The best books about plagues

Who picked these books? Meet our 89 experts.

89 authors created a book list connected to plagues, and here are their favorite plague books.
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What type of plague book?



By Marie Lu,

Book cover of Legend

Catherine Downen Author Of Ending In Cadence

From the list on fantasy told from multiple perspectives.

Who am I?

Storytelling has been a passion of mine since fifth grade. I’ve always loved the way authors can put you inside of a world and introduce you to a cast of characters who feel as real as the people around you. The characters you meet inside these books become a part of you, and the best way to connect a reader to these charming and brave characters is to let them tell their story. Tell it from all of their perspectives and let the reader come to know and love each of them. Why read a book and only love one character when you could find an entire found family within those pages?

Catherine's book list on fantasy told from multiple perspectives

Discover why each book is one of Catherine's favorite books.

Why did Catherine love this book?

Legend is one of those books that feels nostalgic when you read it. It perfectly mixes all of the elements from the 2010 dystopian classics, with a wonderful dual narration. In Legend we read the story through Day and June’s eyes. Both are from completely opposite parts of society, which makes the story twice as interesting. It even has elements of enemies to lovers! What this book does so well with its dual narration, is it lets you see more of the world that the author has created, which we wouldn’t normally get had she chosen to tell the book from one of these characters. Personally, I preferred Day’s POV, and the arc his story took. 

By Marie Lu,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Legend is the much-anticipated dystopian thriller debut from US author, Marie Lu.

THE must-read dystopian thriller fiction for all teen fans of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Divergent by Veronica Roth. A brilliant re-imagining of Les Miserables, the series is set to be a global film sensation as CBS films have acquired rights to the trilogy. The Twilight Saga producers, Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, will produce.

Los Angeles, California
Republic of America

He is Day.
The boy who walks in the light.

She is June.
The girl who seeks her brother's killer.

On the run and undercover,…

Wander Dust

By Michelle Warren, Pam Berehulke (illustrator),

Book cover of Wander Dust

Christy Sloat Author Of The Wordsmith

From the list on time travel you probably haven’t read.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a sucker for a good time travel novel. So when I started writing my Librarian Chronicles I quickly learned that there is just so much you can do with the theory of time. My characters have gone to many places and times and in order to perfect these locations and eras that required tons of research. For my first novel, The Librarian, I researched for nearly a year before I wrote the book. I sincerely hope you’ll enjoy my Librarian Chronicles and I look forward to writing more in the series. Each novel is unique and they can all be read in any order.

Christy's book list on time travel you probably haven’t read

Discover why each book is one of Christy's favorite books.

Why did Christy love this book?

I was lucky enough to read this book when it was first released in 2011. I had just gotten my first eReader, a Nook, and downloaded this book based on the cover. I won’t lie, I am a cover fanatic. Once I read it though, I quickly realized this book was more than the cover. It is well-written and pulled me out of a pretty deep reading slump.

Even better, it's an independently published book and I love to support Indie’s. But let’s get into why I love this book so much. Wander Dust dances that line between fantasy and time travel, and has all the allure of romance that I just love about a book. There is a lot of information thrown at you from the very beginning about the society in which our young character is thrust into, which for me is just what I need when I…

By Michelle Warren, Pam Berehulke (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wander Dust as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ever since her sixteenth birthday, strange things keep happening to Seraphina Parrish.

The Lady in Black burns Sera’s memories.

Unexplainable Premonitions catapult her to other cities.

The Grungy Gang wants to kill her.

And a beautiful, mysterious boy stalks her.

But when Sera moves to Chicago, and her aunt reveals their family connection to a centuries old, secret society, she is immediately thrust into an unbelievable fantasy world, leading her on a quest to unravel the mysteries that plague her. In the end, their meanings crash into an epic struggle of loyalty and betrayal, and she’ll be forced to choose…

What's Done in Darkness

By Laura McHugh,

Book cover of What's Done in Darkness

Jennifer Fawcett Author Of Beneath the Stairs

From the list on thrillers that give you something to chew on.

Who am I?

