Dead Until Dark

Written by Charlaine Harris
Series: The Sookie Stackhouse Novels  (aka The Southern Vampire Mysteries)

Book #17 of 2012

Charlaine Harris's Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark

Nationality: U.S.
Publisher: Ace Books
First Edition: 2001
My Edition: 2009
Original Language: English

This lovely little surprise of a book came to me by recommendation of a friend of mine, Ms. Sally.  Being that she is a friend from church, I was a little surprised to find out that it has a TV show based on the series that airs on  HBO (that, gasp, my husband also happens to own). So naturally, I took a week to watch the first two seasons that we had on DVD. I DO NOT KNOW WHY IT TOOK ME SO LONG TO WATCH THOSE! SO GOOD! The show was very different from the book. So different that I’m not going to do a compare and contrast. They were just different and should be thought of as such. And I digress.

The story is about a telepathic waitress named Sookie Stackhouse from Bon Temps, Louisiana who finds peace with (and falls in love with) a vampire named William (Bill) Compton, who was turned during the Civil War. There is a string of murders in her small town and she wonders… is she next? 

Bill is a pretty entertaining character. You don’t learn everything about him all at once. He is a mystery. An onion, so to say. Layer after cold, clammy, vampire layer. He is a “mainstreamer” – a vampire who doesn’t want to kill anymore, so they pull away from other vampires to live with humans and drink synthetic blood called “Tru Blood”. They describe vampires as “forgetting” their humanity – becoming animals who live off of instinct. Bill desperately wanted to change.

For awhile I taped soap operas and watched them at night when I thought I might be forgetting what it was like to be human. After a while I stopped, because from the examples I saw on those shows, forgetting humanity was a good thing.

Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) is the main ch...

Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) is the main character of the series. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sookie is a sweetheart. She loves her Gran, and her brother Jason (nevermind the fact that he’s a womanizing idiot), she goes to church, works really hard, doesn’t judge people by what the media says about them, and keeps a smile on her face even in the worst of circumstances. She’s deeply intellectual, even though she doesn’t regard herself as such. She sees the world for what it is, and doesn’t sugar-coat anything. Honestly, Sookie doesn’t really have the luxury to sugar-coat life – she hears peoples’ thoughts. When she begins to get involved with Bill, her life changes dramatically. The vampires Bill associate with take a dangerous interest in Sookie, and she has to learn how to navigate her way through.

The world seemed a bad and terrible place, all its denizens suspect, and I the lamb wandering through the valley of death with a bell around my neck.

Personally, I think she handles herself really well.

I will definitely be reading this entire series. I heard the last in the series is being released May 2013. This is a perfect quick-novel series to read back to back to back to back in between other longer novels. :)

Happy reading, friends!

 

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The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

Written by Dorothy Gilman

Book #16 of 2012

Nationality: U.S.
Publisher: Random House
First Edition: 1966
My Edition: 1983
Original Language: English

Let me preface this by saying that this one was my book club’s choice. I would not normally pick up this kind of book. I don’t read mystery books or spy books or books written in the 1960’s by old women. It’s just not my style. If you follow me, you probably figured that out by my review of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. The point is, I don’t read books like this. But this book was, well, unexpected.

It was charming and hilarious and thoroughly enjoyable.

Mrs. Pollifax is getting up there in age. She is so bored with her life of Garden Club meetings that she actually considers killing herself just to get it over with. But then she reads a newspaper article of an older woman who begins a career as an actress, and is inspired to go apply for the CIA. Yes, apply. She walks right in and asks if they need any spies. Thus begins her adventure:

Never mind if most of the women looked sleek and Parisian and the men dressed exactly like Americans – this was Mexico because she had seen a sombrero. (Page 23)

Smart Man in Sombrero

At one point she got herself into a pickle and had to sneak herself out of a situation by getting down on all fours in the middle of a goat herd.

The boy did most of the work, running backward and forward to keep the goats in a tight cluster. But it was the tightness of the cluster that soon became Mrs. Pollifax’s major concern, for although she had not crawled on hands and knees since she was a child–and never for any distance–it was the goats that proved especially unnerving. They stepped on her, the bleated alarmingly in first her left ear and then her right ear, they playfully nipped her, and over and above these hardships there was their smell. She had never thought of goats as smelling; she had never thought of goats at all, but of course no one bathed goats and this was the dry season. They had a particularly obnoxious odor, and she was surrounded by, and distressingly intimate with, an entire herd of them. (Page 152)

A 2 month old goat kid in a field of capeweed

Goats are probably cuter when you don’t have to be at smell-level with them.

Her goat entanglement continues, and grows increasingly hilarious as her distress rises.

Anyways, the humor is great if you enjoy the prim responses of an old woman to wild adventure.

I urge you to enjoy this one.

Happy reading, friends.