Thursday, May 20, 2010

Guest Author: Robin Becker + Giveaway

Robin Becker, author of the Brains: A Zombie Memoir, has been kind enough to stop by Reading with Tequila to teach us how to spot a smart zombie.

Let’s face it: Zombies aren’t sexy. They’re a slow, shambling mess of rancid, decaying flesh. They stink, their teeth are rotting out, and they only want you for your brains. Don’t even get me started on gangrene. Extremities fall off. You know what I’m talking about.

So forget about sexy zombies. They can’t compete with vampires anyway. Vamps are the undead everyone wants, the creatures of the night taking over the world with their sparkles and romance and drop-dead gorgeous paleness. Sigh. In all honesty, I’d let a vampire bite me. I’d like to live forever and wear goth outfits.

But back to zombies. If they can’t be sexy, then they can be smart—which is sexy in its own way, right? When the virus is unleashed, surely some living dead will retain cognition. They’d have thoughts and feelings. In other words, they’d have brains. And not just in their mouths, but their heads too.

Brains is the memoir of such a zombie: Jack Barnes, an intrepid ghoul who tries to stop his decomposition and secure his right to exist. Jack wants what we all want: a family, friends, life, liberty, and the pursuit of brains.

When the apocalypse happens, it might be difficult for inexperienced humans to distinguish the mindless zombies from the mindful ones. It’s a crucial distinction, because one wants to rip out your guts and the other wants to engage in conversation.

Have no fear. I helped Jack write his memoir and I can help you. When you see a horde of undead approaching on the horizon, consult the following list of basic characteristics. It could save your life.
  • Zombie with yellow film covering his eyes: stupid. Chop off his head with an ax.
  • Zombie carrying a copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass: smart. Ask whether she’s achieved transcendence now that she no longer has to face death.
  • Zombie with patches on his wounds and stapled-together limbs: smart. And could be wily too. Exercise caution when conversing with this one. Be prepared to kill.
  • Zombie carrying Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: your call. First, ask him how it compares with the Jane Austen original. Then plunge a straightened coat hanger into his eyeball, depending on whether or not you agree with his opinion.
  • Zombie wielding a weapon over her head: smart. But kill her anyway. Obviously she’s going to use that weapon on you.
  • Zombie dragging his leg behind him, drooling and shuffling: stupid. And sad. You can outrun him. If you like, show mercy and let him “live.”
  • Zombie wearing a tweed jacket, tortoise-shell glasses, and carrying a notebook and pen: Jack Barnes. Don’t shoot. He’s going to change the world.
There are many more characteristics, most of which you’ll discover on your own. But there’s one overarching truth: Sometimes smart zombies succumb to their desires. Eating brains is part of their nature—it’s like asking a cat not to pounce on a mouse. If a smart zombie—even Jack Barnes—appears to be lunging for your cranium, don’t hesitate to destroy the thing. We all just want to survive.

About the Author

Robin Becker lives on a lake where she enjoys fishing in her pajamas. When the Zombie Apocalypse happens, she will feast on crappie and canned goods. In the meantime, she plays punk-rock guitar, bakes bread, and teaches writing at the University of Central Arkansas. The original 1978 Dawn of the Dead is her favorite zombie movie.

About the Book

Forget contemporary American literature--former college professor Jack Barnes has a new passion: Brains. It’s in his nature…he’s a zombie. But he’s not your normal, vacant-eyed, undead idiot. No, Jack Barnes has something most other victims of the zombie apocalypse don’t have: sentience. In fact, he can even write. And the story he has to tell is a truly disturbing--yet strangely heartwarming--one.

Convinced he’ll bring about a peaceful coexistence between zombies and humans if he can demonstrate his unique condition to the man responsible for the zombie virus, Howard Stein, Barnes sets off on a grueling cross-country journey to meet his maker. Along the way he meets more like him, rotting brain-eaters who have retained some sort of cognitive ability, and soon forms a small army that will stop at nothing to reach their goal. There’s Guts, the agile, dread-locked boy who can run like the wind; Joan, the matronly nurse adept at re-attaching rotting appendages; Annie, the young girl with a fierce quick-draw; and Ros, who can actually speak coherent sentences. Together they make their way through an eerie new world of roving zombie hunters, empty McMansions, and clogged highways on a quest to attain what all men, women--and apparently zombies--yearn for: equality.

