I just joined a book club where the focus is on getting together and having fun rather than stodgily disecting the literary value of a book. We decided to go thematic. We’ll pick a officially-sponsered book. If you wanna read it, fine. If not- pick something else on the topic, or watch a movie, read a magazine article- whatever. Very low-key. This month: zombies.
World War Z by Max Brooks (342 pgs) 2006
The official pick, I ripped through this book in 2 days. The structure was genius. It purports to be an “oral history of the zombie war.” It’s told in interviews with survivors scattered around the world, with a blurb of historical context before each section. I loved that it didn’t just focus on the “aah, zombies are coming to eat our brains” aspect. There was plenty of that, but what I really enjoyed was that it focused more on how nations and individuals fell apart.
I also tried to read Monster Island by David Wellington. Booooring. Stodgy writing, lackluster plot, flat characters. I flipped through trying to find where the action started and could never get grabbed enough to make it worth the effort.
I also gave The Magic Island by William Seabrook a look. Written in 1929, it was the first book about encounters with real-life zombies in Haiti. Couldn’t get interested. It did have some astonishingly racist woodcut illustrations.
My last try was The Serpent and the Rainbow by Wade Davis. He was an ethnobotanist who went searching in Haiti for the chemical compounds that a Bhokor (sorcerer) uses to create zombies. It was interesting, and read like an adventure book, but I ran out of time. This is one I might pick up again later.