I love thrillers. Mysteries, police procedurals, domestic noir, horror—no matter the sub-genre, I love books that grip me in a well-structured plot. But the books that I re-read, that leave me thinking about them long after, have more than just the pull of a page-turner. There’s a lushness to the language, a psychological complexity to the characters, and the landscapes are alive, vivid, and filled with menace. I call these books “chewy” because, like excellent food, there’s so much to savor. They satisfy my cravings and fill me up, but their flavors and textures add layers to the experience. I hope you’ll devour and savor these books as much as I have.

Jennifer's book list on thrillers that give you something to chew on

Discover why each book is one of Jennifer's favorite books.

Why did Jennifer love this book?

Laura McHugh writes about parts of the U.S. that are often either villainized or over-simplified. Instead of leaning into the cliches, she brings these landscapes and their people alive with compassion but without pity. From the first paragraph, I could feel the oppressiveness of the protagonist’s world but I could also see its wild beauty. This is a place where the air is “heavy as a sodden sponge” and insects buzz like an “unholy plague.” The darkness implied in the title has a layered meaning here: there’s the darkness of ignorance, the darkness of the human mind that is capable of justifying cruelty as salvation, and the darkness of hidden and ignored places. 

By Laura McHugh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What's Done in Darkness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Abducted as a teenager, a woman must now confront her past and untangle the truth of what really happened to her in this dark thriller from the author of The Wolf Wants In. 

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Self • “Compulsively, propulsively readable.”—Laura Lippman, bestselling author of Lady in the Lake

Seventeen-year-old Sarabeth has become increasingly rebellious since her parents found God and moved their family to a remote Arkansas farmstead where she’s forced to wear long dresses, follow strict rules, and grow her hair down to her waist. She’s all but given up…

The Vizard Mask

By Diana Norman,

Book cover of The Vizard Mask

Frances Quinn Author Of That Bonesetter Woman

From the list on quirky heroines.

Who am I?

I'm a shameless people-watcher. There's nothing I like better than sitting in a cafe, or an airport, or on a bus, and observing the people I see (and yes, I admit, eavesdropping on their conversations). What are they wearing and what does it say about them? Who are they with, and what's their relationship? What are they saying to each other - and what are they not saying? So it's not surprising the most important element of a book for me is the characters, and my favourite characters are women who are a little bit different, who don't fit the mould - because you just never know what they'll do.

Frances' book list on quirky heroines

Discover why each book is one of Frances' favorite books.

Why did Frances love this book?

I love Diana Norman’s historical novels and she inspires the way I write mine.

Her books are packed with historical atmosphere but they're never stodgy, the characters are full of life and there's always a dash of humour. This one, set in 17th-century London, is my favourite.

The heroine, Penitence Hurd, is a young Puritan girl who comes to London just as the Great Plague is about to strike, and finds herself - to her horror - living alongside the working girls in a brothel. She’s such an engaging character, stiff and prim at the beginning but as she bonds with the other women when they're shut in during the plague, she begins to change.

By Diana Norman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Vizard Mask as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Vizard Mask by Diana Norman. 1995 paperback published by Penguin Books,

The Ruins

By Scott Smith,

Book cover of The Ruins

Jason McGathey Author Of The Doom Statues

From the list on horror featuring a cursed location.

Who am I?

I’ve been a lifelong horror reader, really since first stumbling onto Stephen King in the 9th grade. There’s something about that genre that has held a particular fascination for me through the years, probably because the best works are some combination of suspenseful, well-written, and cathartic, as they really get your mind racing as to what you might do yourself in a given situation. If you’re lucky, they might even have something to say about the human condition as a whole. But given this prolonged interest and exposure to horror, it’s only natural I would eventually progress to giving it a stab myself.

Jason's book list on horror featuring a cursed location

Discover why each book is one of Jason's favorite books.

Why did Jason love this book?

This is always the first one that leaps to mind for me when I’m thinking of a relentlessly paced novel that is nonetheless extremely well written. It’s a simple yet relatable premise, which to me makes it all the more horrifying. Smith is a master of economy here, as he keeps the plot moving (with no chapter breaks!) throughout, yet his style is a fairly literary one and he develops the characters well.

