My friend John gifted me this book on Amazon as a going away present as I moved from New York to China. A book about the zombie apocalypse that decimates the world and originates in Chongqing, China - thanks John! So thoughtful!
As he advertised, the book was much better than the movie. Its schtick is that it is a collection of experiences gathered from survivors of the apocalypse from around the world. It's a pretty interesting thought experiment Max Brooks did, on how different cultures would handle a zombie apocalypse differently. In this way it reveals how every country affected responded differently to the zombies, how governments asserted control, how people discovered different ways of surviving.
Brooks had the challenge of multiple POVs, narrators. They all seemed to have that quick, witty, sarcastic tone. Which was fine, because it was amusing and fun to read. But in the end the narrators all felt like the same variation of snarky American sarcasm - the elderly doctor from Chongqing, the Japanese computer hacker, the former Vice President of the United States of America.
I was reading this as I was on my two week, 8-city lecture tour around China, giving lectures about education to parents and children. My fellow lecturer, a West Point grad, was traveling with me, and at every buffet meal we sat down at after our lectures finished up, I peppered him with questions about his school and his military experience. How many divisions? What is Iraq like? Do you regret signing up? Would you let your future children go to military academy? To war? He's the kind of person who has reserve after reserve of energy. But even I could see the exhaustion cloud his eyes as he tolerated my interrogation.
I would go back to my hotel room at night and read until I fell asleep. In my mind, these two wars are intertwined now - the zombie war and its toll on humanity, and the very human war I could barely begin to understand.