Reader's Exchange

Yet another approach to smart eating

I'm savvy enough to know two important things about zombies:  (1) They don't specifically feast on gray matter or shuffle around chanting, "Brains! Braaaaaains!".  That's an unfair (and fun) stereotype based on one of those ....Living Dead films.  (2) Zombies have now officially topped vampires on the Trend-o-Meter.
 
That reality was confirmed yesterday.  Sure, we've all noted zombies creeping up on the vampires (in prominence, that is), but here's how you can tell they've won.  Paging through book reviews, I encountered this title in a trade journal:  Vampire Knits: Projects to Keep You Knitting from Twilight to Dawn.  Spotlighting such items as the Werewolf Hat, Bellisima Mittens, and Blood Bottle Cozies, this imaginative guide surely represents the final stage of vampire domestication.   As the product description observes, "Black capes are so 1897." And vampires are so last month.  
 
Movie posterThe same magazine that prompted me to once again regret my lack of knitting expertise devoted a two-page feature on zombie fiction.  My favorite title:  Paul is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion.  It's by Alan Goldsher, and the library has it, along with "Harrison Geillor"'s The Zombies of Lake Woebegotten, also The Book of the Living Dead.  On order and coming soon to the library are Ben Tripp's Rise Again: A Zombie Thriller and Kevin Anderson and Sam Stall's Night of the Living Trekkies.  Searching the library catalog with the subject heading "zombies--fiction", you'll discover 69 entries. 
 
I'll be avoiding some of them.  Recognizing my need to counterbalance the drooling, droning, Halloweenish caricature that has constituted my zombie reading/viewing up to now, I sought a promising literary antidote.  Joan Frances Turner's Dust merited a starred review in Booklist, which extolled its representation of "a new zombie mythology that is smart, scary, and viscerally real".  And now, having read it, I admit my preference for zombie lore that is generic, unthreatening, and frivolous.
 
Perhaps if Ms. Turner wrote less effective prose, I wouldn't have mapped the limits of my open-mindedness toward zombies.  But, thanks to the author's thoroughly realized characters, evocative descriptions, and heart-wrenching dialogue, I found it possible to imagine an existence I really didn't care to contemplate.  It's exactly my sort of novel--if the premise weren't so ghastly.
 
Dust undoubtedly has the potential to impress and delight other readers.  Perhaps you should consider it; I think this writer has a future--not to mention braaaaaains!

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