Saturday, October 18, 2008

Vampires!

For the past few years, my book club has read vampire novels during October. We've read "The Historian" and "Sunshine," and although we technically did "Speaks the Nightbird" for this month (which is about a woman accused of witchcraft), we're reading "Fledgling" for November. To say nothing of the fact that we read all four books in the "Twilight" trilogy a few months back.

I've also been watching True Blood on HBO, and reading Jacob's recaps (oh, I should know better, right? After Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica, I'm such a sucker (no pun intended) for reading nearly anything he recaps that I think I spent about 5 hours over two days last week reading the first six episode recaps in a row). AND I bought/borrowed the first three Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire novels on which the series is based and have read them back-to-back this week as well. If the library had the next title on the shelf, I would have gone over this afternoon to get it.

Needless to say, I've got vampires on the brain right now. And it's interesting to compare the stories, especially "Twilight" and the Sookie Stackhouse books, which have a good number of superficial similarities. Both series are about pretty young women with unsettled family lives who meet and fall in love with vampires. Bella is a bit plainer, and Sookie is a bit older, but they both have something special about them: Sookie can read minds, while Bella can prevent hers from being read. Oh, and both have varying degrees of that most "Mary Sue" trait, that of having virtually every man - living or undead - fall in love with them instantly. And werewolves.

But I gotta say - I'm enjoying Sookie's adventures far more than I ever did any of Bella's (although I'm one reader who thought book four was so over the top it was fantastic). Honestly, the TV show is helping too - Anna Paquin's Sookie is sharp and tough and generally kicks ass, and since I started watching the show before I read the books, it's hard to know if I'd like the character as much if I didn't have that portrayal (and Jacob's discussion of the character) coloring my reading. Several other characters on the show are very different from the book, and I prefer the way the show is using them, creating original storylines amid the main plot that is very true to the novel. The books are often lighter and funnier that the show so far, though, despite Sookie being almost killed and/or badly beaten at least 7 times in the first three.

I was going to go more into the similarities, and which vampire rules and legends each book choses to go with, but I think I want to wait on that. There are so many other vampire novels to read still, and I'm trying to get my book club to read nothing else for a year.

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