Books About: Vampires

I feel like vampires are a recurring theme in literature, and have I ever talked about them? Nope. I decided it was time to remedy that, and present to you some of my favourite books that involve vampires.

Vampires have been present in folklore internationally, although not always under the same name. They’re usually defined as undead people who thrive upon the blood of the living. It’s pretty grim, really.

There’s been a lot of debate as to where the word ‘vampire’ actually came from, and I actually just read a really interesting essay here! Some people look to the Slavonic synonym ‘upyr’, which is a derivative of the word for witch. Interesting, right? The perception of this creature has changed so much over time, to the point that we no longer really fear it but heavily romanticise it (okay, Twilight – that was your shout-out.)

I haven’t read a great deal about these creatures, but I really really liked the ones I’ve picked to talk about today, so I hope you enjoy!

1. Dracula – Bram Stoker Duh. The vampire story to end all vampire stories – need I say more? I love the kind of quaint British characters, and the creepy trips to Romania. Vampires make awesome villains!

2. The Infernal Devices – Cassandra Clare This is a little YA urban paranormal trilogy, so while vampires aren’t really the main focus, they do play a vital part in the plot. In these books, vampirism is a demonic illness, which I think is the major difference between them and a more traditional blood-sucker. Also – these vampires aren’t automatically ‘bad guys’, just saying.

3. I Am Legend – Richard Matheson This is a great one! Here there’s not just one vampire, or even a clan, but a whole freaking apocalypse of them. The story follows the last remaining human, holding his own against the sun-fearing monsters. What’s different about this take on the vampire is that it’s very scientific – there’s no real para-normality; the whole thing is more like a virus. Again, these guys are pretty villainous.

4. The Bloody Chamber – Angela Carter This is actually a collection of short stories that are re-tellings of fairy tales and folkloric beasts (vampires included). The female vampire in ‘The Lady of the House of Love’ has a papery beauty and calculated seductiveness, but what makes her different to the other vampiric interpretations mentioned above is her dependence. She relies not only on her maid, but on the people she feeds upon, and this gives her a kind of twisted innocence.

What other great books about vampires can you recommend? Have you read any of the ones I mentioned?

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!

~Dani

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Misleading Plot Blurbs: Answers

On Sunday, I posted a little list of famous books summarised misleadingly,  and asked you to guess what I was describing. You got a good few! Anyway, this is the follow-up post where I tell you what the solutions really were. If you haven’t seen the original yet, pop over before continuing!

Blurb: An elderly man kidnaps a small child from her bed.
Answer: The BFG by Roald Dahl

Blurb: An unpleasant writer follows two teenagers half-way across the globe.
Answer: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Blurb: Some friends team up to murder a hoarder.
Answer: The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein

Blurb: A pyromaniac suffering from depression and an excellent hairstyle finds her wings.
Answer: Mockingjay (The Hunger Games Trilogy) by Suzanne Collins

Blurb: A deranged and racist gentleman hunts and attempts to kill a large cut of meat.
Answer: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Blurb: A cat lover goes on an extended fishing trip.
Answer: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Blurb: A sweet-toothed atheist starts a scandal.
Answer: Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Blurb: An abused child is pursued by a giant taken from his family.
Answer: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling

Blurb: A fish gets hungry for no apparent reason.
Answer: Jaws by Peter Benchley

Blurb: Five Englishmen (give or take a Hungarian)  hunt down an ambitious immigrant.
Answer: Dracula by Bram Stoker

How many did you guess right?

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!

~Dani

Month in Books: January 2014

I read a lot of books that don’t even get a passing mention here, despite my having potentially really enjoyed them. What I’ve decided to do is write a quick summary of my month in books: what I read, a very short summary, and my rating out of five stars. The plan is to have a list of books that will hopefully inspire you to pick one of them up. I’ll link you up to any reviews I’ve written, and also the Goodreads page for each book, so you can find out more about any that take your fancy.

  • Chocolat – Joanne Harris – 4 stars A beautifully written novel set in a little French town, depicting a passive-aggressive battle between the legalism of the local church and the tempting luxury of the new chocolatier.
  • Unwind – Neal Shusterman – 4 stars A creepy YA Dystopian that follows the stories of young teenagers who are donated by their parents to a company who will ‘unwind’ them and re-distribute their body parts to other people.
  • Le Petit Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery A short (and very weird) children’s book full of philosophical ‘thought-provokers’ (also available in English)
  • Burn – Ted Dekker, Erin Healy – 4 stars Another creepy read! After a fire in a gypsy camp wipes out nearly all of her family, Janeal faces the aftermath, rebuilding her life and ultimately having to make the choice between the good and evil forces at work.
  • The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul – Deborah Rodriguez – 5 stars The hard-hitting story of five very different women becoming unlikely friends in the context of the conflict in Afghanistan (I reviewed this here!)
  • Dracula – Bram Stoker – 4 stars The original vampire horror novel! A timelessly chilling account of the infamous Count Dracula faced by the only five men in England who actually believe in his existence.
  • The Help – Kathryn Stockett – 5 stars The moving story of three women living in 1960’s Jackson, Mississippi and their struggles against the poisonous racism. (This was my Book of the Month!)
  • Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen – 4 stars A particularly accessible Austen story that tells a pretty romance with a refreshing amount of humour and satire. Especially recommended for any first-time Jane Austen readers.
  • My Classy Life and Other Musings – Ron Burgundy – 4 stars The beloved character from comedy movie ‘Anchorman’ blesses the world with his hilarious and completely character-appropriate autobiography. (Did I mention this was hilarious?)

And that was January! If you’ve read any of these books, let me know what you thought of them. Hopefully you were inspired by one or two of these titles – and if not, there’s always next month!

Thanks for reading and have a lovely day.

~Dani