Arts 349

Published on April 6th, 2009 | by Greg


Book Update: Zombies, Vampires, and Propaganda

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been lucky to check out three pretty great books- The Reformed Vampires Support Group, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and Posters for the People: Art of the WPA.

On the 75th anniversary of the New Deal, the posters of the WPA show a different sort of propaganda- “safety first” slogans and posters encouraging art might not be as exciting as bombs and planes, but are nonetheless studies in design. The book is broken into sections like “Band on Parade” and “See America”, and the series on “Know Other Lands” is particularly fun. Each item is presented nicely, in full color, with subtle shadows that highlight the works. The book as a whole impresses with both style and substance, though more history on the posters and whether they were “successful” would have been nice. Did you know we’ve been putting up posters raising money to cure cancer… since the 1930s or 40s? Author Ennis Carter brings 500 posters together in hardcover from Quirk Books, and for around $40, it’s an easy way to get inspired.

On a different note, Quirk Books also brings us a classic tale, updated for the end-times. Some great images add to an otherwise-uninvolving volume, which takes a pretty great concept, and can’t quite decide if it is parody or a complete re-imagining. It sort of winds up pleasing neither Jane Austen fans nor those who long for brains. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is fun, a great book to show those who haven’t seen it yet, and throws beloved characters into interesting situations. But the sheer oddity (ninjas, a dojo) collide with the style of Austen and author Seth Grahame-Smith can’t quite pull it all together. ~$8, trade paperback.

Finally, Catherine Jinks was responsible for the criminally under-noticed Evil Genius. She’s taken a break from that series to start another with Reformed Vampire Support Group, this one YAYVN- yet another youth vampire novel. It’s no Twilight, but aims differently, making vampires almost… boring. It reads quick and easy, and like Jinks’ other works, veers rapidly from light to moody, with some fairly interesting twists wrapped around a couple of fairly compelling characters. The book feels more “real” than Twilight, but whether that is a good or a bad thing depends probably on whether you like your vampires super-human… or merely annoyed at their immortality and appetites. The secondary characters are a bit weak, but the book ends strong, leaving the reader looking forward to more. And the Australian scenery (the author’s home) adds a nice exoticism. Available April 20th from Harcourt, $12 hardcover.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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