There’s been a rash of apocalyptic books lately, but by focusing on a small suburb in Ohio, and one family in particular, The Things That Keep Us Here feels amazingly real and very frightening. While the infrastructure of society crumbles, we join the Brooks in their journey of surviving a pandemic with a 50% survival rate. Locked in their home, no electricity, unable to communicate or trust friends and neighbors, we get to see the psychological impact on everyone and the lengths people will go to insure they keep themselves and loved ones safe.

I kept putting myself in their position and trying to figure out how I would react or what decisions I would make. It’s definitely an uncomfortable topic to dwell on and Carla Buckley has done it beautifully and without flinching. I brought the book’s premise up at Thanksgiving with my family in South Texas and was surprised at how quickly the topic went to violence, self-defense and protection. Yikes.

This book will be one you recommend to friends and have interesting and meaningful conversations about. The book’s H5N1 virus is eerily close to our real virus H1N1. I sure wish more people would cover their mouths when they cough.

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