Wednesday, August 23, 2006

All Good Things...

Well, I finally finished The Historian on Monday. I was glad to finish, to see how the story ended; but sad as well. When you get so wrapped up in a book and look forward to picking it up whenver possible, it's hard when it's finally over. But it's a great read and I highly recommend it.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the book got me thinking about vampires, Dracula, Bram Stoker, etc. I had visions of a long post with tons of interesting Web sites on all things undead -- and quickly found that our good friends at Wikepedia had already covered the topic in depth for me.

The most important thing to remember is the distinction between vampires (their mythology and folklore), the character of Dracula as created by Bram Stoker, and Vlad Tepes (also known as Vlad Dracula or Vlad the Impaler), a prince of Wallachia and defender against Ottoman expansion. They are three separate things that often get mushed up in all sorts of ways. For example, there's no evidence that Vlad Dracula was a vampire (ironcially, he impaled his victims), and the jury is still out on how much Stoker knew of the infamous ruler when creating his fictional character. (By the way, get the e-text to Stoker's novel here.)

Then there's popular culture, which has had almost a continuing love affair with Dracula since his debut in 1897. The Wikepedia article on Dracula does a great job of summarizing both the major and minor impacts the caped one has had on popular culture. In addition to the movies (Bram Stoker's Dracula is my personal favorite, although you gotta love Christopher Lee in all those Hammer movies), there are video games, comics, cereal (yeah Count Chocula!) and children's television (Count von Count from Sesame Street).

One interesting thing I did learn: According to folklore, one of the ways to get rid of a vampire is to simply sprinkle some holy water on the grave. You can understand why Hollywood kind of ignored this. Why just have your hero sprinkling water when you can ram a stake through the vampire's heart and cut his head off?!


Kirsten said...

Love your post about Dracula and his depiction in popular culture. I ordered Bram Stoker's Dracula from the B&N classics sale last week and have been anxiously awaiting its arrival. The Historian has been another in my TBR pile which I will now quickly move to the top of my pile.

Not sure if you are also a fan of young adult literature, but Twilight was recommended on another blogger's site if you are looking for more vampire reading. I requested it from my local library, but am sick of waiting. I'm tempted to just go out and buy my own copy :)

I Buy Books said...

Thanks! It's been a few years since I read Dracula. I think it would be really fun to read that and The Historian back to back. I've also been interested in trying the Laurel K. Hamilton series, which I understand includes vampires as well.
I'll also check out Twilight -- thanks!

Linkmeister said...

S'alright. Gaiman and Pratchett remembered the holy water remedy in Good Omens.

Dance Chica said...

I just recently bought Dracula myself. It should be arriving soon from Amazon--don't you just love Amazon? ;-) Anyway, I love vampires and so I'm always eager to read them. Figured I'd read one of the early vampire books. I've got twilight too.

I've read Laurell K. Hamilton up until recently so let me warn you: the first nine books are good but after that, the series starts to become rather sexually explict to the point where there is no plot to the books. If you want to see what I mean, go read Bam's review of the first book then read her review of the lastest book. Her reviews are spot on. However, I still recommend the first nine. :-)

I Buy Books said...

Thanks, Dance Chica. Don't you just hate it when a series goes bad? Anyway, I think I'll add at least the first of the Hamilton series to my reading list for Carl V.'s RIP Challenge. Are you going to join? P.S. Cool blog!

Dance Chica said...

I do hate it when a series goes bad esp. in this case because the series really was good. I mean, the writing was simple but the world just sucked you right in. But now the characters are so different from the ones first introduced. I realize characters have to change (or should else they get boring) but this is like character assassination. LOL.

I've seen the reading challenge on quite a few blogs and it seems interesting but I'm not sure if I'll join or not because I'm usually pretty bad with keeping to deadlines. My reading moods always change so much. lol.

And thanks for the compliment on my blog! :D