Saturday, September 30, 2023


6 books to read during the pandemic to really freak yourself out

Sure, many of us are still staying busy during these scary times. Many of us are still working, or doing all those projects around the house or RV that we’ve been saying we’ll get to. But many of us are feeling pretty isolated and bored right now too, and that’s where reading comes into play. Now is the perfect time to settle down with a good book and enjoy the peace and quiet of the world around us. And, what better books to enjoy than those that really freak us out about the current state of our world?

Here’s a list of some books you can read to get you through these wild, weird times.

Are you reading anything interesting? Tell us in the comments!

1.) The Plague, Albert Camus

A haunting tale of human resilience in the face of unrelieved horror. Camus’ novel about a bubonic plague ravaging the people of a North African coastal town is a classic of 20th-century literature.

2.) The Stand, Stephen King

A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. 

3.) The Road, Cormac McCarthy

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food – and each other.

4.) Earth Abides, George R. Stewart

A disease of unparalleled destructive force has sprung up almost simultaneously in every corner of the globe, all but destroying the human race. One survivor, strangely immune to the effects of the epidemic, ventures forward to experience a world without man. What he ultimately discovers will prove far more astonishing than anything he’d either dreaded or hoped for.

5.) Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel

Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end…

6.) Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World, Laura Spinney

In this gripping narrative history, Laura Spinney traces the overlooked pandemic to reveal how the virus travelled across the globe, exposing mankind’s vulnerability and putting our ingenuity to the test. As socially significant as both world wars, the Spanish flu dramatically disrupted – and often permanently altered – global politics, race relations and family structures, while spurring innovation in medicine, religion and the arts.


Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury is the editor here at She was lucky enough to grow up alongside two traveling parents, one domestically by RV (yep, Chuck Woodbury) and the other for international adventures, and has been lucky to see a great deal of our world (and counting!). She lives near Seattle with her dog and chickens. When she's not cranking out 365+ newsletters for she's hiking, cooking or, well, probably traveling.


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Karel Carnohan DVM
2 years ago

Add Richard Preston’s books such as the The Hot Zone. If you are really an infectious disease geek like I am, read Laurie Garrett’s The Coming Plague – an oldie but boy oh boy is it scary and predicts much of what we’ve seen recently. Stephen King’s The Stand is genius.

Kenneth Fuller
2 years ago

The Bible. It gives great comfort to those who are sick or fear the virus. My wife and I are just recovering from our two week sentence.

2 years ago

Just got finished reading “Ghost Summer” by Tanarive Due. Recommended by Stephen King. I’m a sucker for short stories, and these really kept me riveted. She has a great writing style. There’s a trilogy in there that has to do with a devastating pandemic and the survivors’ experiences, but the rest of the stories are interesting as well.

2 years ago

”One Second After” by William Forstchen. About an EMP strike on the US and the societal breakdown that ensues. This will keep you awake at night!

2 years ago

Eden Rising by Brett Battles

2 years ago

For non-fiction fans, try “The Great Influenza” by John M. Barry, an account of the causes that led up to the 1918 Influenza pandemic and the worldwide effects of the H1N1 flu. That virus is still with us today, and lives on in numerous variants.
The parallels to today’s pandemic are easy to spot – super-spreader events, mask deniers, political gamesmanship.

2 years ago
Reply to  Marvin

Yes! My husband read it last year, and ever since I have been reading my way through it. It is fascinating how inadequate the study of medicine was at that time, and how far technology has taken the science of medicine today. You are sadly correct about the parallels to today’s continuing pandemic.

Karen Grace
2 years ago

Great list! I’ve read 3 of them and put a couple more on my Goodread’s list.

Tommy Molnar
3 years ago

Frankly, I’m not going to read ANYTHING right now that fuels the fire of panic or paranoia. I read Stephen King’s “The Stand” decades ago and still remember it. “Hot Zone” was another scary read.

Wish I could find all my old Mad Magazines!

2 years ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Hot Zone was great.
Mad Magazines are even better.

3 years ago

Kurt Schlichter’s books are excellent: People’s Republic, Indian Country. Wildlife, Collapse. Also, don’t miss Matthew Bracken’s Enemies Foreign and Domestic (1), Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista (2), Foreign Enemies And Traitors (3), The Bracken Anthology, The Red Cliffs of Zerhoun. Great spellbinding reads for conservatives.

Tim Woody
3 years ago

You missed one. The White Plague by Frank Herbert is worth the read.

3 years ago

Outbreak, by Robin Cook would fit well on this list.

Patrick Granahan
3 years ago

If you need a supply of books to get you through this crisis I would like to suggest
an internet used book seller…fantastic prices and free shipping on orders over $10.
Other benefits include free books and millions of titles to select from…most books
sell for as little as $3.99…prompt delivery to your door via US Mail.

Patrick Granahan
3 years ago

Thrift Books is the name of the bookseller…sorry I did not include it in my original post…

3 years ago

Out of the blue last week, I picked up a paperback. Really no interest in reading books, as the internet and Dish are my entertainment while holed up in a Mesa, AZ park. I understand this is a very popular writer, Nora Roberts. Okay, I take this one book called “Year One”. Alas, its takes place in a pandemic setting with witchcraft thrown in. Fitting for our times. At the pace I read, this is going to be a long read (pandemic). Into the fourth chapter……..

3 years ago
Reply to  Ken

Just an FYI – that is Book 1 of a trilogy. It’s a good read.

Ronald Duncan
3 years ago

I would add “No Blade of Grass” by John Christopher . A virus kills off most food crops leading to world wide panic . Told from one family’s point of view

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