The best adventure books

Who picked these books? Meet our 2,472 experts.

2,472 authors created a book list connected to adventure, and here are their favorite adventure books.
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What type of adventure book?


The Big Sky

By A.B. Guthrie, Jr.,

Book cover of The Big Sky

John D. Nesbitt Author Of Dark Prairie

From the list on thought-provoking classic westerns worth rereading.

Who am I?

As a college instructor and a student of Western American Literature for many, many years I have read a great number of western novels for my classes and for my literary studies. In addition to my doctoral dissertation on the topic, I have written and published numerous articles and reviews on western writers, and I have given many public presentations as well. I have a long-standing interest in what makes good works good. As a fiction writer, I have published more than thirty traditional western novels with major publishers, and have won several national awards for my western novels and short stories. 

John's book list on thought-provoking classic westerns worth rereading

Discover why each book is one of John's favorite books.

Why did John love this book?

The Big Sky is a masterpiece of historical fiction and an often-cited classic novel of the American West. It earns this distinction because of its original characterization, its use of historical and geographical accuracy, its thematic depth, and its symbolism. It is set in the mountain man or fur trade era, and it shows the consequences of White men going into the wilderness. This book introduces the idea, in cultural and environmental terms, that in the occupation of the American West, people ruin the thing they love. This book not only makes it to the top of the lists by western writers, but it also is well appreciated by scholars and students in Western American Literature. 

By A.B. Guthrie, Jr.,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Vintage paperback

Out from Boneville

By Jefferson Smith,

Book cover of Out from Boneville

Jeffrey Michael Ruby Author Of Penelope March Is Melting

From the list on middle grade my bookworm daughter got me into.

Who am I?

I’ve spent pretty much my entire adult life as a journalist, a dining critic, or a humor columnist. But over the past ten years, my reading choices have been influenced less by, say, The New Yorker, than by my daughter, Hannah. As she grew from Knuffle Bunny to Junie B. Jones to Judy Moody, so did I. And when she began reading middle-grade novels, I did too. Then I began writing them. There is something amazing about the endless possibilities of a kid’s imagination before they get cynical and start to care about things like being cool that makes middle-grade the sweet spot for ideas. It’s like Hannah came along and recalibrated my brain—for reading and writing alike.

Jeffrey's book list on middle grade my bookworm daughter got me into

Discover why each book is one of Jeffrey's favorite books.

Why did Jeffrey love this book?

I admit I have never entirely warmed to most graphic novels, but this one, the first in the Bone series, is timeless. The epic adventures of cousins Fone Bone, Smiley Bone, and Phoney Bone—all of whom look like a cross between Casper the Friendly Ghost and a giant tooth—start here with lots of slapstick and cutesy animals. But there’s a lot going on under the surface. It’s a twisted fairy tale with striking art, endearing characters, and swashbuckling adventure. The whole thing is packed with so many whimsical ideas and situations that whenever I read it, I find myself energized and eager to write.

By Jefferson Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Out from Boneville as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jeff Smith's New York Times and USA Today bestselling, award-winning BONE books are one of the most popular graphic novel series of all time. Read the first book in this thrilling adventure!After being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins -- Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone -- are separated and lost in a vast, uncharted desert. One by one, they find their way into a deep, forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures.Eventually, the cousins are reunited at a farmstead run by tough Gran'ma Ben and her spirited granddaughter, Thorn. But little do the Bones know,…

Feet Of Clay

By Terry Pratchett,

Book cover of Feet Of Clay

Richard Sparks Author Of New Rock, New Role

From the list on fantasy that aren’t afraid to be funny.

Who am I?

I’ve now completed four books in my New Rock fantasy series; and, while the stories are full-on adventures in a strange (but strangely familiar) new world, they contain lots of comedic characters and situations. I come from a background of comedy writing. Comedy isn’t nice people telling jokes. That’s a dinner party. Comedy is all about pain, fear, misery, confusion, suffering, mistakes, betrayals, accidents, dangers, and things going horribly wrong—and what good adventure doesn't have those? And why wouldn’t any strange new world be full of them? New Rock New Role, the first book in the series, is published on December 12th 2023 by CAEZIK SF & Fantasy.

Richard's book list on fantasy that aren’t afraid to be funny

Discover why each book is one of Richard's favorite books.

Why did Richard love this book?

