Review: The View From The Cheap Seats: Selected Non-Fiction by Neil Gaiman

The View From The Cheap Seats: Selected Non-Fiction by Neil Gaiman

Genre: Non-Fiction/Essays

img_0295 Ever since I read my first Neil Gaiman book, American Gods, I have been in complete awe of this man’s imagination and his way with words. I have since read The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Neverwhere and I was totally in love with both of those as well. When I saw this collection of his speeches, essays, forwards, and thoughts …I knew I had to have it.

Fot this, I alternated in between reading the hard text and listening to the audiobook and let me tell you….both were wonderful experiences! Gaiman narrates this himself…so it’s him reading his own words and his interpretation, opinions, and thoughts really shine through. Not to mention that his voice is just amazingly relaxing and mesmerizing. If Gaiman narrated every audiobook there is, I likely might not ever read an actual book again 😉

There were so many parts to this book that I absolutely loved, but if I had to pick my favorite…I would probably say it was a lecture he gave in 2013 for the Reading Agency, a UK charity with a mission to help people become more confident readers:

img_0293 Literate people read fiction, and fiction has two uses. Firstly, it’s a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it’s hard, because someone’s in trouble and you have to know how it’s all going to end…that’s a very real drive. And it forces you to learn new words, to think new thoughts to keep going. To discover that reading per se is pleasurable. Once you learn that, you’re on the road to reading everything. And reading is key.”

This entire speech is simply beautiful and perfect. In it he also talks about children and their reading preferences and how, unknowingly so, some adults will turn children away from reading simply by forcing them to read things they don’t enjoy, aren’t interested in, or just not ready for. Adults thinking that certain authors aren’t “good enough” or that comics aren’t “real” reading…..those ideas are “hogwash” according to Gaiman, and I have to agree. Reading is reading is reading:

“You don’t discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is the gateway drug to other books you may prefer them to read. And not everyone has the same taste as you. Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading. You’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and, worse, unpleasant.”

Seriously, I love this man. I could probably quote that entire speech here, instead I’ll just have you get the book and read it in it’s entirely for yourself.

Another part that I adored was an opening for a tour book for Tori Amos’s Under the Pink tour in 1994. Mostly because, in high school, I was a huge Tori Amos fan…and they way he describes and talks about his friend makes me realize that she’s likely every bit as cool as I thought she was 20 years ago. Gaiman also has a few chapters dedicated to his wife, Amanda Palmer, and you can’t help but smile at the pure love, adoration, and awe he has for her and how those emotions just come out with his simple words.

There’s also plenty of hilariously funny moments too. Like the time he admitted to his nineteen year old daughter, Holly, that she was named after the Warhol superstar Holly Woodlawn in “Walk on the Wild Side”:

“‘That’s right,” I said, and bit the bullet. We were having the conversation. “You were named after the drag queen in a Lou Reed song”‘

In case you can’t tell…I thoroughly enjoyed reading and listening to The View From the Cheap Seats…and I definitely recommend it if you are a fan of Gaiman’s work. There were a few chapters that centered around famous sci-fi authors and comic artists that I found myself skimming, but overall this was a great read for me. He is definitely an author I would love to meet in person one day.

My Rating; 4/5 stars

Review: The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

Genre: Biography/Memoir, Non-Fiction

img_0106 Janette Walls grew up with very non-traditional parents who had some very unique views about raising children, responsibility, and life. While Jeannette was born in Arizona, the Walls family moved around like nomads for the majority of her young childhood….literally packing up their family vehicle, grabbing whatever they could carry, and doing the “skedaddle”. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had a total of 4 living children who spent almost their entire childhoods living in poverty, suffering from neglect & abuse, and never really knowing where their next meal was coming from.

“If you don’t want to sink, you better figure out how to swim”

The way Jeanette Walls tells it, it took the children some time to actually realize that the way their family was living probably wasn’t normal, ideal or even safe. When the author was 3 years old, she tells the story of boiling herself hotdogs because her mother was far too busy painting to be concerned with feeding her children. She ended up severely burning herself, spending 6 weeks in a burn unit complete with skin grafts….only to get back home and have her parents encourage her to, once again, boil herself some hotdogs as to “not fear the fire”.  Rose Mary didn’t appreciate having to be responsible for her children’s needs, she was an artist who thought her time could be much better spent fulfilling her wants. Rex was a severe alcoholic who, at times, could be charismatic and engaging…but spent the majority of his children’s lives drunk, absent, or squandering what little money they had on gambling or booze.

