Everybody’s doing ‘em. Here’s what I’ve observed.
The most buzzed about book is obviously Justin Cronin‘s The Passage. It certainly asks for a commitment. Not only does it weigh in at almost 800 pages, it is the first in a trilogy. But it seems to have it all: the apocalypse, vampires, the endorsement of everybody except God (maybe Him, too, but I haven’t checked in on His blog lately). And you know what? It actually looks like a pretty good read. I still might wait for the paperback. Speaking as someone who only just today acquired a copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (borrowed from a friend), I am not one to jump on the trend bus.
Personally, I’m excited about The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell, after reading this review in the NYT Book Review. This sounds like a novel I can get lost in, and I loved Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. At only 489 pages, it’s “light” reading.
Here is Flavorwire’s required summer reading list. With the exception of The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel (which sounds pretty interesting), I’d already picked up some buzz about all of these books. Of course, The Passage makes the list. Also Light Boxes, which I saw in the bookstore but did not buy — I have to admit, it’s a beautifully designed book.
The Millions provides a list of five apocalypses to get you through your summer, once you’ve finished The Passage. Two of the suggestions — The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway and Things We Didn’t See Coming by Steve Amsterdam — were new to me and sound particularly interesting.
Everybody from Oprah to Stephen King has recommendations for you. I haven’t actually looked through their lists because you have to load a new page for each recommendation and quite frankly, who has the time? I’m too busy reading.
What are you reading this summer?
Flashlight Worthy Book Recommendations has reprinted another of my reading lists. This time it’s my popular fiction survival guide for after the apocalypse. Head over and check it out, and while you’re there, look around. You’ll find plenty of reading suggestions there.
Between the movie 2012 and the actual year 2012 looming on the horizon, global warming summits and Viggo Mortensen heading down The Road, the apocalypse has been on a lot of minds lately. But if you’re one of the (un)lucky ones to survive the actual big event, then what should you do? As usual, we turn to science fiction writers for the answer. The following books were all selected because they focus on what comes after the end, rather than the end itself. They attempt to answer the all-important question: Now what?
(Note that books that depict supernatural events following the apocalypse, such as showdowns with the Devil or legions of zombies, have been omitted. We’re interested in practical survival guides.)
- Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse, edited by John Joseph Adams — This collection of short stories is a retrospective of possible post-apocalyptic scenarios, ranging from the immediate aftermath to far, far in the future. While a few horror and dark fantasy stories have been thrown in the mix, most of these excellent selections are straightforward science fiction depicting various ways of coping with the end of everything.
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy – In what is probably the bleakest of our selections, a man and his son wander through a desolated landscape of ashes, eking out their survival from the little that’s left remaining, while trying to get… well, nowhere in particular, really.
- The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler – Society has completely collapsed, and a young woman is driven from her home after her neighborhood is burned and her family murdered. Despite the violence and hopelessness that surrounds her, she is determined to spread her spiritual message.
- Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – A comet has slammed into the Earth, destroying all governing structures, and within weeks all of the survivors have reverted to feudalism, cannibalism and worse. Fun times.
- Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank – The residents of a small Florida town, having been alerted just prior to an all-out nuclear war, must struggle with the vagaries of small-town politics after the apocalypse.
- The Postman by David Brin – When the end of America comes, what is the one thing that can bring us back from the brink of complete anarchy? That’s right: the U.S. Postal Service.
- A Gift Upon the Shore by M.K. Wren – Once the apocalypse is over with, two women survive on a farm on the Oregon coast while trying to preserve the remainder of mankind’s knowledge and sparring with the ultra-Christian religious cult down the beach.
- The Folk of the Fringe by Orson Scott Card - Following World War III, a community of Mormons is one of the few pockets of order remaining in the U.S., trying to rebuild society on the shores of a flooded Salt Lake City.
- A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. – Six hundred years after the Simplification — total nuclear annihilation — a cloister of monks in Utah preserve the little that remains of the world’s knowledge, and wonder whether mankind is perpetually doomed to destroy itself.
- Earth Abides by George R. Stewart – One of the few survivors of a plague attempts to rebuild society but instead must watch it erode to a primitive state.
- Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin – It is the far, far future, and the only remnants of the past are a network of computers. This book collects the stories, poetry and rituals of the Kesh, who have built a primitive utopia on the ashes of civilization.
Ok, my “to read” pile is out of control. I have one shelf in my bedroom that’s designated as a “to read” shelf. Ever since I discovered BookMooch, though, the contents of that shelf have spilled off the end and created a pile next to it that’s almost as tall as the bookcase.
My husband, who gets two shelves and still has piles of books all over the floor, has suggested that we solve the problem by getting another bookcase for the bedroom.
In the meantime, I am trying not to buy any new books until I make a dent in the pile. But that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped adding books to my wishlist. Here are a few that I don’t know if I can wait for:
How about you — are there any books you’re particularly looking forward to? Anyone have any recommendations for (relatively) new books to add to my wishlist?