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Posts Tagged ‘vampire lit’

Our aspirations are wrapped up in books, our inclinations are hidden in looks –Belle and Sebastian

“That day Henry made a choice…that some men are just too interesting to die” –Seth Grahame-Smith

“So keeping the box closed just keeps you in the dark, not the universe.” –John Green

This weekend was a big reading weekend for me. I finished Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter  by Seth Grahame-Smith and I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I wasn’t sure which of these books to review (they were both very good) so I figured that I would do a quick review of both of them.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Author: Seth Grahame-Smith. Publication year: 2010

The “quirk-book” trend of taking classic works of fiction and revamping them with zombies or sea monsters was a trend that I jumped head first into. The fact is that these books whether they be re-worked classics or re-worked histories of famous people, the history is still there. The entire plot of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters was still there and a few details were added to make the story have otherworldly elements. The entire history of Abraham Lincoln’s life is in AL:VH. That’s what makes these books so good and so appealing. You get the history and you get the classic literature, but it is more accessible to today’s generation because they do want to read about zombies and monsters and vampires.

I enjoyed AL:VH very very much. I love all things Abe Lincoln. I am so excited for the movie to come out in a few weeks. The book took a turn for me during the Civil War parts, but the ending was just so spectacular and so historically relevant and so, just, well…gnarly that I ended up giving Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 5 out of 5 stars! I highly recommend it!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Authors: John Greene & David Levithan. Publication Year: 2010.

What was great about this book is the fact that it was so obviously written by two different authors. The story is that of two high school aged youth boys in Illinois both named Will Grayson. The story is told in two points of view with each chapter being voiced by the two Will Grayson’s (eg. Chapter one is Will Grayson 1 and chapter 2 is Will Grayson 2 and chapter 3 is Will Grayson 1 again, etc. etc.). The voices are obviously different and the fact that each author wrote the POV of one Will Grayson worked PERFECTLY. I had no idea that this was the style that the two authors were doing so halfway through chapter 2 I realized that Will Grayson 1 wasn’t actually suffering from a bi-polar disorder, but rather it was the other Will Grayson narrating.

The trend of dystopian fiction and vampire fiction in YA literature as of late has been exhausted, in my humble opinion, so it was very refreshing to read a story about “normal” high school students dealing with “normal” high school problems. I also enjoyed this book because it really is a very good LGBT choice. One of the Will Grayson’s is gay and the other Will Grayson’s best friend is gay. A few of the supporting characters are also gay and several characters belong to a gay/straight alliance at school. A major event in the book revolves around a very gay character writing, directing, producing and staring in a musical designed to bring an understanding and a tolerance to gay students. The book is at the same time heartwarming and heart breaking. I loved it. It had humor, love, and honesty. The ending took a weird turn for me so I couldn’t give it the full 5 stars that it could have earned. However, I do recommend it for anyone who may be gay or questioning, especially high school students. This is not a YA book that I would recommend to my middle school students (the language and some of the situations were a little advanced). This is a book that could be beneficial to bullies who may be harassing gay students. This is even a good book for adult parents of gay teenagers and it’s just a good book for anyone looking for a good read. It was a quick read (I read it in a day). 4 out of 5 stars!

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Why you waiting so long? After every single word is said I’m feeling dead and gone-The Black Keys
 
It’s been almost two months since I’ve posted. I am sad to say that I got lost in one of those “moods”. You might know the kind. The ones where nothing you read is appealing to you. The ones where you want to read something, but nothing is grabbing your attention and holding it. Since late-October I have picked up at least 7 books, started them, had full intentions of finishing them, and then sat them back down again. Finally two weeks ago, I decided I needed some “fluff” reading so I picked up book #9 in the Southern Vampires Mysteries Series by Charlaine Harris called Dead & Gone. If any of you out there are familiar with the very popular HBO TV show True Blood, these are the books that the show is based on. The books are great. I started reading them in Grad School one day after falling in love with the TV show. I searched all over Greensboro for a copy of the first book Dead Until Dark which follows the first season of the TV show. I finally found one last copy at the Borders(RIP) all the way across town, but it was so worth it!

There was a guy that I had been crushing over since freshman year of college. While at work one night he came up to the reference desk to talk to me and he casually mentioned that he too was currently reading Dead Until Dark. Since I was also currently in the midst of this book, I knew we were meant to be together. But, much like Sookie and Vampire Bill, it just didn’t work out. However, soon these books were everywhere! People were falling in love with the show and then they had to read the books. This is what I love about a movie or a TV show or a popular play even that is based on a book or on a book series. I love how people start reading again. Sure, they’re watching the movie or the TV show (or the play, or whatever),  but they’re also reviving the book (or series) and giving it new life. I just opened up my copy of Dead Until Dark and found that it was first published in 2001. Eleven years ago! It wasn’t until 2008 when True Blood first aired that this book even hit a best-sellers list.

