Jacket Copy
Summer reading guide: The 136 books you'll want to read
Books Jacket Copy

What to read before the Maya apocalypse

The world is ending on Friday — according to a bunch of people who’ve misread the Maya calendar. (Take it from me, they’re wrong. I should know: I’m part Maya and I’m pretty sure my ancestors didn’t intend for the whole world to freak out just because we’ve reached the end of another Maya long count cycle).

But even if the world is ending this week, you still have just enough time to finish at least two of the many books assorted literature mavens have recommended as good "end of the world" reading.

Should the mushroom clouds or exploding sun catch you by surprise and allow you time to read only one, the consensus seems to be that Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” would be a solid choice. McCarthy’s masterful, haunting description of a post-apocalyptic America is a favorite in my household. (My 16-year-old son says it’s his favorite novel ever, and my favorite scene is when the narrator wanders into a library and thinks about all the useless arguments contained in the many books there).

Over at NPR, Ben H. Winters mentions McCarthy in passing before going on to list three novels, including “Decameron,” which he describes as “a 14th century allegory about the Florentines who hole up in a secluded villa to flee the Black Death, entertaining each other with endless stories…”

The Minnesota Daily has a list with two novels, including “A Canticle for Leibowitz” by Walter M. Miller. “Inspired by the author’s bombing missions throughout World War II, the book follows one monastery over three periods of time 600 years after the 20th century,” writes Joe Kleinschmidt.

Now, if you’re in Southern California and feel the need to be near other lovers of literature as the human story enters its final chapter, then you might consider going to the Beyond Baroque Literary Center in Venice. On Friday at 8 p.m. it’s celebrating a poetry reading/end of the world party called “Maya Con Dios.” 

“Bring poems about the end of the world, your love of the world, the heavens, planet Earth, nature, the universe in general,” the organizers write. “Also related subjects: Dreams, the afterlife, past lives, future lives, etc.”

Should the Maya apocalypse come and go with yet another sunrise arriving Dec. 22, and you want to understand the meaning of it all, you might want to check in with Daniel Pinchbeck, who wrote a book about the 2012 prophecy.

He doesn’t think the world is going to end, but he has written recently that “we are seeing the fulfillment of prophecy -- based on the precise understanding of cosmic cycles held by the ancient cultures of Mesoamerica -- in the transformation of planetary culture and consciousness.”

ALSO:

Penguin settles in e-book price fixing case

Neil Gaiman plans last book-signing tour, ever

Essential reading after Newtown: 'Columbine' by Dave Cullen

hector.tobar@latimes.com

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Writers choosing writers

    Writers choosing writers

    What happens when you ask a handful of writers to name their favorite book of 2012, and then the authors of those books pick their favorites? The unexpected. Follow the trail for a wonderful daisy-chain of eclectic reading recommendations to last through next year.

  • Recommended fiction for the holidays

    Recommended fiction for the holidays

    A couple of National Book Award finalists, a Nobel Prizewinner, both novels and short story collections, and a few books you might not know yet: 19 books of fiction for holiday giving.

  • Holiday books guide

    Holiday books guide

    Books: A Holiday Gift Guide Books: A Holiday Gift Guide December 2, 2012 Gallery view: Fiction | Mysteries / thrillers | Science fiction / Fantasy | Poetry Current events | Science | History | Biography / Memoir | Pop culture | Sports Kids | Tweens | Young adult Graphic novels | Coffee table books...

  • Summer reading guide: The 136 books you'll want to read

    Summer reading guide: The 136 books you'll want to read

    Another summer, another chance to draw up the perfect reading list to see you through those languid, sun-drenched days. Whether you’re stretched out by the pool or nestled in a coffee shop, clutching a hardcover, paperback or e-book, we’ve got more than enough titles to keep you reading through...

  • Daniel Clowes reflects on his 'Eightball' comics' evolution

    Daniel Clowes reflects on his 'Eightball' comics' evolution

    When the first issue of Daniel Clowes' comic book "Eightball" was published in October 1989, Fantagraphics Books printed 3,000 copies, and Clowes was sure it would take about five years to sell them all. He was part of a small wave of upstart young cartoonists pumping out strange little humor pieces...

  • True adventures of bold women

    True adventures of bold women

    In my fantasy version of summer, I am sitting on a beach, no schedule or deadlines, a pile of books at my side. There are lovely people for company, a pack of sandwiches and cold lemonade, and there is reading and swimming and more reading. Late in the day someone shows up with a refreshing cocktail,...

  • Michelle Goldberg's book 'The Goddess Pose' paints vivid picture of yoga pioneer Indra Devi

    Michelle Goldberg's book 'The Goddess Pose' paints vivid picture of yoga pioneer Indra Devi

    Millions of Americans practice yoga as a workout, a spiritual exercise or a combination of the two. Those who wonder if their pigeon pose or sun salute carry centuries of Hindu tradition from India to their sleek modern gym can relax. Change, adaptation and a dialogue between East and West have...

  • Wendell Steavenson's book 'Circling the Square' charges into Egypt's turmoil

    Wendell Steavenson's book 'Circling the Square' charges into Egypt's turmoil

    The way she writes about the Egyptian revolution, it's as if Wendell Steavenson fell in love all at once with a people, a place and a moment in time.

Comments
Loading