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Attention, Swifties! Discover the best Taylor Swift book recommendations for your reading “era” here. The list includes Taylor’s favorite books, books that inspired specific songs, and even books inspired by her. You’ll elevate your fandom to the next level when you read like Taylor, so let’s get literary!

Taylor Swift singing on stage.

Taylor Swift Book Recommendations: The Quick List

Books and Taylor Swift songs.

Taylor Swift’s Favorite Books

  1. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  2. Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney
  3. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene
  5. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Books That Inspired Taylor Swift Songs

  1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (“The Alchemy” on The Tortured Poets Department)
  2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (“Wonderland” on 1989)
  3. The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas (“The Tortured Poets Department” on The Tortured Poets Department)
  4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (“This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” on Reputation and “So Long London” on The Tortured Poets Department)
  5. Hamlet by William Shakespeare (“But Daddy I Love Him” on The Tortured Poets Department)
  6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (“Eyes Open” on The Hunger Games soundtrack)
  7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (“Invisible String” on Folklore)
  8. Just Kids by Patti Smith (“The Tortured Poets Department” and “loml” on The Tortured Poets Department)
  9. Macbeth by William Shakespeare (“So Long London” on The Tortured Poets Department)
  10. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (“Cardigan” on Folklore and “Peter” on The Tortured Poets Department)
  11. The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (“The Bolter” on The Tortured Poets Department)
  12. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (“Tolerate It” on Evermore)
  13. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coolidge (“The Albatross” on The Tortured Poets Department)
  14. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (“Love Story” and “The Albatross” on The Tortured Poets Department)
  15. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (“I Hate It Here” on The Tortured Poets Department)
  16. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (“Carolina” on Where the Crawdads Sing soundtrack)
  17. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (“So High School” on The Tortured Poets Department)

Books With Taylor Swift References and Inspiration

  1. The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager
  2. The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther
  3. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Taylor Swift’s Favorite Books


Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

One of Taylor Swift’s recommendations in “You Are What You Read,” Charlotte’s Web, is one of the most beloved and most popular award-winning books of all time for children.

It’s the story of a friendship that blossoms between a spider and a little pig, and the love they have for the young girl who saved the pig when he was a runt.


Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

Swift told The Cut that Conversations With Friends made her feel like she was in the popular author’s mind.

This story follows two college students, Frances and Bobbi, whose lives become intertwined with an older married couple, Nick and Melissa. As relationships deepen and complicate, the novel explores complex themes of friendship, love, and human connection.


Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Another one of Taylor Swift’s recommendations in “You Are What You Read” is Eat Pray Love. It’s the iconic travel memoir of a seemingly successful (but unhappy) American woman on a journey of self-discovery in Italy, India, and Bali, where she finds truth in food, faith, and love.


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

In a Scholastic Web Chat, Taylor said she loved the intricate female character of Hazel in the #1 bestselling book, The Fault in Our Stars.

This novel tells the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a teenager with cancer, who meets and falls in love with Augustus Waters, a fellow cancer patient. Together, they navigate the challenges of their illnesses while exploring love, loss, and the meaning of life.


Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

In the same Scholastic Web Chat, Taylor said Stargirl was an “amazing book” about remaining true to yourself.

Named one of Time magazine’s 100 best YA books of all time, it follows the story of an eccentric high school student named Stargirl, who challenges the conformity of her peers with her individuality.

Books That Inspired Taylor Swift Songs

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

“Honestly, who are we to fight thе alchemy?”

“The Alchemy”

Alchemy is the medieval science and philosophy of aiming to turn metals into gold.

Taylor’s song is so very clearly about her NFL boyfriend, Travis Kelce, as it’s laced with references to football. When they started dating, she turned his season into gold (with a Superbowl trophy) and made him a solid gold star internationally.

The Alchemist is about a young Andalusian shepherd boy, who dreams of finding a world treasure. After meeting a king and an alchemist, he takes a journey on which he learns about finding his destiny.

Related Post: The Alchemist Themes


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Flashing lights, and we
Took a wrong turn, and we
Fell down a rabbit hole

“Wonderland”

Beyond the name of the song, the lyrics of Taylor Swift’s “Wonderland” directly confirm it takes inspiration from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the beloved children’s classic book in which a young girl falls down a rabbit hole and into a whimsical world.


