My LibriVox recordings & my reading journal (solo Litblog).

World War Z notes; Turning The Tide chapter 1

World War Z

Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Part 4, Turning The Tide; Chapter 1, Xolelwa Azania

Azania’s tale is somewhat strange but well worth reading.

I remember news stories of Africa’s apartheid. Growing up in a multi-racial community, going to school with children of many different backgrounds, I could never really understand what the big deal was.
I knew people who were racist. Still do. And I can honestly say that I truly do not not understand it at all.
Azania explains an apartheid South Africa in ways that have never even occurred to me. Of course, that doesn’t mean I understand it any better, in reality I’m even more confused.
He then goes on to “introduce” Mr. Paul Redeker. And his skills as a planner.
Saviour or perpetrator?
A little of both perhaps.
Maybe. I can understand why Paul felt the need to separate himself from his emotions.
How can you plan to save a nation from either itself or zombies when emotions keep getting in the way. It’s a logical decision but it does go against our innate humanity. By default, we are a passionate race.
We love and hate with equal fervour.
Redeker’s planning skills are truly inspired & horrific in equal measure.
It is typical that he has now been vilified. Without him surely South Africa would have succumbed and as a consequence, the rest of the continent’s population.
History, even in this fictional context, is unfair & imbalanced in opinion. People’s perceptions change and as such, the status of past heroes & villains change to reflect society’s current views.

The ending of this chapter had me in a spin (again).
Well done to Max Brooks, it’s has been so long since I last visited his WWZ that I didn’t see that one coming!
Now I know why Mr. Azania deemed himself the only person capable enough to see Redeker’s updated Plan Orange through to it’s conclusion.
A brilliant chapter and a wonderful piece of writing.

World War Z notes; The Great Panic chapters 1, 2 & 3

World War Z

Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Part 3, The Great Panic; Chapter 1, Gavin Blaire

Gavin used to fly one of those advertising blimps. I can only assume that is how he bore witness to what he describes.

A mass exodus.
Every kind of vehicle has been used, people on foot fleeing the nightmare that was slowly consuming those stuck in the miles of gridlock behind and so, adding to the ranks of the dead.
I couldn’t imagine being one of the poor unfortunates at the rear of that miles long bid for escape. Trapped in a vehicle, no way out with a hungry zombie just waiting to tear flesh from muscle & bone.
Ceaseless and sleepless. A waking nightmare that never ends and you cannot wake from.
And there were miles of this. Even those who were at the front of this long queue, they didn’t really have any safe haven to escape to. Just a hope that maybe. But maybe what. Is safety just a pipe-dream in the face of such a reality.

Part 3, The Great Panic; Chapter 2, Ajay Shah

“The Great Panic” indeed, Ajay was one of lucky ones. He was saved, regardless of caste or colour unlike some others.
Even during this time of panic there are those out to profit from another’s misfortune and yet still more with enough irrational hatred pumping in their veins. But the loses, mercy. They reanimate after drowning and pull even more unfortunate wretches to their deaths & doom.
To hell with “Jaws”, tiger sharks and box jellyfish; at least with naturally evolved predators you might just have a chance, no matter how small. What chance does a swimmer have against a legion of zombies. No fear, no need to breath, just permanently & insatiably hungry.
Then there are the ships that do manage to pull away with as many passengers Continue reading this post

World War Z notes; Blame chapter 1

World War Z

Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Part 2, Blame. Chapter 1, Bob Archer.

I immediately like Bob’s sense of humour. To describe an image of the all powerful CIA as an omnipresent octopus with far reaching tentacles is hilarious.
His description does have a point. There are those who truly believe in the all powerful image the CIA seems to have actively cultivated, fuelled both by paranoia & the movies.
Of course, this just reminds me of an old quote.

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.

A by-product of the 50’s cold war when everyone was suspicious and under suspicion, especially in America.

Bob describes the “chain of comman” & how the agency lost many employees due to blame, scape-goats, political suicide & a total lack of faith in the intelligence of those the agency employed. Ultimately this attitude is the reason Bob was transferred out to Buenos Aires, a swift congratulation for voicing his concerns about the zombie plague.

It seems the Chinese Intelligence community successfully pulled the wool over the eyes of the global intelligence community.
What’s worse is that a few years after the initial outbreaks, the Warmbrunn-Knight report is found at the bottom of some lazy bureaucrat’s stack of papers.
Too late to make any difference to global events, despite the urgent, top secret & eyes only markings on the paperwork. Reminds me of the movie “Tora Tora Tora”, and the events that transpired before the attack at Pearl Harbour during World War II. Another bureaucratic fiasco. From both sides.

