Motherhood Memoirs

All over the world women are finding their voices. From speaking out against sexual assault to workplace inequalities, we have reached a point where the great disparities among the sexes are being acknowledged and challenged.  Among these voices, we are hearing from mothers. For so long, there has been such a narrow definition of motherhood. A definition that includes only happiness and baby cuddles and lullabies. But what about those for whom this definition doesn’t fit? What about those, who, when they become a mother, find themselves unhappy or struggle with the immensity of this change? Is it any coincidence that now, when women are making themselves heard, we are seeing such a boom in motherhood memoirs?

Recently there is the Giller Prize nominated Motherhood by Sheila Heti. As with Heti’s other writing, this novel blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction as the narrator, a writer in her late 30’s and in a serious relationship, considers having a child. Though this is a huge, life-altering decision, it is rarely given much critical thought, but Heti’s narrator understands the immensity of this decision and carefully weighs her options, wondering if she’s willing to sacrifice her art for a child, and which is more important.

A lighter read, Meagan O’Connell’s And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready is a less heady, perhaps more relatable book for new mothers. Based on her experience of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood, O’Connell does not shy away from the messy, ugly, devastating parts of the topic while keeping her sense of humour intact.

In Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy, Angela Garbes writes about women’s bodies through a mix of science and personal experience. Her book offers fascinating facts about the placenta, the transfer of cells between mother and fetus, and the wonders of breastmilk. Garbes encourages women to trust themselves and ask questions of their health providers, allowing pregnant women and new mothers to make informed decisions.

Two classics in the motherhood memoir genre are Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year and Rachel Cusk’s A Life’s Work: On Becoming a Mother. Lamott’s book takes the form of a diary of her first year of motherhood. Told in a sarcastic and witty way, Lamott struggles as a single parent but has a community of friends and her faith to help her. Cusk’s book is more thoughtful and philosophical. She writes about sleeplessness and colic and breastfeeding, but also how to navigate this new identity for herself.

 

Whether you’re a new mother trying to find your footing or a seasoned pro, there is something so satisfying about recognizing your own experiences in someone else’s writing. As women become increasingly empowered to share their truths, I can only imagine the writing that is to come.

-Toby

 

 

 

Bite-sized reads

Listen, I love epic novels as much as the next bookworm. But sometimes, your life is moving just a little too fast and you don’t have the uninterrupted chunks of free time required to sink into an extended reading experience.

At times like that, short bursts of fiction are the perfect solution. These brief but concentrated novels and story collections (the longest of which barely breaks 200 pages) combine unusual narratives with vibrant language to make every moment you can steal to read count.

The transmigration of bodies by Yuri Herrera is a noirish tragedy with a Romeo and Juliet backstory. Two feuding  crime families with blood on their hands ask a hard-boiled hero to broker peace and arrange for the exchange of the bodies they hold hostage.

 

Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett focuses on the mundane details of the narrator’s daily experience (from the best way to eat porridge to an encounter with cows) in striking scenes “suffused with the hypersaturated, almost synesthetic intensity of the physical world that we remember from childhood.”

The subtitle of The people in the castle by Joan Aiken is “selected strange stories,” which is a pretty apt description. From dreamlike fairy tales to ghost stories and surreal fantasia, these are indeed very strange stories—but always grounded in characters who feel like absolutely real people.

 

Things we lost in the fire by Mariana Enriquez brings contemporary Argentina to vibrant life as a place where past military dictatorship and legions of desaparecidos loom large in the collective memory. But alongside the disturbing disappearances, her stories are fueled by compassion for the frightened and the lost.

Moon of the crusted snow by Waubgeshig Rice begins as cell phone service goes out in an isolated Anishinaabe community in northern Ontario. Soon land lines, electricity, and satellites have all disappeared and the community must band together and return to traditional ways to ensure its survival in a post-apocalyptic world.

