The ending of an ending and now Dead again with some Secrets?

I finished the award winning novella, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes a little over a week ago, but really since it was only 150 pages long I finished it over 4-5 sittings and if I wasn’t so busy could easily have devoured it over a lazy afternoon.

Despite its size The Sense of an Ending was quite intricate and thought provoking (as evidenced in recent Notable Quotables) and since I have now dropped down to only 4.5 working hours a week (the ups and downs of being a casual employee :S) I should have ample time to write a appropriately intricate and thought provoking review as well as one for Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins which I finished recently and absolutely adored!

Upon finishing The Sense of an Ending (which happened to be in the middle of the night – luckily on a night when I didn’t have work the next morning) I immediately lay out all the books on my Books-I-Own-But-Have-Yet-To-Read pile and started my regular (and at the number of books I have amassed, increasingly long) process, which with the sheer number of books now on the pile I had to do almost three times just to get down to one or two books!

Because of this when I did reach the point of having only two contenders I simply decided I would start both Gosh Darnit!

The two books I started are:

Dead and Gone (Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries/TrueBlood etc etc Book 9) by Charlaine Harris

and, Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian

I’ve been hanging out to read the next Sookie Stackhouse book for a while and I have had Secrets of Eden on my To-Read pile for years now so i’ll be happy to enjoy them both during my lazy, less-work period 🙂

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REVIEW: Zombie: an Anthology of the Undead

Zombie: An Anthology Of The Undead

I’ve been reading this collection of short stories on and off for nine weeks, not because they aren’t good, but because sometimes reading stories about zombies gets a bit too creepy (especially at night or after eating – ew).

The stories are a lot more diverse than I was expecting. There are apocalyptic ones; ones where zombies are created to work for the living; a story of Lazarus; a voodoo zombie story; stories where people choose to become zombies; stories of people who love zombies; people who have sex with zombies; mindless zombies; fully functioning zombies; and a whole lot more.
Some of the stories were straight out gross or disturbing or violent, but others were really bittersweet or thought-provoking and a couple were really funny. I was surprised about the big moral issues brought up in many of the stories too. Questions of a person’s rights after death and whether the walking dead can feel pain or should be treated with respect arose in many of the stories. A lot of them also made me think about humanity and how we act in disasters, which is what a zombie plague is in essence. In several of the stories humans (live ones that is) were the real monsters, using the fact that zombies were already dead and sometimes violent as an excuse to fulfill their own sick violent tendencies, and some of them made me feel really sick because there is people out there that would act that way and the situations were almost like a spooky prophecy of the future.
My favourite stories were:
Family Business by Jonathan Maberry.
One of the stories that showed the darker side of humanity – the kind that tortures zombies for fun and sport – while also being one of the bittersweet stories, one of an older brother teaching his 15-year-old brother the “family business” and along the way changing his perceptions of the dead and the living and the thin line between.
The Zombie Who Fell from the Sky by M. B. Homler
The only story which made me laugh out loud throughout. It had really snappy one-liners and events that were ridiculously humourous kind of like Shaun of the Dead but more like a graphic novel played out in text – very visual and fast paced.
The Storm Door by Tad Williams
A really interesting story, especially considering most of it played out as a conversation between the main character, a paranormal detective and his ailing godfather. I liked this one because unlike a lot of the others, zombies are smart, cunning and powerfully evil and how the dead bodies rise is explained (basically they are possessed by a kind of ghost/demon that enters as the departing spirit is leaving its body).
Second Wind by Mike Carey
This story was unique as it was about a man who chose to turn into a zombie and then hide away from humanity. The main character is a stock-broker who has already had a couple of stress-induced heart attacks and fears his next one will be his last so he outfits an old building and organises his money in preparation for his death. I enjoyed it because besides being dead and having to takes precautions against decomposition, the zombie in this story was the same as he was living and continued his life to some extent.
Weaponized by David Wellington
In this story dead soldiers are being used in combat, being controlled by chips inserted at the top of the spinal column with preset directions such as walking or picking something up that can be administered remotely. This one was really fascinating because the “zombies” weren’t technically living dead but more like dead people turned into robots.
The story that creeped me out the most was:
Kids and Their Toys by James A. Moore
Only one word can describe this story: *shudder*. It was the creepiest and most disgusting of all, maybe for the fact that the horrible immoral humans in it were children.
And then there was one story that seemed totally out-of-place because as far as I could see it had  nothing to do with zombies at all O.O :
Shooting Pool by Joe R. Lansdale
I finished that one completely baffled – why was it even included?
Overall I really enjoyed this anthology, and I would recommend it to zombie movie lovers, or lovers of good horror stories 🙂
I give Zombie: an Anthology of the Dead:

4 ½ / 5 Stars