To kick off Thankfully Reading Weekend with a bang, I finished Max Brooks' World War Z. I only had about 50 pages left, so I thought this would be a confidence-boosting way to start my first challenge.
I'm not that into zombies and even less into blood and gore, but a persistent friend convinced me to read World War Z. She was right! Although the book is a fictional oral history recorded 12 years after the zombie war, it is primarily about the world politics, military tactics, and practical details of the effects of mass panic, exodus, and death on the world's environment, economics, psyche, and day-to-day life.
The storyline is also a draw--the oral history format will appeal to some and turn others (even huge zombie fans) off. The book can even be compared to Daniel Defoe's fictional A Journal of the Plague Year, although readers should be warned that, having been published in 1722, the language is much different and more difficult than Max Brooks'. Defoe uses the same detached tone of looking back from the future at a horrific time and making a fictional narrative feel real with specific "facts" and practical details.
Certain science fiction readers may appreciate World War Z's military tactic details, as will Tom Clancy fans, although the structure of Z does not make for a tremendously fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat read. The Booklist review on Amazon compares it to Studs Terkel's nonfiction The Good War.
Of course, it's also a book for zombie fans (and I won't begin to recommend those since I don't read them. There are a ton of lists online--e.g., see the Monster Librarian), but, as I like to say, my focus is not the plot.