6 Amazing Books About Time Travel

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By Casey Rose Frank

At Thirty on Tap, we are all about arbitrary holidays that celebrate the imagination, so we’re pretty psyched about the fact that December 8 is Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day!

Books have forever taken us to different lands. So if you’re looking to play fast and loose with the time/space continuum sans Delorean, here are some excellent choices for your literary excursions.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey niffenegger

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The first time I read this book I was in my dorm room in college, staying up until two in the morning in order to finish the incredible and heartbreaking tale. This meant that when I finished the book I was uplifted, devastated, and had no one to cry to but the drunk girls in the bathroom. Moral of the story? This is a gorgeous book that you should only read if you have a substantial outlet for your feeling once you finish.

Henry’s personal brand of time travel is one that I haven’t encountered in any other book, and it’s one that is honed by love while still being out of his control. Clare is such a perfectly nuanced character, who knows that she can’t have the relationship she has with Henry without the time travel, but is still devastated by it can take away.

The time travel of this book is so intricately woven into every aspect of the story that it reads like pure literary fiction without any fantasy or science fiction labels.


11/22/63 by Stephen King

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Think is history isn’t scary enough all by its lonesome? Never fear, Stephen King is here to punch it up with some extra tension and terrifying cosmic repercussions. King is one of my all time literary heroes and in this book he does a masterful job of creating and maintaining structure and rules around the time travel he uses.

But without spoiling too much, it’s more interesting to see the ways that the past does not want to be changed, and to explore how the butterfly effect is so much more than the cliche punchline it has become in the modern lexicon.


The Flight of the Silvers by Daniel Price

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While this is primarily a science fiction book that dabbles in an interesting array of special talents and ethical quandaries most commonly seen in superhero comic books, there are (spoiler alert) a couple characters for whom manipulating time is a really big deal.

This book has not gotten the kind of incredible attention that it really deserves. Not only does Daniel Price come across as a genuinely nice guy, but he’s done some serious world-building and populated it with complicated and interesting people.

I’ve read the book twice since it debuted in early 2014, and am ready and waiting to read it a third time before the second book comes out, rumored to be in summer 2017. Price is clearly playing the long game with this one, always a fun challenge when dealing with the repercussions of time.


The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

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These books have it all, class and race wars cleverly depicted by witches and vampires, mystery, magic, and a hearty dose of time travel.

The second book in the trilogy, Shadow of Night takes place primarily in England in the era of Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare. Color me amused and upset when Kit Marlowe turns out to be complication in the lives of our darling main characters.

This trilogy as a whole manages to be both erudite and extremely fun as it blends historical fact (the author is a history professor) with pure fantasy.


The A Wrinkle in Time Trilogy by Madison L’Engle

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Guys, I plotzed when I read that a kick-ass version of A Wrinkle in Time was being made, and that it included cast members like Oprah and Mindy Kaling. Be still my Meg Murray loving heart.

In case you had any questions about my lifelong preference for literature over everything else, when I encountered the word “mitochondria” in science class in middle school I almost told my teacher that this was most definitely a made up term from a fantasy book I loved, but I stayed silent, and eventually learned how much actual science was in this fictional series.

The books that follow A Wrinkle in Time vary in quality (sorry Many Waters, that’s why I’m not referring to this as a quintet), but A Swiftly Turning Planet has some amazing time travel that invites readers to examine how even the smallest choices can have deep repercussions in the future, and to wonder if violent dictators are born or made.

The leather-bound edition from Barnes and Noble also serves as so major eye candy.


Landline by Rainbow Rowell

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Rainbow Rowell is a goddess-writer-extraordinaire and if for some reason you have been avoiding her books because they’re YA , this is her book for adults.

One of the biggest themes in time travel, and across most of the books in this list, is “If you could go back, would you do anything differently?” When it comes marriage, the road not taken can become particularly haunting for some. Rowell writes characters that you root for with deep emotional attachment, and in this case, she offers a literal link to the past through the staple of our youth: a hard plastic, curlicue corded, landline phone.


Tell Us: What’s your favorite book about time travel?

Casey is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click HERE.

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