Monstrously Good Books

Tuesday, August 30th – Kayla Thompson, Adult Services

Hello to all the different kinds of readers out there, from our super science fiction readers to our ghoulish ghost and horror readers. August 30th celebrates the birthday of one classic lady writer, Ms. Science Fiction herself, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Because of this, we also celebrate her most significant work of fiction, Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus. 

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born on August 30th, 1797 with the name Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin. Her parents were the writer and women’s rights activist, Mary Wollstonecraft, and political philosopher William Godwin. During her time she was often overshadowed by her famous poet husband Percy Bysshe Shelley and his friends like Lord Byron, but make no mistake – she was one creative thinker herself.

Frankenstein was published on January 1st, 1818, and is considered one of the earlier forms of science fiction. With elements that adhere to both the gothic and horror genres, Mary Shelley’s masterpiece would cause a lot of talk among her fellow members of society. It follows a young scientist, Victor Frankenstein, as he snatches up body parts to create his own sentient being and, in a way, thwart death and god alike. But things don’t end up according to plan and the newfound sentient creature that Victor hoped would start a new era of beings and life, ends up being dubbed “the Monster” in the narrative.


From day one, Frankenstein has both horrified and fascinated readers and it has been reformatted in a number of different ways. In 1823 Presumption or The Fate of Frankenstein was produced on stage by the English Opera House. Since then it has been adapted to other formats such as music, radio, and film as well as a plethora of novels and stories.  In 1910, the first film adaptation of Frankenstein and his monster appeared in Frankenstein by Edison Studios (it was a silent film). Other popular screen names associated with both Frankenstein and his monster are Abbott and Costello, Mel Brooks (Young Frankenstein), Alvin and the Chipmunks (Meet Frankenstein), Herman Munster (The Munsters), and many many others.


Shelley’s creation continues to inspire and capture both its audiences and their creative imaginations. Hopefully we will continue celebrating her and her work for years to come. Frankenstein is a story that makes us take a look at ourselves and mankind and ask ourselves what it means to be human. Who is the real monster? Is it the poor being forced back to life in a barely functioning body? Or is it the person who stole the parts and jigsawed it together only to abandon it because it didn’t meet its maker’s expectations?

Below is a list of books that either study, reference, or adapt Shelley’s most popular piece of fiction.

Adult Fiction:
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Frankissstein: a Love Story by Jeanette Winterson
Alive! A Valentino Mystery by Loren Estleman
Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz
Adult Non-Fiction:
Making the Monster by Kathryn Harkup
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Tracing the Myth by Christopher Small
Teen Fiction:
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
Steampunk: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Zdenko Basic
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: The Graphic Novel by Pete Katz
Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection by Junji Ito
Teen Non-Fiction:
Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein by Lita Judge
Juvenile Fiction:
Does Frankenstein Get Hungry? by John Solimine
Frankenslime by Joy Keller
Juvenile Non-Fiction:
She Made a Monster by Lynn Fulton
Frankenstein – Carl Laemmle
Young Frankenstein – Mel Brooks
The Munsters – Season One
Bud Abbott, Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein

Frankenweenie – Tim Burton
Cape Girardeau Public Library

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