By Scott Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Craving an adventure to wake them from their lethargic Mexican holiday before they return home, four friends set off in search of one of their own who has travelled to the interior to investigate an archaeological dig in the Mayan ruins.
After a long journey into the jungle, the group come across a partly camouflaged trail and a captivating hillside covered with red flowers. Lured by these, the group move closer until they happen across a gun-toting Mayan horseman who orders them away. In the midst of the confrontation, one of the group steps inadvertently backwards into the flowering vine.…

Book cover of Death is a Welcome Guest

Lesley Kelly Author Of The Health of Strangers

From the list on pandemics and humanity.

Who am I?

In my day job working for a charity, I work with emergency planners, examining how we can minimise the harm caused by disasters, including outbreaks of disease. I’m fascinated by the measures in place to deal with catastrophes, and how contingency planners respond on a practical and a human level. When writing my novel about a killer virus, I devoured both fiction and non-fiction books tackling pandemics ranging from the Black Death to Aids. I am confident I know the skills needed to survive when a pandemic reduces the world’s population to a small, doughty band of survivors. I am not confident I possess these skills.

Lesley's book list on pandemics and humanity

Discover why each book is one of Lesley's favorite books.

Why did Lesley love this book?

Louise Welsh has written three novels about a pandemic called the Sweats – her Plague Times trilogy. This is the second book in the series. I particularly liked this one because its protagonist, Magnus, is a Scottish not-very-good stand-up comedian, and I too was once a not-very-good aspiring comic! After a series of unfortunate events, Magnus ends up in prison, where the disease is rife. Breaking out, he decides to make for his childhood home on Orkney, accompanied by fellow escapee Jeb. The fast-moving plot will keep you racing through this book.

By Louise Welsh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Death is a Welcome Guest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year

The second instalment in the thrilling new Plague Times trilogy from the author of A Lovely Way to Burn.

Magnus McFall was a comic on the brink of his big break when the world came to an end. Now, he is a man on the run and there is nothing to laugh about.

Thrown into unwilling partnership with an escaped convict, Magnus flees the desolation of London to make the long journey north, clinging to his hope that the sickness has not reached his family on their remote Scottish…

Earth Abides

By George R. Stewart,

Book cover of Earth Abides

Terence M. Green Author Of Shadow of Ashland

From the list on searching for answers in the past and present.

Who am I?

There are things expressed only in writing, never spoken aloud in our culture. We can find them in books, in the honesty and insights of those willing to take the time and make the effort to say what they feel and think. Another reason to read is for the sheer joy of a story well told, one that can open both the mind and the heart. I have published 7 novels and a collection of short stories, have just retired from teaching creative writing at the university level. My life has been spent among books. Simply, I am in awe of the ones recommended here.

Terence's book list on searching for answers in the past and present

Discover why each book is one of Terence's favorite books.

Why did Terence love this book?

This novel appeared in 1949 and is eminently readable still—wise and unpredictable—about a plague that decimates the globe before it became fashionable as a topic. Stewart was a professor of English at UC Berkeley. First read it as a teenager, and several times since over the years. It holds up! Stewart was way ahead of his time—and writes a terrific story.

By George R. Stewart,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Earth Abides as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this profound ecological fable, a mysterious plague has destroyed the vast majority of the human race. Isherwood Williams, one of the few survivors, returns from a wilderness field trip to discover that civilization has vanished during his absence.

Eventually he returns to San Francisco and encounters a female survivor who becomes his wife. Around them and their children a small community develops, living like their pioneer ancestors, but rebuilding civilization is beyond their resources, and gradually they return to a simpler way of life.

A poignant novel about finding a new normal after the upheaval of a global crisis.

The Venetian Bargain

By Marina Fiorato,

Book cover of The Venetian Bargain

Rob Samborn Author Of The Prisoner of Paradise

From the list on historical fiction set in Venice, Italy.

Who am I?

As an author of a dual-timeline thriller series set in Venice in the present-day and 16th century, I’ve spent countless hours researching the world’s most mesmerizing city. I’ve been there three times, including on a research trip. I’ve worked with historians and experts on various aspects and have explored the ancient streets and buildings first-hand. I’ve also read dozens of books set in Venice.

Rob's book list on historical fiction set in Venice, Italy

Discover why each book is one of Rob's favorite books.

