Book Review Roundup

Since we don’t have classes for most of January, I’ve had some time to finish up a few books. Here are my condensed reviews, composed largely of subtitles.

World War Z: This “Oral History of the Zombie War” is a pretty entertaining sci-fi/horror book. The format is a series of interviews with the survivors of a recent zombie holocaust which makes the story seem much more real, although the science behind the zombies is a bit thin. A quick (if a bit creepy) read, although it got a little tiring in the middle portion.

The Trouble with Tom: a history book from my historian brother. While most people know a bit about his life, this book is about “The Strange Afterlife and Times of Thomas Paine”. And they really are strange times. By the time he died, Paine was reviled by most Americans because of his anti-religious views. The book chronicles Tom’s bones as they travel from his initial burying ground in New York, across the Atlantic to Britain where his casket is used as a footstool by cobbler for a time, before finally making it back to America (or at least his brain probably did). The book is less about Paine, and more about the many interesting historical characters who owned or affected the course of his bones’ 80 year journey.

A Cook’s Tour is a “Global Adventure in Extreme Cuisines” by author/chef/traveler/tv show guy Anthony Bourdain. The book is the basis for the Food Network show of the same name, which he spends about half of the book mocking. Reading this will make you both very hungry and very tempted to buy a plane ticket to Vietnam (except for the parts about eating the still beating heart of a cobra… that was less appetizing).

The Know-It-All is “One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World”… by reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. Full of humorous tidbits, the book tracks the author’s progress as he reads all 33,000 pages from A to Z. Mostly a comedy, it has some interesting thoughts on what it means to be intelligent, as well as some touching father-son moments.

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