At some point, money ran out and the Walls family had no choice but to move to a small West Virginia mining town where Rex was originally from and where his family still lived. Jeannette and her siblings were forced to fend for themselves while they lived in a literal shack that had no running water, electricity or food. Eventually, all 4 of the Walls siblings find the will to separate from their dysfunctional parents in one way or another and move on to forge lives for themselves.

This was an incredible story! I found myself feeling so frustrated and angry at her parents for the complete neglect, danger and abuse they continued to subject their children to…all in the name of selfishness and “free living”. What shocked me the most was Walls’ ability to see her parents for who they were as people & what they were/were not able to give her with a completely pragmatic and matter of fact point of view. I’m not entirely sure if it’s the child in her trying to gloss over, rationalize, or protect her parents’ abuse & neglect to some degree…OR, if she’s just that mature to not hold any ill will or anger toward them.

“I wanted to let the world know that no one had a perfect life, that even the people who seemed to have it all had their secrets.” 

It will never cease to amaze me that people who are raised in such conditions are ever able to make it out whole. Listening to Ms. Walls describe the filthy living conditions, absence of food, lack of parental care, and utter neglect made me feel both angry and sad for her and her siblings. But at the same time, hearing her describe the events in a very honest, but non-complaining way was eye opening…at no point in her story is she expecting or even looking for sympathy. Jeannette Walls actually credits her parents, her upbringing, and the things she had to endure with her drive, work ethic and career. In fact, she actually mentions her family members in her Acknowledgments of her book:”I’d like to thank my brother, Brian, for standing by me when we were growing up and while I write this. I’m also grateful to my mother for believing in art and truth and for supporting the idea of this book;  to my brilliant and talented older sister, Lori, for coming around to it; and to my younger sister, Maureen, whom I will always love. And to my father, Rex S. Walls, for dreaming all those big dreams.”

I chose to listen to the audio book of this, and because it’s narrated by the author, the reading feels very personal and real. I found myself shaking my head or actually having my mouth hang open in utter shock at some of the stories from her life.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

The Glass Castle – Amazon

Review: The City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

The City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) By Cassandra Clare

Genre: YA Ficiton, Fantasy, Romance

img_0006 When fifteen year old Clary Fray heads out for an evening with her best friend, Simon, she doesn’t think that particular evening will end up any different than the average night out. She would never expect that her night would include witnessing a murder…a murder committed by people that only Clary seems to be able to see. Within a short 24 hour period, Clary’s entire life is flipped upside down as she learns that there is a whole other world besides the one we see and experience every day. A world with demons, vampires, werewolves, angels, and fairies. A world with Shadowhunters… a secret tribe of warriors committed to keeping the world safe. These Shadowhunters roam the streets in secret, protecting the rest of the human race from the demons and “down worlders” that intend to cause harm.

After Clary’s mother mysteriously disappears, she is thrust into this secret world full of dangerous demons and all kinds of creatures that she thought only existed in nightmares and fairy tales. Even though Clary is confused about who or what these Shadowhunters are….they are equally confused about Clary (she isn’t supposed to be able to see them at all) but she must learn trust them in order to get her mother back.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book! YA Fiction isn’t usually a genre I gravitate towards, even though there are some YA books and series that I have loved over the years. I started reading the book and ended up finishing it by listening to the audio book on loan from my library…and I think I really preferred listening to this one. The City of Bones is a great fantasy story to listen to while doing mindless chores. It’s not really the kind of book that contains some deep and profound message and I wouldn’t call the writing lyrical or anything all that special. BUT…the story is unique, interesting, full of action and quite entertaining. Most of the characters are interesting and well written. The Mortal Instruments is definitely a series I will be continuing (I’m actually almost finished with the second audio book now) and it fits the bill for a fun and entertaining fantasy series if that is what you are in the mood for. The story has villains, heroes, monsters, family secrets, twists and turns as well as a little bit of romance and relationship issues (although nothing too heavy for a young pre-teen to handle). If you are a fan of other YA fantasy series along the line of; The Hunger Games, Twilight, etc…you’ll likely enjoy this series. I know I am!

