Monday, February 02, 2009

Vampire books and Steinbeck

Friendly vampires seem to be the rage today. I finished the Twilight series over Christmas vacation. Then Vampire High School. Both books took different approaches to 'vampire lore'. But in both, Vampires were mostly just overachievers living among us. They had some special powers, but also fragile personalities. And of course, they fell in love. (and both had a few token Romanians) And they were both told in a first-person stream-of-conscious fashion.

Vampire High was a much lighter book. It seemed to go a little overboard with cliches and stereotypes. But, it was a fun quick read. Perhaps its just a male thing. Quick and too the point. And a nice love story at that.

The Twilight books were much more serious. It seemed that each book in the series got longer and longer, but not necessarily better. Some parts were just not too believable. (Believable vampire books? Perhaps consistency is a better word.) It looks like editing was sacrificed in a rush to get the sequels out. They were good, but not great. It was a big downer to see Bella turn in to a Vampire at the end. I found myself much more interested in Alice and Jacob. The main characters (Edward and Bella) seemed to become bigger and bigger jerks as the story went on, while the supporting characters become more and more interesting. If she continues with the series, a focus on Jacob would probably be the way to go.

Finally, running out of happy vampire books, I picked up Steinbeck's Cannery row. After going to Monterrey this summer, I thought I might be able to 'relate' better to the geography. (Its always nice when you can actually identify certain locations- especially if they have totally changed since the time of the story.) I liked the way the story was told, with a series of very short chapters that could very well be stand-alone stories. Some of the chapters related directly to the main plot about "Mack and the gang" and "Doc", while others seemed to have absolutely no relationship to the main story (yet remained tangentially related to the community.)

Stupid Car Tricks

I saw a police car zooming down Olive Ave. in Sunnyvale with its sirens blaring. It reached Mathilda. Sirens still blaring. The commuters on Mathilda could care less. They kept going. One set of cars. Then another. Then another. Finally after multiple sets of cars went through, the police car was able to get by. (Did he have to wait for a red light?) Looks like busy streets are a serious public safety hazard.