Non Fiction Books to read during a Pandemic

If you are eager to learn that how will the world around us remain affected after this pandemic is over, here are few suggested books

Non Fiction Books to read during a Pandemic
- illustration by: BABA SHAKEEL - Copyright ©: Readout

Being quarantined is not easy, for years we have known that prisoners are not afraid of anything more than solitary confinement, and being self-isolated can turn into a nightmare before we ourselves can even know. As much as it is important to stay isolated and back at home, we must find ways of not making it mentally frustrating, because what we see around us is all that makes a difference to what our mind perceives as reality.

While the unfathomable has happened in the 21st century, and we all are isolated and confined to our homes, we must do all it takes to make our minds feel comfortable with the whole idea of quarantine and how pandemics work.

A pandemic impacts every part of our world, and how societies in the past have grappled with it, can be best known through fiction books that have been penned down. If you are looking for an intellectual and academic take on the pandemic diseases that have occurred in the history of mankind and wish to learn how those impacted our world before the Corona virus and if you are eager to learn that how will the world around us remain affected after this is over, here are few suggested books.

Typhoid Mary: Captive to the Public’s Health by Judith Walzer Leavitt

Typhoid Mary has been a famous name for the lady in this story and that’s how the world remembers her. These days we keep thinking if we have the Corona Virus or not regardless of the symptoms, as we know we may be carriers, but we don’t want to be Typhoid Mary!

This book tells the tale of ‘’Typhoid Mary’’, she was an Irish migrant and a professional cook, who was later learnt to be a critical carrier of the virus and is reported to have presumably infected at least 51 others with the deadly disease of typhoid, which had no cure back then. In the face of that typhoid virus, Mary literally changed the nation’s culture and public health system. This tragic story of Mary Malon is a must-read if you’re to learn more about the consequences of such contagious pandemic diseases., as the book takes into account her life while the outbreak of typhoid and her being a carrier and Mary’s life-long isolation from the world she had to endure for 30 years till her death.

The American Plague by Molly Caldwell Crosby

Reported and penned down by the journalist Molly Caldwell, this book demonstrates how the yellow fever made history, paralyzed the governments of the time, halted the whole economic process, cities had to be quarantined, even the capital of the United States had to be moved. The outbreak of yellow fever actually changed the consequences of wars! This book is definitely a compelling read as it narrates the story of the US government’s endeavor of sending doctors to Cuba, when under the banner of learning how the yellow fever spread, they launched one of mankind's most controversial experiments. This book states human nature just as much it tells about the nature of the disease. Let’s get the book now!

Flu by Gina Kolata

As much as it seems impossible, we tell you that no other common disease has caused more deaths and has not been researched as much as flu, as it has the ability to change. This book by Gina Kolata is a very short read compared to many others on the chronicles of the deadly pandemic of flu in 1918, approximately 20 million people died around the globe and 500,00 in the United States. The book also takes into account the later influenza 1976 outbreak which so happened when the US developed a vaccine against the virus of 1918 but it just went beyond control, and the Avian influenza outbreak in Hong Kong that occurred in 1997. These pandemics are indeed subtle reminders that we are always in danger of another pandemic. To conclude, this book will be your best read if you are interested in knowing the challenges, ingenuity, disappointment and competition that occur for finding the cure against such pandemic diseases.

And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts

The famous journalist Shilts' masterpiece and international best-seller is a definite read if you’re interested to know how and why AIDS was allowed to be spread unchecked in the early 80’s. This book accounts the undercover reporting of why the government and trusted healthcare institutions remained blind eyed to this threat, and how after the publication of this book, it all changed to discussion of AIDS and its treatment. It is really one essential read if we are to understand the notion as to how we approach such diseases and our humanity.

The Hot Zone by Richard Preston

Stephen King regarded Hot Zone as one of the most terrifying things he had read, so we are sure to say that this book is not just about true life events that really do sound like fiction, but is a very well penned down page turner. This book is Preston’s incredibly detailed reporting on the origin and cases of viral hemorrhagic fevers; such as Ebola and Marburg, with these viruses being relentless in their spread and infection. These viruses have the ability to consume the human body within days, surely making this non-fiction book a definite horror story!

China Syndrome by Karl Taro Greenfeld


China Syndrome is a fast-moving, truth-is-stranger-than-fiction thriller that doubles as an excellent primer of emerging infections for scientists and laypeople alike. But that’s not all. For readers more captivated by world politics than by microbiology, its chief strength, beyond the superb writing, is a detailed look at China’s culture of secrecy in the throes of a global public health crisis.
~ Los Angeles Times

The editor of Times Asia at that time, and renowned journalist Karl Greenfeld documented his work which has ever since been the first officially published book on SARS outbreak in China back in 2003. This book explains in details on what SARS is and what causes it, well yes, it is caused by a coronavirus, very alike to the one that has caused COVID 19. The book further elaborates on how it was managed and living conditions for those who got infected by it. And this book is a must-read in the status quo because it elaborates on how do coronavirus spread and the significance of good well-being and good living conditions that are integral to slowing it down.


With all this known, and we tried not to give you too many spoilers, this is all enough to pique your interest and curiosity to pick you non-fiction read on the pandemics to know more! We are picking our book now, and yes it is one of these!

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