The best volcano books

Who picked these books? Meet our 16 experts.

16 authors created a book list connected to volcanos, and here are their favorite volcano books.
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What type of volcano book?



By Robert Harris,

Book cover of Pompeii

Luciana Cavallaro Author Of Search for the Golden Serpent

From the list on fantasy that blends the past and the imaginary.

Who am I?

In my teens, I read a book by Charles Berlitz titled Atlantis: the lost continent. I was enthralled and fascinated about this lost race of people, who were technically and sophisticated advance society and on one fateful day, vanished. My appetite for Greek mythology and ancient history grew from there, and I wanted to learn more about various ancient cultures and their mythologies. I eventually studied ancient history and continue my education as new archaeological discoveries and advancements are made. It wasn’t until a trip to Europe and seeing the Roman Forum and Colosseum, that I was inspired to write and combine my love for mythology and ancient history into historical fiction fantasy.

Luciana's book list on fantasy that blends the past and the imaginary

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

Why did Luciana love this book?

I included this book due to the historical research that went into writing this story.

Pompeii is told from the POV of a young engineer who takes over the maintenance of the reservoir that brings water to the city and has run dry. Young Attilius needs to determine how and why. The narrative highlights the months and weeks ahead of the devastating eruption that destroyed Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae.

Attilius faces corruption as he navigates the treacherous path to discovering the truth of the city’s impending doom and those who seek to reap financially from the city’s demise.

By Robert Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A pulse-rate-speeding masterpiece' Sunday Times

'A stunning novel . . . the subtlety and power of its construction holds our attention to the end' The Times

During a sweltering week in late August, as Rome's richest citizens relax in their villas around Pompeii and Herculaneum, there are ominous warnings that something is going wrong. Wells and springs are failing, a man has disappeared, and now the greatest aqueduct in the world - the mighty Aqua Augusta - has suddenly ceased to flow . . .

Through the eyes of four characters - a young engineer, an adolescent girl, a corrupt…

The Birthgrave

By Tanith Lee,

Book cover of The Birthgrave

David Wellington Author Of Paradise-1

From the list on genre mashups in science fiction and fantasy.

Who am I?

Science fiction and Fantasy have always been about exploring new ideas in novel ways—right from the beginning, Mary Shelley saw the story of Frankenstein as a chance to explore ideas of liberation and equality that, at the time, were too uncomfortable for mainstream stories. Since then many writers have found success by mashing up sf with other literary genres to discover the boundaries—and the gray areas—between them. In my latest book I explore the deep connection between horror (the fear of the unknown) and sf (the drive toward wonder). Some of my most cherished books have similarly charted these murky borderlands.

David's book list on genre mashups in science fiction and fantasy

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

Why did David love this book?

I absolutely cannot spoil what might be the greatest twist in genre lit, so you’re just going to have to take my word on this one.

Lee was a master of character-driven plots and this one starts with an oldie but goodie trope: the character who wakes up with amnesia and has to explore a whole world to find herself. Our heroine has no name and no face—she always wears a mask—but the mystery of why she does so will keep your turning page after page.

If the title alone doesn’t make you want to read this book, you need to ask what happened to your sense of wonder. Don’t worry, though, because this novel will bring it back from the dead.

By Tanith Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A mysterious woman awakens in the heart of a dormant volcano. She comes forth into a brutal ancient world transformed by genocidal pestilence, fierce beauty, and cultural devastation. She has no memory of herself, and she could be anyone-mortal woman, demoness lover, last living heir to a long-gone race, or a goddess of destruction. Compelled by the terrifying Karrakaz to search for the mysterious Jade that is the answer to her secret self, she embarks on a journey of timeless wonder.

Rediscover this realm of brilliant cruel beauty and seductive immortal ruins, of savage war and grand conquest, of falling…

Book cover of Old Rock (Is Not Boring)

Lisa Wheeler Author Of People Don't Bite People

From the list on picture books that are even better read aloud.

Who am I?

I'm an award-winning children's book author who loves everything about kid's books--including the smell! With over 50 books on bookstore shelves-- which have been read aloud hundreds of times all over the world-- I feel that I've become an expert on the subject.

Lisa's book list on picture books that are even better read aloud

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

Why did Lisa love this book?

