According to the adherents of the 2012 apocalypse theory, rooted in a controversial reading of ancient Mayan numerology, Earth is going to break into pieces and/or be consumed by a solar flare and/or disappear into a black hole on Dec. 21, right before Christmas.
Literature offers us many, many visions of post-apocalyptic life. In books like Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker and Cormac McCarthy's brilliant and brutal The Road, we learn how we shall comport ourselves in the ravaged, dystopian days to come: There will be a lot of fighting, a lot of woeful remembrance of things past and the occasional touch of cannibalism. Rarer, however, are books that offer advice on the ethics and etiquette of the pre-apocalyptic period. What should we do and how should we exist, knowing that our days are literally numbered?