Plague Books discussion

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message 1: by Emily (new)

Emily (emmy1066) | 7 comments Mod
Hello. So far, it's just me in the group. If you have a similar interest, you should join too. Add your favorite plague books.

message 2: by Emily (new)

Emily (emmy1066) | 7 comments Mod
Amy, I'm looking forward to reading the Doomsday Book. Thanks!

message 3: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 5 comments Hello, what an interesting idea for a group! I was going to say fun idea, but I guess the idea of the plague isn't really all that fun. I've got some plague books at home that I'll add (I can't remember the names right now).

message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy So, do you who like literature about plagues tend to gravitate also toward post-apocalyptic fiction or historical fiction ... or both? I definitely gravitate to those areas of literature. I think the reason plagues intrigue me so much is because plagues often cause such a huge change in the landscape of the people of the time period. It doesn't matter who you are; you're vulnerable. And then there's the scary possibility of a plague in our lifetime that we may or may not escape.

I've got Year of Wonders currently in the mail to me from Amazon (just finished her book March). I've also had The Last Town on Earth on my wishlist for a while. What are your sentiments on those 2 books?

message 5: by Emily (new)

Emily (emmy1066) | 7 comments Mod
Interesting question, Amy. For me, yes, and both to some extent. Future dystopia, plague and non-plague, gives me a thrill. Historical fiction, when it's done well I can enjoy too. The "Patron Saint of Plagues" wasn't necessarily the best of books, but I enjoyed the near-future world it painted and how it handled technology. For historical, I did like "Year of Wonders" though had a few issues with it (looking forward to discussing after you read). "Last Town on Earth" was less gripping and more flawed. Still worth reading though. I just put "Doomsday Book" on hold at my library, thanks.

As for my interest in plague books, vulnerability is key, as well as the sheer speed and reach of plagues and how quickly they can spiral out of control. Terrifying.

message 6: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 5 comments I'm more interested in the history of plagues and those type of health catastrophes (Black Death, influenza in 1917-18, etc.). I don't really have an interest in what could strike us down in the future, but I think that's because I am drawn to history in general.

message 7: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 15 comments It is! I was fascinated when I saw this group. To me plagues are some of the most scary horror reading because it seems so real that they could happen. And of course they do. And have throughout history. One of my favorite books of all time is The Stand by Stephen King caused by a government created plague that escapes from a lab.

And of course, there is the Hot Zone which was one of the scariest near-miss ebola plagues we have had.

I also LOVE reading non-fiction about diseases, plagues etc. And those about virus hunters.

A pair of young adult books I loved was about the London Plague by Mary Hooper -- this is from her website:

A story about the Great Plague

It’s 1665 and Hannah is full of excitement at the prospect of her first trip to London. She’s going to help her sister, Sarah, in her sweetmeats shop, “The Sugared Plum”. But Hannah doesn’t get the welcoming reception she expected, and Sarah is horrified that Hannah didn’t get her message to stay away, for the Plague is threatening to take hold of London.

Some reviews:

“A vivid and sensuous evocation of 17th-century London…”
~ The Bookseller

“So likeable is Hannah that readers will cheer when she and her sister accomplish the near-miracle of escaping from the quarantined city…”
~ Publishers’ Weekly

“Red crosses, rumbling plague carts, cynical gravediggers, the tolling of bells, mistreated corpses and perfunctory funerals increase in frequency. The contrast of youthful vigour and excitement with the onset of death and the gradual increase in horror and fear is well done. …”

“Informative and engaging. Lots of period detail, chapter headings taken from Pepys’ diary plus recipes for frosted rose petals and sugared plums..”
~ The Observer

“An impressive novel…surefooted writing ; never a false word.”
~ Carousel Magazine

isbn 0747561249

Published by Bloomsbury and available from

PETALS IN THE ASHES starts in September 1665 when Hannah and Sarah are trying to escape from the Plague that’s sweeping London. Arriving in Dorchester with Grace, the baby whose life they’ve saved, they are horrified to discover that they must go into a Pestilence House for forty days and live alongside its filthy and sickly inmates until they can prove they’re not carrying any Plague germs.

Hannah is anxious to return to London and discover whether her sweetheart, Tom, survived the Plague. Things are not that straightforward, though, because this is 1666, the Year of the Beast, the Beast who had the power to bring a Great Fire down to earth…

With 17th Century recipes for rose water and pomander balls, PETALS IN THE ASHES matches and surpasses the previous book’s authentic historical voice and is nail-bitingly exciting. All London is there: lurid, teeming, smelly, disgusting – and fascinating.

isbn 0747564612

message 8: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 15 comments A very interesting historical read is Typhoid Mary by Judith Walzer LEavitt. The woman really did not understand how she could be spreading the disease and her life was turned all over by the public health department. You have to feel sorry for her AND try and understand why the health dept was doing what it was doing.

message 9: by Emily (new)

Emily (emmy1066) | 7 comments Mod
Terri, how funny -- I think "The Stand" might have been the book that got me into plagues, and the "Hot Zone" was the one I read next. Thanks for the other suggestions -- that Typhoid Mary one sounds great.

P.S. I just saw a commercial for a new "Andromeda Strain" miniseries on TV. I can't imagine it will be good, but I may have to check it out...

message 10: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 15 comments I havent heard of the Andromeda Strain mini-series. I probably will watch it anyway.

message 11: by Emily (new)

Emily (emmy1066) | 7 comments Mod
Hi Green. How did you like it? I recall being slightly bugged the end of the story but otherwise really really liking it.

I need to get that Typhoid Mary book soon.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh, this is one of my favorite topics. A friend just recommended The Ghost Map to me and I got it out of the library. A really good one revelant for today is The Coming Plague by Laurie Garrett and also The Great Influenza. Survival of the Sickest will let you know if you are naturally IMMUNE TO SOME OF THIS STUFF.

message 13: by Ann from S.C. (new)

Ann from S.C. | 1 comments Hello, I am new to this group, and I can tell I will be loving it! I also love books about end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it type books, especialy books about plagues. I have read recently THE STAND, THE PESTHOUSE, YEAR OF WONDERS and a few others, and I see a bunch you all have recommened. I see its been a while since anyones been on this thread, but I wanted to say hi.

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

I hadn't heard of Year of Wonders so will try to check that one out. Did you add it to the bookshelf?

I also enjoyed The Stand very much.

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