Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I'm not a horror movie person. I'm not a mystery/thriller/horror book person. I never had any desire to read Frankenstein or Dracula or other "classic" horror stories. So why, you might ask, did I decide to read Bram Stoker's Dracula? The answer is simple: because of this review.

Since I'm taking part in the Irresistible Review Challenge I had to add this one to my challenge list. For some reason that review made me think of this movie

(which I also have never seen) and I expected the book to be quaint and almost funny in parts. That's not what the review said, but that's what I thought all the same. Boy, was I wrong. And I am so glad too, because - shocker! - I really loved this book!

Let me say first off that I knew NOTHING about this book. I mean, yes I know about Dracula and I have some idea of how to fend off a vampire if I ever come across one, but that's about it. So I really didn't know what was going to happen from one page to the next. How exciting!

The book is written in the form of diary entries by the various main characters, augmented by newspaper reports. I'm a big fan of this writing style; I love the various perspectives and the fact that the narrator can't get in the way of the story. It took a few pages for me to get into the book because the language is a bit flowery, especially when Van Helsing is speaking (yea! I DID know who Van Helsing was from this movie)

but once I was used to the style I was hooked. And if I - in the 21st century - was hooked, how much more so would Stoker's original readers have been?!

I'd like to point out that I read this book through Project Gutenberg. It's an excellent resource, so check it out if you haven't before.

Several Weekly Geeks asked me questions about this book ...

Amanda wants to know: Do you think it's a light read? Also, how do you like the way the book is presented through letters/journal style? I wouldn't say this is a "light" read ... the language is old fashioned and I'll admit to skimming some of the lengthier speeches. But the story really draws you in! And I loved the letter/journal style.

Book Zombie wants to know: Why did you choose to read this? Because of that review I mentioned earlier.

Dewey wants to know: How does the classic Dracula character compare to the version of Dracula that has become more the norm in current times? I think this is THE classic image of a vampire in general, and Dracula specifically. Yes he's been modernized over time, but all the main elements are here - he hasn't changed all that much.

Becky says: I loved Dracula, though I was a bit hesitant to read the book in the beginning. What did you find most surprising in the book? Did you find it a worthwhile read? How does it compare to any movies you've seen? And Nymeth wants to know about the book vs. the movie. Oh me too, me too! I was SO surprised at how much I enjoyed this book! In fact, I told hubby that he has to watch this movie with me now

(and promise that he won't let me get too scared) because I'm dying to see how they adapted it from the book. What surprised me the most was that there were actually some creepy parts; I expected to find it all quaint and simple.

Julie asks: Did you find it as tedious and boring as I did? Oh no! I loved it! But maybe that's because I seriously had no idea what would happen next, or because I don't usually read this kind of book. (Julie and I usually have very similar taste in books!)

Jackie says: When it comes to vampire novels, the novel Dracula always gets mentioned in some manner. However, all the novels never refer to it in the same way. What other novels have you read that reference Stoker's novel and which ones do you prefer? I've never read any other vampire books, although I have listened to some audio books of the Anne Rice vampire series (in the car with hubby, since he loves them). So I can't really answer this one, sorry.

Joy Renee wants to know: about the Point of View, language choice, prose, etc. I think I answered most of the already. But I will add that despite the (sometimes) flowery language, the suspense was palpable and I often caught myself speeding through the pages because I couldn't wait to find out what happened next.

Thanks to everyone who posted a question. I love doing reviews this way!

Did you review this book? Just post your link in the comments and I'll add it here:

Plays With Needles gives an overview of this history of Dracula in her review
The Bookworm also compares the book with the movie a bit

PS. I'm reposting this for the Movie Madness Carnival!!!


Nymeth said...

You have to tell us what you think of the Coppola movie. I have to confess that I was a bit disappointed with it. The fact that it's called "Bram Stoker's Dracula" made me think it'd be a pretty straightforward adaptation, but it's actually a big departure from the novel. Not that movies that reinterpret the original material are necessarily bad, of course. I guess it's just a matter of expectations.

chartroose said...

I think you'll like "Dracula." It's quite wordy, though, so be prepared! My favorite Dracula movies are those really cheesy Christopher Lee ones that came out in the 60's. The Gary Oldman one is good too, although it is quite a bit different from the novel (as Nymeth points out).

Trish said...

Hmmm--there's something about your blog that my computer doesn't like. It seems like everytime I open it up (for the past week or so), my computer says it can't open the page and "aborts" the whateveritisthecomputerdoes. After a few tries I can get it to work--have other people mentioned this or is it just me??

Anyway, your review really makes me want to read this book! I haven't had a strong desire and to be honest Frankenstein was just OK. But I'll definitely have to be on the lookout. Oh, and thanks for the movie clips. :)

trish said...

I think I'll mention this as a possible book club read. I think it would be fun!

Amanda said...

Yay! I'm glad you liked this book! It's one of my favorites. I read this back in high school (and numerous times since) and it was one of those books that made me realize that not all "classics" are boring.

Amy said...

I'm so glad that you enjoyed this one. I steered clear of it until my husband raved about it.

I actually saw the Gary Oldman version of Dracula before I read the book. I'm glad the book is way different because I didn't enjoy the movie.

Jen said...

I really had no interest in reading this book until now. Thanks for the recommendation and for participating in my carnival!

Tracy said...

It's been a while ago that I watched this movie, your post made me want to watch it again. I will have to read the book first which I had no desire to read until your post:)

naida said...

great review! I liked the way you answered the other bloggers questions. I did like the film VanHelsing and film Bram Stokers Dracula, even though it was very different from this book. I linked your review to mine too.

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