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Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Sunday Salon: Zombies and Vampires and Other Awesomeness

I never used to read books about zombies, nor did I ever watch zombie movies. Same thing with vampires. Books about supernatural creatures that either shuffled around in search of brains or who wanted to bite your neck were just never my cup of tea. Or so I thought. But then I started book blogging and my taste started seriously branching out. I used to just go to the book store and hit up the YA section without venturing out too much further, unless it was maybe the occasional sci fi read.

And you couldn't have gotten me close to the graphic novel section if you tried.

Oh how things have changed.

The first supernatural read I got into back in February of last year was Colleen Gleason's Gardella Vampire series, which I found definitely okay. Then I read Sunshine last April by Robin McKinley, in which the protag befriends a tormented vampire who doesn't want to eat people, but I didn't quite into it for various reasons. But what really got me interested into zombies was Max Brooks' World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. Besides just being an amazing book, it was an extremely thought-provoking read, and like the best zombie flicks, a social commentary. I guess I had just never realized how awesome zombies/vampires are.

Then there was Vampyres of Hollywood, which was undeniably gory, but also undeniable fun. Vampires might be a blood-sucking menace to humanity, but they could be awfully sexy. I read the classic vampire novel I Am Legend, and was taken away by the story of the end of humanity. I have to of course mention the three Twilight novels I've read so far, but let's just say that sparkly and vampires should not be in the same sentence. Ever.

Let me mention, of course The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter's short story collection. One of her stories, The Lady in the House of Love, is loosely based on Sleeping Beauty, and features, instead of a sleeping princess, a vampiress. A really creepy vampiress who feeds on anyone who wanders into her domain.

My first foray into manga was into a genre that has becoming increasingly enjoyable to me: supernatural creatures. Vampire Knight I and II, while ultimately not my thing, was an interesting introduction to manga, and I found myself really getting lost when I picked up the first two volumes of The Walking Dead. A series about life after the Zombie Apocalypse, it was recommended to me by a few different people. So far I'm really digging it because while it features of course, plenty of action, adventure and brain-munching fun, it is ultimately about a group of people, faced with difficult choices in a harsh world. It's about friendship, survival, and as post-apocalyptic fiction goes, it might be a lot of death and destruction, but hey, compared to The Road, it makes life during the Zompie Apocalypse seem like a day at Disneyworld.

So when I crunch the numbers, in the past 1 1/2 years, 14 out of the 135 books I've read so far have been zombie/vampire novels. Compared to the previous years, when my percentage of zombie/vampire novels read would have been... ummm... zero, 7% is pretty darn high. Anyone got more supernatural recs for me?


Amy said...

I love vampires! And I could get used to zombies.

Literary Feline said...

The influence of other book bloggers has definitely widened my reading horizons. I read less about vampires, I think than I did before I began blogging though. Not for lack of interest. It just has worked out that way.

Rhinoa said...

I love a good vampire novel :) I still need to read the Gardella Vampire series and I loved Sunshine and the Twilight books. You really really really need to try Patricia Briggs for all things urban fantasy if you haven't already. The Mercy Thompson books are amazing. I am sure she will figure zombies out at some point and add them to the mix.

Nymeth said...

Maybe you could try some early Anne Rice? Not sure about zombies, as I haven't read that many books featuring them myself. The Patricia Briggs series Rhinoa recommended really sounds great, though.

Andi said...

Cool! I've always been a big vampire fan, but not so much into the zombies. I enjoyed Claudia Gray's Evernight very much, but the second book, Stargazer, was underwhelming.

Stephanie said...

I never realized how narrow-minded my book choices were until I started book blogging! Now I read fantasy and other genres that I never would have picked up in the past.

Stephanie said...

Loved this post!! (Been offline without a computer most of the week, and unable to respond!)

I LOVED World War Z. In fact, it was definitely one of my favorite books from last year, as was Vampyres of Hollywood. (I even got a chance to interview Adrienne Barbeau, which was really cool!)