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This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously,…

This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It (edition 2012)

by David Wong

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6523214,774 (4.12)39
Title:This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It
Authors:David Wong
Info:Thomas Dunne Books (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:2013 Challenge

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This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It by David Wong


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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
First of all, rest assured that this sequel to John Dies at the End is as good as, and in my opinion even better, than the first. Like JDatE, This Book is Full of Spiders (TBiFoS?) is a perfect blend of laughs and scares. To appropriate a quote from my brief JDatE review, this second book is genuinely both scary and hilarious, eminently quotable and surprisingly thought-provoking. My mind was blown as early as page 25, when Tennet finished his monologue about the bees (the running theme in Wong's books about our skewed perceptions is particularly appealing to me). By that time, I had already reached the conclusion - first manifested when I read JDatE - that David Wong is a genius. Indeed, TBiFoS as a whole is an improvement on its predecessor.

Valid criticisms which were laid at JDatE's door included how it was in fact three shorter stories weaved into one - a criticism which noted how it had originally been published in separate segments online. Such a criticism could not be made of this second book, as Wong tells a single story of a zombie outbreak in the town of [Undisclosed] from beginning to end. I am now convinced that JDatE was not a fluke, and with TBiFoS Wong has proven to be a hilarious comedy writer, and also a master of pacing. The story flows effortlessly, and not a single word is wasted. For example, early on in the book Wong notes how John always buckles his seat belt in his car, 'because he never knew when he would need to ramp something.' For any ordinary comedy writer, this would be a throwaway line intended to make the reader laugh, but Wong is much more than that. Much later in the book, a short chapter ends with 'He [John] flicked his cigarette out of the window. He buckled his seat belt.' (pg. 369). Readers know what is coming, and it brings a smile, to the author's credit. There are many more examples I could give, but one is sufficient to explain how TBiFoS is perfectly written.

Another way in which TBiFoS improves on its predecessor is that some chapters are told from the perspectives of John, Amy and, in one case, Molly(!) These make the book much richer than JDatE, as John and Amy offer different amusing perspectives to the events which unfold. Molly's chapter (pages 251-5) in particular had me grinning from ear to ear and convinced me even further that Wong is a genius. I know I've used the word 'genius' twice now, but I can't think of any other word. Unsurprisingly, Wong himself explains it better than I could:

"I'm going to tell the most ridiculous possible version of it [the story of the zombie outbreak] I can think of. People are going to close it and be like, 'What the fuck did I just read?'" (pg. 488).

Actually, page 488 as a whole may be the single funniest collection of sentences ever committed to paper, as another character comes to Dave to argue about who should sell their story of the zombie outbreak to the media. It is a genuinely fantastic sequence, proving that Wong is the master of meta-comedy. Indeed, any writer who can include a sentence like 'Velvet Jesus bit his head off' (pg. 473) without it seeming out of place (or even unusual, given the other goings-on in [Undisclosed]) is clearly a writer to get excited about. It's more than just a funny book, though; Wong is excellent in building up a rapport between the characters and the reader, leading to the emotional 'sacrifice' ending.

Having said all this, it seems inappropriate to criticise the book, but I do wish more time had been devoted to the mysterious Shadow Men. The character Marconi describes the time-bending powers of these creatures on pages 466 through 468 - this section explains perfectly why I find them fascinating, and I wish they had formed the bulk of the story, rather than the spiders and 'zombies' (although, refreshingly, Wong's zombies are nothing like your same old Romero-esque zombies). The Shadow Men appear only intermittently, unlike in JDatE. When they do appear, the implications of their power are terrifying (note the creepy incident with Amy's hand on page 471) and I wish they were explored further. Maybe in book three? ( )
  MikeFutcher | Mar 18, 2017 |
First of all, look at that cover. On second thought, if you’re afraid of spiders, cover your eyes and scroll on by. I really like it, and I don’t normally take much notice of book covers. Pictures don’t usually do much for me; I’d rather have 1000 words. But apparently I like pictures of books with holes that have book-page-spiders crawling out of them. Who knew?

