The most recommended books about reality

Who picked these books? Meet our 23 experts.

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



By Philip K. Dick,

Book cover of Ubik

K.T. Seto Author Of Parallel: A Collection of Science Fiction Short Stories

From the list on science fiction that will mess with your head.

Who am I?

Do you remember the moment you found the thing you love most? I do. I was 9 and sitting on the floor in the corner of my neighborhood library reading Dune. That little girl is now a grown-up with a passion for books that stick with you. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, and coffee lover who has graduated from Dune to other things. Genres, authors, formats. But Science Fiction is my first and truest love. Especially Science fiction that messes with your head. Now I write what I love to read and strive to give my readers what my idols gave me. An escape.

K.T.'s book list on science fiction that will mess with your head

Why did K.T. love this book?

Ubik is one of the first Sci-Fi novels I read and has stuck with me the most. Moreso than Dune and any of the others I read during my first heady introduction to the genre where I was devouring any and everything my library had in that area. Dick created such a trippy but believable world I questioned my own reality for weeks after reading this book. Set in the future (for him since he was writing in the first half of the 20th century) in a world where we have colonized the moon and psychic powers are common, death is almost always preventable. Half-life is a thing and nothing is ever as it seems. I can’t describe more without giving it away but if you like your sci-fi with a heaping helping of psychological thriller, this is one to pick up. It’s a classic for a reason folks.…

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A classic science fiction tale of artifical worlds by one of the great American writers of the 20th century

Glen Runciter is dead.

Or is he?

Someone died in the explosion orchestrated by his business rivals, but even as his funeral is scheduled, his mourning employees are receiving bewildering messages from their boss. And the world around them is warping and regressing in ways which suggest that their own time is running out.

If it hasn't already.

Readers minds have been blown by Ubik:

'Sheer craziness, a book defying any straightforward synopsis . . . a unique time travel adventure…

Deep Secret

By Diana Wynne Jones,

Book cover of Deep Secret

Sally Odgers Author Of Elysian Dawn

From the list on set on distant worlds.

Who am I?

I’m Tasmanian. I’ve loved books set in other worlds since I encountered Robert Heinlein’s juveniles in my teens. I often find books set in the mundane world of here-and-now implausible or dull, because the adventures seem contrived or else result from characters doing something stupid or bad. If characters venture to other worlds, or other planets though—that’s a different ballgame! I read a great deal of fantasy and sci-fi, and when I was fourteen, I started writing my own. I enjoy a wide variety of genres, but my favourite stories are those where I can follow relatable characters through wild adventures and believe every line.  

Sally's book list on set on distant worlds

Why did Sally love this book?

Deep Secret is one of my all-time favourite books; one I reread often. There are no spaceships here, (though there is a Land Rover that isn’t!) but much of the action takes place on distant worlds; chiefly Thule and the Koryfonic Empire. Rupert Venables, the youngest Magid, faces not only the fall of the Koryfonic Empire and his task of finding the hidden heir, but also the need to choose a successor for his dead mentor, Stan. There’s so much to love about this chaotic, tangled, wonderful book; not least the combative but ultimately loving relationship between Rupert and Maree, the least likely of the candidates on Rupert’s list.

By Diana Wynne Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Chaos threatens the Earth when one of the powerful magicians assigned to balance good and evil in that corner of the universe dies and a junior magician must lead the search among the planet's denizens for an appropriate successor to the sorcerer's throne.

Book cover of The Nature of Personal Reality: A Seth Book

Barbara Wainwright Author Of The Power of Life Coaching Volume 3: Manifesting Transformation in Financial, Professional, Emotional, Spiritual, Wellness and Relationship Aspects

From the list on your journey to spiritual enlightenment.

Who am I?

Certified Master Life Coach and CEO of Wainwright Global, Barbara Wainwright is known as the most sought-after teacher in the coaching industry. She is famous for training and certifying over 6,500 professional coaches worldwide since 2006 and for empowering individuals to actualize their life purpose, live inspired lives, and connect with their true passion. Barbara is an international speaker, author, and educator with 3 books available on I have been seeking spiritual enlightenment and personal growth all of my adult life. Now I am sharing some of my strengths through my podcast and video series Show Up For God and God Will Show Up For You in Miraculous Ways.

