1: one of the Jewish and Christian writings of 200 B.C. to 150 A.D. marked by pseudonymity, symbolic imagery, and the expectation of an imminent cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the ruling powers of evil and raises the righteous to life in a messianic kingdom
2: something viewed as a prophetic revelation
3: a great disaster
Whether it's been a subconscious attempt to remind myself that despite the economic recession, current wars and general devastation, life could be worse, the theme of my reading recently has been "apocalypse". Bring me misery and despair apparently.
But I want to share the list of apocalyptic stories as they are general good tales of human endurance and survival in the face of total catastrophe. Take note. Enjoy. Humanity shall endure!
Z for Zachariah
by Robert O'Brien
From the cover:
Ann Burden is sixteen years old and completely alone. The world as she once knew it is gone, ravaged by a nuclear war that has taken everyone from her. For the past year, she has lived in a remote valley with no evidence of any other survivors.
But the smoke from a distant campfire shatters Ann's solitude. Someone else is still alive and making his way toward the valley. Who is this man? What does he want? Can he be trusted? Both excited and terrified, Ann soon realizes there may be worse things than being the last person on Earth.
Life as We Knew It
by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Everyone knew an asteroid was going to hit the moon. Scientists, governments, citizens. They didn't know, however, that the asteroid would knock the moon closer to the Earth. This sets off cataclysmic environmental disasters -- tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes -- that affect everyone, everywhere. Observed by 16-year-old Miranda in rural Pennsylvania, written in journal entries, this involving story depicts one family's struggle to survive the unimaginable.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and stayed up until I finished it in its entirety. This apocalyptic tale is so spooky because it is not so far from the realm of reality...
Make sure to also check out The Dead and the Gone
, a companion sequel about the gritty survival of another family during the lunar catastrophe -- told by high school junior Alex Morales, in urban New York City, who must take care of his younger sisters when his parents go missing.
The Parable of the Sower
by Octavia E. Butler
With the U.S. suffering from environmental, social and political decline, and growing Christian extremism, the world Lauren Olamina lives in is hard. Fresh water is costly. Communities can only survive as long as their walls stand and only the foolhardy venture outside without guns. Further complicating Olamina's life is that she suffers from hyper-empathy, a psychological condition that makes the "Sharer" experience pain and pleasure others feel. My favorite book by my favorite author.
Also has a fantastic sequel: The Parable of the Talents
The Handmaid's Tale
A powerful depiction of the Handmaid's outfit (and physical rendition of their psychological silence.)
by Margaret Atwood
In the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States, far-right ideals have been carried to extremes, sterility is the norm and fertile woman are treated as cattle to produce children for the upper class who cannot have any. The tale is told by Offred (read: "of Fred"), a Handmaid who recalls the past and tells how the chilling society came to be.
A frightening tale for any female (or male, who believes in equal rights) but powerful beyond belief. A MUST read!
Now I'll probably be yelled at for not including "The Road" or "Blindness" but admittedly I have not read them yet --- but have planned to for a while. Writing this list will encourage me to finally pick these books up from the library. Any other suggestions?