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Inside a Dog

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

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Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures
Mary Ruefle

Zone One: A Novel

Zone One: A Novel - Colson Whitehead I was never a huge fan of zombie movies even when I was more into horror movies, so I approached this novel with a little bit of a misgiving. The author is brilliant and I've loved everything else I've read by him, so that gave me less reason to worry.

This is a great book and zombies are really only a small fraction of what the book ends up being about. It is more about modern society and what we would do without it and coping strategies and the psychology of minimizing consequences and emotionally not reacting.

With various social media quizzes like "how long would you survive a zombie apocalypse?" people tend to think they would be very good at surviving in an end of the world scenario, but I think people frequently misunderstand what skills and what kind of a mindset they would need to be able to deal with the end of the world. The protagonist of this novel, the long surviving Mark Spitz, has the skills that are necessary which are not Rambo-like in any way.

An interior novel for long stretches, Zone One tends to double back on itself and in the midst of shooting a pack of zombies in the head, the author will have the protagonist revisit some memories, think back through various scenarios pre-and post apocalypse that are related to what is currently taking place.

This kind of narrative boxing up of incidents is a mirror to what is most likely one of the most necessary survival techniques/strategies in a post-apocalyptic world: mental compartmentalization.

Recommended, even if, like me, you are not a big fan of zombies.