The most recommended allegory books

Who picked these books? Meet our 61 experts.

61 authors created a book list connected to allegory, and here are their favorite allegory books.
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What type of allegory book?


The Time Machine

By H.G. Wells,

Book cover of The Time Machine

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

From the 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

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.

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…

Hunter of Demons

By Jordan L. Hawk,

Book cover of Hunter of Demons

J.L. Gribble Author Of Steel Victory

From the list on blending fantasy and alternate history.

Who am I?

With a graduate degree in Writing Popular Fiction (seriously, someone gave me a degree for writing an urban fantasy book), I know that genres are nothing more than marketing terms that tell bookstores which shelves to put the books on. As an author, combining genres and subverting their topes allows me to stretch their potential and tell fresh stories that might not find an easy home on a single shelf, so it’s also important for me to read and support those making the same attempts. Stories that adhere to strict reader expectations will always find a home, but I’ve always had way more fun exploring the other possibilities.

J.L.'s book list on blending fantasy and alternate history

Why did J.L. love this book?

If a happy medium between those two extremes exists, you can find it in the series kicked off by this novella. If the government doesn’t demand complete control over magic, you can bet they’re still going to dedicate an agency to it. The stigma in this world against the “paranormally-abled” becomes an allegory for stigma against other minority populations, used to good effect in terms of world-building and character development. The stuffy government agent and the civilian getting caught up in a case together are another well-worn trope, but Hawk excels in breaking stereotypes through the small touches, which is important for intricate storytelling in shorter forms.

By Jordan L. Hawk,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"The SPECTR series is paranormal romance with bite, for readers who’re looking for something a little extraordinary." - The Novel Approach Reviews

What happens when an exorcist falls in love with a demon he's sworn to destroy?

Caleb Jansen’s life is going from bad to worse. First he’s possessed by an opinionated vampire spirit who drinks the blood of demons, then pursued by a fundamentalist group who want him dead.

His only hope is hotshot federal exorcist John Starkweather…the last man Caleb should be falling for, and the only one he wants in his bed.

Shattered Reflection

By Madisyn Carlin,

Book cover of Shattered Reflection

M. Liz Boyle Author Of Chased

From M. Liz's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Homeschooling mama Adventure seeker Rock climber Sunshine fan Brainstormer

M. Liz's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, M. Liz's 6, 10, and 12-year-old's favorite books.

Why did M. Liz love this book?

This author has vivid world-building and delivers a powerful story where good and evil battle.

Each of the four main characters has internal conflict, and I fully enjoyed the multiple points of view. There are a few gruesome descriptions involving slavery and the evil lord’s torture methods, but overall, the book is very clean.

There is no swearing, which I love. The characters follow God’s design for love and marriage, and the memorable story is a clear allegory to the Bible.

Mature teens and adults who want Christian fiction with themes of forgiveness, faithfulness, and God’s ability to change hearts should check out Shattered Reflection. 

By Madisyn Carlin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Can hope be found for four shattered souls?

Princess Nordica Icerri’s crown will be purchased with blood—her blood. Now the sole heir to the throne, she is determined to be the queen the Snowlands deserve, but that comes with a price: a numbed heart and soul. Only when she meets kidnapped physician Loren Alocer does Nordica allow herself to hope she can become queen without completely losing herself. But not everyone wants what’s best for the Snowlands, and Nordica’s upcoming rule is compromised at every turn. Can the criminal physician—and his faith—thaw Nordica’s heart, or is she destined to be…

Book cover of The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages

Amy Lee Kite Author Of Goodbye, Gus

From the list on children and adults coping with the loss of a pet.

Who am I?

Ever since I was a young girl, I always turned to writing to work through anything that was happening in my life, ranging from the first time I experienced loss to my parents’ divorce. I have since published three children’s books on tough topics as I have aimed to provide parents, children, and teachers with tools to discuss loss and change. My most recent book, Goodbye, Gus is specifically about the loss of a pet. My dad died when I was 21, and that was the first death (other than my dogs) that I ever experienced. I was able to experience first-hand the fact that the loss of my pets helped prepare me to cope with grief, and I also learned that we can all focus on what we did have and hang on to those memories forever. 

Amy's book list on children and adults coping with the loss of a pet

Why did Amy love this book?

I first read this book as a 21-year-old woman who had just lost her father. Other than losing pets, this was my first experience with loss. The book Freddie the Leaf seemed like a children’s book, but its themes and messages were so relatable, even though I was a senior in college. I remember the simple way that the concepts of passing seasons and life and death were portrayed in such a comforting manner, and I was so grateful that someone gifted me with this book during the most difficult time in my life. 

By Leo Buscaglia,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fall of Freddie the Leaf as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The beloved classic from New York Times bestselling author Leo Buscaglia that has helped thousands of children and adults come to grips with life and death-a warm, wonderfully wise, and strikingly simple story about a leaf named Freddie.

Appropriate for all ages-from toddlers to adults-and featuring beautiful nature photographs throughout, this poignant, thought-provoking story follows Freddie and his companions as their leaves change with the passing seasons and the coming of winter, finally falling to the ground with winter's snow.

