A Reading List on Time Travel
10 books about moving back (or going forward) in time
Time travel is the ultimate conundrum! Would you go back in time to kill Hitler? But …what if you prevent yourself from being born? What if you die of smallpox while you’re there?
Time travel with its infinite possibilities has captured the minds of writers and readers for generations. The ability to change the past, or the future, is intoxicatingly alluring to us humans who like to feel as though we can control the world around us and shape history.
Here are 10 books that will take your back (or forward) in time:
An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim
In this novel, time travel is possible in 1981. A shadowy corporation sends healthy people into the future to work in exchange for helping their sick loved ones. Polly enters this horrible contract in order to help her sick partner Frank. The novel follows Polly’s experiences in the horrifying future she is sent into, and the confusion of what exactly she has agreed to.
How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler by Ryan North
You know when people ask you, “if you could only take one book with you on a deserted island, what book would you take?” If you substituted in “deserted island” with “stuck in the past because your time machine broke,” North’s book is exactly what you want. How to Invent Everything is a charming Kick-started funded manual for everything a stranded time traveler would need to know from how to get safe drinking water to making a printing press.
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
Harry August finds himself back at his own birth after he dies. Not knowing what is happening, Harry eventually learns that he is part of an organization of people who are continually reborn. Using his lives to acquire all sorts of different knowledge, Harry ends up at Cambridge and makes the acquaintance of a student Vincent Rankis. Their relationship morphs from friends to nemeses and their story will absolutely break your heart.
Hazards of Time Travel by Joyce Carol Oates
Oates’ new book is her first dystopian novel. In a not so distant future, a high school valedictorian is exiled by her 1984-like government because of a “treasonous” graduation speech full of questions. Her exile? Back in time to 1959 in Wisconsin. Follow Adrienne’s mind twisting tale as she tries to figure out exactly what has happened to her.
The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer
Depressed and lonely Greta is at a hard time in her life and elects to undergo electroshock therapy in 1985. Greta expects her depression to go away, not the ability to travel back to 1918. In this alternate lifetime, Greta’s loved ones are there, but in different circumstances. The novel shows how Greta tries to save her loved ones, and discovers herself in the process.
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Kindred is one of the great classics and Butler is a literary genius. In this novel, Dana, an African-American writer, travels back in time from LA in 1976 to a Maryland plantation before the civil war. Butler expertly spins a tale of the enduring impacts of slavery, both in the present and far future.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
This one is a classic throwback! One of the first time travel books that most of us have ever read, Meg’s journey to find her father is a heartwarming tale. Follow Meg, her brother, and her friend as they travel throughout different dimensions and try to avoid the evil around them. And now you can pair it with the new movie adaptation starring Oprah!
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Outlander is a thrilling TV show with lots of hot actors, and the books are just as good! Claire, a nurse in WWII, is transported to 1743 when she steps through some ancient stones while on a second honeymoon with her husband. Set in the Scotland highlands, Claire finds herself immersed in war, border, and clan disputes. Claire becomes increasingly enthralled with James Fraser, a handsome warrior. But what about her husband? How can she get back home? Does she want to?
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Vonnegut’s most popular work follows Billy Pilgrim’s journeys through time as an American soldier during WWII and its aftermath. Slaughterhouse-Five is a confusing and heartbreaking book to read, but absolutely worth it.
All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
Mastai’s time travel book is the wish fulfillment everyone wants right now that our world is the wrong one. In the book, the world is suppose to be a beautiful utopian society, only the son of the inventor of time travel messed everything up. All Our Wrong Todays is an incredibly timely read when you’ve reached a point of just being done with this dumpster fire of a year.