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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Month in Books: May 2014

Here’s May’s wrap-up. We’re catching up!

Attachments – Rainbow Rowell – 4 stars This little romance, set at the dawn of the internet, is cute and hilarious and 100% gripping. Rainbow writes such winning characters and the plot is lovely.

Allegiant – Veronica Roth – 3 stars The third and final book in the Divergent trilogy. A big finale that completely rips your heart out. It took me a while to get to grips with the pacing, though.

I Am Legend – Richard Matheson – 5 stars Now THIS is a vampire novel! Also a movie starring Will Smith, this is the story of the last (known) human left in a world being taken over by people suffering from the illness…that turns them into vampires. Fantastic book!

Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe – 3 stars Set in a fictional Nigerian tribe, Achebe introduces us to a completely different way of life. The story is set around the time Western influences start seeping in, so it makes for a very harrowing read.

Rebel Belle – Rachel Hawkins – 4 stars I kind of hated myself for liking this so much. It’s an urban fantasy/romance YA novel that is quick and funny and cute. Oh alright, I recommend it.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky – 5 stars This is such a great book! (and movie, with Emma Watson and Logan Lerman, directed by the author himself) Follow main character Charlie as he works through his loves and losses during his high school years. Beautifully told and such great characters!

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald – 5 stars This was my Book of the Month! I loved this classic (and yes, there’s a movie with Leo DiCaprio) for its accessibility, timeless relevance and gorgeous characters.

I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You – Ally Carter – 2 stars Follow a member of an all-girls spy school who speaks 12 languages and yet resorts to ‘OMG’ to express her feelings. I mean, it’s cute and fun and I’m sure it’s somebody’s thing…it just wasn’t for me.

As The Crow Flies – Damien Boyd – 4 stars I reviewed this here! A crime novel with a rock-climbing backdrop, this story will whisk you away and surprise you throughout.

Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear – Andy Stanton – 4 stars While not my favourite Mr Gum book, this one is still fantastic. Lovely illustrations and hilarious text, it’s a children’s novel that is suitable for anyone. I laugh out loud every time.

A House Somewhere – Don George, Anthony Sattin – 2 stars A collection of extracts from travel writings. I’m sure many people will love this book, but it bored me a little! Probably part of the problem was the fact that I had to study it for school.

A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin – 5 stars This book is so long! And yet…worth it. This epic high fantasy has a mind-blowing scope. It’s told from lots of character’s points of view, but Mr Martin makes it all work, juggling threads of stories masterfully.

 

So that was May! If you liked the sound of any of those books, or have read them, let me know! I’m always open to recommendations, too!

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day.

~Dani