So, as a High School English Teacher, I am still asked about the Twilight series. This often comes from my students, and my standard response is that I thought the ratio of “teen romance” and “vampire action” would be a little more “vampire action” than it turned out to be. That all said, I enjoyed the series and anytime you can read something your students are reading, it is a win in my book (pun intended). As a fan of the genre as well as the classic horror movies they inspired, I present to you:
The Top Five Vampire Novels That You Don’t Have To Defend As “Reading For Your Students”
Dracula – by Bram Stoker
Each year, when I teach A Christmas Carol, I tell my students that although many know the story, I doubt any of them have read the original text. For many people, I think this is the case for Dracula as well. Published in 1897, it was by no means the first writings on vampires, which date back to the early 1700’s. Not immediately successfully until the film versions appeared, which then immediately launched the genre. Now regarded as a classic and written in epistolary form, it is a collection of diary, journal, and newspaper entries. As with many novels, it has elements that still could not be presented on film due to content. When fall hits and October approaches, think about getting your hands on a copy and opening it up…you won’t be disappointed.
I Am Legend – by Richard Matheson
Many have seen the recent Will Smith film, where the antagonists are portrayed more as zombies who only come out a night. Before that, it was a Charlton Heston film, The Omega Man. Before that, it was a Vincent Price film, The Last Man on Earth. Many might not know that before that, it was the 1954 novel, I Am Legend. There is no mistaking the creatures as vampires and our hero, Robert Neville, must try to figure out the “cure”. Vampirism is presented as a disease to be treated and cured, which is unique to the genre. Trust me, if you have only seen the recent film, you don’t know the novel.
Let The Right One In – by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Set in the 1980’s and translated from its native Sweden, it tells the story of a teenage boy who is the torment of bullies. Soon, a new girl moves into his apartment complex, who doesn’t know what a Rubik’s Cube is yet can solve it immediately, and only comes out a night. The proper order is to read the book, then watch the Swedish version of the film, then the American remake. All are excellent, and nuanced differently in their mood and tone.
‘Salem’s Lot – by Steven King
I will admit I came to Mr. King later in life (I am now making up for lost time)…if fact, I only read this novel about five years ago. Peter Benchley, in writing Jaws, was intrigued by reports of the 1916 shark attacks off the New Jersey coast. The idea of what would happen if a rogue shark came to a small beach town and didn’t leave. ‘Salem’s Lot is very similar. The idea of what would happen if a vampire bought the biggest house in town, setup “shop”, and didn’t leave. It is a classic ghost story that will terrify you. Bonus read: Find one of the anniversary editions that contains the sequel short story “One For The Road”…completely unsettling and wicked good.
The Radleys – by Matt Haig
Suburban, Modern, Plain English family. Abstaining vampires. Something happens to disrupt their secret and the safety of their children. If vampires did exist and were among us, they would not be the Cullens or those in the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) world, they would be The Radleys. Simply a great read.
Until next time…
Written by Jonathan – Communications Director