We owe it to each other to tell stories - Neil Gaiman

Monday, 31 May 2010

Theme For June

I thought that for June I would do all things English, from Jane Austen to British Royalty and Nobility to Buckingham Palace and other notable English literature.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Dead in the Family

The latest in the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Series, released just a few days ago, since I have not yet read it, this is what Wikipedia says about it:

Sookie Stackhouse has finally settled into a relationship with the Viking vampire Eric, and her errant brother Jason seems to have his life in order, too. But all the other people in Sookie’s life – Eric himself, her former lover Bill, her friend and boss Sam – are having family problems. Eric’s maker shows up with Eric’s ‘brother’ in tow and the ailing Bill can only be healed by a blood sibling. The furor raised by the coming out of the two-natured has yet to settle; some people are just not ready to sit down to dinner with a man who turns into a dog. And Sookie herself is still recovering from her last ordeal. She’s definitely improving, physically and mentally, but she’s always going to have some dark moments now. The werewolves tell her that there have been strange and ominous passers-by in the Stackhouse woods which are not exactly human. This book explores the family connections of all the main characters including Sookie, Jason, Eric, Bill and even Sam. Sookie especially becomes familiar with her fae relatives even though most of them are out of reach while Eric and Bill meet their vampire siblings

Saturday, 29 May 2010

A touch of Dead

A Touch of Dead is a collection of short stories that were released inbetween books that give us more details on Sookie's world and her involvement in the Supernatural community. With 5 short stories, this anthology is a must for all Sookie Stackhouse fans.

The Short Stories are:
  • Fairy Dust
  • One word Answer
  • Dracula Night
  • Lucky
  • Gift Wrap

Friday, 28 May 2010

Dead and Gone

This 9th book in the Southern Vampire Series sees Sookie in the middle of yet another war - but this time it is a fairy war. But there is also another Great Revelation!!! These books just get better and better!!!!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

From Dead to Worse

Sookie discovers a new family member in this eighth installment to the Southern Vampire Series. There is a spate of werewolf murders and the possibility of an interpack werewar. There is also a hostile vampire takeover.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

All Together Dead

This is the most intense of the Southern Vampire Books. Sookie has to accompany the Queen of the Vampires - Sophie Anne Leclerq to a vampire summit in Rhodes, where the Queen is to be tried for murdering her husband the King of Arkansas. We meet Barry the Bellboy again, who goes about as Barry Bellboy.

Eric and Sookie intensify their relationship by having a blood bond. But there is more trouble to come, as the Fellowship of the Sun has something up their sleeves...

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Definitely Dead

In Definitely Dead, the sixth book in the Southern Vampire Series, we are re-introduced to Quinn, the weretiger who Sookie met in Dead as a Doornail when there was a contest for packleader of the Shreveport Weres, and Sookie had to use her telepathy to see if there was any cheating.

Sookie's cousin Hadley who was a vampire has died, and Sookie has to go to Louisianna to sort out Hadley's possessions. At Hadley's apartment there is a suprise for Sookie, that noone but Hadley would have known about.

There is a celebration because of the marriage of the Queen of Louisianna and the King of Arkansas. But there is an unexpected twist of events which leads to the mass culling of many vampires from both sides, including the King of Arkansas.

So much happens in this novel, and if this does not improve your opinion of the Southern Vampire Series, then clearly you are hard to please.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Dead as a Doornail

Dead as a Doornail, the fifth installation in the Southern Vampire Series, is truly a book with a lot of mystery to it. With a sniper on the loose aiming for non-humans, and an arsonist who tries to burn down Sookie's house and wants to kill her in the same attempt. Luckily Sookie has a Fairy Godmother who helps to save her. This novel truly delivers on the mystery front.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Dead to the World

This fourth book of the Southern Vampire Series, is where I fell inlove with the character Eric Northman. Sookie and Bill have broken up, and on her way home from work, Sookie sees a naked man running. The naked man turns out to be none other than the vampire Eric. When Sookie sees that it is Eric, she stops to help him, and here's the interesting part, Eric has no idea who he is, or how he got there.

Sookie phones Pam, Eric's second in command, and explains the state that Eric is in, and Pam explains how that has come to be. Sookie is asked to look after Eric, whilst he is in that state since the vampires have a problem with some rogue witches. It all gets very interesting and culminates in a witch war - with the vampires and weres fighting together.

But whilst Eric is in this altered state of mind, he becomes endearing and it would seem that Sookie falls in love with him. This new Eric who is so unlike the hardened Eric that she knows. When Eric gets his memory back he recalls nothing of their time together.

