Excerpt from The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

by Grady Hendrix

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix X
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
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    Apr 2020, 408 pages


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Chapter 1

>In 1988, George H. W. Bush had just won the presidential election by inviting everyone to read his lips while Michael Dukakis lost it by riding in a tank. Dr. Huxtable was America's dad, Kate & Allie were America's moms, The Golden Girls were America's grandmoms, McDonald's announced it was opening its first restaurant in the Soviet Union, everyone bought Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time and didn't read it, Phantom of the Opera opened on Broadway, and Patricia Campbell got ready to die.

She sprayed her hair, put on her earrings, and blotted her lipstick, but when she looked at herself in the mirror she didn't see a housewife of thirty-nine with two children and a bright future, she saw a dead person. Unless war broke out, the oceans rose, or the earth fell into the sun, tonight was the monthly meeting of the Literary Guild of Mt. Pleasant, and she hadn't read this month's book. And she was the discussant. Which meant that in less than ninety minutes she would stand up in front of a room full of women and lead them in a conversation about a book she hadn't read.

She had meant to read Cry, the Beloved Country—honestly—but every time she picked up her copy and read There is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills, Korey rode her bike off the end of the dock because she thought that if she pedaled fast enough she could skim across the water, or she set her brother's hair on fire trying to see how close she could get a match before it caught, or she spent an entire weekend telling everyone who called that her mother couldn't come to the phone because she was dead, which Patricia only learned about when people started showing up at the front door with condolence casseroles.

Before Patricia could discover why the road that runs from Ixopo was so lovely, she'd see Blue run past the sun porch windows buck naked, or she'd realize the house was so quiet because she'd left him at the downtown library and had to jump in the Volvo and fly back over the bridge, praying that he hadn't been kidnapped by Moonies, or because he'd decided to see how many raisins he could fit up his nose (twenty-four). She never even learned where Ixopo was exactly because her mother-in-law, Miss Mary, moved in with them for a six-week visit and the garage room had to have clean towels, and the sheets on the guest bed had to be changed every day, and Miss Mary had trouble getting out of the tub so they had one of those bars installed and she had to find somebody to do that, and the children had laundry that needed to be done, and Carter had to have his shirts ironed, and Korey wanted new soccer cleats because everyone else had them but they really couldn't afford them right now, and Blue was only eating white food so she had to make rice every night for supper, and the road to Ixopo ran on to the hills without her.

Joining the Literary Guild of Mt. Pleasant had seemed like a good idea at the time. Patricia realized she needed to get out of the house and meet new people the moment she leaned over at supper with Carter's boss and tried to cut up his steak for him. A book club made sense because she liked reading, especially mysteries. Carter had suggested it was because she went through life as if the entire world were a mystery to her, and she didn't disagree: Patricia Campbell and the Secret of Cooking Three Meals a Day, Seven Days a Week, without Losing Your Mind. Patricia Campbell and the Case of the Five-Year-Old Child Who Keeps Biting Other People. Patricia Campbell and the Mystery of Finding Enough Time to Read the Newspaper When You Have Two Children and a Mother-in-Law Living with You and Everyone Needs Their Clothes Washed, and to Be Fed, and the House Needs to Be Cleaned and Someone Has to Give the Dog His Heartworm Pills and You Should Probably Wash Your Own Hair Every Few Days or Your Daughter Is Going to Ask Why You Look Like a Street Person. A few discreet inquiries, and she'd been invited to the inaugural meeting of the Literary Guild of Mt. Pleasant at Marjorie Fretwell's house.

Excerpted from The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix. Copyright © 2020 by Grady Hendrix. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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