2019 Summer Reading: Dracula, Frankenstein, and Other 19th Century Horrors

For me summer reading means picking up a variety of books. It means trying out new books, as well as revisiting old friends.

After a steady diet of mysteries, romances, and modern literary fiction, sometimes we need to sit around the proverbial camp fire and be scared silly.

Oh by the way, this blog is inhabited by Vampires, and we read. We usually don’t sit around and read Vampire books but when we do we like it to be interesting.

Dracula – Annotated

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Dracula is a fun, unusual, and well written book.

Unfortunately, as with many books that grab the imagination, Dracula has been made into a lot of awful movies that only vaguely capture the story line. You have to read the book.

I recommend adding “The Annotated Dracula” which is Dracula by Bram Stoker, with an introduction, Notes, and Bibliography by Leonard Wolf. The book also includes maps, drawings, and photographs, plus beautiful illustrations by Satty.

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Mr. Wolf, who sadly passed away earlier this year, also created annotated versions of Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and The Phantom of the Opera,

Note: An annotated book is a book that includes notes and images about the book. It is more than just foot notes. Please see the photos I’ve included.

There are many annotated versions of Dracula from 1975. I recommend this one. It is out of print but you can find copies on eBay, other online sources, your library, and at your local used book store. Ask around.

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This is hours of good fun, and you’ll get to read the ORIGINAL.

 

Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein

Assembled from the original text by Mary Shelley

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For a lot of people Frankenstein can be a difficult read. First published in 1818 it quickly became a classic. However, it was written in 1818 and is sometimes puzzling and odd to many modern readers. I love the book, but I understand if it isn’t always easy.

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Like with Dracula, NOBODY has made a movie true to the book. READ THE BOOK. Get the real story.

A great version to start with is the illustrated version from one of my favorite illustrators Gris Grimly. Yes, it is a graphic novel. Yes, you will like it. Yes it is strangely weird and ugly and beautiful at the same time just like the original story.

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Get a copy, put it in your tote bag, back pack, satchel, or purse and carry it with you all summer. Savor it with a tall glass of something cold and remember to keep a light on later in the night.

 

Now for a different kind of horror…

 

The House of Mirth

by Edith Wharton

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Imagine living in a world where social status and money rules every chance of happiness you have. Imagine being a woman with no power over her own life, and who is judged and brutally unforgiven by every choice she makes – by the people who should be her own. Welcome to the cruel world of the 1870’s and how a women who is of the upper class, but with nobody to protect her is left to fend for herself in a world that has no place for women like her. This is the story of Lily Bart, beautifully told by Edith Wharton.

This book is brilliant, but frustrating and tragic. This is also a reminder to get out and vote in every single election so that the rights and opportunities for women everywhere will not be taken away.

The House of Mirth can be found in every bookstore and every library.

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High Fashion 1870’s

 

Happy summer reading and feel free to leave your comments or reading suggestions in the comments.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Vampire Diary: Frankenstein

“My education was neglected, yet I was passionately fond of reading.”
~ Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus

Dear Diary,

I missed the entire 19th and 20th Centuries. So much happened. I am, how do the young Vampires say, clueless on so many cultural references.

When one is imprisoned in a crypt for three hundred years there is a great void in culture.

Books. Book changed. I completely missed Daniel Defoe by a few years. Of course I’d read The Ingenious Nobleman Sir Quixote of La Mancha and all of the ancient Greek tales, but where I lived, there were rarely anything considered a what is known now as a novel.

I have been reading many books over the past several years.

I started a new book today. It is called Frankenstein. I understand it was written by a young woman. Sometimes one must read light fluff because it is recommended by friends. Understanding modern women is also a good thing. I hope this book will clear a few items up.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I continue to read Frankenstein. It is not what I imagined it would be.

What is that expression my love Gillian always uses? Yes, I remember. Holy shit.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Last night I ventured out to my favorite local night time meeting place. It is owned by a woman named Cassie who is both beautiful and smart. She could have also written Frankenstein. I had planned on asking her if she had heard of Frankenstein but there was no chance.

My friend Randolpho and my love Gillian joined me. We are all Vampires, and know that Cassie’s bar is popular with a few other local Vampires as well. Cassie and the other patrons have no idea what we are. We do not plan to tell them.

All there were having a good night until three men wearing black coats and hats walked in. They looked around, then one looked directly at me and said, “Target,” to his friends.