I am intending to finish out the rest of the series but I think instead of individually reviewing each other book in the series…I’ll wait until I finish and review them all together in one post.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

The City of Bones (Mortal Instruments #1) – Amazon

**Also…stay tuned for my “Favorite Books of 2016” post coming up tomorrow! I still have two more book reviews to write up to be fully caught up, but those will be a few more days. **

Review – Troublemaker:Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

Genre: Non-fiction, Biography/Memoir

img_5396 Actress, Leah Remini was first introduced into the church of Scientology as a young child living in New York with her mother and sister. Shortly after becoming members, Leah and her family moved to Clearwater, Florida…and eventually on to Los Angeles. Once in California, Leah eventually became a successful actress as well as a very active member of the church of Scientology.

Over the years, Leah began to see just how deep show business and Hollywood were intertwined with the church of Scientology. Remini spent hours upon hours as well as millions of dollars in support of the church attending courses, “auditing” (a strange mix of confession and psychotherapy) as well as doing press events . It’s also very apparent just how much pull certain popular celebrities have in the church and all it’s procedures. Names such as Kirstie Alley, John Travolta and Tom Cruise are discussed in this book. I was actually very surprised to hear quite a few of the details Remini describes about Tom Cruise specifically as well as his behaviors, personal relationships, and influence in the church.

It was actually at the 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes when Leah started to voice questions and concerns about certain actions of the church and it’s powerful members. Shortly after this wedding… Leah found herself a target of the church’s harsh punishments, both financial and psychological, for having had the nerve to even question anything in relation to Scientology and it’s practices. Finally, in 2013…Remini publicly announced her very difficult and scary decision to split from the church of Scientology as well as most of is followers, including the people Remini has known almost her life. Once a church member leaves and publicly denounces it’s practices, they are immediately referred to as an “SP” (suppressive person) and any current members of the church who wish to stay in good standing must completely and permanently cut off all contact with the “SP”.

Since I’m not a huge fan of sitcoms and I’ve never actually watched an episode of King of Queens…I wasn’t that familiar with Remini before listening to this book.  I kind of always took Lisa Remini for being funny but sort of crass and obnoxious. And…she is definitely those things some of the time, but after listening to her narrate this audiobook, I find those characteristics in her pretty endearing. She’s brutally honest, direct and rather funny in her descriptions of herself, her past mistakes & choices as well as the choices of others in her life. But you can also tell that she’s a very genuine person who seems very loyal and protective of the friends and family in her life whom she obviously loves very much.

This was a very interesting, sometimes funny and sometimes sad book about a topic that has always intrigued me. Personally, I am not a huge fan of religion in general, but it’s very obvious that Scientology is a scary and dangerous cult and not what I would consider a religion at all. Remini doesn’t go into a ton of long descriptions beyond the basic beliefs of the church and how it’s members are expected to behave and live. I’m sure there are better books out there if you want a down and dirty history and explanation of the church and it’s beliefs….this however is a very well written and intimate first person account of Remini’s experience and life growing up as a Scientologist.  Between this book and other previous members’ accounts there has slowly been more inside information coming out about the very secret church.  I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook, and as with most memoirs, I think the author narrating her own story adds a little something to it.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology – Amazon

Double Review Ahead!

Double Review: Between Here and the Horizons by Callie Hart & Yes Please by Amy Poehler

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For some reason I got a little behind on writing reviews for my last two books. Both books  enjoyable, but neither of them really blew me away…it’s the only reason I can come up with for the delayed reviews.

