(Il)Literacy


So yesterday I treated myself to a trip to the bookstore. With all the hype about vampires from the new movie “Twilight” right now, it got me interested in finding out how many other literary portrayals of vampires there are.

Wow. Quite a few.

I haven’t read the “Twilight” series, since I’m not a ‘tween (not by a long shot). But I think when the movie comes out on DVD I’ll probably rent it, mostly because it was shot in and around where I live. Apparently the setting, according to the books, is somewhere up in Washington, but almost all the filming locations were here in Oregon. What a hoot. I can identify places in the trailer even. (Anyone want a postcard from the area?)

So as I said, I took myself off to the bookstores yesterday (I say ‘bookstores’, plural, because the first one so traumatized me I had to drive to Shangri-la, aka, Powells, down the road to calm myself). I wanted to look at the new hardcover annotated “Dracula”, Leslie S. Klinger contributor, and an introduction by Neil Gaiman. It’s quite the book, I’d say worth the $39.95 list price but I wasn’t in the mood to pay that much yesterday, and I’m not that much of a Dracula fan. But I had trouble locating it on the shelves. I expected it to be shelved where “Frankenstein” is, either in the sci-fi/fantasy section, or the “Literature” (capital L) section. But no. One of the salespeople(woman) asked if she could help, so she offered to look it up on their computers and see where it might be kept.

Now here’s the sad part. I’m in a bookstore, and I had to tell her, not only WHO the author was, but I had to spell “S-T-O-K-E-R” for her. Twice. I grant you, this was in a Borders, so the staff is not necessarily interested in their own merchandise. I guess I had this fantasy of bookstore clerks actually being readers themselves, knowing something about classic literature. :::::sigh::::: My bubble is burst. I could have understood it if I’d asked for something by Solzhenitsyn, but Stoker? But lo and behold, there it was, in the “Horror” section, with Stephen King. I wandered around for a few more minutes after being unimpressed with the two paperback copies of Dracula they had in addition to the new hardcover, then drove down the road to Powell’s where I was greeted with many editions of Dracula. I picked up a Dover thrift edition for $3.50, and a Terry Prachett, “Witches Abroad”, because I thought a good laugh was in order at this point. I got out of there only $7 poorer.

And shame on me, I missed Bram’s birthday, November 8. Happy Birthday Bram!

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8 thoughts on “(Il)Literacy

  1. LOL. My 13 yo old son made me promise that I would NOT read the Twilight book or watch the movie, he is so disgusted with all of the girls in his class and their obsession. I told him I could make the limited promise not to watch it anytime soon, but you never know whether I’ll need it for research of some kind. I read Stoker’s Dracula for the first time just last month, and surprised myself by loving it. Didn’t think I would.

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  2. Haha! Poor kid, he must be ready to tear his hair out even at that tender age. I’ve read accounts of theaters full of screaming girls at the midnight showings…:::shudder::: and some absolutely hysterical slagging on it in the blogosphere.

    I’ve only opened “Dracula” long enough to read the first few pages, but already I’m loving Stoker’s style, and his very vivid descriptions. Very fine writing. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to bring myself to read “Twilight” or any other vampire series (Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Ann Rice, et al) but I thought I owed it to myself to read a seminal work on the subject, and a classic in its own right.

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  3. I studied and wrote about Stoker’s Dracula way back in high school [before the horrid Kneau Reeves film] and i still consider it one of my favorite classics, and I read most of Anne Rice’s vamp books… I guess i was a bit of a “goth kid” back then, at least literarily…I think it is amusing how the talk around Twilight is that vampires are all of a sudden popular and hot when I remember them having the same soundbites when Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise were in “Interview With a Vampire”…but I am avoiding this series because I hate it when it is compared to “Harry Potter”- like this series is comparable…i dun’t get it.

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  4. Heh, and even before the Cruise/Pitt portrayals, back in the 70s Frank Langella was causing women to swoon as the first (I believe) sexy vampire. I don’t really see any comparison with Harry Potter, either, but the industry likes to lump together anything with a “supernatural” element. I’ve read some discussions of Meyers’s writing online, it seems to be juvenile in the way a 13-yr-old girl would write rather than aimed at children. HP may not be Pulitzer material, but this Twilight stuff is just bad. It’s too bad, the basic premise is intriguing, much could have been done with it.

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