The most inspiring non-fiction book about being stranded that I can think of is Albert Lansing's Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage. There are other books about Shackleton, but this is the classic. Shackleton and his crew were making an attempt to cross the Antarctic in 1914 when their ship became caught and then crushed in the pack ice. They escaped in 2 lifeboats and had to cross almost 1000 miles of the stormiest seas in the world to reach help.
I love Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, The Passage by ?, The Host by Stephanie Meyer, The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. The Stand is THE BEST.
Looks at GoodReads.com to find ranked books in this genre.
Happy mama to three DD's age 13, age 10.5 , age 8and DS, born January 6
Alas, Babylon Pat Frank
Emergence David R Palmer
Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang Kate Wilhelm
Life as We Knew It Susan Pfeffer
After the change.....
Dies the Fire S.M Stirling
Ariel Steven Boyett
The Dead and the Gone (part of a series...the first book is mentioned above called Life As We Knew It)
This World We Live In (third book in this series)
Oryx and Crake
The Year of the Flood
I've read all of the above and really enjoyed them. Here is also a link to a list of 70+ books in the same genre.
I loved World Made by Hand and agree it's one of the best in this genre. I didn't enjoy the sequel quite as much, but it was still good.
Into the Forest by Jean Hegland is great. From Amazon:
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler is really powerful, too.
Not quite what you asked for, but you mentioned apocalypse: any interest in a barely avoided apocalypse?
If so, I strongly recommend Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman/Terry Prachart. It's armegeddon, with comedy.
If you're taking the genre seriously, I also recommend The Stand. And while you're reading Stephen King, pick up the Dark Tower series. It's a 7 book masterpiece, with themes of life after civilization's fall, among other things.
Oooh, post-apocalyptic is my fav genre!
I agree with PPs that the Dies the Fire books by SM Stirling are AMAZING!
I also love Octavia Butler, especially Lilith's Brood.
A few more. Some of them are true post-apocalyptic, and some are just crazy-screwed-up-future:
The Fifth Sacred Thing, by Starhawk
Uglies Trilogy, by Scott Westerfield
Woman on the Edge of Time, by Marge Piercy
The Isis Books, by Jean Stewart
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
Brown Girl in the Ring, by Nalo Hopkinson
Ecotopia, by Ernest Callenbach
Galapagos, by Kurt Vonnegut
Beggars in Spain, by Nancy Kress
Shade's Children, by Garth Nix
Survival, by Julie Czerneda
Mama Bear , Papa Bear and Baby Bear (8/11)
Another goodie is "on the beach" by Neville shutte (sp?) about people in Australia which is the last place left on earth after nuclear war and they are waiting for fallout to reach them.
Ashes by Ilsa Bick, YA but very good.
Wife to an amazing man , mommy to 3 wild dudes: ds1 (5/23/05 @ 30 weeks), ds2 (3/5/09) , and ds3 (9/26/10) . Part time librarian, full time mommy, occasional chef and maid.
No one has said "Z for Zachariah"? I loved that book as a young adult.
Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse by Victor Gischler is good and quite funny. One of the reviewers described it as "Part Christopher Moore, part Quentin Tarantino", which is pretty accurate. :)
Mom of two amazing boys: (9/14/10) and (7/8/12) Married to my best friend