Archive for top vampire books
I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that Alan Ball is coming out with a cookbook based on the many fun food items we have witnessed on the show. Now I know that there will be plenty of teasing, but come one, Southern cooking is a big part of the culture and so you know it is also part of the whole True Blood culture, even if our vamps can’t enjoy it.
The word is that this top vampire book has recipes that all tie into the show; some are based on food actually named in certain scenes, some on the well known tastes of the characters. I wonder if that means we get to see how to make some of those yummy looking cocktails from Merlottes? I sure hope so!
Alan Ball has a credit on the top vampire book for cooks though it is hard to say how much input he has in it. But there are to be 85 recipes and over 150 pics from the show so my guess is he probably came up with the idea and then gave Gianna Sobol who is an associate producer on the show the go ahead to put it together. She has co-credits on the book along with Marcelle Bienvenu who is a well-known Cajun cook and writer.
Each recipe will have an introduction from one of the characters from the show, so it will be fun to try and guess just who will introduce what kind of food. True Blood vampires may not be able to truly eat but they seem to still enjoy many sensual pleasures. This could indeed be a very fun book, especially if you are someone like me who cooks as a hobby to relax. What a fun True Blood party this would be to make treats from the book for you and all your friends to enjoy while watching the show.
The book won’t actually be out until August, right at the tail end of the show. So be sure and pre-order yours now so that it will ship out to you the day it is ready to go! You know you are gonna want it in time for that post-finale party at the end of Season 5.
Title: Forever Claimed
Author: Rachel Lee
Release: March 1, 2012
Genre: Vampire Romance
Luc St. Just is a man with a broken heart, except he isn’t just a man he is a vampire. His mate is dead and his need for vengeance has blotted out all other feelings. So when he comes upon a bloody and near dead victim of a group of rogue vampires he doesn’t even consider at first anything but the fact she could be proof of the need to eradicate them.
But when he takes her almost lifeless body to his friend Jude he soon discovers that she is healing without any help. It turns out that the woman is a werewolf, but one that is unable to shift. As sworn enemies become drawn to each other, they must battle not only their love for each other but their own “clans” who have sworn to kill the other on sight.
This is a classic love story for the paranormal and Rachel Lee handles it with a deft touch. Although Forever Claimed is the second part in a series, it is so well laid out you don’t need to have read the first to enjoy this timeless tale of forbidden love.
Would you love to attend a community college course that looks at vampire novels? I know that just the idea of this is one that gets me sitting up and paying attention! I have noticed several community colleges in the news that have begun to offer courses in literature that deals with vampires. In Annapolis there is a community college called Anne Arundel that has begun offering a night class called “Gender and Sexuality in Vampire Literature” that sounds – well like the kind of thing our readers could sink their teeth into.
Associate Professor of English Jaque Lyman says that she looks at all aspects of the fantasy literature form – and they discuss everything from the history of vampire literature (did you know that Dracula was by no means the first vampire story?) to the role of the sexes in vampire tales. She says that she first began thinking of creating the course when Twilight became so popular, but has come to appreciate the True Blood books even more as she has read them. She plans to incorporate the characters from those books into the curriculum for next years course on vampire literature.
Many of the 18 students in her course are not your run of the mill English majors, and only two of them are men. None the less, the class covers plenty of territory from early vampire tales like “Camilla” which predates Dracula, to the most current books including the latest films and books. But she says that Dracula has proven that it is a book that will stand the test of time. Of all the books, it is the one that generates the most discussion of gender roles (a big theme in vampire books) and the role of power. They also discuss why they feel that the vampire has come back into popularity, and many feel that during tough economic times, people love to read of characters who have seemingly unlimited power and are immortal. We all need to feel that someone has some control in their lives, even if we don’t feel right now like it is us.
I say that just the chance to sit in a room of people and discuss these roles with others who love the vampire genre is a good enough indicator that the undead have a big place in our culture’s memory and we should expect to see more of them in years to come.
