2019 Summer Reading: King Arthur and John Steinbeck

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I will always be in awe of John Steinbeck, both as a reader and as a writer.

The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976) is John Steinbeck’s retelling of the Arthurian legend, based on the Winchester Manuscript text of Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur.

I’ve read almost all of Steinbeck’s books – many multiple times – but I’ve never read this one. It has been on my self for years. So, without any additional introductions I will add this to my 2019 Summer Reading List.

Why this? Why now?

We’ve all been fascinated with stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. From the musical Camelot to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, we can’t get enough. The series of books about Arthur is endless. There are even television shows.

I’ve even started a series of stories about a Warlock and Selkie who occasionally run into Merlin and other characters from Arthur’s court.

My hope is that Steinbeck’s unfinished version will be as beautifully crafted like the rest of his books. I’m sure I won’t be disappointed. I’m sure you won’t be either.

If Arthur isn’t your kind of story, then do yourself a favor and read one of Steinbeck’s other novels, or even a short story or two this summer. You’ll be glad you did.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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2019 Summer Reading: Long Books You’ll Savor

 

Some stories just can’t be told in three hundred and fifty pages.

Some stories need at least eight hundred pages, or twelve hundred, or even a few more than that.

For me long books are like road trips. Epic road trips. My kind of road trips.

Don’t be intimidated by long books. Read them. Savor them. Enjoy them. Add one to your summer reading list, even if you have to bring it into fall.

Seriously, I kid you not, I read It by Stephen King in one weekend. It is 1,138 pages. No problem. The next week I read The Stand, also by Stephen King . It is a little over 800 pages.

Here is my list. I might not have pictures for all of them. I don’t have exact page counts for all of them because that varies depending on addition and media, but all are long. I will give a brief line about each book. You can look up more about it on either your favorite online book site, go to a bookstore, or the library, or go to Wikipedia for more information. These are all books I have read (some more than once) and enjoyed.

So here we go…

The Stand by Stephen King

The ultimate epic battle of good and evil. You will never forget it. Never. Nobody does good and evil better than Stephen King.

Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon

I love this book so much. So will you. Take my word on it. You will laugh. You will cry. You will be amazed at how wonderful, and weird, and fun this book is.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

All movie versions of this suck. The book is the story of a family, and a story about changing times, and one of the most beautifully written American stories ever. Read it.

Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

I know, I know, this is a Trilogy but I’m including this because you MUST read all of it. PLEASE if you have only seen the movies (which left out so many important parts) please read the book. The books are about friendship, change, love, and grit. We can all relate to the characters. I’ve always thought that Pippen was based off of me. I love these books. READ THE BOOKS. My copies are falling apart I have read them so many times.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

A man is tricked by someone (some asshole) he thought was his friend. He is imprisoned. His wife is wooed and won by his enemy. Then he escapes with a vast treasure and comes back as The Count of Monte Cristo and seeks revenge and love.

Also make sure you read Les Miserables by Dumas. Always read the original.

The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye

An epic tale of crossed love and crossed cultures.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Another book I’ve read many many times. Anna is in an unhappy marriage. In a world where divorce brings ruin she finds love outside of her marriage. But it is so much more than that. Just read it.

The Crystal Cave and The Hollow Hills
Two long books by Mary Stewart

Druce and Morcant approve of these books. A beautifully written pair of books about the life of Merlin the Wizard. I have read these books many many times.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

More than just a western. This story will sweep you off of your feet. Take my word for it.

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Just out of the Dark Ages and edging towards the Middle Ages. You’ll love the characters. You’ll learn things you never imagined you’d know.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

An unexpected story of a boy who stole a famous painting and carried it with him through his life.

cat reads the classics

Until next Monday for more happy reading suggestions.

Click here for my entire line up of 2019 Summer Reading suggestions. 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

2019 Summer Reading: Dracula, Frankenstein, and Other 19th Century Horrors

For me summer reading means picking up a variety of books. It means trying out new books, as well as revisiting old friends.

After a steady diet of mysteries, romances, and modern literary fiction, sometimes we need to sit around the proverbial camp fire and be scared silly.

