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Give me Nancy Drew over Raskolnikov anytime

I’ve never understood why humans assume vampires don’t read. In all of your gloriously inaccurate and unintentionally amusing horror movies with my kind, the vampires are forever moping about and draining blood, but never settle down with a good book. Shame on you. I am undead but far from unread. Who doesn’t want to escape the quotidian? And who, besides the practically immortal, would have better insights. Ah, the boredom, the boredom. The horror. The horror.  Does that ring any bells?

Conrad is not a favorite and if you think about it, you can guess why. While I did love the bouncing playboy bunnies in the movie adaptation of Heart of Darkness, reading about evil is hardly entertaining for someone like me. Evil is my DNA. I need not excavate it artistically in order to understand it.

Give me Nancy Drew over Raskolnikov anytime.

There, I’ve done it. I’ve revealed a little known fact about vampires. Nancy Drew is a cult favorite. Such a luscious young sleuth. I’ve spent many an hour following her around in word, breathlessly wishing I could jump right into those pages and sip her lovely juices while the delightfully dense Ned watched on, frozen in terror.

Like you, my pleasure reading is generally for escapist reasons, and for me that means fantasy books about loyalty, happy families and true love. Like The Story of O. The last scene when O is reduced to complete sexual servitude brings tears of joy to my eyes. If only I could see Nancy Drew in a similar state. But there’s another reason I read too. The human literary canon is nothing short of a playbook for good hunting. I’ll give you a few examples of what I’ve learned.

Cowboys are intellectually disabled by their willingness to see the good in everyone. I figured that out last year by reading all 857 (or so it seemed; I lost count) Louis L’Amour books and topping it off with a spree of books by contemporary western writer Craig Johnson. I was on the next plane to Wyoming. I gained five pounds in two days!

Cold climates enhance the human sense of regret. I first gleaned this from Jar City and the world of Detective Erlunder. Regret is the flip side of the puerile human desire to be good. Combine a dark wintery night with a warm fire, and any human will tell you her deepest regret. The rest is easy. Winter is definitely not the season of my discontent and the long nights of Iceland are exhausting, but fruitful.

Art galleries are a great place to hunt! This truth was reinforced by Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty. I am constantly thrilled (as well as mystified) by how easily humans can be duped by beauty, especially when combined with fashionable peer pressure. I gave Martin’s book as a gift to a newly turned vampire — it’s a roadmap for how to exploit these attributes. (As an aside, Martin’s King Tut is remarkably accurate.)

Humans believe they are the only animal with higher cognitive functioning. On the non-fiction front, books like Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation give me insight into the vulnerability deriving from human arrogance. The humbling fall of the mighty, who learn too late they are on a lower evolutionary rung, is truly piquant.

Humans like mind-altering substances. Given that my kind don’t experience the high of alcohol or other drugs, authors who write about this topic illuminate a vulnerable aspect of my prey. There are almost too numerous to count: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, all those wonderful drunken beat poets in the Kerouac era, and the 1980s hedonism captured by Jay McInernay’s Bright Lights Big City. These books have taught me to keep a bottle of scotch and a vial of coke always in my purse. Here kitty, kitty; come get your goodies.

I’ve saved the best tidbit about my reading habits for last. Humans who read taste better, their blood has more bitter aromatics — a by-product, no doubt, of intellectual curiosity on the bloodstream. If you will excuse me, I’m off to the local library for an after-dinner drink, a literary digestif, if you will.


Check out this associated Amazon ListMania: Undead but not unread – what vampires read.

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