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Sam Merlotte

September posting: Day 1: Harry Potter and Sookie Stackhouse -considered separately, not together.

I heard somewhere – of course I can’t remember who said it or where – that there was a “post something to your LJ every day in September” meme going around.

And since I’ve been pretty poor at posting for a couple of years or so, I thought I’d give it a try. And I hope I can carry this off for a full month.

So, today: Listening to a series of audio novels in consecutive order. I’ve done this twice.

Because of the work schedule I had in recent years, I pretty much stopped reading books around 2010. And for a person like me, who learned to read at the age of 3, and have been inhaling books and fic ever since then, that’s a radical change. But I was working longer hours for a longer period of time than I ever had before, with a longer commute, almost no time off, and dealing with a lot of other RL “stuff”, and something had to give. I found I couldn’t read anymore because I was so tired I’d just fall asleep. (My schedule changed late last year and I’ve gone right back to reading – and writing again. But there’s another topic entirely.)

I missed reading. A lot. But there was that long commute, the public library, and audio books. And suddenly that commute became possibility.

So, a couple of years ago I listened to all the Harry Potter books on my commute, one right after another, so they all blended into one very very long novel. (So much so that I’d have a hard time figuring out what happened in which book anymore.) It was such a wonderfully immersive experience. Jim Dale, who was the reader, brought all the characters to life in such a way I felt even more part of that universe than reading the books or watching the movies. I’m tempted to do it again.

Last year, I did the same thing with Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels. Unlike Harry Potter, I didn’t listen to them all. I’d read the first six books, but there you go, no reading time. So I listened to the 7th one, thinking that I’d space them out between other books I wanted to hear. But no, I got hooked, and it was one right after the other, all the way to # 13.

It was interesting to see how the author developed her themes and threads. By book # 9 I began to get the idea of where she was heading, and each subsequent book added to my feelings about how she was going to end the series. In # 13 she did exactly as I thought she would.

A lot of people flipped out by how she ended the series. She even got death threats. I just want to know this – was I the only person paying any attention as to the undercurrents in these novels? Or did listening to them sequentially highlight subtext that would be easy to miss by reading one book a year? I wasn’t in the least bit surprised by the ending – in fact, I loved it. Kudos to Ms. Harris, for writing her character the way she wanted to, and letting Sookie take charge of her own life.

Comments

I used to have a commute that went for half hour to forty minutes.

Thank goodness for books on cds at the library. I was able to devour the Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell.

And nothing like listening to Stephen King's Buick 8 while driving. ;-)

I find that I can't focus on audiobooks at home. But I do have long trips to Charleston. Then I pull them out. ;-)
Yeah, being able to get the CD books at the library was perfect! They're so expensive; there's no way I could justify spending that type of money!

(Ironically, I had just had a new stereo installed in my old VW Bug which took mp3 files, but when that car died my "new used" car didn't have that capability. So it is CDs - or, even, cassettes! One of the older books I ordered from the library came on cassette. I was floored when I saw them - and then suddenly it occurred to me, oh, yeah, this car stereo DOES take cassettes.)

I can't focus on audio books at home either. The only place they work for me is in the car. I have a long drive coming up and plan to get several books out for that one.

I've listened to a couple of Stephen King books in the car - "Cell" and "11-22-63". I'd already read "From a Buick 8" - that would have been a good "read" in the car. :-)
How did they end? I stopped reading around book 10...
Sookie is accused of murder in the last book, and suddenly comes to realize how many friends she has, that she is no longer an outsider to everyone, and that she is a part of a real community, supernatural beings and some humans alike. She also comes to realize she is able to make her own decisions as to the type of life she wants without the supernatural interference of men who want to run her life. Eric is involved, for various reasons, with a vampire queen in another state, and he plans to go into a political marriage with her and wants to take Sookie along as his mistress. She refuses and they part ways. I was happy to see the hind end of Eric; he manipulated her in too many ways, and I totally lost interest in his character when he took advantage of her while she was unconscious in either book 8 or book 9. In the meantime, for several books, there's been a slow burn relationship between her and Sam Merlotte. The series ends with her contemplating a future with Sam, a man who has come to terms with his own supernatural reality; moreover a man who will not attempt to own her. Sookie realizes the choice is hers, and if she chooses not to be in a relationship that is fine too. I really liked the fact the series ended without a conventional "happy ever after", and acknowledged that a woman can be whole without being in a relationship.