I’m starting a new Let’s Read where I read Dracula like a pervert!
Me and Dracula
I thought I’d open with a spooky fun personal anecdote about Dracula, but I don’t have one. I’ve never read it before, nor have I seen any Dracula movies. My relationship with Dracula mostly comes from cultural osmosis and the Netflix Castlevania TV show.
I got a copy of Dracula for $2 with the intent to make this blog series. That was years ago, probably pre-pandemic. The only reason I know I spent $2 is because the sticker was still on the front, and when I peeled it off the cover, part of the glossy finish came with it. It’s a 2009 edition of the Puffin Classics collection with an introduction by Holly Black which is a chaste three pages long (and the print on these is generous).
Every year for the past few I’ve been smiling as everyone reads along with the Dracula Daily subscription, so that’s going to be my intention for this Let’s Read. I will be reading along with the class but I might check in with my hard copy just to mark it up and make it feel lived-in. The pink and white kitty stickies are helping a lot. It took me fucking hours to do it so now I have to see this project through, or die trying. Please send me all your comments, tweets, and financial encouragement.
What’s a Fujoshi?
I’m a Millennial lesbian and I grew up with a healthy diet of media too scared to be gay, supplemented with a bunch of horny anime and video games from Japan. For the rest of my fundamental food groups I had the internet and fan spaces to make up our own gay shit when what canon gave us wasn’t good enough. I’m glad to live in a world now where LGBT+ people have a growing presence in media, but even when they aren’t I have fun looking at things I enjoy through a gay lens because… it’s fun. This is what I find fun.
In case you don’t know what I mean by “fujoshi,” this is a Japanese term. It means “rotten” and is used to refer to girls who are really into stuff where boys make out. It was once a derogatory term that has been since reclaimed by the community, as the “rotten” moniker probably had some baggage about a woman’s value being tied to her marriageability. If she just wants to watch fictional men kiss, she’s not valuable as a wife. Fuck that, obviously.
I do often call myself a fujoshi because of the way that I enjoy media through a queer lens. I don’t think that homoeroticism needs to be intentional, and it’s not hurting anybody for me to have this view and share it with others. It’s especially not harmful when I’m reading a book where the author has been dead for a super long time. Who can fault me for that?
Some critics of fujoshi as a subculture might say that it suffers by being cruel and exclusionary to the women in the fictional world where they belong. Luckily, I’m super gay and I love women so I don’t think this will be a problem. If the girls in Dracula suck, I consider it the fault of the author.
I’ve also been doing some supplemental reading so you’ll see me pulling out all the stops as an anti-racist leftist too.
How Will This Work?
I’ll be reading along with Dracula Daily, so I encourage you to follow along with me. I will not be posting the chapters in full, just summarizing some bits perhaps and more than likely, not the important things. In the style of Ronan Wills’ blog, I do want the reader to be able to know what’s going on, but I suspect it’ll be more fun if you already know the material, or at least if you want to follow along.
I probably won’t be updating my read-through every day because I have a life and bills to pay, but I’m going to make an effort not to fall behind too much. Some of the entries are quite small, so some days will have very little to discuss.
As I was going through my copy of the book, I noticed that its published form, Dracula absolutely does not read in the order of Dracula Daily. It proceeds in big chunks from one perspective before jumping to another, until at the end you have pages and pages of accounts from different people at the same time. I have some concerns that I’m not reading the novel “as intended,” which eats at me, but I think this way will be more fun and I’ll probably do a better job of keeping up with it. If this blog is a success and people enjoy it, I have an idea to continue after reading Dracula through, but you’ll have to wait and see.
I do hope to keep this blog a bit as a journal and letter of my own because Dracula is formatted that way and I’m a dweeb and it seems like a good idea right now. We’ll see if I can keep it up. Any of it. I’m worried that this project is bigger than I reckoned with when I wrote down all the days in my journal.
Here’s hoping for the best.
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