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Books About Time Travel Worth Reading

Updated on February 9, 2014

Popular Time Travel Books Of All Times

Reading books about time travel is one of my guilty pleasures. I love many genres, including mysteries, thrillers, sci-fi books, books about vampires and zombies, but when it comes to time travel books, my whole mind, body and soul feels like it's on another level altogether.

Maybe it has something to do with our curiosity about other times and places, where realistically we can never go to, maybe it's about our search for immortality, but whatever it is, when I'm reading a book involving time traveling, you can't get me away from the books, not even for eating lunch.

Below is a list of my most favorite books on this topic, some including

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon a favorite in the genre

romances, others mysteries, yet other pure sci-fi books. I won't create a top 5 or top 10 list, because whenever I do that, I have people telling me that I left out this important or that important book.

So I will keep the list open and add to it more books as I read and find more worthwhile including. If you do have some other favorites that are not mentioned here, please let me know in the Guestbook section below, so I can read, review and list them if they're good. I'm always looking for some more books about time travel worth reading!

The Time Traveler's Wife
The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife

by Audrey Niffenegger

I've read and owned over time countless books on time travel. I've given most away or traded them at places like Bookmooch.com. However there is one book that I will keep in my personal book collection and re-read as many times as I feel the urge to: The Time Traveler's Wife.

It is one book that touched me so deeply that I enter a different state of consciousness even when I hear the name of this books. I've also watched the movie that came out several years later, and it was great, but still, I think it can not compared with the actual book.

It is a time travel romance novel about Henry and Claire who's love and passion transcends time. Henry is a librarian who has a strange disorder which makes him travel to other times without him actually wanting to do so. However those times and places are known places, he can only travel to places he's actually in real life before. He meets Claire when she is 6 and he is a grown up guy.

The story is non-linear, it goes back and forth in time, but it is always about Claire and Henry. She basically grows up with him, but he only knows her for a few years.

One thing I have to warn you: it is a book that will make you cry and there's no shame in crying when the story has such a pull. If you don't at least shed one tear when reading this book (especially the end), this book was not for you at all. And even knowing that I'll cry again and again, I'll still keep this book to read over and over again. It's just so good!

If You Haven't Watched The Movie From 2009, Here Is The Trailer To Give You A Taste

It was a great movie, a wonderful one in fact, but I still love the book more :)

The Fascination With Time Travel

The Time Traveler's Wife
The Time Traveler's Wife

Visiting the past or the future has been in the dreams of people since the dawn of time. We've been all fascinated by things that happened in the past, or what can happen in the future that we might never see in this life time, but we'd dearly love to know anyway.

Countless books have been written on the topics, and maybe just as many movies and TV series have been created to feed this need of knowing an curiosity of people all over the world. Including mine.

Time travel is a topic that I can't stop reading about, and even if the book is as boring as it can be - which I might close it without reading it in other circumstances, when it comes to books about time travel, I'll read it no matter what. I don't have to like it, but I'll read it nevertheless.

I think the first time I got exposed to the idea of time travel was through the movie "Somewhere In Time", which in those days i had no idea that it was made from a book by Richard Matheson called Bid Time Return.

That movie opened in me that fascination with time travel, maybe this genre one of my most favorites ever.

And I'm sure I'm not the only one. The idea that we can use science to build a time travel machine and learn about the hidden secrets of the universe, to possibly meet our ancestors face to face, to see what the future holds in store for our children and grandchildren, is very appealing to pretty much everyone around.

Many people feel that they've been born in the wrong decade, or possibly century. Some have a strong pull of the Victorian times, without fully understanding why. Others would love to learn about scientific explorations of the future, maybe in times where cancer and HIV are fully cured. And others are simply curious.

What is your fascination with time travel?

image credits: my own copy of the Time Traveler's Wife

Are You Interested In The Subject Of Time Travel?

Are You Interested In The Subject Of Time Travel?

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The Time Machine - by H. G. Wells

The Time Machine (Norton Critical Editions)
The Time Machine (Norton Critical Editions)

When it comes to the subject of time travel books, most people - whether they've read it or not, invariably think if The Time Machine by H.G. Well, and with good reason. This book practically set the standard for this genre. The book was published in 1895 and it's considered the granddaddy of time travel novels. It inspired many books that followed it in the same genre.

Also he coined the term 'time travel machine', which became the standard 'way of transportation' in anyone's mind when thinking going back in time, or in the future.

I've read this soon after watching the movie Somewhere In Time because I became interested in this topic, and I knew there must be books about this sci-fi genre - and I was not disappointed.

The book is a classic. It's old and it's written in an older style. Some people like it, others not. I did, and while I wouldn't read it a second time, I still consider it one of the best in the genre there is.

