Fabulous Fiction Friday – “Living With the Dead”

*Please note: after this entry was posted, I received word that Josh has run into technical difficulties with Amazon because of their revamping of their digital platform, therefore “Living With the Dead” had to be re-published. It should be available soon, and I will update the links for purchase as soon as that happens. In the meantime, you can find it on the Nook or still keep up with him on his Living With the Dead blog. Thanks for your patience — it’s definitely worth the wait, I promise.*

*ADDENDUM*

Good news! All of Josh’s data has been reinstated and the links are good to go. YAY!

I have very eclectic reading tastes, and I’m quite picky. Part of this is because I’ve been reading for almost 50 years. Yes, you heard that correctly. I know I’m giving away my age here, but I’ve been reading voraciously since the age of three, and when you’ve read that many books, friends and neighbors, you become real picky about what you read.

Part of the reason I’m such a book snob is because I don’t have a whole lot of time, and although I’m a really fast reader, I have a lot of stuffs to do. When a book isn’t worth it, it really irritates me. To be frank, it pisses me off. Not to mention the economic impact, which further stokes the Irritation Fires. If I’m not happy with the story, and I don’t think I’ve spent my time or my money well, I’m really annoyed.

I downloaded “Living With the Dead” for the Kindle on a recommendation from a Very Good Friend. I resisted reading it because I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. She told me it was a “zombie” book, and although I enjoyed “World War Z” by Max Brooks and I’m totally hooked by “The Walking Dead” on AMC, I’m not really a zombie reader. Plus, it’s written in a blog format, and I have found that can be a boring way to read a book.

I was more than pleasantly surprised by Joshua Guess’s book. From the very first “entry”, I was HOOKED. Once I started, I couldn’t wait to read the next one, and the next one, and so on until it was 2am and I finished the entire thing in one sitting. It. Is. Fab.

The story starts with an ordinary geek in Kentucky watching the news and noticing reports of a disturbance in Ohio. Right away he sees the seeds of a Zombie Apocalypse, and springs into action. He starts right away preparing for the worst, trying to warn his family and friends, laying in supplies and shoring up his defenses. He blogs every day, documenting exactly what he’s doing and the important preparations he’s making — but more than that, Josh documents how he’s feeling and the emotional, physical and spiritual toll the entire experience is taking on him and everyone around him.

Most zombie fiction I’ve read (and I admit, it’s not a lot) seem to focus on the brain-eating, rotting horror that are zombies and the military or defensive actions that the characters are taking. “Living With the Dead” is unique to me in that it involves the lives and the emotions of not only dealing with the undead intent on eating the living, but with the complicated and difficult decisions the remaining survivors have to make in the wake of destruction of society as they have always known it. Since the blog was (and still continues to be) written in “real time”, you can follow the day-to-day changes in the characters and sympathize with what they’re up against. You question whether or not you could make these decisions yourself, how you would deal with the apocalypse, what you would do in their stead.

You won’t agree with everything that’s done. You won’t like everything that happens. You won’t like all the people you meet — you may not even like the narrator. But that’s what makes all of this seem so terrifyingly real. When I finished the last page of the first six months (you can either follow along in “real time” on the blog or wait for a compilation of the entire year, due out in March) I was afraid to watch the news — because the situation seemed just that real.

(On a side note, there’s some really great information on what to do to prepare for a Zombie Apocalypse. I took notes, you know, just in case.)

Another thing I’ve noticed about zombies is although the basic precepts stay the same (they die, they reanimate, can only be killed forever through some kind of brain trauma, they eat the living, they never…ever…stop) different writers add a little something different to their zombies. Guess has added some horrifying and frightening aspects to his zombies that really freaked me, and yet still made sense in his zombie-world. The suspension of disbelief is easy because Guess’s world is logical even in the midst of madness.

The price is right, and the story is worth every penny and then some. This ranks up there as one of my top reads for 2011, and I can’t wait for the next installment in March.

You can find “Living With the Dead” for the Kindle here, or you can follow along for free on the Living With the Dead blog. Joshua has a compilation planned for March with the entire year, plus extra bonuses. You can find him on Facebook and on Goodreads. He is currently at work on several projects, including a “campy vampy” novel. He has recently released his novel, Bound to Silence, also on Amazon.

While you’re on Amazon, check out Not Nice and Other Understatements – A Journal of Flash Fiction!

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13 thoughts on “Fabulous Fiction Friday – “Living With the Dead”

  1. It’s amazing how zombies have made such a smashing return in TV, film, and books. I am not quite sure what it is, but I too am fascinated by zombies since the Walking Dead Series. Consider one of the most difficult choices a survivor has to make—kill someone who’s turned into a zombie, a person who was once a loved one. Would I be able to do the same?

    Funny, I didn’t have to think long to come up with the answer: Yes, most certainly yes. It’s a very Buddhist way of thinking. Detachment is the key, especially when the person once loved is no longer there in any real sense.

    Side note: Has anyone ever connected Buddhism with zombies? It’s early on a Sunday and my mind is moving faster than i can think – excuse the rambling….

  2. You know, I don’t think they have, at least not to my knowledge but it would make a lot of sense. The thing that fascinates me about the whole zombie scenario is not the actual zombies — as horrifying as they are — but how people react in survival mode.

    If you like the Walking Dead, Eden, you will love this book. You can start at his blog and check it out, which is a great way to become introduced.

    No sorries, dearie — all ramblings (well, most, anyway, heh!) are welcome here, especially yours. :)

  3. I am kind of tempted, and kind of not. Zombies terrify me (Have you read Melanie Edmonds’ The Apocalypse Blog? I couldn’t finish it, was too scared!). At the same time I’ve just released my alternative zombie anthology so I feel like I should really be reading what other writers have to say on the genre! Except, I still don’t consider myself a zombie writer/reader. Conundrums, conundrums….

    • The really good thing about this pick, Anna, is that you can read the first few entries free on the blog. I didn’t think I was going to like it, and by the end of the first entry I couldn’t WAIT to read the next…and the next…well, you get the idea.

      Zombies ARE terrifying, I agree! But it was a really great read. I hope you’ll check it out :)

    • I know the feeling, Stacy! But this is really, really worth it. I loved it. I can’t wait for the second one to come out – it’s so much easier reading on the Kindle instead of daily on the blog. Plus, the second book will include a story by moi set in the same universe. I’m excited — it comes out in March. Fair warning :)

  4. i’m positive i’ll love it, too. which is part of thte problem, heh. eh, whatever…if all it takes are a few digi-books to make me happy i can’t complain too much. i’ll just write a few extra articles or something.

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