Has cold and flu season finally caught up with you? It’s not a lot of fun, but cold medication plus just the right book as you drift off to sleep could result in some very interesting dreams. Maybe you’ll even get an idea that could make you the next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling.

5. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

This is the original nightmare book. Back in the early 1800’s, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, her future husband Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and fellow John Polidori, thought it would be oodles of fun and a really good use of their time to compete to see who could write the best horror story. A few days later, Mary had a bad dream, Frankenstein’s monster was born, and Abbott and Costello won.

4. It by Stephen King

Word of the day: Coulrophobia — fear of clowns. Even under the best of circumstance, some people just don’t like clowns. If you’re hoping for strange dreams, killer clowns would be the way to go.

3. Dracula by Bram Stoker and Dracula The Undead by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt

These books should be read in tandem to get the full crazy dream-inducing experience. When I read Dracula as a child, it terrified me. When I read it as an adult, my feelings were more along the lines of — these people are stupid; they deserve to die. If you go sneaking around in creepy places, of course bad things are going to happen. Vampires running around in the daytime? So many plot holes. Then along comes Dacre Stoker, great-grand nephew of dear old Bram, to fill in the gaps.

We discover that Dracula was actually a failed novel by the original Stoker. He’s trying to salvage the mess by turning it into a stage play. He got his information from poor, sickly and misunderstood Abraham van Helsing, who lost his medical license because of the strange things he did to corpses. We know he was trying to keep them from coming back to life, but who is going to believe the now broken down old man? We learn that, of course, beautiful, doomed Lucy died not from a vampire bite, but from receiving multiple transfusions in an era before blood type mismatch was understood. Van Helsing gets the blame for that, as well.

Things are not well between Jonathan and Mina Harker, and their son, because, well, Johnathan might have enjoyed that time in Dracula’s castle with the strange women more than he ever admitted. This leads to misunderstandings and lousy sex. Mina might have enjoyed her time with Dracula a bit more than she would like to admit, too, which leads to more misunderstandings. Their son, Quincy, thinks they both misunderstand him and wants to be left alone to pursue an acting career.

Along comes that bloodthirsty villainess of history — Elizabeth Bathory. Bathory was known for her sadistic ways and for bathing in the blood of her servants and innocent village girls. Here, she has also been turned into a supernatural creature. BUT, she is really just misunderstood. After all, she was a young girl, mistreated by an older husband. It’s not really her fault she’s so bad.

Then, of course, there is the man himself — Dracula — and he is SO misunderstood. He was only trying to do God’s work in his homeland. He felt terrible about Lucy’s death. He just needed a bit of a snack after coming in off a ship where even the rats were so plague-ridden he couldn’t get a bite to eat.

All of these misunderstandings feel like the plot of just about every episode of “Three’s Company.” If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll dream of Jack Tripper as the brave Jonathan Harker and Janet as his beloved Mina with Chrissy as the poor doomed Lucy. Larry Dallas would make a good Renfield to Ralph Furley’s Dracula. Imagine Mr. Roper as the intrepid van Helsing and Mrs. Roper as one of Dracula’s Bride’s.

2. The Vampire Relationship Guide I-IV  by Evelyn Lafont

Think of this as Twilight for the grownups. Sex, violence, sex, humor, sex, vampires, sex. Josie lives in a world where vampires have not only come out of the closet, they are legally protected as having a disability. For example, Josie’s vampire mailman delivers mail at night. Josie wants nothing more in this world than to go to a vampire party and meet a luscious vampire of her own. When her mailman passes on an invitation to a party he can’t attend, she sees all her dreams coming true.

At first, everything is blissful. Then Josie finds herself in a love triangle, and in the vampire world, it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys and the ancient vampires from the newly turned. Who on earth can a girl trust?

Josie faces many ups and downs throughout the book series and learns a lot about herself, and the supernatural world. She finally meets her vampire love, but things still are not always as they seem. For one thing, there are other supernatural creatures in the world who are not quite as open as vampires have become. Creatures who, through no fault of their own, periodically turn into another, shall we say, furrier, creature. And it would seem that her vampire love’s best friend is indeed a were. . . wait for it. . . bunny. HA! Not where you thought I was going, was it?

After all the supernatural horrors Josie faces to find love, it turns out that he and his twin brother are so newly turned that she is going to have to face a holiday meal with their STILL living and VERY conservative parents. And on top of that, her freewheeling, liberal, live for the moment mother is also coming.

Yep, sweet dreams.

1. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

If your reading tastes are a bit eclectic and you like both classic literature and zombie fiction, this could be the perfect sleepy-time book for you.

You still follow the lives of the Bennet family. Mrs. Bennet tries to find husbands for her daughters as before, but in this version Mr. Bennet is busy teaching his daughters how to be zombie fighters. The things are such a nuisance. Mr. Darcy is still around and in need of honing his social skills, but he is a heck of a zombie fighter. That has to count in his favor.

The plot moves along with boy meeting girl and girl meeting boy, people looking down on people of lower social status, and along side the familiar plot of love and manners in older times there are zombies changing the plot a little here a little there. You won’t read about a Lady Catherine and her ninjas fighting Elizabeth Bennet to keep her from Mr. Darcy in the original.

So sleep well, my lovelies. Perhaps when you get back to work or school you can tell them how you dreamed of a Grand Ball where a bumbling Dracula tripped over a werebunny, a killer clown tried to pick a fight with a giant monster, and a pretty girl in a ball gown drop-kicked a zombie through the French doors.

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