By Ashly Moore Sheldon • July 30, 2023
From the moment the tickets went on sale, Taylor Swift's Eras Tour has been making headlines and drawing record turnouts. At 33 years old, her tour's theme may seem a bit grandiose. But having spent more than half her life as a professional singer-songwriter, the young superstar has definitely evolved, reinventing herself and breaking records with every new release.
If you're a fan, you've certainly noticed what an amazing storyteller she is. Dramatic, droll, and detailed, her music is filled with all the hallmarks of a good yarn. So it seems fitting to bring you a roundup of the perfect books to go with every era in her substantial discography.
Her eponymous debut album came out when she was only seventeen, so not surprisingly, it centers on themes of high school, first love, and the drama of adolescence. With the release of "Our Song," Swift became the youngest person to single-handedly write and sing a number-one song. Here are our reading suggestions for this sweetheart of a set.
Reggie and Delilah's Year of Falling by Elise Bryant
This swoony YA rom-com about Delilah, a shy singer who falls for Reggie, a self-described Blerd (Black nerd) is a perfect fit for this album, especially since Delilah happens to be Swiftie, herself.
Looking For Alaska by John Green
In 2014, after Green raved about Swift on social media, she returned the favor calling him her favorite author. Their like-mindedness shows! This coming-of-age story captures all the angst and nostalgia of first love and heartbreak.
Secret crushes, volatile romances, and fairy-tale endings dominate the songs of this album. It also marks the beginnings of Swift's evolution from country to pop. Critics lauded her songs as honest and vulnerable and she went on to win a raft of awards including a Grammy for Album of the Year (the youngest recipient up to that point).
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
An innovative Romeo and Juliet retelling about ex-lovers Juliette and Roma. As the leaders of rival gangs in 1920s Shanghai, their love is tainted by betrayal. And yet when a new danger emerges, they may need to join forces.
The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
We can't help but think of the lyrics for "The Way I Loved You" while reading this story about a woman weighing her stable, loving marriage with the wild, unbridled passion she still has for her childhood sweetheart.
This album continues Swift's migration to a poppier sound. The now twenty-year-old artist is also exploring themes of adulthood and working through serious relationship issues. Within a week of its release, it became the fastest-selling digital album by a female artist, with 278,000 downloads, earning Swift an entry in the 2010 Guinness World Records.
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Alexa Monroe wouldn't normally agree to go to a wedding with a guy she just met while stuck in an elevator together. But there's something about Drew Nichols that's too hard to resist. "It was enchanting to meet you," indeed!
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
"Drop everything now, meet me in the pouring rain, kiss me on the sidewalk, take away the pain." This lyric from "Sparks Fly" gives us all the intoxicating intensity of the lovesick couple at the center of this heartbreaking love story.
Experimenting with more rock and electronica elements, Swift continues to grow as an artist. These songs are packed with themes of heartbreak, resilience, and all the wisdom a twenty-two-year-old can possess. The album, her fourth, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 1.21 million copies, making Swift the first woman artist to have two million-selling album openings, smashing another record.
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
This wildly funny, occasionally heartbreaking memoir is about growing up, growing older, and learning to navigate friendships, jobs, loss, and love along the ride. It offers a perfect reflection of the themes of Red.
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
Swift is known for her evocative songs about breaking up and "All Too Well" is perhaps one of her most striking examples of this. It brings to mind this gorgeous novel about the devastating impact of a relationship's demise.
This synth-pop album represents Swift's complete transformation from country songstress to pop star extraordinaire. It was during this time that she began living in New York City, hence, "Welcome to New York." The songs are upbeat and fun, even as they embrace some darker themes. At the subsequent Grammy Awards, Swift became the first woman to win Album of the Year twice as a lead artist.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
This high fantasy tale centers on a teenage, female assassin. As she navigates a corrupt kingdom and a tyrannical ruler, Celaena Sardothien forms unexpected bonds and uncovers dangerous conspiracies.
