Category: I’m reading…

The Southern Vampire Mysteries

deaddark.jpgIt’s somewhat pathetic and even shameful, but I have to admit that I’ve totally fallen for the Southern Vampire Mysteries series by bestselling writer Charlaine Harris. The mysteries take place in a fictitious town in Louisiana, a couple of years after vampires had come out (of the closet?). A new (but not that satisfying) blood substitute has appeared in the market, so vampires do not have to attack humans for sustenance – and thus can go public. Still, they are scary creatures, with very different ethics than human beings, much stronger, much faster and with very prone to kill. They are not invincible, however, as they can be incapacitated by silver (it burns them) and killed why wooden stakes, burnt to death and can burn if exposed to sunshine. There are other supernatural creatures as well – werewolves, fairies and so forth – but they still live secretly.
The protagonist of these mysteries, told in the first person, is Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress with the ability (or disability) of reading people’s minds (but not vampire minds). In the first book she encounters a vampire with whom she has an intense romance. She also meets that vampire’s boss, Eric (a thousand year old viking), who takes an instant liking to her. The big question of the series is whether Eric and Sookie will get together.
The books have been made into a television series, shown on HBO, called True Blood. The show is pretty faithful to the general story line of the books (I’ve watched both seasons), though it includes other story lines and changes some incidents. The main characters are very well cast, and it’s easy to picture them while reading the books. Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård, who plays Eric, is, for example, as good looking (and almost as tall!) as Eric is described in the books. Anna Paquin (who played the little girl in The Piano, one of the worst, most boring movies ever made), may not be as pretty or well endowed as Sookie is supposed to be, but she’s still completely believable in the role.
Anyway, you can find the details about the series anywhere.
Now for the pathetic part: I’ve fallen for the series (both books and tv) because it’s the cheapest, most stereotypical type of chick lit. Even Harlequin romances are not so obvious. Sookie is young, naive, nice – but “different”, people think she’s weird and she has few non-sexual admirers. She is brave and independent, but secretly wants to be taken care of. That’s exactly what the strong, bad ass vampires, want to do for her. In other words, she is the girl we all felt we were in HS. Eric, meanwhile, beautiful and powerful, is interested on her (and wants to protect her), despite the fact that he can have any woman he wants – because /she/ is special. *sigh* There is a lot of conflict, much created by her, so there can be fights and so forth – but it basically follows the standard formula of romantic novels.
Now, I gave up my addiction to Victoria Holt novels (all of which pretty much have the same plot) in college. So why revive it now? How pathetic is it? It’s gotten so bad, that I’m reading the books out of sequence – just to be able to read them at all – and I’ve even been reading fan fiction – never before in my life had I read fan fiction (which, btw, is pretty good – many of the writers give Harris a run for her money)!
Oh well, maybe it’s a midlife crisis (or are only men suppose to get that?).

Rolling Stone

A couple of months ago Salon offered a free subscription to Rolling Stone magazine. Though I’m completely not into music, I figured it was worth a try – and Mike could like it. I ended up becoming a fan.
I still skip all the music stuff – but each issue has one or two serious articles that are very well researched and written. Some recent ones have included an expose of Scientology, Duke’s mysogenist culture, Neocons attempts to start a war with Iran and the Pentagon spy complex. I don’t know that the magazine is worth buying just for these articles, but if you like music you might want to subscribe to it.

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