I’m not sure I get Black Friday anymore. It’s increasingly easy to get goods and gifts online, and at discount prices pretty much the same as the ones in store too. The weather is usually pretty crappy this time of the year, and I’m typically more interested in sleeping off Thanksgiving than getting into a fistfight over a TV at Best Buy at four in the morning. I prefer to stay home on Black Friday.
Still, though, there are plenty fascinated with Black Friday, like they would be with a vicious car wreck I suppose. You just can’t look away. Except now you can! Instead of watching the depressing news of mobs taking over stores today, you could simply read a few books. Specifically, you could read the books I’ve compiled in this list here, because they are the texts I feel best simulate the experience of being on the front lines of Black Friday.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan: This is a well written YA apocalypse novel that part standard zombie apocalypse, (the hands and teeth in the titular forest) and M. Night Shyamalan’s the Village. A town has built a safe zone out of a system of fencing, walls and other protection in the middle of an isolated forest. Isolated, that is, except for all the zombies of course. To keep people feeling safe, and to keep stringent laws and codes in place, a whole tribal hierarchy is in place that heavily echoes the first part of the Village, but this story is better because the monsters are real and not Adrien Brody in an evil porcupine cloak costume.
Protagonist Mary eventually has to decide whether to brave the deadly zombie forest or face certain death in the village itself. This is often how I feel on Black Friday. I randomly find that I need something small, a new charger cable or some soap, and I have to decide whether getting this item is worth venturing out into an apocalyptic department store that could very likely be full of blood thirsty zombies… I mean customers. Always a very difficult choice.
Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama: This vastly successful anime and manga series also plays with the idea of humans quarantining themselves off from a world overrun by monsters, but with this excellent series I want to focus on the main monsters. Titans, the one’s we’re supposed to be attacking according to the title you guys, are these freakish giants with abnormally large mouths and often other strangely proportioned body parts that just make them look all the more terrifying. Their uniqueness makes them even better than traditional zombies at highlighting how these monsters we are fighting are merely warped versions of ourselves. Incomprehensible, gluttonous nightmares we feel we cannot possibly understand, as much as they do remind us of our worst selves. When we see someone on the news arrested for stabbing someone over a toaster, isn’t part of our horror in recognizing this person as an eerie, dark reflection of your own greedy instincts? What would you really do for a toaster at that steep a discount, huh? Do you know? Do you?
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton: This is perhaps the most straightforward comparison on the list. Sure, it starts out seeming like a cool idea. Who doesn’t love dinosaurs/saving big money on fancy gift towel sets? At first though, it just seems like a great idea and a natural extension of our capitalistic, consumerist world. Long extinct dangerous creatures in a theme park? Sure, Where else would we put them, and the gift shops too! Well of course there would be a crowd interested lining up outside a store at midnight, with these deals? And sure dinosaurs might get a bit snippy. They’re wild animals after all, put we’ve got safe guards against…OH GOD NO THE FENCES ARE DOWN RUN! Sure, there are lots of people waiting to get in line, and these prices are pretty cheap, but people won’t go too crazy about this. They aren’t animals…OH MY GOD THE DOORS ARE OPEN, RUN! Then we realize it was all a sick parody designed to expose the inherent flaws in our society.
There you have it, three books you could read and still get that full Black Friday experience without serious bodily harm. Stay harm and safe this holiday season!