The Mad Women's Ball by Victoria Mas
This album takes a lighthearted look at Swift's many public breakups and the "long list of ex-lovers" who say she's "insane." This literary thriller set in 1880s Paris examines the history of inconvenient or outspoken women being deemed mad.
After more than ten years as a public figure, Swift continues to reckon with the public scrutiny on her personal life. With a heavy electropop sound and notes of hip hop, R&B, and EDM, this album highlights the artist's growing confidence and power. Her tour for this "era" notched many records, including that of being the highest-grossing North American tour in history up until then.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
In this sexy novel, a reclusive Hollywood movie icon decides it's time to tell the secrets of her glamorous and scandalous life. When a fan asked on Twitter if the story could be inspired by Swift, TJR replied "oh most certainly."
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Swift references Gatsby in "This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things." With themes around relationships ruined by betrayal, loss of innocence, and the pitfalls of wealth and fame, there are many parallels with the Jazz Age classic.
Now thirty, Swift begins to experiment with more of an indie folk sound on this celebration of love in all its messy complexity. Many of the songs also center on empowerment, breaking down barriers, and defying expectations. Critics commended the album's free-spirited mood and emotional intimacy. With her music video for "You Need to Calm Down," Swift became the first woman to win Video of the Year for a video that she directed.
Girl Waits With a Gun by Amy Stewart
Based on the true story of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs. This is the story of a woman who doesn't quite fit the mold. She towers over most men, eschews domesticity, and harbors a complicated past. Sound familiar?
Do I Know You by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberly
Graham and Eliza are feeling less than connected as they head to a resort to celebrate their five-year anniversary. When a guest mistakenly introduces them to each other, a flirtatious game of pretend ensues.
The first of two pandemic albums, this gorgeous collection of songs continue Swift's movement toward a folkier, more alternative sound. Themes touch on mythology and fairy tales, with strains of romance and nostalgia. Besides being 2020's best-selling album, folklore won the grammy for Album of the Year, making Swift the first woman to win the award three times.
Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.
Yerba Buena by Nina Lacour
When Emilie and Sara meet working together at the glamorous restaurant Yerba Buena, their connection is immediate, but they both struggle with complications from their past. "A study of complex, modern love." –San Francisco Chronicle
Coming out in December 2020, just six months after folklore, evermore feels a bit like part two of the project. As with other albums, these tunes are packed with stories of infatuation and heartbreak. But here, all is brushed with a dreamy sense of melancholy and regret. At the 2020 American Music Awards, Swift won three awards, including Artist of the Year for a record third consecutive time.
Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
In a small back alley of Tokyo, there is a café that offers something else besides coffee. Wistful, mysterious, and quirky, this bestselling novel explores the age-old question: What would you change if you could travel back in time?
Comfort & Joy by Kristin Hannah
As Christmas approaches, Joy Candellaro can't summon the old enthusiasm for her favorite holiday. Newly divorced and alone, she boards a plane bound for the beautiful Pacific Northwest and begins an adventure into the unknown.
Swift's newest original album returns to a poppier sound, experimenting with electronica and chill-out music styles. The songs reflect a complex mix of emotional (and sometimes dark) themes including mental health, adulthood, and self-destructive tendencies. Rolling Stone critics dubbed it an "instant classic." The album debuted atop the Billboard 200, marking Swift's fifth album to open with over one million sales.
Acts of Desperation by Megan Nolan
In this provocative gut-punch of a novel, the unnamed protagonist falls into a destructive relationship with a charismatic, older man. It's an exploration of the nature of fantasy, desire, and power.
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
After a poetry performance one night in Dublin, precocious university students and best friends Frances and Bobbi catch the attention of a glamorous, sophisticated local photographer who invites them into her world.
Swift's songs deal with such universal and wide-ranging themes, it was a bit hard to winnow down our lists, but here you go. A Taylor-made reading list!