Robin's website
Buy Brains through IndieBound
Buy Brains at Amazon

Reading with Tequila's review of Brains


Robin has provided one copy of Brains: A Zombie Memoir for one lucky reader!

To enter, leave a comment sharing your favorite zombie movie or book. Be sure to leave your email address in case you win!

Deadline for entry is Friday, May 28th at 11:59pm EST. US and Canada only.


  1. Great book! I'd love to win my own copy!

    Fav. zombie book is a toss up between this one and The Forest of Hands and Teeth

    kpic724 (at) gmail (dot) com

  2. Great giveaway!

    Fave Movie is I am Legend with Will Smith.


  3. Great review, great interview and great picture Robin!! I love the idea and can't wait to read about Jack!

    My favorite zombie movie right now is Zombieland, and that is mostly because my 5 year old is obsessed with Woody Harrelson and his line "zombie kill of the week"? He pretends he slays zombies daily and says that line every time.


  4. I'd love to read this!

    My movie of choice is 28 Weeks Later.

    stephaniet117 at yahoo dot com

  5. My favorite zombie movie is Shaun of the Dead. I find it so hilarious! Some of my other favorites are Dawn of the Dead and Zombieland. I am slightly obsessed with zombies.

    pirate_pony2 at yahoo dot com

  6. I have to say Zombieland is my fav right now. Thanks for the giveaway.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  7. My current favorite zombie movie is Quarantine. My favorite book with zombies...Raymond Feist's Silverthorn, OK so it is not a "zombie" story, but there are lots of zombie-like bad guys battling the forces of good.

    stephenperigo at hotmail dot com

  8. I'm not really sure which is my favorite zombie book since I'm still getting into them. I want to read a few more before I decide. When it comes to the movies though? I would have to go with Night of the Living Dead. To me, that will always be a classic.

  9. I loved zombieland but my all-time favorite is My boyfriends Back It's campy fun

  10. Nice review! Any zombie book that includes a Walt Whitman reference is worth reading!

    My fave zombie movie is Shaun of the Dead. Simon Pegg plus zombies makes for excellent viewing (all that's missing is a Whitman reference).

    I hope I win. I hope I win!!!

  11. Breathers - SG Browne

    Zombies are so freaky you have to love them!

    shadowsinstone = gee/mail

  12. Oh!! I want this book sooooo bad! Pick me, pick me!

    My favorite zombie book is World War Z by Max Brooks. OMG, so good.


  13. Robin and I share the same last name...I should be win. bahaha.

    Let's favorite zombie film? I really like Zombieland quite honestly. Such a goodie.

    lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

  14. OMG, this sounds awesome.

    I’ve never been a fan of zombie movies or books before, but I love witty, funny books that challenge me to change my mind about something, and I recently saw Zombieland and it was hilarious.

  15. Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things. Saw it when I was maybe 12 and it definitely stuck with me. Urgh!

    Thanks for having the giveaway! I'd love to read Brains!! ~Misty

  16. I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer

    I never win anything, but always have to put my name in the hat, especially for something as witty as THIS!

  17. My favorite zombie movie is Resident Evil, followed closely by Zombieland. My favorite zombie book is the Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.

    This book sounds amazing!

    gabrielwerecat at gmail dot com

  18. oh, i want to read this! it sounds awesome!

    my favorite zombie movie recently is fido. it's so out-there and funny....

  19. Oh I'd love to read this!

    Favorite zombie movie? Definitely Zombieland! Zombies and hilarious dialog? Yes please!

    Favorite zombie book has to be World War Z. I've read that book way more times than I can count because it is just so spooky. It is it weird that I hope if the world ends it ends in a zombie apocalypse? :)


  20. I want to read this book!

    My favorite movie is the original: Night of the Living Dead - still awesome and gives me the chills. My favorite book is the on-going series The Walking Dead by Image Comics. Amazing if you haven't read them.

