Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ghoulishly Good Nonfiction

This Halloween treat yourself to Roseanne Montillo’s The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley’s Masterpiece.  In this lively rendering, Montillo binds biographical sketches of Mary Shelley, her husband and poet, Percy Shelley, and other Romantic notables, including John William Polidori, author of The Vampyre, with sinews of 18th and 19th century scientific thought.  Booklist calls it, “Sick, shocking, spellbinding . . . a dual history of literature and science.”  Deborah Blum, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and author of Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death, writes in her review for the New York Times, “Montillo achieves a freshness through her lively narrative approach and a fascination with long-ago science and its ethics that sparks across the pages.”

If you haven’t read Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, now might be the time.  Not because Frankenstein features a spine-tingling monster--it doesn't--but because Shelley's novel raises ongoing ethical questions about hubris, scientific inquiry, and personal responsibility.

For scarier Halloween fare and reviews of contemporary horror stories, visit the American Library Association's online readers' advisory guide, RA for All: Horror.

For other “classic” reading choices, stop by the reference desk in Teen and Adult Services and pick up Ready to Read the Classics? A Sampler of European and American Classics in the Library's collection.

The picture above comes from the 1831 edition of Frankenstein.

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