Literature is not a big forte of many people these days. Less people seem to read while more prefer to turn to different media. I admit that I was once a huge bookworm but now I have even found my own reading habits diminished in favor of comics or my newfound hobbies. Despite that, I still enjoy a good book any now and then and when it comes down to it books having always been a core experience of being a strange kid. They have brought to our universe key elements that helped mold the stories we grew up with and there is no denying their influence on our modern world. It’s in that spirit that I humbly suggest 5 books that tap back into the madness of your own strange little world.
Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
I could fill this entire list with Gaiman work, but I think I’ll credit him with one of the few (great) modern short story compilations. In Fragile Things Gaiman shows his talent to imagine new things and re-imagine known stories in ways few people are capable of.
Nearly 30 stories are gathered here for our amusement and each one is worth every penny. I won’t spoil any of them for you because some are so plot twisting that the wrong word could ruin them for you – just be sure to pick this one up!
War World Z by Max Brooks
It’s one thing to re-imagine the past, another to invent a distopian future and something else entirely to imagine an almost feasible near future. Max Brooks does the last with great style as he dives us into a (believable) hypothetical present and near future where zombies have become a real threat.
Here, in the first book, we step into the boots of a reporter who collects stories on how the governments and their people react after zombies actually invaded our world. We read how people would try to cash in the tragedy, how some governments would take advantage on this events, how difficult would be to make sacrifices, how people could change in the blink of an eye; all this and more in a story that at times can make you laugh, but for the most part will make you think very hard about the human nature.
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H.P. Lovecraft
When it comes to sheer literary terror not many can compete with the man who refined the genre into perfection. From all of Lovecraft’s books I say that is very difficult to pick, so I decided to suggest my personal favorite among Lovecraft few novels, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
A story that not also makes us dive into the supernatural but also into Lovecraft’s more analytical and suspense-filled nature, this book finds Marinus Bicknell Willet, the Ward’s family doctor, in a tale of uncovering a truth wrapped in blood, magic and the forbidden mysteries. Lovecraft always liked to warn us about the darker side of the unknown and this tale combines just the right bit of mystery, terror and supernatural in the way only Lovecraft can craft.
The Hitchhicker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Comedy and science fiction haven’t always been friends. Until recent years there hasn’t actually been many works that make fun of the outer space in a proper and comedy-filled way. That is until 1979 when Douglas Adams used his Guide to the Galaxy to make us laugh. Adams, like Tolkien or Lewis before him, pours his beliefs into a story that’s filled with laughs.
Arthur, our main protagonist, is suddenly saved by his alien friend Ford from an interstellar eviction note and demolition of planet Earth. From there Adams must use the titular guide to survive the dangers of outer space and his newfound alien friends. Adams may be laughing with us, or possibly at us, about our constant search for the meaning of life and other answers to the greatest questions of the universe but it’s a great ride nonetheless.
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Call me cheater for putting Gaiman on the list twice, but how can I not tell you about the best “End of the World Comedy” ever written. This wonderfully co-worked comedy tells the story of Crowley and Aziraphale (former snake and guardian of paradise respectively) in their quest to make the end of the world happen. Problem is, that they have misplaced the Antichrist and time is running out!
Afraid of facing the wrath of their respective bosses and preparing to flee to the other side if necessary Angel and Demon must team up and rely on the aide of humans and the world’s only true prophet to find the Antichrist before the Four Horseperson of the Apocalypse pull the trigger. This book is packed with action, comedy, end of the world sex, Spanish Inquisition, supernatural powers, Elvis… in summation, everything to make you feel just a little better about the end of times.