Monday - Thursday: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Friday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturdays: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sundays: 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Closed Saturdays July 1 through Labor Day
Closed Sundays from Memorial Day - Columbus Day Weekend

Valentine’s Day Fairy Story Time

Wednesday, February 14th
11:00 am – 11:30 am
Age 6 and under
Registration required

Join Miss Amy from K&M Dance Studios as she dresses up as a fairy for Valentine’s Day! Come wearing your princess or fairy costume or just your Valentine’s Day best.  Miss Amy will read, teach us a few moves and be available for photo ops!  Registration is required so please use the form below or call the library at 781-769-0200 x225


February Bilingual Story Time

Wednesday, February 7th
10:30 am
Toddler and Preschoolers
Registration required

Join Miss Nataliya to hear some stories in Russian, learn a few Russian words and songs, and generally have a good time!  You don’t have to be a native Russian speaker to attend but we welcome everyone!  Registration is required so please fill out the form below or call the library at 781-769-0200 x225 to sign up.



Shelley’s Frankenstein

Book_cover-of-Lita-Judges-Marys-MonsterI’m here to confess that I’ve never read Frankenstein, the classic work of literature that just celebrated its 200th birthday. I’m guilty of believing some of the myths about the book.

There are many misconceptions about Frankenstein. First, author Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’s monster was not a zombie, pieced together and connected by bolts. Nor is he green in color that films and cartoons have portrayed. This eight-foot tall repulsive creature had skin in yellow tones that tightly fit a body of veins and muscles. His eyes glowed, his teeth shone white and emphasized his long black hair and black lips. Most importantly, Frankenstein is not the monster, but it is the name of the scientist who created the monster who was never named in the book.

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley was the daughter of philosophers. Her mother Mary Wollstonecraft, an author herself, was one of history’s founding feminists, writing and arguing that women are not inferior to men but women historically lacked the education afforded their male counterparts. Wollstonecraft died only eleven days after giving birth to her infant daughter.

Although her father remarried, Mary felt overshadowed by his two younger children. At the age of 14 she attended a boarding school for six months, however her father’s debt and failed publishing business allowed for no more formal schooling.  Mary did have the unique and fortuitous advantage of a homeschool experience in her father’s library. She also traveled with her father during educational trips, and spent much time conversing with his many educated and worldly colleagues. Her father guiltily admitted that while he had not followed the pedagogy of his intelligent and feminist wife who died after childbirth, her daughter Mary received a valuable and complete education.

Mary Shelley conceived of the story of Frankenstein (subtitled The Modern Prometheus) when she was only 18 years old. During a scandalous affair with one of her father’s followers, Percy Shelley, she traveled to Europe and gave birth to a Shelley’s child. It was that rainy summer in Switzerland that their friend and fellow traveler, poet Lord Byron, proposed that they all spend their time writing ghost stories. Wrestling with the idea, Mary imagined a corpse being reanimated. What started as the short story of Frankenstein’s monster was transferred to paper over the next two years.

Percy Shelley and Mary married in 1816 after the suicide of Shelley’s wife. Mary gave birth to two other children but all of her three first children perished soon after birth. In1818, her book Frankenstein was published anonymously and actually thought to be written by Mary’s husband. Her fourth child, born in 1919 was a son named Percy Florence. His birth pulled Mary out of a depression she suffered since losing her infants in 1815, 1816 and 1817.

Her husband Percy Shelley died in a boating accident in 1822 and afterwards Mary devoted her life to writing and raising her surviving son. Although she was famously known for Frankenstein, she did write other successful novels including Mathilda, Lodore and Falkner. The second edition of Frankenstein bore her name as author in 1823.

Reading about Frankenstein, one discovers that while it began as a ghost story contest, it can also be considered a gothic horror story, science fiction, or a treatise of the weaknesses of humans who fool around with science, not understanding the consequences. Frankenstein is horrified at the monster he created in with body parts and electricity in his laboratory. It’s a story of an incredible loneliness, a failed search for companionship, and a terrible knowledge that one can never fit in.

