Now, before you say anything, I didn't read this because of all the crazy Twilight vampire hype that has a couple of my students looking suspiciously like Cullen family groupies. It's a classic, and I have decided to devote a significant portion of my book reading this year to reading classics that I have never picked up!
I make it a point not to over-research things before I read them, so I really had no idea what I was getting into with Dracula. And I think that film has actually done a bit of a disservice to this novel. I wholly expected a somewhat graphic and horrific tale of a vampire running rampant around Europe. I am so very glad that I was wrong. It wasn't cheesy or gory, and it actually surprised me in it's thoughtfulness. I loved how many characters' points of view I was able to experience through letters and diary entries, and I enjoyed the complete lack of actual interaction with Dracula himself. Once you have gotten past the initial portion of the book with Jonathan Harker, Dracula himself is just a pleasant plot-driver. I think that mysterious foreboding feeling made the book so much more appealing that that of other novels' blatant and obvious villains.
I imagine that at the time this book was originally published, people squirmed in their seats while reading because they didn't exactly know what to expect, and even with vampires being thrust into the media so heavily these days, I STILL felt that. I think that's a good sign for any novel. It makes me wonder in some ways if a few decades down the road the Twilight Saga will still pack the same punch.
Overall, I was pleased and impressed, and I am so glad I picked this up for my first classic of the year!