It’s time to put down your textbooks and recognize that many of the things you are learning are not going to matter after the apocalypse. Fortunately, I have been preparing for this day over the past few semesters when I was supposed to be studying, and I am willing to share my outline with all of you. As such, I have prepared a reading list of my top 10 book recommendations for those who are seeking survival in the upcoming years.

1. 1984 – George Orwell. If you’ve read it before, read it again. This will be the new Bible. Be on the alert for those who try to rewrite history and remember that Big Brother is always watching. Also helpful preparation for a lifetime of war and the demise of the First Amendment. Notable quote: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

2. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood. And if you do not identify as male, THIS will be your new Bible. Notable quote: “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”

3. Red Rising – Pierce Brown. This book will help prepare you for the inevitable collapse our planet due to global warming and our subsequent retreat to Mars, where you will find increased social stratification based on “color” and undertones of both The Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies. Notable quote: “Man cannot be freed from the same injustice that enslaved it.”

4. The Women of Brewster Place – Gloria Naylor. If you don’t know what to read first, this book is probably set closest to the present so it might be a good place to start. Fantastic reflection of racism, sexism, and corruption. Notable quote: “And Mattie rocked and pulled-and the splinter gave way, but its roots were deep, gigantic, ragged, and they tore up flesh with bits of fat and muscle tissue clinging to them. They left a huge hole, which was already starting to pus over, but Mattie was satisfied. It would heal.”

5. American Gods – Neil Gaiman. A beautiful dive into the minds and beliefs of the American population. Notable quote: “I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste.”

6. World War Z – Max Brooks. Zombies aside, this book digs deep into the real tensions that exist from the personal levels to the international. Notable quote: “Most people don’t believe something can happen until it already has. That’s not stupidity or weakness, that’s just human nature.”

7. Partials – Dan Wells. Who can you trust after the world crashes? This book is a handy guide for those who fear an artificial intelligence takeover and those who are fascinated by human psychology. Notable quote: “I’m not saying I know a bright side, I just think this would be a great time to look at one.”

8. A Cure for Suicide – Jesse Ball. Eery, yet a fascinating exploration of human behavior, how we isolate ourselves and how we come together. Notable quote: “Much of the speech we do is largely meaningless and is just meant to communicate and validate small emotional contracts.”

9. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel. I will let this one speak for itself. Notable quote: “No more Internet. No more social media, no more scrolling through litanies of dreams and nervous hopes and photographs of lunches, cries for help and expressions of contentment and relationship-status updates with heart icons whole or broken, plans to meet up later, pleas, complaints, desires, pictures of babies dressed as bears or peppers for Halloween. No more reading and commenting on the lives of others, and in so doing, feeling slightly less alone in the room.”

10. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak. This is a good one if you think you’re one of the people who would not survive an apocalypse, since statistically, most of you won’t. Notable quote: “I’ve seen so many young men over the years who think they’re running at other young men. They are not. They are running at me.”

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