World War Z notes; Introduction and chapter 1

World War Z

Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Max Brooks makes a good argument to his superior regarding the human factor. Reports shouldn’t just be about cold facts & figures, especially regarding any kind of human event, global or localised. It is important to remember what the human cost is on a personal level.
How else are we to learn from our mistakes, “our” meaning the entire human race.

Part 1. Warnings; Chapter 1, Dr. Kwang Jingshu

35 million+, reduced to 50,000.
That’s one heck of a dent in China’s population. What a way to open a chapter!

Dr Kwang Jingshu begins his account on the war with somewhat nostalgic reminisces on pre-war China, it’s politics and what average doctors were expected to treat.
A far cry from what is to come.
He muses about trying to find a village that technically doesn’t exist, in the dark, in deep rural China.
It doesn’t sound like an easy or comfortable drive but Kwang, being the good & concerned doctor he is, finds his way.
Although his mood suffers in the process.

This better be damned serious

Be careful what you wish for.
The villagers are afraid of the sick, Kwang’s grand cultural criticism may have some valid points but at least he doesn’t direct his anger at the villagers themselves.
He is a doctor first & foremost and proceeds to tell a most disturbing account, not only of the sick in their makeshift, cold & damp quarantine shed, but also of the boy.
We never learn of his name, only that his father is missing, his mother may be one of the weeping and that the boy himself is patient zero. The father is Continue reading this post

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; Notes on Chapter 1

Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The
Chapter 1. The Cyclone

Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Everything is grey. Dull. Without the spark of life. Even Aunt Em & Uncle Henry.
It must be rough living in so hostile an environment, let alone try to farm this land.
All the while, taking in an orphan and raising her. And yet Dorothy still laughs and smiles in this grey world. She has not yet had life sucked out of her, she has yet to be defeated, conquered by this harsh realm.
Even when the cyclone sweeps the house away, Dorothy does not scream or yell for help, but instead calmly rides the storm. The way she calmly yanks Toto from danger and allows herself to be lulled to sleep by the storm rocking the house. This girl is not so easily shaken.

An interesting start to a story I thought I knew so well.
I’ve done some light research, comparing the familier movie and Baum’s first book, and it seems I may well have grossly underestimated this book for far too long.
Over the years, I’ve made several attempts to obtain a copy of this book to read, but I always got sidetracked by other books. More modern material. And then, as some might say, “why read the book, when you can just watch the movie?”.
I may have already mentioned this before, but books that become movies are not always faithful adaptations. This book may prove to be yet more evidence to this.
I did think of cheating and just listening to the LibriVox variety of this text, but my rule is to only write about the books I will read. Not listen to. Although I’ll end up downloading the LV version afterwards if I enjoy the book. One must plan for boring journeys and appointments. I’ve always had an impatience problem with waiting rooms.

Twilight, Chapter 1. Notes

book cover for Twilight

Twilight; Notes on Chapter 1

Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.

Bella & dad Charlie have difficulty vocally expressing feelings. Emotionally stunted perhaps? or just withdrawn.
Mom on the other hand, is described as nothing short of a ditz, so how did she get custody over firm steady cop-dad Charlie? Mother’s prerogative perhaps.

Bella can’t relate to people her age. I can relate to that but she makes it seem like a bad thing instead of the weird wonder I have of most people.
She constantly whines about being in Forkes. It was her idea! She should, at the very least, be open-minded. Someone who has difficulty relating really does sound like more and more like an average teenager. Or maybe she’s just used to being the “mom” in her house & can’t face up to the fact dad won’t need her in the same fashion.

It seems she also has a problem both with her appearance & fitting in. Also normal traits for a teenager. This isn’t a case of not-relating to her age group. All these point to quite the opposite. Dissatisfied.
Despite everything, there is a need to fade into the background but at odds with this is also a smaller desire to be accepted, even by just one person. Mike, her new friend at school in Forks, might be the closest to that need due to his experience living in a more sunnier climate. Bella may have an affinity with him.

Not sure what to make of the vampires. Edward’s reaction to Bella is of interest. Anyone who has stood in a queue next to a stranger but instantly didn’t like them, for no fathomable reason will understand Edward’s reaction. Some people you can, in fact, take an instant dislike to. I think it is a throwback to our primitive, hunting days. Race memory.

I have seen the movie but I did try & ignore the experience. Most movies / adaptations are quite different from the original text.
Having transcribed my notes, there is a strange to-and-fro feeling with Bella. Maybe I don’t understand the authors’ intent for the character but I had mixed feelings reading about her. Edward and his siblings are successfully enigmatic so I am looking forward to reading more about them. All the other characters will need some fleshing out before I can make an opinion.