If you would have told me a few weeks ago that I’d spend an entire snowy weekend reading a 900 page zombie novel– I would have laughed. I am not that girl. I can hardly watch LOST without nightmares.
But then a great review on a friend’s Goodreads account spiked my interest and here I am, 900 pages later, waiting for the sequel to arrive. What really got me was the post-apocalyptic dystopian appeal, one of my favorite genres, and the challenge of reading something so long. It only took me five days of neglecting my kids, but I did it and really enjoyed losing myself in Cronin’s world.
Today, a review of The Passage by Justin Cronin, and a very opposite book, Waiting For Birdy, a beloved mother’s memoir I recently read again for the third time.
Both equally and oppositely great.
Happy Reading, friends.
PS: All book reviews are spoiler-free.
1. The Passage.
If You’re Looking For: Sci-fi, Fantasy, Thriller, Dystopia With Teeth
My Review: Full disclosure, Cronin never actually uses the word “zombie,” so I suppose this is not actually a “zombie novel.” In fact, after I finished the book and read reviews, I learned the word vampire might be more accurate. Either way, I’m new here. So bear with me. This is a story about life after a great collapse. Think the story of Noah mixed with some crazy bio-terror. A beautifully written, character driven journey about survival and humanity. Epic, haunting, and surprisingly “quick” for 896 pages. A+ for imagination, depth, and the kind of writing that keeps you turning the page far into the night.
Their Review: “Imagine Michael Crichton crossbreeding Stephen King’s The Stand and Salem’s Lot in that lab at Jurassic Park, with rich infusions of Robert McCammon’s Swan Song, Battlestar Galactica and even Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.”—The Washington Post
Quoted: “So perhaps the greatest worry of all was that one day you would realize that all the worries of your life amounted to one thing: the desire to just stop worrying.”
If You’re Looking For: Parenting Memoir, Non-fiction, Humor
If You Liked: Operating Instructions
My Review: Catherine Newman is the kind of person you want to invite to your book club just to trick her into being your best friend. She is funny, irreverent, and cursed with a sappy heart just like the best of us. After my first baby was born, my friend Elizabeth passed this book along to me and I soaked in every word, every little detail and joke. I laughed until I cried, and read paragraphs out loud to anyone who would listen (no one). It is the book I wish I wrote. My very favorite parenting memoir next to Operating Instructions. A must read for the millennial mom.
Their Review: “Catherine Newman’s new book about the rock and roll life of newborn parents is hysterical… Don’t give birth without it.” —Jacquelyn Mitchard
Quoted: “Until it happened to us, I didn’t understand that having a baby would feel like falling in love on a bad acid trip. With an alarm clock–a pooping alarm clock. I wasn’t prepared to lie awake by the sleeping babe, my heart pounding audibly and so swollen with passion that I could barely breathe. I hadn’t realized that my mind would scan constantly for disaster, like a metal detector casting around for the big stuff and turning up endless bottle caps. What is that? Pneumonia? A brain aneurism? Woops, ok, no, just a little cold.”
PS: A few years ago I talked about this book along with a few other great reads in a post called “Books To Read While Your Perineum Is On The Fritz.” Essentially, a list of books for mamas. Just in case you needed a few more mama books while you (or your friend) recovers.