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Five Books for the End of the World

I am not a superstitious person. But if I were, and I thought the world was going to come crashing down around us in less than a month as some are predicting, here are the five books I would want in my post-apocalyptic handbag.

(Note: However tempting it is to choose things like The Physicians’ Desk Reference, the spirit of this game is more like “what 5 books would you want to read over and over?”, not “which 5 books will help you survive?” For thoughts on survival and YA lit, check out Sarah Debraksi’s recent post about her life post-Sandy.)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This was an obvious first choice. I still remember the first time I read this book (and the sleepless night I spent peering over the edge of my bed waiting for someone to leap up and kill me the moment I let my guard down). I still reread it frequently to remind myself of the powerful hold the story had on me. Not to mention, this book could also serve as a kind of survival guide (assuming that Collins did her research).

More likely this will be a good reminder that things could be worse. There could be masochistic TV producers watching my every move and rooting for me to fail.

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

My favorite childhood series! These books are about a young girl so determined to become a knight that she pretends to be her twin brother to train at the palace. Alanna taught me that you can overcome any odds with hard work and dedication. In the dreary post-apocalyptic world, I think these books would help me keep going and encourage me to try harder.

Not to mention, it might be nice to escape the rubble of our former lives and visit Tortall every once and a while.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I freely admit that I am one of those girls who loves Pride and Prejudice. I could reread this book once a week for a year and never get tired of it. I own all the versions on DVD and I love every incarnation of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. If the world is ending, I want them with me. So this book would go in with my water purifier and rope (gotta have rope).

Besides, I imagine we will all want to remember a gentler time, where things weren’t all wreckage, and people were civil (mostly) to one another.

The Fault In Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Admittedly The Fault in Our Stars and I have not been acquainted nearly as long as the other books on my list, but it has certainly had an impact on me. I did wonder if this might be a little too depressing to put on my list — after all I figure I will be plenty depressed with the world as we know it coming to an end and all. But ultimately, this book leaves me with warm feelings towards my fellow humans. It makes me want to hug everyone and live each day to the fullest.

So if you see someone crying in the remains of the city … it is just me. Give me a minute and I’ll be okay.< Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

I figure I am going to need a laugh (especially after reading The Fault in Our Stars). Rennison never fails to cheer me up, and Georgia’s misguided exploits always make me feel better. While I search for firewood and clean water sources, I will remember when Georgia glued her eyelids together in a fake eyelash fiasco and smile to myself.

What are the books that you would need to survive the impending apocalypse? Don’t forget to put them with your MREs and jugs of water next to the front door … just in case.

— Kate McNair, currently reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline on audiobook

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Kate McNair

Kate is the Young Adult Librarian for the Johnson County Library in the Kansas City metro area. She loves, playing roller derby, crafting and being surprised!

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  1. I love this idea! I once had a list quite handy in my mind of what those books would be. As of now I would choose: 1. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand-if we can choose an adult book this is one I read in college and have reread and loved. I feel it’s become a bit tainted in my mind by the political associations with it now, but as a piece of literature on its own it wowed me on many levels and I could reread it many times. Plus, it’s huge so I’d get a lot of mileage out of it. 2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon-again, if allowed an adult book this is also huge, adventuresome, a good story, and has plenty of romance in it. In a post apocalyptic world I might need to escape in my mind to some Highlander sexy romance territory. 3. In YA land I’m going with a recent book friend-Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. Her spirit and strength would surely encourage my own survival. Plus, a good story! 4. again, an adult title-Coming Home by Rosamund Pilcher. A beautiful engrossing story of love and loss and family during WWII. I think I should never tire of reading this book. 5. Finally, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. At the end of the word I think I want to have my dear old friend, my kindred spirit, Anne, at my side. (I think this is the longest comment I’ve ever left here-but this is such a fun thing to think about.!)

  2. I still haven’t read the fault in our stars but I’ve heard SO many good things about it

  3. Michelle Michelle

    I have a love/hate relationship with this question. I can never resist answering, yet, five books is never enough.

    1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy complete series by Douglas Adams
    2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
    3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    4. The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
    5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

    This list could easily change tomorrow. But for tonight, I’d pack these five in my emergency bag.

  4. Carla Carla

    I cannot count the number of times I’ve read both Alanna and Pride and Prejudice. They are two of my all time favorite books. If I had to choose only 5, I’d have to say those would go on this list, along with Burnett’s The Secret Garden, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (yeah, I’m that nerd) and Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.

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