Tag Archive | war

Book Review: World War Z

BookNerd

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” – BookNerd

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.

World_War_Z_book_coverReview: World War Z: An Oral History Of The Zombie War by Max Brooks

5-stars

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!

Cheers,

BookNerd 

 

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A Vision Of What Could Be, And What Has Been

I read to live and I live to read. That's my circle of life.

“I read to live and I live to read. That’s my circle of life.”

Greetings Fellow BookNerds

Before you dedicate yourself to reading todays post, I should tell you right off the bat that you will not find a book review, and most likely no mention of a book in any way, shape or form. This is more or less just an offering of my own personal thoughts, inspired by one of my all time favourite classic tv shows; M.A.S.H. For those unfamiliar with this 1970’s sitcom, M.A.S.H. is the story of a group of doctors who worked at the 4077 mobile army surgical hospital during the Korean war. What separates it from most other war themed shows or movies is that the events are portrayed based entirely on the perspetctive of the doctors who had to operate on the soldiers, conveying the more gruesome and bloody side of the war that many people during that time were unaware of.

Why do I bring this up all of a sudden? Well, as I often do when I have run out of original shows to keep me entertained during my sudies, I fall back on the ones I have not seen for quite some time. I happened to be in the mood for something with a bit of comedy, and I thoroughly enjoy the quality of Alan Alda’s acting. It was after I had watched a few seasons of it that I was finally hit with a line of thought that has crossed my mind many times before; what is the point of war?

The history of human civilization, or more accurately our progression towards it, has been wrought with battles, violence and bloody turmoil, enough to make ones stomach turn over at the mere thought of it. We have killed in the name of religion, culture, patriotism, ideology, and some have even gone so far as to create an enemy where one did not exist. Many who have doned the uniform and taken up arms proclaim that they must fight in order to ensure peace, for supposedly peace can only be achieved through war.

At the risk of angering those who firmly believe in this truth, I must confess that I just don’t see it. I don’t see a world where war will ever achieve peace. Our history is primarily defined by centuries of killing and slaughtering, and today, nothing has changed. Perhaps it is not taking place right outside our doorstep, but the endless war still rages on.

One of my favourite quotes from the show was a bit done by the character Benjamin ‘Hawkeye’ Pierce about how he absolutely refused to carry a gun. He really couldn’t have said it any better.

These views on the war are told in a comedic fashion, but there is a sincerity in those words that seeps through the jokes and sheds light on the very real horrors people witnessed during that war.

Alan Alda, who played Pierce in the show, really puts it best in an interview about the show and why it ended up doing so well.

My eyes cannot see past the death to the glory and honor that others see. My brain simply becomes scrambled from the confusion of how humans can justfy killing each other for any reason, for I see nothing that is worth taking a life for. There is an episode of MASH where the character Frank Burns is trying to explain why they are in Korea, claiming that the threat of communism will come to the United States if they do not stop it, and Pierce asks what it is that they have that North Korea could possibly want? Burns, thrown off by the question, says that they want their bathrooms, and they will do anything to get them, and Pierce answers by saying he will gladly give them his if it would stop the war. This was one of my favourite episodes, because it shows just how ridiculous war can be, especially when no one really knows what started it in the first place, or what either side is really after.

This could just be my idealism talking, but I really do hope there will come a day when people from every country and continent around the globe will realize that we are all on the same side, and that this senseless war amongst ourselves will never come to an end unless we all throw in the towel and grasp each others hands in friendship.

Thank you for humouring me, for I realize that this rant went on quite a bit longer than I had meant it to. Next time, I assure you it will be of a more literary nature. Until then, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments, and as always, happy reading!

Yours Truly,

BookNerd

The Fulfillment of a New Years Resolution

Hello All!

It being the start of a new year and all, I thought it appropriate that I fulfill at least one of my news years resolutions. Not that I actually made any that were specific to this year, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t certain things I have wanted to do for quite some time.

