For some reason, zombie/end of the world/dystopian future stories have always been a favourite. Something about it being so desolate and hopeless but a few humans rising from the ashes and prevailing despite it seeming so impossible.
My favourite books are...
"Cell" by Stephen King.
This is a post apocalyptic world caused by mobile phones. The main character's quest is to find his son and he won't stop until he does. Very unique idea, obviously King doesn't like technology much the main character is very believable and the story really sucked me in. Also, I actually really liked the ambiguity of the ending.
"1984" by George Orwell.
A continuation of today's society, all about the government being in complete control and Big Brother always watching. Very clever, as Orwell talks of microphones and cameras before they were popular or possibly even invented yet. A classic book, best enjoyed after secondary school when you aren't being forced to read it. I couldn't put it down for three days until I'd finished it, snatching a few pages in when I could around work. Excellent story of rebellion in a dystopian future.
"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins.
A dystopian future after America, now known as Panem, is destroyed. Each year, the twelve districts of Panem have to offer two teenage tributes each, a girl and a boy, to fight it out in a death match until only one remains. So tense and captivating! I saw the film of this and I really enjoyed it but they really simplified Katniss as a character. In the book she's ruthless and her main intent is for survival, but in the film they made her nicer. I prefer the grittier Katniss and the gore of the book better. I finished this book in six hours, and I spent days after just thinking about it.
"I am Legend" by Richard Matheson.
After a plague-like disease changes most people into vampire/zombie type creatures, the main character thinks he is the only man left in the world. I watched the film first before I read the book and I was surprised by how different they were. The book poses more questions about humanity than the film which is more action packed, and they are both equally as good in their own right. I prefer the book's intelligent ending, as it's a complete surprise and I had to read it three times before I could put it down as finished.
One to avoid:
"The Host" by Stephanie Meyer.
I bought this at the airport before a holiday in 2008 and dutifully read it, but it's one of the few books I buy and never read again. It goes on and on and the first third is drivel. Then the middle section is 'conflict' between the main character and her host, and her host falling in love with two people, unable to choose who she prefers. (Sound like Twilight to anyone else?) Just generally terrible, extremely long-winded for no particular reason with a forgettable ending.
If I can think of any more, I'll make add to this list. Bets on, there will be!
What are your favourite apocalypse themed books?