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The Best Books About Viruses And Diseases (Fiction & Nonfiction)

“What are the best books about Viruses & Diseases?” We looked at 114 of the top Virus/Disease books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 20 titles, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Virus & Disease” book lists, are ranked below by how many lists they appear on. The remaining 75+ titles, as well as the lists we used are in alphabetical order at the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!

Top 20 Best Books About Virus And Diseases

20 .) And the Band Played On written by Randy Shilts

And the Band Played On

Lists It Appears On:

  • Suggest Me Some
  • Tor

By the time Rock Hudson’s death in 1985 alerted all America to the danger of the AIDS epidemic, the disease had spread across the nation, killing thousands of people and emerging as the greatest health crisis of the 20th century. America faced a troubling question: What happened? How was this epidemic allowed to spread so far before it was taken seriously? In answering these questions, Shilts weaves the disparate threads into a coherent story, pinning down every evasion and contradiction at the highest levels of the medical, political, and media establishments. Shilts shows that the epidemic spread wildly because the federal government put budget ahead of the nation’s welfare; health authorities placed political expediency before the public health; and scientists were often more concerned with international prestige than saving lives. Against this backdrop, Shilts tells the heroic stories of individuals in science and politics, public health and the gay community, who struggled to alert the nation to the enormity of the danger it faced. And the Band Played On is both a tribute to these heroic people and a stinging indictment of the institutions that failed the nation so badly.

19 .) Doomsday Book (Oxford Time Travel, #1) written by Connie Willis

Doomsday Book (Oxford Time Travel, #1)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Softonic

For Kivrin, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity’s history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the fourteenth century and inventing an alibi for a woman traveling alone. For her instructors in the twenty-first century, it meant painstaking calculations and careful monitoring of the rendezvous location where Kivrin would be received.

18 .) Dreamcatcher written by Stephen King


Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Softonic

What might be done to human beings by the “Other”–whether the “Other” be vampires, demons or creatures from outer space–is always in competition for absolute horror with what we do to ourselves. Stephen King has, in his time, played with both sources of the nightmarish and in Dreamcatcher, the first complete novel since his near-fatal accident, he gives us both.Four childhood friends, united by secrets, are caught in the quarantine zone when something crashes into the remote forests of Maine; and the question becomes who will avoid being eaten alive by alien fungi, torn from the inside by alien ferrets, possessed by alien minds or menaced by a psychotic military commander to whom ruthlessness has become a macho ego trip?The Earth is in peril as well, needless to say, but most of our attention is taken up with a few men caught on the edge, and where the most important thing in the world turns out to be the fact that four small boys saved a fifth from a beating.

17 .) Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy, #1) written by Mira Grant

Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy, #1)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Softonic

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED. Now, twenty years after the Rising, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives—the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will get out, even if it kills them.

16 .) I Am Legend written by Richard Matheson

I Am Legend

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Softonic

Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth… but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville’s blood. By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilisation. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn. How long can one man survive like this?

15 .) One Hundred Years of Solitude written by Gabriel García Márquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Softonic

The brilliant, bestselling, landmark novel that tells the story of the Buendia family, and chronicles the irreconcilable conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love—in rich, imaginative prose that has come to define an entire genre known as “magical realism.”

14 .) Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1) written by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Softonic

Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.

13 .) Outbreak (Dr. Marissa Blumenthal, #1) written by Robin Cook

Outbreak (Dr. Marissa Blumenthal, #1)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Softonic

Murder and mystery reach epidemic proportions when a devastating plague sweeps the country. Dr. Marissa Blumenthal of the Atlanta Centers for Disease Control investigates–and soon uncovers the medical world’s deadliest secret.

12 .) Station Eleven written by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Tor

An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

11 .) The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance written by Laurie Garrett

The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Suggest Me Some

Unpurified drinking water. Improper use of antibiotics. Local warfare. Massive refugee migration. Changing social and environmental conditions around the world have fostered the spread of new and potentially devastating viruses and diseases—HIV, Lassa, Ebola, and others. Laurie Garrett takes you on a fifty-year journey through the world’s battles with microbes and examines the worldwide conditions that have culminated in recurrent outbreaks of newly discovered diseases, epidemics of diseases migrating to new areas, and mutated old diseases that are no longer curable. She argues that it is not too late to take action to prevent the further onslaught of viruses and microbes, and offers possible solutions for a healthier future.

10 .) The Fallen written by Jack Ziebell

The Fallen

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Softonic

A post-apocalyptic journey across three continents, The Fallen explores how far we would go to protect the ones we love. When a wave of energy from deep space passes over the Earth, human memory is erased and technology destroyed. With humanity reduced to a state of nature, Tim finds himself in Africa, separated from his wife by unimaginable distance. Meanwhile, two young scientists in America try to escape the chaos, seeking answers and safety. Will they find what they are looking for, or will they succumb to The Fallen? — ‘A modern science fiction adventure in the tradition of 28 Days Later, War of the Worlds and The Road.’

