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Sundays With Vlad by Paul Bibeau

This book is a sociological study on human obsession with vampires. It covers a whole gamut of subjects including the non-existent connection between Vlad Tepes and Stoker's Dracula (no sports fans, there is no connection other than the name), the Goth culture, crimes committed in the name of vampirism, gaming, pop culture and people who actually believe their are vampires (sanguine and/or psychic).

The book is written fairly well (however, see my comments below on editing) and is humorous. The style is laid back and similar to A. J. Jacob's books. It's gonzo journalism. The author is part of the hunt. The content is good although as a vampire affectionate there is a bit of bias against things that we hold dear. Other than that he does a fairly decent job outlining the vampire world.

The thing I didn't like about the book is Bibeau wanders. He loses focus several times in the book. Background information is good but several times he spends two pages talking about a diplomat and his involvement in political corruption. How is that about vampires? Well, this person was a vampire scholar and associated with a bigger vampire scholar. I could have done without these types of tangents. Due to these interruptions, the book feels a bit disjointed at times. I think he needed a better editor.

Good book if you like the vampire culture. Not a classic. Nor anything I would recommend to vampire scholars but at least an amusing read.
It's been a long time, I know. ::drops head in shame:: School, kids, husband, house, repeat. :)

I'd have to say this was the second best book I've read this year. Funny how the first was at the beginning and the best at the end. (And what was the first? Stay tuned for my end of the year wrap).

This is the story of a man who was born without a scent of his own but with a godlike sense of smell. He learns the art of perfumery and learns to manipulate others through scent. It takes place in one of my favorite time periods (the 18th century) in France. It is filled to the brim with incredibly descriptive prose and an intense storyline. It delves into the world of perfuming. I had no idea it was so complex and this novel outlines perfuming in the 18th century! I can only imagine what it's like now...although when I wiki'd the art of perfume many of the basic tools and procedures are exactly the same now as then.

I won't get into any more of the plot because I don't want to ruin it. It's just too good. I read it quickly on a whim even though I had a quite a few books lined up before it.

Xposted on thereadingroom

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Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates

This was a pretty fantastic book. I've read some of Oates short stories but never a novel. The only reason I chose this was it was based on Jeffrey Dahmer. I have this thing for serial killers. No, I'm not a nut. I'm a student that has a deep interest in Abnormal Psych and enjoy the macabre side of life.

I found the journal style writing very well done. Sometimes we get so focused on novels in the standard form that the occasional odd style works. I just came off reading a Cormac McCarthy story so I was already primed to continue enjoying a different style.

This was a very quick read. Not because it was a short book (it was actually) but because it sucked you in quickly. I look forward to other books by Oates. Of course, any recs with brief synopses would be accepted graciously. I find her macabre subject matter very interesting and very much my style.

Currently reading: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
On Deck: I have no idea. Maybe Fight Club.

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Eight Days of Luke by Diana Wynne Jones

This is the one and only YA book I've allotted myself for the year. I chose it because this was the book that inspired Neil Gaiman to write American Gods. I'm really glad that Gaiman did more research than Jones.

The story itself was pleasant and childlike; whimsical if you will. The facts were horrid. Any book that bases itself on mythological characters should get the back stories right. Loki is not a fire god. He never was. LOGI was the personification of fire. LOKI was the mischief god who actually a shapeshifter. He never, ever had any connection to fire. Even just a little research would have illuminated that fact.

I won't go on, though I could. Let's just say it was a nice way to spend an hour or so but I really wouldn't recommend it to any kid that likes mythology. They will get laughed at by other mythological aficionados if they repeat any of the information they get in this book. ;P

Xposted on: bookish

Oh, and this was letter "E" for the challenge. I'll post an update tonight maybe. :)

Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay

Hmmm. This one wasn't as good at the first two. I had the distinct feeling that Lindsay used The Religion by Nicholas Conde as his inspiration. For those who are unfamiliar with this book, the movie is The Believers with Martin Sheen and Jimmy Smits.

This was far more supernatural than it should be. It seemed like it was simply a dalliance; as though Lindsay got bored with Dexter and played around. Well, he should mess with a good thing. While this was entertaining and a page turner, it left me a bit disappointed. That wasn't my Dexter. I'm not sure who's Dexter he was. It doesn't even seem as though it was Lindsay's Dexter either.
finally read this book. Yeah, I know. I'm 35 and probably should have read it in 6th grade. I think I would have enjoyed it more. Toward the middle of the book it started to slow down. I guess after all the pirate movies of the last few years, anything that doesn't have Davy Jones himself, Jack Sparrow and daring swordfights every 4 minutes would seem dull.

