The Classics Club is 'What is your favourite classic book?' Like everyone else, I'm sure, I had a hard time thinking of the one classic that I like better than all the others I've read. I loved Anna Karenina for the scope of the book and how epic it was, Emma will always be a favourite because of Emma herself, Villette by Charlotte Bronte spoke to me about the kind of person I am and I adored A Little Princess as a child. But in the end I decided to think about which classic I revisit the most often and which gives me the most pleasure as I read it - not which classic is the most important, but which one I enjoy the most.
So what is it about Dracula that makes me love it so much? I love the format of the book, with the different journals, letters, newspaper clippings and even a ship's log. I find they break up the text and make it easier to relate to the different characters (I also love this about Wilkie Collins' novels). I love that it's a bit of a sensation novel, not written to make a point about the world but simply to entertain and scare. I enjoy the adventurous aspect of a 'band of heroes' getting together to rid the world of a horrible monster by piecing together all of the different clues.
I'm a big fan of gothic fiction anyway, but Dracula, with it's Transylvanian forests, crumbling castles and swooping bats, is the best of the genre. It appeals to that part of us that likes to be scared. Although Dracula isn't scary for us now as it would have been for the original readers, it's deliciously creepy and the part where Dracula crawls down the castle walls as a horrified Jonathan Harker looks on still gives me the chills.
Of course, I know that Bram Stoker never actually visited Eastern Europe and to be honest, the rest of his books are probably best avoided (and I've tried a few). The treatment of women also leaves a lot to be desired, as 'precious' Mina finds herself overcome with men who only desire to protect her from the big bad monster even though she has lots of good ideas to contribute. I know these things logically, but that never stops me from getting swept along with events and enjoying the story.
Dracula is my favourite classic due to the combination of horror and a classic rip-roaring adventure. What's your favourite classic?