Old Rock's friends think that he has a boring life. Yes, he's been sitting in the same spot for many, many years. But Old Rock tells them about the time he flew (out of a volcano!) and the dinosaurs he met and the time he lived inside a glacier. Seems Old Rock's life has not only been long, but very exciting! With the various characters in the book, there's fun dialogue begging to be read aloud. Your budding geologist, paleontologists, and historians will love to hear you read this book aloud.

By Deb Pilutti,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Old Rock (Is Not Boring) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Kirkus Best Book of 2020

A Parents Magazine Best Book of 2020

Quirky charm infuses this tale of Old Rock's life story, which is much more exciting than you'd expect.

Old Rock has been sitting in the same spot in the pine forest for as long as anyone can remember. Spotted Beetle, Tall Pine, and Hummingbird think just sitting there must be boring, but they are in for a wonderful surprise.

Fabulous tales of adventurous travel, exotic scenery, entertaining neighbors, and more from Old Rock's life prove it has been anything but boring.

Great storytellers come in all shapes,…

The Storm Runner

By J. C. Cervantes,

Book cover of The Storm Runner

C. Lee McKenzie Author Of Sign of the Green Dragon

From the list on middle grade stories for adventure lovers.

Who am I?

I’ve been hooked on adventure stories since I started reading. When I became serious about writing for young readers, I couldn’t resist creating fearless kids out to tackle. Indiana Jones-sized dangers. While I love writing these kinds of stories, I can’t resist reading them either. If there’s an added element of magic or sci-fi time-travel, I have to find out what happens and how. The most fun is to read these stories aloud to the young readers in my family in hopes they’ll also fall in love with adventure/fantasy—maybe one of them will even write a few of these books. That would be fabulous.

C.'s book list on middle grade stories for adventure lovers

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

Why did C. love this book?

This book is filled the Mayan mythology. I found that the magic was fascinating, and I couldn’t get enough of the monsters, gods, and giants. They make for an exciting read—even if you’re not a middle grader.

By J. C. Cervantes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents J.C. Cervantes' take on Maya mythology featuring a boy who has to stop the god of death.

"A perfect storm of inspiring heroes, surprising twists, and some seriously scary monsters. This hilarious, expertly-plotted adventure keeps you racing through the pages and leaves you desperate for the next book (and craving a steaming mug of hot chocolate)!" --Shannon Messenger, New York Times best-selling author of the Keeper of the Lost Cities series and the Sky Fall series

Zane has always enjoyed exploring the dormant volcano near his home in New Mexico, even though hiking it is…


By Mike Mullin,

Book cover of Ashfall

Christopher Joubert Author Of Briskwood Blood Rain

From the list on apocalyptic events and surviving in confinement.

Who am I?

Apocalyptic novels have always been a favorite genre of mine. It’s interesting seeing the lengths that people will go through to survive when all factors are stacked against them. The list of novels below is some of the many great reads that opened my eyes to this genre. The characters in these novels are oftentimes faced with challenges that seem impossible to the reader but are left feeling so fulfilled after seeing a character complete the difficult tasks. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have!

Christopher's book list on apocalyptic events and surviving in confinement

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

Why did Christopher love this book?

This is one of the novels I read in high school that stuck with me. Mike Mullin’s Ashfall is a story about a supervolcano that erupts and causes unimaginable terror and chaos for a vast amount of the population. The unfortunate event that takes place in this novel opened my eyes to the power of Mother Nature. My own novel centers around an apocalyptic rain event; Ashfall is comparable to my own book in a way that shows how quickly Mother Nature can become deadly when angered.

By Mike Mullin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don't realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano, so large that the caldera can only be seen by plane or satellite. And by some scientific measurements, it could be overdue for an eruption. For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to seach for his family…

Under The Volcano

By Malcolm Lowry,

Book cover of Under The Volcano

John Andrew Fredrick Author Of The King Of Good Intentions Part Three

From the list on reads if your rock ‘n’ roll party days are over.

Who am I?

I’m a perfect of exemplar of an author whose party days are decidedly not over, but I’m doubtless at the age/stage where I’m bloody contemplating at least paring down my intakes plural. Not that I’m still at it like a Sophomore or anything but I’m hanging in there. I get a great, tingly buzz (you had to have seen this coming!) recommending great books to keen readers. I live in a library—essentially—and friends who visit for a beer or a spliff most often leave with a book I’ve given them. Now you lot are gonna ask me to lend you some scratch! Now you’ve gone and done it, John! Haha.

John's book list on reads if your rock ‘n’ roll party days are over

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

Why did John love this book?

