Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein
Title Frankenstein
Author:  Mary Shelley
Length:  166 pages
Genre:  Classic Literature; Classic Gothic Literature


About the Book

When you hear the name “Frankenstein”, visions of a tall, green, ugly monster tend to come to mind. Maybe you picture the classic monster portrayed in the 1930’s movie starring Boris Karloft. However, the book is not just about a monster; and the monster’s name isn’t Frankenstein. The main character of this book is a young man called Victor Frankenstein who decides to pursue science and ends up becoming obsessed with creating life. He finds that he’s able to piece together this being and bring it to life, something that he’s spent hours upon hours trying to figure out. When he brings the creation to life, he is abhorred at it and runs from it…leaving the creation left on its own. What transpires is a story filled with chilling events, tough themes, and questions that aren’t easily answered. Themes such as secrecy, abandonment, and hopelessness pervade this novel.


My Thoughts

I can’t say that I *loved* this book because it’s not a feel-good read. It’s filled with hard questions, tough themes, and moments when terrible things happen and you have to read about it. However, it is a *good* book; a worthy one to be read. I am glad I read it and I definitely recommend it. While some aspects of the story seem fantastical (as in not realistic), I find that it doesn’t take away from making the reader think and ask questions.

As I thought about how people treated Victor Frankenstein’s creation in the beginning, I couldn’t help thinking about one of my favorite Disney movies Beauty and the Beast. In the movie, the Beast is seen as just that…a hideous, grotesque beast that is dangerous. When Gastan and the townspeople see him, they want to go after him. In the same way, when people saw the creation Frankenstein made, all they saw was this hideous, grotesque monster and were terrified. Some even harmed him. Where the stories differ and make for a good comparison, is this: In Beauty and the Beast, Belle actually got to know the beast and began to see him for who he was inside, not the hideous beast that he looked like on the outside. And things changed for the better because of Belle and her kindness and love. However, this did not happen for the creation Frankenstein made. He was abandoned, rejected, and mistreated. He longed for community, relationship with others, and for love. But he received none of that. And he ended up spiraling downward and did terrible things. When reading Frankenstein, the reader is left thinking about the potential effects of love and kindness vs. abandonment, rejection, and hopelessness.

If you’re looking for a good book club pick, definitely give this one consideration. This novel is so full of things to discuss that you are going to want to read it with others!

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The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

the-enchanted-april
Title
The Enchanted April
Author:  Elizabeth von Arnim
Length:  227 pages
Genre:  20th Century Literature
Content Notes:  Brief Language


Four women agree to share the expenses of renting an Italian villa for the month of April. They don’t know one another in the beginning; but by the end they’ve become good friends. This story takes a look at their lives and how this holiday helps them learn more about themselves, helps them grow personally, and helps them each find needed healing in their lives.  Some of the tough issues dealt with are struggles with love, with marital relationships, and with faith. This novel is about love and relationships; but most of all, it’s about restoration:  restoring themselves, their lives, and their relationships.


Quotes from the Book

“All the radiance of April in Italy lay gathered together at her feet. The sun poured in on her.”

“She had frightened love away, precious love, and that couldn’t be good. Was not Lotty right when she said the other day that nothing at all except love mattered? Nothing certainly seemed much use unless it was built up on love.”


 

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

the-one-in-a-million-boy
Title
The One-in-a-Million Boy
Author:  Monica Wood
Length:  336 pages
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Content Notes:  Strong language


When Quinn’s son died, he agreed to finish his son’s boy scout project…helping a 104 year old woman with chores around her house; what he didn’t count on was becoming like family. The several storylines weaved throughout this book make it a deep and layered novel. It is a moving story about unlikely friendships, grief, forgiveness, reconciliation, second chances and the Guinness Book of World Records.


Quotes from the Book

“Because the story of your life never starts at the beginning.”

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

and-every-morning-the-way-home-gets-longer-and-longer
Title
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
Author:  Fredrik Backman
Length:  96 pages
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction


From the publisher’s description:  “From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here comes an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go. With all the same charm of his bestselling full-length novels, here Fredrik Backman once again reveals his unrivaled understanding of human nature and deep compassion for people in difficult circumstances. This is a tiny gem with a message you’ll treasure for a lifetime.”

This story gives a glimpse into what it must be like not just for the elderly man who is losing his memory, but also what it must be like for those that love him. It is heartwarming, sad, real. While it’s a short read, it’s packed with lots of heart.


Quotes from the Book

Noah holds the old man’s hand, the man who taught him to fish and to never be afraid of big thoughts and to look at the night’s sky and understand that it’s made of numbers. Mathematics has blessed the boy in that sense, because he’s no longer afraid of the thing almost everyone else is terrified of:  infinity. Noah loves space because it never ends. It never dies. It’s the one thing in his life which won’t ever leave him.