Another fantasy great who loves a laugh is Terry Pratchett. He is such a breath of fresh air, blowing the cobwebs out of the genre. His early Discworld books (the Rincewind volumes) are fun, but somehow more laboured than his later works, when he really hit his stride. 

Out of many that I could pick, I have chosen Feet of Clay as a representative of his mature oeuvre. There are many Discworld stories as enjoyable at this, but this one has not only a very cute solution to a locked-room murder mystery, but also—golems!

By Terry Pratchett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Feet Of Clay as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Vimes is back, in all his curmudgeonly glory, in this classic, perceptive and laugh-out-loud Discworld mystery that will keep you turning the pages.

'In my opinion, this is the book where Pratchett *really* hits his stride in terms of the city watch books . . . Is this book worth your time? Yes. A thousand times yes' Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind


But for Commander Vimes, Head of Ankh-Morpork City…

Maiden Voyage

By Tania Aebi,

Book cover of Maiden Voyage

Maggie Shipstead Author Of Great Circle

From the list on female adventurers.

Who am I?

In my third novel, Great Circle, a fictional aviator named Marian Graves disappears while trying to fly around the world north-south in 1950. While researching and writing, I became a travel journalist, partly so I could follow my character into far-flung, rugged corners of the world. Traveling, I encountered people who lead truly adventurous lives, and I started to seek out riskier experiences myself. I swam with humpback whales, tracked snow leopards in the Himalayas, and journeyed across huge seas to Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf. I still don’t consider myself a full-fledged adventurer, but I love reading about women contending with the challenges of wild places and their own internal landscapes.

Maggie's book list on female adventurers

Discover why each book is one of Maggie's favorite books.

Why did Maggie love this book?

I first read this memoir as a young teenager and was completely captivated by the idea of a girl not much older than myself simply raising a sail and setting off into the vast ocean. In 1985, Tania Aebi was eighteen and aimless, and her father gave her an ultimatum: either go to college or sail solo around the world. She chose the latter. Sailing is hard work, and Aebi has plenty of hard days, but her unusual coming-of-age story is romantic (sometimes literally) and exciting and opened my eyes to the possibilities of adventure and courage.

By Tania Aebi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1985 Tania Aebi was an 18-year-old working as a bike messenger in New York City and frequenting bars until late at night. It was then that her father offered her a college education, or a boat. However, if she chose the boat, she would have to sail around the world alone. This volume tells of her 27,000 mile voyage. When she left New York harbour in 1985, she had never sailed alone before and knew little about navigation or anchorage. What began as a quest for adventure became a spiritual test, and fight for survival.

Book cover of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Jamie Brindle Author Of The Princess In The Tower

From the list on fantasy that is silly but solid at the same time.

Who am I?

I love fantasy, particularly comic fantasy. But there's an art to making something that is mind-meltingly silly feel real and meaningful, at the same time. To make it feel solid. If something is too chaotic, too randomly silly, then the narrative integrity disintegrates. You're left feeling, ‘yes, I know that the troll has now mysteriously turned into a chicken; but really, what’s the point?’ On the other hand, if the story isn’t silly enough…well, then it becomes straight fantasy, which is wonderful when it’s done well, but can feel mundane and derivative when it is not. I've deliberately limited this list to include only two Discworld books. To include any more would seem, well—silly.

Jamie's book list on fantasy that is silly but solid at the same time

Discover why each book is one of Jamie's favorite books.

Why did Jamie love this book?

Any list like this needs to include a Hitchhiker’s book, and this is my personal favourite. These books skirt even further into the surreal and silly than the Discworld books, but somehow Douglas Adams saves them from falling into pointlessness. I can’t quite see how he does it. The settings are so diverse and mind-boggling, and the plot is thin enough that it would probably collapse if I tried to describe it, like a beautiful bubble popping in your palm. The characters are vividly memorable, but in these books, it is the language that really shines, the spectacular, witty, wonderful use of words and phrases, which somehow elevate the book, making us care about the journey despite its utter silliness.

By Douglas Adams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Restaurant at the End of the Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Following the smash-hit sci-fi comedy The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is the second part in Douglas Adams' multi-media phenomenon and cult classic series.

This edition includes exclusive bonus material from the Douglas Adams archives, and an introduction by Monty Python star, Terry Jones.

If you've done six impossible things this morning, why not round it off with breakfast at Milliways, the Restaurant at the end of the Universe?

