It has been a while since a book has moved me, even longer since one has inspired me to read all weekend just to finish it. I’m not saying I haven’t read some good books lately, I have, but…Well, there are books out there that grab you and don’t let go. You know the kind. Those are the ones you DON’T curl up with…but instead take with you everywhere, reading each word/paragraph/page in every spare instant you’ve got. Risking a look at red lights and sneaking it out of your desk at work. Yeah, those books.
Well, I found one this past week. A young friend of mine, S., was reading a book that caught my attention…I thought it had a neat (if not terribly original) plot behind it and asked if I could borrow it. He was using it for a school project, but told me I could read it when he was done. Then he said, “If you think you’ll like this one, you should read this other one I’ve got. It’s fantastic.”
That was Monday, on Thursday he brought “World War Z: Oral Histories of the Zombie War” to me.
It is a week later and I am done reading it.
I’m not going to say it was perfect, it wasn’t. It desperately needed another editing pass, or just a better editor. There are so many passages were I could see simple things the author could have done to tighten it. What I will say is that it was a great idea that resulted in a stunning work. Who would have ever thought to tell stories about a war that never happened, and likely…ok, ok, hopefully (that is how powerful this book is)…will never happen.
The stories are not about great battles, 5-star generals, or one man taking on the world but about the small events, the personal stories, a ground level view of a war…All those individual events that make it a war. The failures, the great loss of life, and above it all the seemingly endless enemy. Even knowing all these people make it, because they are telling their stories, the fear they felt comes through with every word. Wow.
This was such a good book that I read a few of these stories out loud to Day. She has vowed not to read it because what little I did read her unsettled her. Ok, ok, I guess this is the point were I confess that it kept me up one night (traditionally, I am not the scared type so this IS a shocker).
Visiting the site, I’ve discovered the “tapes” of these interviews, I encourage you to go listen. Again, it is not perfect…these are not amazing readings…but even here with the flat monotone you get the power behind these stories. I encourage you to click on
Anyway, my own personal vote for World War Z, in all its imperfection. Read it if you have the stomach for it.