1. Dracula by Bram Stoker -
I love this book--especially the way it's told in letters, diaries, and personal accounts. It's a haunting story. Stoker is a master at building tension and fear, and I love his craft and subtlety. It's amazing how well this frightening story holds up. I guess that's why it's a classic! For me, it's a true must-read! (Best of all, Stoker's vampires don't sparkle in the sun.)
2. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson -
I have always been fascinated by this story and it's compelling study of good and evil. The mistake Dr. Jekyll arrogantly makes, and his later bitter regret, is what makes this story so memorable, and relevant. I have to admit, I've liked every version of this story I've seen or read--from Bugs Bunny to Broadway.
3. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux -
Andrew Lloyd Webber's version of this story is so well-known most people don't bother with the book, which is a real shame. Leroux's novel has a lot to offer. And his characters are real and appealing. I was surprised by how much I liked it.
4. Jewel of the Seven Stars by Bram Stoker -
There are no vampires in this book, just Stoker's take on mummies. And while it's not as good as Dracula, it's still worth checking out. After I read this book, I found myself wishing that Stoker had been a much more prolific writer of novels.
5. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley -
I confess, when I read this book I always have more sympathy for Frankenstein's monster than for Victor Frankenstein himself. In fact, I usually find myself hoping that the monster finds a home someday, somewhere he doesn't have to be so alone. This is such a sad story--but definitely a classic.