If you’ve had Max Brook’s critically acclaimed zombie novel, World War Z, on your to-read list but only have time for a shorter book now that holidays are looming, Brains: A Zombie Memoir is a good choice. If you like campy, ironic takes on zombie lore and human pop-culture a la the movie Shaun of the Dead (which, surprisingly, is a movie Zombie-Professor Jack doesn’t refer to) or if you want to test your own cultural knowledge by seeing how many references and allusions you get in 182 pages packed full of them, Brains: A Zombie Memoir is for you. That is, as long as you can deal with zombies craving human brains and eating them like caviar straight from the skull and then — when the brains are gone — moving on to other body parts and viscera. In author Robin Becker‘s vision of the zombie apocalypse, it’s definitely a zombie-eat-human world.
When English professor Jack Barnes is turned into a zombie but retains his reason, his ability to write, and his recollection of pop-culture trivia, he feels compelled to gather together and lead a small band of others who are smarter than your average zombie into a New World of zombies co-existing peaceably with humans. Each member of his literally raggedy-ass and decomposing group has a unique talent in addition to a spark of remaining human intelligence. One can run instead of shuffling along with arms out in front in classic zombie style; another can talk while most lose all powers of speech and can only emit zombie-like moans; yet another is handy with a gun.