Published on April 6th, 2009 | by Greg0
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.