BOOK NOTES

Thursday Oct 29 2009
by Sian

The average (wo)man on the street probably doesn’t know who Charlaine Harris is, but they’ve almost certainly heard of the television show TRUE BLOOD, which is based on her ‘Southern Vampires’ series. I haven’t seen it yet, although a loaned copy of season one is sitting on my television stand. I read the first couple of books but gave up because of a plot point that I didn’t particularly like. I’ve been told I made a mistake and have been encouraged to pick up the series again, and I might, when I’ve made my way through the enormous pile of books next to my bed. At any rate, I think it’s great that Charlaine Harris is getting all this press, because it might bring more exposure to her other series as well.  Aside from ‘Southern Vampires’ (ten books), she writes the ‘Aurora Teagarden’ books about a young librarian (nine books), the ‘Lily Bard’ series (five books) about a young housecleaner, and the ‘Harper Connelly’ series (four books). It’s the Harper Connelly books that I’ve read so far, and I’ve really enjoyed them. Harper has an unusual gift. She was hit by lightening and found herself able to find dead bodies and determine the cause of death. It wouldn’t be worth writing about if she wasn’t surrounded by kooky characters, so of course Harper has a dysfunctional family with her stepbrother Tolliver acting as her manager. It doesn’t help that Harper and Tolliver are attracted to each other, and that relationship works through its kinks as the series wears on. GRAVE SIGHT, GRAVE SURPRISE, and AN ICE COLD GRAVE are all available in mass market (new and likely used) and GRAVE SECRET is coming out this month in hardcover. I’ve got it on order so it’ll be waiting for me at the store. You can find most of Charlaine’s other books in various formats, both new and used, at the store. If we’re missing something we can order it in. Call, email, or visit the store for more details.

Speaking of mysteries turned into televisions shows (Kathy Reichs’ BONES and Jeff Lindsay’s DEXTER to name a few recent examples), many of you are fans of TV shows that were converted into books. Many of the TV shows you enjoy, both on and off air, are available in books form, like CSI/CSI:Miami/CSI:New York, Monk, Murder She Wrote, and Psych. These books are usually really well written and sometimes authored by people you enjoy already. The late Stuart Kaminsky, for example, wrote a CSI: NY tie in. Most titles come out in mass market, so keep an eye out for the covers on the wall behind the cash register. Many are available on the shelves, in both new and used, and we can order in anything you can’t find.

And finally, have you heard of Steampunk? It’s a sub-genre of speculative fiction and fantasy that’s usually set in Victorian England in a world where steampower is used to power technological advances. But that’s a really stuffy definition for a really fun genre that you’re best to read to understand. So that brings me to my crossover title this month, Gail Carriger’s SOULLESS. Alexia Tarabotti is a young lady of good breeding in London who’s mother shelved her for a spinster at the ripe old age of 26 because her Italian father left her dark skin and too large of a nose. She also has no soul, which makes her an antidote to the vampires and werewolves that roam the streets of Victorian London. The dirigibles flying all over the place certainly confirm it’s prescence in the Steampunk genre. This was my favorite book of the year, I think, and if you like romance, vampires, hunky Scottish Lords, and a good mystery I recommend it.



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