An inspiring allegory that illustrates the delicate balance between life and death, The Fall of Freddie the Leaf has helped…


By Karen Hancock,

Book cover of Arena

Jack Kelley Author Of Crystal and the Underlings: The future of humanity

From Jack's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Passionate Storyteller

Jack's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Jack love this book?

Karen Hancock does a masterful job of taking readers on an adventure in a faraway world but with moral lessons for the here and now.

This book represents a quintessential battle of good versus evil and offers a vivid warning about what happens when we follow our own devices instead of walking by faith.

The book delves even deeper and explores what it means to live a peaceful, purposeful, and meaningful life.

By Karen Hancock,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Repackaged Award Winner From Karen Hancock

Callie Hayes is living a life of fear and disillusionment when she volunteers for a psychology experiment that promises to turn her life around. As her orientation proceeds, Callie becomes frightened by the secrecy and evasion she encounters. When she demands to be released from the program, she is suddenly dropped into a terrifying alien world and into a perilous battle between good and evil. With limited resources and only a few cryptic words to guide her, Callie embarks on a life-changing journey. Will she decipher the plans the Benefactor has established for…

In a Far-Off Land

By Stephanie Landsem,

Book cover of In a Far-Off Land

Rhonda Ortiz Author Of In Pieces

From the list on historical romances for armchair Theologians.

Who am I?

I’m a writer married to a theologian. My husband and I often discuss Augustine and Aquinas, Austen and Tolstoy, Christie and Sayers, and trends in popular fiction—when we’re not discussing Frog and Toad, Elephant and Piggie, baby diapers, and what to make for dinner. Love stories have long been my favorite stories, and I’ve always enjoyed historical settings. My award-winning novel In Pieces, a 1793 Boston-set historical romance with elements of family drama, society drama, and political suspense, combines all these interests. I even managed to sneak in a diaper-changing scene.

Rhonda's book list on historical romances for armchair Theologians

Why did Rhonda love this book?

Biblical allegory is hard to do well. Bible stories themselves have infinite depths, but their allegories are often didactic, especially when author parallels the original story too closely. Stephanie Landem’s In a Far-Off Land is anything but didactic. Set in 1930s Hollywood, the novel is equal parts Prodigal Son retelling, romance, and murder mystery. By allowing the story to take on a life of its own, Landsem avoids the Sunday School vibe, and in the end, I understood the Prodigal Son archetypal characters better.

By Stephanie Landsem,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In a Far-Off Land as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Immersive, enchanting, and gripping, In A Far-Off Land is do-not-miss historical fiction.” —Patti Callahan, NYT Bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis

It’s 1931 in Hollywood, and Minerva Sinclaire is on the run for a murder she didn’t commit.

As the Great Depression hits the Midwest, Minerva Sinclaire runs away to Hollywood, determined to make it big and save the family farm. But beauty and moxie don’t pay the bills in Tinseltown, and she’s caught in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation, and compromise. Finally, she’s about to sign with a major studio and make up for it all. Instead, she…

The Third Policeman

By Flann O'Brien,

Book cover of The Third Policeman

Robert Wynne-Simmons Author Of Blood on Satan's Claw: or, The Devil's Skin

From the list on supernatural challenging the way we see the world.

Who am I?

I was born a polymath in Cheam, Surrey, England. Even as a child I had a passionate interest in music, architecture, film, poetry, drama, and storytelling. I lived very much in the world of my imagination and was able to apply it to a wide variety of projects. I have worked in Film, TV, Theatre, and have written scripts, plays, novels, songs, a musical, and an opera, all different in feeling. I have therefore had a special interest in innovative artistic work, and story-telling which pushes the boundaries of the imagination.

Robert's book list on supernatural challenging the way we see the world

Why did Robert love this book?

This gem of a book is a dark comedy of extraordinary originality. It explores the moment of a murder and stretches it to the length of a short novel. 

Unlike his hero James Joyce, who sometimes took himself a little too seriously, Briain O'Nolan (Flann O'Brien) remains with his tongue firmly in his cheek. As I lived and worked in Dublin I have a special association with this novel.

If you have ever travelled along the magical Vico Road, south of Dublin, you will have passed the house of De Selby, the fictional annotator of the book, whose scientific theories turn all the laws of nature on their head. In this book nothing is quite what it seems, and the underlying theme darker than the comedy suggests. 

It is a book very much for the connoisseur of the unexpected.

By Flann O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A masterpiece of black humour from the renown comic and acclaimed author of 'At Swim-Two-Birds' - Flann O'Brien.

A thriller, a hilarious comic satire about an archetypal village police force, a surrealistic vision of eternity, the story of a tender, brief, unrequited love affair between a man and his bicycle, and a chilling fable of unending guilt, 'The Third Policeman' is comparable only to 'Alice in Wonderland' as an allegory of the absurd.

Distinguished by endless comic invention and its delicate balancing of logic and fantasy, 'The Third Policeman' is unique in the English language.

