Top Ten Books To Read In A Day

So I am going to post again for the blog The Broke and the Bookish. This week is top ten books to read in a day.

1. The Shack by William P. Young – Great book for book discussions.

2. The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho – I have read it at least 10 times.

3. Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher – I could not put this book down.

4. Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill – What can I say? Vampires and Chicago what could be better?

5. As long as I am listing vampire books, Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber – As soon as I read the book, my niece picked it up and started reading it.

6. The Seventh Victim by Alan Jacobson – I read it quickly and then started the next book in the series.

7. How about a classic – Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury?

8. Back to the vampires with Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. After all the next season of True Blood is going to start soon.

9. The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde. What can I say – his books make me smile.

and last but not least…

10. Pretty much any Harlequin. In fact, you can probably read several of them in one day. How can you resist? You can be “Promoted to Wife” (by Paula Roe), “Tempt a Sheik” (by Olivia Gates) or even be involved in a “Million-Dollar Amnesia Scandal” (by Rachel Bailey) all in one day!

What do you think? What would be your choices to read in a day?


Vampires: Here To Stay or Just a Pain In the Neck the Early Years

The first vampire story written in English was John Polidori’s The Vampyre written in 1819. What? Not Bram Stoker’s Dracula? That’s right. John Polidori, personal physician to Lord Byron, was touring Europe with Lord Byron when the pair met with Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, and her husband-to-be, Percy Bysshe Shelley. During their stay, Byron had an idea for everyone to write their own ghost story, after the group read aloud from a collection of horror stories. The end result was Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and John Polidori’s The Vampyre. The story was first attributed to Lord Byron, but both Byron and Polidori asserted that The Vampyre was actually written by Polidori. Polidori loosely based his vampire character, Lord Ruthven, on Lord Byron.

Following The Vampyre were several penny dreadfuls featuring Varney the Vampire (1845 – 1847), and the first lesbian vampire story Carmilla in 1871. These two vampires, like Lord Ruthven, were portrayed in a sympathetic manner. Finally in 1897 a man named Bram Stoker penned a novel you may have heard of called Dracula. The main character, Count Dracula, is based upon tales that Stoker had heard recounting the gruesome life of Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler. Vlad was know for being a tyrant who delighted in the torture of both men and women. The three crimes that topped his list of offenses were lying, stealing and adultery. Interestingly enough, when Dracula was first published in 1897, the first chapter was omitted, but later it was published as Dracula’s Guest in 1914.

In 1954 there was a new take on the vampire story in Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend. In this tale, set in the futuristic time of 1976, a vampiric bascilla (an airborn bacterial infection) is spread through the entire planet, wiping out almost the entire human race. Only Robert Neville seems immune to the virus. He begins to study blood, researching what may have caused the virus, and tries desperately to save what is left of humanity.

Stay tuned for more thoughts on vampire fiction!

Vampires: Here to Stay or Just a Pain In the Neck

HBO’s third season of True Blood (2008-) has just started, Laurell K. Hamilton has a new Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter book out, and with the newest installment of the Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga: Eclipse in theaters, the Fountaindale Public Library has seen an increase in interest in vampire books. Books by authors such as Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison are as scarce as a vampire on a bright, sunny day.

But before there was Edward and Bella, there was Sookie and Bill (and later Erik) Buffy and Angel (and later Spike), Barnabas Collins and Dr. Julia Hoffman, and even further back there was Mina and Dracula (to a certain degree).

Growing up, I loved classic horror books, TV shows, and movies. Remember Son of Svengoolie (1979-1986) on Saturday afternoons? Cheesy show, but great movies such as Vincent Price in The Fly and who could forget Abbot and Costello Meet … well… everything. I read the classic stories written by masters like Edgar Allen Poe (The Cask of Amontillado and The Tell Tale Heart are two of my favorites), and then moved on to John Saul and Stephen King. Good reading!

But unfortunately I fell victim to historical romances. You know the kind. Rakish pirate/Lord/Duke/Baron who protects/helps/saves/ravishes the governess/maid/sister-in-law/damsel in distress (fill in the blanks they are pretty much all the same) with Fabio or some other bare chested guy on the cover. It’s embarrassing to admit it, but I read those books like they were available for a limited time only. I think that I might still have them packed away in a box somewhere.

And then came Buffy the Vampire Slayer(1997-2003). Vampires were once again in the spotlight. A television show that spawned books, merchandise, CDs, posters, trading cards (move over pokemon), and whatever else the marketing department could think of. Girls dreamed of Angel, Xander, and Oz, boys dreamed of Buffy, Willow, and Cordelia). The show let everyone know that it was okay not to be in the “popular” group of kids. Angel was a vampire with a soul, Willow was a witch dating Oz who was a werewolf (and later Tara, a fellow witch), and Xander who, in later seasons, dates a vengeance demon.

I was hooked. I read every vampire book and watched every vampire movie and TV show I could find. And it seems that the craze is still going strong. Are Twilight and True blood just a flash in the pan (or a pain in the neck)? Stay tuned to part 2 where I will talk about vampire books and authors.


Graphic Novels – Not just for kids anymore

I remember as a kid getting ready to go on a family vacation included a trip to the store to get comic books to keep us entertained on the long drive. Wait – a librarian (and the daughter of a librarian) fondly reminiscing about buying books? My mom’s view was that it was better to buy books and comics for vacation so if we ruined or lost them, then we weren’t responsible for library books. So – back to the comics.

What did we buy? Mad Magazine and Cracked Magazine for my older brother, and Archie Comics and classic stories in comic form for me (my favorite was Black Beauty). I read the comics until they just about fell apart. As I grew up, so did the books. Chapter books turned into teen books which turned into novels.

So what do I read now? The latest bestsellers, debut authors, and recommendations from coworkers are pretty much the standard fare. Some of my favorite authors are James Patterson, J. D. Robb, Kathy Reichs, Linda Fairstein, Laurell K. Hamilton just to name a few. But my guilty pleasure is still comics. Well, maybe the comics’ older sibling the graphic novel. What? Graphic novels? Aren’t they about samurai sword-wielding avengers, average high school kids suddenly falling into another world or developing super powers? Well, yes, those are some of the graphic novels that are out there. But there are others.

For the horror fan there are such titles as Zombie Tales 3: Good Eatin’ and Fall of Cthuluh: Apocalypse.

For the science fiction fan the is Halo: Helljumper and Doctor Who: Fugitive.

Not into zombies and aliens? Are classics more your style? Try Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, the Canterville Ghost,  or The Complete Peanuts 1975-1976.

Popular authors are now being released in graphic form. Books such as Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, Dean Koontz’s Fear Nothing, Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and The Stand, Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island, and Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight have just been released.

So where can you get these great graphic novels to try? Stop by the Fountaindale Public Library, or call us at (630) 759-2102 and we can place holds for you!

– Lynnette

“Doppelgangster” by Laura Resnick

I used to be a big paranormal reader.  Heck, I was a huge Buffy fan back in the day and couldn’t get enough of vampire romances and werewolf love.  I still read Patricia Briggs  (werewolves) and try to catch up with Kim Harrison (you name it, it’s probably in there, but vampires are a strong element).

Now, however, I’m a little sick of going into the science fiction & fantasy section of my nearest bookstore and seeing endless covers of “strong-looking women” carrying a battle-ax, with a meaningful look in their eyes.   Here’s two recent covers.  Notice a family resemblance?

Paranormal book 1

Paranormal Cover 2

The books often are seeming a little “same-0ld, same-old” to me too (of course, your mileage may vary).  It always seems like there’s a big inter-species war looming between the vampires and the humans, and the werewolves and the ghouls are taking sides, but the hot female heroine (who can be a human, shape-shifter, vampire, a demon, or a demon-hunter, etc., etc., etc.) always manages to keep her cool (and her  cute vampire man).

It’s not that I don’t enjoy that plot, because I do (I can spend hours discoursing on whether Spike or Angel made a more suitable boyfriend for Buffy).  But sometimes it’s nice to find something a little new and even a little different.  Something that mixes the genre up a little.  Doppelgangster by Laura Resnick, for example.


I have to say I’m a little disappointed with the cover.  Esther Diamond, the main character, looks like she’s about to take over Manhattan with her mad scythe-wielding abilities.

That ain’t Esther.  Esther’s a chorus girl in a not very successful musical.  In fact, it’s just been canceled, and she’s had to go back to working a waitress job at Stella’s, a hangout for mob guys.  She’s not connected to the mob (in fact she’s starting to date a cop, Detective Lopez), but the tips are good, and she gets to keep up her singing skills, as the waitresses are expected to belt out a few tunes to the customers.

One night, she sings a song for one of the more annoying customers, puts off his advances, and takes her tip and goes on with her night.  Except that 20 minutes later, the same annoying customer comes in, acting like he hasn’t seen her all night and hadn’t just eaten his own weight in pasta.

Esther has met the mobster’s Doppelganger (double).  And that’s not the only Doppelganger (or Doppelgangster, as a  semi-retired mob guy who joins the investigation keeps mispronouncing it).  To see your Doppelganger means that a curse has been placed upon you, and you will die within 24 hours.  This promptly happens to several “connected” guys.

Esther, a wizard named Max, and a semi-retired mob hitman (who is a wonderful character) investigate, mostly because they happen to be in the area when weird stuff happens, and they’re also the ones that seem to believe that something out of the ordinary can happen.

This book, while it does have some deaths (of secondary characters), is the kind of book that makes you want to use the word “screwball comedy”.  It’s sweet, light-natured, funny, and there’s not a vampire in sight, refreshingly.

Esther’s a continuing character.  Her first book was Disappearing Nightly.

Disappearing Nightly

The title came out in 2005, and sadly seems to be out-of-print now, although you can certainly get the book through interlibrary loan through PALS.  Hopefully, it’ll come back into print soon.  Esther’s a character that I enjoyed so much 5 years ago that I immediately put a hold on the new book as soon as I saw it was coming out.  She’s a fun character, not destined for vampire-slayer greatness, but she might still get her man in the end.  Plus, she’s going to be a part of great, funny adventures.

–Jennie M.