Zombies and backroads

Currently reading:

  • Blue Highways: A Journey into America by William Least Heat Moon
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

Strange combination, I know. A man traveling backroads in a rickety truck while learning history and culture and people in general and musing about the meaning of life’s journeys — and another fabricating interviews with survivors of the living dead apocalypse.

But are they really that different? I had no intentions of comparing the two. I was just starting to get bored with Blue Highways – not because it’s not brilliantly written and as expansive as the Rockies, because it is. But it’s also 460 pages long and I feel like I’ve been reading it for months. Well, I have been reading it for months.

On the other hand, I was halfway thorugh WWZ after a few days of reading. I needed some easily digestible distraction from Moon’s heavy-handed philosophies, and Brooks’ clever encapsulation of the zombie aftermath is just that.

While the worlds both men examine seem centuries removed, their examination methods aren’t so far off. Moon is investigating the remote cultures he encounters by getting inside the people’s diners, homes and heads. Not all that different from how Brooks’ creates his subjects through faux interviews to construct the culture of the post-zombie-stricken world. In both cases, it’s about presenting people to the reader by capturing their dialects, their catch phrases, their appearance and demeanor, as well as the way they live — the drinks they order at the bar and the movies they watch.

A lesson any writer can learn from, even if they’re not interviewing those who have encountered the living dead or those who drink vodka and root beer for breakfast at diners in Frenchman, Nevada, on the edge of a U.S. Navy bombing range. (from Blue Highways)

Ever damn thing now is this invarnmint shit,” vodka said. “Gotta call Washington so you can cut sage on your own land. Shoot a sick horse and them invarnmentists sign a petition. Shoot a man and they smile.”

“Those Eastern laws are creeping in,” the geologist said. “Nine-tenths of this state is in the public domain. Let’s keep out of each other’s way, okay, buckaroo?”




January library

Books purchased in January:

  • 21: Bringing Down the House by Ben Mexrich
  • Reason for Hope by Jane Goodall with Phillip Berman
  • Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  • The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, read by Michael York  (audio book)
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  • The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Received in January, other media: The Wall by Pink Floyd

December library

Books purchased in December:

  • Frost/Nixon: Behind the Scenes of the Nixon Interviews by Sir David Frost with Bob Zelnick
  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  • Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist by Hunter S. Thompson
  • Screwjack by Hunter S. Thompson
  • For One More Day by Mitch Albom
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
  • Pegasus Bridge by Stephen E. Ambrose
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time by Hunter S. Thompson (gift)

and in other media:

  • The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd
  • Fascination by The Faint (gifts from here down)
  • Fewer Moving Parts by David Bazan
  • Misfits by The Kinks
  • Electric Ladyland by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • Memento

Currently reading: Blue Highways: A Journey into America by William Least Heat Moon

introductions and such

What’s one more blog to keep me busier? Well, this one isn’t for my domestic side, my pop culture banter, or my contributions to the entertainment world via obscure band profiles and reviews.

This one comes from the side of me that’s the voracious reader, the side that has been put on hold for busy schedules and demanding deadlines. The side that I’ve vowed to renew this year, thanks to some ideas from Nick Hornby’s The Polysyllabic Spree. You may also see some musings from my associate editor post that won’t fit in publication.

So stay posted, keep reading, and mahalo.