Summer Reading: Nonfiction Editor Megan Kerns

I Know What I Did Last Summer

It’s been a vampire summer–cool, clammy, eternal, with many mornings spent hissing at the sunrise as I worked at a barista job that slowly sucked the life out of me.

But all that’s behind me now. Or is it…?

No, it really is, because I quit my job just a few days after this blogpost was due.  (What is that strange howling in the distance?  It could be something supernatural, but it’s probably Online Editor Lauren Barret, waiting for my late submission.)  There was the familiar routine that accompanies a ritual staking/quitting: (metaphorical) sprays of blood and curling smoke, howls of rage, flailing, a high-speed escape from vampire’s lair/high-end grocery store, etc. Mental note: holy water/garlic breath ineffective in customer service situations.

I should’ve seen this coming, should’ve sharpened some damn stakes weeks ago.  After all, I started the summer by tearing through Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Mysteries series (also known as the Sookie Stackhouse novels), beginning with the bubblegum fun of Dead Until Dark, and thenLiving Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, and my personal favorite, Dead to the World. Though there are thirteen (!) books in the series, I learned to pace myself–because I would devour each book in about 24 hours, terrible job and sleep be damned.  Reading the Sookie Stackhouse books was just pure fun, even when I rolled my eyes at some of Harris’s choices (weretigers with stupid dialogue, faery godmothers, Bill Compton’s sheer boringness, etc).

I forgave all those irritations, because the sex scenes were great.  Eric n Sookie 4-Ever.

My obsession with the Sookie Stackhouse novels bled naturally into a curiosity about True Blood, and I re-learned hard lessons about how different TV adaptations are.  Though I think Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyers have equally atrocious Southern accents/are terrible actors, I am totally charmed by/smitten with Alexander Skarsgård‘s Eric Northman (look, Northman was my fave character in the books, and I’m just married, not dead and the delightful Nelsan Ellis and Rutina Wesley as cousins Lafayette and Tara.

I read stacks of non-supernatural nonfiction (Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead, fascinating interviews/essays in The Believer, but let’s refocus on what’s really important here, which is the delusion of theme.

I loved Jim Jarmusch’s vampire film, Only Lovers Left Alive, set in the  decaying urban wilderness of Detroit.  Tilda Swinton is naturally creepy, the soundtrack is beautiful (haunting? eerie?), and the plot itself defied tired vamp narratives.

listened to Mumford and Sons’ “Little Lion Man,” Jill Andrews’ “The Mirror,” and Gillian Welch’s “The Way it Goes” on repeat (j/k, none of these songs are vampire-themed).
I also became engrossed with Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. I watched trailers for important films like the 1978 classicZoltan: Hound of Dracula, and Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires, which focused exclusively on kung-fu vampires.

Favorite drink: virgin Bloody Mary (Not really. Just iced coffee.)

Favorite food: All Soul’s Day cookies (Fine.  I like their pictures on the Internet).

Megan Jewell Kerns is an associate nonfiction editor at The Journal and a third-year MFA student at The Ohio State University.