If I could tuuurn back tiime. If I could fiind a waaaaay! Sometimes I feel like Cher.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could go back and change things in our life? Now I know that we all learn from our mistakes and overcoming life’s challenges (usually) makes us stronger, but sometimes it would just be so much better if we could go back and unsee all those angry people burning Harry Potter books – or cure Jane Austen from whatever it was she died of, so she could write Pride & Prejudice 2! I think we can all agree that we need to know if Darcy snores!
And sometimes it would just be awesome to go back and drop hints about the future to H.G. Wells or travel to the year 3000 to see if Busted was right and people actually live underwater.
Even though we can’t time travel (yet – future-me is probably spying on me whilst I write this, simply because she can), it is possible for us to experience the thrill of going both back and forth in time. The solution, of course, is to jump along with the characters in time travel books. Below, I’ve compiled a little list of popular/classic books that will send you on some amazing journeys through time.
1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
“Wait. Time travel in A Christma – oh, the ghosts!” This was my brother’s reply (more or less) when I ran the list by him. And even though this classic Christmas story from 1843 might not immediately come to mind when we think of time travel books, a crucial part of the plot centres around Ebenezer Scrooge’s unusual trips with a series of spectral visitors. During three winter nights, we get to experience Scrooge’s past, present and future Christmases. The result is life changing for the main character, but it also emphasises the true meaning of Christmas for everyone who reads it.
2. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Literature has seen many time machines, but one of my favourites is the very first one of its kind. H. G. Wells was the author who coined the term “time machine” in his 1895 novel by the same name. The story not only launched Wells’s writing career, it also earned him a reputation as the father of science fiction.
If you want to travel really (really, really, really) far into the future, this is the book for you! Warning: the journey will take you to the age of a dying Earth – just so you know.
3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
It was a dark and stormy night… Yep, that’s how this classic children’s story from 1963 begins. Madeleine L’Engle then sends her 13-year-old protagonist, Meg Murry, and Meg’s five-year-old brother, Charles, through time AND space in an effort to rescue their missing father. Meg’s friend Calvin also joins the group as they travel to different planets and attempt to outwit the dark forces of evil.
It’s worth mentioning that A Wrinkle in Time (along with L’Engle’s other work) reflects her Christian faith and her strong interest in science. However, if you’ve managed to read C. S. Lewis without choking on your tea in outrage, then the Christian references in this book shouldn’t be a problem.
4. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novel from 1991 is one of the most popular time travel books on Goodreads. It was even turned into a TV series which premiered in 2014.
If you’re looking for a love story with a time travel theme, Outlander might very well be what you’re looking for. The story features a former combat nurse from WWII, who gets separated from her husband and ends up in Scotland in 1743. Once there, she meets a young Scots warrior and love stuff happens. So if you’re a fan of Highlander romance books, you’ll probably want to read you’ve probably already read it.
5. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
If love stories with a time travel element are just your thing, then Audrey Niffenegger’s debut novel from 2003 is probably already part of your tbr pile. The best-selling book is the number 1 most popular time travel book on Goodreads, and it was turned into a movie in 2009.
The story takes you through the lives of a time travelling husband and his wife. Unable to control his time travel episodes, Henry disappears in time and leaves Clare to pick up the pieces. It’s a story about a love so true that you are willing to live your life with someone who keeps disappearing without notice.
Do you read time travel stories? I would love to know why/why not in the comments below! And if you have any favourites, please share them. I’m always on the lookout for great books to devour!