“Most people don't realize how important librarians are. I ran across a book recently which suggested that the peace and prosperity of a culture was solely related to how many librarians it contained. Possibly a slight overstatement. But a culture that doesn't value its librarians doesn't value ideas and without ideas, well, where are we?”
Neil Gaiman

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I Want to Suck Your Bloooood!

Something about vampires has always fascinated folks. The allure of the forbidden neck bite…mysterious and yet hinting at that sexual desire within us. The creatures of the night who are dangerous and yet promise everlasting life. They are beautiful and timeless creatures. Bram Stoker’s famous Dracula is dark and delicious, my generation grew up with Anne Rice’s vampires who had human emotions and led a flood of devotees to my father’s hometown of New Orleans. A new generation of young adult literature has exploded with variations of vampires with human emotions and connections. They are filled with romance and adventure and are terrific fun.

Teens have been flocking to the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyers that has already spurred a matching movie version starring the delicious Robert Pattinson as Edward and beautiful Kristen Stewart as Bella. The second film in the series, New Moon, should be out soon. A more challenging adult read, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, weaves in history of the Dracula legend as it spins its tale. Lovers of historical fiction will thoroughly enjoy Kostova’s book. M.T. Anderson’s Thirsty is a hysterical and very different vampire book written from the viewpoint of a teenage boy changing into a vampire. Anderson captures the language and angst of a teen in flux perfectly.

Mother and daughter team P.C. and Kristin Cast teamed up to write a fun series of their own called the House of Night series. It starts with the book Marked and it currently up to book 5, Hunted. The main character is a strong female character named Zoey Redbird at a Vampyre Academy called the House of Night who has been gifted by the goddess Nix. I am always a fan of books with extremely strong female characters and this one fits the bill.

One not suitable for under-16’s due the amount of sexual content but definitely fun is the Sookie Stackhouse series! It has spurred the HBO series True Blood – also rated R. I just love Charlaine Harris’s books! They are an easy read, but so much fun. I am not typically a fan of the “trashy beach read”, however Harris has constructed such fun characters and hilarious dark humor in her series that I am completely hooked. She has written 10 books in the series and my stepdaughter and I are in debate as to whether there will be a continuation. Like many of my other favorite books, Sookie is also an incredibly strong female character. In fact, this year I plan on dressing up as Sookie for Halloween – already have the costume!

Finally, I discovered one more gem in the vampire genre recently. I picked it up because I was reading the back cover at my local library. The main character’s name is Elena – that is my daughter’s name so of course it caught my eye. When I flipped the book over I saw that it was a young adult book about vampires. A young adult book about vampires with a main character named Elena? How could I pass it up?! The series is called The Vampire Diaries. I ended up reading the entire series and am anxiously awaiting the sixth book due out in October. It is a fabulous series with yet another strong female lead. In addition to the books, a TV series is being piloted on the CW September 10th. The online preview shows that it will deviate somewhat from the book series by taking out a few characters and introducing a few new ones. It looks as though they will keep the main premise, however and the actors in the main roles fit my images of the characters for the most part -- although they have changed Elena from a blond to a brunette. They have Marcos Siega from Dexter, another of my all-time favorite series, directing the plot. (No, I don't have a morbid fascination with blood!)

I have a few more books on vampires in my collection yet to read – Evernight by Claudia Gray and Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz. A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb, Peeps by Scott Westerfield, The Silver Kiss and Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klaus have also received great reviews although they still sit on my Amazon list waiting for me to get around to reading them. Eventually I’ll get to them too – I’m a confirmed vampire addict!

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