 

Danielle

Lest We Forget

This November marks the 100th year since the Armistice of the First World War. We take a moment of silence at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to remember those who gave their lives that we might continue to live in peace. The first Armistice Day was commemorated in 1919 and it was later renamed Remembrance Day as it is now known.

The postcard below gives an idea of the great number of soldiers who went to war. It shows a ceremony for the presentation of cap badges to the members of the 27th Battalion (City of Winnipeg) before their departure for England in 1915.

Presentation of Badges to 27th Battalion

The hundreds of thousands of Canadians who enlisted to fight, including many Manitobans, are remembered as heroes, but they were more than just numbers. These men were real people with families. They were sons, fathers, husbands, and friends and they made many sacrifices by leaving their loved ones behind. Some made the ultimate sacrifice and would never return. I am reminded of everything they gave up when I see a farewell scene like this one of a train leaving the station for the war, sent off with such an outpouring of support.

Off to the War

Did you know that Winnipeggers used to observe another military memorial day? I learned about Decoration Day by looking through the PastForward website, Winnipeg’s digital public history. Even before the Great War, there were many postcards featuring Decoration Day photographs. This day was originally to commemorate those who died in the Battle of Ridgeway on June 2, 1866. It was first held in 1890, always on a weekend close to June 2, and eventually recognized soldiers lost in the North West Rebellion, the South African War and the First World War as well.

Decoration Day - 1925

Monuments and memorials are another way we have strived to ensure the legacy of those who fought for our freedom lives on.

The Angel of Victory (or Winged Victory) statue used to stand before Winnipeg’s Canadian Pacific Railway Station on Higgins Avenue. The monument can still be seen at its current home of Deer Lodge on Portage Avenue.

“To commemorate those in the service of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company who, at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardship, faced danger and finally passed out of sight of men by the path of duty and self sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom. Let those who come after see to it that their names be not forgotten. 1914-1918.”

Angel of Victory

The Next of Kin Monument is another; it stands at the corner of Broadway and Osborne Street on the legislative grounds.

“To the immortal memory of the men and women from Winnipeg who gave their lives in The Great War 1914-1918. Erected by the Loving Hearts of Kinsmen.”

berman_3809_medium

You may have also seen the Volunteer Monument which used to stand before City Hall but now resides next to the Centennial Concert Hall, the bronze soldier standing before the Bank of Montreal at Portage and Main, or the Winnipeg Cenotaph on Memorial  Boulevard.

Soldiers Monument

Bronze Soldier

Cenotaph

The first is an older monument that commemorates the men of the 90th Winnipeg Battalion killed in the North West Rebellion of 1885. The soldier honours the bank employees who fell during the First World War. Finally, the Cenotaph commemorates those who died during the First World War and later was rededicated to also recognize those lost in the Second World War and the Korean War. There are several more sculptures around our city to help us keep the past in our minds and in our hearts.

On this 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War may Remembrance Day continue to help us honour the brave men and women who gave their lives serving our country.

~ Christy

 

 

Books on Film

Movie buff, film freak, cinephile.  Words that pretty much describe me and sum up my love of moving pictures. From cinematic art to bad movies, I love them all! I also really enjoy reading about movies. Happily, Winnipeg Public Library has a great collection of fascinating titles on the art and angst of movie making. The genre has many classics, including Sidney Lumet’s Making Movies, Julie Salamon’s The Devil’s Candy and Peter Biskind’s Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. I’ve read and loved them all but for today, I’m going to give you a sneak preview of some other must-read titles.

We’ll always have Casablanca: the Life, Legend, and Afterlife of Hollywood’s Most Beloved Movie

I grew up watching ‘old’ movies and Bogart was one of my first movie heroes. My favourite Bogie films are Key Largo, The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep and of course, Casablanca. Noah Isenberg’s recent “making of” treatment of the film is a riveting, exhaustive look at one of the most-loved movies from Hollywood’s golden age.  The book traces Casablanca from its origins as an unproduced stage play to cultural icon. Highly recommended!

