This will be my fourth time reading WWZ, though I think it will probably be more like a high-level skimming since I just finished listening to the audThis will be my fourth time reading WWZ, though I think it will probably be more like a high-level skimming since I just finished listening to the audio book a few months ago (which was my 3rd time through the book). I'm really looking forward to it and to the resultant discussion at A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast. This is Scott's choice.
My review is below. ============
It goes by many names: “The Crisis,” “The Dark Years,” “The WalkingPlague,” as well as newer and more “hip” titles such as “World War Z” or “Z War One.” I personally dislike this last moniker as it implies an inevitable “Z War Two.” For me, it will always be “The Zombie War,” and while many may protest the scientific accuracy of the word zombie, they will be hard-pressed to discover a more globally accepted term for the creatures that almost caused our extinction. Zombie remains a devastating word, unrivaled in its power to conjure up so many memories or emotions, and it is these memories, and emotions, that are the subject of this book.
This record of the greatest conflict in human history owes its genesis to a much smaller, much more personal conflict between me and the chairperson of the United Nation’s Postwar Commission Report. My initialwork for the Commission could be described as nothing short of a labor of love. My travel stipend, my security access, my battery of translators, both human and electronic, as well as my small, but nearly priceless voice-activated transcription “pal” (the greatest gift the world’s slowest typist could ask for), all spoke to the respect and value my work was afforded on this project. So, needless to say, it came as a shock when I found almost half of that work deleted from the report’s final edition. ...
World War Z (WWZ) is the book that began the zombie invasion of publishing. You may thank or curse Max Brooks, depending on your feeling about the genre. Actually, WWZ is the follow-up to Brooks' 2003 book, The Zombie Survival Guide. Where that book was a twist on more practical manuals, however, WWZ is a much more serious novel than one might expect.
In this "future history" a reporter travels the world to interview key individuals who fought in the zombie wars after a virus surfaces that sweeps over populations in an epidemic, leaving huge numbers of zombies roaming the earth. The clever premise provides much food for thought about how individuals and governments respond to unexpected emergencies ... or fail to respond. Brooks uses this vehicle not only to tell an excellent story but to skewer governmental policies and lambast the powerful who take advantage of any situation for their own gain. This is a real page turner that resulted in many late nights as I watched civilization collapse and wondered what was found that allowed victory over the zombie hordes
UPDATE: May 2013
This is my 3rd reading of World War Z, this time via the new unabridged audiobook version (review copy from SFFaudio, God bless 'em!). I had the previous audio version but never could make myself listen to it because I knew it was abridged.
I wondered how the documentary-style story would hold up with so many different voices taking up the tale in turn. The answer is that I now admire even more Max Brooks' talent in weaving these voices together to make a suspenseful story. I didn't think I could admire the book more, actually. But I am happy to be proven wrong. It is tailor-made for audio and, although I now feel as though I went through the war myself, I also feel a quiet optimism for the future. So, there you go ...
I've heard that Max Brooks' answer when asked to comment on the upcoming World War Z movie is something like, "Well, they have the same name." I, for one, am grateful for the movie since it prompted this unabridged version. And I hold out hope for the movie since I was among the few who enjoyed I, Robot the movie, just as much as I, Robot the book. They are just different animals. Fingers crossed, that WWZ is the same....more
Another great Emma Lathen mystery, this one melding current events at the time of writing (ending segregation among the Wall Street elite by solicitinAnother great Emma Lathen mystery, this one melding current events at the time of writing (ending segregation among the Wall Street elite by soliciting a seat on the Stock Exchange for a black millionaire) with the author's customary low key humor and clever murder mystery. Highly recommended. (Note: if you aren't used to reading books from this time period, please keep in mind that "Negro" was a polite term on the level of today's "African American." Otherwise you might find it a bit jarring.)...more
My Catholic women's book club is reading this for next week's meeting. I have begun rereading and discovered that I had forgotten just how informativeMy Catholic women's book club is reading this for next week's meeting. I have begun rereading and discovered that I had forgotten just how informative it is about not only training for exorcisms but all related subjects ... such as angels, the devil, Church history, etc. Highly recommended and you can read my original review here.
