My parents could stop me from watching scary movies as a kid, but they always let me read whatever I wanted. As a result, I started reading vampire fiction and a young age, and I’ve honestly never stopped. Here are two of my all-time favorite books and a couple of good series:
Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It took me a while to get around to this particular novel because I was intimidated by it. I knew that the vampire contained within was not quite the same as the one in the Bela Lugosi film of the same name, and it was hard to get his portrayal out of my head. I am glad that I waited because I don’t think I would have appreciated it quite the same way if I had read it when I was younger. I felt completely immersed in the story based on its format; letters, journals, logs, and various other documents. It blurs the line between reality and fiction very well, even taking in the obvious age of the story—Stoker wrote it in 1897. Many believe that it is the first time a vampire appeared in fiction, which is not true (they appeared in 18th century poetry long beforehand, and the famous competition that brought us Frankenstein in 1814 also bore a short story with a vampire protagonist–based on Lord Byron–called The Vampyre). However, Stoker is considered to be the master, and many traits of his Dracula have been passed down through the ages to even modern-day vampire characters.
Salem’s Lot. Stephen King was inspired by Stoker’s novel and decided to put his own spin on the story: in King’s novel, the vampire does not live in spooky Transylvania; instead, the vampires inhabit a small town like any other on the New England coast. I both enjoyed and was terrified by this book. It felt so much closer to the reality that I inhabit that as a kid, I was almost sure some of my neighbors were actually vampires. I remember consciously never giving them permission to enter our house, believing that if I didn’t welcome them in I would be safe enough inside.
As for series, I certainly loved The Vampire Chronicles. I can’t think of a more effective personality for a vampire than that of the worldly monster, Lestat. I also like Sookie Stackhouse and The Southern Vampire Mysteries, which went on to be the basis of the HBO series True Blood was also something I enjoyed very much. There are romance and humor running through the series, which made it feel more complete than other vampire books I have read. In that same line, the Chicagoland Vampires are a bit pulpier but still good. Notice I haven’t said anything about the Twilight series. I read them and I honestly felt they were a little more teenage-girl love story than actual vampire books. So many of the rules didn’t apply here—like they just sparkled in the sunlight and they drank the blood of animals—that it was hard to remember they really were vampires in the first place.
Let me know what you think of my list and if there are any I forgot. I am always looking for new books to read, so give me your suggestions!