimming abilities but is as sheltered as a goldfish in a bowl. She meets and falls in love with a photographer who is on hand to document the famous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. This is for readers who like their historical fiction touched with that kitchen-sink magical realism that Alice Hoffman is celebrated for. Turn-of-the-century New York sparkles throughout. This one is closer to my own Melting Pot roots and its eccentric characters seem so New York!

The Museum of Extraordinary Things

By Alice Hoffman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Museum of Extraordinary Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Coney Island, 1911: Coralie Sardie is the daughter of a self-proclaimed scientist and professor who acts as the impresario of The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a boardwalk freak show offering amazement and entertainment to the masses. An extraordinary swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid alongside performers like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl,and a 100 year old turtle, in her father's ""museum"". She swims regularly in New York's Hudson River, and one night stumbles upon a striking young man alone in the woods photographing moon-lit trees. From that moment, Coralie knows her life will never be the same.

The dashing photographer…


The Spectral City

By Leanna Renee Hieber,

Book cover of The Spectral City

The Spectral City series by Leanna Hieber is for those who like their Gaslight era New York history mixed with ghosts! Narrated by a young woman with the gift of ghost communicator, she sees spirits beyond the veil of our corporal existence. And what a world is there! Her mystery-cracking team helps her confront the dark world. Don’t worry—attention to historical details is spot on, and so is police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt’s confidence in his sleuth. I love a ghost story where the ghosts have afterlives of their own, don’t you? Enjoy these detective stories with unique sidekicks of their resourceful heroine.

The Spectral City

By Leanna Renee Hieber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Spectral City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Solving crime isn’t only for the living.
 
In turn-of-the century New York City, the police have an off-the-books spiritual go-to when it comes to solving puzzling corporal crimes . . .
 
Her name is Eve Whitby, gifted medium and spearhead of The Ghost Precinct. When most women are traveling in a gilded society that promises only well-appointed marriage, the confident nineteen-year-old Eve navigates a social circle that carries a different kind of chill. Working with the diligent but skeptical Lieutenant Holtzmann, as well as a group of fellow psychics and wayward ghosts, Eve proves her worth against a world of…


Dead Wake

By Erik Larson,

Book cover of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Dead Wake is fact that reads like fiction. Not often do I choose a book already knowing how it ends. His artistic rendering of the world in 1915 is alone worth the read. He introduces us to the passengers of the SS Lusitania, who they are, why they are on the ship, and he makes us care.

Larson limns Captains Turner of the Lusitania, and Schweiger of the U-20, the Imperial German submarine. The author carefully choreographs the final voyage of the doomed ship. The sinking is not the end of the story. 

The last third of the book is devoted to what happened after the torpedo hit. Captain Turner survives the attack as well as many of the passengers. This is a beautifully researched, but heartrending read. 

Dead Wake

By Erik Larson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Dead Wake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic "Greyhounds" and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. He knew, moreover,…


1919

By John Dos Passos,

Book cover of 1919: Volume Two of the U.S.A. Trilogy

I first read 1919 by Dos Passos when I was a teenager in the Navy. Having a yen for history since the age of eight, I was transported to an era where hopes and dreams have shattered or vanished. The author created the gritty and tawdry ambiance of characters as far out of their depth as was the reader.

We meet many limned characters with engaging flaws and hopes. The point-of-view shifts constantly and the narrative is spaced with advertising jingles from period radio programs and magazines to promote visualization.

The USA trilogy never left me. After pursuing art and making my living as a commercial artist for 15 years I turned to writing. I realized I wanted to create an immersive portrait of Juneau using similar tactics. I believe I succeeded.

1919

By John Dos Passos,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked 1919 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A Depression-era novel about American tumult has—perhaps unsurprisingly—aged quite well.”—The New Yorker

In 1919, the second volume of his U.S.A. trilogy, John Dos Passos continues his “vigorous and sweeping panorama of twentieth-century America” (Forum).

