The Reading Dead

Posted by David Winnick

[TV still from The Walking Dead, AMC]

While the Walking Dead has had a bit of a controversial run this last year and a half, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still one of the best shows on television. As the show runs into its eighth season, it is becoming a bit of a question of what the characters do in their down time. Not every single moment of every day can be filled with killing zombies and fighting Negan, right? So with that in mind, we thought it would be nice to give the characters some reading suggestions for the next time they walk into a town and have a chance to raid a library. After all, there must be tons of great books laying around in the zombie ravaged land, they aren’t exactly the same type of commodity as food or weapons.


Rick Grimes: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Rick has been doing everything in his power to keep his family alive for the past seven seasons. He has pushed his boundaries both physically and ethically just to get them as far as he has. Even though he lost his wife, Lori, a few years back, Rick is still plugging away. The Road by Cormac McCarthy follows a similar tale of a father in a barren wasteland doing his best to keep his son alive. While it is a heartbreaking and bleak novel, it could very well provide some level of catharsis for Rick.


Carl Grimes: True Grit by Charles Portis

Carl has often gotten a lot of flak from fans of the show, but most of what he has done is just kid level shenanigans. Now that the younger Grimes is getting older, he has really grown into his own as a young teen gunslinger. Much like Mattie Ross, the young protagonist of Charles Portis’s novel True Grit, Carl has proven himself a capable traveling companion. He is even currently on a similar mission of revenge as Mattie, seeking to bring down the killer of his good friends Glenn and Abraham.


Carol Peltier: Lady Killer by Joelle Jones and Jamie S. Rich

Sugar and spice and everything nice perfectly describes Carol Peltier, that is until someone crosses her. Carol is the perfect homemaker and also the perfect killer. If someone needs to be taken out, she can always be depended on. Heck, she even took out two children because they were a threat to the group. She has a lot in common with the lead character of the comic Lady Killer by Joelle Jones and Jamie S. Rich’s. Josie Schuller can bake a cake, clean the house and have dinner on the table by 6:00, even after a long hard day of assassinations. Carol might even be able to pick up some tricks for cleaning blood stains out of carpet if she reads this piece.


Maggie Green: Anne of Greene Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Maggie has had a rough go of things the past few seasons. Her father died on the road, her sister was murdered for unnecessary reasons, and her husband was made an example of by Negan (Thanks, Daryl!). The long and short of it is that the poor woman needs a break. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery might give her a chance to reflect and think back on her childhood growing up on a farm. There is certainly nothing wrong with taking a little bit of time with a pastoral piece.


Michonne: Shogun by James Clavell

When you need a katana at the ready, Michonne is there. She has sliced and diced more zombies than almost all of the other characters combined. Still, she seems to not have much knowledge of the history of her weapon. That is where James Clavell’s Shogun comes in. Steeped heavily in the history of feudal Japan, this book would give Michonne just the information she needs. An added bonus to the book is that it is so thick and heavy; she might even be able to use it as a secondary weapon.


Daryl Dixon: Deliverance by James Dickey

There was some serious fan backlash this year for Daryl. Still, he remains everyone’s favorite crossbow toting redneck. Daryl’s story is sort of the inverted version of Deliverance. When he first appeared on screen, he was the most likely to kill anyone for looking at him wrong (that is of course, next to his brother Merle). Now the horrors he has seen have turned him into one of the best members of society. He has become an ultimate survivor, just like the lead of James Dickey’s novel.


Negan: The Natural by Bernard Malamud

Negan loves his baseball bat, Lucille. He is so good swinging it that he could probably drive a home run with nearly every bat. It is that skill with a bat, combined with the storyline of attempted assassination that would make The Natural a perfect read for Negan. He has a fair amount in common with protagonist Roy Hobbs, except, of course, for being a post-apocalyptic despot.