Travel through time with these great reads

The debut of the Outlander TV series (showing on Starz; find out more here) has triggered a lot of interest in Diana Gabaldon’s novel that started it all. Have you read the whole Outlander series, and are you desperate for more? These time travel books might tide you over until the next episode airs or the next book comes out.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is another great time travel story that focuses on a romantic relationship. Henry, a librarian, has the power (or curse?) that allows him to travel through time – but only within his own lifetime, and each “trip” is completely involuntary. He might be folding laundry or walking to work and suddenly appear, naked and disoriented, in his apartment building from 10 years ago. The novel focuses on Henry’s love affair with Claire, an artist who moves through time in only one direction, like the rest of us. Can Henry and Claire forge a lasting relationship, despite his condition? Read the book to find out! (One notable feature of the book is its disjointed narration – the reader follows Henry to and fro through time as he travels, so people looking for a more straightforward story may want to try something else.)

The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis is a less romantic but equally intriguing choice. Kivrin is a student at Oxford in 2048, after time travel has been invented as a new way to study history in a hands-on way. She has finally obtained approval to travel to England in 1320, but when she gets there, she discovers that the technician made a mistake and sent her to 1348 instead – just as the Black Death was tightening its grip on the northern European population. An eerily similar epidemic in 2048 hampers rescue efforts, and Kivrin is swept up into the tragedy and heroism of ordinary people in the face of a frightening and poorly-understood phenomenon. This Hugo and Nebula award-winning novel is a great read for people who like thoughtful, tense, character-driven stories.

What if you could visit the past…and actually change it? 11/22/63 by Stephen King explores that question. The main character, Jake, discovers a door behind his local diner that leads into late 1950s America. After returning back through the doorway, Jake discovers that almost no time has passed in the present day, despite having spent several hours in the past. He also discovers that his actions in the past have noticeable effects on the present. This leads him to wonder, “What if I could stay here for a few years and prevent JFK’s assassination?” The book follows Jake as he finds a way to live in the past, finds love there, and tries to prevent one of the most shocking tragedies of the twentieth century.

What great time travel books have you read? Tell me in the comments!


I like these ideas for time travel books! The Doomsday Book is still one of my favorite Connie Willis books. As for other time travel -- Kage Baker's Company series is great.