Greetings Fellow BookNerds,
I’m what you would call a more ‘traditional’ reader, in that I prefer the feeling of a genuine book in my hands as opposed to a hand held reading device. That’s just how I was raised, and it’s not easy to undo over 20 years of doing something a certain way.
I had convinced myself that I would never EVER enjoy a book that I couldn’t flip open on my lap, ruffling through its pages simply to enjoy that musty smell wafting up as a result of sitting on a bookshelf for many many years… well, that’s what I thought, anyways.
Facing a six hour drive, and in need of something to listen to that wouldn’t lull me to sleep within minutes, I decided to give an audiobook a try. Admittedly, I wasn’t initially convinced that an audiobook would be able to keep my attention long enough to fully appreciate the story. Boy, was I wrong.
The moment it started playing, the world around me disappeared. It was just as engaging, if not more so, than a physical book. After six hours, we managed to get halfway through it, and I could hardly wait until our next road trip so I could hear how it ends! I may be set in my ways, but sometimes, it can be more rewarding than you thought to give something new a try.
Review: World War Z: An Oral History Of The Zombie War by Max Brooks
First off, I just want you all to keep in mind that this book is NOTHING like that movie they supposedly based off of it. The book follows Brooks, an agent of the United Nations Postwar Commission, as he goes around interviewing individuals who either played crucial roles during the war, or were among those who survived it against all odds. Through the interviews, we gradually uncover how it all started, where the first to be infected were discovered, and how they were able to contain the threat and return things to more or less the way they were before the crisis.
The book goes into so much detail, that there were times while I was listening where I had to remind myself that we hadn’t actually lived through a global zombie epidemic. It can really put you on edge at times, making it seem like you’re the one waking up to find a reanimated corpse trying to break down your door in the middle of the night.
I must confess that I haven’t actually watched the movie adaptation, but based on what I’ve heard and read about it, there is little to no resemblance to the book. Supposedly, even the author Max Brooks wasn’t happy with this Hollywood rendition of his work, and I can see why. The movie is all flash, and absolutely no substance. The book delves into all aspects of the war, not just the blood, gore and violence. Brooks digs deep into the politics, the attitudes of both the masses and the individuals, the degradation of order and structure, the emotional and psychological state of those who struggled to lead amidst the chaos, and so much more.
It’s basically what I wish my grade school history textbooks would’ve read like. There was tons of information and facts, but they were presented in such a seamless and emotionally provocative manner that you felt like you were living through that moment in time. He has brought the horror fiction genre to a whole new level, which is why it’s such a shame that such a movie exists which makes it seem like this book is just another Walking Dead rip off.
The audiobook version I listened to featured a number of different celebrities, each one taking on the persona of the various individuals being interviewed throughout the story. It certainly does add something to a book when you can hear the characters speaking to you aloud, especially when it’s the voice of Alan Alda, Nathan Fillion, Mark Hammill and Simon Pegg, just to name a few. I’m sure there are many different versions out there, but I would highly recommend this one, which is also narrated by Wil Wheaton… okay, he was my least favourite part of Star Trek: Next Generation, but he’s gotten much better at his acting since then, and he really nails it in his reading of World War Z.
I would highly recommend picking up a copy and reading it as soon as possible, especially if all you’ve seen is the sorry excuse for a book-to-movie adaptation. World War Z is definitely worth your time, and I would love to hear your thoughts on it once you’re finished in the comments below. So go out and find this hidden gem, and until next time, keep on reading!