Monday, November 01, 2010

The Walking Dead, and Friends

I watched the premier of AMCs new series The Walking Dead last night and was quite taken with it. A sheriff’s deputy is shot in the line of duty, then wakes up in a hospital after the zombie plague has swept through. He finds a lot of dead bodies, some half eaten, and soon comes upon a zombie who is missing her bottom half. That really teaches him that something has changed in his world. He finds a few other normals eventually, though, and learns that Atlanta is supposed to be a haven for the living. He goes there, and you can probably guess what happens. I believe this is supposed to come on every Sunday night and I’m going to make a concerted effort to catch it. I can’t say that about many new series. Let me say, though, that it's pretty graphic if you are squeamish.

Something else I did over the weekend is add a new shelf called “Friendsbooks” to Goodreads. I was amazed when I found 168 books on that shelf. I have 50 to 60 other books by friends on my TBR piles. My friends appear to be a prolific bunch. If you are my friend and have written a book, but you’re wondering why I have not read it or perhaps not purchased it, let me give you some possible reasons.

First, some of my friends write erotica and I almost never read erotica. I have only 4 out of 3363 books on my Goodreads shelves that are erotica. Two of those are by friends and are short. I don’t mind having erotic elements or sexual elements in my fiction, but if the ‘primary’ purpose of the work is the erotic elements then I probably won’t be strongly attracted to it. Second, I loved YA fiction when I was young but only rarely read it now, especially if it is targeted at “tweens.” I just generally don’t have anything in common with the characters. However, except for Harry Potter, every YA work I’ve read in the past few years has been by friends.

Third, I hardly ever read straight mystery, although I read noir fiction and some historical mysteries. Fourth, I hardly ever read mainstream fiction, and when I read literary fiction it's most often older material that I feel I ought to read, like Moby Dick or The Metamorphosis. Fifth, I hardly ever read romance. I don’t even have a category for that since the only romance fiction I’ve ever read would also count as historical fiction. Sixth, I very rarely read paranormal or urban fantasy. I respect the writers of erotica, YA, mystery, romance, urban fantasy, and mainstream/literary fiction, but as a reader I tend not to automatically pick up such books to read myself. I do have quite a few such books on my shelves from friends, and I probably will read them eventually.

What do I read, you ask? That list is longer than what I don’t read. Science fiction, fantasy, magic realism/surrealism, horror, thriller, westerns, science, works on writing, animals and nature, astronomy and physics, psychology, poetry, noir, pulp-oriented, military, history, historical fiction, football, and animal fiction.

Finally, today is official release date for Hint Fiction. It even got a good review in the New Yorker, so if you’d like a copy, a link is below.

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37 comments:

Erik Donald France said...

Nice write-up of The Walking Dead and genres.

I wonder why post-apocalypse zombie-like nightmare tales hit the primal nerve so well? Awareness of mortality has got to be part of it. Meets the modern world?

ArtSparker said...

I would like to see a comedy skit with vampires and zombies...they are pretty similar in their basic appetites, but I'm sure vampires would find zombies really lower class. Seems to be trending away from the aristocrats and toward the working stiffs these days, though...

Steve Malley said...

Hmmm, Walking Dead, you say.... Hope we get this one in NZ soon!

Deka Black said...

In one thing you and me are similar: I don't read mainstream fiction. One doubt. Animal fiction? I have some idea about what is, but i ask because don't want make a misjudgment.

Charles Gramlich said...

Erik, I think part of it too is our secret need to be put into a world where "we" can become heroes, where we are tested and not found wanting.

Artsparker, definitely. Zombies are not aristrocratic. Middle class at best. :)

Steve Malley, it's looking to be pretty good if they can keep it up.

Deka, I like to read stories about animals as heroes with human like characteristics. Watership down for example, or the Rats of NIMH, or stories that feature heroic dogs or horses.

Cloudia said...

A review in the New Yorker?

Today you are an imortal :)



Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

><}}(°>

David J. West said...

Cool Charles, I'll have to look for that on my own goodreads.

Travis Cody said...

I should use Goodreads more. I've been reading like a madman but I haven't updated the account in awhile. Maybe I'll put that as a "to do" item for my vacation next month.

David Cranmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Cranmer said...

I'm looking forward to watching THE WALKING DEAD when I get back. Sound like my kind of sin.

Did you see ZOMBIELAND? That's another good one.

Harry Markov said...

Loved the new TV series. I will need to write-up the pilot today. I was so sleepy and tired after yesterday. :)

the walking man said...

For the same reason that Erik states I don't read or watch post dead fiction. What is the point if there is mortality? The dead are dead and no amount of voodoo or Hollywood magic can make it different. Unless of course as a mortal human you can enter the land of the dead then that changes the whole equation.

jodi said...

Charles-could you PLEEZE watch a movie I can relate to? How about something on Sundance? teehee...

laughingwolf said...

no longer a tv watcher [don't even have cable], this is tempting!

but no... *sigh*

current read: dan brown's 'the lost symbol'... worth it

Middle Ditch said...

