Friday, July 13, 2007

Vampires, Harry Potter, etc.

When I was in middle school, a friend lent me some young adult books about vampires. They were the Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith. I read those books and fell in love with the world of fantasy. I proceeded to read the next few series by this author, and the impact those books had on my own love for story and the conflict of good and evil I'm not sure can be measured. I was hooked.

I became fascinated with vampires. I read Anne Rice's series. I read all the vampire books I could find, but honestly, I don't think any of them ever truly measured up to that first series. I was hooked. When I was a freshman in high school and had to do an informative speech, I did it on the history of vampire folklore. (I can remember everyone's blank expressions throughout...ha!!)

(quick interruption---I am not one of those vampire loving freaks who wears all black, fangs, and goes to conventions...I just like a good paranormal story)

I have to say, that loving the paranormal and growing up in a conservative evangelical Christian world probably didn't go hand-in-hand. Eventually, I went to college where I had no time to read for pleasure between all the reading of textbooks and socializing there was to be done. But on one summer break, I came home and fell in love with a mystical world once again by opening a book. I think you may be able to guess which books I'm talking about.....Harry Potter.

I saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix last night in all its Imax 3-d glory. I loved this book and I loved the movie. I love the way these stories stir your soul, make you hate evil, love your friends, appreciate what's good in life and it's very fragile and fleeting nature. I love that nothing is sugarcoated but all that is righteous is extolled. I love Harry Potter. But I will be writing a farewell post to him next week, so I better be quiet so I have something left to say then! I do have a question, though. For those of you who have never read the books, do you find the movies difficult to follow? I just wonder about that. ANYWAY...

The X-files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel are among my favorite tv shows ever. And there's a new vampire show coming on in the fall (yay!). I don't read a lot of the modern vampire books since many of them are also very, uh, steamy. But I did recently discover a new series by Shanna Swendson that's very charming and funny about a magical company in New York, written chick lit style. I guess I just like something a little offbeat in my stories, a change from the real world. I guess I like to escape. And maybe, the world's fascination with all things paranormal and fantastical is an acknowledgement that there is more to this life experience than science can explain.

I recently looked for those L.J Smith books again, because I wanted to see if they would still be as addictive and moving to me as an adult. But, in a crazy world, most of them are out-of-print and sell for a good chunk of money on ebay and amazon. Apparently, I am not the only one who loved them.


~ jen ~ said...


I SOOOO remember the Vampire Diaries, and I think I still have them, although packed away somewhere. If I come across them whilst cleaning (HA, cleaning)do you want me to send them to you?

Sitting around on the floor waiting for the bell to ring so we could get to our lockers; talking with Valerie, Emily about those books....What a flashback!!!! Eighth grade was strange.

Amy said...

Seriously, it's like the perfect example of why you should be a pack rat. I was shocked to see her books go upwards of 50 dollars on ebay. (I was hoping to get them for a few bucks) 8th grade WAS strange. Remember Ana? I was thinking about her when I was in Costa Rica last week.

Chaotic Hammer said...

I've never read a Harry Potter book, but as far as I can tell, I have no problem at all following the movies. But maybe there's a lot of stuff I'm missing, that I don't realize I'm missing.

I've never really read much from that genre anyway -- my reading has always been science and information type stuff. I'm a sponge for trivia, useless information, or "how stuff works" type stuff.

Not sure about the L.J. Smith books, but my wife is definitely a heavy fantasy and fiction reader who has read many of the Anne Rice books and is also fascinated with vampires (like you, she is not a "goth" either). And I guess no surprise, she loved Buffy too (and we both loved The X-Files).

These days, that phase in our lives seems to have run its course -- busy with jobs and life and other stuff. When we do read, it tends to be more practical stuff, like studies of the Bible or information on Christian living.

I don't mean for this doesn't make us sound too starchy or anything -- I think fantasy and fiction are great, and absolutely agree about the great battles between good and evil. Story is a great way to convey life lessons and fascinating underlying themes (or just to get away for a little while!).

Looking back, I can't remember any turning point when we stopped one phase and started the other. I guess it's part of the whole "growing older" thing that we're not supposed to admit is happening to us. ;-)

Amy said...


Your wife sounds really cool.

You know, I have a hard time reading non-fiction! Even though there are books I want to read, I just prefer fiction. Then when I do start to read some non-fiction, Bible studies, etc. I really enjoy them and I think I should do it more often. I know lots of people are the opposite, if they are going to read, they'd rather spend the time reading something more useful.

FancyPants said...


Book 7 coming soon!

FancyPants said...

Oh, and by the way, my husband loves vampires and I think he secretly wants to be one. He read the Anne Rice books. He emailed her once from her website and she emailed him back! She seems really cool.

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