9 .) The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1) written by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Softonic

Slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. Now, she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

8 .) The Maze Runner (The Maze Runner, #1) written by James Dashner

The Maze Runner (The Maze Runner, #1)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Softonic

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone. Outside the towering stone walls that surround them is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive. Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying: Remember. Survive. Run.

7 .) The Twelve (The Passage, #2) written by Justin Cronin

The Twelve (The Passage, #2)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Softonic

In the present day, as the man-made apocalypse unfolds, three strangers navigate the chaos. Lila, a doctor and an expectant mother, is so shattered by the spread of violence and infection that she continues to plan for her child’s arrival even as society dissolves around her. Kittridge, known to the world as “Last Stand in Denver,” has been forced to flee his stronghold and is now on the road, dodging the infected, armed but alone and well aware that a tank of gas will get him only so far. April is a teenager fighting to guide her little brother safely through a landscape of death and ruin. These three will learn that they have not been fully abandoned—and that in connection lies hope, even on the darkest of nights.

6 .) The White Plague written by Frank Herbert

The White Plague

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Softonic

The White Plague, a marvelous and terrifyingly plausible blend of fiction and visionary theme, tells of one man who is pushed over the edge of sanity by the senseless murder of his family and who, reappearing several months later as the so-called Madman, unleashes a terrible plague upon the human race—one that zeros in, unerringly and fatally, on women.

5 .) Virus Hunter: Thirty Years of Battling Hot Viruses Around the World written by C.J. Peters and Mark Olshaker

Virus Hunter: Thirty Years of Battling Hot Viruses Around the World

Lists It Appears On:

  • Paste Magazine
  • Suggest Me Some

For three decades, Dr. C. J. Peters was on the front lines of our biological battle against “hot” viruses around the world. In the course of that career, he learned countless lessons about our interspecies turf wars with infectious agents. Called in to contain an outbreak of deadly hemorrhagic fever in Bolivia, he confronted the despair of trying to save a colleague who accidentally infected himself with an errant scalpel. Working in Level 4 labs on the Machupo and Ebola viruses, he saw time and again why expensive high-tech biohazard containment equipment is only as safe as the people who use it.

4 .) World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War written by Max Brooks

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Softonic

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years. Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War. Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?” Note: Some of the numerical and factual material contained in this edition was previously published under the auspices of the United Nations Postwar Commission.

3 .) The Andromeda Strain written by Michael Crichton

The Andromeda Strain

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Paste Magazine
  • Softonic

The United States government is given a warning by the pre-eminent biophysicists in the country: current sterilization procedures applied to returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere. Two years later, seventeen satellites are sent into the outer fringes of space to collect organisms and dust for study. One of them falls to earth, landing in a desolate area of Arizona. Twelve miles from the landing site, in the town of Piedmont, a shocking discovery is made: the streets are littered with the dead bodies of the town’s inhabitants, as if they dropped dead in their tracks.

2 .) The Stand written by Stephen King

The Stand

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Softonic
  • Tor

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides — or are chosen.

1 .) The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story written by Richard Preston

The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Paste Magazine
  • Suggest Me Some
  • Tor

The bestselling landmark account of the first emergence of the Ebola virus. A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic “hot” virus. The Hot Zone tells this dramatic story, giving a hair-raising account of the appearance of rare and lethal viruses and their “crashes” into the human race. Shocking, frightening, and impossible to ignore, The Hot Zone proves that truth really is scarier than fiction. From the Paperback edition.

