Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Sunday Salon or How to Survive the Apocalypse...

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! What is The Sunday Salon? Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake...

Do you ever get up and gingerly make your way to the coffee maker? Eyes half closed, hair messed, legs a little stiff?... I'm not sure if I also have those dark circles under my eyes (big no no to look in the mirror so early!), but if I stay up a little too late, sometimes I kinda feel like a ZOMBIE in the morning! And these days as a reader, I'm in good company because Zombies and the Apocalypse are all the rage! 

My love of dystopian fiction should meld well with Zombies, but I have to confess, I haven't read too much Zombie fiction. Although what I have read I have enjoyed. I think it was right after the Vampire craze started that I read The Reapers are The Angels by Alden Bell, which I loved. Good versus evil, a great strong female protagonist, and even a sprinkling of Zombie humor. 

So, what's a girl to do? I can solve my Zombie problem with a little coffee. How do other people deal with zombies? I thought maybe I'd check out the literary side of Zombies today in The Sunday Salon... 

World War Z by Max Brooks... The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

This a little different from a "normal" story with a plot, this is written as an oral history and thus the book is set up with interview questions from Max, who is making a record of the War, and the answers from the interviewee. Before the interview, and there are plenty, is the background of what the person is going to be talking about, so you can get a feel for what was happening and where, and this in turn is creating the story from just before the outbreak to the end. Just glancing at the preview of this book made me want to read more. I think it is such a great concept to write the story this way. Some may think that the way the book was written could have been a cop out, something a lesser writer may have done to cover up his poor writing, but from what I have sampled, this definitely is NOT the case! The story was pulling me in and I had only read the beginning. Max Brooks writing is gripping. I look forward to cracking the spine on this one. 

BTW, little did Max Brooks know in 2006, when he published World War Z, that it would become a major motion picture. There was actually a bidding war between Leonard DiCaprio's production company and Brad Pitt's. (Brad Pitt's won). Am I going to see the movie version? Possibly. I like to read the book first because there are no spoilers that way. Of course some movies change the endings, add characters, change characters... But that's another post altogether! Do you like reading the book for or doesn't matter to you?

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion... R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, noidentity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and stragely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

Warm Bodies proves that not all Zombies are bad! This sounds funny, heartbreaking, and touching. A doomed romance that you just may be rooting for anyway.  Just the first lines of the book made me feel empathy for "R", our Zombie with a heart (not a blood pumping one of course)...

"I AM DEAD, but it’s not so bad. I’ve learned to live with it. I’m sorry I can’t properly introduce myself, but I don’t have a name anymore. Hardly any of us do. We lose them like car keys, forget them like anniversaries. Mine might have started with an “R”, but that’s all I have now. It’s funny because back when I was alive, I was always forgetting other people’s names. My friend “M” says the irony of being a zombie is that everything is funny, but you can’t smile, because your lips have rotted off."

Warm Bodies has gotten a lot of great reviews! (It's also coming out on the big screen). This is currently in my eReader, so you can expect a review coming. I'm crossing my fingers that it's going to be as good as my first impressions have me believe. Part of those first impressions were Isaac Marion's writing, which I found refreshing. This past year, Isaac also published the prequel to Warm Bodies called The New Hunger. Seems that this is a short novella and only available digitally. I'll be trying Warm Bodies first though.

The 5th Wave by Rich Yancey... After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

This book has gotten so much hype prior to its publication and is making the rounds with lots of great reviews. It's a YA novel that's been called a cross between The Passage and Ender's Game. It's aliens and Zombies and looks to be the start of a great series! This has dystopian written all over it, and some of the words used to describe it are exhilarating, gripping, and breathtaking. This is on my nightstand waiting for its turn and I just hope that it's all that it's said to be. 

 As I was researching "Zombie Fiction", I came across another series called The Zombie Chronicles (Apocalypse Infection Unleashed Series) by Chrissy Peebles. Here's the description from Amazon... Val was bitten by a zombie and now she’s scheduled for lethal injection. Breaking all the rules, eighteen year old, Dean Walters snags an experimental serum. But it can’t be tested until Val turns into a zombie: something authorities won’t allow. Her execution is scheduled to happen before transformation is complete, giving Dean only hours to break her out. When their helicopter crashes straight into the heart of Zombie Land, his rescue mission becomes a fight for survival…and giving up on Val is NOT an option.

I read the first few sample pages and thought the writing was good. AND you can download this for Kindle for FREE right now! So what do you have to lose?! It's always nice when the author releases the first book in a series for free. I think it's a win win situation for both the author and the reader. I get to discover a new author and see if I enjoy her writing, and the author possibly gets a new reader who'll be buying more of his/her books.  Looks like there are 5 books in the series right now, and the books seems to have gotten really good reviews. 

P.S. If you would like to try a great zombie graphic novel series, The Waking Dead by Robert Kirkman is a great choice. A great story and wonderful graphics. I love a good graphic novel, but I need one that has great artwork and this fits the bill. You may be familiar with the television series which is based on these books. The Walking Dead, Book 1 encompasses the first 12 issues of the series and would be a great place to start. 

So, are you going to try a bit of Zombie fiction? Have you read any that you'd like to share? And what do you think of all these books to movies? Good thing or bad?

Thanks for stopping by! I love to hear what you're reading (Zombie or no zombie!), so share what you're reading week has been like!

Happy reading... Suzanne

P.S. Tomorrow is Monday, and I have a great Memoir monday ready to post! It's out of this world... 


The Relentless Reader said...

Ha ha, yes! I DO feel very much like a zombie as I stumble my way to the coffee pot :)

I've never read any zombie books. I do watch The Walking Dead though. Does that count?

Happy Sunday! Have a great week ;)

Baroque Oil Paintings said...

looks good to me! like it! thanks for sharing!

Suzanne Yester said...

The Walking Dead does count! Ha! Thanks for stopping by! You have a great week too!

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