The best books on ways to manage the end of the world

Rachel Drummond Author Of The South Forsaken
By Rachel Drummond

Who am I?

My name is Rachel Drummond, and I've had a passion for reading since primary school. Drawn to the books where the protagonist finds themselves needing to survive on their own. My mum challenged me to actually try write something to publish and I finally took her up on this. I wanted to create a world that skates the edge of ‘this could happen’ and superimpose a fictional situation over a place that is so recognisable, that if you drove through the town, you could use the book as a map. I write because I enjoy it, and because sometimes you need to kill someone without getting your hands dirty.


I wrote...

The South Forsaken

By Rachel Drummond,

Book cover of The South Forsaken

What is my book about?

Sarah is a nurse at the Geelong hospital, going about her Boxing Day shift while her family recovers at home after indulging in the usual Christmas feasting. But when a wild-eyed patient is admitted that afternoon, she soon discovers a new virus taking root in the area.

Not wasting any time, Sarah and her family have to bug out before they too are taken out by the infected hordes amassing in the town. The virus is spreading rapidly and beers will have to be set aside in favour of running for their lives. The South Forsaken is one family’s story in this zombie apocalyptic tale with an Aussie twist!

The books I picked & why

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World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

By Max Brooks,

Book cover of World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

Why this book?

Don’t go by the movie, the book is a completely different experience; doubly so if you listen to the audiobook. I read the book before I listened to it and I can say both stand alone. It takes snippets of interviews that feel incredibly intimate, allowing you to experience the invasion from many viewpoints. You will find at least one that resonates with you. I loved the audiobook and the many recognisable voices that fleshed out the book. I cannot recommend this one highly enough.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

By Max Brooks,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked World War Z as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It began with rumours from China about another pandemic. Then the cases started to multiply and what had looked like the stirrings of a criminal underclass, even the beginning of a revolution, soon revealed itself to be much, much worse.

Faced with a future of mindless man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality. Based on extensive interviews with survivors and key players in the ten-year fight against the horde, World War Z brings the finest traditions of journalism to bear on what is…


The Girl With All the Gifts

By M.R. Carey,

Book cover of The Girl With All the Gifts

Why this book?

I picked this book up in an airport shop and didn’t expect much from it. It really sucked me in though, I think I finished it before we even took off. It follows the result of a government experiment that I won’t go into detail over. There were some similarities to my own book to make it feel familiar without feeling as though I was rereading my own book. It falls into young adult, but in my opinion, fiction doesn’t have true barriers.

The Girl With All the Gifts

By M.R. Carey,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Girl With All the Gifts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'ORIGINAL, THRILLING AND POWERFUL' - Guardian
'HAUNTING, HEARTHBREAKING' - Vogue
The phenomenal million-copy bestseller that is also a BAFTA Award-nominated movie

NOT EVERY GIFT IS A BLESSING

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh.

Melanie is a very special girl.

Emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS is the…


Tomorrow, When the War Began: Volume 1

By John Marsden,

Book cover of Tomorrow, When the War Began: Volume 1

Why this book?

Every Australian my age would have grown up with this classic series, but in case you haven’t read them, this is a must. Following a group of kids caught away from their families when Australia is invaded, we are dragged along as they find their feet, becoming adults and guerrilla soldiers almost overnight. The heartbreak, anger, and fear are real, it is impossible to read this without feeling like you are right there next to them. This was probably the first book that sparked my love of reading and writing. I vividly remember trying to check it out of the school library in year 6 and being told it was ‘too old’ for me and not being allowed to take it out. Jokes on them, I read it curled up in the corner of the library. 

Tomorrow, When the War Began: Volume 1

By John Marsden,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tomorrow, When the War Began as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Compulsively readable' New York Times

Somewhere out there Ellie and her friends are hiding.

Their country has been invaded. Everyone they know has been captured. Their world has changed overnight.

They've got no weapons - except courage.

They've got no help - except themselves.

They've got nothing - except friendship.

How strong could you be, if the world was full of people trying to kill you?

Fans of Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins and Michael Grant - prepare to be hooked by the Tomorrow series.


The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus

By Richard Preston,

Book cover of The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus

Why this book?

This book looks like a hard read, less fictitious more true story about how outbreaks occur, how they devastate people groups, and how they spread. It follows real viruses and explains how an infection in one small village can become the bogeyman of the world. As a nurse, I devoured this book but even if you have only a passing interest in diseases, this gives a good understanding of things like the current pandemic, and pulls the curtain aside to let you see what happens behind the news announcements. 

The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus

By Richard Preston,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Hot Zone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling landmark account of the first emergence of the Ebola virus.

Now a mini-series drama starring Julianna Margulies, Topher Grace, Liam Cunningham, James D'Arcy, and Noah Emmerich on National Geographic.

A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic "hot" virus. The Hot Zone tells this dramatic story, giving a hair-raising account of the appearance of…


Patient Zero: A Joe Ledger Novel

By Jonathan Maberry,

Book cover of Patient Zero: A Joe Ledger Novel

Why this book?

I pulled this book out not really expecting much, I had read so many zombie stories that they were all starting to blend together at this point. So I was pleasantly surprised to read a new take, a group of terrorists threatening to use a bioweapon to create a race of zombies. This had very few dead spots, plenty of human/human and human/zombie action to keep me interested while still showing humanity and the conflict of morals when you need to take a life. 

Patient Zero: A Joe Ledger Novel

By Jonathan Maberry,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Patient Zero as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week, then there's either something wrong with your skills or something wrong with your world. And there's nothing wrong with my skills.' Police officer Joe Ledger, martial arts expert, ex-army, self-confessed brutal warrior is scared. The man he's just killed is the same man he killed a week ago. He never expected to see the man again, definitely not alive, and definitely not as part of the recruitment process for the hyper-secret government agency the Department for Military Sciences. But the DMS are scared too - they have word…