Which is exactly what Arthur Dent and the crew of the Heart of Gold plan to do. There's just the small matter of…

Damnation Alley

By Roger Zelazny,

Book cover of Damnation Alley

Justin Oldham Author Of Search for Haven

From the list on post-apocalyptic showcasing humanity’s drive to survive.

Who am I?

I am a lifelong fan of all things post-apocalyptic. Books, movies, television, games – I have enjoyed all of it. I knew I wanted to write post-apocalyptic fiction before I was ten years old. I had to wait almost three decades before life gave me the opportunity to do it. I’ve always been fascinated by the many different ways people can survive these kinds of catastrophes. As dark and visceral as the genre can sometimes be, I will always look for the elements of hope.

Justin's book list on post-apocalyptic showcasing humanity’s drive to survive

Discover why each book is one of Justin's favorite books.

Why did Justin love this book?

This might be the ultimate post-apocalyptic road trip. I enjoyed the fast pacing and irreverent humor. The urgency of the task at hand is there from start to finish. I liked the plot and the pacing. This story made me appreciate the lighter side of the genre. Even though the world has gone to pot, people are still people, and fun is part of the human experience.

By Roger Zelazny,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Damnation Alley as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hell Tanner isn't the sort of guy you'd mistake for a hero: he's a fast-driving car thief, a smuggler, and a stone-cold killer. Facing life in prison for his various crimes, he's given a choice: Rot away his remaining years in a tiny jail cell, or drive cross-country and deliver a case of antiserum to the plague-ridden people of Boston, Massachusetts. The chance of a full pardon does wonders for getting his attention. And don't mistake this mission of mercy for any kind of normal road trip-not when there are radioactive storms, hordes of carnivorous beasts, and giant, mutated scorpions…

Girl Fights Back

By Jacques Antoine,

Book cover of Girl Fights Back

C.R. Fladmark Author Of The Gatekeeper's Son

From the list on urban fantasy with Japan-focused themes.

Who am I?

I’ve been interested in Japanese culture, mythology, and martial arts since I was a teenager. My favorite books are those where I become completely submerged, losing myself in the story and forgetting where the main character ends and I begin. Stories that focus on an ordinary person who gets pulled into another world while remaining firmly planted in their current world. Stories where the character has to learn new skills or discover special talents; a connection to the past or to another realm; or becomes part of some mysterious group operating outside of society. When I couldn’t find enough books that fulfilled my hunger for this specific genre, I decided to write some myself!

C.R.'s book list on urban fantasy with Japan-focused themes

Discover why each book is one of C.R.'s favorite books.

Why did C.R. love this book?

This is a book for Japanese martial arts lovers like me. Every fight is described in realistic detail so I can ‘see’ every fighting technique. Emily is a half-Japanese teenager whose American father is ex-military and trying to hide his family from some mysterious threat. Of course, Emily is taught a bunch of special skills in case she ever needs them, such as various martial arts and bushcraft. Unlike other books like this, I find her training feels natural. She learned martial arts at a local dojo and her days in the woods with her dad were ‘camping,’ not obvious paramilitary training, so when she started fighting back, it felt right to me. This isn’t a true urban fantasy novel, but there’s enough intrigue and strange events that it seems imaginary. 

By Jacques Antoine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Girl Fights Back as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Emily Kane has gone missing…

…and the world’s spy agencies are determined to find her.

They think she’s been genetically modified as a human weapon. Now, she'll need all her skills to make it to tomorrow.

Her father taught her everything he knew, how to hide, how to live off the land… and how to fight like a demon, without mercy or remorse.

When the mercenaries came, her family fled. But Emily Kane has had enough of running. Can she take the fight to her enemies and survive… and if she can, will she still be human?

If you love…


By James Alan Gardner,

Book cover of Expendable

G.B. Gordon Author Of Santuario

From the list on sci-fi that triggers deeper thought and reflection.

Who am I?

I'm a linguist by trade with an MA in Intercultural Communications. I'm also an immigrant in my chosen country. You could say I have a fascination for different worlds/cultures in my blood. But those cultures only really come alive with the people that live in them, the way they think, feel, and talk, and especially where their cultures meet, with all the tensions, heartbreaks, love and hate, misunderstandings, fear, and courage that reverberate in those encounters.

G.B.'s book list on sci-fi that triggers deeper thought and reflection

Discover why each book is one of G.B.'s favorite books.

Why did G.B. love this book?