High noon: the Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic

In this gripping story, Frankel digs into the production of High Noon – the classic western made during the madness of the blacklist era. The book casts a light on the impact of the House Committee on Un-American Activities’ (HUAC) “naming names” investigations in Hollywood and reveals the allegorical impact of High Noon’s take on moral strength in the face of mob mentality. This book really sparked my interest in the film. High Noon is now on my watch list!

Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece

I lost my dog-eared copy of Jerome Agel’s The Making of Kubrick’s 2001 decades ago so I was super happy to check out Michael Benson’s new book on the sci-fi epic – once tagged “the ultimate trip”. Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece is the definitive and detailed story of the making of 2001. Benson describes the amazing collaborative process that created 2001’s groundbreaking visual effects (e.g. the first monolith was a translucent lucite slab) and provides new insights into the personalities of Clarke and Kubrick.

Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood

This book had me at the concept: over 50 years ago, five wildly diverse movies were nominated for the 1967 Academy Award for best picture. The films included new Hollywood visions (The Graduate and Bonnie and Clyde), a controversial for the time take on racism (In the Heat of the Night), an old-school Tracy & Hepburn vehicle (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner) and a musical flop about veterinary medicine (Doctor Doolittle). Pictures at a Revolution is a new classic with an insightful take on the impact of 60s culture on mainstream movie making.

The Film Club: a True Story of a Father and Son

Canadian writer and film critic David Gilmour made a deal with his 15-year old son: he could drop out of school if he agreed to watch 3 movies a week with his father. Sounds great, right? Whether you agree with a movie-based homeschool curriculum or not, The Film Club is not just a collection of film reviews – it’s a really touching story about the relationship between Gilmour and his smart, funny son Jesse. And, yes, it’s also about the movies they watch together! And their first assignment: Truffaut’s The 400 Blows.

Room to Dream

The three filmmakers who’ve had the biggest impact on my visual imagination are Kubrick, Fellini and David Lynch. I have vivid memories of watching films like 2001, 8 1/2 and Blue Velvet for the first time and leaving the theatre thinking, “the worlds looks different now”. Room to Dream is a unique biography that delves into the art, artistry and life of David Lynch. Here’s Lynch on growing up in the fifties: “It’s dreamy, that’s what it is. The fifties mood isn’t completely positive, though, and I always knew there was stuff going on.” Blue Velvet or Twin Peaks fans know exactly what Lynch is talking about here!

I hope you find the above titles as entertaining and educational as I did, whether you’re just a movie dabbler or a hard-core cinemaniac. And if reading about movies leads you to watch more movies, be sure to check out Kanopy: a fantastic source for streaming film, especially Criterion Collection classics and unexpected cult favourites. Happy screening!

-Ed

 

It’s Time to Read: I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Welcome, dear readers!  Happy first Friday of the month.  In the past, we’ve celebrated the all-important first Friday of the month by letting you know the latest episode of Time to Read was available to download.  We thought this was a pretty good way to spend your weekend. We were wrong.

What we should have been doing, and what we promise to do from now on, is to tell you what book we’re reading now.  Why? So you have Time to Read it of course!  And then you can let us know what you think. And when we record the next episode we can let you know what we think of what you think. We think that’s pretty neat.

reid For the month of November we’ll be reading I’m Thinking of Ending Things.  A Novel. By novelist Iain Reid.  I don’t know much about it … yet.  But I have it on good authority that it’s good.  Whose authority you might ask? An author I really admire, Heather O’Neill of Lullabies for Little Criminals fame calls it “Addictive.”  Charlie Kaufman of Charlie Kaufman fame is apparently turning it into a television series.  I can only hope he brings on Donald Kaufman to help him out.

But what I’d really like to know, dear readers, is what you think of it.  Did it keep you up at night? Because it was too scary? Or, maybe you couldn’t put it down?  Let us know by email at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca or leave a comment on our website.

And don’t forget to check out our latest episode, in which we discuss The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.  Available now.

-Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team

Spooky Songs and Terrifying Tunes

I’ve seen nothing but candy in stores since the middle of September.  It must be the Halloween Season.  A time for candy apples, Jack-o’-lanterns, ghosts, ghouls, zombies and witches.  At Sir William Stephenson, our Halloween books are as scarce as garlic in a vampire’s kitchen.  The same could be said for steak or is it stake?  Books are one of our most popular Halloween commodities, but, we have other treats for you to enjoy this Halloween.

The library has a huge selection of music for you to listen to and set the proper mood for a party.  What Alfred Hitchcock described as “mood music in a jugular vein.”  I’ve selected a small sample of what you can find using either Hoopla or Naxos Music Library.  Apps for both services can be downloaded to either Apple or Android devices.  You can also access these services through your computer.

I’ve grouped my selections in four categories:

  • Must haves
  • Film/TV
  • Classical
  • Halloween sounds

Must Haves

Halloween without these tunes would be like Christmas without Christmas trees or laurel without Hardy.  It just doesn’t work.

“Thriller” (Album Thriller artist Michael Jackson)  thriller

“Monster Mash” (Album The Original Monster Mash artist Bobby (Boris) Pickett)

“Purple People Eater” (Album The Purple People Eater artist Sheb Wooley)

“The Time Warp” (Album Music From the Rocky Horror Picture Showshrek 2

“Werewolves of London” (Album Excitable Boy artist Warren Zevon)

“Little Drop of Poison” (Album Shrek 2 artist Tom Waits)

Film/TV

No Halloween party would be complete without these staples from TV and the big screen.

“Ghostbusters theme song” (Album Ghostbusters II)

“Jaws theme song” (Album Jaws John Williams) jaws

“Halloween theme song 1978” (The Ultimate Halloween Collection: Spooky Anthems for your Haunted House)

“Once Upon a Dream” (Album Maleficent)

Psycho – Great Hitchcock Movie Thrillers

Addams Family (TV show or movie)

Alfred Hitchcock Presents Music to be Murdered By nightmare

“This is Halloween” (Album The Nightmare Before Christmas artist Danny Elfman)

“The Shining” (Album As Seen on Terrorvision Halloween Movie Hits artist The Hit Crew)

Classical

The next group of music is a selection of classical works from Naxos Music Library.

“Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” composed by Johann Sebastian Bach

“Symphonie Fantastique V Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath” composed by Hector Berlioz

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” composed by Paul Dukas

“In the Hall of the Mountain King” composed by Edvard Grieg

“Carmina Burana: O Fortuna” composed by Carl Orff

“Dies Irae” composed by Giuseppe Verdi

“Night on Bald Mountain” composed by Modest Mussorgsky

Halloween Sounds halloween

The last group is a grab bag of albums with different sound effects.  Need the sound of a cemetery, witches’ cackle, werewolf howl, the sound of hell or demons, look no further.

 

I do hope you enjoy these selections and take time to explore Hoopla and Naxos to find other composers and artists.  In closing, I will leave you with a piece of advice, particularly relevant in October, from the master of suspense himself Alfred Hitchcock;  “It is a good thing to know that if ever you are staring into the darkness and you see something staring back simply say boo and it will go away.”

Thank you and goodnight.

-Andrew

Spooky Scary Comic Books

 

If you love reading something scary around Halloween, Winnipeg Public Library has a great variety of horror-themed graphic novels to check out.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.

This isn’t  Sabrina the Teenage Witch you remember from the comics (except for taking place in the ‘60s, which was when the original Sabrina comics started) or the fun ‘90s TV show. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is the creator of the hit TV show Riverdale as well as the Sabrina show based on the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina which will be coming out this month.  While Sabrina lives with her aunts Hilda and Zelda (who are very cavalier about their taste for human flesh) she doesn’t know a lot about her tragic family history.  The plot thickens as a mysterious figure known as Madam Satan, disguised as the drama teacher, comes to town and starts to stir up trouble for everyone.   Definitely not for the squeamish!

