Why Didn’t I read This Sooner: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Okay, I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes and going “really, she hasn’t read Dracula before?” but really, I hadn’t until this past month, when my local book club picked it as our read for July.

I’m not going to rehash the plot, I figure most people know the basics by now but what I do want to talk about is how there is so much more to the story than I realized. I had imagined that it would all be a mystery/suspense that took place in a dreary castle. No. The story takes place in several different areas with many more characters with whom I fell in love.

One thing that I kept thinking about as I was reading was how jealous I was of the people that got to read the book when it came out. Those people that had no preconceived notion of what the plot was about, had no idea that vampires was going to be central to the story, etc. Have you ever thought that about a classic novel that you’ve read? It’s so hard to have not heard the plot of a classic or heard enough about it over the years to have most of the suspense taken out of it. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t spoil classics for others but I’m just saying to sit back and think about how people would have received the novel and experienced it for the first time.

I was also totally enthralled by the psychology and medical aspects in the novel. My pick of favorite character would probably be torn between Van Helsing and Renfield. I think these two characters should have entire novels on their own. Anyone know of any that have been written?

So a bit of a rambling post with mostly just my own feelings and reactions. Take from it this: it’s never to late to pick up a classic novel that you’ve been wanting to read, it may not be exactly what you think it to be.

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Why Didn’t I Read This Sooner: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith

I’m going to use the category Why Didn’t I Read This Sooner for all the older books that I read that I feel like I should have read a long time ago. I mean really, these are great books, why didn’t I read them sooner.

First up for this category is: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith Read by Kate Burton

First off, I have to say that I believe that A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a must read for book lovers. The main character, Francie, finds escape and herself through reading and writing and this plays a key role in her life throughout the book.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn follows the Nolan Family living in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. The book is divided into five parts, each depicting a slice of time in the family life. The family consists of mother Katie, father Johnny, little brother Neeley, and Francie. But honestly, I’m sure I’m the only one left who hasn’t read this book?! The quick and short version synopsis of this that that the Nolan family is a poor family living in Brookyn. The father is an alcoholic and the mother works really hard to try to keep the family above water. She really just wants a better life for her children. In order to do this she makes sure they can read and write, they read Shakespeare and the Bible every night, and she tries her best to keep them in school to get an education, something that she didn’t get to have.

The book is elegantly written, even in the dark and some what grittiness of the life that Francie is living. The narrator really brought the story to life though. She truly gave a different voice to each of the characters and even sang some of the bits of songs in the novel.

 

So if you haven’t picked up this book, do it. I highly recommend the audio book version with Kate Burton narrating!

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