Every October, there are two types of books that I try to read:
#1 – A Stephen King novel.
#2 – A classic horror or noir novel.
This year, the classic of choice was Dracula by Bram Stoker. I was lucky enough to find a group on Instagram to read it with and that was good motivation for me. Classics are not typically my cup of tea, though I wish I could say they were. I am extremely glad that I picked this one up and stuck with it. Vampires are probably my favorite noir creatures, so finally reading one of their most famous stories is super significant for me!
Considering that Dracula is probably the most famous vampire, and this is probably the most famous vampire book, while reading the book itself I really discovered how much I don’t know about the “legend” of Dracula. I thought I sort of knew the story but honestly, I had no clue! Even the simple fact that Van Helsing’s origin is in the Dracula book. I did not know that (how did I not know that??). Many vampiric traits and characteristics are the same or similar to vampires that we think of in modern pop culture–not active in the day, sensitive to garlic and holy relics, immortal, etc.
The book itself was surprisingly easy to read. It was very well-written and had such good flow to it. Sometimes books written from multiple points of view, and as correspondences or journal entries are difficult or obnoxious to read but I thought Stoker did pretty well with this one. There was only a little lull in the middle where my mind wandered a bit, but other than that, I was constantly turning pages and transfixed by the language and by the action.
I have to say that Van Helsing is my new favorite character ever. Professor (as Mina calls him), Doctor (as “friend Jonathon” calls him)….however you address him….the man is extremely intelligent, loyal, persistent, brave, and kind. I wish that I could choose a quote of his to use here to point out his intelligence and compassion, but he just has so many good, intelligent, and sublime things to say! I could not believe the kinship between the group of friends in this book. Not only was the writing excellent, but the bond between the characters as they faced this horror was just beautiful.
Yes the book had its moments of action and excitement and then its duldrums, but as I mentioned, it was so well-written and I so wanted to see where it went and I was so invested in the characters that I had to keep reading. Again, I am so glad I picked up this book. I can’t wait to pick up the illustrated annotated version!