Harrow County by Cullen Bunn

Harrow County is a limited series which just wrapped up this year. which just wrapped up this year. A farm girl named Emmy learns on her 18th birthday the life she thought she was living is a lie.  Her father is not really her father and she has strange and mysterious powers.  Finding out her identity is only the beginning of the story.  One of the most fascinating characters is the “haint” she befriends.  He’s the skin of a boy who she often brings in her bag with her, though his skinless body often goes and gathers information for her.  The art is entirely done in watercolour and is often beautiful and horrifying.  The American TV network Syfy has picked it up to be developed into a show.

The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror: Dead Man’s Jest (multiple authors)

Even after The Simpsons went past its prime long ago, the Treehouse of Horror Halloween episodes were often still the best part of a season. I always end up watching a few of those classic episodes every October.  The writers add all sorts of supernatural and weird elements to the stories since they weren’t part of the ongoing canon.  Dead Man’s Jest has many spooky stories, some written by celebrities like Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie.  Some particular standout stories are “Two Tickets to Heck!” and “The Legend of Batterface”.

Penny Dreadful (based on the TV series created by John Logan)

Penny Dreadful was a was a very dark TV show that starred multiple figures from classic literature such as Frankenstein and Dorian Grey. The figure at the heart of the show, however, was the complicated and flawed woman Vanessa Ives.  This graphic novel is a prequel of the show, which goes into the history of Vanessa’s failed mission of trying to save her doomed friend Mina Harker from the clutches of Dracula.  A scary story but I would recommend watching the television show first (all DVDs are available through the library) before reading the graphic novel as there is a lot that the reader is assumed to know already.

The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch by Neil Gaiman

This was originally published as a short story by Neil Gaiman, then turned into a graphic novel with the help of Michael Zulli and Todd Klein. The story seems almost semi-autobiographical—the main character sounds very similar to Neil Gaiman himself and the artistic depiction looks like him as well.  However the story itself has some mysterious supernatural elements that leave you wanting more.  The Gaiman character and his friends take a rather grumpy and tiresome acquaintance named Miss Finch for a night on the town to a strange circus which seems to appear rather cheesy and laughable.  Things take an unexpected and exciting sharp turn when a performer asks them which one of them “will gain all that you desire, in the cabinet of wishes fulfilled”.  Great for fans of Gaiman as well as first time readers.

Madeleine

 

Bite Sized Chunks

Byte: a unit of measurement used to measure data

My mind tends to ramble along a lot of random paths when I think about what I should do for this blog post, and in this case a spelling error led me to find the definition above. In computer terminology, 1 byte contains 8 bits, smaller pieces of computer memory that make up a whole character or symbol. Finding this definition led me down memory lane via YouTube. Back in the 1980s, there was a television series called Bits and Bytes on CBC. The concept was simple, Luba Goy was an instructor leading Billy Vann through the basics of operating a personal computer. Each episode focused on a concept, a byte, if you will, of information.

Fast forward a whole bunch of calendar pages, and we’re still dealing with bits and bytes of input. But while computers have become more and more sophisticated at rapidly working with huge amounts of data, the evolution of the human mind hasn’t kept up in the same way. Our brains still process information in much the same way, which sometimes means taking things one bite at a time, instead of attempting to ingest an oversized lump of input.

Having technology literally at our fingertips that allows us to look for any subject imaginable is a mixed blessing. Asking Siri, Alexa  or Google a question will get you answers all right, but the sheer volume of the responses can be overwhelming. Not to mention that the accuracy and reliability of the source material is often questionable, to say the least. That’s where printed materials are still invaluable as the ultimate source of bite, as opposed to byte, sized chunks of information.

Even if you prefer to gain your information online, this is one book you don’t want to miss. The colors, the texture of the paper, the layout of the illustrations – it works on so many levels.

 

 

 

 

Short story collections offer bite sized fiction reading experiences that are completely different than full length novels. The glimpses into people’s lives around the world, from a shopping mall to a prison cell all have one thing in common – your view of the world is often determined by where you’re sitting.

