It's official — 2015 was the warmest year on record. Any bets on what the second warmest year on record was? If you said 2014, you're correct. Global warming — the myth built by whiny liberals — is steady bringing us all to a watery grave. To prepare for the end that is extremely nigh — 2015 was the warmest year "since instrument records began being kept in 1880" so get afraid, people — I've decided to read up on post-apocalyptic hellscapes. Because, you know, it's good to be prepared.
Note: The world won't end in zombies. Don't look for zombies here. Go elsewhere for the evil undead.
Thanks to Margaret Atwood, I'm ready for my hometown is drift into the Atlantic, for the Midwest to burst into flames, and for an opportunistic savant to cleanse the earth of humanity.
That last bit was hyperbole. Fine.
I first picked up Oryx and Crake while looking for required reading in the library at my college. I did not read the required reading. I read Oryx and Crake and was so engrossed I missed dinner. I know that many of you are Atwood fans and for those of you who have read only of these three books, heed my warning. Finish the series. They will prepare you for three stages of a not-really-that-improbable end-of-humanity scenario. Crisis. Collapse. Rebirth. (Repeat.)
Let us step away from the fictional and move into the nonfictional. The long-standing, best-selling nonfictional — but speculative — The World Without Us by Alan Weisman.
This book honestly won't help much in preparing for the end of the world, but it is a nice summation of how we've failed our little floating speck of rock (read: earth). Described by the New York Times as a "morbidly fascinating nonfiction eco-thriller," Weisman's book explores a world devoid of us messy, destructive humans. If you're up to getting drunk and feeling infinitesimally irrelevant in the grand scheme of things — this is the book to help you get your despair on.
Bleak, bleaker, bleakest. Blindness by Jose Saramago tore me up inside. The novel follows a cast of characters who are struck with a virus that makes EVERYONE BLIND. Everyone goes bonkers. People kill each other and soil themselves. Like I said, bleakest.
I firmly believe that the end of the world is going to be wet. Floods, fire, basically biblical except with science. However, that does not mean that I don't want to know how to respond to being quarantined by the government. I do. I think it's worth knowing and, therefore, Blindness is worth reading.
A book of poems. Yes. I'm looking you straight in the eye and telling you to read poems about the end of days because Traci Brimhall is very nice to me at AWP and this book is fan-fucking-tastic. Also, relevant. In Our Lady of the Ruins, a troop of, you guessed it, ladies wanders the ruined world left in tatters by its ending.
Brimhall is an expert at pulling out your insides so you can look at them and see the disaster, fear, and strength that you didn't know you had in you. Happily, these are all things you should be in touch with during, before, and after the end of days. So get yourself this guidebook to the end of everything and high-five Traci for winning a prize with poems like this:
We fold and unfold our shawls, and the men squintinto the sunlight, dumb with hope. Some days they confuse
the walls of their cage with their skin. Some days,the sky. They see their deaths in the sweat darkening
our dresses. To sweeten the hours we share scandalsfrom the city, how curators removed an elephant's heart
from the museum because it began beating when anyonein love looked at it, how the coroner found minnowsswimming in a drowned girl's lungs.
excerpt from "Prelude to a Revolution," from Traci Brimhall's Our Lady of the Ruins
The first lesson from Albert Camus's masterpiece The Plague is: the rats will find out before we do. Always remember, watch the rats. The second lesson is that the human spirit endures which is good to know, albeit less practical than the rats tip.
Like Atwood's trilogy, Camus' novel breaks an outbreak down into sections. Unlike Atwood's trilogy, Camus' plague is an isolated incident. If you live in a metropolitan area and are a fan of allegorical novels and (or) french existentialism, pick this one up and read it quick before the water rises.
Do you believe in global warming? Do you think reading a book will prepare you for the end of life as we know it? Tell me I'm not taking this whole apocalypse thing seriously enough or launch a campaign defending the "zombies will destroy us all!" theory in the comments.