A seemingly perfect society and its ugly underbelly always make for a compelling read. But this one goes a step beyond with compassion, culture-clash, inclusivity, sheer storytelling genius, and characters I was rooting hard for through every page. Luckily, since I couldn't get enough, there are quite a few sequels.

By James Alan Gardner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a world where the marginalized of society are sent into space on suicide missions, one woman decides to fight back: “Riveting” (David Feintuch).
In Expendable, the first volume of the League of Peoples, Festina Ramos is assigned to escort an unstable admiral to planet Melaquin. Little is known about Melaquin, for every explorer who’s landed there has disappeared. It’s come to be known as the “planet of no return,” and the High Council has made a habit of sending troublesome admirals there in an attempt to get rid of them. It’s clear that this is intended to be Ramos’s…

A Court of Mist and Fury

By Sarah J. Maas,

Book cover of A Court of Mist and Fury

J.D. Astra Author Of The Chimera Bounty

From the list on dark romantasy with winged book boyfriends.

Who am I?

I’ve been a smut connoisseur for many years, as well as a lover of well-done sci-fi/fantasy worlds that feel real. I would list my qualifications as a smut connoisseur, but it’s probably not appropriate for this site 😉. I have a number of books under my belt that include sweeping fantasy world building that’ll make you hallucinate vividly. After resisting deeper romance plots in my writing for so long, I finally surrendered. I’m just starting my journey as a dark romantasy smut peddler but can’t wait to share all my winged book boyfriends with you!

J.D.'s book list on dark romantasy with winged book boyfriends

Discover why each book is one of J.D.'s favorite books.

Why did J.D. love this book?

This is Book 2 in Maas’s ACOTAR series, where book 1 is sort of a necessary prologue (still good, just not as good as ACOMAF).

Another dark, second world fantasy full of Fae and magic. What makes this book unique is Maas’s character development.

She so easily makes us fall in love with +10 characters over the course of four hundred pages because they all feel real. They have thoughts/feelings/backstories/motivations, and they’re all very likable in their own way.

The enemies to lovers romance takes place over several months in this book. It was fun, well teased out, and very steamy. There’s darkness to this one that’ll have you tearing up at the end, too!

Of course, this is where we get the famous Bat Boy TikTok trend from. Enjoy several sexy potential book boyfriends with bat wings.

By Sarah J. Maas,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Court of Mist and Fury as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'With bits of Buffy, Game Of Thrones and Outlander, this is a glorious series of total joy' - STYLIST
Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court - but at a steep cost. Though she now possesses the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, the mesmerising High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates his dark web of political games and tantalising promises,…

Book cover of The Curious League of Detectives and Thieves 1: Egypt's Fire

Taylor Tyng Author Of Clara Poole and the Long Way Round

From the list on middle grade series to laugh out-loud.

Who am I?

While one-off stories are fantastic, I love that children's series lets readers return to trusted characters. Series allow children to see a wider arc of character development and decision-making—often imperfect and in transition—when they are trying to figure out how to identify and connect with the world themselves. That shared experience over time is why I only write series myself—to let kids evolve alongside their favorite characters.

Taylor's book list on middle grade series to laugh out-loud

Discover why each book is one of Taylor's favorite books.

Why did Taylor love this book?

An orphan who lives in the ceiling of New York's Natural History Museum, an oddball detective, a society of secret sleuths, and a race to find a stolen rare jewel to prove one's innocence, The Curious League is a love letter to classic middle-grade detective stories.

Truly madcap, this book will have kids in stitches and is a perfect read-aloud. It's also a series, so readers can jump right into book 2.

By Tom Phillips,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Curious League of Detectives and Thieves 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hilarious, non-stop adventure, a mysterious jewel heist, and a detective team like no other make this a must-have middle grade series starter. Perfect for fans of A Series of Unfortunate Events and Enola Holmes.

After twelve-year-old John Boarhog’s mom dies, the last thing he wants is to be schlepped off to the Jersey Home for Boys, where kids are forced to make skinny jeans for hipsters and are fed nothing but kale. Instead, he makes himself a snug home in the ceiling of the New York Museum of Natural History, where he reads anything he get his hands on and…

A Clash of Steel

By C.B. Lee,

Book cover of A Clash of Steel

A.E. Ross Author Of Run in the Blood

From the list on queer swashbuckling.

Who am I?