 

 

 

This entire series by DK Publishing is the ultimate in giving bite sized chunks of information on a huge range of subjects. The content and format are just the right snack size to be food for thought without causing mental indigestion.

 

 

Less is sometimes more when it comes to pictures, too. National Geographic has been providing breathtaking photos that are ideal for a quick visual fix.

 

 

 

So there you go. Luba and Billy got it right, bits of bite sized input are the way to go.

Lori

 

Remembering Canada’s Hundred Days and the End of the First World War

Cover image for The greatest victory : Canada's one hundred days, 1918A hundred years ago, the First World War was coming to an end, after four years of carnage never witnessed before in history. The year 1918 had begun with the Allied armies (also known as the Entente Powers) still locked in stalemate with Germany on the western front with no clear end in sight. Then in the spring, the German army launched its final offensive and although it succeeded in pushing back the British army, it failed to create a decisive breakthrough. This was followed in August by a general counter-attack (now known as the Hundred Days Offensive) by the Allies that would finally break the deadlock of the trenches and force Germany and the rest of the Central Powers to sue for peace by November. The four divisions of the Canadian Corps played a central role in breaking the back of the German army in a series of victorious battles that ended in the French city of Mons on November 11, 1918. The prestige earned on the battlefield helped create a new sense of national identity and Canada had separate representation at the peace conference at Versailles, moving away from its former colonial status toward independence from Great Britain.

Despite involving more men (and more casualties) than the Normandy Campaign of 1944, and despite being the pivotal battle of the First World War, the Hundred Days Offensive has been largely forgotten until recently with the centennial of the First World War bringing renewed interest in its history. For readers who are not familiar with this topic but are interested in learning more, historian Jack Granatstein’s book The Greatest Victory: Canada’s Hundred Days, 1918 is a recommended introduction that is accessible to everyone. It chronicles the march and bloody struggles of the Canadian Corp out of the trenches from Amiens through Valenciennes, the Hindenburg Line, the Canal du Nord, and Cambrai, toward Mons and final victory. Granatstein describes the historical context of the offensive, how Canadians trained constantly beforehand in the use of new tactics and weapons, and were led by General Arthur Currie, likely the best General of the War. Despite being overshadowed by the Battle of Vimy Ridge in the minds of most Canadians, the author convincingly argues that the Hundred Day’s Offensive was Canada’s greatest feat of arms of the First World War.

Cover image for They Fought in Colour / la Guerre en Couleur : A New Look at Canada's First World War Effort / Nouveau Regard Sur le Canada Dans la Premi?re Guerre Mondiale.

Remembering the First World War can be challenging due to the memory of it having faded over the decades, and having been overshadowed by the second global conflict that followed its uneasy peace. Since we no longer have living veterans to relate their stories, our vision of the First World War exist almost exclusively in black and white, whether they be written books or historical footage. The book They Fought in Colourpublished by the Vimy Foundation, attempts to offer a new look at Canada’s experience during the Great War by presenting the reader with colorized pictures, as the people experienced it, with commentary from some of well-known Canadian personalities, including Paul Gross, Peter Mansbridge, Margaret Atwood, and many others.

Cover image for The secret history of soldiers : how Canadians survived the Great War

Historian Tim Cook is a prolific author of Canadian military history who has just released his latest title: The Secret History of Soldiers: How Canadians Survived the Great War This is a welcome addition, providing an intimate look at the daily lives of the men and women who experienced the conflict, as opposed to the more conventional reviews of the war from official records and the distant point of views of politicians and military leaders focused on strategies and tactics. These first-hand stories were mined from the letters, diaries, memoirs, and oral accounts of more than five hundred combatants. They reveal aspects of the life behind the front-lines, a “hidden society” that coped with the extreme hardships of war by creating their own satirical songs, trench art from battlefield debris, newspapers that criticized army life and all kinds of entertainment that took their mind off the war. You learn how camaraderie was built on shared experiences and goals, what motivated Canadians of all walks of life to keep going, and how they kept informed about the war and their families back home.

