Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Reading

What have you been reading this week?

Actually I finished this a few Sundays ago, while on the wedding trip to Washington D.C., but haven't had time to blog about it yet. And it's certainly blog-worthy.

DEAD IN THE FAMILY is the latest installment to the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. The series of books that the HBO series TRUE BLOOD is based upon. Harris does a wonderful job of painting characters who we might see on any street in any town... and yet there's a twisted underside to them that the average person doesn't know about.

The supernatural world - or the supes, as Sookie calls them - are all around us and intermingled in our ordinary lives. Most people are too caught up in their own inner workings to notice, but the paranormal is everywhere in Bon Temp, Louisiana. Maybe in your hometown, too.

I enjoyed this book. If you're a fan of Sookie and the gang, you'll enjoy it. But I wouldn't choose this particular book to start with. The tenth book in the series, Harris relies too heavily on our prior understandings of the complex relationships between the various characters.

There are so many characters to keep track of, as well as so many dead characters and references to prior incidents to keep track of... I found myself thinking "Oh, I'd better go back and read that book again," thinking I didn't remember a few of the references all that well. And I've only just read all of the books within the last few months. Imagine a reader who's been following Sookie all along.

As a reader, I've gotten annoyed many times over the years by the seemingly extraneous explanations of who's who and what's what (I mean, how many times did we really need to be told that Nancy Drew had titian hair and a convertible?)

But I also appreciate a series where you can pick it up at any point and jump in, either for a quick dip in just the one book... or to then decide to swim through the entire series.

Some of the Sookie Stackhouse books work this way. You don't have to start with DEAD UNTIL DARK. In fact, I think the first one I read with LIVING DEAD IN DALLAS. But at this point - Book 10! - you can't start here. You need to go back and read a few - or all - of the books in the series to get everything out of this one.

Which is good for fans like me. But not so good if you're not already up to speed.

Luckily, the other nine are all available in both regular and trade paperback. And thanks to their popularity, most are also on the shelf at your local library. I mean, if my little library has them, they must be all over the place!

My recommendation is to read them all. Catch up with the rest of us hard-core Sookie fans. And then read this book. These books are all fun, light reading with a dark paranormal chewy center, perfect for summer reading both on and off the beach.

And most perfect of all, TRUE BLOOD will be back with its next season of shows very very soon (it's almost June!) ensuring this summer will be a hot one. At least on Sunday nights.

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