The best novels on surviving and survival

Heather Morris Author Of Three Sisters
By Heather Morris

The Books I Picked & Why

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

By Christy Lefteri

Book cover of The Beekeeper of Aleppo

Why this book?

Christy has written a contemporary story of survival, hope, love, and courage. She tells the story of Nuri, a beekeeper from Aleppo, and his wife as they flee the war still raging in their country (Syria) and their journey to a new life in Britain. 

Christy spent time working in a refugee camp in Greece and saw firsthand the tragedy of those seeking a better, safe life. She provides you with the depth of this suffering beyond the six-second soundbites you watch on your nightly news.

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Sole Survivor: A Novel

By Derek Hansen

Book cover of Sole Survivor: A Novel

Why this book?

I have read this novel many times and will read it again. I admit to bias being set in my homeland. Derek weaves a story of three disillusioned, struggling survivors on a desolate island off the coast of the North Island. They are an hour away from New Zealand’s largest city, yet far away from the lives that brought them here.

Rosie, a doctor fleeing lost opportunities, rejection; Red, a former World War II POW who when asked to write down his objectives to aid recovery from PTSD, writes one word ‘Survive’; Angus, a cantankerous retired police inspector Scotsman.

I was held captive reading this story of friendship, adventure, and love as these three unlikely neighbours learn to work together, survive together.

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On the Beach

By Nevil Shute

Book cover of On the Beach

Why this book?

Nevil Shute’s novels were written several decades ago, in a simple, highly readable style. They stand the test of time with his common themes of the dignity of work, spanning all classes. Written in a simple highly readable style, he bridges the social barriers of class, race, and religion.

On the Beach is set after World War III most of the world’s population has been obliterated. A small town of residents in southern Australia awaits with dreaded anticipation as a radiation cloud drifts their way. A faint Morse code message comes from the United States and a Navy officer sets off to find the source of the message. When survival is not the ending you want or get.

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The Stand

By Stephen King

Book cover of The Stand

Why this book?

Who doesn’t love a Stephen King novel? What better time to be reacquainted with The Stand than during the current global pandemic? No author straddles the diversity of genres; horror, crime, supernatural fiction, fantasy, suspense, and more, like S.K.

Good versus evil. As only Stephen King can tell. The story of the lives of several survivors who survived a worldwide plague that wiped out 99% of the Earth’s population. They survived for a reason; chosen by the forces of good and evil for one final showdown. I read this many years ago, will go back and read it very soon.

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Braving the Storm, Volume 1

By Jennifer Brooks

Book cover of Braving the Storm, Volume 1

Why this book?

Personal reveal – I love weather. I am in my happy place with a good thunderstorm overhead, shaking my house, lighting up my backyard in the dead of night. And so, I was drawn to read Braving the Storm.

The entire eastern seaboard of the United States is struck by Superstorm Nicole. The power grids fail, millions of residences and businesses are unprotected, in the dark. Anarchy erupts as gangs rule the streets forcing residents to make a choice; leave their homes or stay and fight. Four families flee the city, and join together, to live in a cabin in the middle of the forest and try to wait it out, survive.

This is a scenario not beyond the realm of possibility. Braving the Storm can also be read as a survival guide.

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