One of the best graphic novel series ever (and one of my personal favorites) is Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. In the very competitive world of comics, it has managed in ten years to not only survive, but thrive. It has become one of the most popular series ever, with a loyal following and even spawning a TV series.
In case you have been living on a desert island in all that time, The Walking Dead is about the survivors of a zombie apocalypse. That’s right, zombies, lots of them. It starts off as a cross between Night of the Living Dead and 28 Days Later. Our protagonist, Rick Grimes, is a police officer recovering in the hospital from a near-fatal gunshot wound. He emerges from his coma to a world run rampant with zombies. How’s that for a hello and good morning. He eventually comes across other survivors, his wife and son among them.
What follows is the result of a total societal collapse, a world with no T.V., no phones, no government, and no authority, nothing of the modern world we’ve become totally dependent on. From then on, it is a constant fight for food, shelter, and safety, all of which are in short supply. Characters come and go in brutal ways, some at the hands (or teeth) of the walkers (the term zombie is never actually used), but many at the hands of other survivors. If you ever wanted to know what could happen to the world if everything fell apart, zombies or no zombies, this is for you. People, including Rick, are forced to make difficult, often unpleasant, decisions in order to survive.
At one point, he tells the group, “We are the walking dead.” They are surviving, but not really living. As they move from one location to another in their search for sanctuary, they come across other survivors, many of whom don’t play fair. That’s what makes this series so interesting. Sure, you have zombies to worry about, but it’s the human element that really is the focus. They have more to fear from other survivors than from the walkers. It’s the struggle to survive when everything we take for granted is gone, to rebuild something that was lost, to have some semblance of normalcy, even sanity, when everything has gone insane.
It’s certainly not for the squeamish. There is violence, lots of it, and (for the prim and proper) language, but if you’re willing to give it a try, you’re in for great story of survival, love, loss, and of course, zombies.
First National Bank Building @ 494 E. Main St. in Ventura
Built in 1926 by architect H. H. Winner, the four story building on the corner of Main and California was designed in the Renaissance Revival style. The building had one of the first elevators in Ventura County. Erle Stanley Gardner had his secretary type up the drafts for his first Perry Mason novels at this location. Many of Mr. Gardner’s mystery and nonfiction works are available at E. P. Foster Library.
Resident Photographer - Aleta Rodriguez
Need help using your “NEW” e-readers? Join us on Saturday, January 19th at E.P. Foster Library for Teens Teaching Tech - Our teens are experts, and can show you how to download free items from our library catalog to your device.
No appointment needed, just show up at 10am.
Teens Teaching Tech on the 3rd Saturday of the month, from 10am to noon.
E.P. Foster Library (2nd floor) 651 E. Main Street, Ventura CA.
Simi Valley Library presents Anne Morrow Lindbergh: A Gentle Woman of Quiet Strength featuring Margaret Abbey Miller. This program will be held in the Simi Valley Library Community Room on Saturday, January 19 at 2pm.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of aviator Charles Lindbergh, balanced with grace and sensitivity (and not without challenge), three worlds: home and family, aviation, and a gifted literary career.
Listen to Anne’s story through her words. You will be fascinated, but even more you will apply her wisdom to your life.
This event is sponsored by the Simi Valley Friends of the Library.
There are two classic novels in the annals of Fine Literature that allude to the personal, emotional and political angst of an entire generation shortly after the two World Wars. They are Orwell’s “1984” and Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.” One directs its attention to the literal and figurative scars and trauma of The Great War in the behaviors of the major characters .The other envisions a bombed out world of totalitarian nihilism in the political constructs of a Bureaucratic Socialism during the aftermath of Nazi Germany. Both deal with the tolls taken from the harshness and horror of mechanized warfare on a grand scale. I will reference one here, and the other later in the month.
THE SUN ALSO RISES: Earnest Hemmingway, 1926
Right out of the gate, Hemingway’s first novel, after a life of short story writing, won him the Nobel Prize in Literature. This is a dramatic study of “The Lost Generation,” a term coined by Gertrude Stein. The pain that came from an embittered global war left many people with a sense of moral bankruptcy and hopelessness in a world they perceived as having no meaning. It was the time of Sartre and Camus at the height of Existential Nihilism.
The characters are either American or British expatriates living the good life abroad. None of them like staying in the same place for an extended period of time due to an uneasy restlessness and the fact that they devour their stay with heavy drinking and shallow, nonsensical actions (like the running with the bulls at Pamplona). These were the truly ugly, ugly Americans.
The most tragic of the characters are Jake and Brett, who love each other dearly, but can never consummate their love due to a war wound that has left Jake impotent. Her search for love leads her to a bull fighter in Spain, but it, like her other relationships, leaves Brett feeling unfulfilled. Jake understands her plight, but cannot help but feel heartbroken for both of them, when she always returns to be with him. She had been a nurse and lost her husband to the war.
The character Mike had gained his inhuman-like drinking ability from his service in the war. And Cohn, the journalist, is seemingly unaffected by war. The others resent him for not having to deal with his problems by drinking. Yet, he too suffers from pretense, particularly in his love affairs that also go awry, as he makes a fool of himself thinking he has a chance with Brett.
What really strikes me as masterful is Hemingway’s ability to go deep inside each of these characters, no matter how shallow they all seem. They come alive out of his pages in the dearth of the personages they really are from the war wounds received. As robust a man as Hemingway was, I find him experimenting with his own sense of personal wonder as to how he would deal with an affliction, like impotence. In the end, he leave us all with an understanding of their common fate, and hints at it from another title about the Spanish Civil War written much later, “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”
The title itself is from Ecclesiastes: “The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose”. It is a metaphor of the fact that life will prevail no matter what hardships the world offers up. This was the novel that inspired me to become a writer.
The Resident Scholar - Doug Taylor
Matt Sayles, Dave White, Rick Clemens and Mark Parson combine their decades of musical experience into a thrilling musical ensemble that harkens back to a time when jazz bands featured banjo and bluegrass music. It was an excting new sound.
Ventucky String Band, formed in 2010, will make you tap your toes and clap your hands to music reminiscent of dust-bowl era California and the roots of the "California Country" sound.
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the season, come on down and bring the family.
We have been hearing great feedback about our new streaming video collection: Access Video On Demand (AVOD). Our collection covers a wide range of subjects with quality content, both archival and current.
AVOD features streaming video from outstanding producers and broadcasters, including BBC, PBS, Biography, History Channel, National Geographic, Rick Steves and hundreds more! AVOD offers thousands of videos with more added every month.
AVOD is iPad, Android, PC and Mac friendly! Closed-captioning and interactive transcripts are available on thousands of titles. Additionally, students will find citations in Chicago, MLA, and APA styles.
Give it a try! All our eLibrary resources are free to you with your library card!
Ventura County Library and Ventura County First 5 have partnered to help young children obtain their first library card.
During the month of November, any child that is 5 years old or younger, who receives their first Ventura County Library card will also receive a complimentary brightly colored, canvas READ bag to carry home their library books.
Stop in any of our 12 branch locations and join us. This promotion will run through November or until supplies last.