The Indulgent Pleasure of Re-Reading Bram Stoker's Dracula

draculaTurn on all your lights, find a dog to sit at your feet and don't expect to get any sleep the night you decide to read Bram Stoker's Dracula.

You would think that when you read Dracula, that all the mystery and suspense would be sucked dry from the plot line by all those vampire movies you watched. Not so. Even though you know the punchline, why yes, the Count really is a blood-sucking demon out to cause no good, every page, almost every passage, sinks its fangs into your heart and pulls you along at a fearsome clip.

The book opens with young Jonathan Harker’s diary. Jonathan, a new solicitor, travels to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania to prepare the Count for his move and new life in London. In only a matter of days, the danger of the place and his company become readily apparent to Jonathan. He must escape home, where in short time, mysterious happenings occur throughout the town. Frivolous yet charming young maidens go sleepwalking, children disappear, giant bats bash against windows. The three suitors of the tormented maiden band together with doctor and occultist Van Helsing, unbelieving, yet driven by terror and grief to fight the evil that has stolen their love.

Bram Stoker wrote Dracula in epistolary format, meaning the narrative comes together in the form of diary entries, newspaper clippings, letters, ship logs and other official documents. It would be fair for you to assume this hodgepodge collection of narrative snippets would slow the plot and remove you from the story, but the actual effect is quite the opposite. While reading, you discover each plot twist through pieces of evidence, as though Bram Stoker was not telling you a story, but building a case. He retains realism in detail, voice and format, yet never allows the pieces to stray from the quickly building plot line.

Vampires are sexy. We all know this, and if we didn’t, the modern retellings assert this truth again and again, from sparkly Edward (Twilight) to angst-y Lestat (Interview with the Vampire) to bad boy David (The Lost Boys). The origin for this association with sex and the undead becomes remarkably clear while reading Dracula’s steamy pages. The entire book reads as a sophisticated seduction. Even simple passages about place, or Jonathan's terror as the wolves descend upon his carriage, are written with such care and delicate texture that they feel like love letters. Never explicit, Bram Stoker teases you with glimpses of moonlit skin, voluptuous lips and cunning hands. In the ruins of a church courtyard, well past midnight, he finally takes us. Listen as Jonathan's fiancée Mina tracks down her childhood friend Lucy on a fateful night.jpeg

...there, on our favourite seat, the silver light of moon struck a half-reclining figure, snowy white. The coming of the cloud was too quick for me to see much, for the shadow shut down on light almost immediately, but it seemed to me that something dark stood behind the seat where the white figure shone, bent over it. What it was, whether man or beast, I could not tell; I could not wait to catch another glance. ... There was undoubtably something, long and black, bending over the half-reclining white figure. ...

Whew. I'm ready for my drink now.

Want to know what cocktail I recommend sucking down while reading Dracula? Well, you'll have to wait for Book Lush! Make sure you get on my email list so you get notice the moment it's out.


First Batch of Book and Cocktail Pairings for #Booklush

Here's my first batch of book and cocktail pairings from Book Lush backers. Quite a diverse group! Please feel free to share these as you wish. Of course, if you want your own book and cocktail pairing, become a Book Lush backer on Kickstarter! XO, Kelsye







Do you want to pick a book for me to match to a cocktail? Just become a Book Lush backer and all your book and cocktail pairing dreams can come true!

Book Lush is the definitive guide of what to read with what to drink. Book Lush pairs great reads with a drink perfectly matched to the tone, style, period and meaning of the writing. Each section contains an excerpt of a book selection, a brief biography of the author, the relevance of the piece, a description of the writing style and the author's place in modern literature, plus a paired drink recipe. Drink recipes are crafted by bartenders from some of the most interesting drinking venues around the world, with the book selection serving as inspiration.

If Nancy Pearl (Book Lust) and Don Draper (Mad Men) had a baby, and by baby I mean book, that baby would be Book Lush.

Book Lushes Converge on Liberty on Capitol Hill


>> Click here to RSVP. <<

This is the second Book Lush meetup. We had such a great time at the first one, we decided to open it up and invite everyone! The live events offer a stimulating evening of good book recommendations and excellent craft cocktails. Bring a book idea for the bartender to match with a drink.

Plus, we're going during Liberty's happy hour. Bonus!

About Liberty Bar

Opened in 2006, we are constantly striving to provide our neighborhood with a great place to stop by, relax and enjoy outstanding spirits, cocktails, beer, wine and sushi.

Our primary interest at Liberty is our expansive liquor menu and our scratch cocktails – meaning that each and every cocktail is made with fresh juice when you order it, not from juice pressed earlier in the day or simply poured from a can. There’s no comparison between a scratch drink and any other – and you should expect no less.

Please feel free to ask your bartender or server to assist you in choosing a liquor that you may never have tried. At any time we have over 85 Bourbons and Ryes, 100+ Scotch, Japanese, Indian, Irish and Canadian Whiskies, and a premium selection of 40+Gins, dozens of Vodkas, 50+ Tequilas and 20′ish fine Mezcals in addition to quality liquors, some made here which we use to create our classic and original cocktails.

See all the details and RSVP here.

Or, if you're into Facebook, we do that too.

Want to share the event? Here's a tweet you can copy and paste:

Lucky folks in #Seattle can join #BookLush 3/18 at Liberty (@libertylovesyou) for cocktails matched to books!

XO and thanks again and again for your support! Kelsye

All or Nothing: A First Time

Just a couple days ago, I took the leap and launched my first ever Kickstarter campaign. I'm raising money to publish Book Lush, a guide of what to drink with what to read.

The inspiration:

A while back during my Japan years, I was sitting alone on my apartment balcony, reading a copy of Haruki Murakami's The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. It was late, but warm. I had Miles Davis Kind of Blue on the CD player and was drinking Cutty Sark (a whiskey) on the rocks. A perfect moment. Imagine my shock when I read as the character Toru played a record of Kind of Blue and poured himself a glass of Cutty Sark. After a moderate freak-out over the coincidence, I greatly enjoyed the blending of the drink and the book. As it was the character's drink, I was able to enter the author's world even deeper and experience the book in a multi-sensory way. Groovy, yes?
After that moment with the whiskey and the Murakami, I began to look for drink references, or even wonder what is the best drink to match with each of my favorite books. My writing friends shared their favorite pairings as well. Sometimes the match was pulled from a direct literary reference, sometime the match was made more on mood and general meaning. All these great conversations let to the Book Lush book idea.

There must be a perfect drink to pair with every great book.


Why Kickstarter?

I thought long and hard about how I wanted to bring Book Lush into the world. I have attended incredible workshops by Jen and Kerry at Business of Books that gave me the information and confidence I need to pitch to publishers. However, I have never attempted crowd-funding and I believe Book Lush is a good choice for the medium. I have many more ideas I can send to publishers later down the road. As I made my career in publishing, this is a great opportunity to learn more about this particular path.

I also took a long hard look at Pubslush. I am a huge fan of the Pubslush team and the platform they have created for authors to fund their book projects. In fact, my company recently started a Pubslush community page.


I finally decided to go with Kickstarter as I was looking for more organic traffic and campaign templates I could easily follow.


Oh dear Lord, it's live.

After much clever procrastination and delay, I finally launched my kickstarter. A couple days in I have 16 backers and $660 pledged. I have a long way to go to meet my $8,000 pledge minimum. I'll keep you updated as I go with my experience and what I learn along the way. If you would like to join the Book Lush kickstarter, you can become a backer. Of course, shares and encouragement are also very much appreciated!