Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bite me.

   I like to read books in combination. Specifically, 2-3 books in series that deal with a common theme such as 1984 and Brave New World  (frightening alternate futures) or Ann Benson's plague series starting with The Plague Tales and Year of Wonders (the plague, obviously). I'm not sure why 100%, but once I find an interesting tale, I like to stick with it and discover other authors' perspective on the same theme. I would like to recommend a few reading combos, if I may, during the life of this blog in keeping with my theme of sharing a love of reading.

   For your reading pleasure, I would like to recommend reading the combination of Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian and Bram Stoker's Dracula. Both obviously deal with vampires, but it's so much more than that! Let's discuss.

The Historian  is an interwoven story told from the perspective of three generations of scholars beginning in the 1930s (or thereabouts): Professor Rossi, his student Paul (1950s) and Paul's daughter in 1972. All of their adventures begin with the discovery of an ancient and mysterious leather bound book full of empty pages except for a wood cutting of a dragon in the middle.The book prompts Rossi to research clues and track the movements of Vlad the Impaler, and leads him to a terrifying conclusion, which he shares with Paul twenty years later: Dracula still lives and walks among us. After confessing this, Rossi disappears, and Paul, along with Rossi's unacknowledged daughter, Helen, race to not only destroy the monster, but to save his mentor and friend. Another twenty years later, their daughter finds Paul's book and aged, yellow letters, and he reluctantly begins to tell her his harrowing story. Full of marvelous history and tantalizing clues, The Historian is a gripping mystery that will leave you white-knuckled until the riveting conclusion. Wonderful and moving character development make this a book you will want to discover over and over. 

Most of us are familiar with the story of Dracula, but Bram Stoker's classic is more than just a portrayal of a monster. When Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania, he is struck by the eccentric Count Dracula, and begins to fear that not all is as is seems in the gloomy castle. As the Count leaves for England, Jonathan becomes a prisoner, and strange occurrences plague London, from a ghost ship to puncture marks on a young woman's neck. Pieced together from diary entries and newspaper clippings, Dracula follows the lives of London residents Jonathan Harker, Mina Harker (nee Murray), Dr. Jack Steward, their friends Quincy and Arthur, and Dr. Abraham Van Helsing as they use their brains to stop an evil fiend from draining England dry. It is a study of determination, love, friendship, and the human will magnificently crafted through thoughts, feelings, and atmosphere. A classic that doesn't rely on gore to be frightening, or sex to be loving. An entertaining read that will keep you turning the pages.

Now go dig in and read! Hope you enjoy this combo as much as I did!

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