Two things I absolutely loved growing up: fantasy novels and history. Swashbuckling pirate stories are like a fantastic combination of both, and the way that the age of sail touched all corners of the world creates an opportunity for so many different kinds of stories to be told through this lens. As a queer writer, my passion is writing the kind of stories I loved as a child. As a trans adult, I find joy in making the next generations feel comfortable in their own skin. Living in Vancouver, B.C. I write novels and animated television, and I also co-host a podcast about advertising called Ad Creeps

A.E.'s book list on queer swashbuckling

Discover why each book is one of A.E.'s favorite books.

Why did A.E. love this book?

I’m a huge fan of queer re-tellings (as you can probably sense from this list) as well as lush, detailed historical fiction, and C.B. Lee delivers both in this vivid, adrenaline-spiking adventure. My favorite thing about this story is how Lee takes the bones of Treasure Island and reanimates them, bringing a new perspective to a classic by shifting the focus from traditional Western pirate narratives. Riding the waves with Xiang as she discovers her own identity and family history is an absolute delight, and seeing her relationship with Anh grow is a beautiful thrill. 

By C.B. Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Clash of Steel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

China, 1826. The sun is setting on the golden age of piracy, and the legendary Red Banner Fleet, the scourge of the South China Sea, is no more.

Sheltered her whole life, Xiang desperately wants to set sail and explore like her late father. Her only memento of him is a plain gold pendant. But the pendant's true nature is revealed when a mysterious girl named Anh steals it, only to return it to Xiang in exchange for her help in decoding the tiny map scroll hidden inside. Rumour has it that the legendary Dragon Queen had one last treasure…

Das Boot

By Lothar-Günther Buchheim,

Book cover of Das Boot

Kevin J. Glynn Author Of Voyage of Reprisal

From the list on epic sea voyages filled with drama and conflict.

Who am I?

I have always been a fan of history. As a journalist by education and an investigator by trade, I love to carefully research my settings and weave original fictional plots through actual history in a seamless manner that both entertains and informs the reader. I also appreciate the need for compelling characters, page-turning plots, conflict, and tension to keep readers engaged. I have a long-term fascination with piracy, privateering, and exploration during the early age of sail. I am also attracted to Elizabethan England and the Renaissance period with its ideological struggles. I really love a good sea story, and who doesn’t? Enjoy my reading list!   

Kevin's book list on epic sea voyages filled with drama and conflict

Discover why each book is one of Kevin's favorite books.

Why did Kevin love this book?

This book is a gritty, realistic fiction novel about a WWII German U-boat captain and crew facing immense challenges from the elements and the enemy while attempting to sink as many allied merchant ships as possible before running out of torpedoes or being destroyed. I particularly appreciated a view of war from “the other side” and details of life aboard a cramped submarine in wartime. The book is a timeless exploration of the privations faced by seamen who dare to wage war at sea. The tragic ending mirrors reality and adds irony and pathos to the story. I found this to be a page-turner that was very hard to put down once started.      

By Lothar-Günther Buchheim,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Filled with almost unbearable tension and excitement, DAS BOOT is one of the best stories ever written about war, a supreme novel of the Second World War and an acclaimed film and TV drama.

It is autumn 1941 and a German U-boat commander and his crew set out on yet another hazardous patrol in the Battle of the Atlantic. Over the coming weeks they must brave the stormy waters of the Atlantic in their mission to seek out and destroy British supply ships. But the tide is beginning to turn against the Germans in the war for the North Atlantic.…

Charlie's Promise

By Annemarie Allan,

Book cover of Charlie's Promise

Victoria Williamson Author Of Hag Storm

From the list on Scottish historical fiction for middle graders.

Who am I?

I grew up in the heart of Scotland addicted to visiting museums and exploring local stories and legends. Now as an adult I’m either to be found with my nose in a history book or out on an archaeological dig. I love to weave the lives of Scottish heroes such as Roberts Burns into books filled with fantasy and adventure for children, and to write spine-chilling tales for adults where supernatural creatures from Scottish myths lurk between the pages. I recently co-created a series of educational writing videos for school children to help them explore the history of their local area, and hopefully inspire the historical authors of the future!

Victoria's book list on Scottish historical fiction for middle graders

Discover why each book is one of Victoria's favorite books.

Why did Victoria love this book?

