Top 8 Reads — 2013

Posted on: December 9, 2013

I keep meaning to keep better track of just how many books I read in a given year but, thus far at least, I’ve never managed to follow through all the way to December 31. Suffice to say, though, I read a ton of books. While my interests vary considerably, I tend to concentrate on the following genres in particular:

–End of the world fiction
–Survival manuals and guides
–Science fiction

What follows are the books I especially enjoyed reading this year. They are listed in no particular order. This isn’t a ranked list by any means.

Also, note that not all of these books were released in 2013, some came out in years prior. For our purposes here, to qualify for this list I only had to read the book in 2013.

-14- is not action-packed. It isn’t really an end of the world story either. If anything, it is about a group of people endeavoring to prevent the end of the world. I was absolutely riveted by this book and found it nigh impossible to put down. Clines pulls the reader along quite nicely, leading us from one scene to the next. As I wrote in my original review, -14- doesn’t grab the reader by the throat but rather taps them on the shoulder and asks, “Hey, wanna see something neat?”

You know how some people are just complete and total geeks when it comes to Star Trek or Star Wars? I’m that way with post-apocalyptic stuff that involves fast cars, lots of guns, and mutant biker types. THE WELLER is a book right smack dab in the middle of that sort of thing. THE WELLER harkens back to those days when the best post-apocalyptic stories involved gun battles waged from classic muscle cars screaming through a desert landscape. Part throwback and part homage, this ebook was non-stop fun.

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the Hunger Games books. The first one was decent, but the series quickly went downhill, in my opinion. However, this book by Creek Stewart sort of makes up for my disappointment in the original stories. Here, Creek illustrates in great detail how the different characters would have survived in the wilderness. All the main categories of survival skills are accounted for, such as water acquisition and disinfection, wild edibles, fire craft, and shelter building. Lavishly illustrated with tons of photos, nothing is left out. This is an excellent book for anyone interested in learning more about wilderness survival, particularly those who are fans of the original Hunger Games books.

Another wilderness survival book, this one coming from John D. McCann, author of BUILD THE PERFECT SURVIVAL KIT as well as owner of one of my favorite online stores, Survival Resources. This is one of my all-time favorite books on the subject of wilderness survival. Very practical and down to earth, it is profusely illustrated with color photos on just about every page. Where the book truly shines is when it showcases McCann’s ingenuity and creativity, showing the reader great ways to accomplish goals using what you have on hand.

THE DARKNESS AFTER is a young adult book, but don’t let that discourage you from checking it out. While the story concentrates on two teenagers trying to survive the aftermath of an EMP event, the story is not dumbed down in the least. There is a tremendous amount of factual survival knowledge hidden within the story, which stands to reason given that the author, Scott Williams, has already shown he knows his stuff in that regard in his previous books. Very well written and makes for compelling reading.

THE SURVIVALIST: FRONTIER JUSTICE is one of my favorite post-apocalyptic reads in the last few years. Exceedingly well written, it details the adventures of a U.S. Marshall who is journeying through a United States that has been decimated by a plague. There are also a couple of subplots running through the story, one involving how the President and the government are handling the crisis and another involving an “escaped” prison inmate who has taken it upon himself to protect a young girl. Do yourself a favor and, if you buy this book, go ahead and purchase the sequel right away so you’re not left hanging.

If you are in the market for a survival manual and can only afford one right now, get a copy of MAGS: The People Part of Prepping. It really is that good. MAGS covers a topic that has never truly been explored completely in survival literature — group dynamics. Even those who plan to just head off to the forest to live off the land will, more likely than not, end up having to deal with other individuals and groups at some point in the future. The knowledge contained in this book will help you when that time comes. It will also serve you well if you are already a member of an established group or are looking to form one.

Regular readers here know I’m a huge fan of the Ashfall series written by Mike Mullin. While we’re all patiently waiting for the concluding volume to come out in a few months, Mike wrote and published this prequel as a way of keeping us from kicking down his door and stealing the final manuscript for ourselves. As with the other books, this story is very well done. It details how Darla and her mother survived the initial days following the eruption at Yellowstone and really showcases Darla’s intelligence and problem solving abilities. It also makes us crave the next book all the more….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *