Thank you to the seven readers who entered the giveaway for Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula! I used random.org to pick a winner and the book goes to commenter number two . . . Laurie who blogs over at Relevant Obscurity.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Dracula again these days. I had been reading some vampire stories last fall, but then the weather turned and fog regularly rolled in at night. I’m the one who takes our dog Buddy out for his last walk before bed and initially, the fog felt wonderfully atmospheric. I enjoyed the first couple foggy night walks. But one evening the fog was so thick that I felt like I was walking in cotton candy. Buddy got a little jumpy. I started feeling a little queasy. It felt like Dracula would be right behind me if I turned around too fast, so I decided to lay off the vampire stories for a while.
But like all good Dracula fans, I’m back at it, planning my fall vampire reading.
First up will be Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula by Bram Stoker and Valdimar Asmundsson, translated from the Icelandic by Hans Corneel De Roos and published by Overlook Duckworth this year.
The origins of this book go back to 1900 when Asmundsson translated Stoker’s novel. But he didn’t just translate Dracula, he added characters and re-worked the plot. According to the publisher, “The resulting narrative is one that is shorter, punchier, more erotic, and rivals the original in terms of suspense.”
I’m not sure yet what other vampire novels I’ll read. I’d like to read two in October/November. I’d love to hear your recommendations for vampire novels — old, new, it doesn’t matter to me, just as long as they’re not too romancy or cutesie as I prefer my vampires to be mean and nasty.
If you’re thinking ahead to fall vampire reading, here are a few I like to recommend:
Vlad by Carlos Fuentes (2010) — This is by far one of the best “sequels” to Bram Stoker’s Dracula that I’ve read. Fuentes pays homage to Dracula but masterfully makes Stoker’s original creature all his own. There is no pandering to Hollywood and cheapening of the spirit of Bram Stoker’s classic novel in this short work. I wrote a post on Vlad that you can read here.
Fangland by John Marks (2007) — A wild ride of a novel and the first I read that incorporated the events of 9/11, but not just as a plot point. It pays homage to Stoker’s Dracula in both content and style and has some truly creepy moments that stick with me years later. It’s a novel that I don’t think got enough attention when it first came out. Some bookstores shelved it in the literature section where horror fans would not stumble across it while browsing and many literary fiction readers poo-poo vampire books (I said ‘many,’ not ‘all’) so it didn’t catch on via word of mouth. Read about it on Goodreads.
Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu (1871-72) — This story predates Stoker’s Dracula by a quarter century and features a female vampire. It’s a short novel, or novella, and highly readable for its age. The lesbian overtones are well-played for the 1870s.
‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King (1975) — The second vampire novel I ever read, recommended to me by a bookseller when I went in asking for more books like Dracula. I re-read it as an adult and enjoyed it the second time around, too. If you haven’t read anything by King and like vampires, you’ll want to read this one for sure.
Leave me your vampire novel recommendations in the comments — I’d love to hear about your favorite(s)!