In Honor of All Hallow’s Eve: Pride and Prejudice and Unmentionables

In celebration of my most favorite of holidays, let’s take a classic and infest it. Or rather read as Seth Grahame-Smith does in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. This book is brilliant; the idea of intertwining a classic romantic novel with blood thirsty brain eating monsters is refreshing.

Smith leaves the subtlety of the original intact and deftly sneaks the undead in. This is definitely a novel for fans of the Jane Austen classic, not for gore horror junkies just looking for blood and brains. At times the novel is word for word from the original, preserving the atmosphere of high class 19th century England. He first refers to zombies as “unmentionables,” an inspired term that keeps the world intact. He abandons it later in the novel, and the jarring switch dilutes the air of refinement, but at that point you’re so attached to the world that it’s forgivable.

His sense of humor is delightful and he adds it with a light touch. Charlotte Lucas debating the pros and cons of men is genius; their station in life is key, yet one must consider that a larger head provides more brains to feast upon. The scene of Darcy’s first profession of love and Lizzy’s unyielding reply is elevated from a verbal sparring match to a physical one; one of the most enjoyable moments in the whole novel.

All in all, this was a fun read; delightful and satisfying. “I have not yet forgiven (Mr. Darcy) for insulting my honor and may yet have his head upon my mantle,” says Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Indeed she might, if unmentionables don’t get it first.

The Romance between Cocks and Pussies

Palahniuk is a hopeless romantic. His characters are fucked up beyond belief to normal people. The people he create inject themselves with venom to get hard, slip estrogen pills to the man they can’t get to make him unattainable, resort to cannibalism, believe their mother was impregnated with Christ’s mummified penis and commit themselves to death by porn to provide for their children. And these examples are just off the top of my head. His book contain so many shocking and unbelievable moments that it’s easy to overlook the tender moments and romance between the characters; usually there’s something blocking the view, like anal beads, for instance.

But just because it’s hard to see, doesn’t mean it’s not there. In fact, it is a thread that is run throughout most of his novels. His characters are ruined, shattered, beaten down, fucked up and unlovable, yet somehow they find someone as broken and hopeless as they are. They find their perfect match and can be, if not happy, then at least less miserable because of this person. For those who are squeamish and easily offended, steer clear; you’re not tough enough for Palahniuk. But for the brave, it’s rather satisfying to see the romance between the cocks and pussies.

The Willy Nilly Silly Old Bear Returns

After a more than an 80 year slumber, the Hundred Acre Wood is humming and bouncing back to life again. The first authorized sequel is being released, with ten new adventures for Christopher Robin and the gang.

My 1941 The House at Pooh Corner is one of my most prized books. As cherished as it was when I was a child, it becomes golden as I become an adult. The Hundred Acre Wood is peaceful and alluring. Everything makes sense in a Kind of Silly Way. There are Songs and Poems and Stick Races and sometimes it doesn’t matter if you can’t spell TUESDAY.

In all of the little ways, Milne works magic in his pure child-like logic and phrases. There is simplicity in Milne’s world, a perfection that comes not from happiness but from being content. Children and adults the world over keep visiting Pooh because it offers something that most literature doesn’t: a quiet feeling of contentment. So many others search for astonishing highs or frightening lows; all Milne wishes to give us is child-like play. Upon rereading most books you read when you were a kid, you simply remember your childhood. As a child I felt at home in the Hundred Acre Wood; as an adult I feel like a child again. Rereading Milne is like picking it up again; you’ve really truly never left.

I’m pleased that someone would pick up the pen to guide us through the Hundred Acre Wood again; all I ask is that they tread softly in this hallowed ground. After all, as Milne says, “the Forest will always be there…and anyone who is Friendly with Bears can find it.”
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