Five Frankensteins for Your Monday

October is upon us, dear readers, so for the entire month, I'll be sending you weekly selections of atmospheric and spooky titles to get everyone into the holiday spirit!  Of course, not everything will be horror.  But, most of these titles will be carefully selected to give you a good shiver.

To start the festivities off, we'll be taking a look at everyone's favorite monster--Frankenstein!  Now, before you all start posting angry comments that the proper term is "Frankenstein's Monster," please remember this timeless adage:

Knowledge is knowing that Frankenstein is not the monster.
Wisdom is knowing that Frankenstein is the monster.

Mary Shelley wrote her classic tale of terror 200 years ago (1818).  So, to celebrate such a huge milestone, I wanted to take a little time to revisit the original mad doctor and the creature he created.  As always, each of these titles can be checked out right here at your library!

Frankenstein: A Cultural History (Susan Tyler Hitchcock)

In this sweeping history of a classic tale, Hitchcock looks at the story of Frankenstein, from its inception in Geneva to the modern day.  Frankenstein's monster is everywhere: cartoons, movies, sugary breakfast cereals, comic books, and more!  Even the term "Frankenstein" has entered our vernacular to mean a freakish mash-up, or a scientist who is trying to play God.  Hitchcock provides a fascinating and fun review of the Frankenstein phenomena that is sure to appeal to fans and the uninitiated alike.

Frankenstein: How a Monster Became an Icon, the Science and Enduring Allure of Mary Shelley's Creation (Sidney Perkowitz & Eddy Von Mueller)

This collection of essays by various authors all address different aspects of the Frankenstein mythos, from scientists, scholars, artists, and even filmmakers like Mel Brooks!

Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (Kathryn Harkup)

This volume explores the science behind the Frankenstein story.  Would Victor Frankenstein have been able to achieve such an experiment back in 1818?  What about now?  From zombie kittens, blood transfusions, and galvanism, learn about the "mad science" at work in Shelley's time and in our world today.

The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein (Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler)

In this dramatic tale of death and obsession, Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler probe the potential "curse" of Frankenstein.  During a stormy trip to Geneva, Switzerland, a small group of friends, including Mary Shelley, spent their evenings telling scary stories, and Frankenstein and his famous monster first came into being.  However, all of those involved that night, including Mary's husband Percy Shelley, her stepsister Claire Claremont, the scandalous Lord Byron, and Byron's physician John Polidori all met untimely deaths.  Come explore the mystery and decide for yourself--was it the curse of Frankenstein?

The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley's Masterpiece (Roseanne Montillo)

Rather than focusing on the book, Frankenstein, Montillo's book provides a framework for the story, including the influences on Shelley's work.  It's a fascinating tale of science and superstition, as well as the young writer's life.  

BONUS: Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)

I would be sorely remiss to not include this title in our list.  This is the story of Victor Frankenstein, a brilliant student with delusions of grandeur.  When he discovers the secrets of life, he concocts a "perfect" human using parts from corpses.  His experiments are a success and the creature lives, but Victor is horrified by what he has done.  But, any attempts he makes to abandon his creation and absolve himself of the guilt only makes things worse, and the creature sets out to find him, leaving horror and destruction in its wake.  But, more than simply a tale of monsters, this is a disturbing, emotional, and deeply human story of what happens when you try to play God.