LOL

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, if only they'd mentioned my name. SIGH

David J. West, ;) I find it a lot of fun.

Travis Cody, I try to keep up as I go so I don't get a big build up of things I have to add. But sometimes you can't help it.

David Cranmer, I did see Zombieland. Thought it was pretty cool. Loved the characters.

Harry Markov, sleepy and tired? Or are you starting to zombifie? :)

Mark, yeah, that's all true, but zombies are just kinda fun, man.

jodi, I'm actually pretty doubtful that I could, my friend. I'm doubtful that I could. :)

laughingwolf, I've heard conflicting reviews on the Lost Symbol. I may read it eventually.

Middle Ditch, indeed so!.

X. Dell said...

Erotica's not my cup of tea, either, but I have a friend who writes excellent erotic fiction. He often places the story within some historical context, and spends almost the entire story setting up the "action," so to speak. And the characters are quite interesting.

While I can guess what paranormal is (again not my brew), I'm scratching my head wondering what urban fantasy is. I'm picturing a drive-by shooting that rips a hole in spacetime.

I've read books by friends, and in one case an author became a friend after I read his book. It's hard for me to maintain an objective appraisal, but I do enjoy their work immensely. I'm guessing I would probably like it had I not known them.

Charles Gramlich said...

X-dell, urban fantasy is typically a type of literature in which elves, vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural entities live in a world that is generally recognizable as our own, a cityscape for example. These creatures are intricately a part of the society, so it is fantasy but set in an otherwise realistic world. The majority of urban fantasy these days appears to be written by women, and it probably appeals somewhat more to women than men.

Deka Black said...

ah, what i was thinking, Thanks Charles ;)

BernardL said...

I am definitely going to check out that 'Walking Dead' series.

Charles Gramlich said...

Deka, I read a lot of those kinds of stories when I was a kid as well.

Bernardl, worth seeing for sure.

Jess said...

First, I've very squeamish so The Walking Dead isn't for me.
Secondly, a really honest post. What fun! I love knowing what friends DON'T read. Really. I'm not being sarcastic. :)

X. Dell said...

Cool. So do the elves, vampires etc. get to go on drive-by shootings?

Lana Gramlich said...

Imagine if everyone you bought books from bought at least one of yours in return. What a wonderful world that would be...

ivan said...

Interesting.

As a failed psychic researcher for the National Enquirer, I find a lot of good imaginative material here.

I went to a town, Wilno, Ontario, famed for its supposed vampires.

I intereviewed the locals.

They said, "Vampires? UR1, Paparazzo!

Charles Gramlich said...

Jess, then you should probably stay away from the Walking Dead. Definitely some goriness. I do occassionally read in the areas that I "don't" read in, but it's generally an exception. It does help to know what people generally find interesting.

X. Dell, oftentimes yes apparently. ;)

Lana Gramlich, I know a lot of them have. I know quite a few writers it would appear too.

ivan, there are indeed many kind of vampires. Some of them got elected to office yesterday.

Ron Scheer said...

I commend you for being a writer who is also a voracious reader. I get the feeling that a lot of aspiring writers today don't read.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ron, I believe so too. I've even met some of them, and their work reflects it.

Julia Smith said...

My husband and I watched The Walking Dead as well, and really liked it. It was good to see the lead actor, Andrew Lincoln, as a good guy for a change - he specializes in gray characters.

I, too, end up reading books that I normally would never read because a friend has written it. Mostly that means contemporary. I'm a historical/fantasy/paranormal fan, myself. But I have to say I've enjoyed everything I've read outside of my preferred genres.

Charles Gramlich said...

Julia, I do like it when I branch out. Or at least I often do. I guess in part it comes from having so many unread books around. When I just grab one up it's typically in the genres I read most frequently. Thanks for stopping by.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well congratulations! The book release should've been first on your list.
Walking Dead is good so far. You're right, can't say that about many shows.
And while my book is a genre you enjoy, it's not heavy on description, so if you never read it, I'm cool with that!

Rick said...

I hate zombie fiction with a passion from hell, but based on your recommendation I might watch an episode or two.

Charles Gramlich said...

Alex, my reading is actually pretty eclectic. I seem to have suggested that I just don't read lots of stuff, but it's more of what I prefer as to what I less frequently read.

Rick, I resisted the zombie explosion myslef for a while but I am beginning to cave.

SQT said...

I can't believe I haven't already come by to praise "The Walking Dead." Ah well, better late than never. Awesome show.

Charles Gramlich said...

SQT, we are in agreement there. and I'm very relieved. I was afraid we were going to get some kind of SciFi original.

jennifer said...

I once loved fiction for young adults or children. The last few books that I attempted to read, targeted for those readers, bored me. I think I actually like stories that are written from a child's perspective more than actual children's books. Their narration adds humor and sadness that a mature voice can't convey without being... pathetic maybe?

Anyway.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Charles Gramlich said...

Jennifer, I had gone quite a few years without reading any YA stuff until I read the Harry Potter series. I really liked those.