At first I wanted to tell him that this was a bar and Target was about three miles away, then I realized that I was their target. I locked eyes with him and knew they were Vampire Hunters.

“Don’t look them in the eyes,” he yelled and brought out a large knife. As they came towards me I realized they also had guns. Why does everyone have guns?

I stood up from my seat and yelled for everyone in the club to get down. Randolpho and two other Vampires were like Shepard dogs and herded almost everyone behind the bar and into the kitchen and storage room. Gillian stood next to me.

One of the men, the tallest one, who had long brown hair, pulled out his gun. I grabbed his hand and twisted his arm behind his back and knocked him to the floor. Their leader, a shorter man of great thickness, headed towards Gillian with a sword. I turned and grabbed his arm with my left hand and the blade of the sword with my right. I could feel it cut into me. Then I twisted it out of his arm. I did not see a third man behind me as he stabbed me in the neck. I could hear screaming from behind the bar.

“You will not hurt a soul and you will not take me down,” I said.

“You’ll die tonight Vampire King, along with the rest of your friends,” said the man who stabbed me.

“No,” I said.

As the blood poured from my neck, it was funny, because all I could think of was how I’d just gotten that blood about an hour before then at an odd show at an art gallery.

We fought as I have not fought in centuries, with Gillian beside me, and the other Vampires working to protect the fragile regular Humans. I do not know exactly what happened but suddenly a knife went into my chest, it might have been a sword. A knife went into my check and cut a hole in me, starting at my heart and working down, as long as my forearm, maybe a foot long.

Then all went dark.

I awoke in a strange place, like something out of Mary Shelly’s nightmare.

A serious looking man wearing white hovered over me. “What year where you born?”

“1342,” I said, barely getting out the sound.

“1982,” I could hear Gillian say, but I could not see her. “He’s thirty-six.”

“Do you know his blood type? We couldn’t tell. It was as if someone mixed several types together.” I heard more voices asking questions. One said they would have to give me blood. That sounded good to me. I heard Gillian say my blood type was A+. I do not know what that means. I have human blood and I have my own Vampire blood. It is red. It is blood.

I tried to sit but found myself with wired attached to me. A needle was in my arm which was attached to more machines. Bright lights were in my eyes. People were all around me and asking me questions I could not understand or answer.

I could hear their frantic voices saying that I was cold and my heart was not beating. They said I had no blood. Then I felt electricity surge through my body. I jerked.

I could hear Randolpho’s voice somewhere. “Vlad, make your heart beat friend. Don’t let them think you’re dead.”

Needles went in and out of my skin and everything underneath it. I could not understand what people were saying.

Gillian said to someone, “Randolpho is his first cousin. I am his fiance. We are all the family he has. Everyone else is dead.” Dead is a relative term when one speaks of Vampires, but she was right. As far as I knew everyone in my family is dead except my sister who is undead and thousands of miles away.

Then it happened, as I lay on the table, hooked to machines, my arms pierced by needles, covered with blood, splayed out like a hog ready to be cut into bacon and ribs, it happened…

“Even like this he is so cute.”

“He is so cute.”

“He is beautiful, but so handsome.”

“I’ve never seen anyone here this cute.”

“Oh my, who is this man? He is absolutely gorgeous.”

Cute. Even in my darkest hour I am called cute. I do not understand this cute. Babies, puppies, kittens, and teenager are cute. I am a Vampire King in a Frankenstein like nightmare. I am in the lab, hooked up like the creature and they talk about how cute I am. I do not understand.

Then one put her hand on my forehead, “Hey cutie. Can you hear me?”

I opened my eyes and smiled a bit. “Of course. Where am I?”

I could feel her melt a bit due to my charm. “The hospital,” she said. “I’m Doctor Davis. We’re here to help.” Then she turned to her companions and said, “How is he talking? His heart isn’t beating.”

I was weak but I put my hand on her arm. “Dear Doctor Davis. Please leave me alone with my cousin and my fiancée for one minute. In case I am dead I need to have a few last words.” I looked her in the eye and she could not do anything but go away. Vampires can do that. We have that magic touch (even now I can make a slight joke.)

Gillian and Randolpho helped me become detached from the machines and wrapped me in a blanket and put me in a wheel chair. When someone would approach us Gillian would put up her hand and say, “Let us pass.” And of course they let us pass, and none of them remembered seeing us leave, for we are Vampires who move silently and make memories vanish.

