The Best Time Travel Books of All Time

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I read a lot of books. I do not read a lot of books twice. Actually, I read VERY FEW books more than once. Aside from the Chronicles of Narnia (when I was a child) and the Percy Jackson series (when I was – OKAY FINE – last year), two of the only books that come to mind as second-readers both happen to be time travel stories.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I am a sucker for anything time travel. Sometimes – as in the case of Deja Vu, a less-than-successful Denzel movie from a few years ago – I even resort to drawing pictures to demonstrate how the story was or was not plausible.

Yep. Because time travel can be plausible. Mm-hmmm.

ANYWAY. If you haven’t heard, a new TV show premiered last weekend about time travel. Based on the very popular series by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander airs on Saturdays on Starz.

Now, I’m a big wimp when it comes to graphic…anything. So shows on Starz – time travel or no, really great trailer or no – don’t fit into my regular television viewing schedule. I am slowly working through the first Outlander book, however. So far I really like it – but I’m only 100 or so pages in. I’ve read reviews that make me a little nervous about what’s to come…but then again a lot of people love this series. And, well, time travel.

Since I’ve recently read a few other books featuring time travel, I thought I’d do a little research. What I found was a great list of the time travel books I’ve read – and quite a few more I hope to read soon. And just in case you all are big time travel dorks like me, I figured I’d share.

[Side note: These may or may not be the BEST time travel books of ALL time. In other words I reserve the right to use blog post titles that are clever but possibly not quite 100% accurate. Possibly.]

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22 of the Best Books About Time Travel

  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: A woman reunites with her husband after World War II, and they take a trip to Scotland…where she accidentally trips through a portal to 1743. I like the strong, sassy voice of the main character. Full review to come soon.
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: This is a time travel love story. I read it a long time ago, but a few years after it was super popular. (And I haven’t seen the movie.) If I remember correctly, I loved it and hated it. Both. At the same time.
  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King: A high school teacher’s dying friend shows him a portal back in time – and a way to potentially change history. Amy from MomAdvice recommended this one, and I checked it out of the library earlier this year. It was a huge book, really long – and I didn’t make it halfway before the thing was due. I blame that on the 8-10 feedings a day (and very few consecutive hours of sleep) that were happening then, and I’m determined to try this one again soon.
  • Timeline by Michael Crichton: A group of young scientists travel to medieval France. I LOVE THIS BOOK. It’s the one I’ve read twice. Except, actually, I’ve read it at least three times and plan to read it again this year. I don’t know. I just love it.
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle: Time traveling teens! Secret government work! WHY do I not remember more of this book?!? I know I read it as a child, but clearly I need to give it another read since I don’t remember much of it at all.
  • Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren: In the first book of the River of Time series, a teenage girl travels to 14th century Italy. I’ve read this whole series…AND own it. That way I can read it again when I finish reading all these other books on my to-read list!
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut: I read this book just a few years ago, when some of my co-workers at the ad agency and I formed a book club. I did read it. And it was good. I remember that part. But I cannot recall a single other thing about it – even after reading the book’s description three times. So – I got nothing.
  • A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux: You guys. I just…I just can’t. When I started researching time travel books, this one showed up on everyone’s list. I even saw it called a classic…more than once. So I got it from the library. And I read it. (Then I remembered that I’d read it before. *sigh*) It is definitely classic romance novel – woman is sad, man from the past hears her crying and travels through time to heal her broken heart, blah, blah, blah. I debated including it on this list, but full disclosure and all…
  • Timebound by Rysa Walker: A teenaged girl’s grandma tells her their family has time traveling abilities. The Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 is involved, as well as a serial killer murder and some time-traveling villains. I read this right after Adrienne was born and loved it – and am really looking forward to the sequel this fall.
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: There’s a witch and a vampire and a book. And to solve their problems, they have to travel through time. So, okay, fine. When I first read this, I said I didn’t see what the big deal was. But then I read the second book. And I realized that even after I was finished with them, I kept thinking about them. So, obviously I liked them a bit more than I first believed. I have the third book in the trilogy from the library right now.

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And then there are the time travel books I haven’t read. Several of them are on my to-read list, and one is already on my bedside table. Others I may never read, but maybe they’re your cup of time travel tea. Or not. But they are about time travel. So. Here they are.

So – am I alone? Or do you like time travel stories, too? What’s your favorite?

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Comments

  1. OK, I am NOT a romance reader, but my mom is, and one of the three romance novels I’ve ever read is Remembrance by Jude Deveraux. It’s been a loooong time but I really did enjoy it and it has a woman sort of time-traveling into her past lives.

    • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

      Aha! Smitty and I were trying to remember (no pun intended) the name of this book. I thought she meant a different Jude Deveraux book that has a touch of time travel, but she swore it was something else. And THIS was the one. Maybe I’ll have to give it a try.

  2. I was hoping this post would give me an excuse to talk about Outlander! A friend gave me the first book several years ago and I was immediately hooked. The latest book came out in June but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. It’s impatiently waiting in the To Read stack. I always include a disclaimer when I recommend the series to people because they can be graphic, in unexpected ways. But the quality of the storytelling and historical detail makes them well worth picking up. I was blown away by the first episode of the show and have already tapped a friend to record it on their DVR for me so I can watch the rest of the season.

    Also, The Book of Life is an AMAZING conclusion to the All Souls trilogy. I can’t wait for Harkness to write more.

    • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

      I have been tiptoeing into Outlander because I’ve heard of the graphic stuff. But I really like what I’ve read so far…and so many people whose book opinions I trust love it…so…I’ll keep reading!

      I read the first few pages of The Book of Life and haven’t gotten back to it. I want to. It’s been a matter of too many books, not enough time. Glad to hear how much you loved it. That is motivating me to get back to it!!

  3. ElizabethB says:

    Outlander is the best! But I also want to throw my hat into the Connie Willis ring. To Say Nothing of the Dog is fantastic, but she has several other books that have to do with time jumping. I really like The Doomsday Book and then there are Blackout and All Clear, which is technically one book split into two, that follows The Doomsday Book.

    • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

      Okay! Interesting. I’d never heard of Connie Willis until I researched time travel books, so I’m glad to hear from someone who’s read her. I’ll add this one to my list to read!

      • ElizabethB says:

        Have you ever read Jerome K. Jerome’s book “Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)”? Typical British humor from the 1880′s about a boating holiday and it is amazingly funny for being written in Victorian times. Connie Willis’ book is a take-off of it (hence the title) with the time jump aspect. The thing to know about Ms. Willis is that she is primarily a Sci-fi author, so most of her books and short stories are not funny as a whole. To Say Nothing of the Dog is funny but also has the Sci-fi twist. However, everyone I know who has read it liked it. I hope you will too!

  4. I started reading the Outlander series a million years ago when they came out. I am going to warn you to prepare yourself for the first book. Parts are not easy to read. I was in the middle of the second to last one when someone told me to wait and read it after the next one (the new one) came out because it ends in a major cliffhanger. Now I need to go back and read all of it, plus order the new one. I’ve read the rest. They are graphic, but such a story! The new series has propelled the original Outlander book to #11 on Amazon!

    • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

      Grrrr. I’m not looking forward to the graphic parts everyone keeps warning me about!!! But if you say it’s worth it…

  5. Time Traveler’s Wife is my very favorite all-time time travel book. I was so absorbed by the characters, and sobbed and sobbed, and then the characters lived with me for several days afterward.