I’ve got a thing for zombies. Seriously – and since I was a kid, any movies, television or books about a zombie-related apocalypse would catch my attention. So naturally – The Walking Dead are on my radar at the moment.
Books about zombies and the related apocalypse aren’t necessarily considered literature of the high culture. They’re usually relegated to the sphere of “genre” reading that’s key for the beach, airplanes, commutes or any other time killing venture. But recently, the literary world has gotten infected, dare I say, with the reanimated dead, starting with the hit best-seller, The Passage by Justin Cronin in 2010. The NYtimes attributes this trend to society’s obsession and fear of infectious disease…and worse – infectious disease that reawakens the dead. You may also think about how our media culture is now described as being “viral,” and the implications of this virulence on how society responds to stimuli as a whole, not as individuals. And check out The Atlantic’s pontifications about our obsession with zombies here and here.
So I thought I’d share what’s been on my lazy-sunday-zombie-reading list these days! George Romero – eat your zombie heart out!
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen
Yes! Mash-up literature! And Regency-era zombies! Elizabeth Bennett’s parents want to get their zombie-fighting daughters married off, and Mr. Darcy happens to be a top notch hunter of the undead himself! Does that not sound amazing? 85% of Jane Austen’s original text is kept…with a dash of zombies, brains and guts sprinkled here and there…can’t wait! Read the review here!
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
I mentioned that zombies are generally relegated to the literary world of best-selling paperbacks. But once in a while – an intellectual, MacArthur-award-winning, deconstructionist literary novelist decides to delve into the world of the undead. And what an interesting way to see the world that’s thriving with zombies! Colson Whitehead’s Zone One does deconstruct the zombie genre into a simple piece about a guy who happens to live with zombies in New York City. I just know this one won’t fall into my range of “guilty pleasure” reading.
Feed by Mira Grant
I’m surprised by how much I’ve gotten into this one. It’s not exactly what you would call literature. The writing is very immediate and abrupt – so perfect for setting up a film; but on the other hand, it’s the story and the setting which drag you in. Imagine a USA besieged by zombies. The news is now run, in a very structural and regulated manner, by the blogosphere (no joke!) and there’s a presidential election coming up! It has all the ingredients for something great! I just can’t imagine how amazing this story could be if it were in the hands of a master like, say…Jeffrey Eugenides. Read a review here!
The Strain Trilogy, by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Imagine if visionary director Guillermo Del Toro wrote a book. Well – he did just that, a trilogy to boot! And of course – it’s an infectious-disease cum vampire cum zombie thriller! This is definitely taking Stephen King, Michael Crichton and George Romero and mashing it all up in true Del Toro fashion!
World War Z: An Oral History to the Zombie War by Max Brooks
The Z explains it all, huh? And to add fuel to the attention fire – they’ve adapted this to film! With Brad Pitt! So I don’t really need to say more except that this book, filled with the first-person accounts of the zombie-apocalypse is definitely a fun one. Check out a review here!