I just read a zombie novel called The New Hunger. I didn’t even know I wanted to read a book about zombies until this one showed up on my doorstep, sent by a lovely publicist who apparently knows my reading taste better than I do.
It’s sort of a prequel to the book Warm Bodies (which was also made into a film called Warm Bodies) and it has a protagonist that Audrey Niffenegger called “the thinking woman’s zombie.” I picked it up and read it in mostly one sitting on a crisp fall Saturday, and now I find myself unexpectedly Wanting More Zombies.
I think Isaac Marion (author of aforementioned Warm Bodies and The New Hunger) might want me to pause here and point out that what I’m referring to as “zombie novels” aren’t really a thing. He says, “Zombies are a creature, not a genre. George RR Martin doesn’t write ‘dragon novels.’ The Shining is not a ‘ghost movie.'”
Which makes sense! Although, just as there are some people who don’t really want to read long novels with bloody weddings, there are also, presumably, people who don’t want to read about disembodiment or the undead. But yeah, I’d say if you like solid storytelling, you may well like Isaac Marion’s novels, which do contain zombies.
Ok so here are a few that have caught my eye.
Two books with zombies that I really want to read…
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
The New Hunger is a prequel and it’s short – it’s a novella. So it kind of left me wanting more. I’ve got Warm Bodies coming in from the library and I’m sort of torn between really wanting to get my hands on it… and being a bit scared. But yeah I want to get back in that world and see what happens next with these characters. Warm Bodies is a love story and I really like the idea that there is empathy for everyone in these books, including the zombies.
Cause, you know, zombies are people too. (Right? Sort of?)
There’s a third book, The Living, due out next summer.
World War Z by Max Brooks
I saw the Brad Pitt film in the cinema when it came out a few years ago, and I liked it… but I’ve heard the book is pretty different and, most would say, way better.
The film was crazy mainly because they sped up the zombies and that changed everything. But the book is, I think, set up like a documentary – an oral history of the zombie war, being reported after the fact. This one’s become a bit of a cult classic and I’m keen to read it.
Two books with zombies that I might want to read (but also I’m scared)…
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
I’ve heard good stuff about this one and it definitely sounds intriguing, but it also sounds a bit dark. I saw comparisons to The Road, for example, and yeah: that scares me. I think I like my zombies with a bit of wit, a little levity.
However, I’m definitely willing to be convinced. I do love a good end-of-the-world story. And this one is by a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist and features zombies that take over New York, so I might be willing to brave it.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
I can’t even believe I’m adding this to the list because I really love Pride and Prejudice and I don’t know what to do with the idea of Netherfield and Longbourn and Darcy’s ten thousand a year being overrun with zombies.
I don’t know if I could handle it. However! There is a part of me that is intrigued and there is a film coming out and maybe the whole thing is great?
As I once told my bro-in-law when he made fun of me for going to see World War Z: Vampires are for teenage girls. Zombies are for everyone.