A Rose for Emily

By William Faulkner,

Book cover of A Rose for Emily

Vicki Olsen Author Of A Sparrow Falls

From the list on vulnerable protagonists with family secrets.

Who am I?

My idyllic childhood while following my father, a US Air Force JAG officer, around the country and around the world did not prepare me to understand and recognize an abusive relationship. I had never seen or experienced abuse until I married. After twenty years of emotional abuse, which eventually led to domestic violence, I was able to leave it behind. It is only with therapy that I came to understand the early warning signs, why I had ignored them and why I stayed so long. While preparing to write A Sparrow Falls, I read many personal accounts of domestic violence and child abuse and conducted an interview with a survivor of child sexual abuse.

Vicki's book list on vulnerable protagonists with family secrets

Why did Vicki love this book?

I cheated a little here; this one isn’t a novel, it is instead, a short story (or perhaps a novella). I couldn’t put it down and stayed up into the wee hours reading it in a single sitting. Granted, it is a short story, but this is still an unusual feat for me. 

What an unforgettable ending.

If you haven’t experienced classic Southern Gothic, this is a wonderful introduction to the genre...follow it with Flannery O’Connor’s “Wise Blood” and you will be hooked. If your high school English teacher did not introduce you to William Faulkner, A Rose For Emily is a great place to start – or “As I Lay Dying.” 

Faulkner’s characters are among some of the most memorable in American literature.

By William Faulkner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Rose for Emily as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The short tale A Rose for Emily was first published on April 30, 1930, by American author William Faulkner. This narrative is set in Faulkner's fictional city of Jefferson, Mississippi, in his fictional county of Yoknapatawpha County. It was the first time Faulkner's short tale had been published in a national magazine.
Emily Grierson, an eccentric spinster, is the subject of A Rose for Emily. The peculiar circumstances of Emily's existence are described by a nameless narrator, as are her strange interactions with her father and her lover, Yankee road worker Homer Barron.

Book cover of Lights Out in Wonderland

Tim Slee Author Of Taking Tom Murray Home

From the list on upbeat books for tough times.

Who am I?

At a time when our news feeds are dominated by war and disease and brain-dead politicians I find my escape in the genre known as ‘uplit’ or ‘uplifing literature.’ These are feel-good stories that have a simple goal, to introduce us to characters like ourselves – human, fallible, unreasonable, and flawed – and take us on a journey with them through thick and thin. Not every story ends in the happiest of endings but the reader is always left with a sigh of satisfaction and a feeling of hope. And couldn’t we all do with a bit more of that?

Tim's book list on upbeat books for tough times

Why did Tim love this book?

Before ‘uplit’ was even invented, there was DBC Pierre. His fiction has been described as a ‘joyful celebration of the human spirit’ and that is none more evident than in his protagonist in Lights Out, Gabriele Brockwell, a twenty-something narcissistic pleasure seeker optimistically stumbling through life before ultimately finding his place in it. A book that leaves you with the thought that optimism is the key to turning bad luck into good.

By DBC Pierre,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Gabriel Brockwell, aesthete, poet, philosopher, disaffected twenty-something decadent, is thinking terminal. His philosophical enquiries, the abstractions he indulges, and how these relate to a life lived, all point in the same direction. His destination is Wonderland. The nature and style of the journey is all that's to be decided. Taking in London, Tokyo, Berlin and the Galapagos Islands, "Lights Out In Wonderland" documents Gabriel Brockwell's remarkable global odyssey. Committed to the pursuit of pleasure and in search of the Bacchanal to obliterate all previous parties, Gabriel's adventure takes in a spell in rehab, a near-death experience with fugu ovaries, a…

Orphan Island

By Laurel Snyder,

Book cover of Orphan Island

Jenny Hubbard Author Of And We Stay

From the list on girls on islands.

Who am I?

Good question. I’ve always found equilibrium in quiet, unpopulated spaces—woods, gardens, and, of course, books. Now, at 56, even though I am happily married and close to friends and family I love, I seek the solitude that nurtured me in childhood. I wonder why. Did the pandemic nudge me to embrace my most essential self? This is why I chose the theme “Girls on Islands” because even if it’s not our natural state, don’t we all experience isolation? Yet, as John Donne reminds us, no girl is an island; she is “a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” The following works of fiction embody this duality.

Jenny's book list on girls on islands

Why did Jenny love this book?

Long-listed for the National Book Award in 2017, this fable may have been written for kids, but it has haunted me for four years. A green wooden boat delivers one child per year to a magical, adult-free island. But the boat does not depart empty; an older child must climb aboard. This elegant allegory invites readers of any age to contemplate what childhood is and what it means to have to leave it behind.

By Laurel Snyder,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A National Book Award Longlist title!

"A wondrous book, wise and wild and deeply true." —Kelly Barnhill, Newbery Medal-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon

"This is one of those books that haunts you long after you read it. Thought-provoking and magical." —Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series

In the tradition of modern-day classics like Sara Pennypacker's Pax and Lois Lowry's The Giver comes a deep, compelling, heartbreaking, and completely one-of-a-kind novel about nine children who live on a mysterious island.

On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing…