Friday, July 16, 2010

Book Reviews and a Little Bit More: The Yiddish Policeman's Union, World War Z, and New Spice

Three things for you this fine day. The first two are reviews, and the third is a YouTube clip from one of my old places of employment: BYU's library. (Take Old Spice Towel guy, add some clothes, then stir in a healthy dose of "Why You Need to Use a Library," and you get the picture.) On to the reviews:

The Yiddish Policemen's UnionThe Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book, although it was (frankly) a much longer read than I would have liked. What if the state of Israel had never been formed, and the Jews ended up in Alaska, instead? There's your basic premise--add to that a murder mystery, a healthy dose of literary style and some fantasy elements, and you've got the book. The world is excellently drawn and presented, and the mystery aspect of the plot was well-handled. I think if I were more into literary fantasy, I would have given the book five stars. As it is, it's probably just a case of "not completely right for me." Recommended for others, though--obviously.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie WarWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What would the world be like if a zombie plague actually broke out on a global scale? Brooks answers this question in a novel that's essentially a collection of first hand accounts--a style that reminded me of Bram Stoker's Dracula in many ways. It's not for the faint of heart--very much an R-rated book, so to speak, but I for one would love to see it turned into a film. It had a District 9 sort of a flair to it that I haven't seen done in zombie-lit before. So often, zombie stories focus on the individual--how does one person or a small group of people cope with the chaos? Brooks went the other way, showing how the world could and would cope with it. If you're at all a horror or zombie fan, you should check this one out. Really fantastic.

View all my reviews

And now, on to the YouTube clip.

I was hesitant at first to watch it, thinking it would be a lame parody of the clever ads. But there isn't anything lame about it, in my opinion. Full of Win. I have to say I really enjoyed the two or three years I worked in the library there. (My department was periodicals--it's where he ends up when he gets out of the elevator.) BYU makes a lot of effort to keep its students involved in the library (as you can tell from the video production values).

What do you think? Am I just biased because I used to work there?


  1. Definitely NOT lame! Mantor is my favorite place to study. Too many distractions everywhere else.

    Can you really get a sandwich like that at the BYU library?

  2. Unfortunately not--at least not when I was there. The main campus food court is just across a courtyard, though. You could get a Subway. :-)