With the COVID-19 pandemic on everyone’s mind, I pulled together a list of books (fiction and non-fiction) that may help to get your mind off this disease outbreak or to help to understand the role scientists and researchers have in fighting diseases.

Fiction –

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“Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel

The death of a movie star in a production of ‘King Lear’ is the catalyst that eventually lead to the collapse of civilization. (Published in 2014. A 10-episode limited series based on the novel is in production for the new streaming service HBO Max)  

“The Stand” by Stephen King 

A computer error at a government laboratory leads to the release of a weaponized version of the influenza virus that kills off most of the population of the Earth . (Published in 1978. The Stand was made into an ABC-TV mini series in 1994 and a new adaptation is in the works for the streaming service CBS All Access.) 


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“The Strain” by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan 

A plane lands at a New York City airport, a CDC response team is called when it is discovered that all the passengers died from a vampiric virus. (Published in 2009. The Strain, which is the first book in a trilogy, was made into a television program on FX that ran for four seasons starting in 2014. The series is available on the streaming service HULU under the new FX on HULU program) 

“The Andromeda Strain” by Michael Crichton 

Scientists are fighting against the clock in developing a cure for a space microbe after it  killed the inhabitants of an Arizona town. (Published in 1969. The book was the basis for a 1971 movie of the same name and a television mini-series of the same name in 2008 that aired on the A&E Network.)  

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“I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson 

The last living man on earth most coexist with the vampire population of Earth. (Published in 1954. The book was adapted into two films, the first ‘The Omega Man’ starring Charlton heston came out in 1971. The second was ‘I Am Legend’ starring Will Smith came out in 2007)

“The Plague” by Albert Camus 

A look at the effects of a plague on a small coastal town in North Africa. (Published in 1947) 

Non – Fiction – 

“Hot Zone” – Richard Preston 

A look at how the Ebola virus appeared in the suburbs of Washington D.C. and the federal government’s response to the disease. (Published in 1994. The book was the basis for a 2019 mini-series of the same name on the National Geographic network.) 

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“In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It Made” by Norman Cantor

A look at the effects that the bubonic plague, aka The Black Death, had on 14th Century Europe. (Published in 2001) 

“The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance” by Laurie Garrett 

Garrett takes readers on a fifty year journey looking at how war, the use of antibiotics, migration and other conditions have contributed to the spread of disease, both old and new. (Published in 1994) 

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“The Ghost Map: The story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic and How it Changes Science, Cities and the Modern World”  by Steven Johnson  

In 1854,  Dr. John Snow by making observations and speaking with people in the community he was able to discover how people were becoming infected with cholera in London.  (Published in 2006) 

Academic Paper 

“Emerging Infectious Literature and the Zombie Condition” – Emerging Infectious Diseases, Sept. 2018 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6106442/