I have enjoyed rereading this and finding that it is just as good as I remembered from the first time around. Informative, unsentimental, and looking at exorcism with a journalist's eye. Excellent and highly recommended....more
One day Howard and his sister Awful (you soon discover just how "awful" Anthea is and the reason for her nickname becomes evident)come home from schooOne day Howard and his sister Awful (you soon discover just how "awful" Anthea is and the reason for her nickname becomes evident)come home from school to find a huge goon in their kitchen. He says he was sent by Archer because Howard's dad hasn't turned in his quarterly payment of 2000 words. Just who Archer is and how 2000 words can be payment for anything turn are the beginning of a quest that take Howard and Awful on an adventure that truly is indescribable. It is a mystery that constantly shifts. Just when you think it's figured out, an entirely new dimension is revealed. It is fantasy where every detail matters. Every detail. Perhaps this preface will show just how indefinable the plot is:
This book will prove the following ten facts: 1. A Goon is a being who melts into the foreground and sticks there. 2. Pigs have wings, making them hard to catch. 3. All power corrupts, but we need electricity. 4. When an irresistible force meets an immovable object, the result is a family fight. 5. Music does not always sooth the troubled beast. 6. An Englishman's home is his castle. 7. The female of the species is more deadly than the male. 8. One black eye deserves another. 9. Space is the final frontier, and so is the sewage farm. 10. It pays to increase your word power.
And it does. Just read it.
I must add that I read this book in one day. One day. I was astounded by the fact that three-fourths of the way through, Jones did a "reveal" about a character I loved which completely ruined my previous love. I hated that betrayal. THEN, she did it again with a different character. Again, I felt betrayed.
THEN, by the end of the book, she had flipped those reveals so that I loved those characters as much as before. Simply amazing....more
This will be my umpteenth time reading this classic ghost story. Shirley Jackson is one of my favorite authors and this is my choice for October's disThis will be my umpteenth time reading this classic ghost story. Shirley Jackson is one of my favorite authors and this is my choice for October's discussion at A Good Story is Hard to Find.
I've read the book so many times that I thought I'd see what it is like to listen to the audio version. I am delighted to find is it read Bernadette Dunne who is a favorite of mine ever since listening to her narration of The Hiding Place.
UPDATE The problem with knowing a book so well is that if the narrator isn't adding something new, then they are (inadvertently) detracting from the book for me. Sadly this is the case. It isn't Dunne's fault, but in this instance there is nothing like my Penguin copy for the "real" book ... which is still terrifying me, by the way.
FINAL -- UPDATED The ending of this book hits me hard every time. This time I was actually struck by agreement with Mrs. Montague (which is a real first). But she was the only one at the end who had a sensible suggestion and it should have been taken ... in fact the doctor's rejection of it is the only weak place in the plot, to my mind.
[UPDATE: a conversation with my daughter, Hannah, brought up another possibility for what I saw as a plot flaw. Wow. Stephen King WISHES The Shining had a house as sly and crafty as this one.]
Truly excellent, terrifying, and yet ... in a way that is foreign to much of the blunt force and violence that passes for horror fiction these days....more
Julie can't sleep because of the incessant pounding while Scott won't let Mrs. Dudley clear the table. Both are terrified while they discuss The HauntJulie can't sleep because of the incessant pounding while Scott won't let Mrs. Dudley clear the table. Both are terrified while they discuss The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson at A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast....more
I'm a sucker for books about the basics. Even if I know a lot about something, there's always some new detail to learn. I also often find food for thoI'm a sucker for books about the basics. Even if I know a lot about something, there's always some new detail to learn. I also often find food for thought when something is expressed in a new, imaginative way. Best of all, it can give me simple ways to explain something I might know so much about that it's hard to remember what it felt like to just need the basic scoop.
That's why I like Tweeting with God.
It has simple explanations to questions young people have asked about the Catholic faith but includes enough detail to show that these aren't just knee-jerk answers. The part I like best is that all questions are welcome and no topic is taboo. I can't stress enough how important that has been to my own faith as well as in answering others' questions.
There are almost 200 questions, grouped into four sections ranging from God to the Church to personal (prayer, etc.) to ethics. It's got a vibrant, inviting design and each spread usually has a box with examples or additional information on a topic.
The book acknowledges that these aren't intended to be absolutely complete answers. They are intended to answer young people's questions. With that in mind, each question has references for further, deeper reading in the Catechism or YouCat.
I was happy to see that every touchy topic I read about was presented charitably, with understanding of outsiders' possible misconceptions, and fully in line with Church teachings. It has an imprimatur so I suppose I didn't need to worry but it never hurts to check up for yourself.
Here are a couple of pdfs you can check out. It should open up so you can look at the spread first but be sure to zoom in to read the pages and get a real feel for the writing.