Would you break the rules or break your promise? On the outskirts of Edinburgh, just before the outbreak of WW2, Charlie finds a starving German boy called Josef hiding in the woods near his home. Josef can’t speak English and is desperately afraid, especially of anyone in uniform. Charlie promises to help Josef find his Jewish relatives in the city. It’s a journey that will force them to face their fears, testing their new-found friendship, and Charlie’s promise, to the limit

This is a beautiful story full of heart and empathy, and a welcome reminder of the kindness of strangers and the innocence of childhood.

By Annemarie Allan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Charlie's Promise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Would you break the rules or break your promise? On the outskirts of Edinburgh, just before the outbreak of WW2, Charlie finds a starving German boy called Josef hiding in the woods near his home. Josef can't speak English and is desperately afraid, especially of anyone in uniform.
Charlie promises to help Josef find his Jewish relatives in the city. It's a journey that will force them to face their fears, testing their new-found friendship, and Charlie's promise, to the limit.

The Black Stallion

By Walter Farley,

Book cover of The Black Stallion

Amanda Wills Author Of The Lost Pony of Riverdale

From the list on capturing the bond between horses and people.

Who am I?

I have been mad about horses since I was tiny, and as soon as I started to read I devoured every pony book I could lay my hands on. My love of pony books led to a life-long passion for horses and I still ride every week. When I began writing fiction a decade ago, I decided to write the kind of pony books I loved reading when I was a child. Here I am, almost twenty books later, spending my days dreaming of horses, still a pony-mad girl at heart! 

Amanda's book list on capturing the bond between horses and people

Discover why each book is one of Amanda's favorite books.

Why did Amanda love this book?

This is a classic tale of a wild horse that only one person can tame, a trope that resonates with every horse lover the world over, me included!

A shipwreck leaves horse-mad Alec stranded on a desert island with the Black, a wild Arabian stallion. The pair must learn to trust each other if they are to survive.

But this is as much a story about horse racing as it is a shipwreck tale, and when Alec and the Black return home to America the Black’s incredible speed sees him taking part in a match race against the two fastest racehorses of the day.

The race scores high in the drama stakes, but for me it’s Alec’s bond with the Black that makes this book unforgettable.

By Walter Farley,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Black Stallion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1941, Walter Farley's best-selling novel for young readers is the triumphant tale of a boy and a wild horse. From Alec Ramsay and the Black's first meeting on an ill-fated ship to their adventures on a desert island and their eventual rescue, this beloved story will hold the rapt attention of readers new and old.

This book has been selected as a Common Core State Standards Text Exemplar (Grades 4-5, Stories) in Appendix B.

The Rise of Endymion

By Dan Simmons,

Book cover of The Rise of Endymion

Tyler Krings Author Of War and the Wind

From the list on humor, romance, and a dash of fantasy.

Who am I?

I am an American-born writer and I have been writing fantasy and science fiction since I was just out of elementary school. I have been obsessed with Star Wars (and later Trek) since I was able to watch television, and I believe I was twelve when Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring hit theaters…needless to say, I have not stopped reading and writing fantasy since. The books on my list are some (but not all) of my very favorites and many of them have gone on to heavily inspire my own style when writing my own works.

Tyler's book list on humor, romance, and a dash of fantasy

Discover why each book is one of Tyler's favorite books.

Why did Tyler love this book?

For any true Science Fiction fan, the Hyperion Cantos is a must read.

From enthralling character stories to sweeping galactic battles between humans and AI from both the past, present, and future. Usually, folks don’t choose The Rise of Endymion as their favorite from the Cantos, and would rather select Hyperion and its award-winning Canterbury Tales style writing regarding seven pilgrims and their struggle with the immortal Shrike.

But I, am a glutton for a good love story, and Raul and Rachel’s story is one that I find myself thinking of often.

If you’ve read the other 3 books of the Cantos then you know Raul is not the smartest, the strongest, or most willing protagonist. In fact, he’s pretty much the layman with basic skills and a bland history. But it doesn’t matter. He’s always there when it counts, he’s stalwart and trustworthy and he won’t let you down…

By Dan Simmons,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The conclusion to the groundbreaking Hyperion Cantos, from the Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning author of The Terror, which is now a chilling TV show.

The time of reckoning has arrived. As a final genocidal Crusade threatens to enslave humanity forever, a new messiah has come of age. She is Aenea and she has undergone a strange apprenticeship to those known as the Others. Now her protector, Raul Endymion, one-time shepherd and convicted murderer, must help her deliver her startling message to her growing army of disciples.

