Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Let's Hope These Wishes Come True

I recently posted a sample of some of the books on my Amazon Wishlist over at Magia Posthuma.

Niels followed it up with "Back and Online...", adding:
As yet I have only seen the list, and I confess that I am pretty sceptical about most of the titles, but I am grateful that this 'Amateur Vampirologist' has shared the list.
This is a reference to their dubious quality for the sake of serious vampire research.

I admit that I was somewhat enthused about the dearth of new titles on offer in the coming year, as well as the year to follow. And believe you me, it's no easy feat searching through ream upon ream of vampire book listings on Amazon, especially with the vague search term of "vampires". I wish they had a better "catalogue", that is, something to sort the non-fiction stuff from the fiction. Like subject headings.

Anyway, I'll share some of the titles I'm particularly keen on purchasing...when the money's there, of course. I'll also concentrate on the ones that haven't been released yet. Here goes:
Title: Vampire Forensics: Uncovering the Origins of an Enduring Legend
Author: Mark Collins Jenkins
Release Date: February 16, 2010.
Why Do I Want It?: There's no product description of this book, but the title alone grabs me. If it's anything like Paul Barber's Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality (1988), then it's got the potential to be a classic. Apart from that, examining the vampire through archaeology (as I presume this one will do), is certainly a worthy - and highly valuable - perspective for the genre.

Title: Vampire God: The Allure of the Undead in Western Culture
Author: Mary Y. Hallab
Release Date: October 8, 2009.
Why Do I Want It?: Modern pop-culture has elevated the vampire into an archetype. It's an icon worthy of dissection, but I hope it's not another literary retread through the same old Varney, Carmilla, Dracula stuff.

Title: The Weiser Field Guide to Vampires: Legends, Practices, and Encounters Old and New
Author: J. M. Dixon
Release Date: October 1, 2009.
Why Do I Want It?: If I can be superficial for a moment: the cover looks pretty. Also, the concept of a field guide - while nothing really new - is somewhat balanced out by the subjects the subheading indicates will be explored.

Title: The Element Encyclopedia of Vampires
Author: Theresa Cheung
Release Date: October 1, 2009.
Why Do I Want It?: I hope it's not another mere catalogue of vampire "species" like Thersa Bane's Actual Factual: Dracula, A Compendium of Vampires (2007). That said, you can never have enough vampire encyclopedias! They make excellent reference sources in a nice, digestible format. J. Gordon Melton's The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead (1994; 1999) leads the pack, so far.

Title: Real Vampires, Night Stalkers and Creatures from the Dark Side
Author: Brad Steiger
Release Date: September 1, 2009.
Why Do I Want It?: I'm interested in the angle of presenting vampires as actual, real-life, supernatural beings. Not that I necessarily believe in their existence, of course, but it'll be interesting to see how Steiger - better known for his works on aliens - presents his case. One of my favourite examples of this rare subgenre (especially in modern works) is Martin V. Riccardo's "Vampire Haunts" chapter in Rosemary Ellen Guiley's The Complete Vampire Companion (1994).


nytessa said...

I don’t know if you have seen or even read my book, “Actual Factual Dracula: a Compendium of Vampires,” but it is not “just another” encyclopedia of vampires listed by species.

Admittedly, my book is not filled with the vampires from TV, movies and fictional books, nor does it cater to lifestylers or pop culture enthusiast. The book is a tool for serious minded academic researchers, as it catalogues over 600 different species of historical and mythological vampires presenting them in a field guide format. Perhaps the best feature of the book is its extensive index section.

I have been told by my publisher that my book is on the required reading list at the University of Texas for anyone taking their Introduction to Slavic Lore class. “Actual Factual: Dracula” is not a book for someone with a casual interest in vampires as it dispels all of the popular misconceptions that people have regarding the mythology of vampires.

Theresa Bane

Anthony Hogg said...

Good evening Ms. Bane,

I actually do have a copy of the book. I recently purchased a copy of it on eBay.

You can see my listing for the book in my LibraryThing catalogue.

All the books featured in the catalogue, are books I actually own (I haven't completed the total listings, yet).

From pp. 1-344, fairly simplistic listings of various vampire "species" are given, occasionally buttressed with entries like "Crucifix" (76-77), "Eucharistic Wafer" (103), etc.

I agree that its index is handy in terms of grouping together common attributes and such, but the majority of its content is, as I said "a catalogue of vampire "species"".

I don't agree that it "dispels all of the popular misconceptions that people have regarding the mythology of vampires." The format is too scattershot for such an analysis, in my view. After all, it isn't an academic essay, it's a "catalogue", as you said.

There are other such "field guides" in the market that go into more detail, like, for instance Jonathan Maberry's "Vampire Universe" series.

I don't entirely agree with his listings, either.

That said, I certainly recognise the amount of work you've put into the book and look forward to any further contributions you make to the field of vampire research.

Unknown said...

Good information...keep it flowing

Anthony Hogg said...

Thanks for the encouragement, LD.

You might also like to check out my latest blog entry, "A Little Night Music".

Anonymous said...

Obviously any book containing over 600 different species of vampires is not a 'mere' catalogue of vampire species. I'm sure detailed reseach and investigation went into this book, and with 600 examples of vamipires, time and effort that went into this project must have been immense. If you have read this book and another that you say is supposedly even more detailed, and dont agree with either of them, perhaps being a vampirologist isn't for you, just an observation.

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