Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What's on Your Apocalyptic Bookshelf?

"If I had known the world was going to end, 
I would've brought better books." 
(Dale, from the TV show, "The Walking Dead")

Besides making me laugh, this line got me thinking - what books would I want with me if the Super Flu hit or the zombies ruled or the whole deserted island thing happened?

Surprisingly, the woman who waffles over pretty much everything - including whether or not to have waffles for breakfast - knew right off the three books on her apocalyptic bookshelf, followed quickly by two more additions. 

The Stand by Stephen King  (Oh, the irony!)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Any of the Calvin and Hobbes collections by Bill Watterson

Yes, I know - the smart thing would be to choose books about surviving, but since I'm pretty sure I wouldn't last all that long anyway, I'd rather go down reading some of my all time favorite books. They all have a depth and a heart that draw me back to them over and over. The characters are old friends yet the stories offer something new with each re-read. All of the books ground me yet take me somewhere else - a plus when you're hiding from vampires or werewolves or whatever is roaming around out there waiting to eat you.

What books would be on your "end of the world" bookshelf and why?


  1. Oh, I love this topic. It's a toughie though.

    I'm with you on the Calvin and Hobbes collections. Smart, funny, and they never get old. A good choice.

    I think I would take To Kill a Mockingbird, Bag of Bones, and one of the Best New Horror volumes. And maybe Pride and Prejudice.

    I feel like I should put them together on my shelf and have them at the ready - just in case.

  2. I don't think I'd take a book if disaster threatened. Not sure what use I'd be, but maybe accumulated wisdom would help any survivors. Would anyone have time to read?

  3. Oh, you're right. The Stand is an ironic choice.

    I'd have to pick a Harry Potter book too but I'd probably go with Order of the Phoenix or Half Blood Prince.

  4. Laurita - I like your choices. But now I'm thinking, hmm maybe I should get a few paperback copies ready, too...

    Francene - There seems to be some down time in between zombie attacks. :)

    MJ - you can't really go wrong with any of the HP books. :)

  5. Oh, this is hard! Definitely Terry Pratchett, but picking one would be the dilemma. And maybe some Kurt Vonnegut, like Breakfast of Champions. So fun to read, and depth too.

  6. I'd have Pride and Prejudice and The Book Thief - just because I could read them over and over, and never get bored of them. I plan to survive the apocalypse - I read Empty World at school, I know how to do it!

  7. Great question, and a good reminder that I should probably start watching The Walking Dead again.

    Um...Krazy Kat: A Novel in Five Panels by Jay Cantor. One of my favourite post-apocalyptic books, Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban. Depending on the nature of the apocalypse, Linda Runyon's Essential Wild Food Survival Guide, all about edible plants.

    Also: yes, Pride and Prejudice, plus probably a compendium of Renaissance plays, and the requisite Shakespeare collected works.

    My post-apocalyptic book collection would be too heavy. I am sure I would get mugged by zombies while trying to run with it.

    P.S. I nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award. You can collect it here.

  8. Nick - I had the same trouble picking just one of the HP and SK books but I think as long as it's one of your favorite authors, you're good to go.

    Annalisa - Oh, THE BOOK THIEF! I love that book...

    Elizabeth - I suppose you could always throw some of those tomes at the zombies - knock them out for sure. Not that I'd advocate throwing books, mind you. Just in a zombie emergency... (Oh, and thank you for the award!)

  9. I think about this ALL THE TIME! I buy most of the books I read so if the power ever went out or zombies took over I would have something to read :)

  10. Angela - I'm thinking I should add one of those headlight flashlight things to the apocalyptic bookshelf emergency kit...

  11. I'm actually (finally!) reading the Stand now, which means I freak out a little whenever someone around me coughs, but it's worth it ;-). I agree that any Harry Potter would be an excellent apocalyptic bookshelf choice, and I'd also want some Shakespeare, Gaiman, and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I can't decide whether I'd find my favorite dystopian/apoc/post-apoc books fitting or just depressing, so Atwood, Huxley, King, Carrie Ryan, etc. will have to go on the maybe list. Great question!

  12. Jillian - It's funny because I think I would find the King book oddly comforting since it's familiar. :)

    Oh, I don't know if you've gotten to it yet, but the part with the tunnel? I shudder every time I think of it. I still hate to go through tunnels.

  13. Your comment made me laugh because my husband has asked me literally every day "Have you gotten to the tunnel part yet? You have to tell me when you get to the tunnel part!" I think he forgets that in the extended version King spends hundreds of pages setting up the characters, but I'm hoping to hit the tunnel soon!