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Book Review: Pandemic Publications

COVID-19. Coronavirus. Pandemic. Public Health Emergency. Call it what you will - except "China Virus" because racism isn't a good garnish for gin cocktails, ya'll. It's upended most of the world - our family included.

So "The Partner" and I had an idea. We all may go stir crazy in the next weeks - depending on your state you may be on lockdown, "shelter-in-place" or still social distancing. So we've put together a list of books that may bring a bit of good humor back to your reading nooks, comfy chairs or (for those lucky few bastards) porches & backyards.

We're calling it our "Pandemic Publications".

Between the two of us - mostly me - we've - mostly me - reviewed & rated each book from "Public Nuisance" to "Zombieland". Think of it as a 5 to 1 scale if you're in the government - Level 1 being RED ALERT. We've - mostly me - laid out the scale below.

Level 5: Public Nuisance

Level 4: Regional Ruckus

Level 3: National Health Emergency

Level 2: Global Pandemic

Level 1: Zombieland

The reviews are 1 - 2 sentences, because there are 8 books and we're currently in the middle of a "Hobbit" series marathon I'd like to get back to. There are a number on here - Inferno, Hollow Kingdom & The Feed - which I'll do full reviews on down the road.

I'd encourage you to pick one, two or if you're a real go-getting brown noser, double tap that entire list. Send me an email, comment on our instagram, let The Fellowship know your favorites! So without further ado, grab a drink and read on:

1. "Inferno" by Dan Brown

"In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno."

Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Rating: Level 5 | Public Nuisance

Review: Dan Brown is perfect. I refuse to watch "You" on Netflix after they made fun of his books. It's another Robert Langdon story. Because give the audience what they want. Someone threatens to release a bio-hazardous material into the air. He solves clues in attempt to stop them.

2. "The Hot Zone" by Richard Preston

"A Terrifying True Story is a best-selling 1994 nonfiction thriller by Richard Preston about the origins and incidents involving viral hemorrhagic fevers, particularly ebolaviruses and marburgviruses." Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Rating: Level 5 | Public Nuisance

Review: This goes against EVERYTHING Gin & Tolkien stands for. The Partner chose it - I should've checked my sources. I've never read it. It's - *hold for possible vomit* - non-fiction. It's about Ebola. It's about D.C. And Ebola. And I would never read it. So you shouldn't either.

3. "Hauntavirus" by Milo Lazarus

"A strange illness stalks the United States capital, Washington D.C. The spreading, fatal menace forces the young Epidemic Intelligence Service Officers assigned to the case, Claire Connolly and Dorian Spring, to acknowledge the real threat of a haunting pandemic for which they have identified no cure."

Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Rating: Level 4 | Regional Ruckus

Review: I met the author - no his name isn't actually Milo Lazarus but I wish it was - at a Bachelorette Party in New Orleans. I ordered this after a bottle of wine (sorry to my gin followers) at Bacchanal Wine. It's based in D.C. - so very cool for us DMV folks. He wrote it as part of a 1,000 word p/day challenge, and decided to publish. I love the story! Support local authors!

4. "Annihilation" by by Jeff VanderMeer

"Area X has been cut off from the rest of the world for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition."

Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Rating: Level 4 | Regional Ruckus Review: That IS this guy's real name. As far as I know. Bit much IMO. Anyways. This is a more well known book on the list. It was a movie recently which fit pretty far for the course. It was a bit tough to get through, as it gets in the weeds on biology. But it's a good "pandemic" book.

5/6. "Peeps" & "The Last Days" by Scott Westerfeld

"A year ago, Cal Thompson was a college freshman more interested in meeting girls and partying than in attending biology class. Now, after a fateful encounter with a mysterious woman named Morgan, biology has become, literally, Cal's life. Cal was infected by a parasite that has a truly horrifying effect on its host. Cal himself is a carrier, unchanged by the parasite, but he's infected the girlfriends he's had since Morgan. All three have turned into the ravening ghouls Cal calls Peeps. The rest of us know them as vampires. It's Cal's job to hunt them down before they can create more of their kind..."

Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Rating: Level 3 | National Health Emergency

Review: I read this series a LONG TIME AGO. Like - 15 years ago. Scott Westerfeld was my favorite author growing up. This series - "Peeps / "The Last Days" was published shortly following "Uglies" - one of my favorite dystopian series. Basically: guy gets infected. Infected infect others. *TWIST* They become vampires. This was during that BIG vampire phase - thanks Stephanie Meyer.

7. "The Feed" by Nick Clark Windo "The Feed is accessible everywhere, by everyone, at any time. It instantaneously links us to all information and global events as they break. The Feed’s collapse, taking modern society with it, leaves people scavenging to survive. Finding food is truly a matter of life and death. Minor ailments, previously treatable, now kill. And while the collapse has demolished the trappings of the modern world, it has also eroded trust. In a world where survival of the fittest is a way of life, there is no one to depend upon except yourself . . . and maybe even that is no longer true."

Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Rating: Level 2 | Global Pandemic

Review: I know it doesn't sound like a biological pandemic or infection or virus. But just trust me. I also encourage you to read the book - it's very different from others I've read. It combines social media + biological warfare + other worlds. Oh Yeah. I honestly can't give away much more or it gives away everything.

8. "Hollow Kingdom" by Kira Jane Buxton

"S.T., a domesticated crow, is a bird of simple pleasures: hanging out with his owner Big Jim. Then Big Jim's eyeball falls out of his head, and S.T. starts to feel like something isn't quite right. S.T. is left with no choice but to abandon his old life and venture out into a wild and frightening new world with his trusty steed Dennis, where he discovers that the neighbors are devouring each other and the local wildlife is abuzz with rumors of dangerous new predators roaming Seattle." Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Rating: Level 1 | Zombieland Review: This is another - similar to "The Feed" that is different from any other book I've read. It started as a Science Fiction Club Book that I honestly was hesitant bout. The concept of a talking crow in a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies? I am not a Walking Dead fan - but this is much more creative. If you can't decide on a novel, I guarantee this is the five-star, Level 1, pandemic publication you should read.


Drink Pairing: Whatever is in your liquor cabinet, wine fridge, bar cart. It's A PANDEMIC. THERE ISN'T EVEN ENOUGH TOILET PAPER. DON'T GET NEEDY NOW.

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