In a little over a week, for instance, I will be going on a plane for the first time in my life! It may seem like a small accomplishment, but for someone who grew up on a farm, experiencing only a small portion of what the world had to offer, for me this is rated as being a “big deal”. It has definitely been on my list of things to accomplish.

Another new years resolution that may be a little more difficult to accomplish is taking a trip through all of Europe and Asia. In truth, that dream encompasses every country in the world, but this is a little more practical. I have been to most of Canada, but never have I crossed its borders, and that is something I would like to change.

Today, I began fulfilling one of my new years resolutions that I could have acted upon any time, but time constraints and other distractions prevented me from doing so. My resolution was to indulge in a genre of literature that was not given birth purely from the imagination. In other words, to read about something that actually happened; something which greatly impacted life as we know it.

“On Their Own: Women Journalists and the American Experience in Vietnam” by Joyce Hoffmann

On Their Own

This is a book that I have had in my possession for a while, but hadn’t got around to reading it until today. It was published in 2008, but it addressed events that date back to the early 1900’s, back when women had only just begun to find their place in the field of journalism.

It follows the life of Beverly Deepe, an up and coming journalist who was fighting for her right to enter the war torn country of Vietnam and actively use her expertise as a correspondent in order to tell her story of what took place there in the 1960’s.

I have only read the first couple of pages, but I am already finding myself riveted. Reading a story where you know everything that happens within the pages was once a reality makes for a whole new reading experience. I find it awe inspiring to read about other people, especially women, who overcome adversities and start a chain reaction of events which can lead to an entire overhaul of the way we think.

I will let you know more once I have completed the actual reading of this novel, but until then, here is the book synopsis to get you started:

In unprecedented numbers beginning in the 1960s, women defied tradition and began to take for themselves the warfront assignments that few American editors were inclined to offer any female. Their print and broadcast reports of America’s twenty-year entaglement in Southeast Asia enlarged America’s understanding of the war and left an indelible mark on journalism. Propelled by a desire to tell their generation’s biggest story, most of the women who aspired to this mythic male pursuit landed in Saigon on one-way tickets, with near-empty wallets and little experience. In a series of overlapping biographies about a central group of women who invented themselves as war correspondents, this book tells a gripping yet largely unknown story of perseverance and triumph.”

May all of your new years resolutions come true, and that your lives continue to be enriched by the world in writing.

Cheers 🙂

What I Wish to Remember

Today, we remember those who sacrificed themselves in the pursuit of peace, and those who continue to strive towards that same goal today. We show our respect by wearing bright red poppies over our hearts, and bask in a moment of solemn silence. We go through this the same time every year, but what are we really remembering?

Someday, I wish I could look back on this day and smile because war would no longer be looming above our heads, and the peace we were supposed to have a long time ago would finally be a reality. I do not wish to show disrespect for the veterans and the soldiers, nor for the families who have lost someone dear to them. No, I simply want to express my hope that someday the fighting will stop, and the peace that soars high above us on the wings of an elusive dove will fly down to earth, bringing that peace to everyone around the world.
Call it wishful thinking, but that is the hope I cling to every day.

The white poppy seen above is a symbol of peace, which some choose to wear on this day. There are people who feel offended by its presence, but there really is nothing to feel offended about. My heart aches every time I think about men and women taking up guns so they can go out and kill fellow human beings. I cry when I think about the children in war-torn countries who may get caught in the cross-fire. How many people must die for a cause that should have been fulfilled long ago? Peace does not have to be an empty word anymore.

If you wish to learn more about the White Poppy and its significance, follow the link to this website:

White Poppies are for Peace

If this has offended you in any way, I do apologize, but I wish to stress that these opinions are mine alone, and I do not speak with the intention of disrespecting the beliefs of others. If you would like to show your support for my ideals, or make clear your opposition, then feel free to leave a comment below. This day means something different to everyone, and I would be more than happy to listen.