Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In Which I'm Not Finishing a Book (*gasp*)

I just finished reading Neil Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors, which was amazing. I'll have a review up tomorrow. As for the other book I've been reading, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, I'm setting that one aside for now and coming back to it later. Why? Well, let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, I was a sophomore in college, double majoring in history and anthropology, and I had what I believed to be a really great idea. I was planning on taking a Native American history course as part of my history major requirements, so when I saw that there was an anthropology course called Native American Peoples and Culture, I decided that it would be beneficial to take them both. I could get two sides of the Native American experience. No way would I be inundated with the same information, right?

About six weeks into the semester I was, to say the least, exhausted by the thought of Native American anything. Don't get me wrong. I have Native American heritage and am close friends with someone who is 100% Native American; I'm not disparaging anyone for their race. What I mean is that between those two classes (and an archaeology class that I was taking in which the professor specialized in, get this, ancient native populations in Central America) I wasn't getting a lot of new material. The history class and the archaeology class were great, but the anthropology class was not. Regardless of whether I liked the classes or not, however, after a while I just kept hearing the same things week after week. In fact, if I ever have to write another paper about Kennewick Man, my head might just explode. Two in one semester was enough, thank you.

So, what does this have to do with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Surprisingly, everything. It had been a few years since I'd read the original by Jane Austen and, as I was expecting something completely different from Grahame-Smith's book, I decided to reread Pride and Prejudice first, just to make sure that I could ensure that I knew exactly what was going on in the zombie-laden edition of the book. What a dumb idea that was. Turns out that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies should have been called Pride and Prejudice WITH Zombies.

"That sounds like a pretty
crucial conjunction."

When it says "by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith," it means it. Rather than retelling the story, he simply worked zombies into the original text. Sure, there are some omissions and some things have been truncated, but for the most part it's exactly the same as Pride and Prejudice, except with ninjas, zombies, and a Mr. Darcy who actually tells Miss Bingley exactly what he thinks of her. If it weren't that I had just read the original, I think I would have enjoyed this book more. As it is, I'm going to go back to it in a few months, once I've read some other things. I love the original, but there are very few books that I can read twice in a row. In fact, I think Good Omens is the only one I've ever been able to do that with.

So, no, I'm not saying that I hate Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I actually like it quite a bit, but I need to put some distance between me and Jane Austen's novel before I go back to reading it. And for all of you out there who say that you aren't going to read the original because you don't think you'd like Pride and Prejudice but that you liked Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: guess what? You like Pride and Prejudice. :)

On a related, but different note, I just found out today that my wish has come true. I had said in a Top Ten Tuesday list a while back that I thought that Seth Grahame-Smith's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter should be made into a movie. One of the students who works at my library just told me yesterday that it's actually going to happen. Here's the IMDb page for it. I'm so there when it comes out in theaters next year.



  1. I just put up my review for PPZ and I came to the same conclusion that you did. I now don't need to read the original and if I had read the original first I probably wouldn't have got past the first 50 pages of PPZ.

  2. There is a Pride and Prejudice and Zombies movie in the making as well, though it's not scheduled for release until 2013. I'm definitely anticipating that, especially since I really liked the books and I just like zombies in general.

    Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter looks promising. I told myself I'd buy a copy when I first heard about it, but I've yet to do so.

  3. Hummmm... I have been meaning to read Pride and Prejudice and now I wonder if I should just read PPZ????


    XOXO Angela's Anxious Life

  4. Actually i didnt want to but sometimes when a quite a few bloggers read a novel you tend to say, hey, maybeee... well, NOt thistime.
    Enjoyed your story

  5. I think we all burn out over certain books sometimes. I think that's the way I am feeling over YA just now. I've read so much of it over the last few years that I can't tell if I genuinely dislike the book or if it's because I am bored with them.

    Looking forward to your Smoke and Mirrors review. Maybe it will jog some memories for me.

  6. I certainly wouldn't have recommeded reading P&P and P&P&Z back to back. I love the fact that the zombies are worked into the original text but it's been a while since I read the original. I would have been incredibly bored reading them in quick sucession.

  7. :] This post makes me smile.

  8. Kayleigh: Your review was great. :)

    Hannah: I'll probably go see the PPZ movie when it comes out, but I'm looking forward to AL:VH much more. Even though I prefer zombies to vampires (there's no way you can make zombies sexy OR sparkly), I felt that Grahame-Smith did a much better job with that book than with PPZ. I highly recommend it.

    My anxious life: I'm always going to recommend the original over any of the new spins on it. Jane Austen is a far superior writer to any of the ones who do modern adaptations. In the end, obviously, it's up to you, but I'm not sure that I liked the way that Grahame-Smith changed Mr. Darcy.

    Sidne X: Thanks. That story comes with a very good moral, too: don't overwhelm yourself with any one subject!

    Karen: My friend Lindsey has the same problem with YA. She's trying to move out of the genre for a while, try something new. During March when I read only dystopian and post-apocalyptic novels, I was getting so bored after a while. It's one of the reasons why I decided to give up on the themes idea.

    Ellie: If I had known how close to the original it was, I would have just read PPZ instead of rereading P & P. I love the original and will keep rereading it for the rest of my life, but it really was just a bit of overkill on my part to read one right after the other.

    Nonners: Glad to hear it. Hope your vacation's going well. :)