The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas

“You’re not Dylan Thomas, I’m not Patti Smith
This ain’t the Chelsea Hotel, we’rе modern idiots”

“The Tortured Poets Department”

This was the first song lyric on The Tortured Poets Department album that screamed literature to me. The titular song is about the push and pull of dating a moody artist.

Dylan Thomas was, in fact, a famous poet known for being drunken and doomed. He was staying at New York’s Chelsea Hotel, popular with famous writers, at the time of his death.


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

It was so nice throwing big parties
Jump into the pool from the balcony
Everyone swimming in a champagne sea
And there are no rules when you show up here
Bass beat rattling the chandelier
Feeling so Gatsby for that whole year

-“This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”

“I saw in my mind fairy lights through the mist”

“So Long London”

Taylor Swift’s lyrics and music videos are littered with references to the classic The Great Gatsby, about the opulent life of a wealthy man in America’s Jazz era. The above lyrics almost identically depict what a quintessential “Gatsby” party was like.

In Chapter 5 of The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby says, “If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay […] You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock.”

The green light in the mist is a symbol that Daisy Buchanan is out of reach to Gatsby. Here, likewise, Taylor follows up the lyric quoted with a line about her love drifting out of reach: “Pulled him in tighter each time he was driftin’ away.”

Related Post: The Great Gatsby Quotes on the American Dream


Hamlet by William Shakespeare

“‘Stay away from her’
The saboteurs protested too much”

“But Daddy I Love Him”

In Act 3, Scene 2 of Hamlet, Prince Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, famously says, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

This reference becomes even clearer when Swift later talks in this song about “soliloquies I’ll never see.” Soliloquies are staples of Shakespearean tragedies, including Hamlet.

Related Post: Best Hamlet Quotes


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

But now we’ve stepped into a cruel world
Where everybody stands and keeps score

Keep your eyes open

“Eyes Open”

Taylor Swift read The Hunger Games book series to prepare for composing “Eyes Open” for the movie adaptation.

This bestselling dystopian trilogy centers on Katniss Everdeen, a teenager who is forced to fight for survival and endure the effects of war as she competes in gladiator-style games in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic community with a totalitarian government.


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 

And isn’t it just so pretty to think
All along there was some
Invisible string
Tying you to me?

“Invisible String”

Taylor Swift references the classic Jane Eyre in a few Folklore songs, including “Invisible String” (above). This lyric almost directly reflects Jane’s conversation with Rochester, describing their bond as “a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly knotted to a similar string in you.”

Jane Eyre is a gothic coming-of-age novel about an orphan in Victorian England who has a complicated relationship with a mysterious man.


Just Kids by Patti Smith

“You’re not Dylan Thomas, I’m not Patti Smith
This ain’t the Chelsea Hotel, we’rе modern idiots”

“The Tortured Poets Department”

“We embroidered the memories of the time I was away
Stitching, ‘We were just kids, babe'”

“loml”

Patti Smith is a famous singer, poet, and author. In the popular book Just Kids, she details her youthful relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, whom she called “the artist of my life.”

This lyric in “loml” (love of my life) seems to draw another reference to Patti Smith’s Just Kids, as Smith called Mapplethorpe “the artist of my life.”

Related Post: Taylor Swift Song References to Patti Smith


Macbeth by William Shakespeare

“Thinkin’, ‘How much sad did you think I had
Did you think I had in me?’
Oh, the tragedy”

“So Long, London”

In Act 5, scene 1 of Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Lady Macbeth says a line similar to the lyric quoted: “Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?”

“Tragedy” is also mentioned by Taylor, which, indeed, Macbeth is. Of course, Swift’s song is about a tragedy of sorts—a breakup.

Related Post: Quotes by Lady Macbeth


Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

I knew you
Tried to change the ending
Peter losing Wendy

“Cardigan”

“Forgive me, Peter
My lost fearless leader”

“Peter”

Taylor Swift directly references the classic characters Peter and Wendy from the coming-of-age book Peter Pan — the fantastical tale of the eternally young Peter Pan, his fairy Tinker Bell, and the Darling children, including Wendy, who have adventures in the magical world of Neverland.

In “Peter,” she repeats the line “said you were gonna grow up,” which is one of the main themes of Peter Pan.


The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

“Behind her back, her best mates laughed
And they nicknamed her ‘The Bolter'”

“The Bolter”

Mitford’s “Bolter” in The Pursuit of Love is inspired by real-life figures from Mitford’s social circle and is characterized by serial marriages and affairs, including running away with other men.