Why did Rob love this book?

While not as famous as Thomas Mann or Anne Rice, Marina Fiorato well deserves her place on this list with The Venetian Bargain. It’s another superbly researched and beautifully written piece of historical fiction set in 1576 during the plague. Grounded in fact, it follows a young Turkish girl, scorned in her homeland, who sneaks aboard a boat bound for Venice. She soon discovers the ship's illicit cargo in the hold—and the sultan’s horrific plan—a man infected with bubonic plague. The man infects the entire city within days. This book is much more than a historical account. It’s a gripping story with compelling characters. What’s more, much of what the world has gone through with Covid-19, from masks to quarantine, was invented by the Venetians and it's covered in The Venetian Bargain through the eyes of wonderful characters.

By Marina Fiorato,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Venetian Bargain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Venice, 1576. Five years after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto, a ship steals unnoticed into Venice bearing a deadly cargo. A man, more dead than alive, disembarks and staggers into Piazza San Marco. He brings a gift to Venice from Constantinople. Within days the city is infected with bubonic plague―and the Turkish Sultan has his revenge.

But the ship also holds a secret stowaway―Feyra, a young and beautiful harem doctor fleeing a future as the Sultan's concubine. Only her wits and medical knowledge keep her alive as the plague ravages Venice.

In despair, the…


By Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff,

Book cover of Illuminae

Bridget Tyler Author Of The Pioneer

From the list on bold narrators.

Who am I?

I tell stories for the page and the screen (and sometimes to bribe my kid to brush her teeth). The stories I tell have one thing in common – they transport the reader to another world. For me, building a new world starts with building a new character a narrator with strong opinions and a complicated past that will shape how the reader experiences their world. We don't experience the real world objectively no matter how hard we try, our past, our feelings, and even our bodies affect how we experience the world. That's why the worlds I build and the stories I tell are all filtered through the particular truth of a bold narrator.

Bridget's book list on bold narrators

Discover why each book is one of Bridget's favorite books.

Why did Bridget love this book?

Illuminae is the first book in a YA science fiction series called the Illuminae Files Trilogy.

The story is told through intersecting first-person narratives constructed from journals, letters, texts, reports, and pictures. You want to absorb all that “found footage” goodness on paper. Trust.

There’s almost no exposition in Illuminae, especially in the first few chapters. That’s the beauty of these books – the narration is so visceral and urgent that you get invested in the story long before you really understand what’s happening. Putting the pieces of the world-building together is an addictive mystery in and of itself.

I don’t recommend cracking open this book the night before anything requiring a good night’s rest and lots of focus – your mind will be in 2575 until well after you’ve finished the last page. 

By Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Illuminae as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Never have I read a book so wholly unique and utterly captivating.' Marie Lu

'It certainly filled the Battlestar Galactica-shaped hole in my heart.' Victoria Aveyard

The internationally bestselling first book in a high-octane trilogy

Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the worst thing she'd ever been through. That was before her planet was invaded. Now, with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating craft, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But the warship could be the least of their problems. A deadly plague has…

The Plague of Doves

By Louise Erdrich,

Book cover of The Plague of Doves

Molly Patterson Author Of Rebellion

From the list on time-jumping with multiple protagonists.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved “big books,” novels that are described as sagas and chronicles yet whose primary focus is on singular, nuanced characters. I like seeing the ways that lives intersect and reflect each other across decades, and I enjoy being immersed in one world and then dropped, with the turn of a page, into another equally engrossing one. I am the author of the novel Rebellion as well as numerous short stories and essays. Raised in St. Louis, Missouri, I spent several years living in China and a year as the Writer-in-Residence at St. Albans School in Washington, D.C. I now live in Wisconsin, where I write and teach creative writing.

Molly's book list on time-jumping with multiple protagonists

Discover why each book is one of Molly's favorite books.

Why did Molly love this book?

I can never decide which of Erdrich’s books is my favorite, but The Plague of Doves is definitely a major contender. Erdrich’s novelistic style is more like a chorus than a solo: she presents various stories involving different characters in different times, but the stories are in orbit around the central conflict, in this case, a pair of horrific crimes committed long ago. Yet even when the content is dark, her writing is so beautiful that my primary feeling reading it is joy. For me, the title of this book perfectly captures that contradictory experience. 

