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Middlemarch: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds, Reviews and Criticism (A Norton Critical Edition)
Bert G. Hornback, George Eliot
The Magic Mountain
Thomas Mann, John E. Woods
Love in the Time of Cholera
Gabriel García Márquez
The World Without Us - Alan Weisman Aliens rapture everyone away in the first chapter, which is a catchy way to start a novel.

But after that, the story fragments into separate chapters about different things pushing back human civilization after we're gone, like sharks, birds, plants, bugs, forests, and so on. Although everyone is supposed to be taken, every once in a while a character shows up to mouth off about how great these natural adversaries are, or how tough they've had it. Well, they didn't get abducted by aliens, did they, Mr. Weisman?

It's a long fight, and even though the aliens never return, humans lose in the end, despite the fact that we left enough trash in the ocean to cover Africa and enough nuclear crap to poison everything for thousands of years. The pyramids and Mt. Rushmore put up the best fights. Ultimately, nature beats us after the aliens take us away. I bet we could've won if the writer didn't put the contrived mass alien abduction subplot in there.

So it's a downer. Thank goodness it's just a story.