Well bloggers, this past semester I took a literature class that focused on the apocalypse. So we read books that focused on different kind of apocalypses. Despite what your first impressions are, the class was surprisingly upbeat. We talked about zombies, war, the environment, zombies, religion, infertility, and... oh, yeah zombies! Anyway, I'm going to briefly describe each of the books my class read this semester, and them let you guys make up your own mind about the apocalypse.
Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor
To this day, I disagree with my professor about this being an apocalyptic novel. I mean, I understand that the apocalypse is a "revealing of the truth." And a whole lot of truths are revealed in this novel. But it's mostly about two crazy guys. One is in search of something more and the other is running away from religion. Hazel, the one running away from religion, seems to be doing the opposite by becoming a street preacher for his Church without Christ. And Enoch, the one searching for something more, is tying to calm his "wise blood." Yeah, there is a whole lot of crazy going on in this novel, but nothing that I would call "apocalyptic."
Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
This book was, by far, my least favorite of the semester. It was murderous to read. Don't get me wrong, Conrad is a beautiful writer. However, his eloquence does not make up for his outstanding boredom. This book is about a man who tells his friends about the time he worked for a company in Africa. I don't even remember what the plot was. All I remember is it dragging and lagging for hours. I'm sure some regard this book as a classic. I, alternatively, am very willing to burn every single copy in existence.
A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter Miller
Finally! The first "actual" apocalypse. This book was released when the fear of nuclear war was at its peak. Can you guess what it's about? Yes! Nuclear bombs that destroyed most of humanity and forced people to rebuild society. But all these men do is repeat the mistakes of their predecessors. Well, that is a major theme of the book: History repeats itself. There is also a major struggle between the religious monks and the secular politicians. Can you figure out how it ends? It really is THAT obvious.
World War Z, Max Brooks
I'm going to be completely honest: I was not excited to read this book. It was really long and about zombies. Zombies. In a literature course. Seemed a little lax for me. But once I got over it, and realized that this course was like nothing I have ever experienced, I fell in love with the book. Not in a wow-this-book-is-written-so-beautifully kind of way. But more like a Yeah!-kill-the-zombies! kind of way. The book reads like a movie/video game. You get a little back story about how the zombies originated in a small village in China (spoiler!) and then it dives into how zombies started eating people. It was so entertaining to read. I became a member of the zombie-loving subculture for the week and a half for this book!
The Road, Cormac McCarthy
This is, by far, the most depressing book I have ever read. Ever. And it's grey. The whole thing. We only see color like 3 times. Everything else is burned and covered in ash. But the story follows a man and his son (seemingly two of the last people on Earth) on their voyage to "the South" where they hope to find refuge. We never really find out why most people died and everything is dead around them, but we can assume it was some sort of nuclear weapon or meteor. My least favorite thing about is book is that there are no chapters. I appreciate the stylistic approach (structure mirrors content and all that), but when your professor says "Read to page 100," it's a little frustrated to figure out how many pages that is on an ebook. However, despite that one downfall, the book is good. Not great, in my opinion. But it's definitely not a waste of time.
Children of Men, PD James
I wish I could introduce this book with a rumbling drumroll. Why? Because this one was my favorite apocalypse, by far. It was set in Great Britain, so everything was calm and poised. There was no murdering savages or cannibalistic zombies. People were going to go extinct because men could no longer get women pregnant. James created the quietest apocalypse I've ever heard of. I would have no problem being a part of this plot. I can't have babies, so when I die, my name dies along with it. No problem at all. Keepin mind, there is almost no action in this book. So, it is pretty slow and dry. But that's how I like my books (Heart of Darkness being a huge exception).
Do any of these books seem interesting to you? I'm more than willing to provide additional feedback if anyone should ask, so feel free!