If you only read one Southern Vampire book - let this be it.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Club Dead

The third installment in the Sookie Stackhouse series sees Sookie becoming a bit more involved in the world of werewolves, as she has to find the missing vampire Bill, who was summoned by his maker Lorena. Sookie's life is threatened in so many ways in this novel, as she comes so close to danger. Attending Club Dead alternately known as Josephines - a club only for supernaturals- she meets an influencial vampire, and uses her telepathic power to stop a Fellowship of the Sun member from staking an important vampire, and ends up being staked herself. Sookie earns favour from the King of Mississippi.

She rescues Bill who is being held captive outside the King's mansion, and ends up killing a vampire. Once the rescue is over, Sookie nearly loses her life. Since I don't want to give away too much, you have to read this book. It is quite compelling.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Living Dead in Dallas

Living Dead in Dallas, the second book in the Southern Vampire series, sees Sookie meeting another telepath - Barry the Bellboy, who saves Sookie when she is trapped by the Fellowship of the Sun.

This book takes Sookie to Dallas, where she stays with Bill at a vampire hotel, which as you guessed, caters for the needs of vampires - dark and safe until dark- as well as their human companions. Sookie's mission is to find a vampire that the Fellowship of the Sun has, that they are planning to crucify. During this adventure, Sookie meets some other supernaturals who help to save her life. Lots of action, which I won't speak much more of since I do not wish to spoil it for you. A brilliant addition to the series, which I would give 5 stars if that were my thing.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Dead until Dark

Dead until Dark, Charlaine Harris' first book from the Southern Vampire Mysteries introduces us to the heroine of the series - Sookie Stackhouse who is a telepathic waitress in the small Southern Town of Bon Temps.

This book shows us how Sookie's life changes 2 years after the great revelation, when Bill Compton a vampire comes into the bar that she works at. Sookie saves Bill from some drainers, and thus begins their relationship. Sookie gets sucked into the world of vampires, and well it's all one big adventure, with everything you could want from a mystery book.

A quick read that is not only fun, but interesting as you pick up things about Louisianna. Great if you're into vampire literature, but also if you are venturing into vampire literature to see 'what the fuss is about'.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Charlaine Harris - The Genius behind Sookie Stackhouse

Charlaine Harris, the author who brought us Sookie Stackhouse was born in Tunica, Mississippi in 1951. After publishing two stand-alone mysteries, Harris began the lighthearted Aurora Teagarden books with Real Murders, a Best Novel 1990 nomination for the Agatha Awards. Harris wrote several books in the series before the mid-1990s when she began branching out into other works. She did not resume the series until 1999, with the exception of one short story in a Murder, She Wrote (who could forget Angela Lansbury's wonderful charactor!!!) anthology titled, "Murder, They Wrote."

In 1996, she released the first in the Shakespeare series, set in rural Arkansas. The fifth book in the series, Shakespeare's Counselor, was printed in the Autumn of 2001, followed by the short story "Dead Giveaway" published in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in December of the same year. Harris has stated on her website that she has finished with the series. After Shakespeare, Harris created The Southern Vampire Mysteries series about a telepathic waitress named Sookie Stackhouse who works in a northern Louisiana bar. The first book in the series, Dead Until Dark, won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Mystery in 2001. Each book follows Sookie as she tries to solve mysteries involving vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures.

October 2005 marked the debut of Harris's new series entitled The Harper Connelly Mysteries, with the release of Grave Sight. The series is told by a young woman named Harper Connely, who after being struck by lightning, is able to locate dead bodies and to see their last moments through the eyes of the deceased.

Here are the books that Charlaine Harris has written, hopefully during the course of the year I will read them all.
Southern Vampire Series

1. Dead until Dark

2. Living Dead in Dallas

3. Club Dead

4. Dead to the World

5. Dead as a Doornail

6. Definitely Dead

7. All together Dead

8. From Dead to Worse

9. Dead and Gone

10. A touch of Dead

11. Dead in the Family

Harper Connelly Series

1. Grave Sight

2. Grave Surprise

3. An ice cold Grave

4. Grave Secret

Aurora Teagarden Series

1. Real Murders

2. A Bone to Pick

3. Three Bedrooms, One Corpse

4. The Julius House

5. Dead over Heels

6. A Fool and his Honey

7. Last Scene Alive

8. Poppy Done to Death

Lily Bard Series

1. Shakespeare’s Landlord

2. Shakespeare’s Champion

3. Shakespeare’s Christmas

4. Shakespeare’s Trollop

5. Shakespeare’s Counsellor

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


Ever since watching Memoirs of a Geisha, I have been intrigued by the Japanese beauties called Geisha. In December I read Memoirs of a Geisha, and thought that it was absolutely marvellous. Come to think of it, I would actually like to read it again. I have two more books on Geisha to read. The one - which I borrowed from my friend Diana - is Geisha of Gion by Mineko Iwasaki and the other - I got for a steal at just R5!!! - is Geisha by Liza Dalby.

