Pandemic novels to read during a pandemic

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If you, like us, are a little bit weird and like to escape the horror and anxiety of the pandemic by reading books about fictional pandemics then look no further because we have the list for you! A couple of these beauties we’ve read, are half-way through (ahem The Stand) and some that are next on the to-be-read pile because they’ve been eyeing me from their places on my bookshelf since March.

So what can you expect? 

  • An engineered virus that wipes out 90% of humanity leaving behind a fight between good and evil
  • Survival stories after civilisation’s collapse
  • Viruses that lead to zombies

And more….

The Stand by Stephen King

First come the days of the plague. Then come the dreams.

Dreams that warn of the coming of the dark man. The apostate of death, his worn-down boot heels tramping the night roads. The warlord of the charnel house and Prince of Evil.

His time is at hand. His empire grows in the west and the Apocalypse looms.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be saviour, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theatre troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

A riveting novel of suspense and terror from the Bram Stoker award-winning author of The Cabin at the End of the World and A Head Full of Ghosts.

When it happens, it happens quickly.

New England is locked down, a strict curfew the only way to stem the wildfire spread of a rabies-like virus. The hospitals cannot cope with the infected, as the pathogen’s ferociously quick incubation period overwhelms the state. The veneer of civilisation is breaking down as people live in fear of everyone around them. Staying inside is the only way to keep safe. But paediatrician Ramola Sherman can’t stay safe, when her friend Natalie calls – her husband is dead, she’s eight months pregnant, and she’s been bitten. She is thrust into a desperate race to bring Natalie and her unborn child to a hospital, to try and save both their lives.

Their once familiar home has becoming a violent and strange place, twisted into a barely recognisable landscape. What should have been a simple, joyous journey becomes a brutal trial.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Florentino Ariza is a hopeless romantic who falls passionately for the beautiful Fermina Daza. Instead Fermina marries a distinguished doctor, while Florentino can only wait silently for her. He can never forget his first and only true love.

Then, fifty-one years, nine months and four days later, Fermina’s husband dies unexpectedly. At last, Florentino has another chance to declare his feelings and discovers if a passion that has endured for half a century will remain unrequited. García Márquez tells a tale that is a rich, fantastic, and humane celebration of love in all its many forms.

Year One (Chronicles of The One #1) by Nora Roberts

It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed–and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.

Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practising in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river–or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travellers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a saviour, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain. The end has come. The beginning comes next.

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.

One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.

Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max’s shadow disappears too.

Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.

As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.

The Plague by Albert Camus

The Plague is Albert Camus’s world-renowned fable of fear and courage.

The townspeople of Oran are in the grip of a deadly plague, which condemns its victims to a swift and horrifying death. Fear, isolation and claustrophobia follow as they are forced into quarantine. Each person responds in their own way to the lethal disease: some resign themselves to fate, some seek blame, and a few, like Dr Rieux, resist the terror.

An immediate triumph when it was published in 1947, The Plague is in part an allegory of France’s suffering under the Nazi occupation, and a story of bravery and determination against the precariousness of human existence.

The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe

However you try to escape it, horror is always there.

Outside the abbey’s armoured walls, the common poor are ravaged by a grisly pestilence known as the ‘Red Death’, while within, safe and untroubled, the happy Prince Prospero hosts lavish entertainments. But, in their immodest comfort, the Prince and his guests are not as safe as they hope from the horrors of the outside world…

In ‘The Masque of the Red Death’ and other tales of gothic horror, Edgar Allan Poe writes as no one else ever has of creeping, mounting terrors – of torments of ingenious, malevolent tormentors and of a mind’s own sickening madness.

Will you be reading any pandemic novels?

Let us know in the comments below!

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