Cover image for 1918 : winning the war, losing the war

For readers who are interested in an in-depth study of the Western Front in the last year of the war, another new arrival at the library, 1918 : winning the war, losing the war is an informative review of the armies that were facing each other (the inexperienced but vast American army joining the battle-weary but experienced French and British forces against the German). This multi-author work contains ten chapters by some of the best historians of the First World War. It analyzes how armies built from a 19th century model evolved and adapted the lessons learned from past failures and used new technologies and weapons to fight a twentieth century war. The book also covers neglected fronts like Italy and the Middle East where the Austro-Hungarian and Turkish empires were fighting for their continuing survival. It also looks in detail at the war at sea and in the air, and considers the aftermath and legacy of the First World War.

DSCN2086

Finally, if you come by the Local History Room at the Millennium branch, you can view a display called The World Remembers 1918 that the library is hosting to commemorate the centennial of the 1918 Armistice. Until November 11, a video monitor will display the names of over 800,000 soldiers who lost their lives in the final year of the war from Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, the US, Turkey, Belgium, Australia, the Czech Republic, Italy, New Zealand, Slovenia, China and the former British Indian Army. The World Remembers website has more information about this project and this is the page where names can be searched to learn when they will appear on-screen.

Louis-Philippe

It’s Alive!

It is a famous line most commonly associated with Frankenstein. This line, however, never actually appears in Mary Shelley’s ground-breaking novel. It does appear in the 1931 film version of the novel and has been associated with the story of Frankenstein ever since. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and with National Frankenstein Day fast approaching (it’s October 26th FYI) I thought it would be appropriate to showcase books exploring the impact Shelley’s novel has had on horror, science and female horror writers.

frankenstein Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley

A Titan from Greek Mythology, Prometheus created man from clay and stole fire from the gods to give to man. This mythological being is an appropriate comparison to Victor Frankenstein, the creator of the “Monster”, and an apt alternate title to the novel. The original text still haunts readers today, and has never been out of print for the last 200 years. If you haven’t read the original, do so, not only will it frighten and horrify you, but it will also have you thinking and questioning the possibilities and ramifications of science today.

frankenstein2 Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years by Christopher Frayling

In his incredible book (the pictures alone are amazing), Frayling explores the origins of Frankenstein and the lasting impact the novel has had on popular culture. He has included movie stills and posters from the many film versions of the novel as well as photos of Shelley’s original manuscript. It is truly a work of art.

frankenstein3 Frankenstein: How a monster became an icon: the science and enduring allure of Mary Shelley’s creation edited by Sidney Perkowitz and Eddy Von Mueller

As a physicist and as a filmmaker, Sidney Perkowitz and Eddy Von Mueller have compiled essays from scientists, directors, artists and scholars who speak to and dissect the lasting impact of Shelley’s work on the world as well as explore what the future may hold for the legacy of Frankenstein.

frankenstein4 Frankenstein by Dean Koontz

In his five-book series Koontz takes inspiration from Shelley’s original novel and sets his in modern-day New Orleans. The first book in the series, Prodigal Son, follows Deucalian, a mysterious man who teams up with two detectives to solve a string of murders that leads back to a race of killers and their mysterious maker.

Shelley’s novel has inspired many film versions as well as TV series that include the characters from the novel. You can find many of these in our catalogue here.

Frankenstein not only has had a huge impact on popular culture but also on female writers, especially female horror writers. Many of the fantastically frightening horror writers today are women, and we owe many thanks to Mary Shelley for helping pave their way. Some of these award-winning writers are: Carmen Maria Machado, Shirley Jackson, Octavia Butler, Angela Carter, and Anne Rice, just to name a few. You can find all these women in our library catalogue. If you would like more suggestions, and a longer list of female horror writers, this article by Lithub gives you even more names to explore.

Happy Reading!

-Aileen