This book is the sequel to John Dies at the End. Each book tells a complete story that stands on its own, although there are some fun references to the first book that would go over somebody’s head if they hadn’t read it. This second book has the same crazy humor combined with goriness, crudeness, and silliness, but I did think it was toned down a little bit as compared to the first book. On the other hand, I’ve now read almost 900 pages of this author’s writing, so I may have just built up an immunity. Or brain damage.

I didn’t think this plot was as unique and strange as the first one, but it still had its own unique flare and it was told well. In fact, I may have been more absorbed by this story simply because it wasn’t quite so bizarre. It definitely wasn’t devoid of craziness and fun, though. With this book I don’t see much harm in a brief synopsis, as long as I leave out all the juicy details: The story is basically about the zombie apocalypse coming to a small town in the Midwestern U.S., but with the not-really-zombies caused by not-exactly-spiders. Normally I hear the word “zombie” and reflexively reply with the word “ugh”, but this isn’t one of those tedious types of zombie/monster stories. I get bored if a story primarily consists of characters running from scary monsters, finding a temporary refuge, getting found by scary monsters, and running from scary monsters again. This book has an actual story, and it never once felt tedious.

The first book had been told primarily from the first-person perspective of the narrator. In this book, our main characters aren’t together for large portions of the story so the reader gets to spend some time in the heads of the other main characters. I enjoyed that because I felt like I got to know those characters better, and I enjoyed not being confined to a single viewpoint and a single chain of events. On the other hand, I wished the characters were together more often because I think they’re more fun that way.

One semi-spoilerish comment: It seems pretty pointless to persist in calling the town “Undisclosed” to discourage tourists, considering the entire world has been watching news about it for days. The town is likely to be a household name for years. But then, the narrator does make references to potential readers 200 years from now, so maybe he’s trying to prevent tourism in 200 years. :)

In summary, there were some things I liked better about this book as compared to the first book, and some things I liked less. On average, though, I think I enjoyed them about equally. I may have to check out some of the author’s other work someday. ( )
2 vote YouKneeK | Dec 22, 2016 |
This was an amazing book.

I was eagerly awaiting this sequel after i fell in love with the first, [b:John Dies at the End|1857440|John Dies at the End (John Dies at the End #1)|David Wong|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1189289716s/1857440.jpg|1858059]. That one was a bit disjointed at times and it was easy to get lost in the plot. This book however is easy to follow and moves fast straight to the end. I also liked how in stead of like the first book we got to follow the other "main" characters a bit more and see things from their point of view.

Definitely a bit freaky and scary in places, with some good shocking turns of plot. ( )
  Sarah_Buckley | Sep 17, 2016 |
It didn't have the strange charm of the first book (especially the first half) but it had a more cohesive story and more consistent quality. Instead of several smaller, disjointed adventures, it was a more traditional story-line. This one is very close to a zombie story -- on the lighter end, like Zombieland, not gritty like 28 Days Later -- except it's invisible spider lobster things instead of a zombie virus or voodoo.

John, David, and Amy (and a hilarious Awesome Detective Guy) fight the forces of several government agencies to survive a zombie-like outbreak of evil murderous face-infesting spiders from another dimension -- but mostly they just make stupid mistakes. Realistically stupid mistakes, though. ( )
  Andibook | Sep 9, 2016 |
There are surely worse worlds in the multiverse than the one in which David Wong gets to write all of the books.

The podunk white trash Lovecraftian worlds David Wong writes about, for instance. Worlds which might closely resemble our own but for the presence of Shadow Men and titular parasitic eyeball spiders that get up in people's brains and manipulate first their brains and then their biology and turn them into monsters of various imaginative sorts. Those.

John Dies at the End (JDATE to fans) was one of the silliest, weirdest, most messed-up and entertaining books I've ever read (the film adapted from it somewhat less so, but it was still a lot of fun), so my expectations going into this sequel were pretty high, perhaps unreasonably so. They were sort of met, but only sort of.

