Viral Reads

19 works of fact and fiction for a stay-at-home plague night

13 May 2020 | 11:17

At the end of the day, who doesn’t like to curl up with a good book, especially a horror story scary enough to curl your air or actually make it stand on end.

The stand on end part probably won’t happen, and straight hair is likely to stay straight, but bibliophiles know that authors ranging from Daniel Defoe to Albert Camus and Stephen King have been more than willing to terrify you with the fact and fiction of a plague ranging from the Black Death of 1665-6 to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, available on Amazon or from your favorite independent bookstore that makes deliveries, right to your door, contact-free. Read on. And pleasant dreams.

1. The Great Influenza, by John M. Barry. 1918, the deadliest plague in history.

2. Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague, by Geraldine Brooks. A village self-quarantined to halt the 17th century British plague.

3. The Plague, by Albert Camus. The universal go-to modern classic.

4. The Barbary Plague, by Marilyn Chase. The Black Death in Victorian San Francisco.

5. A Journal of the Plague Year, by Daniel Defoe. The earliest plague novel, published in 1722.

6. How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS, by David France. A reporter's account of how activists helped to solve the mystery of AIDS.

7. The Eleventh Plague, by Jeff Hirsch. A post-influenza apocalyptic America.

8. The Stand, by Stephen King. Survivors in a United States devastated by a weaponized influenza.

9. The Scarlet Plague, by Jack London. Life in 2073 London, sixty years after the Red Death epidemic.

10. The Eleventh Plague, by John Marr. A plague among horses at Churchill Downs spreads out to humans.

11. The Flu Epidemic of 1918, by Sandra Opdycke. From the "Critical Moments in American History" series.

12. The Great Plague, by Stephen Porter. The Bubonic Plague in 17th century London.

13. The Atlantis Trilogy, by A.G. Riddle. Apocalyptic sci-fi with a message from outer space.

14. The Seventh Plague, by James Rollins. A medical mystery spread by mummies.

15. Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel. Time travelers tracking a pandemic.

16. The Last Man, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Dystopian fiction from the author of "Frankenstein."

17. And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic, by Randy Shilts. The epic nonfiction tale of the discovery and spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

18. The End of October, by Lawrence Wright. The tale of possible bio-warfare.

19. The Black Death, by Philip Ziegler. The 14th century pandemic that killed one-third of all Britons.

Carol Ann Rinzler is the author of more than 20 books on health, including "Nutrition for Dummies."