Get in the Halloween spirit at the library

Published 1:57 pm Saturday, October 6, 2018

With Halloween on the horizon, it’s time to read some classic ghost and horror stories.

In that spirit (pun intended) Tim Janes will be leading a special book discussion group about Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, has been called the first science fiction novel because galvanism, electricity, not magic, supplies the power that animates Frankenstein’s being.

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Much more than a Gothic gore fest, Frankenstein is a compelling exploration of hubris, alienation, desire and humanity. It is beautifully composed.

Hollywood made Frankenstein a horror story. Mary Shelley’s novel is incredibly poignant.

Shelley wrote “Frankenstein” in 1816 when she was 18 years old and living with her lover (and later husband), poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and infamous Lord Byron at the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva in Switzerland.

1816 was “The Year without a Summer,” a volcanic winter of torrential rains and tempestuous storms caused the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815. (I kid you not.)

Compelled to remain indoors most of the summer, Mary Shelley, Byron and Dr. John William Polidori (author of The Vampyre) entertained themselves by reading German ghost stories from a book entitled “Fantasmagoriana.”

During one of these reading sessions, Byron suggested they all write a ghost story.

The rest, as they say, is bibliography.

Tim is an avid and eclectic reader who encourages his reading group participants to express their ideas. If you enjoy classic literature, be sure to sign up for this discussion.

Copies of “Frankenstein” are available at the circulation desk, or bring your own favorite edition. Please register to attend.

Want to write horror fiction?

From 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, Kentucky horror fiction author James Gardner will present a horror fiction workshop.

During this program, James will introduce a series of prompts that focus specifically on writing horror stories. He’ll allow at least 10 minutes of freewriting time for each prompt.

Participants will be given opportunities to share and discuss their writing.

He’ll also provide horror short story suggestions and recommend blogs where your forthcoming horror masterpieces can be published.

James has stories in “The Asterisk Anthology” and “Appalachian Terror Trail.”

His next published work will be in the “Schlock! Horror! Anthology.” It is titled “The Last VCR Made in Hell,” about a VCR that lets people experience movies, usually horror movies, at the price of human souls.

James knows horror fiction as only a practitioner and librarian can. Check out his blog called “The Foreboding Home of the Scary Librarian” at

There, he reviews books and writes about horror novels.

You can talk to him about horror fiction and writing at the CCPL circulation desk.

This workshop is limited to 8. Please register to attend.

Other programs next week:

— At 11 a.m. Monday, Pageturner’s Book Group discusses Summer Wives, by Beatriz Williams. Twenty years after being banished from Winthrop Island, Miranda Schuyler returns to

find justice for the man she once loved. Books are available at the circulation desk.

— At 10 a.m. Tuesday, Internet 2. Learn more efficient ways to search for websites and to find specific content within a website.

— At 2 p.m. Wednesday, Kentucky Picture Show Presents a 2018 film, an exploration of the life, lessons and legacy of iconic children’s television host, Fred Rogers.

— At 7 p.m. Wednesday, 7 PM, Trivia at the Engine House Pizza Pub. What was Fred Rogers’ slipper size?

— At 10 a.m. Friday, Write Local. Learn how to write a Shadorma.

Have a Boo-tiful week.

John Maruskin is director of adult services at the Clark County Public Library. He can be reached at