I have a confession to make, I have not read many, if any, classic, literary novels, other than maybe those I read in school. I've never read a Jane Austen book, or even seen one of her movies. I have always intended to, but just haven't yet. I did read Gone with the Wind, many times, and loved it. But, other than that, my reading tastes have leaned toward current'ish releases. However, I am now reading (well, mostly listening via audiobook), to Bram Stoker's Dracula. Our OKRWA group is reading it to discuss at this Saturday's meeting. I have mixed feelings. It's surprisingly creepy in parts, suspenseful and chilling. But, wow, are there some very, very slow moments. One thing that surprised me was the description of Count Dracula, quite different from the Dracula we are accustomed to now. Here is what he looks like in Bram Stoker's version:
The book is written completely in journal and letter form, which is a little 'telling' at times. And, there are places where he goes on and on in minute detail about non-interesting topics. The character, Van Helsing, has an odd way of speaking and some of his dialogue makes my brain hurt. Here is an example:
"Winchesters it shall be. Quincey's head is level at all times, but most so when there is to hunt, metaphor be more dishonour to science than wolves be of danger to man."
But then, there are sections like the below. This is from Jonathan Harker's journal, who is a guest- turned captive of Count Dracula (Jonathan had previously seen a bag that writhed as if it contained something living, in the possession of the Count and his vampire women):
As I sat, I heard a sound in the courtyard without--the agonized cry of a woman. I rushed to the window, and throwing it up, peered out between the bars. There, indeed, was a woman with disheveled hair, holding her hands over her heart as one distressed with running. She was leaning against a corner of the gateway. When she saw my face at the window, she threw herself forward, and shouted in a voice laden with menace—
"Monster, give me my child!"
She threw herself on her knees, and raising up her hands, cried the same words in tones with wrung my heart. Then she tore her hair and beat her breast, and abandoned herself to all the violences of extravagant emotion. Finally, she threw herself forward and, though I could not see her, I could hear the beating of her naked hands against the door.
Somewhere high overhead, probably on the tower, I heard the voice of the Count calling in his harsh, metallic whisper. His call seemed to be answered from far and wide by the howling of wolves. Before many minutes had passed, a pack of them poured, like a pent-up dam when liberated, through the wide entrance into the courtyard.
There was no cry from the woman, and the howling of the wolves was but short. Before long they streamed away singly, licking their lips.
I could not pity her, for I knew now what had become of her child, and she was better dead.
Sections like this make it worth the read. And, with it being Halloween month, this is a perfect choice.
What about you? Have you read the classics? Which ones do you like/dislike?