The best books immerse you in another time and place — and soon you don’t want to leave. Take a trip with six of my favorite titles!
1. The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy (1880s–1920s England)
This beloved trilogy follows three generations of the Forsyte family through the Victorian, Edwardian and WWI eras. Experience their love affairs, greed, passion, jealousy and loyalty against the background of wider societal changes. Then watch the BBC series.
2. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks (1910–1930 France)
A steamy but thwarted love affair leads young Stephen to the trenches of WWI. Unforgettable.
3. Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell (1930s Kansas)
This lightly mocking (and funny) sympathetic satire depicts the perfect upper-class American wife and mother. But who is she really, and is she happy? No one has any idea. Connell later published Mr. Bridge so her husband could have his say.
4. Pied Piper by Nevil Shute (1945 France)
The gripping story of an elderly man who is persuaded to escort a group of small children across Nazi-occupied France.
5. What Is the What by Dave Eggers (Sudan and USA)
This epic tale of unbelievable courage and optimism follows the true story of Valentino Achak Deng, a Lost Boy of Sudan who was forced to leave his village at age 7 and walk across the deserts of three countries, eventually gaining refuge in the United States. Expect to be engrossed, and to learn a lot. It’s moving, suspenseful and sometimes unexpectedly funny.
6. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (2048 and 1348 England)
It’s the year 2048, and Kivrin’s studies in history require her to travel to the era she is researching — in this case, 14th-century Europe. Unfortunately, a little glitch in the system lands her in England on the eve of the Black Plague. This book is our family favorite — fascinating and also hilariously funny. The author has other time travel books that are almost as awesome.