Reading for the Almost Apocalypse

Reading for the Almost Apocalypse

Heh. What a cheery title!

We've all woken up to a brand new day, sans Mayan predictions of doom and gloom. You are going to have to finish that Christmas shopping after all. Bummer. At least I can feel smug about buying my turkey yesterday. Told the cashier I was living on the optimistic edge.

Despite my sunny disposition, I still loves me some apocalyptic reading material. Just what would YOU do in the face of unexplained mayhem and disaster? Some of my favorite books center around "The world is ending ... shit!" theme:

The Leftovers

One of my go-to "You have to read this" recommendations. Tom Perrotta is a phenomenal storyteller, but this book is for the ages and a PERFECT selection for book clubs, because there's so much to dissect and so many sides to take.

Centered on the Garvey family three years after what appears to have been The Rapture, the remaining residents of Mapleton are left to ponder their fate. Referred to as the Sudden Departure, millions of people around the globe have up and vanished. The religious left behind refuse to believe it was The Big Event, and a variety of cults spring up – most notably, the Guilty Remnant, a group of white-clad, smoking, non-speakers who travel in pairs and follow Mapleton-ites around town, in an attempt to be that visual reminder that the world has changed forever.

Husband and wife Kevin and Laurie, along with kids Tom and Jill, each deal with the Sudden Departure differently, especially as the theme of sudden departure revisits them again and again throughout the book.

The Age of Miracles

A selection from the 2012 literary pile of great books—I actually preferred this to the other big YA hit, "The Fault in Our Stars." And I'm not sure why, as at the end of the book, I was left with an intense "WTF? THAT'S how it ends?" feeling.

This debut novel from Karen Thompson Walker was both disturbing and entertaining. Sixth-grader Julia narrates a year in her life, beginning with a cataclysmic event—the slowing of the Earth’s rotation. It’s the end of the world as most everyone knows it, and of course, people handle that news differently. Some deny, others accept, still more adapt. Julia’s family is a representation of those who freak, those who falter and those who simply put one foot in front of the other for no other reason that that’s really all there is to do, besides stock up on canned goods.

Julia’s story—the pain of adolescence, only to be exacerbated by “the slowing,”—intersects with so many others struggling to find their way. Her parents, her crush—the sad, sad Seth Moreno—her grandfather, those bitchy middle school girls you hated when you were in middle school, the “real-timers” …it’s a sad story and heartbreaking in so many ways, but so incredibly well-written and one that book clubs would love to dissect.

The Stand (Stephen King)

Decades later, this remains one of my favorite books of all time. I can even forgive the TV movie makers for casting Molly Ringwald as Frannie. (Though Gary Sinise rocked Stu. And Miguel Ferrer is always tasty as a bad guy.) For the five people on the planet that haven't read this yet, Stephen King's masterpiece takes a handful of kindhearted survivors of the superflu-like bug and pits them against the criminally insane survivors of the same nasty virus. And yeah, Vegas is homebase for the bad guys. Throw in what seems like a 1,0o0-year-old lady in a rocking chair, a pyro, deaf-mute, a one-hit wonder and some batshit crazy, and you've got magic! Magic!

So—your time isn't up. There's no excuse not to enjoy a book. Happy reading!

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