Barbara's book list on your journey to spiritual enlightenment

Why did Barbara love this book?

This book was the beginning of my spiritual journey. 

Accepting that we are responsible for every aspect of our lives was a hard pill to swallow. Life happens for us, not to us. What is the purpose? The purpose (I believe) is to learn unconditional love and acceptance. 

Does that mean we have to be around people that hurt us? No. It means to accept people for who they are and move on.  

This book challenged me and my way of thinking. “Your thoughts create your reality” is explained in detail in this book. I’m grateful that this book was written.

By Jane Roberts,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Late in 1963, Jane Roberts and her husband were experimenting with a Ouija board when a personality calling himself 'Seth' began forming messages. Soon, Miss Roberts began passing easily into trance - her gestures, her eyes, her voice 'borrowed' by Seth himself. Now for those who want to put his theories to use, Seth has dictated this new book, The Nature of Personal Reality explains how unquestioned belief structure your experience - and how simply listing them can help remove barriers you have uknowingly thrown in your way. Along with other specific exercises for transforming your personal reality, Seth spells…


By H. P. Lovecraft, Les Edwards (illustrator), Stephen Jones (editor)

Book cover of Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft

S. T. Blake Author Of A Lunatic's Laugh: New weird Gothic mystery, always keeps you guessing

From the list on reality becoming unreal.

Who am I?

I’m an Anglo-Irish writer of stories that have a fantastical or paranormal worldview—often containing darkness, but also touched with satirical humour. I’ve always liked stories that seem rooted in everyday reality but then introduce inexplicable elements which unhinge the recognisable world in a surprising or unsettling fashion. For me, that description fits a range of books, including Fantastic Mr. Fox (which I remember being the first book I read through obsessively), Dracula, or Gormenghast; and writers such as Shirley Jackson, Philip K. Dick, J. G. Ballard, H.P. Lovecraft, Neil Gaiman, Caitlin R. Kiernan, and Thomas Ligotti.

S. T.'s book list on reality becoming unreal

Why did S. T. love this book?

Reading H. P. Lovecraft’s best stories, I always start to feel as if I’m digging away at the accepted reality of modern man, peeling it back to reveal another, older, truer reality hidden underneath. It’s an eerie process. In that final reality, I find the Old Gods are still waiting. Over the course of the past 10,000 years, perhaps they only blinked an eye. But now, each page I turn brings them closer. That abysmal reality of the Old Gods is only hinted at in the stories – Cthulhu is a presence rather than a character – but I don’t doubt for a moment how dangerous it is, because Lovecraft makes us believe, deep down, that their return is inevitable.

By H. P. Lovecraft, Les Edwards (illustrator), Stephen Jones (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WIKIPEDIA says: 'H.P. Lovecraft's reputation has grown tremendously over the decades, and he is now commonly regarded as one of the most important horror writers of the 20th century, exerting an influence that is widespread, though often indirect.'

H.P. Lovecraft's tales of the tentacled Elder God Cthulhu and his pantheon of alien deities were initially written for the pulp magazines of the 1920s and '30s. These astonishing tales blend elements of horror, science fiction and cosmic terror that are as powerful today as they were when they were first published.

This handsome leatherbound tome collects together the very best of…

The Mirror of Her Dreams

By Stephen R. Donaldson,

Book cover of The Mirror of Her Dreams

Steven J. Morris Author Of The Guardian of the Palace

From the list on transport select people from Earth to other realms.

Who am I?

Fantasy takes me to a place where I can get out of my own skin, explore new worlds, and live adventures. The stories that pulled folks from our world (for those of you as loosely tethered as I am, I refer to Earth) provided more connection to the idea that I could be in those fantasy worlds and involved in those stories. That’s the bonus level of escapism! I didn’t realize just how many of my favorite stories fell into that category until I wrote this. Those books were definitely instrumental in my writing, though I didn’t follow any of those specific formulas. I’ll have to write another grouping for the other major category of books that influenced my writing.

Steven's book list on transport select people from Earth to other realms

Why did Steven love this book?

The Mirror of Her Dreams, Book 1 of Mordant’s Need, is my all-time favorite book. A woman who believes herself dull and unlovable finds herself transported to a world where at least someone believes she is special. The world is doused in a spectacular kind of magic, which I won’t spoil. But the book focuses on someone from our world learning about another reality and growing into a much stronger person than she believed possible. 

