The 2012-2013 school year in our book club was the year of the zombie books. We read The Zombie Handbook, World War Z, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and This is not a Test.
In all honesty, I am not a lover of all-things-zombie; in fact, I find them creepy, disturbing, and rather unintelligent. When I saw our list at the beginning of the year and took note of all the zombie books, my immediate thought was, there's no way I'm reading all of those zombie books.
And then I started reading them.
Who would have thought that sane, intelligent human beings could talk about the water--soluble-properties of zombies for half an hour? This became our main point of discussion with the book World War Z. The teens in my book club wanted to know how the zombies could survive in the water. How could they walk across the bottom of the ocean and come up on the other side without falling apart? How could they stay in the water for days, even weeks, without disintegrating or swelling? Wouldn't the zombies become terribly bloated and then not be able to walk? Wouldn't they fall apart? How does one find the answer to these questions when zombies don't exist?
I had students researching the effects of prolonged water submersion on dead bodies. It seems, according to my teen readers, that if a body is in water, it isn't broken down the same way it would be on land. It develops a type of protective coating that preserves it, helping it to maintain its shape. In fact, bodies can come out of water surprisingly well preserved.
The things we can learn in book club, eh?
By the end of the semester, we considered ourselves zombie experts and came to the conclusion that zombies are just like Hobbits: they exist simply because someone dreamt them into being and when someone creates a new character, that writer can make the creature behave in whatever way feels believable and true. Our hats go off to the zombie book authors.
I have had a few jobs in my life that I didn't enjoy: detassling corn, working in a small motor parts factory, framing pictures, serving food, and rejecting bad eggs in an egg factory. Today, I take part in a book club for teens and I love every minute of it.