Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is: Genre Freebie (pick a genre and build a list around it! i.e., best/worst romances, non-fiction for travelers, memoirs for foodies, classics that feel timeless, romance novel kisses, science fiction that feels too real for comfort, women’s fiction for newbies, etc.)

And today, I have a list! I was considering books I wanted to get to while we’re all shut-ins, but then I realized I’d never actually get to them, considering I have more review books than brains (like, tons more). So I bring you… books I have read that hit way too close to this actual apocalypse! 

I have always loved an End of Days sort of book, that’s no secret. And a plague one is always extra terrifying, since it’s so plausible. Well, now it’s not only plausible, but literal! So if you’re a glutton for punishment like me, you may want to get to these books ASAP, and if you want your fiction a little less realistic, you may want to avoid for a hot second.

This is the quintessential pandemic apocalypse book, in my opinion. It is undoubtedly an all-time favorite, and portrays these crappy situation very realistically (so much so that the author had someone yell at him for using this particular pandemic as his book plot- which he clearly did not, as this was published before this stuff started hahah). But the best part is that in the midst of the hellscape is…. actual hope. And I feel like we need that more than ever.


This is a wee bit after the world-ending virus has rendered all people infertile. Whoopsie? (Or rather, no whoopsies, I suppose.) Regardless, it is awesome and twisty and everything I love about a Lauren James book!


This was such an awesome book that I almost didn’t take a chance on! Red is navigating a world where not only is there a really shitty plague, but mankind is showing its true colors, and they’re not great. It feels so horribly accurate and plausible, especially now.


This book is 800 pages, which you may only have time for in a quarantine, but also, it’s so freaking good. You guys know that I am afraid of big books, but this one took me no time, because I couldn’t put it down. The author explores this plague over a pretty long timespan, and through different characters’ viewpoints, and it’s, once again, eerily plausible.


Another 2020 book that hits it out of the park! This one is actually about preventing the apocalypse plague, which would have been nice. I want to yell now about how our country had all the warning and took zero action, but instead let’s just read this phenomenal book about Alice and her quest to save the world, yeah?


It’s a plague that doesn’t just permeate the world… but the damn universe. Talk about next level crappy, yeah? Jaime has been off-world for quite some time, living in a fairly isolated part of a planet, when the few people around her die. And she finds herself among the only people left period, and she must venture to find survivors. It’s incredibly eerie, and very character driven. I loved it.


Oh, it’s an OG virus, y’all! Set in Illinois during both WWI and the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic, we follow Ivy who has a gift/curse for seeing the dead. And as you can imagine, between war and pestilence, she’s seeing quite a few folks. There’s mystery, adventure, romance, friendship, and family abound, and I highly recommend! I also hope to get to In the Shadow of Blackbirds, which I hear is also flu-y.


I mean, it is called Contagion for goodness sake, you know it’s going to be a mess. Very, very few people survive the new pandemic facing Scotland and the UK. You’ll get hints of the origins early on, but as far as Shay knows, it’s just the crappy virus killing massive amounts of people. And if you happen to be one of the few who survive? Good luck with your new… shall we say, side effects?


This was one of the first actual plague apocalypse books I ever read, and it remains among my favorite. It starts off with all the stuff we’re dealing with- travelers stranded, being ordered to stay inside, etc. And frankly, the series only gets better as it goes on, IMO.


It’s the pandemic, but in cold, desolate isolation of Northern Canada! Think you can outrun the apocalypse? Think again.


So, how about you? Reading more or staying away from plague-y books? Have any recommendations for me?

Posted March 24, 2020 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Top Ten Tuesday / 32 Comments


32 responses to “Books Hitting Close to Home

  1. The coronavirus has made me want to read The Great Influenza again, but they figured they can charge $13.99 for it because of the current pandemic, and I’m not willing to pay that. All these books look good. I got Malice with the Scribbler box a couple months ago so I’ll need to read it at some point.

