Posted tagged ‘Johanna Parker’

Escapism – One Could Do Worse Than Eric Northman

December 17, 2009

A  couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about the lure of mind candy when escapism hits. At around the same time, I wrote a post about reading nine Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood vampire novels in one week.  (This, I should note, was not a week in which I was on vacation sitting reading on a beach.)    Comparing the Sookie Stackhouse vampire novels to the few other vampire novels I’ve read (the Twilight Saga), I said that the Stackhouse books weren’t really such great re-reads because they were mysteries rather than romances.

A couple of weeks, and several re-reads, later, have led me to revise that opinion.  The Sookie Stackhouse books actually are fairly romantic, at least fairly raunchy, and they score quite well on the escapist/obsessive-compulsive/manicD re-reading charts.  (The audible books read with a delightful Southern accent by Johanna Parker, are also pretty helpful for the highly-pressured who eschew medication.)

I also want to revise my previously posted opinion of the character of Eric Northman (noting again that I’ve never seen the True Blood TV series.)  I said in my post that  I thought Eric was too devious to be a romantic hero.  While I think it very unlikely that Sookie ultimately ends up with Eric (because of the whole non-aging, non-childbearing, vampire thing), she could definitely do worse.

Re-reading these books has also led me to wonder what exactly people, escapist people, like about vampire novels.

Of course, there’s the utter (fun) silliness.

Then too, there’s the attraction (for female escapists) of unpopular girls suddenly being swooped up into a world of super-handsome, super-devoted, rich, handsome, strong, protective, males.

But I think what escapists are particularly attracted to is the dominance of compulsion in these books.  The vampires are portrayed as beings who, despite being control freaks, are implacably driven by the rules of their deeper natures–their desire for certain scents of blood; their apathy towards other beings; their inescapable hierarchies.  Anyone in escapist mode finds both these battles with compulsion, and the many guiltless surrenders to it, pretty intriguing.

Secondly, there’s the inner logic.   Once you make the huge leap into the world of all these crazy magical beings, everything else is very rational, ordered, in the books.  Certainly, there is a lot of violence, but it’s never random.  (Books with seemingly random, yet very real violence, like, for example,  Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses¸ only make an escapist feel terrified; as if his or her lack of attention to the details of daily life could lead to some truly disastrous consequence.)

Finally, the dialogue-filled prose forms a comfortable groove in the stressed brain a whole lot faster than something like, let’s say, Heidigger.  This accessibility makes them particularly good for reading on a treadmill, of virtually any kind.