Cheap Thrills: Romancing The Vampire


Do you have a Half Price Books in your area?  Do you like Vampires?  If you answered both questions with an extremely positive "YES!" than I'd say it's time to get your ass to the nearest HPB store.

Last month I posted about my insanely cheap horror-book-haul from a Texas HPB.  Well a few weekends ago I spent a good hour in one of the Oklahoma City locations (much to my girlfriend's dismay, mind you) and we managed to find this book in the metaphysics section.  While at $9.99 it isn't exactly dirt cheap, but it's totally worth the money as it's not only gigantic, but also loaded with goodies.  Have a look for yourselves!


Don't let the title of David J. Skal's book fool ya' folks, this is one badass book.  While I think 'Peter Vincent's guide to blood suckery' would have been a better fit, I guess 'Romancing the Vampire' will have to do.


It is housed in a very thick cardboard slipcase which is much need considering all of the items stuffed inside.


The book covers all thing vampires, from the original legend's conception to it's current state.  From myth, to theatre, to film- it's pretty damn comprehensive.  I mentioned there were 'goodies' earlier.  Most of these pages have bonus items attached like the post cards you can see in the above photo.


Not only are these sporting cool artwork on the front, but on the flip side most of them show signs of age...It's a really nice touch and gives everything an authentic feel.


The layout of each page is great.  It's full of designs, colors, and pictures.  This is one book you won't just look at once, you've likely find yourself pulling off the shelf multiple times.


There's not just postcards in this book, above is an early poem written by Heinrich Ossenfelder.  It's printed on a rough old looking piece of paper.  It's small things like this poem that make this such a cool book.



Here's a letter written by Pat Campbell that was sent to a local newspaper, the letter even includes an old envelope which is glued to the page.


One of the many mini-poster reprints included in the book.  This one is advertising a local showing of "Nosferatu."  Like the postcards pictured earlier these prints also have authentic age related damage.


Here's a section of the book covering the more modern popularity of the vampire.  Skal even included a damn Count Chocula postcard.  Count Chocula!  I think I'll be scouring eBay tonight trying to find that specific box of cereal.  I wonder what decades old Count Chocula tastes like?  You loyal readers might find out soon.


Everything is covered evenly so it makes sense for the author to delve into the more current times with True Blood, Twilight, and some of the newer books and movies.  I don't care much for the Rice novels or the whole Twilight phenomena, but  like it or not it's part of pop culture and is now part of the overall "vampire legacy."  When you break it down there have been tons of bad Vampire fiction over the years, I guess the main difference is most of those awful books sort of just stay in the shadows while Twilight was pretty much everywhere for a short period of time.


The last page of the book has a Dracula mask affixed to it.  The thin piece of cardboard  reminds me of a cereal box bonus, something you'd have cut out when you finished your box of Boo Berry.  A nice finish to a great read.

The book does a pretty good job covering a lot of ground.  While it does miss a few books and films it still manages to be a comprehensive guide to all things vampire.  The author took a more hands on approach with his work and offers poster reprints, post cards, and faux letters, it's different style of book than I'm used to and made for a truly unique and enjoyable experience. 

My Half Price Books had a ton of these, all were brand new.  Meaning this is very likely a close out title that will be available in a bunch of these stores.  To find the nearest store click here.

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