Archive | July, 2013

World War Z – the book

18 Jul

Ok, I get that I’m late to this zombie party, but I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie.  Someone explained to me that the author (the son of Mel Brooks, btw) had written a zombie survival guide first, and was then told to go back and write the “story” of that. This book (and I still haven’t seen the movie) is written as a series of interviews conducted post WWZ by an anonymous interviewer.  Subject by subject, the history of WWZ is revealed through their interviews.  Some really interesting concepts, and additions to the lore of zombie fighting (like Isaac Asimov’s iconic I Robot influencing robot theory), but after a while, I was desperate for a character that continued throughout the whole book.  Who, I wonder, does Brad Pitt play in the movie, as there isn’t one single central character that carries the narrative.  When I got to the section about how an enclave of Claremont College students fought off thousands of zombies by defending Scripps College, I had to go wikipedia the author, because only people who go to the Claremont Colleges would include that…and of course he is a Pitzer alum. The way this book was written felt very…male. Lots of information about tactics and weapons, but because we never see any character again after their interview (ok, not true, one character shows up in someone else’s interview), it didn’t have any emotional staying power, or provide any reason, other than general curiosity, to keep going.

So now I’m going to see the movie to see if it does it better…different.  Still worth the read, especially if you are a zombie genre fan.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

The German Suitcase by Greg Dinallo

18 Jul

An old German suitcase is found to belong to a Holocaust survivor in NY. Intrigued, a reporter digs deeper. The book toggles back and forth between the present and WWII, exploring the moral dilemma as two friends, Jewish and Catholic, serve as doctors in the Nazi death camps. Interesting take, especially once the every other chapter time travel felt comfortable. I found the WWII segments to have more movement and drama, the “twist” was a bit predictable, but overall a worthy read. As a special note, this is the author’s first “digital first” book – kudos on that!

A Corner of White: The Colors of Madeleine Part 1

18 Jul

I’ll admit it, the title of this book intrigued me, largely because my daughter’s name is Madeleine – with the extra “e” so that, plus the description of the fantasy world. But then I started to read, and found it slow going.  And I don’t like going slow. I persevered…and picked the book up multiple times, only to finally give up and walk away. I feel bad…I know people love this author, and maybe a younger reader would enjoy this.  But I never connected with the characters or the plot.  Good luck to others!

Tapestry – Mystery In WWII Paris

18 Jul

TapestryThe unique thing about this mystery is that it is set in WWII Paris, with an unlikely pair of detectives – one Frenchman, and one Gestapo agent. I loved reading about and learning more about this time and place – when Paris was occupied by the Germans, the women left behind are forced to “consort” with the Germans to survive, and the response of their countryman. Well written, fun to read, and a very different setting. Well done, Open Road!

The Silent Wife

16 Jul

A.S.A. Harrison has written a subtle, stealthy novel, taking us inside the head of a calm rational psychotherapist, as she decides to kill her philandering husband. The novel slowly unfolds, in the same way that the mysteries inside Jodi’s mind become revealed to us and her. The pace is unhurried, the writing is confident, and the quiet normalcy of both the story and Jodi’s thinking combine to make this an interesting take on the mind of a murderer.  Not a thriller, and not fast-paced, but definitely worth reading.