Guest post by Adam.

Find it at your library!

While consuming copious amounts of Halloween topical literature recently, Taryn happened upon this book. On the surface, it checks all the boxes for her, primarily that big one next to “Colson Whitehead wrote it.” Unfortunately, it checks a similarly weighty box on her oh-no-no list, namely “Is about zombies.” So what’s a girl to do?

Convince her charmingly hapless husband to read it and report back on whether or not she “can handle it.”

Zone One follows main character Mark Spitz as he works with a team of “sweepers” to finish clearing out the first zone of Manhattan that the newly reformed American government is retaking. The USMC has already rolled in and handled the bulk of zombiecide and all that’s left is the tedious task of clearing every single building and structure floor by floor.

For a zombie novel, the main character does a surprising amount of self reflection, but once I got used to the atypical pace, I really enjoyed it. Something about it reminded me of the post-apocalyptic movie Book of Eli. Sure, Denzel kicks some major ass, but he also has dialogue and a measure of thoughtfulness and introspection.

I’m just saying, don’t be surprised when mid-zombie attack, you all of a sudden start getting random backstory. Don’t worry. He comes back to the action eventually.

Mark Spitz (not his real name, but a nickname you eventually learn the story behind) is an odd main character. If forced to pick a single word to describe him, I would have to go with unobjectionable. Even weirder, the main character obviously embraces and proclaims his mediocrity. I have little doubt that he would wholeheartedly agree with my moniker of unobjectionable-ness. I cannot properly explain why I liked him so much. My overinflated sense of self (I really am amazing) guarantees that it’s not a kindred spirit kind of thing. Whatever the reason, I can honestly say that I genuinely liked the guy.

So back to the million dollar question. Can she handle it? I’m happy to report that the awesomeness of Colson Whitehead’s writing is well worth the slightly gory price of admission. Five stars!

Book Nerd Note from Taryn: Colson Whitehead really is awesome. He's also having a bit of year, with his latest novel The Underground Railroad being chosen for Oprah's Book Club and winning a National Book Award. His NBA acceptance speech is definitely worth a watch (I've watched it several times, and it gives me a lot of feelings. BMF!)

Guest post by Adam.

Today is Taryn’s and my 5th wedding anniversary. To commemorate the day, I have decided to gift the world with my sure-fire guide to picking up literary girls. So if you know any nerdy guys who are carrying a torch for a cute bookish girl, send this their way and make their year.

Pay attention to grammar

You know how English teachers are always harping on proper use of punctuation, tense, etc. Well now you have a real actual reason to give a crap about that stuff. Nothing is going to cool a bookish girl’s jets faster than her being told that you seen her or that your a big reader to. Proofread, dammit.

Use fancy words

Mark Twain may have preferred 50 cent words to five dollar ones, but I think an exception should be made for bookish ladies. Not to brag, but in my first email to Taryn I managed to work in the phrase “overt provocations”. Boom. She didn’t stand a chance. It’s best to start working on this now, so you sound natural.

NOTE: If you’ve only ever read a cool word that you want to use in a spoken conversation to show off in front of your lady friend, be sure and check the pronunciation first. Trust me. I know of what I speak.

The written word is your friend

Bookish girls love to read. Obvious right? So use that love to your advantage. Write her letters, haikus, stories, mildly tacky limericks (know your audience though), anything to get her to associate you with the positive experience of reading.

Don’t take a wrong turn... of phrase

Turns of phrase, idioms, and other colorful bits of language can really spice up your conversational skills, but only if used properly. Something piqued your interest, not peaked. It’s a moot point, not mute. When it doubt, look it up.

Read. Read a lot.

A well timed literary reference can be invaluable when wooing literary ladies. So hit the books. To help you maximize your reading time and get you up to speed and ready to get out there and pick up girls, Taryn has been kind enough to help curate a short list of authors below that are prime candidates for providing you with some choice knowledge.

If you’re still in school, avoid Cliffs Notes. You want to sound like you actually read this stuff right? Just assume you’re not suave enough to fake it and read the damn book.

Don’t Be an Ass

I feel like this should go without saying, but treat a lady like a lady should be treated. Open doors for her. Be polite. Walk her to the door. She’s probably read the classics and knows what’s up. You want to be the Westley to her Buttercup, not the Rhett to her Scarlett.

Hang In There

Life can be tough for nerdy guys, especially when they set their sights on the lofty goal of finding a lovely literary lady. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

Suggested Authors to Read

  • Shakespeare

  • Amy Tan

  • Margaret Atwood

  • Toni Morrison

  • Anne Tyler

  • Anna Quindlen

  • Barbara Kingsolver

  • Jhumpa Lahiri

And whatever you do, DON’T read Pride and Prejudice.