First up:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

I listened to this selection as an audiobook because I enjoyed Tina Fey’s BossyPants so much. Similarly to Bossypants, Yes Please is a compilation of different stories from Poehler’s life growing up, starting in theatre, working on SNL and beyond. We get personal stories about friendship, relationships, love & sex. We also get Poehler’s experience with motherhood and balancing that role along with her career. Most of these parts, I found incredibly funny and heartwarming. There was also quite a bit in this book about her beginning days in theater working with the Upright Citizens Brigade. It was this section of the book where I felt sort of bored after a while. There seemed to be too much name dropping and mentioning of specific details and scenarios that might have been hysterically funny to her and to others who were there to experience it…but not so much for someone from the outside. Kind of like telling an inside-joke to people who aren’t part of the “inside”.

Overall, the book was funny and enjoyable…and I definitely suggest the audiobook version because, like BossyPants, Poehler narrates this herself and it definitely adds to the humor.

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Next up:

Between Here and the Horizons by Callie Hart

img_5174  Ophelia Lang is recently divorced and in desperate need of money. She has just lost her position as a third grade teacher, her parent’s business is quickly losing money and they are on the brink of losing their home.  So, when Ophelia is offered a very well paying private tutoring position by a wealthy man for his two small children, she can’t really justify saying no.

Ronan Fletcher is a recent widower…and he’s young, handsome and very wealthy. He’s also incredibly cold, rude and has a very large mean streak. Ophelia immediately begins to regret taking the tutoring position but decides that the large salary is more than worth dealing with Ronan’s moods and distant personality. But Ophelia soon learns that Ronan is hiding some very dark and deep secrets…and some of those secrets will come to impact Ophelia in more ways than she could have imagined before taking the job.

This particular book came as a recommendation to me from a fellow reader who is trying to get me to love romance novels as much as she does 🙂 This particular book is a strong case of “It’s not you, it’s me”. Between Here and the Horizons has a storyline that had a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. I really enjoyed 75% of the book. But at the end of the day, I’m not a huge fan of romance books….especially contemporary romance books.  I don’t mind a romance element if there’s another main theme to the story, but this one had too many cheesy and eyeroll worthy parts for me to give it any higher of a rating. I guess I’m just too much of a cynic. Lol

It was a nice change of pace after a gripping thriller I read previously and that’s usually when I decide to pick up a romance and give one another go. So, it was a good & entertaining read, overall….just not my cup of tea. If you really enjoy a steamy romance with an intense, dark, and brooding male lead…this will be right up your alley. I’m just personally not a big fan of contemporary romance novels….but again, that’s just my personal preference.

***NOTE*** – Between Here and the Horizon does contain some scenes of violence and sexual content, and so is directed at audience 18+

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Between Here and the Horizons – Amazon

Yes Please – Amazon

Review: The Pearl That Broke It’s Shell by Nadia Hashimi

The Pearl That Broke It’s Shell by Nadia Hashimi

Genre: Historical Fiction

img_4973 This is the story of Rahima and Shekiba, two women of the same family, born generations apart near Kabul, Afghanistan.

In present day Afghanistan, we meet Rahima…an 11 year old girl who desperately wants to go to school. But because of the rules of her opium addicted father and the cultural stigma associated with young girls in Afghanistan….Rahima and her sisters are rarely allowed to leave the home. Her only hope for a normal childhood lies in the ancient custom of “Bacha Posh”…one in which a young girl dresses and is treated as a boy until she is of marriageable age.  Rahima then becomes Rahim…and as Rahim, she is able to go to school, run errands for her mother and chaperone her older sisters while they are out. Her newly found freedom does not last long as her father’s addiction and his need for money becomes worse. Rahima, at the age of 13….is married off to a powerful war-lord, a man more than twice her age. The life that follows Rahima into adulthood is one of tragedy, abuse and sorrow.

“I was a little girl and then I wasn’t. I was a bacha posh and then I wasn’t. I was a daughter and then I wasn’t. I was a mother and then I wasn’t.”

Alternately to Rahima, we also learn the story of Shekiba, Rahima’s great-great grandmother. Shekiba is a disfigured orphaned girl living in a tiny village outside of Kabul at the turn of the twentieth century. Shekiba’s story is told in the third person account to Rahima by her aunt as a means of passing on family history. Shekiba came from a loving family….but at a young age, Shekiba’s brothers died of a harsh Cholera epidemic. Her mother goes mad with grief and all that is left is Shekiba and her father to tend to the family farm and rely on each other for survival. Soon after her father dies, Shekiba is passed along from her extended family, on to the palace as a guard for the King’s harem, and then is eventually married off to a man she doesn’t even know.

