This bit of dialogue captures the subject matter of this post perfectly...no, no, no, not priapism; reading!
When we first met Tara in Season 1, her penchant for reading was evident. It was, in fact, a foundational aspect of her character development. The types of books she chose to read (i.e. Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine), the frequency with which we found her with her nose in a book, and her rationale for reading ("school is just for white people looking for other white people to read to 'em. I figured I save my money and read to myself") all gave us insight into the person of Tara Thornton. She was presented to us as a multifaceted character who is, amongst other things, an independent-spirited-and-minded, sociopolitically aware young woman who has been self-educated and empowered through books.
Oh, Season 1 Tara, where art thou?!? That's fodder for another post, perhaps...
In her last post, Rebecca mentioned that we've given ourselves some homework to bolster the discourse here at the PPT. Ever the eager students, we're both currently immersed in True Blood-related literature. One of the books I'm reading now - a collection of essays entitled, "True Blood and Philosophy: We Wanna Think Bad Things With You" - draws upon a quintessential Stackhouse quote to set up the "blend of smarts and sensuality" (2010, p. 1) that editors George A. Dunn & Rebecca Housel saw in TB and hoped to bring to the book: "Jesus Christ, I want to lick your mind!".
Jason's exclamation to then-girlfriend Amy Burley oddly mirrors publishing magnate Charles Scribner, Jr.'s (1921-1995) quote: "Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own".
When taken together, the Stackhouse-Scribner quotes form a sort of strange conglomerate; this idea of licking, blending, and melding with another's mind...it conjures a weird but potent image for what the act of reading can do to enrich one's life, doesn't it?
In the Introduction to "True Blood and Philosophy", editors Dunn & Housel discuss the ease with which TB brings "unabashed carnality" to the screen while "raising tough questions about the human condition". They write of TB in terms of "death and transgressive sexuality"; "overturning expectations and tempting us to think outside conventional boundaries"; "dark corners of the human mind"; "uncomfortable truths that others prefer to leave buried"; "a quest for the meaning of life that often seems quixotic"; and "the paths and impediments to erotic fulfillment" (pp. 1-4).
Forgive the pun, but I'm just starting to sink my fangs into these kinds of "mind-licking good" (p. 4) themes which run through many of the essays in both "True Blood and Philosophy" as well as the other book I'm reading, "A Taste of True Blood: The Fang-Banger's Guide" edited by Leah Wilson. Don't let the latter's title fool you (as I nearly did) - both books boast essays that seem quite relevant to the aims of the PPT, like: "'I Am Sookie, Hear Me Roar!': Sookie Stackhouse and Feminist Ambivalence" and "Sookie, Sigmund, and the Edible Complex"; "Working Class Heroes"; "Blue-Collar Bacchanalia"; and "True Stud".
American writer and social critic Edmund Wilson (1895-1972) once said, "No two people read the same book". While surely untrue in the literal sense, this quote is quite true in the sense that while many may read the same book, each reader derives her own unique, subjective experience from it.
I suspect that this will be the case with the books Rebecca and I will exchange once we're done reading them. I am looking forward to bringing our different takes on these True Blood titles into the PPT - and to you sidling up to the bar with your take on these books or other True Blood readings.
More to come, so stay tuned!
P.S. I recently discovered the Journal of Dracula Studies; while it doesn't address True Blood per se, it does look at the the vampire in folklore, fiction, film, popular culture, and related topics. I've bookmarked some intriguing essays therein such as, "Vixens and Virgins in the Nineteenth-Century: Anglo-Irish Novel: Representations of the Feminine in Bram Stoker’s Dracula"; "In Search of the Lesbian Vampire: Barbara von Cilli, Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” and the Dragon Order"; and "The Post-feminist Vampire: Heroine for the Twenty-first Century". We'll see how they can be brought to bear upon our conversations here (or not).