Quick Lit: Books to Give You Goosebumps

For Christmas, we gave my father-in-law The Martian. I had been wanting to read it for awhile and hadn’t gotten around to it, but I wanted to at least get started before I gifted it to him. (I always feel nervous about gifting someone a book I haven’t read yet!) So, I started the book just before Christmas, and it was the first book I finished in 2016. (On New Year’s Day, no less!)

What you’ve heard is true: this is a fantastic book. Over the years, I’ve learned that I really don’t like science-fiction (Ender’s Game being the only exception I can think of), so I usually skip the genre all together. But I heard so many fantastic reviews of The Martian (both the book and the film!) that I had to give it a try.

Now, the book is full of technical details. Some passages (like how Mark converted different gases to liquid water) went a bit over my head, and I found other passages were a bit boring (like how many potatoes he needed to grow to survive a certain number of days). Eventually, I just skimmed some of it, but it wasn’t enough to make my put down the book. I especially loved the passages that gave the perspective of the astronauts who left Mark behind.

As I approached the end, I could not put the book down. I was surprised by the visceral reaction I had to the story: I was legitimately nervous, and as I turned the last page, I had goosebumps.

Since finishing, I keep thinking about the book and recalling that feeling, and it made me wonder: what other books have made me feel this way?

Today I’m linking up with Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy to share 5 other books that have given me goosebumps:


  1. The Time Traveler’s Wife: I kept putting this book down because I knew what was coming, and I didn’t want it to happen. The love story is written so compellingly that I couldn’t bear the impending ending. (I was disappointed when the movie fell pretty flat for me, because I love a good tear-jerking movie.)
  2. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: This book gave me goosebumps before I even read it. The reaction wasn’t even about the plot: it was about the fact that when you physically flip through the final pages (flip book style), you see a man falling up, back into one of the World Trade Center towers. I always use this book as an example of why e-books sometimes just don’t cut it.
  3. The Jesus Storybook Bible: I don’t know what it is about the way Sally Lloyd-Jones tells these stories, but I consistently tear up and get goosebumps. When the angel Gabriel visits Mary, she writes that Gabriel “laughed with such gladness that Mary’s eyes filled with sudden joy.” It gets me every time.
  4. State of Wonder: That scene when Marina and the rest of the crew on a boat in the Amazon are trying to save Easter from an Anaconda? The thought that Easter–the only character who seems truly, wholly brave and pure–will die at the hands of a too-terrifying-to-be-real creature like that? Still makes my pulse quicken.
  5. Me Before You. If I ever write a novel, I am revisiting this book as a study in character development. It’s fantastic. I felt as though I knew Louisa and Will in real life, and their pain & joy feel very authentic.

I’m sure there are other books that have given me goosebumps, but these are the first that came to mind. They aren’t even necessarily my favorite books or the best of what I’ve read, but they gave me chills nonetheless. Any goosebump-inducing books I should add to my to-be-read list?



2 thoughts on “Quick Lit: Books to Give You Goosebumps

  1. I loved The Martian and The Time Traveler’s Wife! Another good one for goosebumps is Life After Life, reviewed here.

  2. Oooh, yes! I have that on my TBR list…maybe I need to bump it up a bit!

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