Agonson’s Top 10: Dracula

It has entered my mind to formulate a list of books which have been meaningful to me, both in the pleasure they offer and also in the effect they had. These are books which stand above.


I came to Dracula in a bit of a dry spell, and I was thirsting for a juicy story. For years, it seemed, I had not been able to find works which enchanted me. I had been a lover of science fiction, but the relation had soured. As I grew older, I found either childish adventures which I had unfortunately outgrown or rather dull pieces of half-baked philosophy. I was disenchanted, but like a living corpse still searched for life. It was, walking hopeless through a library, that the thought occurred to me: I had read Frankenstein last year in English, and it had had some good points; maybe, if science fiction couldn’t satisfy me, horror might offer something. The names Frankenstein and Dracula were like peanut butter and jelly, one had to follow the other, and so I found a copy of Dracula.

I sat there and read the first chapter, feeding on its wonderful atmosphere. I had found something I could read again and really enjoy.

It is sometimes hard to say what makes Dracula so special. Part of it, I think, was that it was wholly my choice. The only reason I had loved science fiction was because someone had suggested it to me, and it seems that the only reason I had read anything was that someone at some point had told me to read. This was the first time I tried something that was my own and no other’s, horror, and I loved it. It was unique, unlike anything I ever read, and it haunted me.

I did not think it changed me at first other than expanding my tastes. However, the book followed me, and I had to read it again. I think before I die I will read it many times more, for it is something that doesn’t get old or stale, like some undying thing. Yet it baffles me: I don’t know why this book is so good.

Dracula awakened me to horror, and I am glad of it.

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