Stephen King is a master of his genre. He's published 49 books, all bestsellers. His movies, unfortunately, never are even a tenth as good as the books. So for all of you who have avoided him after seeing a crappy adaptation, I URGE you to give this amazing author a try. And the book to start with is The Stand.
I'd recommend reading this over a vacation, because at over 1,000 pages, it certainly requires an investment of time. But it is SOOOO worth it! An apocolyptic tale of the aftermath of a horrible plague, the world is reduced to mere pockets of people. Panicked survivors have to find each other, figure out how to survive, and on top of all that, there is a terrific supernatural element. Good and Evil are both contacting people through dreams, urging them to choose a side. So even though the survivors think they've already gotten through the worst of the apocolypse, turns out there is another one coming.
The relationships are strong, the chilling horror will keep you awake during flu season, and the epic fight between good and evil will keep you on the edge of your seat!