The 75+ Additional Best Books About Or Featuring deadly Viruses And Diseases

218th RoundT.C. O’ReillyGoodreads
22A Death-Struck YearMakiia LucierGoodreads
23A Journal of the Plague YearDaniel DefoeGoodreads
24All Fools’ DayEdmund CooperGoodreads
25Autumn (Autumn, #1)David MoodyGoodreads
26BeatJared GarrettGoodreads
27Beating Back the Devil 
Suggest Me Some
28BiohazardKen Alibek and Stephen Handelman
Paste Magazine
29Bloodline (Forgotten Origins Trilogy #1)Tara EllisGoodreads
30Dead Chaos (Dead Chaos #1)April BrookshireGoodreads
31Deadly FeastsRichard Rhodes
Paste Magazine
Deadly Outbreaks: How Medical Detectives Save Lives Threatened by Killer Pandemics, Exotic Viruses, and Drug-Resistant Parasites
Suggest Me Some
33Deck Z: The Titanic: Unsinkable. Undead.Chris PaulsGoodreads
34Dining Out with the Ice Giants (Dining Out Around The Solar System, #2)Clare O’BearaGoodreads
35Do No Harm (Joseph #1)Danielle SingletonGoodreads
36Earth AbidesGeorge R. StewartGoodreads
Suggest Me Some
38Elixir (Red Plague, #1)Anna AbnerGoodreads
39Executive Orders (Jack Ryan Universe, #9)Tom ClancyGoodreads
40FeverMary Beth KeaneGoodreads
41Fever 1793Laurie Halse AndersonGoodreads
42God Made Us MonstersWilliam NearyGoodreads
43GreybeardBrian W. AldissGoodreads
44H1NZ (H1NZ series)Stephen J. SweeneyGoodreads
45In a Perfect WorldLaura KasischkeGoodreads
46In The Devil’s Own WordsElizabeth WixleyGoodreads
47Infected (Click Your Poison, #1)James SchannepGoodreads
48Kill RatioBryan CassidayGoodreads
49Killer Germs 
Suggest Me Some
50KronkEdmund CooperGoodreads
51Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government’s Secret Germ LaboratoryMichael Christopher CarrollGoodreads
52Love in the RuinsWalker PercyGoodreads
53Music City Macabre (The Low Lying Lands #1)Bob WilliamsGoodreads
54NemesisPhilip RothGoodreads
55Osler’s Web: Inside the Labyrinth of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome EpidemicHillary JohnsonGoodreads
56Paraplegic Zombie Slayer (Lost DMB Files, #35)David Mark BrownGoodreads
57Peeps (Peeps, #1)Scott WesterfeldGoodreads
58PestilenceBrian L. PorterGoodreads
59Plague Year (Plague, #1)Jeff CarlsonGoodreads
60ReflectionsElizabeth WixleyGoodreads
61Roman Fever and Other StoriesEdith WhartonGoodreads
62Sanctuary in SteelBryan CassidayGoodreads
63Seizure (Virals, #2)Kathy ReichsGoodreads
Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic
Suggest Me Some
65Surge (Wheezers #1)Katelin LaMontagneGoodreads
66The Alchemist’s Cat (The Deptford Histories, #1)Robin JarvisGoodreads
67The Biology of DoomEd Regis
Paste Magazine
68The Cobra EventRichard PrestonGoodreads
69The Complex (Linx, # 1)Cathy E. ZaragozaGoodreads
70The Dead (The Enemy #2)Charlie HigsonGoodreads
71The Death Cure (The Maze Runner, #3)James DashnerGoodreads
72The Death Row Complex (Katrina Stone #2)Kristen EliseGoodreads
73The Demon in the FreezerRichard Preston
Paste Magazine
74The Devil’s Alphabet Softonic
75The Dog StarsPeter HellerGoodreads
76The Enemy (The Enemy, #1)Charlie HigsonGoodreads
77The Fault in Our StarsJohn GreenGoodreads
78The Fear (The Enemy #3)Charlie HigsonGoodreads
79The FiremanJoe HillGoodreads
80The Fourth GenerationChris von HalleGoodreads
81The GasCharles PlattGoodreads
The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic–and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World
Suggest Me Some
83The Girl With All the Gifts (The Girl With All the Gifts, #1)M.R. CareyGoodreads
84The Great InfluenzaJohn M. BarryTor
85The HatchingEzekiel BooneGoodreads
86The Kill Order (The Maze Runner, #0.5)James DashnerGoodreads
87The Last OneAlexandra OlivaGoodreads
88The Nirvana PlagueGary GlassGoodreads
89The Passage (The Passage, #1)Justin CroninGoodreads
90The PlagueAlbert CamusGoodreads
91The Problem with Crazy (Crazy In Love, #1)Lauren K. McKellarGoodreads
92The Sacrifice (The Enemy #4)Charlie HigsonGoodreads
93The Scarlet PlagueJack LondonGoodreads
94The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner, #2)James DashnerGoodreads
95The Thanatos SyndromeWalker PercyGoodreads
96The Things That Keep Us HereCarla BuckleyGoodreads
97The Turn: The Hollows Begins with Death (The Hollows #0.1)Kim HarrisonGoodreads
98The Two Princesses of Bamarre (The Two Princesses of Bamarre, #1)Gail Carson LevineGoodreads
99The Undead: Book One, OverviewMichael PughGoodreads
100The Undead: Book Two, North AmericaMichael PughGoodreads
101The Vesuvius Isotope (Katrina Stone #1)Kristen EliseGoodreads
102The Way We Fall (Fallen World, #1)Megan CreweGoodreads
103This is the Way the World Ends: An Oral History of the Zombie WarKeith TaylorGoodreads
104This Time of DyingReina JamesGoodreads
105Twitch and Die! (Lost DMB Files #26)David Mark BrownGoodreads
106Under Dark Sky LawTamara BoyensGoodreads
107Virals (Virals, #1)Kathy ReichsGoodreads
108Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies, #1)Isaac MarionGoodreads
109White Horse (White Horse, #1)Alex AdamsGoodreads
110Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)Lauren DeStefanoGoodreads
111World Without End (Kingsbridge, #2)Ken FollettGoodreads
112Year of WondersGeraldine BrooksGoodreads
113Zombie MaelstromBryan CassidayGoodreads
114Zombie NecropolisBryan CassidayGoodreads

5 Best Virus And Outbreak Books Sources/Lists

Goodreads Best Fiction Books About Diseases or Viruses
Paste Magazine Seven Viral Books About Pathogens
Softonic 16 Best fiction books about diseases or viruses 2018
Suggest Me Some 10 Nonfiction Books About Pandemics
Tor Five Essential Books About Plagues and Pandemics

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