 
The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

The Outlander Series

by Diana Gabaldon

The Outlander is a series of 8 huge and heavy books by Diana Gabaldon. When I started to read the first book, I had no idea it is the first in the series. So imagine my surprise when I realized at the end of the book that I will have several other monster tomes to read. I was overjoyed!

The whole series is a huge story, and each book is really a chapter in it, that's the best I can describe it. And it is another book that has a main character with the name Claire, just like in The Time Traveler's Wife :)

The story starts in 1945 when Claire, a nurse during the war, comes back home when the war ends to resume her life. During her second honeymoon with her husband in Scotland, she goes one day hiking, where she accidentally goes through a stone circle, only to wake up 200 years before her time.

And just to make it more interesting since she's just come home from WWII, she is thrown smack in the middle of a small war between the English and the Scots. As a nurse she heals a Scot names Jamie and, well, let's just say, they fall in love. Hard.

I don't want to give the entire story away, but it's awesome. And it's also a historical fiction novel with some great description of both her time and the one where she lands during her trip back in time. And the romance is so hot - without being overly cheesy.

If you like time travel romances with a dash of history, you'll love this book, heck you'l love the entire series. And don't let the fact that the books are huge put you off from reading. They're fast reads.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - by Mark Twain

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

This is a book I've read back in highschool as I had to write an essay on some of Mark Twain's books. I loved pretty much everything what this author wrote, but this particular one was very different form the rest. It was a time travel novel, imagine my surprise!

It is a classic book about the Arthurian legend, but it transcends into time travel and it's also a bit humorous at times, in the style of Mark Twain's writings.

The story evolves around Han who gets thrown back to the 6th Century in Britan. He goes through a lot of trials and tribulations, many given by the terrifying Merlin, but because he comes from the future, so to speak, he can outsmart everyone, including Merlin, with his knowledge. Not only that, but he also starts teaching the people there to advance and transform from their old ways to something more modern.

I still remember some of the scenes with one of the eclipses that he knew that would hit the country soon, and how everyone considers him a demi-god because he could predict that it would happen just before it did.

All in all, a great book about time travel and is so much more!

 
Replay by Ken Grimwood
Replay by Ken Grimwood

Replay

by Ken Grimwood

Replay is another book about time travel that is on my top 5 list. I've written a short review about it on my blog back in 2007, it was shortly before giving the book away (as I usually do with books I've read, I donate them) to the local church charity bookshop.

It was another book that touched me just as deeply as The Time Traveler's Wife did.

The story is about Jeff Winston, a 40ish old guy who is talking on the phone with his wife while he is at his office. And dies while on the phone.

Only to wake up 25 years younger, in his college dorm with a major difference: he has the mind of the 40 years old, he remembers his life, but he's stuck in the body of his younger self.

If this is scary enough, let's up it a notch more: he relives his life over and over again, every time gaining new insights that he will use in his next life, right until he is 42 again, when he will die once more to wake up as a younger him.

While this book is about time travel, it is not a sci-fi book by any means. It has no science fiction gadgets, no time travel machines, it just has a guy who for some reasons repeats his life in a loop from 18 to 42 until....

I won't give away the plot, but I highly recommend reading it. It might even change you, the way it did change.

Timeline - by Michael Crichton

Timeline: A Novel
Timeline: A Novel

For several years Michael Crichton used to be one of my favorite authors with book slike Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Sphere and so many others. I actually owned at some point every single book by this author, most of them in hardback cover.

So it's no wonder that I also bought Timeline soon after it came out.

Now this is a book that indeed has a time machine, one that takes a group of college students back 600 years, to the medieval times, no less. The professor Johnston gets curious about going back in time and he wants to see how life was during the 14th Century France. The thing is, he gets stuck there and he has to leave various clues for his student team to find him and bring him back.

I truly enjoyed this novel, just as much as I enjoyed other books by Michael Crichton, however the fact that it had a premise time travel, made it kind of special for me.

 

Timeline Also Was Made Into A Movie - with Gerard Butler no less, yay!

Here's the official trailer to the movie - not everyone liked it, but I loved it. Of course, it might have something to do with the fact that I adore Gerald Butler!

Somewhere In Time - by Richard Matheson

Somewhere In Time
Somewhere In Time

I read this book after watching the movie with the same title. However my copy of the book is called Bid Time Return (see below the pic of my actual copy of the book).

I will include this book here more for sentimental reasons. The movie which is based on this book was my first introduction to the topic of time travel and the movie really touched me deeply. And so did the book, once I've read it.

Now I know there are much better time travel books out there, but for me it's something special and if you haven't read it, I can only highly recommend it.

