Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Book #3 - City of the Dead by Brian Keene


City of the Dead picks up where Brian Keene's previous novel, The Rising, left off. And like The Rising had much in common with Stephen King's Cell, City of the Dead has similarities to George Romero's Land of the Dead, namely a group of survivors holed up in a skyscraper, which is controlled by a once-powerful businessman turned madman, and zombies who are able to think for themselves and decide to overtake the building. Both of Keene's books were published before their counterparts.

If you're passionate about the zombie horror genre, and are willing to let the traditional rules (like slow moving zombies with no brain activity) slide, you'll enjoy this book. While it's gorier and slower-paced than the first book, the setting and the storyline are more interesting, and the ending is exciting and unexpected.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Book #2 - The Rising by Brian Keene


Ah, zombie fiction. The only genre of adult fiction guaranteed to hold my attention.

If The Rising had come out after Stephen King's Cell, I would have thought Brian Keene ripped him off. There are plenty of similarities, mainly zombies who are intelligent and work together, a leader of the undead who possesses a higher power, and a dad who refuses to give up hope that his son is alive in an undead world, and travels to find him.

Keene's take on zombies is different than those seen in recent movies and books. His zombies aren't fast-moving, but what they lack in speed they're able to make up with the ability to drive, use weaponry, reason, and work together. And they talk. It's a little off-putting at first, but once their reason for existing is explained (when the soul of the human leaves the body, the spirit of a creature from "The Void" fills it. Basically demon possession), it's easier to get into. Anything the host was able to do in real life, the demon is able to do.

The characters are likable, although the dialogue is unbelievable at times. The book suffers from some grammatical, typographical and a few storyline errors, but the story was engaging enough that they didn't bother me. It wasn't overly gory (what the humans do to each other is much more disturbing than what the zombies do to them), or even very scary, but I don't feel like a good zombie books needs an overabundance of either.

The ending was very wide open and left me with a lot of questions, so I look forward to reading the sequel, City of the Dead.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Book #1 - Scatterbrained, Edited by Will Pearson et al.


The year isn't 14 hours old, and already I've read my first book. Am I perfecting the art of speed reading? No. Most of this book was read in 2006, but I didn't have quite enough time to finish it.

Scatterbrained is yet another mental_floss trivia book, and I enjoyed this one as well. Scatterbrained takes on the idea that every fact can be connected to one another. It starts out with Greece (the country) and ends with happy endings.

Favorite fact from the book: Lincoln's last words. While watching "Our American Cousin," Abraham Lincoln reached over to hold wife Mary's hand. She pulled away, embarrassed, asking "What will people think?" Lincoln answered "They won't think anything of it," was shot shortly afterwards.

Best Books of 2006

10. Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

9. Braving Home by Jake Halpern

8. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

7. Carnet de Voyage by Craig Thompson

6. Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl

5. Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parrado

4. The Dead Beat by Marilyn Johnson

3. Maybe Baby by Lori Leibovich

Maybe Baby is a collection of essays written by both men and women who have decided either not to have children, to have children, or haven't made up their minds yet. My enjoyment of this book wasn't so much because the stories were groundbreaking, but because, as part of a young married couple, it's comforting to hear how other people came to their decision, and how they felt and were treated afterwards.

2. Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio

Families across the world, from North America to Africa, were given enough money to buy what they would eat in a typical week, and were then photographed in front of that food. The author's talk about each family, their food, and their situation. It's incredible.

1. World War Z by Max Brooks

Only six out of the 100 books I read in 2006 were adult fiction, but one of them was the best book of the year. By far. Horror is a hard genre to pull off. It would be easy, even in a book about zombies, for it to become too unrealistic or too unnecessarily gory, and lose it's scariness because it tries too hard to be scary. Just thinking about World War Z makes me excited because it was so good. I can't wait to read it again.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 Book List

In 2006 I read 100 books.

55 are non-fiction.
6 are adult fiction.
22 are junior fiction.
17 are graphic novels.

100. The Know-it-All by A.J. Jacobs

99. The House Without a Christmas Tree by Gail Rock

98. Goodbye, Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson

97. Brainiac by Ken Jennings

96. The Museum of Hoaxes by Alex Boese

95. An Underground Education by Richard Zacks

94. Instant Knowledge by Will Pearson

93. Condensed Knowledge by Will Pearson

92. Forbidden Knowledge by Will Pearson

91. My Secret by Frank Warren

90. Black Hole by Charles Burns

89. The Thanksgiving Treasure by Gail Rock

88. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

87. The Homecoming by Earl Hamner, Jr.

86. The Dead Beat by Marilyn Johnson

85. Carnet de Voyage by Craig Thompson

84. Sleepwalk and Other Stories by Adrian Tomine

83. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

82. Monopoly by Philip Orbanes

81. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

80. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

79. Ghost World by Daniel Clowes

78. Don’t get too Comfortable by David Rakoff

77. Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

76. Maus II by Art Spiegelman

75. Maus by Art Spiegelman

74. Blankets by Craig Thompson

73. Summer Blonde by Adrian Tomine

72. My New York Diary by Julie Doucet

71. Wanderlost by Ben Olson

70. Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi

69. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

68. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi

67. In the Shadow of No Towers by Art Spiegelman

66. The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket

65. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore

64. The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket

63. The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket

62. World War Z by Max Brooks

61. The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

60. Maybe Baby by Lori Leibovich

59. Why do Men Fall Asleep After Sex by Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg

58. Why do Men have Nipples by Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg

57. A Round-Heeled Woman by Jane Juska

56. The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket

55. The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket

54. The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket

53. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

52. Becoming Myself by Willa Shalit

51. The Fatal Bullet by Rick Geary

50. Dirty Sugar Cookies by Ayun Halliday

49. Knitticisms by Kari Cornell

48. When you Ride Alone, you Ride with bin Laden by Bill Maher

47. New Rules by Bill Maher

46. Nothing’s Sacred by Lewis Black

45. Dispatches from the Edge by Anderson Cooper

44. An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore

43. Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parrado

42. Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman

41. Princess in Pink by Meg Cabot

40. Project Princess by Meg Cabot

39. Princess in Waiting by Meg Cabot

38. Princess in Love by Meg Cabot

37. Princess in the Spotlight by Meg Cabot

36. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

35. How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life by Kaavya Viswanathan

34. Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar

33. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

32. Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

31. Fired! by Annabelle Gurwitch

30. Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl

29. Before the Mortgage by Christina Amini and Rachel Hutton

28. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

27. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

26. My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler

25. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris

24. Braving Home by Jake Halpern

23. Star-Spangled Men: America’s 10 Worst Presidents by Nathan Miller

22. Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

21. Secret Lives of U.S. Presidents by Cormac O’Brien

20. The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell

19. Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell

18. The President’s House by Margaret Truman

17. How to be President by Stephen P. Williams

16. Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent

15. Brothel by Alexa Albert

14. Like Family by Paula McLain

13. Bold Spirit by Linda Lawrence Hunt

12. Idaho Loners: Hermits, Solitares, and Individualists by Cort Conley

11. A Day in the Life: Diaries from Women Across America by Joni Cole

10. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

9. Post Secret by Frank Warren

8. This Day: Diaries from American Women by Joni Cole

7. Cell by Stephen King

6. Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent

5. Booty: Girl Pirates of the High Sea by Sara Lorimer

4. I am Spock by Leonard Nimoy

3. Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio

2. Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx

1. Mothers Who Think by Camille Peri and Kate Moses