When we arrived home I lay in my bed feeling more dead than undead. The pain of the Vampire hunter blades was made worse by poison. My hand, my neck, and my torso were stitched up. I was full of new blood, but still weak. I ask Gillian if she can heat up a blanket in the dryer for me.

I am exhausted just trying to write of this event.

~ Vlad

 

We are unfashioned creatures, but half made up, if one wiser, better, dearer than ourselves – such a friend ought to be – do not lend his aid to perfectionate our weak and faulty natures.  ~ Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus

 

Dear Diary,

News travels fast of a hero who fought off three crazy men with knives and guns to save about fifty terrified people. Vampire friends and my neighbors all came by to see how I am doing. Cassie and her husband Justin brought beautiful red flowers. Gillian and Randolpho were the perfect hostess and host.

Men from law enforcement came and spoke with me.

They asked questions. I told them that I remembered nothing.

Then, I do not know why, I quoted a line from the book Frankenstein. “I see by your eagerness, and the wonder and hope which your eyes express, my friend, that you expect to be in formed of the secret with which I am acquainted. That cannot be.”

I gave them a small uncomfortable laugh and told them that I could not think today. They said they understood and asked me to call them if I remember anything.

The men who attacked us were not apprehended that night. They will be found, but not by local law enforcement.

None the less Gillian and I insisted Randolpho stay with us for a few days. We are fierce and dangerous Vampires but even we have to watch those who do not understand us and wish us harm in their ignorance.

But now I sleep, and rest, and quickly heal as only a Vampire can.

Tomorrow, or maybe next week we will find our peace, and with any luck discover books that do not scare even Vampires.

~ Vlad.

 

“I shall commit my thoughts to paper, it is true; but that is a poor medium for the communication of feeling. I desire the company of a man who could sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine.” 
~ Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus

 

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Note from Juliette: This is the 36th entry of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To read it from the start click here.

Scars

A friend of mine recently had something blow up (home repair) in his handsome face and now has a row of stitches across his forehead that would make Frankenstein’s Creature jealous.

It old him that chicks dig scars. Then another friend questioned my reasoning. Excuse me?

This is my answer:

If a guy has scars on his hands it proves that he can work on cars, or is other wise willing to get his hands dirty. There are always good stories behind scars (even you make em up.) Scars are the sign of an interesting life. Scars also prove that a man is not some pansy assed wimp who spends his life doing nothing but reading Proust, and drinking double soy fat free pumpkin spice lattes.

I’m happy to say my friend is still healthy and handsome.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Famous Monsters

Everybody loves monsters – and nobody loved them more than Forest Ackerman editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine. You gotta love the artwork on these covers. My absolute favorite is #130 with Peter Cushing as Van Helsing. It is absolutely stunning. Enjoy.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Dracula Lives

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Oh the romance with Vampires. Who doesn’t love a well dressed blood sucking man coming into their bedroom in the middle of the night? Nothing makes you feel sexy like the scrape of a fang against your neck, or the sound of your heart beating with fear in your exposed chest.

Monster magazines and comics have always been, and always will be popular. My favorites are the Fanzeens – wonderful publications created by fans.

The artwork is absolutely beautiful in the fanzines and small craft publications.

The artwork is absolutely beautiful in the fanzines and small craft publications.

Yesterday I visited my friend Steve who somehow ended up with boxes of monster magazines that he is now selling on ebay (super cheap thrills – priced to sell.) Of course I was immediately attracted to the artwork on these things. I’d frame a lot of this stuff. Just imagine a wall of eight or nine framed pieces in a square arrangement. Nice.

I’m just going to share a few so you can get your classic movie type Vampire fix (since you usually don’t get it here since I’m not that kind of Vampire, well, not usually.)

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Just when you think you have some privacy with your girl and somebody else shows up…

 

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What’s for dinner? Stakes!

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Monster Magic from Forest J Ackerman

Monster Magic from Forest J Ackerman

 

Vlad to see you. Vampire thrills for everyone! Cheap thrills too.

Vlad to see you. Vampire thrills for everyone! Cheap thrills too.

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Hope you enjoyed the artwork.

This week more and more old monster, Vampire, Frankenstein, Aliens, Star Wars, and other related film magazines and comic books will go up for auction. All auctions start at $0.99. Yes, everything is going for cheap. There are also “buy it now” opportunities. Some of the descriptions are as good/fun as the magazines.