Title: Vampire Pond
Author: Peter Joseph Swanson
Release: Feb 12 2012
Genre: Historical Vampire
During medieval times monsters were everywhere and vampires lurked in the most likely of places. A little band of gypsies arrive in the countryside of an English village, fleeing the fears and inquisitions of Spain. Along the way, they meet up with ancient curses, wolves that circle but don’t kill and an Abbey that was built to celebrate a miracle. What they are told is that the village is cursed, by a vampire that lives in a nearby pond. If they want to be accepted by the village, to stay and live in the place, they must help them to destroy the vampire and his curse. For the village has not had any luck at all since the vampire appeared, and the only way they know to be able to rid the village fields of their wealth of boulders and grow wheat again is to first be rid of the vampire.
Green magic is afoot in this charming little novel of a time when many believed in the dark side of the supernatural, and who is to say it wasn’t there? With some remarkable characterizations that will have you picturing this novel as a Peter Jackson film, the author has brought to life a fine village of personalities, including witches, ghosts and even the Goddess herself. A magical journey to a realm of both forbidding darkness and sly humor, Vampire Pond is another wonderful little gem from the pen of Peter Joseph Swanson.
If you love vampires then you probably know that one of the most influential books for the entire horror genre is coming up on a big anniversary. This March will see the 100th anniversary of the death of Bram Stocker, the author of the granddaddy of all vampire books – Dracula! To help celebrate this major landmark, the Horror Writers of America are going to award one book as the most influential vampire novel in the 100 years since the death of Bram Stoker. This make the time period we are talking about to be from 1912 to 2011.
They have already narrowed the choices down to six novels, all of which could easily in my humble opinion be worthy of the choice. It is really amazing to think of how many great vampire books have been written over the last 100 years and I would imagine that coming down with this final group of six must have taken some work and probably a certain amount of politics, with various members pushing for their favorite.
The Six Finalists
No matter how you look at it, these final six choices that the judges will vote on to decide the final winner are all winners already. I think it is fair to say that they would make a great “got to read” list for anyone who is coming to this site. Here are the six books they have winnowed it down, before the announcement in March:
Some may argue that this short story disguised as a novel isn’t even a vampire tale, since he doesn’t really state that is what they are. It is the basic tale of the earth being hit by an epidemic that leaves people acting like vampires, except for our hero. For many- this is the classic post-apocalyptic tale.
This is one of King’s earliest works, and it still packs a punch today. Of course, being King it takes place in a small New England town, and centers Kurt Barlow, a vampire who is running the town until a writer shows up in town to put things back the way they should be. Sorta. But it is classic King.
For many this is the book that introduced the modern interpretation of a vampire. Dark, gothic and more than a little homo-erotic, the tale of Lestat and how he became a vampire is told to a young reporter in flash-backs. The New Orleans setting doesn’t hurt the atmosphere, either.
This is from a wonderful series that has the vampire Count Saint Germain travelling through Europe (and time) as we follow his adventurous life. A great fun romp through history and a well told set of stories that bring a bit of fun to the vampire genre.
This is a classic tale of evil vampires taking over a small town, but done with such classic horror style as only Grant can do. It takes place in a small town in Connecticut as we follow the evil Count Braslov and his attempts to take over bend the population of the town of Oxrun to his will. It is part of a trilogy but is easily read on its own.
What if Dracula, instead of being defeated by Van Helsing, was to survive? What if he went on to marry Queen Victoria and in fact had a life full of adventures with other great historical and fictional vampires? That is the premise to this wonderful alternate world vampire tale. Published in the early 1990s, it went on to be so successful that Newman followed it up with The Bloody Red Baron and a few other fun little vampire alternate world concepts.
Making the Vote
So there you have it, the six finalists for the title of most influential vampire book of the past century as named by the Horror Writers of America. I even made sure to link them, in case you got curious and decided you just needed to read one of them once again. Or maybe even, for the first time! They are all great books, and some might have even been forgotten in the recent slew of vampire tales, so be sure to check them out.
