Friday, June 1, 2012

Book Report: Dracula

(Even though my degree is in English Language and Literature, I don’t feel that I’m really great at real book reports. :) The problem is that I just love reading for reading’s sake and learning new things for learning’s sake.

So pretend that you’ve asked me what I’m reading, what I thought of it, and if I think you should read it, too, and that’s what you’ll get from my book reports.)

 Dracula by Bram Stoker

I’ve been on a re-reading kick lately: re-reading things from high school and college, just for fun, with no papers to write or themes to analyze. I just finished Dracula by Bram Stoker. I read it (or most of it) in a Women in Victorian Literature class at the U of C. And though I haven’t seen any Dracula movies (I’m scared of everything), I can definitely tell you that the book’s not like any of the movies.

Here’s what I’ll tell you about Dracula.

It’s not short. But as I posted previously, I like long books lately, because they entertain me during hours of driving, painting, and cleaning. (Like before there was TV, and long books were all you had.) Stoker describes a world totally different than we’re used to: Dracula’s lair and environs and Victorian England; and sometimes those descriptions are lengthy. Lengthy, but entertaining, as all the various parts of the story come together.

Even though I’m scared of everything, I liked Dracula because these people hunted Dracula during the day, when he’s his weakest; at times, completely defenseless. This is smart. Who would really try to kill the super-strong, ultra-fast, shape-shifting Dracula at night, when he’s at the height of his power? Idiots. That’s who.

The book is in a diary format, so you’re getting first hand accounts of the various characters’ day/thoughts/encounters. It was totally great to get to know the characters and you were always at the mercy of their ignorance…truly discovering the Dracula mystery as they did.

Mina Murray Harker is awesome. She’s emotionally strong and super-smart. She has the brilliant idea to gather the various diaries and accounts from the members of the Dracula-hunting party so that she can piece together the puzzle. She figures a ton of stuff out for the men of the group, and each time they feel they should leave her out because she’s a fragile woman, everything goes wrong. You go, girl. Show those guys what’s up.

Dracula audiobook on my iPod

I listened to this version of the audiobook from my local library, but I also referenced this Norton critical edition of the book as I read, which had great footnotes about nuances and various Victorian language connotations that really fleshed out the book as I read.

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