By Louise Erdrich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Plague of Doves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A beautiful, compelling, utterly original new novel from one of the most important American writers of our time, and winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, 2012

Pluto, North Dakota, is a town on the verge of extinction. Here, everybody is connected - by love or friendship, by blood, and, most importantly, by the burden of a shared history.

Growing up on the reservation is Evelina Harp, witty and ambitious, and prone to falling hopelessly in love. Listening to her grandfather's tales, she learns of a horrific crime that has marked both Ojibwe and whites. Nobody understands it better…

Ask for It

By Linda Babcock, Sara Laschever,

Book cover of Ask for It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want

Deborah Shlian Author Of Lessons Learned: Stories from Women Physician Leaders

From the list on women leaders.

Who am I?

I am a physician with over 30 years as a healthcare executive recruiter and consultant. I have been responsible for launching the careers of future leaders—many are women who have defied the odds to become senior executives In every area of healthcare. Lessons Learned: Stories from Women Physician Leaders is actually the third iteration of a project that has followed the careers of women physician leaders over almost 3 decades. In the version, 33 women share the lessons they have learned along the way.

Deborah's book list on women leaders

Discover why each book is one of Deborah's favorite books.

Why did Deborah love this book?

I love this book because one of the biggest barriers to pay equity for working women (from entry-level to CEO) is the fact that so many of us are uncomfortable negotiating for ourselves. The authors’ step-by-step guide can be used not only in our professional, but also our personal lives.

By Linda Babcock, Sara Laschever,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ask for It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In their groundbreaking book, Women Don’t Ask, Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever uncovered a startling fact: even women who negotiate brilliantly on behalf of others often falter when it comes to asking for themselves. Now they’ve developed the action plan that women all over the country requested—a guide to negotiation that starts before you get to the bargaining table.

Ask for Itexplains why it’s essential to ask(men do it all the time) and teaches you how to ask effectively, in ways that feel comfortable to you as a woman. Whether you currently avoid negotiating like the plague or consider yourself…

Year of Wonders

By Geraldine Brooks,

Book cover of Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague

Laurie Lico Albanese Author Of Hester

From the list on female magic, witches, potions and spells.

Who am I?

I love historical fiction because it brings history and people from the past to life, showing us their struggles and their secrets—especially the women! Since my first historical novel, The Miracles of Prato, I've been paying attention to the women whose stories haven't been told. When I realized Hester Prynne is our first American historical feminist heroine—indeed, our American Eve and our original badass single mom—I knew I had to let her tell her story.  

Laurie's book list on female magic, witches, potions and spells

Discover why each book is one of Laurie's favorite books.

Why did Laurie love this book?

Voice is everything in this mesmerizing novel set in a small city during the plague. England 1666 is thick with suspicion, fear, and death. Widows, healers, and mothers of the dead are easy targets for religious zealots and outsiders, but one young widow—our narrator Anna—finds new ways to survive and thrive. Brooks trains her sights on age-old fearmongering to show how a community breeds suspicion and targets scapegoats in times of pestilence and mistrust. This is a novel that should be read now to remind us of the darkness that lies at the heart of fear and plagues.

By Geraldine Brooks,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Year of Wonders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 'March' and 'People of the Book'.

A young woman's struggle to save her family and her soul during the extraordinary year of 1666, when plague suddenly struck a small Derbyshire village.

In 1666, plague swept through London, driving the King and his court to Oxford, and Samuel Pepys to Greenwich, in an attempt to escape contagion. The north of England remained untouched until, in a small community of leadminers and hill farmers, a bolt of cloth arrived from the capital. The tailor who cut the cloth had no way of knowing that the damp…

Plague Town

By Dana Fredsti,

Book cover of Plague Town

Stacy Kingsley Author Of Zombies Are People Too!

From the list on zombies that stick with you and give you nightmares.

Who am I?

I have read over 50 zombie novels and watched pretty much every zombie movie available to me. I write horror and a lot doesn’t really scare me anymore. The books I’ve listed are some of the ones that have stuck with me and gave me nightmares. My favorite zombie movies are the Norwegian film Dead Snow, Train to Busan, and REC (so scary as it added religion to the mix). I read a lot of zombie novels as research for my own zombie novels as I want my books to present new ideas that aren’t readily available, or overused.

