I hope you have all read your copy of Dracula...we might have a test later. Okay, probably not, but I really would like to hear your opinions on this classic tale. One thing I have noticed while putting this event together is that not many people seem to be overjoyed at the thought of reading the original book. I'll use an email between Michele and I springboard this discussion:
Michele: Seriously, though? Rereading Dracula is a little...boring. :-) It was great the first time through, but now I'm like, a whole half a chapter dedicated to the ship tossing on the waves? And please, Lucy can be whiny. And Dracula has so little actual page time. But while a bit boring, it is fascinating as well, so am glad to be reading it again.
Anna: Dracula isn't the most entertaining book, at least for me. I read it because Stoker was unique to his time and he offers great insight into that age. And his writing style was different. Honestly, I tend to think of Stoker's book as more of a stepping stone for other great writers. Just look at how many authors pick up where Dracula left off, or tell the story from another character.
I'll add to that conversation now and say that Dracula is an excellent historical book and can be quite useful as a glimpse into a different time, but that the style and tone of writing definitely takes getting used to. The pacing is slow and many of the descriptions are drawn out and lack the excitement that modern books are full of. And Michele was right on target when she said Lucy can be whiny!
That being said, Stoker did something that many authors attempt but fail to achieve..he created a character that endures. Nobody expected a vampire to be a central character in popular fiction, let alone one that would continue to fascinate people for over 100 years. Count Dracula may not have been the first vampire to grace the page, but he certainly helped shape the mythology.
So tell me...were you intimidated by the classic novel status? Are you put off by all the hype? Or do you just prefer to keep to the movies for your Dracula fix?
And on a completely different note, Michele and I have been reading different version of the book and her copy has some really cool old maps. I thought I'd share them with you 1) to get your take on the inclusion of illustrations in historical fiction, 2) because it's fascinating to follow these maps as the story progresses, and 3) it's interesting to see how the region changed from then to now.
Do any of you have a copy of Dracula with maps? Are they different from the ones in Michele's book?
Let's talk! What are your impressions of Bram Stoker's Dracula? Was the writing style difficult to follow? Or did you maybe like the journal styled format? What characters did you like best/worst? Did you learn anything new about Victorian England?