Lowry is the best stylist in the history of the English Language bar two other classic writers—Jonathan Swift and Samuel Johnson. 

The amount of alcohol consumed in this brutally beautiful novel is staggering to say the least. Its zesty darkness and, er, volcanic poetry is a stone-cold trip. If you don’t remember (or never tasted) mescal or that time you had too many margaritas, Lowry’s masterpiece will do you well. 

By Malcolm Lowry,

Why should I read it?

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

Book cover of Journey to the Center of the Earth

Dael Sassoon Author Of The Lightbringer: Through the Elder Stone

From the list on the intersect of fantasy, nature, and travel.

Who am I?

I've always been fascinated by stories of fantastical lands where people have powers and meet a variety of otherworldly obstacles that they have to surmount. During my travels as an environmental researcher, I found myself in the depths of the Amazon rainforest and the frozen terrains of Iceland and have become inspired by the nature that surrounded me, as well as the myths and legends of other cultures. Through my words, I try and evoke a sense of enchantment and escapism, in the attempt to invite the reader to travel with me to mysterious lands full of unexpected challenges, inhabited by eccentric people and the persistent threat of powerful enemies.

Dael's book list on the intersect of fantasy, nature, and travel

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

Why did Dael love this book?

A beautiful classic. To me, this is perhaps the book that started it all—my passion for exploration, nature, planet Earth. Featuring a geologist and his nephew as its main characters, this book tells the story of the ultimate trip to the unknown and is filled with old-fashioned mystery, suspense, and thrill. Verne is the master of painting through words and instills a fervid curiosity in the reader as they are accompanied through a fantastical subterranean world filled with endless seas, primordial forests, and prehistoric creatures. Needless to say, this story is magical and a gold mine for the imagination of adventure-lovers. 

By Jules Verne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Journey to the Center of the Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The reason Verne is still read by millions today is simply that he was one of the best storytellers who ever lived." — Arthur C. Clarke
An adventurous geology professor chances upon a manuscript in which a 16th-century explorer claims to have found a route to the earth's core. Professor Lidenbrock can't resist the opportunity to investigate, and with his nephew Axel, he sets off across Iceland in the company of Hans Bjelke, a native guide. The expedition descends into an extinct volcano toward a sunless sea, where they encounter a subterranean world of luminous rocks, antediluvian forests, and fantastic…

Under the Mountain

By Maurice Gee,

Book cover of Under the Mountain

Mandy Hager Author Of Singing Home The Whale

From the list on Aotearoa New Zealand's top writers for young adults.

Who am I?

I love Aotearoa New Zealand books! Our writers are brave, feisty, original - and living in ‘the land of the long white cloud’ at the bottom of the globe gives us a unique take on the world that permeates through everything we write. But we struggle to get our voices heard internationally, so far from the rest of you! This is your chance to push out your boundaries and explore stories that derive from a culture very different from your own, while sharing the same human emotions that bring us all together. As one of these writers, I challenge you to check us out – you won’t be disappointed!

Mandy's book list on Aotearoa New Zealand's top writers for young adults

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

Why did Mandy love this book?

This book for younger YA’s has some of the creepiest villains you’ll ever meet and knuckle-biting tension as the heroes are chased by the evil Wilberforces, slug-like shapeshifters who live under Auckland’s extinct volcanoes. Their goal is the destruction of the world and only red-haired twins Rachel and Theo Matheson can stop them, with the help of the strange Mr. Jones, who helps the twins unleash their supernatural power.

By Maurice Gee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beneath the extinct volcanoes surrounding the city, giant creatures are waking from a spellbound sleep that has lasted thousands of years. Their goal is the destruction of the world. Rachel and Theo Matheson are twins. Apart from having red hair, there is nothing remarkable about them - or so they think. They are horrified to discover that they have a strange and awesome destiny. Only the Matheson twins can save the world from the terror of what is under the mountain. Also available as an eBook

Volcanoes of Northern Arizona

By Wendell A. Duffield, Michael Collier (photographer),

Book cover of Volcanoes of Northern Arizona

Who am I?

Since my earliest memories, I have been fascinated with rocks, landscapes, and the movement of time. It was perhaps only fitting then, that I should have landed in the bottom of the Grand Canyon in the 1970s working as a backcountry ranger where I discovered GEOLOGY! Since then, my world view has been shaped by the record of earth history that is held in sedimentary rocks, mountain belts, and the colorful and varied landscapes of the Desert Southwest and Colorado Plateau. I am in love with these landscapes and know them well. This love affair causes me to visit other landscapes around the world and ponder their development. 

