Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Come share your Comfort Books with Donna Burgess - and get a chance to Win!

I want to thank Kristi for having me today as I make my rounds on these wonderful blogs to pimp my dark urban fantasy/horror novel Darklands: A Vampire’s Tale. Over the past few days, I have discussed vampires until I just can’t think of anything else to say about them—some are hot; some aren’t. Some are scary and some are heroic. A lot like humans, I suppose. So, today I decided talk about some of my favorite books and why I love them.

Character is shaped by the things you are exposed to as a kid. For me, it was horror movies and horror comics. My mom and dad loved those all-night drive-in horror features. In fact, they took me to a showing of The Night of the Living Dead when I was only two weeks old. I don’t remember a thing:-D, but that was the beginning of my journey to the dark side.

My first great book was a thick book of fairy tales, which I still have. The many stories included “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Jack the Giant Killer,” “Why the Sea is Salt,” and “Rumpelstiltskin.” Dark stories, all. Plus, this particular edition had the most deliciously horrifying illustrations. I had a real fear of giants from the age three to five. The following year I was convinced Bigfoot lived in the woods behind my house, but that’s another story, entirely.

By the sixth grade, I realized reading horror was even better than watching it. Funny how the imagination can come up with much more terrifying images than you can ever get from a movie screen. The first really scary “grown-up” book I read was Night Shift by Stephen King. I snitched a copy from my aunt and read it behind my history book at school. Even the cover was intriguing—if anyone is old enough to remember the loosely bandaged hand with the eyes peering out. I cannot begin to decide which story was my favorite, but I do know “The Boogeyman” scared the living hell out of me. For months, I just knew a small devil lived inside the air ducts at my grandmother’s house because I dreamed I saw its pointy red tail poking out one night. Thanks, Stephen King. I’ve loved since.

Of course, not all of my early favorites were actually “horror” books. I vividly remember reading The Outsiders for school that same year. That’s when I learned a book doesn’t have to have monsters, ghosts or ax murderers to have a profound darkness to it. The following year, brought me Lord of the Flies. That’s probably the year I realized what lies inside a person can be more ghastly than any monster.
By high school, I was devouring Stephen King books as fast as I could get them. And when I finished one, I would likely turn right around and re-read it before moving on to the next. Pet Semetery, The Shining, Carrie, Salem’s Lot. Yep, I was that weird girl who always had a book in her hand. On top of the King books, we were assigned Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily.” How delightfully twisted was that one? I was also introduced to this delightfully morbid author named Poe, Thank you, Mrs. Stroud (my 10th grade English teacher).

Since then, my tastes have changed some. I suppose what gives a person a good scare develops into something else entirely when they become parents. Pet Semetery is still horrifying, but today it’s because of the loss of the child, not the reanimated corpses. I honestly cannot read that book now.

A couple of years ago, I spent a week reading first Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, followed by The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I stayed in a funk the entire time—I still think my husband chalked it up to a bad case of PMS. Funk or not, those two books will remain with me. Scary is definitely more real now than it was when I was younger. Loss is about as frightening as it gets.

Of course, I have these strange “comfort books,” also—you know the ones you love to read again and again—although you know entire passages by heart. I have three: The Stand by Mr. King, The Damnation Game by Clive Barker, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick. These are not “heavy” like The Road—I doubt anyone would want to revisit that world for comfort—there's too much possibility we’ll be there soon enough, anyway.

Heavy or light, morbid or happy—everyone has books that that they carry with them. What are some of yours? Plus, a comment gets you entered for a drawing to win a copy of Darklands. Thanks and happy (or not) reading!

Thank you Donna for the great guest post!  I think you have been raiding my book shelves!  I also became a huge Stephen King fan as a teenager and devoured his books! (Had to include a snapshot of some of my Stephen King books!)  And to make it even stranger - I read The Road and The Lovely Bones and reviewed them back to back in January of 2009.   So you can bet that I am going to be looking up your other "comfort" books!