But first they must embark on a final spectacular mission to discover the…


By John Varley,

Book cover of Titan

Steven Harper Author Of Resurrection Men

From the list on bending your mind.

Who am I?

I took an introduction to philosophy class in college and the professor showed us how to think about thinking. Can you know something if it’s actually untrue? Can people in a universe with an omniscient god who knows what they’re going to do have free will? Are there universal principles of justice, or is justice based on circumstances? The class changed my taste in reading. I’d read science fiction and fantasy since I was a child, but after this class, I looked for fiction that made my brain hurt but also told a wonderful story. I try hard to meet this standard in my own fiction.

Steven's book list on bending your mind

Discover why each book is one of Steven's favorite books.

Why did Steven love this book?

Quintessential 1980s science fiction that takes creationism to new levels.

A group of astronauts find a very strange bio-ship orbiting Saturn, and it unexpectedly sucks them inside. When you find out what's really going on, your jaw will drop.

No, seriously. It will.

I’m cheating a little here by recommending a trilogy, but they read like one book.

By John Varley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Twenty years ago, the Gaean Trilogy dazzled critics and readers. Now a new generation will discover that brilliant world--beginning with Titan.

Star Wars

By Will Brooker,

Book cover of Star Wars

Peter Krämer Author Of American Graffiti: George Lucas, the New Hollywood and the Baby Boom Generation

From the list on the life and films of George Lucas.

Who am I?

I have turned my childhood fascination with Hollywood into an academic career. For four decades I have explored, not least through extensive archival research, all aspects of the history of American cinema – films, filmmakers, studios, production histories, marketing campaigns, critical reception, audiences. Among other books, I have published three volumes in the British Film Institute’s Film Classics series (on Buster Keaton’s The General and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove and 2001: A Space Odyssey). I have focused on some of the most highly acclaimed, most commercially successful, most ardently loved, and most influential movies of all time. The starting point for my work is always my passionate engagement with particular movies.

Peter's book list on the life and films of George Lucas

Discover why each book is one of Peter's favorite books.

Why did Peter love this book?

This short but very informative and stimulating book in the BFI Film Classics series was first published in 2009, with a new edition coming out in 2020.

Brilliantly illustrated with screenshots from Star Wars and some of the films George Lucas’s most famous production was influenced by, Will Brooker combines a meticulous analysis of the style, story, and themes of Star Wars with important details about the film’s production history and illuminating references to Lucas’s previous films and to the Star Wars saga as a whole.

By Will Brooker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Star Wars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The release of Star Wars in 1977 marked the start of what would become a colossal global franchise. Star Wars remains the second highest-grossing film in the United States, and George Lucas's six-part narrative has grown into something more: a culture that goes far beyond the films themselves, with tie-in toys, novels, comics, games and DVDs as well as an enthusiastic fan community which creates its own Star Wars fictions. Critical studies of Star Wars have treated it as a cultural phenomenon, or in terms of its special effects, fans and merchandising, or as a film that marked the end…

The Day of the Jackal

By Frederick Forsyth,

Book cover of The Day of the Jackal

David Z. Pyke Author Of Rescuing Crockett

From the list on elements of historical adventure fiction.

Who am I?

My passion for historical adventure and Texas history stems from my heritage: I’m a native Texan related to one of the Alamo defenders. My great-great-great-great-great-granduncle, Isaac Millsaps, was one of the Immortal 32, the reinforcements from Gonzales who answered William Barret Travis's call for help, rode to San Antonio, and died in the Alamo on March 6, 1836. My relationship with words began in elementary school, where I read Beowulf and Dracula by the time I was 10 years old (probably explains a lot about me). I began writing for newspapers in 1975 and have been writing professionally ever since.

David's book list on elements of historical adventure fiction

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Why did David love this book?

I chose this for authenticity. Newsday's review said it was "chillingly real" and "the reader himself seems to be traveling with 'the Jackal.'"

That’s because Forsyth, as a foreign correspondent working in Europe and Africa, knew assassins, mercenaries, and arms dealers, which allowed him to craft fantastic but believable characters, settings, and situations. Forsyth opens the novel with the depiction of a real assassination attempt, employs historical figures, locations, and details, then seamlessly weaves his fictional plot into this authentic world.

Forsyth reveals lives most of us can only imagine, and he shows that wall-to-wall suspense does not require wall-to-wall action, but is built on plausible intrigue, sustained tension, and excellent writing.

