Review: The Girl’s Guide to Vampires by Barb Karg

The Girl's Guide to Vampires
The Girl's Guide to Vampires

This book offers a great overview to the history of the vampire, from folklore and the novels of the 19th century, through the films of each decade leading to television and the 21st Century.

The writer, Barb Karg, occasionally hints at the way the vampire is used as a metaphor for social and political issues in each era, but rarely does more than touch lightly on these. I would have loved to have read more about how the vampire’s role in stories reflects changing social attitudes as well. I also found the schtick of writing about vampires as ‘the sexy bad boys’ a bit overdone and seemed more a function of writing for the target audience than really necessary to the content. Still, the powerful female vampires, from Camilla to Selina, get good coverage as well.

Having said this – “The Girl’s Guide to Vampires” would be a terrific book to get for anyone who has only recently started reading vampire fiction and would like a guide to the genre’s history, and some suggestions of what other books to read/films to see to get a broader knowledge.

Buy The Girl’s Guide to Vampires: All you need to know about the original bad boys at

GaryView: Sherlock Holmes – “The Last Vampyre” (starring Jeremy Brett)

Gary: That’s not how I remember the original story.

Lissa: It’s nothing much like ‘The Sussex Vampire” at all, is it?

Gary: Conan Doyle wouldn’t be impressed. Holmes wouldn’t be impressed.

Lissa: You’re clearly not impressed.

Gary: No. I’m not.

Lissa: It’s a shame, because I really liked Jeremy Brett as Holmes. I watched some of those early episodes with Nanna, and I liked them so much she bought me a collection of the original stories for Christmas. I hardly spoke to anyone all Christmas Day because I couldn’t put it down, except to ask what some of the words meant. I was pretty young.

Gary: The original stories are great. I always wanted to be as smart as Sherlock Holmes. I used to try to deduce stuff about people at school.

Lissa: How accurate were you?

Gary: Not very. I was only twelve. People didn’t make much sense to me. Still don’t, as a rule.

Lissa: <laughs> Never mind. I did the same you know. Tried to work out things about people. I did it a lot at the hospital, when Belinda went in for treatment. I tried to guess who people were, if they were doctors or family. <sobers> Family were pretty easy to spot. They mostly looked like they’d been crying, or were about to cry. The patients mostly looked scared or angry. Doctors looked preoccupied.

Gary: Yeah. I remember that from hospital too.

Lissa: …. So. So. What did you like least about this version?

Gary: Apart from the fact they should have stuck to the original story? Um. Everything?

Lissa: I didn’t like the way they telegraphed “oooooooh, this might be a real vaaaaaampiiiiiiiiiiire” – sorry – ‘vampyyyyyyyyyre’ when we knew it couldn’t be because Sherlock Holmes doesn’t do the supernatural.

Gary: Though of course vampires are real.

Lissa: Real, yes, but not cheesy.

Gary: I know what I hated the most. Those people burning the weird teacher’s books after he died. That made me mad. People who burn books are idiots.

Lissa: Yet another reason why you are in the list of my top five favourite people in the world.

Gary: I’m in the top five?

Lissa: Yep. And of those top five, only you and Kate are actually still… I suppose ‘alive’ isn’t quite right, is it? But here. You and Kate are here, and Belinda, Paul and Nanna are not. But you’re all still my five favourite people in the world.

Gary: That’s… cool. <smiles> Thanks.

Lissa: Anytime. Now let’s watch some of the good Jeremy Brett episodes. ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’?

Gary: Or ‘The Red-Headed League’.

Lissa: Or both!

Gary: Good thinking.

Buy Sherlock Holmes – The Last Vampyre at

*For newcomers, the GaryView is a review of books/films/TV/entertainment carried out as a conversation between Lissa Wilson (librarian) and Gary Hooper (vampire) , characters from my book ‘The Opposite of Life’.

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