Book Club Spotlight- Dracula

Welcome to the 50th Book Club Spotlight! This project is a labor of love and curiosity, and I hope it has provided a solid resource for readers these past 2 years. 🙂 

cover for Dracula by Dram Stoker.

I know what you’re thinking- here at The Book Club Spotlight, we pride ourselves on always being on theme. So why, in spring, are we talking about Dracula? While spooky stories never go out of season, now is the best time to start your reading journey into the world of Dracula. Published in 1897 by Bram Stoker, the epistolary novel is composed of diary entries, letters, newspaper clippings, and transcripts. According to these, the chronological period of Dracula takes place from the beginning of May until early November, meaning one can easily read along day by day and experience the story in real time! So, I invite you to “come freely. Go safely; and leave something of the happiness you bring”.

On the 3rd of May, Jonathan Harker, a solicitor from Exeter, is well on his way to visit a client in Transylvania. This will be the most important deal of his short career, and he is eagerly awaiting the meeting. Little does he know that his client has something more in mind than a simple real estate agreement. As time passes and Jonathan doesn’t return from his trip, his fiancĂ©e, the savvy Mina, notices her dear friend Lucy Westenra is beginning to act strange. She experiences bouts of sleepwalking and anemia while large bats stalk the premises. Enlisting the help of Lucy’s own fiancĂ© Arthur Holmwood, psychiatrist for the insane Dr. Seward, Texan cowboy Quincy Morris, and renowned physician Abraham Van Helsing, Mina must go to the ends of the earth and humanity to save those she loves from the fabled Vampire Count Dracula. 

It is a delight reading the origin of such an iconic figure. As the story progresses, the characters learn in real time what we, as an audience already know. What a vampire is, how to ward them off, and of course, that the Count is one himself. Stoker’s Dracula is many things- For a modern audience, it’s an allegory for xenophobia and how fear and distrust can lead to ultimate ends. For Stoker’s generation, the foreigners were the enemy that we must distrust for our safety. But as we read it through a modern lens, we can discuss the difference in moralities, racism, ableism, sexism, and the blatant misunderstanding of blood transfusion. Book Groups, teenaged and up, can enjoy and experience this classic work of fiction.   

If you or your group are interested in reading Dracula in its “true order” of events, I recommend reading through Dracula Daily.  Having its first run in 2020, Dracula Daily emails each chapter of the novel as it happens in real-time. The project has been likened to an online book club, as every year, readers on social media join together to discuss the latest events in the novel, and the experience has improved my own reading and analysis skills. Dracula Daily has even published its own physical version of the novel, with the story in chronological order, including snippets, jokes, and even drawings from book club members as they read along with you. There is much to learn from Dracula each year as we sit down to hear from our good friend Jonathan Harker.   

If you’re interested in requesting Dracula for your book club, you can find the Request Form here. There are 11 copies available. (A librarian must request items)

Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Norton. 1987.

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