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Recent Reading - More Charlaine Harris - Mo's Journal
November 8th, 2009
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Recent Reading - More Charlaine Harris

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From:candrawest
Date:December 25th, 2009 12:04 pm (UTC)

Charlaine Harris

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Based in your earlier post, I started reading the Sookie Stackhouse books. Based on reading the first of them, I started reading the rest of her books. The whole "why do you seem to find a dead body wherever you go?" thing is not dealt with nearly so well in the other series she's written. Personally, given how often Lily Bard (the Shakespeare books) and Aurora Teagarden (her series doesn't really have a neat nickname) find dead bodies, I can guarantee I would be rapidly leaving any area they were in and very likely moving out of state as well.

I love the "Grave" books, though I was less than impressed with the major interpersonal plot development in "Ice Cold Grave". Since finishing it a week or so ago I'm more lenient, but it was still kind of bleagh. I can't wait to read "Grave Secret" based on the blurb I have read for it. I'm trying to decide if I like Harper and Tolliver well enough to buy the series.

My one major gripe about the Sookie Stackhouse books is how often she apologises for her vocabulary. I nearly threw "Club Dead" across the room after Sookie (yet again) explained knowing a word because of her lame "word of the day" calendar. The word in question this time: ironic. I hate that Charlaine Harris seems to think that just because Sookie is a waitress, she must be barely conversant. More often than not the words that Sookie uses are quite common, and no one needs an explanation for her knowing them. Also, the editors of her calendar must be bloody prescient because Sookie always seems to learn a word the very same day that her life provides her with a reason to use the word. And on a related note, I get the whole "Sookie can't do classrooms" thing, but if she's going to whinge that much about her education, what's stopping her from doing correspondence courses? I don't know if I can cope with the rest of the series if Charlaine Harris continues bashing us over the head with the whole "Sookie may be uneducated, but she's not stupid" idea. I got it the first time it was mentioned.

I also find it funny how it seems like all of her heroines are petite, extremely good looking, and very well endowed. Shes more than welcome to write her characters that way, but I personally don't need a comment on the subject in every book.

Hadn't really intended to turn this comment into a mini-rant, I just kind of got caught up in the pleasure of being able to vent to someone who has also read at least some of the same books. I really appreciate the recommendation of both the books and the series "True Blood". Jo is the envy of all the kids at school because I let her watch True Blood with me.
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From:mofic
Date:December 25th, 2009 02:33 pm (UTC)

Re: Charlaine Harris

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I don't mind the rant at all. My pet peeve with Charlaine Harris is how you have to get detailed descriptions of every outfit her female characters wear. I think that and making them all so attractive is part of the romance novel tradition she seems to follow.

The Sookie-may-be-uneducated-but-isn't-stupid meme doesn't bother me particularly. Sookie's got a big chip on her shoulder over people assuming a blonde barmaid with no college education is stupid, so it makes sense to me that - since the novels are told first person - it's a theme that would recur often. You have a good point about correspondence courses or online education. She does show her as reading a lot. One thing I don't think I've mentioned that I quite like about the Harris books is that her characters spend a lot of time at the library!

I like the "Grave" books best, and I quite liked that she finished the series so definitively in the last one. I mean, part of me was disappointed because I would have liked more of them, but I really admired how she set up a bunch of questions in the first one (beyond the questions in the specific mystery) and then answered them in the following books. It's not a neat ending and not a "happily ever after" one but it has a real sense of completion, which I find unusual and admirable in a mystery series.

I read a couple of the Aurora Teagarden ones and found them okay, but nothing that made me want to read more. I haven't tried the Lily Bard ones.

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts. Oh and I hope you're having a merry Christmas.

Edited at 2009-12-25 02:34 pm (UTC)
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From:candrawest
Date:December 25th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)

Re: Charlaine Harris

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I suspected from the blurb for the fourth book that it might be the end of the series. I haven't read it yet, but given that Cameron turns up, it seemed like a pretty sure call that it was over.

I have just recently been able to enjoy the benefits of a public library again, so have been reading virtually everything by authors I know I can tolerate. I transferred to my local supermarket so my transit time is greatly reduced and I work just across the courtyard from the library now, so it's much easier to get in there.

As far as the looks of her heroines, it's the comments on their bust size that drive me crazy. I do not know a single person who mentions their chest as often as the characters in her books. Or maybe I just had bad luck and caught a couple of books with more frequent than normal mentions at the same time.

It's Sookie's reading that makes the mention of the word of the day calendars grate so much to me. She reads a lot, she has plenty of reason to know the words without having apparently psychic calendar editors. It just comes across a bit as though she's expecting us to be unfamiliar with the words too. That bugs me
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