My First Audio Book + Review: World War Z by Max Brooks
Genre: Horror, Science-fiction
Yesterday, I experienced my very first audiobook….and I was pleasantly surprised. I have heard from quite a few people who love listening to audiobooks and I’ve been curious about whether or not I would enjoy them or find them lacking in some way. Having mixed feelings about audiobooks would be the best way I can describe why I haven’t picked one up until now….the idea seems interesting but why not just actually read the real book?
It seems as if the main time and place most people seems to enjoy audiobooks is in their car for a long commute to/from work. The majority of my driving time includes me shuffling my kids around, so that doesn’t really work for me. Plus…I do really enjoy listening to music while I drive…and so do my kids. Another common time it seems people enjoy audiobooks is while doing household chores. Now…THAT is something I have plenty of 😉 I usually reserve the majority of my TV watching time for when I am folding the mounds and mounds of laundry that seems to come out of the wood work around my house. However, having the TV on while I am trying to complete other tedious household tasks like cleaning bathrooms or floors, often just becomes a distraction and the chore ends up taking me longer than it does if I just have music on in the background. Yesterday, I figured I would give an audiobook a try…I really needed to get bathrooms cleaned and it’s likely my least favorite task ever. I decided on World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War for two reasons; because it seemed fitting for an October spooky read and because it was listed on multiple sites as a selection that can be a better experience listening to the audio version rather than actually reading.
The experiment ended up being a huge success for me! First, I can definitely understand why this book works so well as an audio book (I’ll expand on that in my review below)…and second, I was so engrossed in listening to the story that I forgot I was actually scrubbing toilets! Seriously though….this audiobook is a total length of 6 hours and 3 minutes and I finished it in one day. In that time, I was a cleaning fool….I cleaned the entirety of my upstairs including; bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, baseboards, pulling back furniture, washing bedding….everything! Granted, I did have to stop here and there to take breaks when my kids came home from school and needed me, but for the most part…I spent the majority of the day cleaning and it really didn’t feel like it at all. So…I get it…I get why audiobooks are so loved by people and I’ll definitely continue listening to them. That being said….I’m likely going to be very choosy about which titles I listen to over actually reading. I still 100% think the majority of books should be experienced by reading the actual words….but I think certain books might be better experienced in audio form. For example….my next audiobook choice will be Tina Fey’s Bossypants because I have a feeling a comedian’s book might fit into the category of one that’s better heard than read, especially since it’s narrated by Tina Fey, herself. Audiobooks can be a great option to crack away at your “to be read” list while keeping your hands busy with certain mindless tasks. I’ll still have to experiment with just what kinds of tasks I can listen along to… because I did notice that I could easily become distracted and miss a part of the story (not a huge problem because you can jump back in 10 second intervals when needed). Listening would work for me for most household chores and likely routine food prep & cooking…although, I’m not sure I could follow a new or involved recipe at the same time as actively listening to a story. For tasks like; Yardwork, cleaning, sorting, organizing, folding, etc…..audiobooks are perfect! And I’m sure, if I had a long driving commute each day, audiobooks would work for me in that instance too.
On to my review of World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks:
This book was originally published is 2006 and it initially had mixed reviews solely due to who the author is. Max Brooks, son of Mel Brooks, was a previous writer for SNL so people seemed to assume that this book would be comedy based and were disappointed to find out that it is not.
I would consider this story to be along the lines of a good mix between the TV show, The Walking Dead and the movie, Outbreak. World War Z is the first person account of the days, weeks and months that led up to The Great Panic or World War Z….the ultimate zombie apocalypse. Even though it’s technically about zombies…I assure you, this isn’t a silly or tongue in cheek story full of blood and guts with the sole purpose of a gross-out factor. There is a larger story behind the zombies that focuses on society’s collapse, people’s response to disaster and mass casualties as well as the depths of human survival. The format in this book works very well for this story line: it’s written as a selection of face to face interviews of different people from all around the world and their experience with World War Z. That is the main reason why I think this particular book is on lists for books that are better listened to rather than actually read. There is a full cast of narrators for this audiobook….more than 30 total…some of them including; Paul Sorvino, Martin Scorsese, Henry Rollins, Rob Reiner, and Max Brooks as the actual interviewer. There are complete first person accounts of the end of life as we know it from people all around the world. Because of the wide range of voices and accents in this audiobook selection…you really feel the full scope of just how devastating and encompassing this world wide pandemic is.
While this selection definitely works well in audiobook form, I can imagine it would be plenty good to actually read if that is your preference. It was a fantastic story that had me interested the entire time and definitely makes you think, look around, and consider just what would happen if a pandemic like this one did actually occur. It’s a great creepy choice if you are looking for something hair raising to pick up for the month of October….or for someone who generally likes this type of genre. If you are a fan of horror novels, zombie stories or even just post-apocalyptic tales….this one will be right up your alley!
My rating: 4.5/5 Stars
World War Z – Amazon