Okay, so I'm using the word 'classics' loosely. I thought I'd list a few of my favorite vampire reads that were not recently published. Some of these, you may have missed. After I've read a book, details such as plot and why I actually liked it leave me quickly (makes for excellent re-reading), but I do recall enjoying the following titles so much they are all on my keeper shelf right now.
MINA by Marie Kiraly (Elaine Bergstrom) was published in 1994 and reprinted in 2000. It portrays Mina as a strong heroine (and isn't that about time?) and gives her the spotlight, as opposed to Dracula.
Christopher Golden's OF SAINTS AND SHADOWS was the first vampire story I read that incorporated religion with paranormal mythology, namely, the Vatican. (Not the first book to do so, I'm sure, just the first I read.) It's the first in a series of four books, but definitely the best of the set.
DARK DANCE by Tanith Lee. This was the first book I read by Lee and it remains at the top of my list for lush, dark, horrific vampire fiction. #1 in the Blood Opera Sequence, it is set in modern times, but reads like it was set in a decadent past century. Search the used book stores for this one; it'll be worth it.
Christopher Moore, author of BLOODSUCKING FIENDS will do a guest spot at VampChix next month. His whacked sense of humor will make you laugh outloud. I think this was the first time I'd ever read about turkey bowling. And the dude in the freezer?
Redd it now so you'll be ready for BITE ME, which comes out next month. (YOU SUCK is book #2 in the series, also a must-read.)
A SHARPNESS ON THE NECK by Fred Saberhagen. Some tout his Holmes-Dracula File as the vampire book to read by him, but I really enjoyed Sharpness. Classic vamps at its best. Checking the blurb at Amazon, the book weaves modern day with historical figures such as Marquis de Sade, and the Scarlet Pimpernel. My kind of story. ;-)
Kresley Cole's A HUNGER LIKE NO OTHER had me reading well past my bed-time and so impressed at her incredible use of language and unique love scenes. As a seasoned romance reader, I tend to skip over the sex scenes because they all seem the same, at times. Not so in this book. The hero and heroine, a Lycan and Valkyrie, seem an impossible pair—the makings of an amazing story.
The entire Immortals After Dark series is not to be missed, though not all stories feature vampires.
Jane Harrison's DARK DREAMS twists the vampire myth about and stirs it up with angels in a fascinating way. You'll only find this book at a used book store, but when you see it, grab it.
SUNSHINE by Robin McKinley is very different and combines sorcery and vampires and the sympathetic but deadly vampire Constantine. Really quite unique and made me hungry for a sequel, but I don't think that's going to happen. Sigh...
CARPE JUGULUM by Terry Pratchett. There's not much to say, beyond that Pratchett is a master at his craft, and his Discworld novels are all must-reads. I believe Granny Weatherwax comes to heads with the vampyres in this story, and if you know Granny Weatherwax, I don't even need to tell you who wins that match. This story, and HOGFATHER are two of my fav Discworld stories.
James Howe's BUNNICULA. This book is, quite simply, required vampire reading. 'Nuf said.
I really can't have a 'classics' list without mentioning DRACULA. I read Leonard Wolf's THE ANNOTATED DRACULA, and I'm glad for that. Would have missed so much subtext otherwise. And so many things about the culture and small details that are helpful to understanding the story. Illustrations as well. Highly recommended. Bite Club will be reading Dracula this October.
[the book pictured is not the Wolf version]
Of course, I could list all Rice's Vampire Chronicles, though THE VAMPIRE LESTAT was definately my favorite because we saw things for the first time through Lestat's eyes, and I loved reading his history.
So what are your fav 'classics'? What vampire titles sit on your keeper shelf? Is there a title you read over and over?