By Stephen R. Donaldson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Stephen R. Donaldson changed the face of fantasy fiction forever. In The Mirror of Her Dreams, the astonishing first novel in the two-volume Mordant’s Need series, Donaldson shows us a world of wondrous beauty and seductive illusion, where mirrors hold the deadliest of magics and nothing is what it seems.  .  .  .

The daughter of rich but neglectful parents, Terisa Morgan lives alone in a New York City apartment, a young woman who has grown to doubt her own existence. Surrounded by the flat reassurance of mirrors, she leads an unfulfilled life—until the…

The Case Against Reality

By Donald Hoffman,

Book cover of The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes

Steven C. Hayes Author Of A Liberated Mind: The essential guide to ACT

From the list on understanding and shaping reality.

Who am I?

Steven C. Hayes is Nevada Foundation Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada. An author of 47 books and nearly 675 scientific articles. He is the developer of Relational Frame Theory, and has guided its extension to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) a popular evidence-based form of psychotherapy that is now practiced by tens of thousands of clinicians all around the world.

Steven's book list on understanding and shaping reality

Why did Steven love this book?

The most important source of conflict is the unwarranted idea that language maps on to “reality” – and that we can test the degree to which it does by the correspondence between our ideas and the organization of the “real world.” In that frame, differences in perception devolve to who is right and who is wrong, and intellectual or actual fighting is not far away. But this idea about “truth” is unjustified and wrong. What Donald Hoffman has done in this book is to show that our common sense understanding that our sensory and perceptual systems evolved to correspond to the world is a delusion. And when you appreciate that evolutionary epistemology does not support delusion, then you are much more able to cut yourself loose from unnecessary ontological assumptions and can instead focus on how to use your life to interact with this one world in ways that are…

By Donald Hoffman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Challenging leading scientific theories that claim that our senses report back objective reality, cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman argues that while we should take our perceptions seriously, we should not take them literally. How can it be possible that the world we see is not objective reality? And how can our senses be useful if they are not communicating the truth? Hoffman grapples with these questions and more over the course of this eye-opening work.

Ever since Homo sapiens has walked the earth, natural selection has favored perception that hides the truth and guides us toward useful action, shaping our senses…


By David J. Chalmers,

Book cover of Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy

Matt Zandstra Author Of PHP 8 Objects, Patterns, and Practice: Mastering OO Enhancements, Design Patterns, and Essential Development Tools

From the list on non-fiction that turn their topics upside down.

Who am I?

Software developers love to question the assumptions that underpin their practice. Some of the most exciting phases of my career have come about as a result of such questions. Often they are revolutionary in the literal sense that they ask you to turn your thinking upside down – to design systems from the bottom up rather than the top down, for example, or to write your tests before your components. I may not adopt every practice, but each challenge enriches the conceptual world in which I work. Over the years, I have come to look for similar shifts and inversions across other subject areas. Here are some recommendations from my reading.

Matt's book list on non-fiction that turn their topics upside down

Why did Matt love this book?

In between other projects, I have been conducting research for a non-fiction book about the particular kinds of parallel universe that every story world creates. And that's how I came across Reality+.

The question as to whether we are living in a simulation is beloved of moviegoers, stoners, and undergraduates (quite a large intersection in that Venn diagram). It's also worthy of serious philosophical and scientific inquiry. David J Chalmers is a philosopher, and his book treats the question with entertaining rigour.

The book goes beyond the simulation hypothesis, though, to examine the philosophical implications of our inevitable colonisation of the virtual realm. At the heart of Chalmers' argument is a rejection of the opposition between the real and the simulated.

Lived experience, Chalmers claims, is real experience, as freighted with value and possibility in the virtual world as it is out here in the probably real, possibly simulated universe.

By David J. Chalmers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Virtual reality is genuine reality; that's the central thesis of Reality+. In a highly original work of "technophilosophy," David J. Chalmers gives a compelling analysis of our technological future. He argues that virtual worlds are not second-class worlds, and that we can live a meaningful life in virtual reality. We may even be in a virtual world already.

