Turn the Page: World War Z

Halloween is fast approaching, and it’s time to get into the ooga-booga mood! Curl up in a quiet room with a spine-chilling book, and let your imagination horrify you! As it so happens, I have a great book for you to test your nerve!



Zombies have been a long-time horror staple, and have only gotten more popular as time passes. George Romero’s Living Dead films brought audiences both gore-induced chills and subtle social commentary. Max Brooks does the same thing with World War Z, only on a much grander, world-encompassing scale (hence the title).

This is, as all works of zombie fiction are, a survival story. But this isn’t just the survival of a person, or a group, or a town, or even a country. All of these are included, but span every corner of the globe (even Antarctica). It is written in the fashion of an oral history, with a fictional journalist recording accounts of survivors. There are stories of doctors, soldiers, and politicians, but they are also all victims. Some people might not find the oral history format appealing, but I find it allows for a greater level of connection with the characters, and allows the story to cover different parts of the world in a logical fashion.

I was amazed by the level of research and thought that went into the fictional zombie apocalypse, and how they would be affected by real-world situations, cultures and technology. The spread of Solanum (the zombie virus), the effectiveness of bombs and modern military doctrine, and even “quislings” – people so traumatized by the crisis they pretend to be zombies themselves – all have been seriously considered as part of the rich, bloody world Max Brooks has brought shuffling forth.

If there’s one gripe I have, it’s at the end (no spoilers, don’t fret). For his conclusion, Max Brooks chooses to revisit some of the earlier characters for their closing statements. By itself, I have no problem with that, but I had trouble telling who was who. After a couple of read-throughs I did eventually figure it out, but it broke the momentum of what would’ve been a grand yet bittersweet conclusion.

Still, you’ve got gore, guns, and genocide by zombie bite. This is a great Halloween book for any day of the year!



Reading on the floor

First up is one of the most beneficial hobbies you could ever take up: reading.

Background: Reading makes you smarterer. Really. If there’s only one hobby you can take up, make it this. It’s just as educational as it is entertainment. There are many things you can read that can fit your fancy: Biographies, self-help, historical, mystery, fantasy, science fiction, romance, etc. Heck, if you feel daunted by the prospect of a thick book, you can try children’s or young adult’s books. The Hardy Boys, anyone?

Why it’s fun: Each genre has its own reason! Pit yourself against a mystery author and try to solve the crime before she reveals it. Revel in the bad-assery of an adventure/thriller. Shiver as you turn each new page of a horror novel (The Shining is still my #1 horror book). Gape at new worlds and creatures in fantasy/science fiction novels. Broaden your horizons with historical and cultural narratives. Learn how your idols lived and died, succeeded and failed with biographies. Feel free to share your reasons in the comments below!

Requirements: A book. Duh. Available at any library or bookstore. Used books are available for dirt cheap. Ebooks too (piracy bad)!

Suggested for: Everyone.

Not for: n/a. Even the blind can read.

Links: http://www.articlealley.com/article_12653_32.html