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My boyfriend knows me incredibly well, and has always been very good at picking me out presents. He knows I adore anything to do with vampires, and for christmas he presented me with a couple of Vampire books I didn't yet own . Bite , by Kevin Jackson, was one of them .
This isn't a vampire fiction story, or a 'strange but true sightings' type of book, but rather a reference book with all kinds of information about vampires - from various folklore and myths, to the first evidence of vampires in fiction, and vampire films through the ages . When I first picked this up and read the back cover, I thought this was one of those books I would just dip into occasionally, but once I actually opened it, I found myself reading it from cover to cover .
It begins with a brief introduction by the author, who apparently wanted to be a vampire in his youth, and then a map of the world with various important vampire reference points marked . Then it launches straight into the main text of the book which is broken down into various easy to digest chapters .
The first chapter 'Vampire Lore and Gore' tell us about the various vampire myths and legends from all over the world . For most of us, our image of a vampire is probably a variation on the dracula theme - someone with impossibly pale skin, who lives on blood, has sharp fangs, and is destroyed by sunlight, silver, and holy water .When he bites someone, they die, unless he shares his blood with them, in which case they turn . But many countries around the world have their own vampire legends, and their own ways of creating a vampire. Take Jave for instance, where a woman who is raped and becomes pregnant, and is thus driven to suicide becomes reincarnated as a 'sundal bolong', dressing in white and draining virile young men of all their blood.
Chapter Two, Romantic and Victorian Vampires 1816-97 centres on the era when Vampires, and particularly Dracula himself came to prominence in fiction and poetry. Mentions are made of the spate of reported vampire sightings at this time around Highgate Cemetary, and many different writers of the time are explored - some who directly named vampires, and some who did not name their beast but inched around the subject gently, leaving us to draw our own conclusions .
I'm not going to talk about any of the other chapters, I just wanted to tease you with a taster . Throughout the book I found it very easy to read and very interesting, and on many occasions is gave me interesting points to focus on . Thanks to this book I have several new books on my must read list, and several films I plan to watch, as well as a little more knowledge of obscure vampires from other cultures - which have led to me exploring the internet . The book is very easy to understand, and while it's analysis of many films and books is brief, it provides enough information to give you a basic understanding .
Is this the most in depth book about vampires ever ? No, certainly not . But, as an easily accessible reference point for those interested in looking into the folklore and legend of vampires further, or opening up new avenues for reading in vampire fiction, I recommend it .
This costs £4.98 on amazon.co.uk, and I recommend it, giving it 4 stars .