Oh by the way, this blog is inhabited by Vampires, and we read. We usually don’t sit around and read Vampire books but when we do we like it to be interesting.

Dracula – Annotated

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Dracula is a fun, unusual, and well written book.

Unfortunately, as with many books that grab the imagination, Dracula has been made into a lot of awful movies that only vaguely capture the story line. You have to read the book.

I recommend adding “The Annotated Dracula” which is Dracula by Bram Stoker, with an introduction, Notes, and Bibliography by Leonard Wolf. The book also includes maps, drawings, and photographs, plus beautiful illustrations by Satty.

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Mr. Wolf, who sadly passed away earlier this year, also created annotated versions of Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and The Phantom of the Opera,

Note: An annotated book is a book that includes notes and images about the book. It is more than just foot notes. Please see the photos I’ve included.

There are many annotated versions of Dracula from 1975. I recommend this one. It is out of print but you can find copies on eBay, other online sources, your library, and at your local used book store. Ask around.

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This is hours of good fun, and you’ll get to read the ORIGINAL.

 

Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein

Assembled from the original text by Mary Shelley

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For a lot of people Frankenstein can be a difficult read. First published in 1818 it quickly became a classic. However, it was written in 1818 and is sometimes puzzling and odd to many modern readers. I love the book, but I understand if it isn’t always easy.

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Like with Dracula, NOBODY has made a movie true to the book. READ THE BOOK. Get the real story.

A great version to start with is the illustrated version from one of my favorite illustrators Gris Grimly. Yes, it is a graphic novel. Yes, you will like it. Yes it is strangely weird and ugly and beautiful at the same time just like the original story.

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Get a copy, put it in your tote bag, back pack, satchel, or purse and carry it with you all summer. Savor it with a tall glass of something cold and remember to keep a light on later in the night.

 

Now for a different kind of horror…

 

The House of Mirth

by Edith Wharton

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Imagine living in a world where social status and money rules every chance of happiness you have. Imagine being a woman with no power over her own life, and who is judged and brutally unforgiven by every choice she makes – by the people who should be her own. Welcome to the cruel world of the 1870’s and how a women who is of the upper class, but with nobody to protect her is left to fend for herself in a world that has no place for women like her. This is the story of Lily Bart, beautifully told by Edith Wharton.

This book is brilliant, but frustrating and tragic. This is also a reminder to get out and vote in every single election so that the rights and opportunities for women everywhere will not be taken away.

The House of Mirth can be found in every bookstore and every library.

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High Fashion 1870’s

 

Happy summer reading and feel free to leave your comments or reading suggestions in the comments.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

2019 Summer Reading: Poe

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This summer read at least one short story by Edgar Allan Poe.

Just one. You’ll want to read more, but at least read one.

You can read a well known story like The Black Cat, or The Cask of Amonrillado, or The Murders in the Rue Morgue.

Or read one of the lesser known stories (those not made into Vincent Price movies) such as A Tale of the Ragged Mountains, or The Balloon-Hoax.

Then read some of Poe’s poetry.

Poe is the master of mystery and horror, the inventor of the modern detective story, and a true romantic. To put it bluntly, he tells a damn good story.

We’ve all seen the Vincent Price movie versions. Who doesn’t love Vincent Price?

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That said, I urge you all to find a quiet corner and READ at least one of Poe’s stories. Just one.

Let me know what you think.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

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2019 Summer Reading: Chilling and Thrilling

Monday is here so that means time to start a new book, or at least time to start thinking about what you’re going to read next.

Right now I’m in the middle of reading not one, but TWO, books – a novel and a horror anthology.

Tales to Chill Your Bones to

by Michael Haberfelner

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Michael Haberfelner is a master story teller. Yes, I’m a fan. I’ll make this quick. I love his style. It is different. He writes like a true story teller. I can just hear him saying, “gather round little children and I’ll tell you a story,” as yellow and red glowing eyes twinkle in the woods behind you.

I don’t want to say his style is old fashioned because it really isn’t, but it is comforting, while at the same time embracing the reader in unexpected, entertaining, and scary horror. Take my word for it. I’m really enjoying this book.