The Pearl That Broke It’s Shell  is a tragic tale rich with history, politics, customs and emotions. I was almost immediately hooked into the story of these wonderful and brave characters and found myself thinking about them constantly throughout my day. Fans of Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns will likely enjoy this tale about the power of hope and the strength of women when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles and overwhelming grief. All of the characters in this novel were written with beautiful depth and dimension. I absolutely loved the alternating chapters between Rahima and Shekiba…it was interesting to hear how so many customs and laws regarding women in Afghanistan hadn’t changed in over a century. So many times during this book, I found myself feeling both angry and sad for these women and they ways in which they are treated…but I also found myself feeling hopeful and happy in their inner strength and determination.

“The human spirit, you know what they say about the human spirit? Is is harder than a rock and more delicate than a flower petal.”

I listed to the audiobook version of this story and I felt like maybe there was a tad too much dialog for this to be a great listening choice….this may be one I would have preferred to read instead.  While this is a well written story with plenty of parts that are quite poetic…. it’s still not quite up to par with the beauty that is the writing of Khaled Hosseini.  But then again…I’m not sure many authors can be compared to Hosseini, so that may be an unfair comparison 😉 Overall, this is definitely a book I recommend to people who enjoy International themed books and works of Historical Fiction.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

The Pearl That Broke It’s Shell  – Amazon.

Review: Bossypants by Tina Fey

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Genre: Humor, Non-Fiction, Biography/Memoir

img_4741 Bossypants is Tina Fey’s personal story of growing up as a self-proclaimed theatre nerd, to her days working with Second City in Chicago, to working on SNL, to producing her first sitcom, 30 Rock. She has a very insightful and thoughtful take on a large variety of topics and situations she encountered in her life including, but not limited to; friendships, growing into womanhood, careers, discrimination, workplace relationships, and motherhood.

Tina Fey definitely has a fierce feminist streak in her that I absolutely adore. She is funny, smart and possibly brilliant. She’s also not afraid to be bluntly honest and forward….especially when it comes to her own imperfections and mistakes.

“My ability to turn good news into anxiety is rivaled only by my ability to turn anxiety into chin acne.”

I absolutely loved listening to this audiobook! Tina Fey narrates the entire thing herself and I believe that simple fact adds so very much to the experience of listening to her story. Much like World War Z, I have a feeling that this book is likely a much better experience to listen to rather than to actually read…simply because of Ms Fey’s narration.

“Some people say, “Never let them see you cry.” I say, if you’re so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone.”

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There really wasn’t any part of this audiobook that I did not enjoy. So many times, I found myself laughing out loud….likely looking like a lunatic to my family while I folded laundry or vacuumed with my headphones in 😉 I loved her descriptions of growing up as a young girl in the late 70’s/early 80’s. The chapters about her dad, Don Fey, were hysterically funny and completely endearing. Some of my favorite parts of this book were where she talked about her days writing for and working on SNL. I’ve been a huge fan of the show and getting a small glimpse of the behind the scenes workings as well as her personal experiences with some of the actors and hosts was awesome! Another bonus of the audiobook is that you get a sound clip of a few of Tina’s scenes playing Sarah Palin, opposite Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton on SNL….hysterical!

At the very end of this book, Tina writes a section called, “A Mother’s Prayer for Her Daughter”. In it are some real gems that are both funny and endearingly honest: “When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.”  and “Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.” 

Bossypants is a definite recommendation from me! If you haven’t yet taken the plunge into audiobooks, this would be a fantastic one to start with….just be prepared for weird glances from those around you as you laugh out loud 🙂

My rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Bossypants Kindle Edition – Amazon

Bossypants Audiobook Edition – Amazon – **My personal recommended format**

My First Audio Book + Review: World War Z by Max Brooks

My First Audio Book + Review: World War Z by Max Brooks

Genre: Horror, Science-fiction

img_4731 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.

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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