8 Good End-of-the-World Books to Read While Under Quarantine

Reading from a list of books about the end of the world is one way you can spend your time while under quarantine against the coronavirus. Picture: The cover of Stephen King's book, "The Stand."

Guido Gonzalez/Staff Writer 

During this outbreak, it’s important that while we keep our distances, we must also keep ourselves occupied. And what’s better to keep our minds distracted during these trying times than reading a gripping story about the end of the world? Here are eight books (in no ranking order) that’ll make you run for the shelters and stock up on some good reads.

The Stand” by Stephen King, 1978

Stephen King’s longest and most daring novel chronicles an ensemble of characters struggling to survive in a lawless world after a global pandemic of weaponized influenza killed off almost everyone on earth. King, a master of horror, pulls no punches with the nightmares and tragedies that fall upon the characters, and his detailed and intricate writing makes you want to suffer with them. 

Where to read for free: http://pdfcorner.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/The-Stand-pdf.pdf

World War Z” by Max Brooks, 2006

The son of legendary funny man, Mel Brooks, has written a legendary tale of horror that doubles as a satirical mockumentary. Set 10 years after mankind emerged victorious from a zombie apocalypse, an unknown narrator interviews a diverse cast of survivors while providing a harshly humorous commentary about the bureaucratic inefficiencies of crisis management. But make no mistake, this is a zombie book through and through, with all the gruesome details you desire.

Where to read for free: https://www.zombie-guide.com/wp-content/uploads/World_War_Z.pdf

Severance” by Ling Ma, 2018

With humor as dry as a saltine cracker and a deep introspective study on immigration, capitalism and office culture, “Severance” is the perfect satire. The world has been taken by a fungal infection in which infected people repeat their daily routines without consciousness until death. Thoughtful, witty and wonderfully cynical, it’s the timeliest novel to read.  

Earth Abides” by George R. Stewart, 1949

Speculation of what would happen to the world after the collapse of society was a timeless concept of mankind. This early 20th century literary sci-fi masterpiece shows that after such a catastrophic event, the world never ends, it only changes. The story follows a small society in America where a pandemic kills almost everyone on it, and how far it changes over a slow and gradual period. 

Where to read for free: http://bamfordsworld.weebly.com/uploads/8/7/0/3/8703302/george_a._stewart_-_earth_abides.pdf

The Road” by Cormac McCarthy, 2006

McCarthy’s brutal and borderline nihilistic tale is about a father and son surviving a cold and a growing desolate landscape. You might know it better as the 2009 Viggo Mortensen film adaptation. Nevertheless, there is a beautifully sorrowful tone that never lets up from first page to last, and is certainly worth your time.

Where to read for free: http://mrsfieldstchs.weebly.com/uploads/3/7/7/1/37719247/the_road_-_text.pdf

The Rising” by Brian Keene, 2003

If you’re looking to be horrified while also reminded that things could always get much worse, then this novel flawlessly achieves both. In this story, demons possess and animate the dead, including animals, creating zombies that are smarter, deadlier and capable of speaking. And among the chaos a father braves the hellish new world in the hopes of saving his young son. Gore, tragedy, father-son relationships, it’s got it all. It’s as moving as it is morbid.

I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson, 1954

No, no, this is not the Will Smith movie. Yes, it was (loosely) adapted from this novel. And yes, it is a worthwhile read. Instead of New York, the novel is set in Los Angeles after a worldwide pandemic killed off most of the world and turned the survivors into vampires. Robert Neville, the sole survivor, goes about his business in the following years as he struggles to stay sane and hopeful as the last man on earth. This book is the proto-zombie apocalypse story, a highly influential work that inspired George A. Romero’s 1968 horror flick “Night of the Living Dead.”

Where to read for free: http://novelfreereadonline.com/i-am-legend/part-i-january-1976-chapter-one-79673

Guns, Germs, and Steel” by Jared Diamond, 1997

Ok, so this book isn’t fictional, but it is nonetheless an intriguing look on how human society evolved the way it did. One of the biggest impetus for the shaping of the world as we know it was the Colombian exchange between the old world and the new, including food, domesticated animals, and of course, diseases. What better way to spend time during a pandemic than to understand how they can play such a pivotal role in history.

Where to read for free: https://archive.org/details/fp_Jared_Diamond-Guns_Germs_and_Steel/mode/2up

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