Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Southern Vampire Series (copy)

Sometimes, just out of the blue, I’ll hear another person book talk a recent read to their friend(s). Obviously, being a librarian, my ears are tuned to just this sort of conversation, and have a tendency to lean-in close to hear more. Alright, I’m rude, but it’s a great way to find word-of-mouth books that may not be on the New York Times bestseller list.

Imagine my excitement, when I caught a student raving about an author to other students. She was doing an excellent job, too. The boy and girl that accompanied her actually checked out a book each by this author. She then began to sell me on the author’s series and how it compares to others in the same genre.

What a smart girl! Now, I was dying to read the series, but the books were checked out. I then headed to the local library, where another well-informed librarian told me more, and loaded my arms with five books.

Folks, we have a local author who is about to take her Southern Vampire series to new heights. Tunica native, Charlaine Harris, signed a deal with HBO to bring her Sookie Stackhouse to the paid-for-cable television screen. For the past two years director Alan Ball worked with actors Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer to produce the “True Blood” pilot set for release this fall.

Harris is no stranger to the mystery series having written two: Aurora Teagarden and Shakespeare. Her first book in the Southern Vampire series, Dead until Dark, won an Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original in 2001. In this series she creates a fresh genre by mixing mystery, romance, and fantasy with her own off-the-wall humor.

Heroine, Sookie Stackhouse, is barmaid extraordinaire at the subdued, Louisiana bar Merlotte’s. While serving nightly rounds to light-headed patrons, she solves murders with the help of her vampire-boyfriend Bill Compton. Vampires are known entities in Harris’s world. They even have synthetic blood produced by major soft drink companies.

What makes Sookie extraordinary at her job is the fact she can read minds. Can you imagine the power of knowing drink orders before customers announce them? Otherwise, she is a normal human being, among other beings such as vampires, shape-shifters and werewolves.

Do pick up one of these fun books before the series airs. You’ll be singing the praises of a fellow Mississippian Charlaine Harris, for sure.

Note: Number 1 Read Club Dead for RIP II Reading Challenge