Employing a host of experimental devices that would inspire a whole new generation of writers to follow, Dos Passos captures the many textures, flavors, and background noises of the era with a cinematic touch and unparalleled nerve.1919 opens to find America and the world at war, and Dos Passos’s characters, many of whom we met in the first volume, are thrown into the snarl. We follow…


Quicksilver

By Neal Stephenson,

Book cover of Quicksilver: Volume One of the Baroque Cycle

Quicksilver, Volume One of the Baroque Cycle is an amazing novel and not for those who like quick reads. At nearly 1,000 erudite pages it depicts the lives and confusions of natural philosophers between the years 1660 and 1713 at the dawn of the scientific revolution. Robert Hooke, Isaac Newton, King Charles II, and many others fill the pages with wit, history, avarice, sex, political duplicity, religious prejudice, and wars that seem to pop up by whim. 

The sheer volume of historical research evident in Quicksilver eclipses all other works of the genre. The number of “throw away” lines that reveal deeper research and add but a thought or two to the current narrative is awesome. This is rapture for a bibliophile. Mr. Stephenson is a genius.

Quicksilver

By Neal Stephenson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Quicksilver is the story of Daniel Waterhouse, fearless thinker and conflicted Puritan, pursuing knowledge in the company of the greatest minds of Baroque-era Europe, in a chaotic world where reason wars with the bloody ambitions of the mighty, and where catastrophe, natural or otherwise, can alter the political landscape overnight.

It is a chronicle of the breathtaking exploits of "Half-Cocked Jack" Shaftoe -- London street urchin turned swashbuckling adventurer and legendary King of the Vagabonds -- risking life and limb for fortune and love while slowly maddening from the pox.

And it is the tale of Eliza, rescued by Jack…


Perchance to Dream

By Charles Beaumont,

Book cover of Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories

Charles Beaumont was close friends with Richard Matheson, and they worked together on such projects as the Roger Corman Edgar Allan Poe films and Rod Serling’s original Twilight Zone. Beaumont’s stories are as rich and varied as Matheson’s, with delightfully witty language and fantastic plot twists. If you love classic Matheson short stories like “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and “Death Ship,” you’re bound to love Beaumont.

Perchance to Dream

By Charles Beaumont,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Perchance to Dream as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

That Charles Beaumont would make a name for himself crafting scripts for The Twilight Zone is only natural: for his was an imagination so limitless it must have emerged from some other dimension. So take one uneasy step and fall headlong into his world: a world where lions stalk the plains, classics cars rove the streets, and spacecraft hover just overhead. Here roam musicians, magicians, vampires, monsters, toreros, extraterrestrials, androids, and perhaps even the Devil himself. Perchance to Dream contains a selection of Beaumont's finest stories, including five stories that he later adapted for Twilight Zone episodes.

This volume contains…


The Ritual of Illusion

By Richard Christian Matheson,

Book cover of The Ritual of Illusion

The Ritual of Illusion is a brilliant short novel by Richard Christian Matheson (Richard Matheson’s son). Written entirely in dialogue from the points of view of numerous different witnesses, it tells the story of Hollywood star Sephanie Vamore’s strange rise and bizarre fall. This is Sunset Boulevard Matheson-style…another generation of Matheson, that is.

The Ritual of Illusion

By Richard Christian Matheson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ritual of Illusion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A sinister love letter to the movies, acclaimed author Richard Christian Matheson’s The Ritual of Illusion is a novella of modern fear about where stars truly come from. Oscar-winning film siren, Sephanie Vamore, meteors to iconic fame … but like cinema itself, nothing is as it appears. The fifty witnesses to her mythic ascent and bizarre fate are film royalty … many based on Hollywood glitterati; directors, stars, agents, studio heads, screenwriters, lovers, producers.

Widescreen with lies and revelation, Vamore’s story is told Rashomon-style with dialogue alone—each hypnotic character adding poignant or lurid details to the shocking truth of what…


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