The seller is sfk1999. He usually specializes in watches, estate jewelry and other antiques, but lucky for us this week he has monsters and Vampires.

And today a couple of Peter Cushing autographs are going up for sale. Woo Hoo.

Click here to the link for one of the auctions then check out everything else he is selling: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dracula-Lives-May-1975-12-Marvel-Monster-Group-Stan-Lee-Presents-/182065279100?hash=item2a63efb07c:g:UAUAAOSwxcRW84-r

If you’re interested in buying everything left in this huge stash Steve has (a lot hasn’t been posted yet on ebay) call him at his shop: Crown Precious Metals, Sacramento California (in beautiful East Sacramento.) (916) 456-6227.

Have fun.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Monsters in Love

Halloween Love Letters

While taking clothes out of the dryer I found a crisp folded piece of notepaper with a note, written with a red Sharpie.

Dear Garrett,
I don’t think you understand how you tear my heart apart. You don’t do anything. You just are. You drive me crazy. You act so cool and I know how you put on a mask. Everyday is Halloween for you.  Stop being so afraid of being yourself. I love you – you idiot.
Ione

Sigh. Seventeen year old Garrett has been writing love letters to girls since he was six years old.  Now girls are writing them to him too. He has known Ione almost his entire life but they just started dating last Spring. If they make it as a couple or not, I’m sure they’ll always be friends – I have a feeling they will (they’re both Vampires.)  So I put the note back in the pocket of his jeans and pretended I didn’t see it.

I went downstairs to find the kids watching the original Frankenstein movie. Wow, they were actually watching a black and white film.

My eyes moved to the TV where the Creature was just coming to life. The poor Creature made me think what would have happened if he’d found true love? What if all of the classic movie monsters had found love?

Monster Love Letters

Dear Creature,
May I call you Frank?  May I be frank? Your size and patchwork of parts might turn off some girls but I find you fascinating. I want to undo your stitches until I get to your heart.
xoxoxo
The girl with the white streak in her hair

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Dear Mummy,
Let me unwrap your heart. Let me unwind the hardened linen bandages that bind your love. Let me rub your hard dry skin with scented oil until you feel alive again. Let me take you in my arms and wrap my soul up in yours for an eternity.
Love, Daddy

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Dear Wolfman,
You are the silver bullet in my heart.  Even a choke chain can’t keep me away from you.  Let me run my hands through your thick fur and scratch that sweet spot above your tail. I promise to bring the big box of Milk Bones.
Love, Daisy

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Dear Invisible Man,
You’re more than just a paycheck.
Love,
Your wife

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Dear Dr. Jekyll,
Stop hyding from me Mister. I want to see your dark side more often.
Love and kisses,
Candi

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Dear Dracula,
Bite me.
Love,
Lucy

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Lucy,
I’m tired of being pursued by sluts like you who cheat on their boyfriends. You took me to your bed when you knew another man was in love with you. Shame on you. Tell the same to that little trollop Mina.  And tell Jonathan that Mina isn’t as innocent as she acts.
Drop dead,
Dracula

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Dear Creature from the Black Lagoon,
Let me be your Ester Williams, your mermaid, your gold fish girl! When I scream it isn’t in fear but in love – like screaming for a rock star. You’re my underwater Elvis. You’re my Puffer Daddy. You’re top on the “scale.” Oh kiss me fish lips and let me hold your webbed hand all night long.
Love, Ariel

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Dear Dr. Caligari
This crazy love, like the Poco song that keeps going through my brain. My world upside down and at a slant when I’m with you like some weird German modernist film. What happened to that wonderful German film industry, oh cut off by tyrants, the style that now only you seem to hold? But wait, my mind wonders because it is so confused by lack of sleep and hopes of love and freedom. I’m tired of sleeping. I’m tried of being in a box. I’m tired of the confines of my cell. I’m tired of being creepy. Please let me go and leave this horror of your world and find love. Love that lives in the world of day and those who are awake without fear of death or heart break. You’ve said that love will be my end but I will take my chances and die for love like Jane and Alan. Let me have my own unique and fantastic sense of modernist style and find my own true love to share it with. Considering everything I’ve done for you it is the least you can do.
Your servant, Cesare

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Happy Halloween everyone. And I hope you all find true love. And isn’t the movie poster for “The Cabinet of Dr Caligari” the coolest thing ever!!!!!!

Love,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

I love you

I love you