This Book is Full of Spiders, having a first act like JDATE to follow, did, alas fall short of delivering the same quality of guffaws and jaw-dropping inventiveness JDATE had but I don't think that's what Wong was going for here. For This Book is Full of Spiders gets surprisingly somber at times. Which is all right as far as it goes; while chucklehead slacker heroes John and Dave are terribly amusing to follow, it would be a mistake not to let them learn from their experiences and develop as characters. Which they have done, sort of, at least inasmuch as Dave is a boyfriend now with duties, responsibilities, lots of hand holding and sighing and oh wait, that's Bernard Black. But anyway, you get the idea.

John, thank goodness, is still John, which might surprise people who have the title of the first John and Dave book in mind, but there he is. He's not making cell phone calls that are unstuck in time this go-around, but he still has plenty of stupid ideas that somehow manage to keep the plot from turning into a straightforward bit of disaster porn (but that also mocks the fans of disaster porn, witness the bunch of college hipsters who load up and RV with a whole gun shop's worth of crap and drive it right into the teeth of the crapstorm and insist that videogames have prepared them for apocalyptic good times and they're the only heroes anybody needs, but I digress).

For disaster there most certainly is, in the form of the aforementioned parasitic spiders from another dimension that crawl into people's heads and take them over, spiders that only John and Dave can see as a residual effect of last novel's unwitting experimentation with the multidimensional drug they call Soy Sauce. It starts off small, the spider problem. One is discovered in Dave's bed in the wee hours of one fateful morning, chewing on his leg. He reacts Davishly. He gets John involved. Everything goes wrong and spirals out of control. Because John and Dave.

Along the way, we are treated to more than a bit of pop evolutionary psychology, not all of it coming from Dave's therapist-nemesis, Dr. Tennet; we could read this book as a white trash excursis on the consequences of primate neurology and the fact that our brains are wired to be able to handle a max of about 150 real social connections, but with gunfire and explosions and monsters. This is pulled off pretty well, actually.

What isn't pulled off so well this time around is the narration. JDATE was all first-person, from the entertaining point of view of Dave, who is an undereducated but wickedly intelligent smart ass of a guy with a talent for undercutting the grandiosity of what is around him by boiling a lot down to fart jokes and the like. TBIFOS, however, intercuts his first person narrative with long stretches of third person omniscient whenever the action goes to John or to Dave's girlfriend, the wonderfully down-to-earth and sensible Amy. That all of these sections are often in anything but chronological order -- we frequently get chapter headings telling us that the next bit is, say, eight hours earlier and the like -- is not as annoying as the shift from first to omniscient third is, to me, but then I like my stories to be a bit wibbly wobbly timey wimey once in a while. What I don't like is when they feel lazy or sloppy, and the narration choices here feel a lot like both. Harumph.

Still, I had a good time. If there's another sequel in the works, I'll have a look. If a film gets made of this, I'll watch it. Because John and Dave. ( )
  KateSherrod | Aug 1, 2016 |
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For Carley, who was a better person than I am even though she was a dog.
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You know how sometimes when you're drifting off to sleep you feel that jolt, like you were falling and caught yourself at the last second? It's nothing to be concerned about, it's usually just the parasite adjusting its grip.
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"Fan favorite David Wong takes readers to a whole new level with this blistering sequel to the cult sensation John Dies at the End, soon to be a movie starring Paul Giamatti Originally released as an online serial where it received more than 70,000 downloads, John Dies at the End has been described as a "Horrortacular", an epic of "spectacular" horror that combines the laugh out loud humor of the best R-rated comedy, with the darkest terror of H.P. Lovecraft. The book went on to sell an additional 60,000 copies in all formats.As the sequel opens, we find our heroes, David and John, again embroiled in a series of horrifying yet mind-bogglingly ridiculous events caused primarily by their own gross incompetence. The guys find that books and movies about zombies may have triggered a zombie apocalypse, despite a complete lack of zombies in the world. As they race against the clock to protect humanity from its own paranoia, they must ask themselves, who are the real monsters? Actually, that would be the shape-shifting horrors secretly taking over the world behind the scenes that, in the end, make John and Dave kind of wish it had been zombies after all. Hilarious, terrifying, engaging and wrenching, This Book Is Full of Spiders, the next thrilling installment, takes us for a wild ride with two slackers from the midwest who really have better things to do with their time than prevent the apocalypse. "--… (more)

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