“The Walking Dead” on AMC: Boredom is a bigger threat than Zombies

Caution: Here there be spoilers, both in this blog and following the link.

One thing that makes it hard for me to blog regularly is the fact that there are already so many well-written blogs out there. Today I read a Salon.com blog about TWD that said what I’d been thinking about this show. You can read it here: http://www.salon.com/a/sgtibAA/

I like to write dialogue so I sympathize with the writers of TWD to some extent. It must be heavenly to write pages and pages of angst-filled speeches with zero restraint. But omg, no one really talks like that. The characters deliver speeches to one another, scene after scene, with intermittent gore-splattered moments that are supposed to reawaken the viewers with some success.

SPOILER: The moment that one character sent another to purchase a pregnancy kit, my heart sank. I detest pregnancy as plot device particularly when nothing original will be done with it. In this case, it especially disheartening since the parents involved have already had lengthy discussions about the future and its impact on children.

I don’t think most of us watch Zombie stories because we want to watch moral discussions. We want to see the consequences of those decisions and to some extent, seeing the characters wrestle with ethical and moral dilemmas is part of the suspense and drama. But listening to them talk, talk, talk endlessly about it makes for terrible pacing.

I remember when LOST became extremely dull to watch, particularly the first part of season 3. The producers retooled it for the second half and the momentum changed entirely. Here’s to hoping that TWD does the same.

AMERICA’S WOMEN by Gail Collins

America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and HeroinesAmerica’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines by Gail Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is well researched and interesting, packed with anecdotes about women in American history that we didn’t learn about in school. I didn’t read the entire book although I will likely go back and read more, since it is a book that you don’t need to read from cover to cover. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t contain the specific information that I was hoping to find, but the bibliography has tons of sources that are well worth looking at.

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CHANGE OF HEART by Jodi Picoult

Change of HeartChange of Heart by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I like Jodi Picoult’s writing overall. She’s the sort of writer that I just slip into reading whatever story she is telling, but this one jarred me early in the process. For one thing, I knew what the twist would be at the end almost immediately. Maybe Picoult wanted readers to catch the clues she gave about the crime that was central to the story but I was annoyed that something was so obvious to me but not to anyone else in the book. I could get past that though; the real sticking point was that many chapters were from the PoV of a Catholic priest and it was clear to me that Picoult misunderstood some major theology points about Catholicism. The priest simply was not believable and I chafed at every chapter that he narrated.

The miracles and mysticism in the early parts of the book were intriguing and well-written, but by the time matters reached a critical point, I was skimming along to see how all the story lines resolved. It was actually a fairly satisfying ending, although the story failed as far as tracing one characters fall from faith. I also felt that the second half of the book was far less subtle as far as the writing went. Dialogue became cumbersome with info-dumping and became somewhat tedious. This is a book that should leave a reader wanting to discuss the issues it raises about death, capital punishment, revenge, redemption, religion and so on. All weighty topics but in this book, the topics sink rather than inspire discussion.

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