Win a free book! Plus some thoughts on vampire lit

I tried to resist the vampire lit thing. I really did. I have successfully avoided reading a word by Stephenie Meyers. I haven't even seen any of the movies. Then True Blood came out. Curse you, Alan Ball! I was hooked. So hooked I read the first of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels, on which the series is based. It was a fun read -- very different in tone and even in plot from the series but still, I quit reading after the first book because I didn't want to spoil plot points from the show.

Over the summer, lured by Salon's first online reading club, I read The Passage, Justin Cronin's big (in many ways) dystopian page-turner. The vampires in that are in no way sexy -- they're predators, infected with a virus in ... wait for it ... a military experiment GONE HORRIBLY WRONG. No tuxes or seductions for these vampires -- they're just the enemy for the few remnant regular humans left in North America. It's a good book, and I'll definitely be reading the next installment.

So after Cronin's dark dystopia I was ready for the lighter side of vampire lit -- and along came Key West's own Meg Cabot with Insatiable. I'm embarrassed to say I hadn't previously read anything by Cabot, who is an extremely nice and generous person. So I figured this was my chance to start making up for that.

And I enjoyed it thoroughly. Insatiable is a bit of an homage to Bram Stoker's Dracula, with a heroine named Mina Harper who has a brother named Jonathan (and a dog named Jack Bauer). It's a bit of a romp, something of a romance and a great send-up both of pop culture (besides Jack Bauer, Mina is a scriptwriter for a soap opera) and vampire lit. And it'sfunny. If you like Jennifer Crusie, chances are pretty good you'll like this, too.

When we decided to focus on vampire lit for the October Book Bites book club at the library, we contacted Cabot with some questions about the book. She was extremely generous in her response -- answers to our questions can be found here on the library website -- and in giving us two signed copies of Insatiable.

And if you're in Key West and you're interested in reading the book, here's your chance: Cabot generously donated two signed copies of the book to us. And we're giving them away -- all you have to do is come to the library and fill out a form with your name and contact info. Winners must collect the book from the library -- we can't mail them out. So stop by, and take a chance -- and try out some other vampire lit while you're here. We have a big display up with all kinds of vampire books.