Book Review: No Lasting Burial

No-Lasting-BurialNo Lasting Burial by Stant Litore

Available on Amazon in both Paperback and Kindle Formats

Another fabulous installment of the Zombie Bible by Stant Litore.  In this installment of the Zombie Bible by Stant Litore, we find ourselves in the Gospel of Luke, outside a small village that has been spirituality and physical torn by a horde of zombies after a brutal occupation by Roman soldiers.   For followers of the series, it may have seemed inevitable that the Zombie Bible would move from the Old to New Testament, but moving forward from the stories recited in Sunday school to the ones recounted from the pulpit is risky.

So how did he do it?

The same way the writers of Jesus Christ Superstar did when they created that infamous musical with care, joy and great skill. Both of which profoundly shaped the way that I approach the bible and particularly the stories of Jesus.  Too often the human side of Jesus is forgotten and he is made out to be so divine that no human could walk in his steps.  Litore creates realistic characters which are both relate-able and true to the original biblical tales.

Did he do it well? 

Yes, the action is non-stop so readers won’t be bored or feel weighted down.  At the same time, Litore takes you to emotional depths that you might not have thought possible. This isn’t just a bible story with zombies added into the mix; it is instead a masterful piece of story-telling. A must read for horror and historical fiction fans. This novella is well work a space on your reading list.

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Book Review: Nation by Terry Pratchett

nationNation by Sir Terry Pratchett 

Available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle formats

As some of you may have heard, Sir Terry Pratchett has had to cancel an appearance at a UK  convention due to the embuggerance  catching up to him.  In 2007, Sir Pratchett was  diagnosed with an early form of Alzheimer. He made the announcement to his fan community on December 11th of that year.  In 2008, the Nation was released.  Over the course of his career, Sir Pratchett has published over 50 books, including his fantasy Discworld series.

Six years later, a helpful volunteer for the local library dropped off the paperback version at my school to spark the student’s interest. It was the end of the year by the time that noticed it sitting on a shelf. The  Nation‘s colorful cover drew me to it and I asked the teacher who had been gifted with the book if I could borrow it.  After all my years as a geek and book lover, I am a bit shy to admit that this is the first book of Sir Pratchett’s that I have read.  It did not disappoint in anyway.

The Nation tells the story of two young people who find themselves struggling to survive after a tsunami hits the South Pacific stranding them on the same island.  The bigger problem is that while Mau called the island home before the wave is that Daphane is a trouserman, an alien in his world.  As you might have guessed, they quickly form a bond that helps them transcend cultural and language differences.  It is then that the real action begins.  Throughout the novel, they will fight to protect the island and the people slowly begin to gather afterwards.

It is the novel’s approach to culture and how it explains both Daphane’s and Mau’s world, that really caught me. I knew that I could use this novel to teach culture and its intricacies in my classroom.  The potential for a love story would engage my classroom’s readers as well as its character’s logical approach to their world. The concepts of what it is to be adult and what defines community after  a disaster. Others have pointed out that this is a character driven story tackles themes of death and faith as well.   All of this is present in the novel and while that may should heavy, Sir Pratchetts’s narrative flows in a way that the reader absorbs the gravity of the situations faced by the characters, but is never overwhelmed by it.  It is as the Washington Post Book World said “A terrific thought provoking book.”

While this novel isn’t set his Discworld universe, it clearly demonstrates his gift for storytelling and why readers have been flocking to his books for years.

Taking a Bite Out of History

Review of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

Sure, they know the old Honest Abe myth, however, this new incarnation of the Lincoln myth let’s them see deeper into the real man. Knowing more about and getting to know the real man, one gains a better appreciation for his achievements, both personal and political; makes him relevant.

The author does take some liberties with history (beyond the addition of vampires)  which are completely forgivable.  For the curious, I suggest reading a little more about Mrs. Lincoln’s behavior while in the White House. Or watching some the documentaries available on Netflix.

The desire to give this book to my students is overwhelming. And before you ask, yes, I am serious. There is already a waiting list for Grahame-Smith’s other book: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Place this book in front of students and they will eat it up, literally.  The student who is currently reading PP&Z pulls the book out anytime she perceives a lull in class.  (Please not the word perceives in the last sentence.)This book like Grahame-Smith’s other books takes the traditional and transforms it for a new generations.  Lincoln’s life which has always appealed to lovers of history now catches the eye of supernatural enthusiasts.

In case, you didn’t know Lincoln, like all of us had issues, big ones and still made his life something great. He didn’t hold a continuous pity party for himself given the losses he suffered. There is a lesson in there about not making your issues into excuses.

Furthermore, the multidimensional geek inside of me was tickled purple while reading.  Historical fiction can get a little caught up in details to the detriment of good story telling, but an alternative history like this takes the past and makes it a little naughty.

It is that naughtiness (of the wholesome vampire hunting variety) draws the readers in and keeps them engaged through the novel.  It is presented as a serious history drawn from Lincoln’s own diaries. The combination of narrative, historical fact and primary sources (in the form of the diary) makes the whole book plausible as well as that key word in education, engaging.

This story wraps itself around the reader and presents both fact and fiction in a way that invites the reader to drink up both with an insatiable appetite. I picked my copy up at a used bookstore, but you can find it on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle incarnations. Course, there is nothing wrong with searching a few used bookstores for it.  You never know what you might find.