Stacy's book list on zombies that stick with you and give you nightmares

Discover why each book is one of Stacy's favorite books.

Why did Stacy love this book?

I loved that the main character was a kickass female. Ashley is a fabulous character who is more than what people think she is, which is how I often feel. The fun thing is that Ashley is just like everyone else, a woman trying to get through a very rough day. Ashley felt like she could be any of us or all of us. In fact, I hope that I can be Ashley if there is a zombie apocalypse, a strong female who doesn’t let anyone cause me to die (except me). 

By Dana Fredsti,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Plague Town as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ashley was just trying to get through a tough day when the world turned upside down.

A terrifying virus appears, quickly becoming a pandemic that leaves its victims, not dead, but far worse. Attacked by zombies, Ashley discovers that she is a 'Wild-Card' -- immune to the virus -- and she is recruited to fight back and try to control the outbreak.

It's Buffy meets the Walking Dead in a rapid-fire zombie adventure!


By Marissa Meyer,

Book cover of Cinder

Mary DeSantis Author Of Grimmfay: The Circus of Fairy Tales and Dreams

From the list on retelling that tangle multiple fairy tales.

Who am I?

I grew up on a steady diet of Disney movies, and while I knew they didn’t stay true to the original tales, that didn’t stop me from loving them. Fast-forward through an MFA in genre fiction from Seton Hill University, and I landed a gig writing study guides for fiction novels, where I put my love of fairy tales to good use. In particular, retellings fascinate me because they bring something new to something old. The books on this list stayed with me because of their deep ties to stories that shaped who I am, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Mary's book list on retelling that tangle multiple fairy tales

Discover why each book is one of Mary's favorite books.

Why did Mary love this book?

This was one of the first books that introduced me to retellings incorporating multiple fairy tales, and I knew right there that this was a genre I both wanted to read widely and write in.

I was beyond fascinated by the world Meyer created, especially the juxtaposition of fairy tales and a futuristic society.

Cinder herself was a breath of fresh air—a mechanic who was much more than she appeared, and I connected with her in a hungry way, in a way that made me realize that I could be fiercely independent and still want others in my life (even a romantic interest).

I blew through this book in a day, and I’ve reread it to find everything I missed on that first go-through.

By Marissa Meyer,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Cinder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A forbidden romance.
A deadly plague.
Earth's fate hinges on one girl . . .

CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She's reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen - and a dangerous temptation.

Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth's future.

This is not the…

Heartless Hette

By M. L. Farb,

Book cover of Heartless Hette

Katy Huth Jones Author Of Mercy's Prince

From the list on YA fantasy about hope in dark places.

Who am I?

“Hope in dark places” has been the theme of my life, beginning at age 17 when my parents disowned me for my faith. I’ve walked through the “valley of the shadow of death” twice, battling cancer, and endured many other struggles, which everyone faces at some time in their lives. Reading Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey as a teen gave me the courage to face the darkness, and so the characters in the stories I write and prefer to read do likewise.

Katy's book list on YA fantasy about hope in dark places

Discover why each book is one of Katy's favorite books.

Why did Katy love this book?

I confess, I was a bit nervous when I began this book because the main character was not very sympathetic. But Hette’s situation is so heart-wrenching (literally, because a sorcerer has stolen her heart) I kept reading to see what happened. Her journey to recover her heart is much more than a physical adventure, though I could taste the grit and mud, shivered with cold, and sweated from the unbearable heat she struggled through. It was a joy watching this young queen learn important life lessons in totally unexpected places. I felt as if I was learning and growing along with Hette, making the reading of this book a completely satisfying experience.

By M. L. Farb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Heartless Hette as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Come to Germania, where a clockwork heart rules and a fool advises–and a laugh can bring both to their knees.

When Princess Hette refuses a sorcerer's proposal, he retaliates by stealing her heart—literally.

Desperate to resist his influence, Hette makes herself emotionless, stifling all feelings until she can find her heart and win it back. Only Konrad, the despised Court Fool, knows where to find the sorcerer, and he has his own curse to battle.