Along the way, Chalmers conducts a grand tour of big ideas in philosophy and science. He uses virtual reality technology to offer a new perspective on long-established philosophical questions. How do we know that there's an external world? Is there a god?…


By Diana Wynne Jones,

Book cover of Hexwood

S. Kirk Pierzchala Author Of Echoes Through Distant Glass

From S.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Artist Educator Perceptive Patient Meticulous

S.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did S. love this book?

While I was literally lost a few times in the multilayered plot, I loved being caught up in this frothy, intricate fantasy!

I was in awe of how Jones juggles intergalactic politics and Earth-bound Arthurian legends with her typical deft touch and consummate skill. The story of a young British girl exploring a mysterious estate in her hometown contains plenty of twists and turns, all held together with a cast of appealing characters.

Jones’ lyrical tone, dry wit, and lighthearted touch make the occasional dark and frightening scenes tolerable for sensitive readers. 

By Diana Wynne Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"All I did was ask you for a role-playing game. You never warned me I'd be pitched into it for real! And I asked you for hobbits on a Grail quest, and not one hobbit have I seen!"

Hexwood Farm is a bit like human memory; it doesn't reveal its secrets in chronological order. Consequently, whenever Ann enters Hexwood, she cannot guarantee on always ending up in the same place or even the same time.

Hexwood Farm is full of machines that should not be tampered with - and when one is, the aftershock is felt throughout the universe. Only…

I Crawl Through It

By A.S. King,

Book cover of I Crawl Through It

Ruth Fox Author Of New Eden

From the list on fantasy that break the pattern.

Who am I?

I grew up reading books, and when I was around 10 years old I discovered science fiction and fantasy. What hooked me about these genres was the imagination and skill that would go into building an entire world which only exists between the covers of that book. But I also found that there was an intense enjoyment to be had from books that sat within those categories, but which were more unusual; books that push the boundaries of their genre or introduce something new.

Ruth's book list on fantasy that break the pattern

Why did Ruth love this book?

This is the story of four teenagers and their journey to cope with the anxieties of being a teenager, mixed with recovering from traumatic events. 

It is such an unusual book that it defies explanation. The best thing to do is to pick it up and read it for yourself. I found it confusing in a delightful way – the mixture of reality and dreamscape is captivating and leaves you wondering what is real and what is imaginary.

This book is chaotic and intense and left me feeling a bit dizzy, but I think if I had read it when I was a teenager it would have accurately reflected how I felt and dealt with the world!

By A.S. King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Crawl Through It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Four talented teenagers are traumatized--coping with grief, surviving date rape, facing the anxiety of standardized tests and the neglect of self-absorbed adults--and they'll do anything to escape the pressure. They'll even build an invisible helicopter, to fly far away to a place where everyone will understand them...until they learn the only way to escape reality is to face it head-on.

Book cover of The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook

Nick Inman Author Of A Guide to Mystical France: Secrets, Mysteries, Sacred Sites

From the list on seeing what isn’t there (or is it?).

Who am I?

A while ago I lived with the extraordinary spiritual Findhorn community in Scotland and that experience opened my eyes to the mysteries that we are and that surround us. Subsequently, I became a professional travel guide writer and as I visited churches and megaliths, it gradually occurred to me that the ancients may have recorded information useful to us if only we could work out how to interpret it. Twenty years ago I settled in France, a country densely packed with extraordinary places. Here, I have been able to deepen my understanding of the universal, greater reality of which we are part.  

Nick's book list on seeing what isn’t there (or is it?)

Why did Nick love this book?

Every mystery hunter needs a guide to symbols and this profusely illustrated book is the best I have found so far. Symbols, by definition, point directly to the non-obvious aspects of a greater reality. In religious buildings they are a way to escape the material and approach the numinous, which is beyond the scope of words. Sometimes the meaning of a symbol is clear but in other cases the explanation has been forgotten and you need suggestions as how to interpret it. This is where this book comes in.  

By Adele Nozedar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The book is in excellent condition.

You Are the Universe

By Deepak Chopra, Menas C. Kafatos,

Book cover of You Are the Universe: Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why It Matters

Larry Gottlieb Author Of Hoodwinked: Uncovering Our Fundamental Superstitions

From the list on to help us understand human being.

Who am I?