As I am presently reading Emma by Jane Austen, I will start reading the Geisha books shortly and will probably write excessively on Geisha since I find them so fascinating. Well Sayonara for now!!!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Books Read so far in May

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
  • All Together Dead - Charlaine Harris
  • From Dead to Worse - Charlaine Harris
  • Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
  • A Touch of Dead - Charlaine Harris

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Reading Jane Austen

After watching The Jane Austen Book Club for the thousandth time, I started to feel guilty about having read The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler and not having read anything by Jane Austen yet. I then had the dilemma of deciding in which order to read Ms Austen's books. Should I read them chronologically? Should I read them in order of publication?

I still have not figured out which is the best order in which to read Jane Austen, so thought that I should go about it in the manner in which they did in The Jane Austen Book Club. This means that the order in which I'll be reading will be:
  1. Emma
  2. Mansfield Park
  3. Northanger Abbey
  4. Pride and Prejudice
  5. Sense and Sensibility
  6. Persuasion
Leaving Lady Susan, The Watsons and Sanditon for last. I look forward to writing about Jane Austen's books and hopefully I'll start doing that towards the end of this month or early next month.

"A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment." JANE AUSTEN

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Oprah's books

I was at a Country Market earlier today and picked up quite a few bargains; including 2 Greek pots, an Egyptian necklace and some books. The book which inspired this blog post is The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton. The Book of Ruth is one of the first books to be featured in Oprah's Book Club, which over the years has only grown in strength.

Oprah has introduced us to so many books over the years and for that she has to be thanked, she helped make reading popular again. I have already read a few of the books on Oprah's list, and have purchased some of those which I have yet to read. Oprah's list has such wonderful books on it, that it is a great starting point if you are uncertain what to read.

So far from Oprah's list I have read:

  • Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Night - Elie Wiesel
  • White Oleander - Janet Fitch
  • The Reader - Bernhard Schlink
I cannot wait to hear what Oprah will select next!!!!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Series out there

It is only when you start looking that you realise how many different book series there are out there. So far I have finished I think 3 book series, these are
  1. Harry Potter
  2. Southern Vampire
  3. Twilight
This is barely a drop in the bucket compared to what is out there, such as

  • House of Night
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Chronicles of Narnia
  • Vampire Diaries
  • Sisterhood of the travelling pants
  • Harper Connelly
  • Aurora Teagarden
  • Lemony Snickets
  • Kiss me, Kill me
  • A Touch Series
  • Vampire Academy
And this is hardly a fair representation of what is out there. So to the authors who produce series, thank you so much for giving us so much wonderful reading material!!!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald is truly a master story teller and his skill is displayed excellently in The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald tells about the markers of the Jazz Age - the Swinging 20s with flappers, jazz, bootlegging, prohibition and all things that made the 20s what it was. He shows great insight in his analysis, and inclusion of certain events and books e.g. the young Jewess that works at the Swastika Holding company (oh the irony!!). The Great Gatsby is a story that has an element to it that can be linked to Jane Austen, shows us how money can change and sometimes destroy your life.

The tale of Jay Gatsby is one that can be said to be 'rags to riches'. He wants to be rich so he can get the girl, but when he is rich, he derives very little pleasure from his affluence. He throws lavish parties at which he is hardly present, staying almost reclusive so that the people who arrive there (often uninvited) actually don't know the identity of this man called Gatsby. When one thinks that Gatsby only throws these parties in the hopes that the object of his affection, Daisy, will one day saunter into his house and they will end up happily ever after. This unfortunately does not happen the way Gatsby planned, Daisy does not show up to Gatsby's parties, but where there is a will there is a way.

Daisy and Gatsby are reunited by Gatsby's neighbour Nick who happens to be Daisy's cousin. Both receive much gaiety from this reunion, but it does not last long. With the turn of events in the plot one would actually believe that Daisy's husband Tom (who has been stepping out all along) set Gatsby up. But then it could just be a cruel twist of fate that results in Gatsby's death. The saddest part of it, is that of the throng of people who attended Gatsby's parties, none of them attended Gatsby's funeral.

Perhaps what we should learn from The Great Gatsby is that affluence is something that will not guarantee you genuine human relationships, but rather fair weather friends. Of course this is just a superficial analysis, the more complex stuff will be left to the literary academics and english majors.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Crucible

I found The Crucible quite interesting from the beginning, as one always wonders about whether or not the super natural actually exists, this play offers an answer to that - saying that the witchcraft that has been alleged in Salem was all a lie.

