Last month, I had intention of selecting books for characters of fantastic TV show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Surprisingly, I got lost in a Buffy tornado and did not get a chance to discuss the reading habits of anyone else from the show. Let’s see how many characters I get through this month.
Xander Harris – Xander is not much of a reader, as we learn in the show. However, there are a few references to his love of comics. It would be easy to give Xander a few superhero comics and he would be satisfied. That said, I would stay away from any books featuring Daredevil, seeing what happened to Xander in the final season. I would like to expose Xander to a different kind of book- show him what else is out there.
I thought one of the interesting ways to find a book for Xander would be to look at some of his past crushes, hobbies, etc. The first book that comes to mind is probably one of the most bizarre books concepts that I’ve run across this year, but is still completely a Xander pick. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith is the story of two boys who inadvertently bring about six-foot tall praying mantises that may eventually destroy the world. This just seems like a book match made in heaven for Xander. Remember when he developed a crush on his entomology teacher who transformed into a giant praying mantis? What does a guy living on the Hellmouth consider the ultimate horror story? What fuels his nightmares? Vampires and demons are nothing for someone like Xander, but give him giant insects and he’ll be squirming.
Xander longs to be a hero. He had his chance during the first season when he became his Halloween costume and became a soldier. Throughout the show, we see Xander recall his military knowledge and assist in situations. A second choice for Xander’s to-read pile would be Divided We Fall by Trent Reedy. In this book, Danny joins the National Guard in order to help protect his state and country. But when the State Government and the Federal Government decide to turn on each other and a second Civil War threatens America, Danny has to determine what side is the right side.
Willow Rosenberg – Obviously, Willow is a reader- although it doesn’t seem like she strays from ancient texts featuring complex spells and the history of Slimy Demon A. So, Willow is definitely in need of some fun reads. I would assume that Willow would enjoy books featuring witches, even they didn’t exactly line up with the spells she conjures. Two titles that I would recommend are Chime by Franny Billingsley (a 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults pick) and Jinx by Meg Cabot. Chime is definitely more intense in the world generation and the conflict that Briony must endure. In Chime, Briony must keep her magical abilities a secret lest she be put to death, but also must simultaneously try to use her powers to stop the inhabitants of the mysterious Swampsea from killing off her town. The writing voice in Jinx is a bit more whimsical. Jean moves to New York City to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousin Tory and soon discovers that Tory is hiding a secret of the magical persuasion.
Rupert Giles – Similarly to Willow, it’s no surprise that Giles is a reader. But, like Willow, Giles only reads stuff history texts and diaries from people who have been dead for several years. There is a series that screams out Gilles’s name whenever I see it– the perfect series for Giles is the “Monstrumologist” series by Rick Yancey. There are four books in this series including the 2010 Printz Honor book The Monstrumologist, The Curse of the Wendigo, The Isle of Blood, and The Final Descent. This series follows the story of Will Henry and Dr. Wathrop, monstrumologists who study the history of monsters. This series may be fiction, but it reads like the duos adventures could be true. Giles will appreciate the technical jargon Dr. Wathrop’s uses and might learn something. Let’s be real here, who’s to say that the beasties that Will and Dr. Wathrop encounter might not find their way to the Sunnydale Hellmouth.
Cordelia Chase – Shh…I know a secret about Cordelia. She’s actually fairly intelligent! As we learned in Season 3, Cordelia did very well on her placement tests and got into some impressive schools. Although with the incarceration of her father due to tax fraud, we know that Cordelia did not attend college and instead moved to Los Angeles and the Angel spin-off. In the back of the mind, I believe that Cordelia was a closet bookworm. Sure, she kept up on the trends and spent an exorbitant amount of time chasing boys and hanging out at the Bronze, I think that some nights she went home and curled up with a book. Now the tricky part…what does Cordelia read? I would say that she would definitely polish off series like “Gossip Girl” by Cecily von Ziegesar which focus around high society characters. Aside from the obvious suggestion of readalikes to the “Gossip Girl” series, I would give Cordelia Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults 2014). I think she would appreciate the heavy-handed satire Bray creates in her story of a plane full of beauty pageant contestants that crashes onto a deserted island.
Angel – Angel has been around for a super long time. We have glimpsed a bit of his reading tastes throughout the show like when he gave Buffy a book of poetry as a gift. Obviously, Angel is an old soul… when he has one, that is. I would give him Being Henry David by Cal Armistead, a book about a boy in the midst of an identity crisis who uses his only possession, a copy of Walden, to uncover who he really is. For a lighter reading option, I would also give Angel the graphic novel series, “My Boyfriend is a Monster”, the first volume found on the YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults 2012 list. Here’s an opportunity for Angel to quit the brooding for a minute or two.
– Brandi Smits, currently reading Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow
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