Sometimes things feel apocalyptic. Sometimes it helps to read Apocalyptic Fiction. Sometimes it helps to read books with characters who are cats. Sometimes it helps to do both.
A Street Cat Named Bob: and how he saved my life by James Bowen
When James Bowen found an injured, ginger street cat curled up in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation, he had no idea just how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London and the last thing he needed was a pet. Yet [he] couldn't resist helping the strikingly intelligent tom cat, whom, he quickly christened Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas.
Blindness by Jose Saramago
An inexplicable epidemic of white blindness descends upon the world. The victims are placed in an abandoned insane asylum. Societal structures break down and one woman who can see struggles to protect her band of charges.
On The Beach by Nevil Shute
After a nuclear World War III has destroyed most of the globe, the few remaining survivors in southern Australia await the radioactive cloud that is heading their way and bringing certain death to everyone in its path. Among them is an American submarine captain struggling to resist the knowledge that his wife and children in the United States must be dead. Then a faint Morse code signal is picked up, transmitting from somewhere near Seattle, and Captain Towers must lead his submarine crew on a bleak tour of the ruined world in a desperate search for signs of life. Both terrifying and intensely moving, On the Beach is a remarkably convincing portrait of how ordinary people might face the most unimaginable nightmare.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them. Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten's arm is a line from Star Trek: "Because survival is insufficient." But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave. Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all.
Talk to the Paw by Melinda Metz
Jamie Snyder is thirty-four and single but NOT ready to mingle. After suffering through The Year of the Non-Commital Man, The Year of the Self-Absorbed Man, and The Year of the Forgot-to-Mention-Im-Married Man, Jamies ready to celebrate The Year of Meand MacGyver, of course. MacGyver is an adorable tabby with a not-so-adorable habit of sneaking out at night and stealing things from the neighbors.
The Dalai Lama's Cat by David Michie
Not so much fly-on-the-wall as cat-on-the-sill, this is the warm-hearted tale of a small kitten rescued from the slums of New Delhi who finds herself in a beautiful sanctuary with sweeping views of the snow-capped Himalayas. In her exotic new home, the Dalai Lama's cat encounters Hollywood stars, Buddhist masters, Ivy-league professors, famous philanthropists, and a host of other people who come visiting His Holiness. Each encounter offers a fresh insight into finding happiness and meaning in the midst of a life of busyness and challenge. Drawing us into her world with her adorable but all-too-flawed personality, the Dalai Lama's cat discovers how instead of trying to change the world, changing the way we experience the world is the key to true contentment.
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin
In a world plagued by cataclysmic tectonic activity, the only way to survive is to constantly prepare for the next fifth season. But no one is ready for the scope of the disaster that strikes when the capital city of a continent-wide empire is subsumed in a massive rift that spreads hundreds of miles. Using alternating points of view, Jemisen explores the lives of several characters in the years leading up to the cataclysmic disaster.
The Last Day by Andy Murray
It is 2059, and the world has crashed. Forty years ago, a solar catastrophe began to slow the planet's rotation to a stop. Now, one half of the globe is permanently sunlit, the other half trapped in an endless night. The United States has colonized the southern half of Great Britain--lucky enough to find itself in the narrow habitable region left between frozen darkness and scorching sunlight--where both nations have managed to survive the ensuing chaos by isolating themselves from the rest of the world. Ellen Hopper is a scientist living on a frostbitten rig in the cold Atlantic. She wants nothing more to do with her country after its slide into casual violence and brutal authoritarianism. Yet when two government officials arrive, demanding she return to London to see her dying college mentor, she accepts--and begins to unravel a secret that threatens not only the nation's fragile balance, but the future of the whole human race.
The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis
She was just seven years old, wandering lost and hungry in the wilderness, when the solitary hunter took her in. In the years since then, he's taught her how to survive in this desolate land where civilization has been destroyed and men are at the mercy of the elements and each other. But the man Elka thought she knew has been harboring a terrible secret. He's a killer. A monster. And now that Elka knows the truth, she may be his next victim. Armed with nothing but her knife and the hard lessons Trapper's drilled into her, Elka flees into the frozen north in search of her real parents. But judging by the trail of blood dogging her footsteps, she hasn't left Trapper behind--and he won't be letting his little girl go without a fight. If she's going to survive, Elka will have to turn and confront not just him, but the truth about the dark road she's been set on. The Wolf Road is an intimate cat-and-mouse tale of revenge and redemption, played out against a vast, unforgiving landscape--told by an indomitable young heroine fighting to escape her past and rejoin humanity.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Since the mysterious death of four family members, the superstitious Mary Katherine "Merricat" Blackwood, her ailing uncle Julian, and agoraphobic sister Constance have lived in a bizarre but contented state of isolation. But when cousin Charles arrives in search of the Blackwood fortune, a terrible family secret is revealed. A treat for fans of Gothic mystery and suspense.
Wish You were Here by Rita Mae Brown
Postmistress of Crozet, Virginia, Mary Harry Haristeen has a bad habit of reading postcards not addressed to her. But as murders are discovered all over Crozet, Harry remembers that every victim received a postcard with a picture of a graveyard on the front and the message "wish you were here" on the back.
Year One 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, magick rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing 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 travelers 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 savior, 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.
Find this article at