Friday, 11 May 2012

Book spree, pt. 1

Been a while since I've been on a book-buying spree. However, this time, it wasn't Amazonian but AbeBooks...ian. Specifically, I was inspired by their free postage option and my vampire book 'starvation'. No surprises I tend to 'binge' when the opportunity presents itself.

I find buying in bulk to be far more beneficial than ordering individual items, especially when postage is factored in. My Amazon wish lists are bursting at the seams: they feature over a hundred book listings in total. Thought I'd lighten the load.

Several books I ordered via AbeBooks arrived during the week. Each will be accompanied by a brief overview. Dates at the top signify when the books arrived.


9 May 2012

Title: The theology of Dracula: reading the book of Stoker as sacred text (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2012) 
Author: Noël Montague-Étienne Rarignac
Date ordered: 1 May 2012
Price: £29.82
Why'd I buy it? The book's cover has captivated me for a long time. Fortunately, that superficial appreciation has been offset by an interest in the book's contents. What makes Dracula a 'sacred text' akin to the Bible? What are the theological angles explored? And so on. I got into a brief discussion of the book with John W. Morehead—and it arrived that same day! He warned me it would be a 'plodding read'. After reading his interview with Rarignac, that wouldn't surprise me. Nonetheless, it'll be interesting to see how the author makes his case.

Title: Vampires, burial, and death: folklore and reality (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2010) 
Author: Paul Barber
Date ordered: 1 May 2012
Price: £11.49
Why'd I buy it? Though I've known its not a new edition for a long time, I'm familiar with its updated contents: specifically, its new preface. You might recall that I gave a copy of the book to a mate as a birthday present (see: 'Second anniversary'). What you wouldn't know—or probably her, either—is that I read the book's preface in Reader's Feast before buying it and handing it over to her. Muhahaha! The preface is great and features a revision to one of his pet vampire theories, re: the origin of staking the undead. Part of the reason I finally decided to get it, was a brief Facebook convo I had with Kyle Germann.

Title: It started with Dracula: the Count, my mother, and me (n.p.: Bettie Youngs Books, 2011) 
Author: Jane Congdon
Date ordered: 1 May 2012
Price: £10.04
Why'd I buy it? I get a kick out of books devoted to vampire fandom. This book relates Congdon's interest in Dracula after watching Horror of Dracula (1958) and wraps it up in a personal journey. It's probably the only book of this nature that I've seen billed 'Self-Help/Inspiration'. It's also the first book out of this lot that I've started reading. As of this writing, I'm up to the twelfth chapter. I'm impressed by Congdon's candidness, comparable to Barbara Green's in Secrets of the grave (2001). It's certainly an interesting ride.

11 May 2012

Title: Vampyrernas historia (Stockholm: Norstedts, 2011) 
Author: Katarina Harrison Lindbergh
Date ordered: 1 May 2012
Price: £14.12 + £11.79 postage
Why'd I buy it? My rule of thumb is, if Niels recommends a vampire book: buy it. Sometimes, this goes beyond reason. In this case, the book's Swedish and I can't speak or read it. Nonetheless, it slakes my collector tastes. He mentioned the comparatively obscure tome in 'A matter of corporeal evidence' and 'This year's harvest'. It concerns itself with vampire archaeology—a subset of vampire research that interests me, along with folkloric aspects.

Title: The horror readers' advisory: the librarian's guide to vampires, killer tomatoes, and haunted houses (Chicago: American Library Association, 2004) 
Author: Becky Siegel Spratford and Tammy Hennigh Clausen
Date ordered: 1 May 2012
Price: £2.51 + £7.29 postage
Why'd I buy it? To be honest, I'm not entirely sure. I guess I liked the obscure angle to it; a book with a very specific focus. Plus, it was cheap. For some reason, I had it in my head that this would cater specifically to Young Adult fiction, but it doesn't. The 'advisory' angle is basically a list of recommendations for various horror subgenres. The vampire chapter is fairly small (pp. 39–48). Overall, the book reminds me of Patricia Altner's Vampire readings (1998). A nice little tome.

Title: In the shadow of the vampire: reflections from the world of Anne Rice (New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 1997) 
Author: Jan Marcus
Date ordered: 1 May 2012
Price: £2.51
Why'd I buy it? Mainly because it was referenced in Susannah Clements' The vampire defanged (2011), but also because it was cheap, too. However, I thought the 'reflections' would originate with Anne Rice, herself. Instead, the book is primarily composed of interviews with various people who've been inspired by Rice's vampire novels (pp. 1–138). Not what I had in mind. I guess it might be a useful insight into vampire fandom, though.

Title: The Halloween encyclopedia (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2003) 
Author: Lisa Morton
Date ordered: 1 May 2012
Price: £6.85
Why'd I buy it? I love Halloween. Simple, really. Better yet, I love books that give comprehensive coverage to the holiday, like Lesley Pratt Bannatyne's Halloween: an American holiday, an American history (1990). I've had my eye on Morton's book for a while. There's a second edition—prohibitively priced at US$75—but I prefer getting first editions, anyway, as they're like 'primary sources'. I get updated editions later. Not that I necessarily expected it to, but this edition features only the briefest of brief mentions of vampires/Dracula. I'm also disappointed to see that its entries don't feature references. I know this isn't standard encyclopedia practice, but J. Gordon Melton's The vampire book (1994; 1999; 2011) and Theresa Bane's Encyclopedia of vampire mythology (2010) have spoiled me.

Title: Der Vampirglaube in Südosteuropa: Studien zur Genese, Bedeutung und Funktion; Rumänien und der Balkanraum (Berlin: Weidler Buchverlag, 2001) 
Author: Peter Mario Kreuter
Date ordered: 1 May 2012
Price: £17.18 + £7.32
Why'd I buy it? I've heard a lotta good things about this. Also, it is devoted to my favourite vampire research angle: folklore. Kreuter's one of few vampire authors who concentrate their works on this field. This is the published version of his dissertation. For an insight into the author, check out my interview with him (part 1; part 2).

I've got a few more books on the way, so stay tuned for that write-up.

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