What made The Crucible more interesting to me was finding out that it has been based on the transcripts of the actual Salem Witch Trials. It has a very poignant purpose to show us how detrimental it often can be when people falsely cry wolf. Or in the case of The Crucible, crying 'Witch!' with the outcome being hangings and burnings.

This was a very entertaining, or rather I should say enthralling read, and I recommend it to anyone in the mood for a good play or for learning something of historical importance without actually reading an encyclopedia or history book.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The latest offering from Stephenie Meyer

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will release "The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner" on June 5. The novella is told from the viewpoint of Bree, a newborn vampire featured in "Eclipse," one of the books in Meyer's bestselling teen-vampire saga.

The publisher said $1 for each book sold in the United States from the first printing of 1.5 million copies will be donated to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which supports disaster relief efforts such as those in Haiti and Chile.

I wonder if any proceeds from this book sold in South Africa will go for disaster relief too? I am pre-ordering my copy tomorrow!!!!!!!!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Quotable quotes

A room without books is like a body without a soul.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Sunday, 9 May 2010

White Oleander

The storyline: Astrid is the only child of a beautiful but obsessed poet whom she worships.
When her mother is imprisoned for life for killing a lover with the poison of oleander flowers, Astrid is placed in foster care. She passes through a series of foster homes ranging from a trailer park to a Hollywood bungalow and a series of foster mothers - one who shoots her and another who starves her. It seems that she has found love an
d happiness and a chance at life with one rich couple until tragedy occurs and Astrid is on the move again.

The Review: This novel, is a true masterpiece, and should be read by all people who enjoy books that allow for digging deep, and considering the effects that humans have on oneanother. This book show's how Astrid's mother has messed her up, and how she ruins her chances for happiness and any semblance of a normal life when her mother is in prison. Her mother is so selfish, and despite her words, she does not really care for Astrid.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The Poison Apples

I read the jacket of this book and thought it would be interesting. It was, until I got close to the end. I expected the step daughters to take revenge on their evil step mothers, but alas, they have consciences and decided to take the high road. Although I enjoyed the anticipation, I would have liked to see a bit more action in this book when it comes to pay back. But I suppose that would never happen because of its target audience. Still it is light-hearted and cute, and is a good book for unwinding.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Boy - Tales of Childhood

For many years this has been one of my favourite books. I found it hard to believe that anyone's life could be so interesting considering how mundane my life was. Roald Dahl has been my favourite author since I was 9 years old. I remember going up to the librarian and asking if they had any of his books, of course I got the pronounciation horribly wrong, but then I was only 9 years old.

I made my way through his books quite quickly and developed firm favourites - such as Matilda and The Witches. And then I discovered BOY, and it quickly catapulted to #1 status. In this magnificent memoir of his childhood, Dahl tells of his school experiences, canings and very naughty ideas. My favourite chapter is the Great Mouse Plot [alluded to in the cover I have chosen], easily the most hillarious thing I have ever read.

So if you want to hear about a childhood recalled magically, one that you could almost be envious of (if only it were not for the canings!!!!) and wishing that it was your own; do yourself a favour and read BOY, you will enjoy it immensely.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

The Virgin Suicides

"We couldn't imagine the emptiness of a creature who put a razor to her wrists and opened her veins, the emptiness and the calm."
Jeffrey Eugenides - The Virgin Suicides

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The Virgin Suicides

"Basically what we have here is a dreamer. Somebody out of touch with reality. When she jumped, she probably thought she'd fly"

Jeffrey Eugenides - The Virgin Suicides

Monday, 3 May 2010

The Virgin Suicides

"Dr. Armonson stitched up her wrist wounds. Within 5 minutes of the transfusion he declared her out of danger. Chucking her under the chin, he said, "What are you doing here, honey? Your not even old enough to know how bad life gets." And it was then Cecelia gave orally what was to be her only form of suicide note, and a useless one at that, because she was going to live: "Obviously, Doctor," she said, "you've never been a 13 year old girl."

The Virgin Suicides

"...we had loved them, and that they hadn't heard us calling, still do not hear us... calling them out of those rooms where they went to be alone for all time, alone in suicide, which is deeper than death, and where we will never find the pieces to put them back together."

Jeffrey Eugenides - The Virgin Suicides

Sunday, 2 May 2010

The Virgin Suicides

"In the end we had the pieces of the puzzle, but no matter how we put them together, gaps remained, oddly shaped emptinesses mapped by what surrounded them, like countries we couldn't name."

Jeffrey Eugenides - The Virgin Suicides