  2. A Beginning at the End sounds SOOO good, and I saw that tweet! I had to laugh. Good grief- people sometimes. anyway The Girl in Red was awesome and now I need to track down the Uninvited because that sounds amazing too!

    Oh, and I loved the Wolves of Winter of course!

  3. Surprise, surprise! I have not read any of these books. I am more well versed in older dystopians, but honesty, I don’t think I could read books like this right now. I am lucky my job gave me the two weeks off, because the stress and anxiety I was experiencing every day as I went to work was killing me.

  4. I have The Wolves of Winter on my TBR shelf. I probably won’t get to it until the summer because I also have more books than brains. I’m hoping the plague is over by then, or I’ll end up reading it in isolation.

  5. Danielle Hammelef

    I enjoyed Mike Chen’s book and have recently read The Sound of Stars which isn’t a plague/pandemic book, but an alien invasion that is killing people. The book also offers hope for the future like Chen’s. My next ARC is Agnes at the End of the World, which I’m delaying a bit because it has a raging pandemic hitting the world too.

    • OH yes The Sound of Stars was a good one too! I agree, it had a hopeful tone (crazy, considering how bleak it started out!) and I MUST read Agnes! I have it too, but I am delaying it because I am woefully behind on review books hahah. Hope it’s good!

  6. Wow, I’ve actually read several here. Wolves of Winter is one of my favorite books and I think I read it a few years back. I read Mike Chen’s book earlier this year and LOVED IT! I’ve also read another book by Pintip Dunn and liked it a lot so I think I need to check out Malice. Such a great list!

  7. I just started one yesterday about the earth being uninhabitable and them going into space to look for a new planet and being attacked by aliens and it doesn’t even sound far fetched now lol

    I think I need some fluff now because I can’t really read about people being cruel to each other when we’re seriously debating letting our vulnerable die because we can’t hold off a few weeks with shopping.

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

  8. I’ve been wanting to read some apocalyptic novels (not sure why, as it’ll probably just increase my anxiety but hey-ho) so thank you for this list! One of my favourite apocalyptic books is Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer – SO good!

  9. Chiara

    Such an interesting topic! I would have never thought to do something like this. I don’t know that I’ve read or heard of any of the books but I’ll add a few to my list and check them out.

  10. The Girl in Red is the only one on your list that I’ve read, and I really enjoyed it! I’m avoiding books that share a similar theme to what’s happening in the world, but it seems I can’t avoid it in comics. Everything has mutated germs, or viruses that wiped out the world. Ugh.

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

  11. Um, yeah, so these are perfection and I need to add them to my TBR. But because they’re so realistic, it will be a (long) while for me to get to them. 😂 Way too close to home. A Beginning At The End, Wanderers and Malice sounds SO good though.

  12. omg noooo I CANNOT DO PLAGUE BOOKS RIGHT NOW 😭😭😂 I have Malice on my TBR and I just…don’t even want to try it oops. However I can’t stop thinking of Dry by Neal Shusterman too! Some things are eerily familiar, like the shopping rush scary buying everything scenes. People getting violent over bottled water and TOILET PAPER. 💀

  13. Tânia @MyLovelySecret

    I actually don’t mind reading books about plagues and the end of days right now. These books kinda give you lots of tips on how to survive the plague apocalypse (clearly, buying tons of toilet paper is not one of the tips; it must be in some book that I never heard of). I’ve been eyeing The Girl in Red and Malice for a long time. The Uninvited seems so freaking good!!!

    Happy readings!
    Tânia @MyLovelySecret

  14. So originally I thought I was going to stay away from plague and apocalypse books, but then right after this all started I ended up reading two pandemic books by mistake 😂 So now I’m not trying to avoid them, which is perfect with all these recommendations!! The Space Between Stars sounds fantastic, and I’ve also been kind of avoiding The Girl in Red, but maybe now I’ll take a chance on it. Great post Shannon!!

Leave a Reply