Being caught up with school work right now has afforded me some extra time for pleasure reading, and I've been able to pick up two new reads; here are my reviews:
First off, I started "The Middle Place" by Kelly Corrigan last week and finished it up this past weekend. It's a memoir about a woman who's diagnosed with breast cancer at age 38, and then is hit with the blow that her beloved father has bladder cancer. So, it goes back and forth in time to focus on telling the story of their dual fight with cancer while also recounting an enchanted childhood with her father at center stage.
It's an enjoyable read: With exactly what you'd hope for from a cancer memoir -- humor, insight, sentimentality, and ultimately, a happy ending. However, I also thought these expected elements made it a bit cliche, but on the whole, it's an uplifting, feel-good read.
My other read?
Yes, you are seeing that correctly: "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" by Jane Austen and Sethe Grahame-Smith. Imagine that it's exactly the story of Pride and Prejudice, but instead of just worrying about who to marry, the Bennet sisters also have to worry about fighting off zombies in their beloved Hertfordshire. So not only does Eliza Bennet show off her razor sharp wit, but she also demonstrates a proclivity with a Katan sword in slaughtering "unmentionables."
To say the least, it is a humorous parody of the classic, but it's also quite clever in and of itself since it takes not just Austen's basic plot, but it also uses her unique style and narration, as well as entire sentences and passages from her novel, but then infuses them with it's own zombie-gore as subtext. So, for example, the famed first sentence of the novel begins with: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
The first sentence of this parody: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." Pretty funny, right? But however clever, I think there must be a pretty limited audience for this book. Just because the intersection of those who love Pride and Prejudice (and are intimately familiar with it -- because part of the fun is seeing what Grahame-Smith uses directly and where he deviates with his own material) and those who love a good zombie story must be a small scope of people (I just happen to fall smack dab in the center of that intersection).
There are a lot of adaptations on the story of Pride and Prejudice (Bridget Jones' Diary is probably the most famous one), but I have to say, this is the most inventive re-telling I've ever read!