Die for Me – Parisian Zombie Trilogy by Amy Plum

Inspired by a love of Paris and possibly the teen vampire Twilight series, Amy Plum has written a trilogy of romantic zombie stories. My friendly librarian introduced me to the world of the revenants, zombies who act like guardian angels and look like matinée idols.

The first book in the series – Die for Me – introduces Vincent Delacroix, the handsome 19-year-old who is really 84 and has been among the walking dead since World War II, saving lives and fighting (with a sword) for justice. His teen love interest is seventeen year old Katie Mercier, recently orphaned and now living in Paris with her sister and grandparents. The story is predictably romantic and adventurous, with that hypnotizing draw that fans of Twilight will recognize. The same chasteness prevails – only kisses.

As a bonus, the stories are all in Paris – with descriptions of museums, famous streets, and sites that any francophile will appreciate – hot chocolate at Les Deux Maggots; the tour boats on the Seine; the shops on the Boulevard Saint-Germain. Plum also offers a few suggestions in her appendix to help tourists blend in (no white sneakers; hands on the table). She also carefully lists the classics that Kate reads to pass the time in a French cafe – nice reference for teens.

The first book ends with Vincent’s promise to quell his desire to repeatedly die to save the world.  His good intentions backfire in the next book in the series – Until I Die.  The romance continues along with battles of good vs evil, and ends with a terrifying cliffhanger tease for the third and last book, scheduled for Spring – If I Should Die.

A fun fast diversion for anyone who just can’t get enough of zombies – or Paris.

Reading for High Fliers

What do you read on those long flights or while waiting for your next connection? Dominique Browning in her article for the New York Times – High-Brow Lit for High Fliers? Not Me – suggests you forget about catching up on the heavy classics of great literature or “back issues of sobering magazines.”

Instead, she recommends riveting best selling authors like Scott Turow and John Grisham; plot driven mysteries by P.D. James; thrillers by Ruth Rendell. Browning advises…

Next time you are facing a long flight (and predictable delays) swap out those classics for these entertaining paperbacks. At least your trip will feel shorter.”

I still catch up on my pile of New Yorker magazines on my trips, but some of my favorite flying companions are Roald Dahl’s BFG, teen vampires from the Twilight series, and handsome dukes from romances by Catherine Coulter (but I usually hide the steamy cover).

What do you read en route?

Say Yes to the Dress

After the bride decides what to wear on her big day, her choice is forever immortalized in pictures – for better or for worse.  In the movies, the costume designer decides; Monica Corcoran Harel chronicles famous movie brides and their gowns in an article for the New York Times – “What Will Bella Wear”  – in anticipation of the big-screen bridal scene from the Twilight series.

On Screen Wedding Gown Pictures include: Julia Roberts with white gown flowing behind her as she rides off in a horse in “Runaway Bride”; Sarah Jessica Parker, outfitted in New York chic for “Sex and the City”; Elizabeth Taylor, demurely virginal in her long-sleeved, high-collared gown for “Father of the Bride”; and Grace Kelly, looking cool and regal in “High Society.”

That was the movies.  What did they wear at their own weddings?  Most wore traditional garb, but Sarah Jessica Parker wore black.

         

Two books with the same title offer pictures and some historical perspective: former fashion editor at Bride magazine, Maria McBride-Mellinger’s The Wedding Dress, and Oleg Cassini’s new book – The Wedding Dress.

Banned Books Week

“Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads.”     George Bernard Shaw

The police tape surrounding a book display in my local library was effective; it drew me right to those banned books.  The American Library Association is sponsoring Banned Books Week from September 25th through October 1st, and encouraging everyone to read a book that has been challenged or banned somewhere.  Not hard to do – you’ve probably already read a few – Shakespeare has been banned, along with Mark Twain’s books.

The librarian had a list of some of the challenged books in my library system. (According to the ALA, a challenge is an attempt to remove materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.  A banning is the removal of those materials.  Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others – most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.)

All these challenged books are still on my library’s shelves:

  • The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Forever in Blue, the Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
  • Go Ask Alice
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Gossip Girl series by Cecily VonZiegesar
  • Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • And many more…

I picked out a young adult book that has been banned elsewhere and challenged here – The Earth, My Butt, and Other Round Things – the title appealed to me.

“There is no such thing as a moral book or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all.”              Oscar Wilde

The ALA has a list of the top ten books by year at  ALA List of Banned Books.    How many have you read?