It's a time travel romance, written in the first perspective of Richard Collier. He has a tumor and he wants to spend the rest of his life away from home, simply wherever his feet take him.

At some point he ends up at the Hotel Del Coronado, where he sees a photo of an actress long gone, called Elise McKenna. She lived about 100 years before his time.

He becomes obsessed with the actress and he starts to learn more about time travel and about self-hypnosis, hoping that he can go back to her time to meet her.

It is a very touching story, very romantic at that, and in this case I loved the movie with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve just as much.

 

My old copy Of Somewhere In Time, called Bid Time Return

My old copy Of Somewhere In Time, called Bid Time Return
My old copy Of Somewhere In Time, called Bid Time Return

The Trailer Of The Lovely Somewhere In Time Movie

This is the very movie that introduced me to the concept of time travel, opening my eyes to a whole new world out there.

Some More Time Travel Books Worth Mentioning

Here are a few more books on the topic of time travel that I've read and I think are great enough to be worth mentioning. Might not make my top 5 list, but they're good.

* I'll have to start with a book I'm reading right now, called The Tenth Saint by D.J. Niko. It's the first book in a new series called Sarah Weston Chronicles, and it's part archaeological mystery, part time travel, part adventure, and part history. It's a wonderful new beginning of series, and I can't wait for the second one to be also published.

* 11/22/63 by Stephen King. A very good book which is very different from the usual thrillers and horror stories written by Stephen King.

* Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. It is a good book, it is about time travel, but I wouldn't quite put it at the top 5. It is actually the first book in a series called Oxford Time Travel.

* Time and Again by Jack Finney. I actually loved this book, it's a lovely hidden gem that needs discovering. For some reason these days it's quite hard to find, so if you get hold of a copy, keep it and read it.

* Lightning by Dean Koontz. I love all Dean Koontz books (except the Odd Thomas series) and this is worthwhile checking it out. It is pure time travel romance where the main character, Laura, gets saved at crucial times in her life by someone called Stephan, who simply appears when she needs him, only to disappear again once the crisis is gone.

* The Highlander series by Karen Marie Moning. It is a paranormal romance series for those who love this kind of book. I enjoyed it, but was not my most favorite series to read. I do like the covers for the the series, especially the hardcover ones (like the one I have below). Just yummie!

My hardcover copy of one of the Highlander books - isn't the cover just gorgeous?

My hardcover copy of one of the Highlander books - isn't the cover just gorgeous?
My hardcover copy of one of the Highlander books - isn't the cover just gorgeous?

Do You Think Time Travel Is Possible?

Do You Think Time Travel Is Possible?

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Do You Have Any Other Books About Time Travel As Favorites?

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    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR

      Marika 

      4 years ago from Cyprus

      Somewhere in Time was just a great movie...it was one of the first time travel films I've seen...and got hooked right away.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 

      4 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I remember seeing the movie of Somewhere In Time years ago, and liked it. I'm usually a sucker for sci-fi type time travel stories where the focus is on possible changes today because of time travelers intervening some time in history.

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 

      5 years ago

      The All Souls Trilogy books by Deborah Harkness (A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night, so far) have some cool time travel elements. Though the Outlander series is probably my favorite.

    • WhiteIsland profile image

      WhiteIsland 

      5 years ago

      Great collection -- I will have to check most of these out! I have read Timeline (saw the movie first, and LOVED it... it's one of those where, when it ended, I wanted to turn around and play it again. Also, Gerard Butler didn't hurt anything. ;) I love the intricacies of time travel; you really have to think with some of the stories. My husband and I also have watched Dr. Who, (which is fun, though not a book,) but it's a different concept, since time is non-linear (that, in itself, took some effort for me to wrap my brain around ;) and doesn't produce so much cause-and-effect confusion.

    • profile image

      DtKnight 

      5 years ago

      the Dragons of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey involved an element of time travel that turned the stories into something very fascinating. I really enjoyed your lens, great job!

    • cdevries profile image

      cdevries 

      5 years ago

      Some great picks here! I'm a big Outlander fan. I'm so glad you mention Jack Finney's Time and Again, one of my favorites. I just read another interesting version - maybe more reincarnation than time travel, come to think of it - called In the Wet by the great Nevil Shute. (He also wrote On the Beach and A Town Called Alice.)

    • trudyschenk profile image

      trudyschenk 

      5 years ago

      I love the concept of time travel, and it always brings to mind the movie "Back to the Future". I look forward to reading some of the books you've recommended!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      Isaac Asimov has some fun books that involve time travel. Thanks for giving me some ideas for books to read. I'm always on the lookout for a new series.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      Wraiths of Time, by Andre Norton. Time Cat, by Lloyd Alexander.