Likewise, Taylor Swift has infamously dated many men.


Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

I know my love should be celebrated
But you tolerate it

“Tolerate It”

Taylor Swift has specifically said that the moody thriller featuring an icy marriage in Rebecca inspired her song Tolerate It.”

In Rebecca, the main character is a servant who meets and quickly marries the wealthy older widow of Rebecca. Upon her arrival at his Manderley estate, it quickly becomes clear that Rebecca lingers in the memories of the staff.


The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coolidge

“She’s the albatross
She is here to destroy you”

“The Albatross”

Swift’s naming of “the albatross” is a reference to The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a poem by Samuel Taylor Coolidge. There, the albatross brought good luck until the Mariner shot and killed it. The Mariner wears it around his neck, and it becomes a symbol of the burdens carried by wrongdoing.

In the song quoted, Taylor Swift warns that her lovers and ex-lovers can become vilified by fans and the media. This is why she sees herself as an albatross.


Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

[Y]ou were Romeo, you were throwin’ pebbles
And my daddy said, “Stay away from Juliet”

“Love Story”

“A rose by any other name is a scandal”

“The Albatross”

Taylor Swift called upon the timeless love story Romeo and Juliet to inspire her aptly titled “Love Story.” You likely already know the story of these young lovers, who have fallen madly in love but are kept apart by feuding families, with tragic consequences.

Additionally, in Act 2, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet Capulet famously says, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Related Post: Romeo and Juliet Quotes on Love


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

“I hate it here so I will go to secret gardens in my mind
People need a key to get to, the only one is mine
I read about it in a book when I was a precocious child”

“I Hate It Here”

This song makes another very clear literary reference to The Secret Garden.

It’s about an unhappy orphaned girl who dislikes her new home until she finds a secret garden on the estate that brings her healing. It’s no wonder that Taylor goes there in mind!

Related Post: The Secret Garden Quotes


Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Why for years I roam
Free as these birds, light as whispers
Carolina knows

“Carolina”

Taylor Swift wrote “Carolina” for the movie adaptation of the massive bestselling phenomenon, Where the Crawdads Sing, a coming-of-age tale of a woman raised in a marsh, including both a mystery and a love story. You can feel both the spirit of the protagonist and her home in these haunting lyrics.


A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

“The brink of a wrinkle in time
Bittersweet sixteen suddenly”

“So High School”

This song very clearly references A Wrinkle in Time, the classic Newberry Medal-winning children’s science fiction book about kids who fold time and space.

This shows how Taylor feels like a high school student (a different time in her life) in her relationship with Travis Kelce as an adult.

Books With Taylor Swift References and Inspiration

The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager

Riley Sager’s thriller The House Across the Lake begins with the epigraph, “I think he did it but I just can’t prove it.” This quote hails from Taylor Swift’s “No Body, No Crime.”

This book is a supernatural thriller about a recently widowed actress who watches a glamorous couple in the house across the lake. When the woman suddenly vanishes, she becomes consumed with finding out what happened to her, uncovering dark truths.


The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther

The Summer of Broken Rules is completely and utterly layered with Easter Eggs for fans of Taylor Swift’s songs, including “Bad Blood” and “Hey Stephen” (on which it is based).

It follows Meredith’s family on Martha’s Vineyard. Amid a game of assassin, she finds herself falling for a charming groomsman, leading to a summer filled with romance, healing from grief, and unexpected twists.


The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

The Summer I Turned Pretty author Jenny Han listened to a lot of Taylor Swift music while writing this book series. She also succeeded in getting more Swift songs than I can count into the Amazon Prime TV adaptation.

The Summer I Turned Pretty begins a trilogy of Summer romance novels that follows teenager “Belly” as she and her mom and her brother visit their shared summer beach house with her mom’s friend and her two sons, who become her crushes as their lives take a difficult turn.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Taylor Swift’s favorite book?

Taylor Swift has recommended many of her favorite books, including the popular titles Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, and Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney.

Does Taylor Swift read a lot of books?

Taylor Swift is known for her lifelong love of storytelling and books, which are often referenced in the lyrics of her songs.

Who is Taylor Swift’s favorite author?

Taylor Swift has called John Green her favorite author. He’s the #1 bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars and other emotional YA fiction.

Conclusion

These Taylor Swift book recommendations help you embrace your “era” as a reader. If you’re undecided on where to start, here are my top picks in the three categories discussed.

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