Is it too early for Halloween?

I just started reading the gothic novel “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley. I don’t know what took me so long. I still recall watching the 1931 movie version starring Boris Karloff, and many other versions, so the monster story is very familiar.

Back in the ‘60’s when I was a kid there was a television program called “Creature Features” that came on every Saturday night that played all the old vampire, lagoon creature and “Frankenstein” movies. It was an awesome way to spend an evening around the popcorn bowl with the family.

I have to say Shelley’s writing has me hooked. She doles out just enough information to let your imagination go wild. I can tell I am really going to enjoy it.

But I was so surprised how the novel began. It starts out with a self-absorbed man looking for the North Pole. During his voyage into icy waters littered with sheets of treacherous ice, he comes across a man, and one remaining dog attached to a sled, that have fallen through the ice. There is a rescue involved and the waterlogged gent recovers to tell a long story about his interesting life.

The family name of “Frankenstein” is finally mentioned on page 76 and that is where things get interesting. Need I say more?

The next book in the queue

“The universe is not made of atoms. It is made of tiny stories.”

I saw the quote on Pinterest and just had to pin it to one of my boards. My husband, the engineer, will playfully argue with me on that one. Rick loves to watch all those science shows about the universe. He also believes in black holes. I don’t.

Last night I finished a book that was a bit of a struggle. It was pretty good … basically stories about the Vietnam War … just not one of my all-time favorites. “The Things They Carry” by Tim O’Brien was recommended by another author.

Recommendations are sometimes how I pick the next title to read. Several years back my son recommended “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein. Ricky said it changed his life. That is a good recommendation if ever I heard one. Loved the book.

So it was that one afternoon I just happened to catch an author on television when I was channel surfing. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni was speaking about the writing process. I had read one of her books and stopped to hear what she had to say.

She wrote “One Amazing Thing.” It is a story about a group of people trapped in a building after an earthquake. A motley crew from varying backgrounds, they were all having a most difficult time keeping themselves from falling apart. Someone decides each person should tell a story about the “one amazing thing” that shaped their lives. It was indeed an interesting collection of tiny stories. I found the book remarkable and decided the author could certainly be an authority on what to read next. In the course of her lecture she mentioned a couple of book titles. One was the book by Tim O’Brien. I’m sure I have the other book written down somewhere.

Last year I received another book recommendation and downloaded it onto my Nook. It is the one I am excited to be reading next. Rick and I were visiting the Napa area and seated for a wine tasting at a small vineyard. Across from us was a cute couple that had been dating for several years. The lovely young lady was a recent graduate from Berkeley. Between wine pours, she mentioned just finishing “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn the night before. She told me it had deeply affected her. Don’t know why, or how, but her eyes led me a place I decided to travel.

So what do you do when someone gives you a gift? You give one back. I recommended she read “One Amazing Thing.”

Do you have a book title you loved so much you would gift it to a stranger?