Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

People recommend books to me all the time. It’s part of the job, swapping “Have you read”s with other writers, your editor, siblings, friends, total strangers you meet while waiting for your son to finish rehearsal. I recommended Sarum to someone who just finished Pillars of the Earth but got no return recommendation, which was probably just as well, because my editor recommended Doomsday Book as one of her all-time favorite, I’d-take-it-to-a-desert-island reads.

I got it from the library (and anyone who thinks that libraries are going to go away because of the prominence of e-books is wrong, just wrong) and read half of it yesterday. I woke up this morning thinking about the characters (haven’t done that since My Hero and I watched The Wire in a month-long marathon Netflix session during which we did nothing else except feed ourselves and go to work) and finished it this afternoon (my reward for writing 5 pages). It’s amazing. One of the best books I have ever read. Funny, heart-breakingly sad, interesting, incredibly detailed yet fast-paced (this, despite being 435 pages long and printed in freakin’ 8 point font, or smaller), and truly frightening given its subject matter and the recent H1N1 viral outbreak.

It’s an incredible achievement, easily the best fiction book I’ve read all year, no doubt in the top five best books I’ve ever read. Read it. You won’t regret it.

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