The Vampire Diaries

The Awakening
The Struggle
The Fury
Dark Reunion

I know since the Twilight craze, vampires (and werewolves) have been the big rage. This is nothing more than history repeating itself, or rather teen books dealing with the occult or other mystical elements. LJ Smith's The Vampire Diaries illustrates that point perfectly as it was a popular teen book back eighteen years ago. (My students are actually incredulous over this matter; I shock them even more when I say their beloved R.L.Stine used to write books other than Goosebumps).

I devoured books as a kid, but overlooked a lot of the books popular with the 'kids my age'. The Vampire Diaries is one such series.

So why did I pick it up? I will enthusiastically admit that I sucked down the Twilight Saga (Team Edward!) and revel in all of the pop culture cheesiness that I get to share in with my students, but do not necessarily lean toward the vampire-ish novels. I know many adults who, since the rise of vampire acceptance, went on a blood thirsty reading spree. Not me. I did my Twilight thing and went back to my normally eclectic reading.

But then, VampDi advertised itself as a new series. I am always looking for relatable ways to explain vocabulary, devices in literature, and the such with my students. I also figured I could endure VD more than what I have been tolerating (Gossip Girl, anyone?). I watched a couple of episodes and decided to break down and purchase the books. I figured I'd read them and then put them on my shelf - another way to pull the kiddies in and talk books with them.

Oh my good-vampire-grief. I read the 1,000 pages of fluffiness in a couple of days (combined). It was an easy read and only half of the time did I want to gouge my eyes out. I kid, I kid. But I am all serious as a turkey hiding a week before Thanksgiving in saying the CW's series is oh-so-much-better-tolerable-enjoyable-than-the-10000-pages-of-fluff-I-read.

First, Elena? Hello. At least she's a likable character on the show. I mean, you can empathize with her torn emotions: losing her folks, finding out her boyfriend is a vampire, seeing friends around her getting the blood sucked out of them. In the book, Elena is shallow, a user, and a princess. How did she have any friends? Why would Stephan want to be with her? Secondly, Damon? On the show he has some redeeming qualities. Yeah, obviously he has some anger issues and probably needs a good dosage of Prozac, but he's in that delinquent vampire stage. The book? Damon is awful. I don't buy that there is any sort of love triangle brewing or common bond. Generally books reveal a more three-dimensional character; in this case that never happened.

Ah well, my students will love it. Let the vampire craze continue.

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