Now, as one of the first real pirate novels, I tip the ol' cap. That in and of itself was why it was worth picking it up. The story itself was good and the characters were fantastic. It just...well, dragged a bit. It's probably more suited to kids and teens...as an adult I wanted just a wee more action.

This has been a slooooooooooow month. Sewing and decorating has taken over.

Currently reading: Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay. It's going much faster than Treasure Island did.

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

I must thank falcania for getting me this book. It was entirely enjoyable although pretty badly written. From the title you can glean the premise. The Greek Gods, who now live in a house in London and are quite bored, have fun stirring things about with each other and a pair of mortals. Unfortunatly one trick goes a bit far and they find themselves, as well as all humanity, in quite an awkward situation.

Again, quite enjoyable but a lessor version of American Gods. Gaiman is a far superior writer with a far more complex and meaningful story. With that being said, if you need a giggle and a mindless romp, this book is A-Okay.

Geez! An update already!

I finished Geek Love by Katherine Dunn a few days ago. It was disturbing, vial, controversial and it was pure genius. Al and Crystal Lil are the owners of a carnival. When attendance starts to drop they decide to breed their own "geeks" by taking large quantities of drugs and other terotogens when pregnant to cause the children to become freaks (a flipper boy, siamese twins, an albino hunchback dwarf...etc...). The story that ensues is one of domination, cults, love and an incredible social commentary. This story is not for everyone but for those who are interested? Buy. Read. Love.

Oh, and an alphabet update. It's about halfway through the year. I've already gone over my total for last year. This isn't a race, of course, I've just been making as much time as possible for reading.

Alphabet Challenge UpdateCollapse )

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Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

This is the second of three Dexter novels (the serial killer that only kills other serial killer and works as a forensic blood splatter expert). This book was almost as good as the first book but I felt it was a little more hard to believe. All books like these depend on a willing sense of disbelief and if I didn't love Dexter as much as I do I probably wouldn't have bought any of it. Since Dexter is such a wild and insane type of character I was willing to let all of the unbelievable go.

Before reading this book I spent about four days watching Season One of Dexter. What a fantastic series and August just can't come fast enough. This book was a nice morsel to tide me over (at least for a little while).

Now just for laughs I must quote the best line in the book. Don't worry. It's not a spoiler as it happens in the opening chapter. To truly understand how funny this is, remember that Dexter is a serial killer. He may only kill other monsters but it doesn't detract from the fact that he is pretty cold and heartless. He does, however, like kids (and he has no idea why). The scene opens and the reader believes that Dexter is stalking a victim. It turns out that,

"Dexter did not kick the can. And now Dexter is It. Again.... How can Dexter's night hunt be reduced to this?...and here I am, stalking an empty Chef Boyardee ravioli can that is guilty of nothing worse than bland sauce. Here I am, frittering away precious time losing a game I have not played since I was ten. Even worse, I am IT." (Lindsay 2-3)

Hehe. How can you not love this character!!

Crossposted to: bookish

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

I'm only posting this on my book journal because I don't want to listen to the inevitable backlash I'll receive for my opinion. I love Lewis' stories. I remember reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a child and being simply traumatized when Aslan was shaved (for some reason the slaying didn't bother me as much). They translate very, VERY well on screen and are simply fabulous in their own right. I didn't read all of them so this was the first run for Prince Caspian. As an adult I don't care for Lewis' writing; at least in regard for his children's stories. His adult work is well written but I find the Narnia books to be choppy and slow with too much mixture of mythologies. His writing style is disjointed as he sometimes writes directly to the reader and sometimes speaks as the omniscient narrator. I also grew weary of the paragraphs that lasted almost a whole page. Break it up already, C.S.!!! He would have done well with an editor. I'm sure he had one but a second round would have been a good thing.

This just confirms to me that Young Adult and Children's fiction is meant for children and young adults. I can see how Lewis' style would appeal to a child as it appealed to me when I was young. As an adult I no longer have a taste for it. Again, reading children's books is OK for me once in a great while but when it comes to books, I want a steak, not a McDonald's cheeseburger. hehe I just wish they were written a little better. That's all.

This was P for the alphabet challenge.