Everyone needs a little summer reading, to pass the time as you hole up in the basement from the sun’s brutal rays… or, you know, “beach books” to pass the time as ghoulishly as possible on your summer vacation. In no particular order, five books to check out this summer, if you haven’ yet:
1. “The Changed” by B.J. Burrow: Zombie novels from the POV of the undead are tricky. A zombie novel about a zombie running for the Senate sounds like the worst idea ever, but Burrow pulls it off. The key is that everything we think we know about zombies is wrong (not a new concept, of course, Richard Matheson’s “I Am Legend” notably dealt with the theme using vampires). Plenty of gore from the very first scene, black humor, and dark romance. If you have a Kindle or a Kindle iPhone or PC app, download a free sample for a taste, and be prepared to drop $2.99 for the full Kindle novel, or purchase it in book form for about 12 bucks.
2. “Toe Tags,” Edited by Brian Barnett and William Pauley III: I picked up this collection of short stories because one of the authors, Jimmy Calabrese, contributor of “The Sleepwalking Corpse,” is a member of one of my very favorite bands, Calabrese. Zombies, vampires, demons, scary tattoos, dolls–this creepy collection has it all. Well worth the $18.00 for the book, or download it in PDF form for $10.
3. “Grande Illusions” by Tom Savini: Brush up on your special effects makeup techniques with the legendary master Tom Savini. Remember, there are only three months till Halloween! $25.
4. “Zombie Haiku: Good Poetry for Your… Brains” by Ryan Mecum: A book of zombie haiku is an awesome enough of a concept as it is, but what makes Mecum’s book of zombie haiku brilliant is that it’s actually a linear story. A quick and memorable read–if you haven’t read this or his “Vampire Haiku” book, you’re missing out. And, FYI, if you’re going to be at Comic Con International in San Diego (and if you are, I hate you), Mecum will be among those featured on the panel for “Reading with Brains: The Rise and Unrelenting Stamina of Zombie Fiction” on Saturday July 24th from 11-12 am in Room 7AB.
5. “Massive Awesome #1” by Stephen Lindsay: Picked this up at Philly Comic Con last month–this is a 215 Ink comic by the creator of “Jesus Hates Zombies.” Basic plot: this anthropomorphic piece of bacon, Commando Bacon, and his buddy Zombie Pickle, a pickle who thinks he’s a zombie, have an extreme-action adventure. Includes a JHZ one shot. Awesome!