    • readty7 profile image

      readty7 

      5 years ago

      It would be fascinating if I could travel to the 18th century

    • kristalulabelle profile image

      Kristen 

      5 years ago from Wisconsin

      The Outlander Series is my all time favorite series of books. Great list, I have a few new books to read, I see... :)

    • MelaniePaige13 profile image

      Melanie Paige 

      5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      I'm currently writing Time Travel books. I love them! I believe in time travel in a certain way. If we go to an ancient castle for instance (I love castles as I've put on one of my Lenses :)), there's so much history, and even though some are crumbled, only in ruins, if you close your eyes and feel your surroundings, they still have energy connected to them. Time Travel is fascinating! :)

    • MBurgess profile image

      Maria Burgess 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      I loved the Time Traveler's Wife, but it required a case of facial tissues to make it to the end of the book! ;) Time travel is a very interesting subject!

    • Flowerchild1946 profile image

      Carol Brooks 

      5 years ago from Florida

      The Outlander Series is my favorite. I loved "Time and Again" and "Somewhere in Time". Also "The House on the Strand" by Daphne DuMaurier". Wonderful Lens!

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 

      5 years ago

      Nice lens! When I saw the title of your lens I wondered if you would list Timeline by Michael Crichton. You did, and it's the only book about time travel I've ever read.

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 

      5 years ago from Kent, UK

      I have always loved A Christmas Carol by Dickens which just about qualifies as time travel.

    • gracyelala profile image

      gracyelala 

      5 years ago

      I really liked Outlander, but found the rest of the series a little weak.

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 

      5 years ago

      Excellent information...I have become familiar with time travel books by stumbling on one that was part of a series, I didn't realize it was a popular genre right away because most of my reading is historical novels. Interesting!

    • profile image

      dellgirl 

      5 years ago

      This is a great list of Books About Time Travel. You have a very interesting selection, so many great choices. Thank you for sharing it.

    • profile image

      dellgirl 

      5 years ago

      This is a great list of Books About Time Travel. You have a very interesting selection, so many great choices. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 

      5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Fascinating topic! I have enjoyed it since reading A Wrinkle in Time many years ago.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Fabulous reviews! Lots of great books for my summer reading.

    • Grifts profile image

      Devin Gustus 

      5 years ago

      I didn't know about Timeline book/movie. Thanks!

    • iamraincrystal profile image

      Rosyel Sawali 

      5 years ago from Manila Philippines

      Very nice selection of books! I have yet to read most of them though. ^_^

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      My absolute favorite topic for a movie is Time Travel !! Everyone who knows me lets me know if a time travel movie is on or coming out - I think I've seen everyone - Don't know what it is, but time travel intrigues me so much

    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR

      Marika 

      5 years ago from Cyprus

      @LisaDH: Oh I'm so glad that so many people mentioned Replay! It's kind of an obscure older book that really not many people around know about, so it warms my heart to know that other people have also read it!

    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR

      Marika 

      5 years ago from Cyprus

      @Nancy Hardin: It's a great book indeed. I've actually mentioned it just above the Guestbook section in the 'Some More Time Travel Books Worth Mentioning', it's one of my favorites as well, although maybe not exactly falling under my top 5. Thanks for the excellent resource!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      A time travel book I love is 11/22/63 by Stephen King, in which the protagonist goes back to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, only to find that changing the past isn't so simple. Your lens on time travel is very interesting, enjoyable reading!

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 

      5 years ago

      I read Replay years ago, and I loved it. In fact, I might need to go back and read it again now that you've reminded me how good it was. :-)

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 

      5 years ago

      Excellent lens! Loved it.

    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR

      Marika 

      5 years ago from Cyprus

      @BLouw: Hehe nice pun!

    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR

      Marika 

      5 years ago from Cyprus

      @SusannaDuffy: I haven't read Lavinia, but I'm familiar with Ursula K. Leguin's work. Thanks for the recommendations!

    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR

      Marika 

      5 years ago from Cyprus

      @Camden1: Replay was one of my favorites, I could read it again and again and never get tired of it.

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 

      5 years ago

      I'm so glad you mentioned Replay. I read it years ago and loved it but couldn't remember the title...I'd love to share it with my daughters (as well as re-read it myself)!

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 

      5 years ago from France

      I can't think of any just now but I loved The Time Traveler's Wife'. I'm going to bookmark this for future (excuse the pun) reading.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I don't think that I have ever read a book about Time travel but sure enjoyed reading about the ones that you have featured here.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      My favourite time travel reading seems to be short stories. For example, Ray Bradburyâs "A Sound of Thunderâ, Jack Dann's âTimetippingâ and Poul Anderson's "The Man Who Came Early". My best full length book tip would be the absolutely brilliant novel "Lavinia" by Ursula K Leguin.

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