Riddles and magic plague their path, including a memory stealing witch, an unbeatable knight, and a magic book that would as soon drown them as…

The Betrothed

By Alessandro Manzoni, Count Daniel O'Mahony (translator),

Book cover of The Betrothed

Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti Author Of Imprimatur

From the list on how the Plague changed history.

Who are we?

We have always been fascinated by literary masterworks that stage the plague as a pivotal factor in the plot. We added the next ingredients: a whodunnit with a claustrophobic setting, the Baroque Age, a (real) financial thriller between Rome and London, and an unusual protagonist. Rita is a historian of religions, Francesco is a musicologist. After working as journalists, meeting in a newspaper bureau, and getting happily married, we started a writing career publishing 11 novels translated into 26 languages and 60 countries with more than 2 million copies sold. Our novels are a mix of literary creativity and meticulous research, characters and settings are strictly based on original documents and eyewitness accounts. 

Rita's book list on how the Plague changed history

Discover why each book is one of Rita's favorite books.

Why did Rita love this book?

This epic novel in Walter Scott’s good tradition, but with a plus of philosophical depth, taught us (and generations of authors) how to wave together love and hope, freedom and destiny, pride and courage. The plague’s tragic outcome around 1630 in northern Italy offered such a powerful literary palette that Manzoni had to spin off a chapter about the epidemic and publish it separately. Nevertheless, The Betrothed is still marked by death and devastation, the hysterical witch-hunt against the alleged “plague-spreaders” and the impressive scenes in the lazarettos.

By Alessandro Manzoni, Count Daniel O'Mahony (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Betrothed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set in Lombardy during the Spanish occupation of the late 1620s, The Betrothed tells the story of two young lovers, Renzo and Lucia, prevented from marrying by the petty tyrant Don Rodrigo, who desires Lucia for himself. Forced to flee, they are then cruelly separated, and must face many dangers including plague, famine and imprisonment, and confront a variety of strange characters - the mysterious Nun of Monza, the fiery Father Cristoforo and the sinister 'Unnamed' - in their struggle to be reunited. A vigorous portrayal of enduring passion,

The Rising

By Brian Keene,

Book cover of The Rising

Stacy Kingsley Author Of Zombies Are People Too!

From the list on zombies that stick with you and give you nightmares.

Who am I?

I have read over 50 zombie novels and watched pretty much every zombie movie available to me. I write horror and a lot doesn’t really scare me anymore. The books I’ve listed are some of the ones that have stuck with me and gave me nightmares. My favorite zombie movies are the Norwegian film Dead Snow, Train to Busan, and REC (so scary as it added religion to the mix). I read a lot of zombie novels as research for my own zombie novels as I want my books to present new ideas that aren’t readily available, or overused.

Stacy's book list on zombies that stick with you and give you nightmares

Discover why each book is one of Stacy's favorite books.

Why did Stacy love this book?

The Rising was one of the first zombie books I read after a while and it was interesting. It went beyond what people expected or thought they wanted from zombie novels. It was less Night of the Living Dead and more Day of the Dead with killing, and mutilations, and suspenseful expectations that no one really thought could be met. 

By Brian Keene,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The classic that helped start a pop culture phenomenon - back in print and UNCUT!

Since it's 2003 debut, Brian Keene's THE RISING is one of the best-selling zombie novels of all-time. It has been translated into over a dozen languages, inspired the works of other authors and filmmakers, and has become a cultural touchstone for an entire generation of horror fans.

THE RISING is the story of Jim Thurmond, a determined father battling his way across a post-apocalyptic zombie landscape, to find his young son. Accompanied by Martin, a preacher still holding to his faith, and Frankie, a recovering…


By Maggie O'Farrell,

Book cover of Hamnet

Erica Bauermeister Author Of No Two Persons

From the list on (re)immersing you in the magic of books.

Who am I?

I've been book-besotted my entire life. I've read, studied, taught, reviewed, and written books. I went to “gradual” school, as John Irving calls it, earning a PhD in literature before gradually realizing that what I really loved was writing. For me, books contain the intellectual challenge of puzzles, the fun of entertainment, the ability to fill souls. They have changed my life, and the best compliments I have received are from readers who say my books have changed theirs. I read widely and indiscriminately (as this list shows) because I believe that good books are found in all genres. But a book about books? What a glorious meta-adventure. 