But readers, like she said - a comment gets you entered into a drawing for a copy of Darklands - if it is a U.S. winner, you will get your choice of a print copy or an ebook and if it is an International winner, you will get an ebook.  Please leave your email address so that I can contact you if you win!  This contest will end at midnight on March 7, 2011.

Here is a little something about the book Darklands: A Vampire's Tale by Donna Burgess.

Halloween night, twenty years ago, college student Susan Archer watched as her beloved twin brother was brutally murdered at the hands of a stranger she invited into their home. Still haunted by the guilt of that night, Susan is now a tough but bitter cop in a nowhere town, trying as best she can to lead a normal life. When she is nearly killed during a wild shoot-out, she realizes she is not as strong as she first thought.

Fearing a breakdown, she flees the confines of her safe boyfriend and familiar surroundings to find salvation in the arms of “Deathwalker” Devin McCree—the very man who killed her brother.

But things aren’t always what they seem and she quickly realizes Devin was not the monster she originally thought, but a kind of guardian angel instead.

On the run from a crazed Nazi vampire-hunter named Kasper, she and Devin must find a way to endure the dreary urban landscape of a dying metropolis and escape Kasper’s wrath.

For more Donna - find her at her Website - Traveling the Darklands, on Twitter, Facebook, and her blog tour.


Heather said...

I hadn't really thought too much of a comfort book. For me it would be a theme. If there is a man wearing a kilt in the book, that is what I would define as a comfort book for me. I don't re-read very much, in fact only two series that i do when ever a new books comes out. HOw strange.

heatherdpear at hotmail dot com

Roxanne Rhoads said...

Comfort books- I have a few I read as a kid like The Outsiders that I love to revisit. It's a way to go back in time and to read new life into the books. Now that I'm older I view things alot differently than I did back then.

I also loved other literay classics- Poe, To Kill a Mockingbird, books like that from my younger days that I now share with my kids.

Don't enter me (obviously) just wanted to drop by.

SandyG265 said...

My comfort books were Kazan by Oliver Curwood, Smokey by Will James, and anything by Gene Stratton Porter. I still like to go back and read them once in a while.

sgiden at verizon.net

Pamela Keener said...

Southern fiction especially ones set at the beach are comfort books to me. I love friendship stories too. I loved Folly Beach because it added historical notes that I was not aware. It melded the past with the present.
Love & Hugs,

Donna said...

Thanks again for having me on today, Kristi. I had a great time talking books other than my own. Roxanne mentioned "To Kill a Mockingbird"--wow! I can't believe I forgot that one.

Besides the horror stuff, I'm partial to Southern fiction--"Pawleys Island" by Dorothea Frank, for obvious reasons :-D and even some Pat Conroy.

@ Pamela--is the Folly Beach novel the one by Karen White? I'll have to check it out. I love that area so much!

Thanks to everyone for their comments and take care!


rbooth43 said...

My comfort books are by the authors Karen Kingsbury, Karen White, Fern Michaels, Lilly Gayle, Joan Medlicott, Mindy Starnes Clark, Robyn Carr. I also like John Saul, Stephen King, James Patterson, Terri Blackstock. I just enjoy reading all genre's of books!
rbooth43 at yahoo dot com

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

My two most favorite comfort books are polar opposites...Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I have read both multiple times and I know I will still read them again in the future.


Unknown said...

One of my favorite comfort reads is It by Stephen King. I'm not sure why - it was my first horror book and it scared me to death. It is also the one book I can read again and again for some reason. I want to re-read The Stand soon. Another comfort read is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, just love the banter and the characters.

Thanks for the giveaway.

samajama27 said...

my comfort reads are anything from danielle steel my email is samajama(at)yahoo(dot)com

BookMarc Blogpants said...

I have a collection of 'Choose Your Own Adventure' books from when I was a kid and they are the closest I have to comfort books. Picking one up and starting an adventure is like reacquainting with an old friend.



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