By Frederick Forsyth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Day of the Jackal is the electrifying story of the struggle to catch a killer before it's too late.

It is 1963 and an anonymous Englishman has been hired by the Operations Chief of the O.A.S. to murder General De Gaulle. A failed attempt in the previous year means the target will be nearly impossible to get to. But this latest plot involves a lethal weapon: an assassin of legendary talent.

Known only as The Jackal, this remorseless and deadly killer must be stopped, but how do you track a man who exists in name alone?

Pirate Jack Gets Dressed

By Nancy Raines Day, Allison Black (illustrator),

Book cover of Pirate Jack Gets Dressed

Charlotte Gunnufson Author Of Prince and Pirate

From the list on perfectly piratey storytimes.

Who am I?

I’m the author of funny-bone tickling and heartwarming picture books, Halloween Hustle and Prince and Pirate. My newest book, Dream Submarine, is a lyrical bedtime story that blends fiction and nonfiction and invites young readers on a journey through the world's oceans (Candlewick, 2024). Language Arts teacher turned writer, I'm passionate about literacy and love visiting schools and libraries to connect with my favorite people—kids!  My books and all the perfectly piratey tales on this list are best when read aloud!

Charlotte's book list on perfectly piratey storytimes

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Why did Charlotte love this book?

A hearty and slightly hapless pirate named Jack makes getting dressed an adventure! I believe the best picture books engage young readers, and I love the way Jack invites kids into the story, encouraging them to identify colors from gray long johns and pink socks to gold earrings and—surprise!—a green parrot. Written in rhyme with the perfect amount of piratey lingo, this book is best when read aloud. Illustrations provide a treasure trove of funny details for kids to discover.

By Nancy Raines Day, Allison Black (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pirate Jack Gets Dressed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ahoy, matey! Join jaunty pirate Captain Jack as he uses every color of the rainbow to pick out his outfit in this bright and bold read-aloud.

It’s the crack o’ dawn, and dapper Pirate Jack is ready t’ get dressed for a day out on the high seas with his motley crew. He’ll need every color of the rainbow to make his outfit complete—from his itchy gray long johns and his toasty pink socks to his bright red sash and his cozy purple coat. And he won’t be forgettin’ his black eye patch and trusty brown peg leg, either!


Book cover of Sailing Alone Around the World

James G. Stavridis Author Of The Sailor's Bookshelf: Fifty Books to Know the Sea

From the list on to know the sea.

Who am I?

I'm a retired 4-star Admiral who spent over forty years at sea, rising from Midshipman at the Naval Academy to Supreme Allied Commander at NATO. I studied literature and published eleven books, many dealing with the oceans. My PhD from Tufts University, where I served as Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, centered on the Law of the Sea Treaty. My father was a seagoing US Marine, my wife grew up in the Navy with a father who was a Navy pilot, and my daughter was a Navy nurse. Finally, my basset hound is named Penelope, after the wife of Ulysses who waited for her husband to return from ten years at sea.

James' book list on to know the sea

Discover why each book is one of James' favorite books.

Why did James love this book?

One of the great pure sailors of all time was Joshua Slocum. Born in 1844 in eastern Canada he remains one of the most renowned sailors of all time—deservedly, because he completed the first documented circumnavigation of the world alone in a sailboat. A severe-looking man in maturity with a completely bald head and a very full goatee. His four children were born at sea on his ships. And his adventures literally around the world are too numerous to enumerate here. Suffice to say, this was a man “rocked in the cradle of the deep,” with saltwater in his veins.

Toward the turn of the century, in his early fifties, he decided to build a small sailing vessel and sail alone around the world. It was the seminal moment in his life, and he’d describe it beautifully in this marvelous tale. Slocum faced all the perils one would expect: terrible…

By Joshua Slocum,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Sailing Alone Around the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The classic of its kind." —Travel World
"One of the most readable books in the whole library of adventure." —Sports Illustrated
"The finest single-handed adventure story yet written." —Seafarer
Challenged by an expert who said it couldn't be done, Joshua Slocum, an indomitable New England sea captain, set out in April of 1895 to prove that a man could sail alone around the world. 46,000 miles and a little over 3 years later, the proof was complete: Captain Slocum had performed the epic "first" single-handedly in a trusty 34-foot sloop called the "Spray." This is Slocum's own account of his…