Erica's book list on (re)immersing you in the magic of books

Discover why each book is one of Erica's favorite books.

Why did Erica love this book?

Reading Hamnet is like walking into an oil painting.

Maggie O’Farrell’s lyricism and attention to detail create a lush, fully imagined world as she tells the story of William Shakespeare’s wife, Anne, and the loss of their eleven-year-old son to the plague in 1596. It is a deep dive into grief, made beautiful by O’Farrell’s attention.

While technically not a book about books, it makes us consider the emotional undercurrent of writing, and it is one of the most radiant books I have ever read, so here it is.

By Maggie O'Farrell,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked Hamnet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Richly sensuous... something special' The Sunday Times
'A thing of shimmering wonder' David Mitchell


On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a sudden fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London.


A Ritual of Bone

By Lee C Conley,

Book cover of A Ritual of Bone

Jamie Edmundson Author Of An Inheritance of Ash and Blood

From the list on dark characters, dark sorcery, or dark age history.

Who am I?

I published my first book in 2017 and I’m currently working on book number 11. In that time, I’ve got to know some great indie authors and read some great indie fantasy. These five titles are a selection. I could easily have done this exercise ten times over with different authors and titles. But if you’re looking to see what indie fantasy has to offer, or simply searching for your next engrossing read, I think these will do the trick.

Jamie's book list on dark characters, dark sorcery, or dark age history

Discover why each book is one of Jamie's favorite books.

Why did Jamie love this book?

Another fantasy book inspired by dark-age Britain and the Viking world. But this one has zombies, a plague, and as much darkness as you can handle.

The creepy atmosphere was great. I also enjoyed the multiple points of view in this one, as individuals of all backgrounds slowly learn what is happening to their world. As I read, I wondered who would become heroes, and who would succumb.

By Lee C Conley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Ritual of Bone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Only valour and steel can stand against the rising dead'

Arnar is a land of warriors, its people as stalwart as the stones themselves. In a land of dark forests and ancient hill forts, a forgotten evil is awoken by curious minds.
The Great Histories and the Sagas say nothing of this evil, long passed from the memory of even the studious scholars of the College. For centuries, the scholars of Arnar have kept these records and preserved the knowledge and great deeds of a proud people. The story of these peoples forever chronicled in the Sagas of the Great…

The Deep

By Nick Cutter,

Book cover of The Deep

Kristal Stittle Author Of Survival Instinct

From the list on featuring plagues.

Who am I?

I live in sight of an extremely busy highway. On the rare days when I wake up to an empty house, I go look at the cars to confirm that I’m not the last person on Earth. There’s always been this part of me that assumes an unprecedented disaster is coming. The best way to soothe that fear, is to read (and write) books about it. Understanding how people survive, or not, feels like a great way to prepare for the unknown. Plagues are particularly bad, especially those of the biblical sense. Water turning to blood, swarms of insects, prolonged darkness, all of these are lethal under the right circumstances.

Kristal's book list on featuring plagues

Discover why each book is one of Kristal's favorite books.

Why did Kristal love this book?

As if a plague of memory loss that eventually makes you forget how to breathe isn’t scary enough, Cutter takes us deep under the ocean, to a lab where something has gone terribly wrong with our potential saviors. This is the most claustrophobic book I’ve ever read. You can feel the crushing weight of the water and the dark just outside the lab’s walls. There’s a wonderful sort of madness to the whole thing, and one scene, in particular, continues to haunt me.

By Nick Cutter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Deep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Afraid of the dark? You should be ... Part horror, part psychological nightmare, The Deep by Nick Cutter is a novel fans of Stephen King and Clive Barker won't want to miss.

A plague is destroying the world's population. The 'Gets makes people forget. First it's the small things, like where you left your keys ... then the not-so-small things, like how to drive. And finally your body forgets how to live.

But now an unknown substance with extraordinary power to heal has been discovered in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Nicknamed ambrosia, it might just be the miracle…