So the other day, I took a trip to Borders, as there was a book I was interested in getting.
Here's one way to kill a conversation with the decent looking college-aged male clerk at Borders:
When he looks at one of the books you're buying and comments that it looks like an interesting read and he might have to check it out, be sure to mention that "yeah, it does - my husband's looking for this one for awhile." Almost the entire rest of the transaction was conversation-less (aside from him informing me his register just ran out of paper and it'll be a moment for my receipt while he changes it).
The book in question was "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter," the latest by Seth Grahame-Smith who also wrote "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." The premise is that Abe Lincoln had a secret journal he kept that has been debunked by historians for ever existing, however this author claims to have a copy of it. In it, Abe explains how his mother and several other relatives were really killed by vampires, the Civil War involved vampires and that his height played an important role in his on the side duties of vampire slaying, as he was able to always hide an axe in his tall long coats. Sounds amusing, right? The reason my hubby had a horrible time trying to find this one (which has only been out for about a month or so) is because it sounds like it would be in either the sci-fi/fantasy or horror sections of the store with all the other vampire novels. But nope, it's listed under Humor! Another book I found in that section was "Jane Slayre" - a take on Jane Eyre, which I imagine involves vampire slaying.
Hubby's reading Abe Lincoln, Vamp Hunter right now, so I plan on reading it after he finishes. I'll be sure to share my take on it!
Also, while I was there I saw that this is finally in paperback, which got me really excited, as it reminded me that this is coming out in a few weeks! For those too lazy to right-click on the links, the paperback is "Dead and Gone" by Charlaine Harris, book 9 in the Southern Vampire Mysteries (aka the Sookie Stackhouse novels), which is the book series that HBO's TrueBlood is based on. For those that read the series, she releases the latest book in paperback about a month before the new on comes out (in hardcover).
I've already done my research and am planning on visiting Walmart that night at midnight, as they have it advertised for $12.99, $3 less than Borders. I'll probably have it read within 48 hours, however, the next season of TrueBlood (the TV show based on these books) premieres in June, so I'll have that to hold me over during the summer, before I have to wait for the next book (the author is contracted to write 13 books in this series).
Since I have books 1-8 in paperback, I'm half tempted to try and "return" my hardcover version and get the paperback so they all fit nicely on my shelf - I did receive it as a gift, so technically that explains why I don't have a receipt with me... it is in mint condition too, as I read it once and I don't tend to destroy books when I read them.
I got hooked on this series last fall, soon after my birthday, as my mother in law mentioned something about it at my family's cookout we did for my birthday and that she was hooked on it. I heard it was based on a book series, so I looked into it and bought the first book. Then hubby downloaded season 1 of the show for me, so I would read a few chapters and then watch a few episodes. It was a fun process, as the show was pretty close to the book, but added to the story via expanding other characters, since the books are only told from the main character's point of view. I enjoyed the first book and wanted to get the 2nd so hubby bought me the 1-7 boxset of the paperbacks for our anniversary and we downloaded season 2 of the shows, so like I did with book 1, I did the same with book 2 - read a few chapters, watch a few episodes. Hubby got into the TV show too, so we started watching them together.
I spent the rest of the fall and first part of winter reading through the first 7 books. For Christmas, hubby got me the book 8 paperback and the book 9 (which was only in hardcover until recently). I finished those right after new years.
For those not familiar with the books or the show, the premise is this: the Japanese have developed a type of synthetic blood and so vampires have come out of hiding, being able to live off this bottled beverage, known as True Blood. The series revolves around Sookie Stackhouse - a mid-20s barmaid and waitress in Bon Temps Louisiana, who is also telepathic. One night, a vampire named Bill walks into the bars she works at and Sookie is instantly taken with him - Bons Temps has never had a vampire visit before, so this is a first for her and the other town residents. Soon after their first meeting, however, Bill is captured by a pair of "drainers" (people who capture vampires and drain them of their blood and sell it on the black market, as it's believed that vampire blood can cure injuries and many use it as a drug to get high). Sookie comes to his aid though and the two for an unlikely bond and start falling for each other.
There's a lot of twists though throughout the series and as the series progresses, we learn that vampires aren't the only "fictional" supernatural creatures that exist in our world.
The books are mostly a mystery series, as in each book there's always someone getting killed or kidnapped and it keeps you guessing who it is until the end. They also throw in a little bit (well a lot in the show) of romance, so take note, this series is not for kids or teens - especially when it comes to the HBO TV adaption (the books aren't nearly as graphic because it's all in your head and how you imagine it).
All the characters are pretty likable too - even the ones we love to hate! The main character, Sookie (portrayed by Anna Paquin in the TV show) is a strong character though, having been brought up with morals, she tries to make the right choices and tires to see the best in people, however she is no pushover - she is a strong independent female, calling the shots when it comes the guys in her life. TV Sookie though does differ (so far) from Book Sookie, as she's a bit more whiny and demanding, whereas in the books she's just a female strongly sticking to her guns and morals.
I love the universe that Charlaine Harris has created in this series though - it's very realistic in the sense that it poses the thought of what if vampires and other supernatural creatures we thought were fictional actually do exist and what if they started coming public about their existence?
And while she does stick close to the classic vampire lore, she explains away other things that she doesn't use in a logic that makes sense. For example, while vamps aren't necessarily fond of garlic, it isn't deadly, and the whole going up in flames around crosses or not being visible in mirrors? Her vamps explain that those are myths they spread themselves to help hide their identity. Kinda clever. And no, these vamps don't sparkle in the sunlight, if exposed for more than a few seconds without full cover, they do begin to burn to dust. Also, the vampires and other supernatural creatures (I don't want to give away too many surprises for those that haven't read the books) each have their own secret system of authority, for example, the US vampires have divided the country up into territories each with a king/queen ruler and then each territories are broken down into areas with sherrifs governing the vamps in their areas and reporting back to their king/queen. It's actually pretty interesting.
If you're an adult and like vampire lore and supernatural fiction, as well as mysteries with a bit of supernatural romance, be sure to check out this series - it won't disappoint like the Twilight saga did and the TV adaptions of it doesn't suck.