The official description: A collection of short stories and mini-plays ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous, from the post-apocalyptic to the weirdly romantic, tales about robots, demons and rats, about potholes, cuddly toys and shopping mall Santas, about love and death and everything in between, tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by the twisted mind of screenwriter Michael Haberfelner. Stories collected in this volume revolve around such things as … – the fate of a bookkeeper in the nuclear aftermath – artificial intelligence gone horribly wrong – a visit to the gynecologist one would rather forget – shrunken heads, quite a few of them – secret thoughts feeding the dreams of others – a Christmas wish gone horribly wrong – inappropriate jokes about moles – the deceiving kindness of strangers… and scores of other things that ought to disturb and entertain you at the same time. Enjoy – if you dare …

Michael Haberfelner also has work in the latest WPaD Anthology Creepies 3 and has contributed to many other WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants) books.

I am honored to have Michael as a fellow author and a friend. However, even if I didn’t know him I’d still love his writing. I’m looking forward to seeing what he writes in the future.

Judgment

By Joseph Finder

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I’ve been looking for new authors, both mainstream and indie. My big find of NYT Best Selling authors this summer has been Joseph Finder.

I’m in the middle of this book so I’ll tell you what I think so far. I LIKE IT. There is a court room, revenge, family drama, teens, a sexy stranger, and MURDER. The best thing is believable characters and a male author who knows how to write female characters. Thank you Mr. Finder. I don’t know what happens next but I know I won’t be disappointed.

When I first read the description of Judgement I have to admit I thought of Dirty Blonde by Lisa Scottoline. Dirty Blonde is in my top ten favorite books of all time. Thank you Lisa Scottoline.

I’m glad I took my chances and picked up with something that is entirely different and the perfect book for summer reading. I know I’ll be reading more Joseph Finder novels in the future.

The official description: New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder returns with an explosive new thriller about a female judge and the one personal misstep that could lead to her—and her family’s—downfall.

It was nothing more than a one-night stand. Juliana Brody, a judge in the Superior Court of Massachusetts, is rumored to be in consideration for the federal circuit, maybe someday the highest court in the land. At a conference in a Chicago hotel, she meets a gentle, vulnerable man and has an unforgettable night with him—something she’d never done before. They part with an explicit understanding that this must never happen again.

But back home in Boston, Juliana realizes that this was no random encounter. The man from Chicago proves to have an integral role in a case she’s presiding over–a sex-discrimination case that’s received national attention. Juliana discovers that she’s been entrapped, her night of infidelity captured on video. Strings are being pulled in high places, a terrifying unfolding conspiracy that will turn her life upside down.  But soon it becomes clear that personal humiliation, even the possible destruction of her career, are the least of her concerns, as her own life and the lives of her family are put in mortal jeopardy.

In the end, turning the tables on her adversaries will require her to be as ruthless as they are.

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For as long as I can remember I’ve always loved a good story. I love reading them. I love telling them. For me, finding good storytellers is like finding gold, or even something more valuable. For the rest of the summer (and maybe beyond) I’ll continue to share my book finds, and tell you what I’m reading, or what is on my “to read” list.

I’m adding all of my summer reading posts to a link on the side bar of my blog. It will be up by July 2nd, if not sooner.

Happy reading. And as always share books with your friends, your kids, your lovers, your grandma, and everyone else who crosses your path.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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It’s ALIVE!

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CREEPIES 3: NIGHTMARES ON DEVIANT STREET

Writers, Poets, and Deviants (WPaD) have come out with their 11th Short Story Anthology and I AM DOING THE HAPPY DANCE.

A bloodthirsty refrigerator…
A murderous pothole…
Legends of mysterious monsters…
Ghosts and magic…
And much more!

A chilling collection of stories from the twisted minds of Writers, Poets and Deviants:
Volume 3 of WPaD’s popular Creepies series.

by WPaD (Author), Mandy White (Author), Diana Garcia (Author), Marla Todd (Author), Michael Haberfelner (Author), David Hunter (Author), Mike Cooley (Author), Soleil Daniels(Author), Lea Anne Guettler (Author), Debra Lamb (Author), and more!

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This anthology includes stories that will scare you silly, make you think, maybe even make you laugh.

And as with all WPaD anthologies, proceeds go to MS charities.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

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