Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Recent Reading List

Writers aren't just people who like to go out an write while ignoring everybody else out there.  I'm sure we're the most voracious readers out there, and most of us are reading several things at once.  Therefore, I decided to provide a peek inside my mind an talk about what I'm either in the middle of or have recently completed.

1.  I, Zombie - I've stopped and started this one several times.  It's a good book - it's just that I haven't dedicated the time I should have to it.  Hugh Howey's look at what becomes of us after becoming a zombie is a fascinating tale of free will and the revulsion most of us would feel at being unable to change what we are.  The people who become zombies in this book are like spectators to events - they can see and feel everything, but they can't change anything about their behavior.  It'd be more compassionate to simply find a way to die, and most of the zombies in this book are silently begging for death.

2.  The Zombie Survival Guide - Max Brooks is the current acknowledged master of zombie fiction, and this can be looked at as either marvelous or hysterical, depending on your point of view.  This book is written from a completely serious standpoint in an apocalyptic scenario, and if there was an actual zombie outbreak, this book would quickly become invaluable in keeping people alive.  Brooks talks a little about the Solanum Virus that creates zombies in this fictional reality, and then he goes into full blown teaching mode.  There are instructions on what weapons to buy(and avoid), what clothing to wear, and even how to style your hair(having longer hair makes it easier for zombies to grab you).  He then goes into detail about how to find a survival hideout and how to fortify it against attacks, both by zombies and by the rampaging gangs of criminals that are sure to be on the loose.  A fun read, and useful if the worst ever happens.

3.  The War After Armeggedon - I like Ralph Peters and really enjoyed The War in 2020.  Whether you like this book will depend on what you're wanting to get out of it.  If all you want is a fast paced adventure story, this is the novel for you.  If you're looking for a realistic premise...look somewhere else.  In this book, the United States and Europe suffered a series of debilitating attacks from jihadists in the Middle East.  The US suffers the worst of it and decides to strike back hard.  However, the terrorist strikes also create a surge towards radical evangelism that makes the US a fundamental theocracy.  There are two militaries - the regular US Armed Forces, and the Military Order of Brother In Christ(MOBIC), kind of like the Wehrmacht and the SS.  Although MOBIC is militarily inept, that's where the power lies.  Interesting political commentary, but a bit too far fetched for me.  Still, a good read if you don't want to take something too seriously/

4.  The Shining - I've spoken a lot about The Shining.  Stephen King is the premier horror writer of our time - possibly of all time - and this book has been a tremendous inspiration for me and my style.  It's about a man named Jack Torrance and his family as they spend a winter as caretakers at The Overlook Hotel in Colorado during the winter.  The hotel is psychic and wants to kill them so it can absorb Jack's son Danny's considerable abilities.  Danny is the brightest psychic around, even though he's only five years old, and this ability is referred to as "shining."  This is more than a ghost story.  King says he can write a ghost story "in my sleep," but this tale is about how Jack gets corrupted by both the ghosts and his own inner demons(mostly alcoholism and the relationship he had with his father).  When read properly, you find yourself in the middle of the terror one page and never really know how you got there.  So, if I've read it so much before, why am I reading it again?  Quite simply because its sequel, Doctor Sleep, will be out in a month and I'm revisiting this prior to picking that one up.  I haven't looked forward to a sequel like this in a long time, so I hope King doesn't disappoint.

Well, that's it from me.  What are you currently reading?


  1. WOW! :) Our reading tastes are like black and white these days. I've moved away from my horror fascination (which by the way, I highly recommend you check out short stories by Shirley Jackson - PHENOMINAL!) and now I'm reading "beach" reads like the Misty Harbor series and books where people restore inns and the whole town is abuzz. Haha! :)

    1. I'll have to check it out. I'm currently waiting for Doctor Sleep. :-)