World War Z by Max BrooksIt had been almost two years since I’d read a work of fiction, so at the beginning of the year I figured I’d break that drought as soon as I could. People who know me probably realize (and sometimes wonder why) I have a rather odd obsession with zombies, and I figured that a fine way to get back into fiction was through a book about the undead. As luck would have it, I’d received Max Brooks’ World War Z off my wishlist as a Christmas gift (which made for some funny looks), so it made the decision easy.

In short, this was the perfect first book for me to read this year. A quick read, it’s broken into short interview passages (almost identical to the style of Studs Terkel) with survivors of a massive global zombie outbreak that was somehow quelled. It hops all around the world, from a doctor who encountered “patient zero” to soldiers who fought in various battles to civilians that did their best to survive it all.

As with any zombie tale, one obviously has to overlook the scientific leaps of faith, but once you do World War Z actually reveals itself to be a well-researched book that touches on political, social, and environment concerns that have their own parallels with real-life situations (which is really the measure of any great zombie-story). Having recently read several books on different epidemics, the whole spread-of-infection angle seemed fairly plausible, and the book is not only funny at times, but downright creepy in places as well. Supposedly, the book is already being made into a film, and I honestly have to say I’m pretty stoked about that.