As long as I can remember, I have wanted to understand how the universe works. I studied physics with a firm belief in scientific materialism, the belief that all things can or will be explained by science, including consciousness. However, after earning an advanced degree I found myself no closer to a satisfying answer to my inquiry into the relationship between consciousness and the physical world. Then, a personal experience of unembodied consciousness convinced me that my answers would have to come from a reexamination of all that I had believed, an internal journey over decades that has borne fruit in unexpected and magical ways.

Larry's book list on to help us understand human being

Why did Larry love this book?

Deepak Chopra has been exploring the relationship between spirituality and science for many decades, and Menas Kafatos’s peer-reviewed research on cosmology and astrophysics, among other topics, is well documented. Their work in this book makes it clear that instead of living in a material, unknowing and uncaring universe, we instead live in what they call a human universe, one that is living, conscious, and evolving. This book makes the case convincingly that we create our own reality in a conscious universe that responds to the beliefs and thoughts that reside in our minds. I have watched Mr. Chopra speak numerous times, and I appreciate his loving and gentle delivery. This book gave me a condensed and satisfying explanation of his worldview.

By Deepak Chopra, Menas C. Kafatos,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked You Are the Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Deepak Chopra joins forces with leading physicist Menas Kafatos to explore some of the most important and baffling questions about our place in the world. 

"A riveting and absolutely fascinating adventure that will blow your mind wide open!" —Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi
What happens when modern science reaches a crucial turning point that challenges everything we know about reality? In this brilliant, timely, and practical work, Chopra and Kafatos tell us that we've reached just such a point. In the coming era, the universe will be completely redefined as a "human universe" radically unlike the…

Book cover of A Wanderer in the Spirit Lands

Keefe R.D. Author Of Royal Arcanum

From the list on veracious fantasy and strange reality.

Who am I?

I’m an Indonesian writer who loves the idea of supernatural fantasy. I’ve always liked daydreaming. It started when a story suddenly kept playing inside my head like a movie. And that story now became my first fantasy book, Royal Arcanum. Never I imagined I’ll be a full-time writer now. I feel blessed that my family supported my writing career.

Keefe's book list on veracious fantasy and strange reality

Why did Keefe love this book?

This book is very unique. Written through the psychic medium named Farnese in 1896. The spirit named Franchezzo told his experience in the afterlife. There is a fantasy and reality here. Even though we haven’t experienced death and don’t know how’s life in the afterlife, but I feel a strong connection with this book. I feel like I can believe everything this book depicted about the world on the other side.

By Franchezzo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Wanderer in the Spirit Lands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A supposed real life channeling about a slightly bad man who died, and starting his journey in the lower spirit realms, advancing his way into the higher. Once in the higher realms he joins a brotherhood who go deep into hell rescueing others who have changed and praying for rescue. This book gives a detailed glimpse into hell, what its like and its many levels. An entry level book for those who want to to know more of the spiritland structure.


By Tom Mccarthy,

Book cover of Remainder

Martin B. Reed Author Of The Hammond Conjecture: The Third Reich meets the Swinging Sixties, cyberpunk meets neuroscience, in a comic meta-thriller

From the list on neurotic misfits conjures dream and reality.

Who am I?

I was a student in 1968-71 (see photo) and the memories of that vanished world still haunt me. When I was supposed to be studying relativity and topology I was reading Blake and Jung, Marcuse and Mao—all misfits in their own way. After a long and undistinguished career as a mathematics lecturer in far-flung locations—Lesotho, New Guinea, Uxbridge—I retired in 2019 to write speculative comic fiction which would bring the Swinging Sixties back to life. Something of a misfit myself, I look at today's world and ask despairingly, “Is this really happening?” The books on my list provide me some solace.

Martin's book list on neurotic misfits conjures dream and reality

Why did Martin love this book?

If you were suddenly awarded 8.5 million pounds, what would you do with it? Would you take the advice of the financial consultants and invest it sensibly? How boring. If you were a visionary you might create a sensual paradise of your imagination. But if you are just an ordinary young working-class Londoner? You might remember an instant—on holiday, or at a party—when you felt happy and content, and decide to recreate it. 

This time the writing is sparse and matter-of-fact. I hardly noticed as the hero’s project proceeds gradually, logically into realms of absurdity, told with deadpan humour. For me, speculative fiction involves a world that is recognisable and familiar—but which gradually becomes ‘curiouser and curiouser’.