Wayne's book list on the geology and magic of the landscapes of the American Southwest and Colorado Plateau

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

Why did Wayne love this book?

Who knew there were volcanoes in northern Arizona? Wendell Duffield takes readers on a visual and literary tour de force of this amazing region. The San Francisco Volcanic Field contains over 600 vents and cones with one large stratovolcano, a half a dozen or more silicic dome volcanoes, and hundreds of basalt cinder cones. All are explained in clear, concise prose. And who knew the Grand Canyon had volcanoes too, some of which spilled cascading lava flows into the canyon, damming the river at least 17 times. It’s all here in this little book that has a big impact.

By Wendell A. Duffield, Michael Collier (photographer),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book provides a popular look at the fiery origin of Northern Arizona’s landscape. With magnificent aerial photographs, original geologic illustrations, and detailed road logs to many of the key features, this book is an indispensable tool for the traveler, the educator, and all who are interested in the remarkable landscape of northern Arizona.

The Little Book of the Icelanders

By Alda Sigmundsdottir, Megan Herbert (illustrator),

Book cover of The Little Book of the Icelanders: 50 Miniature Essays on the Quirks and Foibles of the Icelandic People

Michael Ridpath Author Of Where the Shadows Lie

From the list on to read if you want to understand Iceland.

Who am I?

In 2009, when I decided to set a crime series in Iceland, I embarked on a decade of research into the country, its people, its literature, its culture, and its elves. I visited the country, I spoke to its inhabitants and I read books, lots of books – I couldn’t find an elf, but I was told where they live. I needed to understand its criminals, its victims, its police, and most of all my detective Magnus Jonson. These are the best books that helped me get to grips with Iceland.

Michael's book list on to read if you want to understand Iceland

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

Why did Michael love this book?

The Icelanders are remarkable people with some pretty strange habits. Optimistic, energetic, friendly in a very reserved way, armed with irony that can kill at ten metres, they do not fit the classic Scandinavian stereotype. Over the last decade, as I have researched Iceland for my various Magnus novels, the Icelandic-Canadian Alda has been my guide on all things Icelandic. She gets to the bottom of their quirks and foibles in this brilliant little book of fifty or so essays about the people who live on a treeless volcano with appalling weather. Very funny. Very illuminating.

By Alda Sigmundsdottir, Megan Herbert (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Little Book of the Icelanders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After more than 20 years away, Alda Sigmundsdottir returned to her native Iceland as a foreigner. With a native person's insight yet an outsider's perspective, Alda quickly set about dissecting the national psyche of the Icelanders.

This second edition, from 2018, contains new and updated chapters from the original edition, reflecting the changes in Icelandic society and among the Icelandic people since the book was first published in 2012.

Among the fascinating subjects broached in The Little Book of the Icelanders:
• The appalling driving habits of the Icelanders
• Naming conventions and customs
• The Icelanders’ profound fear of…

The Day the World Ended

By Gordon Thomas, Max Morgan-Witts,

Book cover of The Day the World Ended

Richard Hargreaves Author Of Hitler's Final Fortress: Breslau 1945

From the list on page-turning narrative history.

Who am I?

Narrative history isn’t about dates, kings, and queens. It’s about deeds, actions, experiences, decisions of people great and small. It’s about putting the reader in the middle of a drama and watching events unfold around them as if they were there so they can understand, observe, and perhaps ask: what would I have done? The best history writing shouldn’t just inform, but inspire you, make you feel: laugh, cry, feel angry, flinch at horrific sights, cheer the heroes, boo the villains, because history is made by ordinary people, good and bad, who possess many similar traits to the reader.

Richard's book list on page-turning narrative history

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

Why did Richard love this book?

This is similar to my first recommendation in its theme: a tremendous natural disaster overwhelming a small community (in this case a volcano and a Caribbean island). It moves at the pace of a novel … as does the lava when it starts flowing… building up to the terrible, climactic conclusion. I’ve read it three or four times and it never loses its power. Once you start reading, you can’t put it down. Don’t watch the terrible Paul Newman film which is loosely based on the book though!

By Gordon Thomas, Max Morgan-Witts,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A detailed account of the erruption of Mount Pelee in the West Indies in 1902, and the events leading up to the disaster