To my pleasant surprise, the world created by Charlaine Harris through the eyes of Sookie Stackhouse is frustratingly naive yet enjoyable. The Southern charm and hospitality is not lost in Bon Temps, as well as the issues of prejudice, mainly directed toward vampires but still relevant. Harris's desire to answer the question "What would the world be like if vampires existed, made themselves known to the public then tried to assimilate into human culture?" makes for a unique take on the sexual and supernatural mythology of vampires.
Some of the mythology is classic Bram Stoker with science attempting rational explanation, such as an allergic reaction as the cause of sunlight creating a burning death for a vampire. Plus, Harris adds her own spin on vampiric nature and ability, keeping readers on their toes wondering what vampire can do what. Then there's the sex... and plenty of it, I might add, all tastefully and sometimes hilariously explained by the prudish Sookie.
In terms of the original book versus the television series, both are different yet maintain the same tone and are therefore excellent in their own right. You can read the books after watching the episodes because HBO has taken HUGE liberties with characters and plot lines and thus both can stand strong individually. By the way, if you haven't seen "True Blood" and like that sort of thing-- watch it. I guarantee you'll love it.
As first choice on my summer reading list, I am exceedingly pleased and have dived right into Book 2 "Living Dead in Dallas." The action keeps me reading, Sookie is as real and relatable as a psychic waitress could ever be, and the world continues to expand.