 


 

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

the-language-of-flowers
Title
The Language of Flowers
Author:  Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Length:  334 pages
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Content Notes:  Language (including brief strong language)


Victoria was raised in the foster system from the time she was a baby. When she turned 18 years old, she had a certain amount of time in a transitional home to find a job and get set up on her own. But instead of looking for jobs, all she wanted to do was grow flowers. For Victoria, flowers were a part of her world that was therapeutic for her. She also has a gift for matching the right flowers with the right person. This gripping novel takes you on a journey through Victoria’s life as she tries to deal with the past and find healing. You will not want to put this book down.


Quotes from the Book

…it seemed that Earl, and then Bethany, walked home with a bouquet of flowers expecting change, and the very belief in the possibility instigated a transformation.” (pg. 113)


 

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

the-storied-life-of-a-j-fikry
Title
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
Author:  Gabrielle Zevin
Length:  258 pages
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Content Notes:  Language (including some strong language)


A. J. Fikry and his wife opened a bookstore several years ago. After his wife passed away, A. J. continued to run the bookstore. One day, someone unexpectedly leaves a baby in his store. This novel is a heartwarming story of loss, finding love again, and the power of books to bring people together.


Quotes from the Book

Remember, Maya:  the things we respond to at twenty are not necessarily the same things we will respond to at forty and vice versa. This is true in books and also in life.” (pg.41)

You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, What is your favorite book?” (pg. 87)

Sometimes books don’t find us until the right time.” (pg. 92)


 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

big-little-lies
Title
Big Litte Lies
Author:  Liane Moriarty
Length:  458 pages
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Content Notes:  Strong Language


In the beginning chapters of the book, you find out that there’s an investigation taking place in a small beach-side community. The book switches back and forth from the present time and the investigation to the past and all that happened in the months before the incident occurred. The main focus is on the lives of three women who all have hard issues they are dealing with. From the bookflap:  “Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.” This was one book I couldn’t put down.

 


 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Title
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Author:  Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Length:  274 pages
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Content Notes:  Language


Juliet Ashton is a writer known for her light-hearted series about Izzy Bickerstaff; but she doesn’t want to write light-hearted pieces now. One day, she receives a letter from someone she doesn’t know who happened to find her name in a book he now owns. He lives on the island of Guernsey and wants to know if she will give him the name and address of a bookshop in London where he could find more books by Charles Lamb. They begin writing back and forth and what transpires is an unforgettable story that is delightful and charming, deep and moving. One minute you’ll be laughing , the next minute you’ll be in tears. It is funny, heartbreaking, sassy, genuine. Written in the epistolary style, these characters come to life as you read about war, love, loyalty and the power of books to unite and sustain.


Quotes from the Book

That’s what I love about reading:  one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book.” (pg. 11)


 

Persuasion by Jane Austen

persuasion
Title
Persuasion
Author:  Jane Austen
Length:  236 pages
Genre:  Classic Literature
Content Notes:  I found it to be a bit wordy and tedious in some places.


Anne was in love with Captain Wentworth; but she allowed others to persuade her not to attach herself to him. In this classic novel, Anne has to find that balance between being open to persuasion and standing firm on her own convictions. This is a story of love, regrets, second chances, and determining when to be persuaded and when not to be. In true Austen style, it is a story of love lost and found. It doesn’t take the place of my favorite Austen novel (Pride and Prejudice); but amidst the wordiness and rambling sections, this novel grew on me.


Quotes from the Book

…there could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison; no countenances so beloved.” (Ch. 8)

A man does not recover from such a devotion of the heart to such a woman. He ought not; he does not.” (Ch. 20)

You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever.” (Ch. 23)

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

the-bookshop-on-the-corner

Title The Bookshop on the Corner
Author:  Jenny Colgan
Length:  332 pages
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Content Notes:  Language (includging brief strong language), Course talk, Brief Racy Content


Nina loves books and loves her job at the local library. Then she finds out the library is closing and merging into a different branch with a whole new vision. In the midst of trying to figure out what she’s going to do, she gets hooked on the idea of starting a mobile library. The thought of it is scary and exciting at the same time. She steps out of her comfort zone and what unfolds is the adventure of her life.

A fun lighter read, this novel is about being brave and stepping out to do something you love. Enjoy this look at the power of books and reading.


Quotes from the Book

…for Nina, whenever reality, or the grimmer side of reality, threatened to invade, she always turned to a book. Books had been her solace when she was sad, her friends when she was lonely. They had mended her heart when it was broken, and encouraged her to hope when she was down.” (pg. 40)