P. T. Mayes


Upon Finishing Reading a Book / Zombies.

On Finishing Reading a Book.

You're reading a damn good book.

You turn the page. The text you've been following avidly for the last few days  comes to an abrupt stop half-way down the next page.

Oh no!

You sigh.

The end is near.

Yes, the villain has been defeated, the lovers reunited, the sick healed, the war won. It's pretty much all over but those last few words exert a magical pull on you. You cannot tear your eyes from those tiny black symbols that march relentlessly across the white paper  as the number of lines between you and the end of the book grow fewer and fewer. You feel a tear tremble in the corner of your eye.

And then, that's it. There is nothing more to read. The book is done. Over. Finished.   

What do you do next?

Do you just sit there, book in hand, trying to come to terms with what has just happened, or maybe you immediately grab the next book in your teetering pile of literature and start reading? Onwards and upwards, as they say! Possibly you think for a time about what you've just read before closing the book and carefully placing it beside you. On the other hand you could turn straight to page one and start over, hungry to re-experience the story anew. Others might grab their mobile phone and instantly tweet/update Facebook; or dash downstairs to tell hubby (or the missus) what a great book you've just read. Me? What do I do? I close the quickly, throw it down beside me and think about it for a few minutes. Ponder. I don't usually start a new book at least until a few hours have passed, as if I need to cool my brain a little, a sort of clearing out the baggage of everything I'd read.  

Here are a few thoughts about how people deal with finishing a book, but then as I am no psychiatrist, it might all be a load of old bunkum.

The reader who doesn’t want to admit the book's over.

Lives for the here and now. Borderline normal. Highly sentimental. Eats chocolate. Likes photos of  sleeping cats.

The readers who thinks about the book for a long time.

Possibly intellectual, depends on the book. Slow, methodical, maybe even a little boring. Hates sentimentality. Eats liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti. Likes photos of architecture.


The reader who immediately grabs the next book in the stack.

Lives only for the future.  Thinks sentimental people are schmucks! Eats hamburgers and fries. Likes photos of dogs catching Frisbees.


The reader who always re-reads a book.

Lives in the past. Hates change. Sentimental is your middle name. Eats donuts and cheesy puffs. Likes photos of cats with googly eyes.


The reader who wants to tell everyone about it.

Enthusiastic, outgoing, seeking attention. Irritating. What's sentimental? Likes photos of cats doing silly things. Doesn't have time to eat. Usually don't care about giving away spoilers.

The reader who throws the book at the cat.

Really doesn’t like bad books. Doesn't look to look at photos of cats because it reminds him of the time the cat left a "present" in his shoe.


What do you think? A load of nonsense, or am I onto something big? And maybe I’ve missed a few. Let me know.


Zombies on Zombies.

Having just watched World War Z (Zee for three, or Zed for dead?) I thought I would pen a few words about our favourite brain-munchin' chums: zombies. Yes, zombies, the low-budget film-makers best friend as all he needs to go is gather round some buddies who can't act, smother their faces in ketchup and, voila! Zombie movie! Usually in movies zombies shuffle about and consume the stupid (just look at The Walking Dead, a TV program I can barely bring myself to watch because the characters are so dumb), but WWZ uses the more fashionable zombie -- the Chanel of zombies if you will -- the Mo Farah sprinting zombie. (How about a Dead Olympics movie, anyone?) However WWZ uses the sprinting zombies to good effect because here they are a metaphor for pandemic. Watching the zombies hunt down and "infect" (not eat) their victims reminds me of a virus attacking and destroying healthy cells. Cities become living bodies decimated by the infection while our heroes, the white blood cells, valiantly fight back against seemingly impossible odds.

The other good thing about zombies are that they are sexless, ageless, belong to no race and have no religion, which means you can slaughter (uh, destroy) as many of them as you like and nobody’s going to get all hot and bothered and call you... whatever. All zombies are equal and nobody's going to step up and fight for their rights... unless it's Bub, of course. They are everyone, and they are nobody. They are society turned in on itself: the ultimate consumers.

Here are my top 5 zombie movies.

1. Dawn of the Dead (1978) - Almost a zombie epic! Love the helicopter scene.

2. Return of the Living Dead. (1985) - A comedy version of Day of the Dead with some real gooey zombies, nudity, and a bunch of veteran actors having a field day.

3. The Plague of the Zombies. (1966) - Old-style zombies (they don't eat anyone!) and a good old zombie master make this a creepy classic.

4. The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue. (1974) - Dark, tense and unsettling, with a few real yucky scenes.

5. Shaun of the Dead. (2004) – Funny, but maybe not as funny as it thinks it is, but it's still a very good watch. How I wish that they'd made it so that people were turning into zombies out of apathy.

What are your favourite zombie flicks?  

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