As far as what I think is the best of the lot, well anyone who reads this site knows how partial I am to Anne Rice. That would be my vote for the most influential. So let us know – what would your vote be?
USA Today had an interesting little story the other day. It looked at the popularity of vampires and asked some leading romance writers what they thought was the reason for this popularity. While it is true that only a year or so ago most editors in traditional publishing were announcing the death (pun intended) of vampire stories, it seems that they are still here and going strong. How could some supposedly well-informed publishing-types be so wrong?
It isn’t that surprising to find that the end result is the same as it has always been. The whole “forbidden love” and “dangerous romance” concept continues to fascinate us, and we aren’t about to give it up just because a couple of desk jockeys in New York have decided that vampires are so yesterday. When romance authors the likes of Jenny Jones and Elizabeth Naughton agree that vampires are the dangerous lovers that so many readers are drawn to, someone is on to something.
Avery Flynn (Up a Dry Creek) calls them the “ultimate in the tortured alpha hero” and I have to agree with her on that one. True Blood may just be the poster child for this kind of hero, but it seems to me that most of the vampires in the “romantic” styled vampire books continue to portray our dark heroes as angst-driven and doomed.
Jane Graves (Heartstrings and Diamond Rings) commented that in vampire tales we ultimately have heroines who control the hero; something I never considered before, but she is right! In the end, most of the vampires find that no matter how big and dangerous they are; love is the thing that holds them. And the heroine, usually a human, is the one that holds that love.
So I guess the end result is always the same – we love our vampires because even though they are the ultimate dangerous bad boy, in the end we love the stories because it is the woman who saves him. For all his dark majesty he is bound and held by a simple thing called love.
Title: Forever Hunger
Author: David Salkin
Release: January 2012
Genre: Mystery Vampire
Adam Priest has been on the run for 200 years, ever since as a Prussian soldier he was turned. Since that time, he has been on a constant hunt to end the hunger that never seems to leave him. In all that time there has been no thought for his victims, until he met Sara.
Doug Patmore is an FBI Special Agent who has hunted a cold killer for years, a killer who brutally ends the life of women in a relentless pattern. He knows this is no ordinary killer, for he has seen what the killer has done to the victims, draining them of their blood and leaving horrifying remains behind.
Roy Ruiz is just an NYPD cop, but when his path crosses Patmore and Priest he will come to understand there is far more to life than what he could have ever considered. When he first started tracking down the serial killer, he didn’t know it was a two hundred year old trail he was following. But he is following it, down to the deadly end. As the cops circle in closer, Sara becomes the one thing that Adam can see might save him – if he can find a way within himself to deal with the emotions she stirs in a heart that no longer beats, and should not be feeling what he knows it is feeling.
In Forever Hunger Salkin spins a different kind of vampire tale, with the grit of an old style detective story combined with the heat of the vampire fantasy sex we have all come to expect from this genre. That this particular vampire is a victim of his own terror is just one more element in a dark tale that will have you gripped and slashing the pages to see where it can possibly go to resolve it all. Or can it?
Title: The Secret History of Vampires
Author: Darrell Schweitzer
Release: April 2007
Genre: Vampire Anthology
Schweitzer has put together a fascinating collection of vampire stories, connected by an interesting concept. They record a secret history, as opposed to a more familiar concept such as alternate histories, and how perhaps vampires were a part of that story. To tell these tales he has enlisted the talents of some of the best fantasy writers around.
From Carrie Vaughn’s questing look at how the machinations of royal succession have a familiar but eerie tale behind them to Mike Resnick’s story behind the big stick that Roosevelt always carried; we have vampires in the background. They may be the ones who manipulate the strings and move the history forward, but if so we will never know.
The Secret History of Vampires is an interesting premise to build some stories on – the idea that vampires are in the shadows creating a secret history we don’t know a thing about. We have always had the idea of vampires around, in almost every culture. Perhaps there is more of a reason for that then we really want to consider. Perhaps there really is a secret history, with vampires sitting in the wings moving us like pawns in a giant chess game.