An out of practice reader discussing the books I get around to reading.
If you're wondering if the title's question gets answered, they never really address zombie dreams. Not that I could tell anyway.
This book was a lot of fun to read. I enjoy zombie fiction, though I limit the amount I partake in due to nightmares, but I've never read zombie nonfiction. Neuroscience isn't exactly my strong suit, but I do find the subject matter interesting, especially considering how closely linked it is to psychology. I picked this book up on a whim, thinking it would be fun, and I was not disappointed.
Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep? explains zombies from a neuroscience perspective. "Well how the hell does that work? Zombies aren't real!" Excellent question! What Voytek and Verstynen do is they treat the way zombies are portrayed in books and movies as true to life fact. They then analyze what the behaviors in the various forms of media reveal about how zombie's behavior reflects their brain functioning. As someone who spent a lot of time learning how to conduct a solid scientific study, I was really impressed with their methodology. And it made perfect sense the way they did it.
This book is really about how the human brain functions and what happens when typical brain functioning is damaged. Most of the chapters are just about how the different brain parts and systems function to facilitate memory, senses, motor skills, etc. They then tie it all back to zombies in the last page and a half of each chapter. So it's a brain book, just all the examples they give are about zombies, like, "When you run when you see a zombie, that's your fight or flight response caused by this." Let me tell you, it makes for a REALLY fun way to learn about the brain.
Like I said, neuroscience is not my best subject, so a lot of the explanations did go over my head. But that's not necessarily their fault. Sometimes there are subjects that are just harder for certain people to learn. For the most part, I understood everything they were teaching me. In fact, I understood it better than I did in my entire Brain and Behavior course. They do a great job of explaining things in the simplest of terms without treating the reader like an idiot. They know there's a good chance their reader isn't a neuroscientist, but they don't act like that means we can't understand what they're telling us unless they teach it Sesame Street style. It made their narration super endearing and enjoyable. I loved learning from them.
If there's one thing I didn't care for about the book, it's that the first chapter getting into brain functioning was difficult to get through. It was slow and dense and it was the chapter I struggled the most with. There were other sections in the book too where I wish they had explained things just a little bit more in depth and a little more simplistically, since it was hard to follow at times. If you can push through those sections, though, they don't hamper the book too much.
Overall I found this book incredibly informative and enjoyable. I felt like I really learned something after reading it and I had fun doing so. That's always the best way to learn something. If you're looking to learn about neuroscience, zombies, or just a book to make you feel smarter, I definitely recommend this one.
Final rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars