Five Zombie Books to Feed Your Undead Obsession

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What is it about the idea of zombies that works its way into our minds with the same kind of ferocious force that propels the undead themselves out into the world in search of fresh meat? Over time, our obsession with these flesh-eating fiends has steadily grown, reaching epic proportions over the last few years. Is there something about reanimated corpses that creeps people out in a way that your average, everyday monsters can’t manage? Whatever fuels your fascination with zombie culture, there’s no shortage of movies and TV shows to sate your appetite, but you may well have wondered what the best way is to work the walking dead onto your bookshelf. So here’s a handful of suggestions for lining the library walls of the awesome underground zombie shelter you’re undoubtedly already assembling.

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Zombie lit earned some major cred via big-deal novelist Colson Whitehead — you probably can’t go through life with a name like Colson Whitehead without being a big-deal novelist — when he offered up his contribution to the canon. I mean the guy has earned a MacArthur genius grant and a Pulitzer nomination, so when he tells a story about New York City restoring order in the wake of the zombie apocalypse, serious critics pretty much have to pay attention. And the book’s 9/11 allegory is enough to keep the critics chomping while zombie lovers dig into the, er, meat of the story.

The Last Man on EarthI Am Legend by Richard Matheson

This is the one that started it all. What Saturday Night Fever was to disco, Richard Matheson’s 1954 sci-fi novel about a lone survivor facing off against an army of the undead is to zombiedom. Not only was it adapted for the silver screen three times (The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man, and most recently, I Am Legend), it was even the inspiration for Night of the Living Dead.

Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament by S.G. Browne

Hey, if the vampires can have their Twilight series, how about a little equal time for Zombie romance? This is a formaldehyde-filled love story about a lonely, reanimated bachelor who finally meets the zombie girl of his dreams. It even gets political when he becomes a crusader for zombie rights. Now that’s progressive politics!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-SmithPride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

One of the best things about this reimagining of Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice as a zombie tale — besides the fact that it’s been made into a video game — is that it presents all sorts of other enticing possibilities for future literary mash-ups. Maybe a segue into children’s novels — Alice in Wonderland With The Undead, anyone?

World War Z by Max Brooks

One of the unintended fringe benefits of Max Brooks’ follow-up to his aforementioned Survival Guide is that the apocalyptic tale of humanity’s global battle against the shambling hordes makes international aggression of any other kind seem almost innocuous by comparison. Unrest in the Middle East? Bah. Try undead in the Middle East on for size. World War Z is a detailed account of a zombie pandemic you won’t soon forget.

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