Happy National Book Lovers Day! Every year, August 9th is a day meant to celebrate and encourage the love of reading. From informative non-fiction volumes to illustrative fiction stories, we love books and the opportunity to experience educational moments as well as escapes from reality! This year, in recognition of current events, the IEM Team compiled a list of books related to infectious diseases and pandemics to add to your reading list.
The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus by Richard Preston
An extremely contagious and deadly virus from the central African rain forest appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., killing 90 percent of its victims and unleashing terror and tragedy in the community.
The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis
This nonfiction thriller will provide insight on the coronavirus response by following the stories of various people with deep knowledge on diseases and also by sharing information on contagious disease and pandemic strategies.
The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry
This novel tells the true story of the 1918 flu pandemic, focusing on the events before, during and after the deadly disease spread around the world. Separated into ten parts, this book provides insight and research on the historical pandemic that rocked the world.
The American Plague: The Untold Story Of Yellow Fever, The Epidemic That Shaped Our History By Molly Caldwell Crosby
Telling the story of the yellow fever epidemic, this true account shares insight as far back as 1648 and the slave trade. Molly Caldwell Crosby narrates the efforts of medical professionals to stop and treat the disease.
Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu Of 1918 And How It Changed The World By Laura Spinney
When the Spanish Flu of 1918 hit the world, the effects it had were unimaginable. Laura Spinney shares how the Spanish Flu disrupted and altered lives and cultures around the globe while also encouraging innovation in medicine.
Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, From Cholera And Ebola To Beyond By Sonia Shah
This novel follows the stages of the cholera epidemic from its emergence to more current times. Science writer and journalist Sonia Shah draws parallels between the cholera epidemic and new diseases that threaten humanity today.
Spillover: Animal Infections And The Next Human Pandemic By David Quammen
Many emergent diseases are a result of spillover: bugs that originate in animals and are passed to humans. David Quammen explores this disease spillover around the world, sharing information on how diseases come to be, where they originate from, and why they occur. This novel offers insight on pandemics born from animal diseases.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
In this post-apocalyptic fiction, a flu pandemic destroyed life as we currently know it. This story follows a group traveling through the Great Lakes region trying to keep art and humanity alive in the wake of the pandemic disaster.
The Plague by Albert Camus
In Oran, a coastal town in North Africa, the townspeople are dealing with a deadly epidemic. The life-threatening plague forces everyone into quarantine and follows the characters’ different journeys as they respond to the disease in their own ways.
Salvation City by Sigrid Nunez
This 2010 novel follows the story of a boy orphaned during a flu pandemic threatening the world. In the United States, life has become increasingly volatile and the boy navigates this new world as he tries to find a new future for himself. With events strangely prophetic of the coronavirus response, this fictional tale provides a different lens to view pandemics.
The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue
Set in Ireland, this novel contains both war and a deadly flu. Three women working in an understaffed hospital deal with the pandemic, showcasing care and tenderness to their patients. This tale is reflective of the hard work of healthcare professionals during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Stand by Stephen King
Renowned author Stephen King explores the nature of humanity after a mutated strain of the flu wipes out 99 percent of the world’s population. Faced with the choice between two very different leaders, the survivors must choose how humanity will transform itself in this new world.
The End of October by Lawrence Wright
A deadly disease breaks out in Indonesia and a WHO microbiologist and epidemiologist goes to investigate, but it is too late to contain the spread. The pandemic extends across the world and populations and systems are decimated as the doctor races to find a cure.
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
This zombie apocalypse fiction tells the story of a global pandemic caused by an incurable disease that results in zombification. With accounts from characters all over the world, this story provides varied experiences in dealing with and surviving the zombie pandemic over decades of time.