They always say that the book is better than the movie, and I agree with that. People will watch a movie or a TV show (play, etc) and then read the book and they fall even more in love with the book that they did with the movie (or show) (or play, jeez!) and then they’ll want to read more. Where do they go to read more? Hopefully the library, but most likely to Barnes and Noble. But whatever, if people are reading, they’re READING even if it is “fluff” and that’s why I’m not so worried about my light reading this month. I finished off Dead and Gone and I’m on to another of Ms. Harris’s books- Three Bedrooms, One Corpse. This is part of the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries Series and is just as charming and delightful as the Southern Vampires series. Harris also has several other series out there such as the Shakespeare Series and the Grave Series. I’ve read the first two books in both of these sets and I just didn’t enjoy them as much as Sookie and Aurora. However, if you enjoy mystery and quirky characters and settings, definitely give all of Harris’s books a try!

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Well, that’s just fine, Say it once, say it twice, Take a chance and roll the dice, Ride with the moon in the dead of night, Everybody scream, everbody scream. – Danny Elfman

I am all in a sea of wonders. I doubt; I fear; I think strange things, which I dare not confess to my own soul. –Bram Stoker Dracula

And now, for my top favorite scary/horror/Halloween books:

5. Frankenstein – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
I had to read this book for a Victorian Literature class in college. At the time I worked for the on campus department of housing and my job duties were to sit in dorms that were mostly empty and wait for people to ask me questions. Sitting alone at 11:00 at night in a huge, empty, silent and dark towering building can be scary enough on its own. I was a little leery of taking this book with to read while on duty, but I knew I had to for class and I wouldn’t have much time to do so other than while at work. In class we had learned that Shelley had written the book for a contest on who could write the scariest book, and that hers had won. I knew the story of Frankenstein and had for years been very peeved when someone would refer to the creature as Frankenstein when it was really the name of the doctor that had brought the creature to life. Hello! Hadn’t anyone seen Young Frankenstein?! This book honestly did not scare me, but it is such a classic that I couldn’t leave it off of the list. I did enjoy it a lot, I just wasn’t frightened of it. Perhaps if I had lived in the year without a summer I would have been!

4. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Washington Irving
I had to read this one for another class in college. I remember reading it on a Friday night on my couch. My roommates had gone out for the evening (it was a Friday afterall, and only the English Major nerds were inside reading a book) and I was all alone. I remember being utterly terrified that some headless horseman was going to ride through the streets of Greensboro and up the stairs to my walkup apartment and sneak up on me from behind the huge piles of laundry that 3 girls in college can accumulate. It never happened, duh, but I couldn’t sleep until at least one roommate came home, just to be sure, saftey in numbers and all that.

3. I debated a long time which Stephen King book to add, I am a huge fan of his (I am reading one of his books in my profile picture) and have read most of his work. I had to go with my favorite though, which is Salem’s Lot. I love vampires and like I’ve said before, I loved them before they were popular. I have always enjoyed vampire literature (see Dracula below). I have also been somewhat intimidated by the sheer size of some of Mr. King’s works. Salem’s Lot seemed to be just the right size for me. I checked it out from the library, took it home, and devoured it. Luckily, I didn’t read it alone and I read it at a boyfriend’s house. I am not often scared by books, but I remember one scene in this  book shook me to my core and I had to put the book in the freezer for a few minutes until I could turn on all of the lights in the house and make sure that there were no well-dressed vampires in the house.

2. The Exorcist William Peter Blatey
When I was in high school I saw the movie at a slumber party and couldn’t sleep for weeks, convinced that Reagan or Captain Howdy or Satan or whoever was going to sneak into my house and possess me and make me scratch my face up and vomit on priests. I was very scared of the movie. I dare not try to read the book. The book was given to me as a gift and I remember reading the majority of it on my parents front poarch during a summer afternoon thunderstorm. It was my ideal reading experience. The weather was comfortable and rainy and the book was best to be read during a storm! My aunt told me that she read it while staying alone in an old house with no electricity. She is far braver than I ever will be!

1. Dracula Bram Stoker.
Ah, Dracula, “the original horror classic.” Isn’t it, though! I read this book in the same class that I read Frankestein. I am so grateful to Dr. Vann who assigned these books to us. Though I have always loved vampire literature (even before it was popular) I had never even picked up a copy of Dracula before and I just don’t know why. Once I started reading this book I could not put it down. I read part of it on another Friday night. The guy I was dating at the time was over watching tv and I was only vaguly aware that he was even there. Later that night I was terrified and I remember looking up into a mirror in the hallway and seeing his reflection and just screaming my lungs out, having forgotten that he was there and convinced that it was the opposite way around- vampires could ONLY be seen by their reflections in mirrors. Needless to say, this book became a daytime only read! And if you only read one book from this list, please let it be this one!

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