The public radio show Science Friday, aired by over 350 NPR stations, offers seasonal book clubs with conversations, podcasts, and more. This winter’s book club is Frankenstein and participants are reading a special edition annotated “for scientists, engineers, and creators of all kinds.”

There are probably hundreds of editions of Frankenstein that have been published in the past 200 years. The Science Friday choice is a cooperative publication between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press and Arizona State University. It is available through the Minuteman Library Network (our library has a copy); however, Arizona State University and MIT have made it available in open access as a PDF (portable document format.) It’s available on the MIT Press website.

The Annotated Frankenstein, edited by Susan Wolfson and Ronald Levao in 2012, is a perfect first reading of edition with illustrations and commentary by professors who have taught the novel. The NEW Annotated Frankenstein edited by Leslie Klinger and published in 2017 features over 200 illustrations and nearly 1,000 annotations.  The Graphic Revolve: Common Core Editions published a graphic novel version of Frankenstein in 2014. Frankenstein: The Graphic Novel was adapted for younger children.

There are over 300 items in the Minuteman Library Network attributed to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, including DVDs and non-fiction works devoted to Mary Shelley and her work. The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler is a biography of Mary that juxtaposes the tragedies of her life against her success as a writer. A new graphic biography of Shelley will be on library shelves at the end of January: Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein by Lita Judge. The book will be a welcome addition to the others with over three hundred pages of black-and-white watercolor illustrations.

The power of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is obvious. Shelley’s passions and griefs were transferred into her first, and most famous, work much like the electricity that charged Frankenstein’s corpse to give it life.

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte’s column in the January 25, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


Revisiting Ayn Rand

Person-reading-Atlas-Shrugged-by-Ayn-RandLast summer, I cleaned out a bookcase at home and came across a paperback copy of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand from my early college days.  It has followed me from my dorm room in the 60’s, to my parent’s home, and thru 2 moves in my married years.   During the busy years of raising children and working, it sat forgotten on the shelf.  What made it special was that it was personally autographed by Ayn Rand when I attended one of her lectures while in college.  I don’t remember what the lecture was about nor do I remember meeting her.   I wish I did.  She was a very vocal and controversial political activist during the turbulent 60’s and her book, Atlas Shrugged, was as controversial as she was.   The chance to see and hear her speak in person would have been a must.

Ayn Rand was born in Russia in 1905 and suffered very negative effects of life under communistic rule until she received permission to visit relatives in Chicago in 1925.   She vowed never to return to Russia and continued to live and work in Hollywood.  I believe Ms. Rand was afraid that communism would follow her to America, and she used her writings and lectures to warn of its dangers.  America in the 60’s was in turmoil; we were in the midst of the unpopular Vietnam War.  In fact, one of reasons they told us we needed to go to war was to fight communism.

I decided to read or reread Atlas Shrugged.  A few pages into it, I was sure that I either had not read it previously or certainly had not gotten very far into the 1,000+ pages.

It is a fictional novel that reflects Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, but it is also a mystery of sorts.  The reader is compelled to plow thru the 1,000+ pages to find out who John Galt really is.

Her major characters embody the traits of her philosophy and are in conflict with the world they live in.   The principle of Ms. Rand’s Objectivism is multifaceted and complex.  In her own words,  “My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”

A comprehensive and detailed book about Ayn Rand, her life, her works and her philosophy is Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne C. Heller.   It’s a must read for anyone interested in learning more about Ms. Rand.

I am sure that if Ms. Rand were alive today in this tumultuous political climate, she would again be a vocal and very controversial voice.   In the meantime, her novels live on and speak for her. I’m glad I found, dusted off the pages, and read Atlas Shrugged.  It was thought provoking, challenging and entertaining all at the same time.

Norma Logan is a Literacy Volunteer Coordinator at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood.

Translate »