  21. Everyone loves Zombieland! Must be that hilarious Bill Murray cameo.

  22. Congrats to Robin. Cool book. Been looking forward to May 25 ever since Janet Reid told me about it.

    Best zombie movie - until BRAINS get made, Zombieland. Were there others?

  23. My favorite zombie movies (I couldn't pick just one) are Dawn of the Dead (the remake) I could watch it all day long, Shaun of the Dead because everytime I watch it I laugh as hard as I did the first time I saw it, and Zombieland (which seems to be a favorite around here).

    And my favorite books are The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and Soulless.


  24. Best zombie movie - It would have to be Zombieland also.

    jellybelly82158 at gmail dot com

  25. I don't know whether "I Am Legend" really qualifies as a zombie movie. If so, that's my fav. If not, I'll go with 28 Days Later.

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  26. Favorite movie "Return of the Night of the Living Dead". My husband and I saw it years ago(and we have the DVD :) and still to this day throw out lines of the movie. Has many classic lines that we love. Our favorite being "You mean they Lied!" that they used when trying unsuccessfully to kill the zombie by cutting off it's head.

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  27. My favorite movie is Zombieland!Thanks for the contest.I would love to read this!

  28. Thanks for the contest!!

    My favorite zombie movie is Zombieland.

  29. This is an awesome contest!

    My favorite zombie book is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

  30. This is hilarious! Love zombies, probably more than I should. Wrote my masters thesis on zombies as metaphor for a culture's ideological fears. Love. Them.

    My favorite zombie movie is "Shaun of the Dead" and my fav zombie book, as of the moment, is "World War Z".

    gretchenstull at yahoo dot com

  31. My favorite zombie movie is Shaun of the Dead. That one had me chuckling.

  32. This book sounds so awesome! My favorite zombie film is the classic Night of the Living Dead because it is the birth of the zombie genre as we know it.


  33. My favorite zombie book is the original Night of the Living Dead

    sgiden AT

  34. My favorite zombie movie is Shaun of the Dead. It was so ridiculous and silly.

    yahsal at hotmail dot com

  35. I'd have to say that my favorite zombie movie is Shaun of the Dead.


  36. My favorite movie was Dawn of the Dead!

  37. My favorite zombie book would be The Forest of Hands and Teeth

  38. I just saw Zombieland, and I just loved it. Have to love comedy, zombies, and the quest for twinkees. :)


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  40. My fave zombie movie is Shaun of the Dead, Simon Pegg is freakin' hilarious!

    patronus89013 at yahoo dot com

  41. My favorite zombie movie has to be Zombieland.

  42. I actually love zombie movies so I have a lot of faves! If I had to pick though, funny zombie movie would be Shaun of the Dead and serious zombie movie would be 28 Days later. Thanks for the giveaway!


  43. Great Giveaway! This book sounds really good ;P The best Zombie book I have read would be The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan !


  44. My favorite zombie book is World War Z by Max Brooks. It covers so many different perspectives. Some left me with nightmares while others were so sad I was near tears. (at) gmail(dot)com

  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

  46. I love zumbies movies and my favorite is Dawn of the dead *-*

    I love zumbiland too.

  47. Favorite zombie book has got to be I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. Favorite zombie movie is either Shaun of the Dead or the original Dawn of the Dead.

  48. Ooh, this book is on my must read list! Please enter me if I'm not too late. My favorite zombie movie is Return of the Living Dead. It's a classic. ;0) corazane(at)aol(dot)com

  49. So many zombies so little time but I guess I'd have to go with I Am Legend for its sheer creepiness.

    redspencer (at) yahoo (dot) com

  50. I'd have to say my favorite zombie book is World War Z, and my favorite zombie movie is Shaun of the Dead.

    eeeschen (at) gmail (dot) com

  51. My favorite zombie movie is definitely the original Dawn of the Dead. I'm originally from the area and lived only 10 minutes away from the mall where it was filmed. Excellent horror film as well as an excellent social commentary.