It’s a story that makes you think—though without telling you what to think.

By Tom Mccarthy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Traumatised by an accident that involves something falling from the sky and leaves him eight and a half million pounds richer, our hero spends his time and money obsessively reconstructing and re-enacting memories and situations from his past: a large building with piano music in the distance, the familiar smells and sounds of liver frying and spluttering, lethargic cats lounging on roofs until they tumble off them...But, when this fails to quench his thirst for authenticity, he starts reconstructing more and more violent events, including hold-ups and shoot-outs.

The Crock of Gold

By James Stephens,

Book cover of The Crock of Gold

Rhys Hughes Author Of My Rabbit's Shadow Looks Like a Hand

From the list on underrated offbeat humorous fantasy.

Who am I?

The world is a strange place and life can feel very weird at times, and I have long had the suspicion that a truly imaginative and inventive comedy has more to say about reality, albeit in an exaggerated and oblique way, than much serious gloomy work. Comedy has a wider range than people often think. It doesn’t have to be sweet, light, and uplifting all the time. It can be dark, unsettling and suspenseful, or profoundly philosophical. It can be political, mystical, paradoxical. There are humorous fantasy novels and short story collections that have been sadly neglected or unjustly forgotten, and I try to recommend those books to readers whenever I can.

Rhys' book list on underrated offbeat humorous fantasy

Why did Rhys love this book?

This book is luminous. The world of everyday reality and the world of magic overlap and interact and influence each other. There are philosophers and gods, leprechauns and (once again) taking animals, and women wiser than all of them put together. The plot concerns a crime that never occurred and various types of bizarre trouble that result from it. Adventures follow adventures in a picaresque manner, not all of them necessarily connecting with any other, a free and easy approach that gives great fluidity to the whimsical narrative.

By James Stephens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Crock of Gold (1912), one of three original novels by James Stephens, is a work only a master of fiction and folklore could imagine. Taking up the major philosophical and psychological concerns of the early-twentieth century-over a decade before works by T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf, among others, would cement literary Modernism's place in history-Stephens' novel is a groundbreaking and important work.

The text centers on the Philosopher and his wife, the Thin Woman, who undergo a series of journeys and harrowing trials. Faced with danger both human and divine, the two characters are forced to weather…

Duma Key

By Stephen King,

Book cover of Duma Key

Sophie Jaff Author Of Love Is Red

From the list on escaping reality.

Who am I?

When I was eleven, I immigrated to a new country and was bullied at school. I retreated into books where I could visit secret worlds filled with ghosts, magicians, and dark power. I needed a place to hide and dream up my revenge. It seems I was destined to write scary novels. My books and various short stories are a blend of mystery, psychological thriller, romance, paranormal, and the supernatural. I still love to visit new worlds but am content to live near an official Halloween town with my young family. If you haven’t read these books yet, I envy you for the mind-bending journey you’re about to embark upon. Bon Voyage.

Sophie's book list on escaping reality

Why did Sophie love this book?

You know that frightening jolt when a painting reaches out and grabs you? Duma Key is your own private gallery you might never (want to) escape from.  

I love this book not only because it was written by one of my all-time favorite writers but it’s about an artist and the act of creating art, which is King’s specialty (think Lisey’s Story, The Shining, or Bag of Bones).

The protagonist Edgar Freemantle is a successful contractor in Minnesota until he suffers a terrible accident. He flees to Duma Key, a lush, oppressive island packed with mystery and malevolence, and unwillingly begins to paint these amazing terrifying works with life-altering results. 

Paintings that might possess you, islands with dark pasts, curses coming true?

Now, that’s my kind of book. 

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Master storyteller Stephen King’s classic, terrifying #1 New York Times bestseller of what happens when the barrier between our world and that of the supernatural is breached.

After a terrible construction site accident severs Edgar Freemantle’s right arm, scrambles his mind, and implodes his marriage, the wealthy Minnesota builder faces the ordeal of rehabilitation, all alone and full of rage. Renting a house on Duma Key—a stunningly beautiful and eerily undeveloped splinter off the Florida coast—Edgar slowly emerges from his prison of pain to bond with Elizabeth Eastlake, a sick, elderly woman whose roots are tangled deep in this place.…

Dark Matter

By Blake Crouch,

Book cover of Dark Matter

Andre Soares Author Of The Sunflower Protocol

From Andre's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Storyteller Traveler Bookworm Student of life Activist

Andre's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Andre love this book?