McDermott really does take the pain and fussiness out of producing authentic tasting ethnic foods, in this case Thai cuisine. Leafing through this I dMcDermott really does take the pain and fussiness out of producing authentic tasting ethnic foods, in this case Thai cuisine. Leafing through this I discovered that I had already read it once because her grilled chicken with garlic recipe is a staple of my kitchen. ...more
I'd already read several of these stories online, exactly where escapes me but probably on the author's blog. However, seeing how many pieces from thiI'd already read several of these stories online, exactly where escapes me but probably on the author's blog. However, seeing how many pieces from this collection were nominated for Hugos made me finally pick up the book.
Stories range from noir style mystery to dinosaurs to time travel to mad scientists in the best tradition of solid science fiction. Wright also weaves in Christian themes, often specifically Catholic ones, which is only to be expected since the book's description points out that the author is following the Catholic liturgical calendar.
What is a mystery is how Wright manages write stories so centered in science fiction while also staying so centered in Catholicism. In a sense these could be compared to the Narnia books or C.S. Lewis's space trilogy. Except, of course, they are so obviously the creation of John C. Wright that they are entirely new and fresh.
As in any collection I liked some more than others but all are good. My absolute favorite is Nativity which caught me by surprise and left me off balance. Wright so absolutely captured the mystery, the uncertainty, the doubt, and gift of faith in that story. I felt the reality of the Passion and crucifixion, I felt the wonder and freshness of the nativity, I felt the marvel of Creation. I was in tears at the end and thankful for the goodness of God.
I do wonder whether non-Christians can enjoy these stories but obviously the answer is yes since so many of them were nominated for the Hugos by science fiction fans....more
Hey! I discovered the library has the audiobook and it is read by Nadia May. She is a fantastic narrator I can tell you after listening to the first CHey! I discovered the library has the audiobook and it is read by Nadia May. She is a fantastic narrator I can tell you after listening to the first CD.
I am also really enjoying this book. Some of the insights I already knew, but others are from things I didn't know referencing a larger literary view, Tolkien's past, history, and Christianity. Wood is a graceful and interesting writer.
FINAL Simply fantastic. Though the audio was really good it was a bit more than I could absorb well without seeing it. (Just the way I'm made, I guess.)
I am going to get the print version so I can absorb it even better....more
The best way to get an idea of this book is to watch Brené Brown's TED Talk on vulnerability. It was a real eye-opener for me and it went viral so I wThe best way to get an idea of this book is to watch Brené Brown's TED Talk on vulnerability. It was a real eye-opener for me and it went viral so I wasn't alone in loving it.
I was delighted to find this 6-talk series on Audible that I could use as a refresher. Brown pulls together all her research to continue the vulnerability conversation on a deeper level.
Brown herself is so engaging and genuine that the sessions are easy to listen to. She freely shares personal stories as examples so you know you're not alone when you recognize some behavior being discussed. And she's funny. I will never forget her story about the three-dozen cookies.
Brown's work is like a secular look at the human condition and how to live as our most honest, fulfilled selves. She doesn't ignore spirituality. Indeed, her research found that is a key component of whole-hearted peoples' lives. I was fascinated when I realized how often Brown's findings echoed personal discoveries I've made in 15 years of Catholicism. I look back at how far I've come and I see someone who has come into the light after spending much of my life in darkness.
One of the things I loved was when Brown said that if you feel shame then she can guarantee there are other people who feel that same shame. Again, a very Catholic teaching. As someone said to me the other day about the value of belonging to our parish, "I learned we're all broken. It's not just me. I'm not alone."
I didn't always agree with every single thing Brown said (and I bet she's ok with that imperfection!). However, those were usually the instances where she was making her own points instead of using research based information. My disagreement didn't come on many points and they didn't matter to the overall work.
Am I done? Of course not. We're never done, as Brown points out and as the Church also tells us. But Brown's work comes together wonderfully well for anyone who is striving for a more authentic life. (That's all of us, by the way.) I learned things that help me understand why I act the way I do. Over-functioning when stressed — right here! Will that change things? Not sure but it can't hurt to know it.
And it meshes wonderfully well with the Catholic faith which just validates both even more to me.
I'll probably be revisiting these talks occasionally for a refresher. Highly recommended for ... everyone....more
One of my favorite Dick Francis novels. Between the gemstones, the gadgets, the mystery, and the brotherly relationship this always engages both my atOne of my favorite Dick Francis novels. Between the gemstones, the gadgets, the mystery, and the brotherly relationship this always engages both my attention and my heart....more