A family man is kidnapped by a mysterious individual and sent to an alternate timeline. Another time travel epic unfolding against the backdrop of a conspiracy, Dark Matter made my Favorite Reads of 2023 list. For very specific reasons. 

It is not a tour-de-force in character development or classic literature, but a very slick high-octane thriller written like a screenplay: the journey is visual, the progression linear, and the pacing intense.

It’s an ode to my screenwriting days and I love how Blake Crouch was able to combine two different mediums (the novel and the screenplay) to shape a story you cannot put down, one moving to the beat of a filmmaker’s drums. 

There are very interesting themes, also: how decisions bear unexpected ramifications, the true meaning of significance, or even the manipulative nature of the corporate complex. 

A must-read for any fan of time travel thrillers.

By Blake Crouch,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Dark Matter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Brilliant. . . I think Blake Crouch just invented something new' - Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher series.

From Blake Crouch, the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human - a relentlessly surprising thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we'll go to claim the lives we dream of, perfect for fans of Stranger Things and Ready Player One.

'Are you happy in your life?'
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakes to find…


By Frank Wilczek,

Book cover of Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality

Sallie Tisdale Author Of The Lie about the Truck: Survivor, Reality TV, and the Endless Gaze

From Sallie's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Zen teacher Avid reader Wingspan addict Baker

Sallie's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Sallie love this book?

Understand quantum mechanics? Dark matter? The malleable nature of space-time? Neither do I, exactly. But I am considerably less confused after reading this.

Wilczek is a Nobel laureate, but here, he is a nerd on fire with his love of the universe. Chapter titles include things like “There’s Plenty of Space” and “There are Very Few Ingredients.”

He writes with great clarity and even joy about the grand mystery in which we have so briefly appeared. 

By Frank Wilczek,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Fundamentals might be the perfect book for the winter of this plague year. . . . Wilczek writes with breathtaking economy and clarity, and his pleasure in his subject is palpable.” —The New York Times Book Review

One of our great contemporary scientists reveals the ten profound insights that illuminate what everyone should know about the physical world

In Fundamentals, Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek offers the reader a simple yet profound exploration of reality based on the deep revelations of modern science. With clarity and an infectious sense of joy, he guides us through the essential concepts that form our…

Book cover of The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories

Kenan Orhan Author Of I Am My Country: And Other Stories

From the list on polyphonic story collections.

Who am I?

Perhaps because I get bored easily, or maybe because I hear voices, I have found that my writing lends itself to exploration (different points of view, traditions, styles). I write to learn and to play. I distrust writers whose characters all sound like them, live lives like their own. It feels completely unfanciful, completely disinterested in the long literary tradition of make-believe. Writing and reading, at the end of the day, are ways for me to escape boredom meaningfully, and why should I wish to do that with stories that don’t offer up a small amount of the great kaleidoscope that is life?

Kenan's book list on polyphonic story collections

Why did Kenan love this book?

The first story alone has enough jampacked into it to be more thrilling and entertaining than many novels.

A team of Confederate rejects man a rudimentary submarine on a  mission near the end of the Civil War. From there we are taken across eras and across the globe to stories of near-future whaling missions that are hastening climate catastrophe, imperial Russian ships stuck on ice, a camp counselor taking his charges on ever-zanier adventures.

Though largely unified in their explorations of people plugging away in spite of ill-fated circumstances, the range of this author’s characters dazzles. As much as this is a master course on authentically capturing voices of all ages, places, and periods, Rutherford convincingly captures location as well using it as a character as much as setting.

By Ethan Rutherford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The stories in The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories, a collection from Ethan Rutherford, map the surprising ways in which the world we think we know can unexpectedly reveal its darker contours.

In stories that are alternately funny, persuasive, and compelling, unforgettable characters are confronted with, and battle against, the limitations of their lives.

Rutherford’s work has been selected by Alice Sebold for inclusion in the volume of The Best American Short Stories that she edited, and also published in Ploughshares, One Story, and American Short Fiction.